Actions

Work Header

12 Days of What The Fuck

Work Text:

One

 

Dear Students:

In light of the fact that many of you will not be returning home for the holidays, Hogwarts will be hosting its first student gift exchange this year. Participation is voluntary, but the staff believes it may bring a much-needed spirit of unity and merriment to our beloved school, so we strongly urge each of you to consider taking part.

While this is a secular exchange, it will take place over the course of twelve days, from December 14th to December 25th, so please feel free to include any religious preferences, if you have them. Students will be magically sorted according to their wish lists, and magic will prohibit gifters identities from being revealed until the programme ends. Matches will be sent out on November 14th to give you adequate time to prepare, and final gifts may be presented in person.

If interested, please complete the following form.

Many glad tidings,
Minerva McGonagall
Hogwarts Headmistress

 

Name: Draco Malfoy

What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
Quidditch, flying in general, reading, collecting magazines of sweaty, half-dressed athletes and pretending I keep them under my bed because I like memorising sports trivia, ordering others around, being a complete prat to my friends who love me, anything Theo wrote about me on the fourth-floor bathroom loo stall, and cooking — though I'm not nearly as good as I tend to think myself and should stop forcing my concoctions on my friends, who will stop loving me if I don't.

What are your favourite academic subjects?
Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, and Muggle Studies, although who would have guessed, I'm such an arse.

In which academic subjects do you excel?
All of them. I'm Draco Malfoy, lalala.

In which academic subjects do you wish to improve your performance?
None of them. I’m Draco Malfoy, lalala.

What are your career aspirations?
Auror, not that I'm confident enough to apply because I'm so sure the Ministry won’t hire me, even though I'm brilliant and would be fantastic.

Do you have any other goals not pertaining to academia or your career?
Does fantasising about seeing Potter in a Slytherin tie count?

Do you enjoy any particular scents, foods, reading materials, or music?
Apparently I'm addicted to the smell of treacle tart and Saviour sweat and broom polish, not that I'll ever admit it, but good Merlin do I never shut up about it. I like pastries from Indulgence de Fonte Magique in Paris, and keep trying to make boeuf bourguignon, so I suppose I enjoy that, too. (Or hate it, that's quite possible, considering how I keep mangling it.) I enjoy heavy novels like wizarding biographies that remain boring no matter how I try to explain them to my more interesting friends. And I'm fond of The Weird Sisters and a group called the Spicy Girls that I learned about in Muggle Studies, who are not half bad. I would look so good as Baby Spicy, but nooo, I'm far too tight-arsed to dress up so I can take pictures with a friend of mine who would look fabulous as the posh one.

If asked to describe yourself in ten words, what would they be?
Self-involved, annoying, ungrateful, bitchy, uncompromising, petty… Sometimes lonely and sad, perhaps. Brilliant, creative, clever and funny, fit, pragmatic, incredibly loyal. Annoying a few more times and I know this is more than ten words but so what, god it's just a form, if I could stop moaning about it for two seconds maybe I'd be less annoying. I’m also very handsome and totally full of shit, because no matter what I say, I'm incredibly horny for Potter.

Who can your gifter contact with any additional queries?
Pansy Parkinson.

Optional question: Do you have any dislikes or fears you wish to alert your gifter to? This question is incredibly insulting; who doesn’t have some fears after the last few years? Fortunately, I have very good friends I can talk to about mine… if I ever decide to. And I hate kippers.

Please list ten ideas for gifts you would enjoy receiving. Keep in mind that this is merely a guide. Though your gifter may not have the financial or magical means to fulfill or arrange some or any of your wishes to specificity, everything given should be as according to your tastes as they can manage. A wide variety of options on your list will be helpful.

1. To get to the Snitch before Harry Potter.
2. To touch Harry Potter’s hair. Really touch it. Sink my fingers into it. Maybe pull it a bit.
3. A Deluxe Potions Kit with silver-tipped knives.
4. To snog Harry Potter.
5. To suck off Harry Potter. Sorry, I don't know what's come over me, I must have been in such denial over my own desires for so long it's all spilling out on parchment now… But seriously, I would love to go on my knees for him.
6. A new subscription to Quidditch Monthly.
7. Some ties that aren’t in green and silver, honestly. Though they do need to be silk.
8. Slytherin tie clip.
9. To see Harry Potter in the showers again, since I haven't shut up about it since it happened over a bloody week ago.
10. For Harry Potter to…

*

Draco rolled onto his back, flicking his wand so the Snitch hovering in front of his face rose over him. He watched it fly around the perimeter of his bed in lazy circles. “It’s an insult, that’s what I think. I doubt it’s even a real thing. Probably something Granger invented because too few of us are using the on-staff mind-healer. Or someone wants to put it up on the posting board of the common room to humiliate me.”

“We all got them, Draco,” Pansy said, sounding bored. Draco shot her a glare, scowling when she didn’t look up from the desk she and Blaise were huddled over.

“Then maybe someone wants to humiliate all of us. What kind of a Slytherin are you?” Draco asked. Instead of replying, Pansy harrumphed under her breath and elbowed Blaise, who grunted. Draco continued impatiently. “I’m not even going to fill mine out, let alone turn it in. The whole thing reads like a psychological study. Or a way to let the professors know what areas we may need help in. I don’t need a lot of help. Or any, really. I’m—”

“‘Draco Malfoy’, we know,” Pansy said. Draco sat up, mouth tightening.

“I was going to say ‘highly proficient.’ What’s the matter with you?” Really, if she kept rolling her eyes at him the way she’d been doing since start of term, he’d be tempted to… Well, no. Even Draco could admit that Pansy had been through quite a lot, and since she’d come back for eighth year in no small part, he suspected, due to his required presence there, he probably owed her far more than she’d ever say. He sighed and scooted back against the pillows again. “Nevermind. Are the girls in Advanced Charms still acting coolly toward you?”

Pansy finally looked up, irritation wrinkling the bridge of her nose. “Not as much,” she said stiffly, “if you’re implying—”

“No, I wasn’t.” Draco held up a hand to placate her. “I just thought— Perhaps I could should talk to Potter for you. He said that thing after the show you put on....”

It was an awful idea and, in truth, made Draco’s stomach twist in the most sickening way. As the only three Slytherins returned for eighth year, they’d agreed to keep a stiff upper lip, to keep their small humiliations between themselves. But they were all utter bints, weren’t they, ignoring Pansy for one stupid thing she’d said on a night when, assuredly, stupid things ought to have been allowed, for sheer terror’s sake. Especially since Potter wasn’t holding an obvious grudge — whether due to the letter she sent him over the summer or the way she burst into tears and wept dramatic apologies into his jumper in the middle of the Great Hall on the first day back, didn’t really matter. Crying was a talent of Pansy’s, and one she’d found good use for with that little display. The point was, Potter was fairly on board and, if he had to, Draco was sure he could talk him around.

Her face softened, even as Blaise did a double-take. “No, thank you. I think I’ve got it under control.”

Relieved, Draco turned his attention back to the Snitch as Pansy began writing again, fast and furious against the parchment. Which reminded him—

“Those gift forms are due tomorrow. I hope neither of you have been stupid enough to fill them out.” He Summoned the Snitch and stroked over its wings, still fluttering a fast tickle against his fingertips. “Oh, Merlin. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was an exercise in humiliation and Potter filled one out? I’d like to see that form on the Common Room board. ‘Fears: Now that the Dark Lord is gone, I am afraid of my glasses breaking… Because the only spell I know is Expelliarmus.’” Draco considered. “I suppose he does do that one well enough. And it’s not as though plenty of people wouldn’t stand in line to fix his glasses for him. He really should consider eye charms, you know, the way people go on and on about his green eyes. As though they’re so special, when they’re not. You have very nice green eyes, for instance.”

Pansy didn’t thank him, perhaps because she knew that Potter’s were better. Objectively, of course. Pansy’s were really more of a green-hazel, whereas Potter’s were a bright clover green with a starburst of amber around the pupil. Very compelling, like the works of modern art they’d been examining in Muggle Studies; something a person could forget their own name, looking at.

“He was even wearing them when he got out of the shower last week,” Draco said. It hadn’t been what had first drawn his attention, but when he’d finally pried his gaze up from the soft bulge behind the towel hanging off Potter’s hips and the water clinging to his torso, those blasted things had sat on the bridge of his nose, crooked as ever, and fogged as well. How did someone shower wearing glasses? How could he even check the bottoms of his feet to make sure they were clean? He couldn’t, was probably the answer. The bottoms of Potter’s feet were likely caked with years of calluses and dirt, utterly disgusting.

Then again, the tops of Potter’s feet had been very clean. Pale and damp and bony, lacking any of the dark hair that had been on his legs, or the smattering of it he had in the middle of his chest, or the thin line of it that slipped from his almost-flat belly-button to…

Whatever. It didn’t matter to Draco that Potter’s feet were dirty, or that he was less afflicted with modesty in the showers than he was in the dorms, always disappearing into the loo closet before bed to change. No, in the showers, Potter had stood in front of the sinks for a good long time, carefully using a shaving charm before the mirror that Draco could do in his sleep — which was probably why Potter’s jaw was always slightly darker than it should be — without bothering to put on a dressing gown first.

He grimaced. He hated how their discussions always inevitably came around to Potter — Draco spent quite enough time forced to think about him already. It was some sort of sick joke that they were both back for the year, and a cosmic one that they were rooming together. Draco’d thought that applying for a dorm mate instead of one of the single rooms available to eighth years would yield him Blaise and the bit of added protection that came from doubling up. But he’d never considered Potter might apply for a dorm mate as well. Stupid Potter and his stupid towel and his stupid dirty feet.

Idling on Potter’s manner for a minute, Draco was considering how best to show Potter how to conduct himself in public showers (without actually talking to him), when a bright shot of light and Pansy’s gasp drew his attention. He sat up again to find her and Blaise staring down at the desk, with identical looks of stupefaction on their faces.

“What? What is it?” He slid off the bed and approached the desk, wand raised in case someone had set another boggart in one of the drawers, though no one had done that since the first week of term. They were probably afraid to now, after Potter had stormed out in a rage. He hadn’t done anything, really, other than pin up a signed letter saying he wanted a quiet year. But it couldn't have been fun to have incited a public notice — though, honestly, whomever had set the boggart in the drawer should have known better. Even Draco had been appalled by the amount of dead bodies the boggart had managed to change into before Potter’d spelled it away. Draco just felt fortunate that Potter had seen it first.

So Draco had got the “protection” part right, at least.

“It’s, uh…” Pansy sounded hoarse, and Draco glanced at her. She pointed to his desktop.

“It’s my desk.” It was mostly bare, books still stacked neatly in the corner, homework scrolled up near the top. “What of it?”

Blaise bit his lip, looking back and forth between Pansy and the desk, dry amusement replacing stupefaction. “Told you that you should leave one empty.”

Pansy squeaked, and Draco stepped forward with real concern. “Leave one what empty? What was that light? Pansy, what did you—?

She turned to stare up at him, her mouth working silently. Draco looked at his desk again for a clue to the guilt that was flickering across her face, but it hadn’t changed.

“Draco, I—”

The door opened, and all three of them swung their heads around in a way that probably looked coordinated and made Draco feel decidedly stupid when his eyes landed on the curious tilt to Potter’s head. He really only ever came in if he needed a bit of quiet, or to study or change, frequently choosing to spend half the week in Weasley’s dorm room. Or so he said; he could be sneaking nights with the Weaslette, for all Draco knew.

Potter’s dark eyebrows rose a fraction. “Should I leave?”

“No!” Pansy stood so quickly, the desk chair tipped, its back hitting the ground with a clatter. “No, I’m leaving. I am. I need to figure… I forgot I have an assignment due.”

“Fairly sure you completed that,” Blaise said with a snort. Pansy whipped around to glare at him with an alarming amount of menace. She grabbed his arm and pulled him up.

“Only with your help,” she said through gritted teeth. Blaise rolled his eyes but gave a concessionary nod and Pansy looked at Draco, pasting a smile on her face. “And now he’s helping me fix any mistakes we might have made.”

“Fairly sure it’s a binding—” Blaise said, and Pansy sank her nails so deep into his bicep that Draco winced.

“Shut up. Let’s go.”

Draco watched Pansy hustle Blaise past Potter, slamming the door behind them. There was a beat of silence.

“Is she always like that?” Potter said at last, shrugging off his robes and loosening his ugly red-and-gold striped tie. He undid the button at his collar and Draco turned away.

“Yes,” he said in response to whatever Potter had asked. He felt dizzy; he was probably allergic to Potter. Every time Potter was around lately, some undefined Bothersome Thing filled Draco’s chest. It had been a relief at first, taking up room where Draco had stored Sheer Terror for the previous couple of years, but was now simply… bothersome. He couldn’t figure it out, no matter how much he tried, so he resolved to put it from his mind whenever could.

He wondered briefly what had Pansy so flustered, but Potter was down to his undershirt, so Draco put that out of his mind, too.

It couldn’t possibly be important, anyway.

~ ~ ~

Two

 

“What. Did you. Do.”

Pansy looked up, her smile faltering at the look on Draco’s face. She stared at him for the length of several very long seconds during which Draco invented several more new hexes designed especially for her, before turning and excusing herself from her study group with a murmur. Draco followed her to the relative privacy of the stacks. She took a deep breath and set her shoulders.

“Alright,” Pansy said, in a matter-of-fact way that made Draco grind his teeth, “you obviously got your assignment for the gift exchange. I’m sorry. I was filling yours out as a lark and didn’t expect it to vanish the moment I’d completed it. Why on earth would I?”

“Because this is a wizarding school,” Draco hissed. He balled his shaking hands and turned to check over his shoulder. “And that was a binding form! McGonagall’s just informed me that no, despite not actually signing up, I’m still beholden to participate. Which means I’ve got to buy presents for—”

He broke off, filling his lungs with much-needed air. Pansy gave him an interested, uneasy look.

“Who’d you get?” she asked, arching one brow as though this was a normal conversation rather than one which would result in her skin being covered with boils. Then again, she’d had two weeks to prepare for this, hadn’t she? “I got Lavender Brown, if you can believe that… Though I actually like her form quite a lot.”

“Good for you.” Draco stared at the crumpled parchment in his hand. The damn thing wouldn’t ignite, no matter how many Incendios he threw at it.

“Well, who—” Pansy clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle the giggles she was suddenly gasping with and Draco was going to kill her, kill her. “Not Potter. Oh, my god, Draco, did you get Potter?

“Worse,” Draco snapped, nodding when her laughter choked off. He cut her off before she could ask. “What did you put on my form? What should I expect?”

That uneasy look flickered over her face. It would serve her right if Draco sicked up all over her, it really would.

“Nothing...untrue,” she said, examining the spines of the books. She sighed and cast him a sidelong glance. “I may have mentioned that you’re in need of new ties and that you’re rather… into Muggle studies lately. Cooking and the like. A few more things.”

There was literally no way this day could get worse.

“Do you know what I’m going to get?” Draco asked, numerous horrible gifts flashing through his mind. “Raw meat. Someone is going to wrap up different kinds of raw meat and send it to me every day for nearly two weeks. If I’m lucky.

“As long as it’s not rotting meat, you can probably use it for all the coo—”

“Shut up.

Pansy subsided with a small grimace. Draco stared at her hair until one of her hands fluttered up to pat it nervously.

“What? What are you thinking?” Her voice rose. “What are you going to do to my hair?”

Tilting her an ugly, smug smile — let her stew on that for awhile — Draco shrugged and turned to go. Pansy caught his arm.

“Who did you get?” she whispered, eyes wide and frightened.

“Ronald fucking Weasley,” he said. Pansy’s hand flew to cover her mouth once more, and Draco strode off.

~ ~ ~

Three

 

Draco nibbled on his lip and stared down listlessly at the gifts on his bed. He didn’t want to do it. He really didn’t. He wasn’t going to ask. Absolutely not. Potter wouldn’t welcome the question anyway; he’d gone from formally cordial to decidedly chilly to downright cold in the last few weeks.

Still. Draco excelled at things, that was what he did, whenever he could. And, well— he liked excelling. Liked doing things in a fashion that made people admire his skill, or at least made them unable to mock it. He peeked through his drawn bed curtains to see Potter still hunched over his desk, a strip of skin showing on his lower back where his ratty t-shirt was riding up above his pyjama bottoms. The Bothersome Thing reared its ugly head, making Draco feel wrong-footed.

It’d just be a means to an end, that was all. To ensure Draco was doing the best job he could.

That thought in mind, Draco tentatively cleared his throat. Potter didn’t look up, so Draco did it again, louder. Potter paused.

“Go to Pomfrey if you’ve got a cold coming on,” he said, in a low, growly sort of way. “I don’t want to be kept up all night because you’re too used to having your mum fawn over you when you’ve got the sniffles.”

Fuck.

Draco blinked, drawing back a little. That was… Well, he didn’t know what. More hostile than he was used to lately, even from Potter.

“I don’t,” he finally settled on saying, irritated when Potter’s shoulders stiffened. “But I do need your help, and I’m fairly certain you’re required to give it.”

“Requi—” Potter spun on his chair, a stupid, incredulous expression on his face. His cheeks were splashed with red and his nostrils were flaring, and for a second Draco wavered over taking it back, but fuck Potter if he was going to be like that, after all those things he’d spouted over the summer to the press about forgiveness and moving on.

“Yes,” he said clearly. Potter’s lips parted in an absurd little ‘o’ and Draco yanked his bed curtains open. “You were the lucky person nominated to give advice about my giftee if I had a query, so you have to give it.

“That’s not—” Potter’s jaw knotted, his fingers growing so tense around his quill that it looked like it would snap. “I don’t think I’m required to… Who did you get?”

“Weasley,” Draco said, as though it wasn’t utterly humiliating. “I’ve already done all of the shopping. I just need to know which thing to give him first. Tomorrow. Maybe the order of the first few.”

Potter looked at him blankly for a few more seconds and then gave a short, unamused laugh and stood, heading over to his side. “What’d you get him? Slugs, right? Maybe a single Galleon with some sort of nasty note about filling his vau—”

Draco glared and Potter went silent, looking down at the gifts displayed on his bed. “I would never stoop so low as to get someone slugs, thank you,” Draco said icily. That it might have occurred to him a month prior was of no import. “Which one?”

“I…” Potter swallowed. He shot Draco a distrustful glance and pointed his wand, murmuring a spell under his breath. Nothing happened. “You didn’t do anything to them,” he said, sounding baffled. “They’re just...gifts.”

“Fuck you,” Draco said, as stung as Potter clearly meant for him to be. He schooled his face and reached for his curtain to close it, but Potter gripped it above his hand, holding it open. He slowly shook his head.

“The chess set,” he said, nudging it with his wand. It was a good find, one Draco was particularly proud of. Older sets were more devoted but grew weaker over time, and this one’s base was made of a fine, gleaming black walnut, inlaid with charms for heightened loyalty. Its pieces were rendered in ebony wood, for courage and purpose, and maple, for ambition and achievement. Draco liked it so much, he’d almost decided to keep it for himself.

Potter’s gaze slid to Draco’s face and stayed there, so intent it began an unpleasant riot of Bothersome Things in Draco’s stomach. He let go of the curtain and Draco let his hand fall away too, as Potter said, “Then the Cannons shirt, then the Quidditch tickets.”

“I thought… I thought the scarf first, perhaps. It’s been cold,” Draco said, licking his lips. He looked at the scarf. It was in ghastly tones of yellow and red, but was made of a thick, soft wool.

“Ron’s got a lot of scarves,” Potter said, turning away with a fast flutter of his lashes. He exhaled, his chest dipping under his t-shirt. “His mum makes them.”

“Oh.” Draco studied it, slipping the material through his fingers. Maybe he should think of something different.

“He’ll like it,” Potter added, moving back to the desk. “But he’ll like the chess set better. It takes forever for him to talk the pieces of his set into a new game right after they’ve had one, these days. Give him the scarf after the others, so he doesn’t know what to expect.”

“Right. Thank you,” Draco said, as politely as he could. Potter grunted in reply, so Draco drew his bed hangings shut and Summoned the plain blue paper he’d chosen. He busied himself wrapping the chess set, industriously not hearing or… or caring when Potter huffed, and sighed, and made an aggravated noise, and eventually climbed into bed. So he was startled when Potter broke the silence.

“Didn’t expect you to take part in this,” he said. “Or to… take it seriously, if you did.”

“I got that when you practically fainted after discovering I hadn’t cursed the presents,” Draco said. He cleared his throat. “I wasn’t going to. But then… Well, my form disappeared,” he said. He could so easily blame Pansy — Blaise, too, for that matter — but he’d already given them the silent treatment for two weeks and would much rather be the butt of a private joke than a public one. “Unexpectedly.”

Potter snorted. “Yeah, that surprised me, too. I guess there was a fine print on the bottom that explained how it would Vanish to the Matching process as soon as it was completed.”

“Nothing to be done about it now,” Draco said, feeling rather heavy. He still hated the thought of receiving raw meat — or worse. He Spell-o-taped the last edge of the wrapping paper closed and Summoned a box for the t-shirt. “Have you done your shopping yet?”

The silence was so lengthy Draco thought Potter might have fallen asleep. Then Potter said, “I still need to pick up a few things.”

“Who did you get?” Draco asked. Mostly to stay awake, because he wasn’t curious. At all.

“Someone I don’t really know,” Potter said quietly. He coughed. “A Hufflepuff.”

“Bet they’ll be thrilled to find out Saint Potter is their gifter,” Draco said dryly. Potter hesitated.

“I’m going to sleep. Spell the lights off when you’re done, okay?”

“Fine.”

~ ~ ~

Four

 

“You haven’t given Ron the scarf.”

Draco looked up, his irritation at the interruption receding slightly when he saw Potter standing there. He frowned and set down the parchment. “No, I reassessed.”

“Reassessed?” Potter sat down without an invitation, tossing his book bag onto the table. Wary, Draco leaned back to study him. They’d shared the same classes for years and now shared a dorm room, but the way Potter kept approaching him in public over the last few days was decidedly… odd. And he’d never once come up to Draco in the library, before. He had to have an angle.

“You’re not allowed to let him know it’s me,” Draco said.

“They’ve got magical strictures in place,” Potter said. “I don’t think I’m even able to try without my voice getting Silenced for a week or something.”

“Then by all means, go tell Weasley who his gifter is,” Draco said with a smirk, not a little surprised when Potter snorted. He blinked and picked up his parchment again.

“I wasn’t asking so I could tell. I was just…” Potter stopped, sucking in one cheek. It made the line of his jaw and the high slant of his cheekbone stand out. Draco cleared his throat, irritation flooding back tenfold.

“Leaving?” he suggested, shooting a pointed glance at him before examining the parchment again.

Potter didn’t budge, of course. “How did you reassess? He really will like the scarf, if I gave you the wrong idea.”

Draco sighed and looked around. The library was near-empty this time of day, and the people who were in it weren’t even looking at them. But still Potter sat across from him, as though he didn’t care one way or another whether they were spotted talking. His blasé attitude did absolutely nothing to help the edginess creeping through Draco, the heightened sense of fluster, like he was on display.

“You didn’t,” he said. “I just reorganised the order, alright?”

“Jesus, what’s crawled up your arse?” Potter dug into his bag and pulled out a bottle of pumpkin juice.

Draco narrowed his eyes. “When did we become friends, Potter? Whatever’s up my arse is none of your concern—” he said, then shot to his feet when Potter coughed out a spray of juice all over the table. Shit, now people were looking. Draco drew his wand and dried the orange splotches from the tabletop and Potter’s robes. “What the fuck?”

“Sorry. Sorry,” Potter said. He patted his chin with the sleeve of his robes and fumbled through his bag once more for a tissue to blot his watering eyes with.

“Whatever.” Draco lowered himself into his seat again and scowled at the orange stains on his gift. “Can you just go? I’m busy.”

“With what?” Potter lifted the damp parchment and raised his eyebrows. “Boeuf bourguignon?”

Snatching it back, Draco glared at him. “It was today’s gift.”

“A recipe,” Potter said flatly, looking unimpressed as Draco carefully drew out the liquid from the parchment. “Doesn’t seem like much of one.”

It may not have been, but it was better than his previous gifts: three rather boring silk ties and a Slytherin tie clip. Well. The ties were fine, as such things went, and Draco liked the tie clip quite a bit, actually — it had small emeralds embedded in the coils of the serpent and the S in Slytherin. At least none of them were rotting meat. But those things could have been given to any student, or at least any in his House. The recipe was something he’d been struggling with for nearly two months, and he didn’t appreciate being made to feel defensive about it.

“Well, maybe that’s because it’s not for you,” he said. “Just because your gifter’s given you socks every day—”

“I like socks,” Potter said. Probably because he thought wearing them was a good replacement for washing his feet.

“—doesn’t mean you can pick apart the things I get, even if they’re wrong,” Draco finished. Feeling a little dubious, he added, “It’s supposed to be the thought that counts.”

“Wrong? It looked fine to me,” Potter said, frowning.

“And I suppose you’ve got the recipe for boeuf bourguignon memorised,” Draco muttered, folding it up.

“Well, not… memorised.” He shrugged, gaze shifting away.

“What?”

“It’s just.” Potter hesitated. “It looked really familiar. I’ve probably made it before,” he said. He tapped his temple with two fingers. “I used to cook a lot, all the time really, before…” A look of fleeting discomfort crossed his face. “Before school. How does it look wrong?”

“It’s different from what’s in the Muggle Studies cookbook,” Draco said, uneasy when Potter seemed content to wait for an answer. Potter laughed — laughed! — and stood, shoving his pumpkin juice back in his bag.

“The Muggle Studies cookbook was written in 1920, Malfoy. The one you have there is famous and it works like a charm,” he said, then paused. “I think. Hey, I’ve got to get going, but the classroom kitchen is free this afternoon. You should try it.”

“I should what?” Draco asked. But Potter merely hooked the strap of his bag over his shoulder and gave him an easy smile before walking off, as though their interactions were totally normal, when they were in fact spiralling toward the absurd — three days prior, Potter had asked him which charities he should donate to for the holidays, Hey, Malfoy, you know a lot about public organisations, right?, leading to an hour-long discussion on the merits of different wizarding charities. The day after that he’d wanted Draco’s opinion on the socks he’d received from his gifter, seeming entirely undisturbed when Draco pointed out how pitiful a gift it was.

And yesterday, he joined Draco for dinner in the near-empty Dining Hall. Ron and Hermione are hanging out, he’d said, with such heavy inflection there was no way Draco could pretend to not know what he meant. He’d even laughed when Draco sarcastically thanked him for the mental image and muttered, The next time you need to make me aware of something like that, I hope it comes with a free Obliviation.

So Draco wasn’t going to take his suggestion. Potter was up to something bigger than helping him with with cooking. It didn’t matter how curious he was — he was done dancing to Potter’s tune.

*

“It smells good in here,” Potter said, and Draco jumped and spun on his foot. Dammit. Draco had even taken the precaution of Disillusioning himself before sneaking in.

Potter took another step, nose raised in the air. He’d obviously been outdoors; his cheeks and nose were pink, and his hair was windswept and scruffier than ever. He gave Draco a small, approving smile. “Julia would be proud.”

“Ah, yes,” Draco said, recovering. He checked the simmer on his sauce and re-covered the pot for something to do with his hands, his arms suddenly gangly and awkward at his sides. “My whole life, I’ve wanted to impress Julia. It truly is a Christmas miracle.”

“Happy Christmas, then.” Potter said with a small snort. He strode into the kitchen, gaze moving over Draco’s work station. It was a mess — but then, so was Potter’s side of their dorm more often than not. Draco pulled his wand and began cleaning up.

“What are you doing here?”

“Wanted to see if you were actually using the kitchen,” Potter said, squatting briefly in front of the oven to peer inside. He nodded to himself and rose. “You like cooking, then?”

“Maybe. So?”

Potter shrugged, so unperturbed by Draco’s tone, Draco almost growled. “So nothing.” He propped himself on his elbows on the edge of the counter, crossing his legs at the ankle, and studied Draco silently for a few minutes as Draco Summoned a towel and charmed it to finish wiping down his station. “It was a good present for you, then.”

“And again I say, so?” Draco swiped away a strand of hair sticking to his forehead, off balance. The timer still had another twenty minutes on it and he couldn’t really leave, so he moved his robes and jumper from the stool they were resting on and sat, crossing his arms over his chest. Potter didn’t say anything and Draco huffed. “Who’s Julia?”

“She came up with the recipe,” Potter murmured, still gazing at him in that odd, contemplative way. He shook his head, straightening his glasses. “My aunt had all her books.”

“Oh.” Draco wasn’t really sure how to respond. There had been a long exposé in the Prophet over the summer, detailing Potter’s home life, and if any of it was true, it might not be the best subject to question him about if Draco had any hopes to keep things civil. “That’s what you meant, then,” he decided on saying. Innocuous enough. “About having made the recipe before.”

Potter looked a little startled, but nodded again after a beat. “Yeah. But it smells better in here than it ever did when she made it.”

“She was a bad cook?”

“No, just a bad person,” Potter said. Draco swallowed and got up to check the sauce again, exhaling slowly when Potter said, “Leave it alone, it smells right.”

“Well, pardon me for not having worked as a house—”

“Elf?” Potter asked when Draco cut himself off, cheeks burning. He stared blindly at the recipe once more, the parchment now spotted with beef broth and olive oil. Potter sounded wry. “Close enough, I guess. How did you reorganise your gifts for Ron?”

“I thought—” Draco shrugged, face still too hot for him to turn around. “I thought, lead up to the best one in the middle, then work down.”

“So his expectations don’t keep rising. Huh.”

Really, it was because Draco wasn’t sure Weasley would accept the best one if presented in person, but Potter’s explanation was good enough and didn’t paint him in a bad light, so he shrugged again.

“You’ve been pretty thoughtful about your gifts to Ron,” Potter offered after a moment. “My Hufflepuff likes… stuff for his hair. Potions and gels and things.”

Draco turned to see Potter’s face caught in a grimace. He snickered. “I can see why that would trouble you.”

Potter cleared his throat, smiling in a way that jumbled up Draco’s insides. “What sort of hair stuff do you use?”

The confusing flip in Draco’s stomach vanished, much to his relief, and Draco scowled. “Don’t insult me.”

“I’ve seen them,” Potter said, with an eye-roll so quickly hidden Draco wondered whether or not to call him on it. “Those little bottles on the counter.”

“Are for my teeth.” Draco ran his fingers through his hair, self-conscious. The heat from the oven and stove had made his scalp sweat, and he couldn’t very well take a peek into the metal spatula on the counter to make sure he looked alright.

“Still, you must know.” Potter chewed on his lower lip for a second, then stood and approached him. He had a shifty, calculating glint in his eye that locked up Draco’s muscles. Thank Merlin Potter hadn’t placed Slytherin. “Like, if you were going to suggest something for my hair—”

“I’d suggest shaving it,” Draco said, chest going tight when Potter stopped in front of him, too close. Far too close. Draco could smell the butterbeer on his breath.

“Doesn’t work; my aunt tried once,” Potter said, tipping him an enigmatic sort of grin. He bent his neck, head falling forward, and oh fuck, shook his hair. “It’s, er. Difficult to keep tidy. Kind of thick.”

“Like its owner,” Draco managed. It came out choked, because now he could smell Potter’s hair, too, woodsy floral notes coming from that wild black tangle that Draco’s fingers would surely disappear into if he brought them up, the way light did given enough gravitational force. The Bothersome Thing was practically stamping its feet. Draco hadn’t even known it had feet. He balled his hands up and leaned back further against his work station, his cock, already half-hard, lengthening a little more in his trousers.

“Any advice?” Potter asked, voice muffled. He didn’t lift his head, like he was offering his hair to Draco to touch, and Draco panicked and yelped, “I have potions!”

Potter straightened, blinking. He nudged his glasses up. “What?”

“Potions. I give them to Pansy, for Christmas. You can have them, alright? Just don’t…” He gulped. “Stop bothering me about them.”

“I’m not going to take your Christmas gift meant for someone else,” Potter said. His cheeks had darkened a little, and he huffed a bewildered little, butterbeer-y laugh. “I wouldn’t—”

“Then I’ll get you some, okay?” Draco said, sliding down the work station so Potter wasn’t directly in front of him anymore. He grabbed his robe and shrugged it back on, flicking his wand so the row of buttons up the front closed with a swiftness his shaking hands probably wouldn’t allow for. “But I’m working. I’m—” What was he doing again? He looked around. “I’m cooking. So if you could—”

“Yeah.” Potter stared at him for another moment. He took a step back and nodded, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Yeah. I’ll— I’ll, uh, go. It smells really good, Malfoy. Save me some, if you think of it.”

“Make your own fucking food,” Draco said, drawing what must have been his first breath in minutes when Potter took another step away. He checked Potter’s face, surprised to find him still smiling.

“See you later,” was all Potter said. Draco looked around once more to make sure they were the only two people in the room. They were. Belatedly, he decided to respond.

“Yeah.”

Potter turned then and walked out the door, as abruptly as he’d come in. Draco stared after him, feeling rather blank, until the timer for the oven dinged.

The boeuf bourguignon was only a little burned.

~ ~ ~

Five

With a bleak sort of hope that he could cling to what remained of his dignity (and perhaps sanity), Draco made the attempt to avoid Potter the next day. Unfortunately, everyone’s Saviour seemed to be able to find him anyway. He tracked Draco to the abandoned classroom on the third floor where Draco’d chosen to study, leading Draco to escape through the side door after pretending he didn’t notice Potter’s noisy arrival; suspiciously familiar footsteps followed him to the broom shed when Draco decided to go flying while everyone else was at dinner, and Draco’d been forced to go back into the Great Hall to sit with Blaise. And after he’d eaten, he was only holed up in Pansy’s private room for an hour when a soft knock came at her door.

“Don’t answer that.”

Pansy shook off his hand on her wrist, face twisting with annoyance. “I knew you were hiding in here.”

“I am not,” Draco lied. She filched one of the madelines from the box he’d brought — it was his present for that day, an arrangement of delicacies from his favorite patisserie in Paris — and made way for the door anyway. Draco leaned out of the way as she opened it.

“Hi, uh, Parkinson.”

“Potter,” she said coolly, looking over her shoulder. Draco glared at her and shook his head. “What can I help you with?”

“Well, I had a question about—” Potter stopped as Pansy suddenly swung the door wide to reveal Draco, cross-legged on her bed. Potter’s eyes grew big, and Pansy really was going to lose all her hair if Draco had anything to say about it, no matter the disturbed look on her face. Draco brushed the crumbs from his fingers and forced a smile, and Potter returned it awkwardly. “I had a question about schoolwork.”

“And so you came to Pansy,” Draco deadpanned, looking from one of them to the other when they exchanged a glance, “who you don’t share any classes with.”

“No, but I, ah, was interested in taking one that I’m… not,” Potter said. “And she is.”

“Really? Which one?” Draco took a bite of an almond-raspberry macaron and held Potter’s gaze with as much challenge as he could muster.

“Runes?” Pansy suggested, damn her, voice going bright and perky. She was probably determined to pay him back in advance for her oncoming week of having to wear wigs.

Potter’s shoulders sagged and he released a breath. He nodded. “Yeah, exactly. Ancient Runes. Hermione said you’re doing well in that class.”

“Then why not ask Hermione?” Draco said, swallowing. There was a beat of silence.

“Interhouse unity,” Potter said. Pansy gave a peal of laughter, as fake as any Draco had ever heard from her, and Draco’d had enough. He stood, briskly swiping over the rumples in his trousers and tucking in his shirt with short, jerky movements.

“Look, if you think I don’t realise you’ve been stalking me all day, you’re not nearly as smar— you’re stupider than I thought,” he amended. He looked at Pansy. “And you—”

“God, Malfoy, calm down,” Potter said. His cheeks were blister-red, probably as hot as the back of Draco’s neck, but he took a deep breath and stuffed his hands into his pockets, several expressions flickering over his features before they settled into something vaguely sheepish. “It’s just… You said you’d get me the name of those hair potions, but you’ve been avoiding me all day, so I thought I’d offended you. I was going to ask Parkinson,” he said. “I didn’t know you were here.”

“Oh, the ones Draco gives me every Christmas?” Pansy piped up. Bint. “It’s a blend of Sleekeazy’s and a shampoo from Japan; Draco mixes it himself.” She tilted her head at Potter assessingly. “You should probably use a double-dose.”

Potter’s mouth twitched, and his gaze sought Draco once more. “Sorry for, um, interrupting.”

“No interruption,” Pansy said before Draco could get a word in, likely because she knew that it was one. She slipped on her loafers, and oh no, she was not going to— “In fact, I need to head to an extra study session. Draco knows where I keep my hair potions; you can try them if you like.”

She skirted around Potter in the doorway, then paused and turned with a small frown. “Actually, maybe you should let Draco use them on you, the first time. He had to show me,” she said, flicking her fingers distractedly when Draco and Potter sputtered at the same time. “There’s a whole… process. See you.”

Pansy disappeared down the hallway and left them staring at each other. “Is she always like that?” Potter asked like he had a month prior, and Draco was too stunned to do anything but nod. Potter inhaled. “You, uh, showered with her?”

“No!” Rubbing a hand over his face, Draco reached for a measure of control. With Pansy there to steal his cookies and ramble on about the new Ravenclaw she had her eye on, he’d almost managed to convince himself that he was imagining everything, or had at least exaggerated it. Yet there Potter stood, and though he would absolutely benefit from hair potions, something had to be up. None of this made any sense, not the least of which was why on earth Potter would be chasing him down all day when they shared a bloody room. And—

“Malfoy?”

“Right,” Draco said, pulling out of his fugue state. “No. I used a basin. But we were fourteen, and—”

“Then you actually… manually…”

Fourteen, Potter,” Draco snapped.

“Oh.” Potter’s shoulders drooped; his chest deflated. He hunched a little and stared at the floor, hands still in his pockets. It was too pathetic a pose for Draco to take seriously, really. And he wasn’t going to, no matter what Potter— “I could really use the help, though.”

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

Fine,” Draco said before he realised that ‘fine’, in this case, meant ‘yes.’ He cleared his throat and stalked over to Pansy’s cabinet, assembling an armful of items, then walked past Potter, leaving him to follow or not. He did, loping after Draco until he caught up to him in the hallway and jogging ahead to open their door for him when they got to their room.

“Should I, um, fill the basin?”

Draco dumped the potions on Potter’s trunk and tossed the bowl to Potter wordlessly, frowning when Potter caught it; it was antique and had been in Pansy’s family for centuries. Potter disappeared into the small, attached loo and Draco Summoned a chair and bedside stand to the middle of the floor, transfiguring the stand taller and adding a scoop to the back of the chair. He set the potion bottles on the table. “Fill a pitcher too,” he said when Potter returned and set the basin, sloshy with water, down on the stand. Potter nodded and vanished back into the bathroom, coming out a few moments later with a pitcher in hand. He passed it over to Draco.

“So, then, should I—”

“What? Sit? Yes,” Draco said. He cast bracing charms around the chair so it wouldn’t fall over. “And tip back.”

“I meant. Well.” Potter swallowed and looked at him a little helplessly, but before Draco could get any satisfaction from snapping at him again, shrugged and tugged off his shirt and jumper, in one clean, smooth motion. He tossed them onto his bed and straightened his glasses, the rangy muscles of his back and shoulders flexing, then sat down, just… bared to the waist, and tan, and more fit than he had a right to be for someone so whipcord lean. He tipped back in his chair dutifully and closed his eyes. “Like this?”

Somehow, Draco pried his tongue out of his throat to say, “Yeah. Uh, further, so you get your head wet. Then… get it wet.”

Potter hiccuped a strange laugh and arched his neck back, lifting his arms to dampen the strands of his hair that floated in the wide, rounded bowl like mysterious sea creatures. He scrubbed his scalp, stomach clenching, biceps and opened thighs clenching, neck so exposed that every part of Draco clenched as well. At length, Potter said, “I can’t get— right under my neck.”

“Try,” Draco said, feeling oddly faint. Damn allergies. He blinked several times until the dizziness faded. Potter, still in that position, had his gaze on him, a steady stare through his thick dark lashes. It felt like a dare. “Fine, okay, lift up a little.”

Draco edged forward and scooped up a handful of warm water, splashing it against the dry curls above Potter’s nape. He patted it to get it appropriately soaked, tensing when Potter leaned back into the cradle of his palm. Taking a deep breath, he allowed it, lowering Potter’s head back into the water, tentative fingers stroking it through Potter’s hair, silky and wet against his hands.

Potter had come to him, that was the only reason he was doing this; he wasn’t someone who would… curry favour by doing manual labour. He wasn’t a lackey; he’d had lackeys. And look what had happened. Lackeys in general were a bad idea, which Potter must know now, having the entire school floating around him begging to do his bidding and complimenting his stupid hair and eyes and scar and arse and magical ability, oh thank you, Harry, you saved us, what sort of sexual service can we extend to you? Draco didn’t beg, and he certainly didn’t want—

“Malfoy, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Draco said. He licked his lips. “So, ah, why the sudden interest in hair potions? For yourself, I mean, not your Hufflepuff.” He nudged Potter’s head up and drew his hands out of Potter’s hair to grab the shampoo bottle, uncapping it and pouring some into his palm. He slid his hands over Potter’s hair.

“Just...curious, I guess,” Potter said, sounding a little drugged. He peeked at Draco and shut his eyes again. Draco resolutely trained his gaze at the wall above his bed and rubbed the shampoo through Potter’s hair, building the foam. Potter sighed. “‘ve always had trouble with… You know, styling it.”

“Yeah, well.” His voice came out hoarse. “Might be good if one of you had halfway decent hair when you and the Weaslette go out. Of course, she could always just change the colour on—”

Potter caught his wrist. Draco faltered and looked down. “Don’t,” Potter said.

“Right.” Draco gulped. “Yeah.” Potter narrowed his eyes for a beat. He let go of Draco’s wrist and Draco resumed working the shampoo through his hair.

“Besides, we don’t go together anymore. Ginny and me,” Potter said quietly. “You didn’t know?”

“Close your eyes.” Draco felt a bit like he’d swallowed a puking pastille — how on earth was he meant to have known that? He wetted his hands in the basin and lifted the pitcher, pouring the water over Potter’s head, a smooth cascade of bubbles streaming into the basin as he swiped the rest of the shampoo out with his free hand. Potter obeyed his silent directives, tilting his head this way and that so Draco could get the back of his neck, the stubborn cowlick at his crown, the soft hair at his temples and the warm, hidden creases behind his ears. Steadier when Potter’s hair was damp and shining, Draco grabbed a towel and blotted at it gently. “Of course I knew. Everyone knows.”

“That’s what I thought,” Potter said. Draco picked up the little bottle of Sleekeazy mix and shook out a little onto his fingers. Rubbed his hands together.

“This will need to sit for a few minutes before conditioning,” he said. Potter dragged the towel off his head. His glasses were flecked with water, but his eyes were clear and bright. Draco took a small step back and bent over Potter’s head, sliding his fingers through Potter’s hair and twisting the strands. It was so unruly, so dark, Draco couldn’t look away from the contrast of his hands, tuffs of Potter’s hair sticking up between his long, pale fingers. Potter made a small noise and wrapped a hand around Draco’s wrist again. Draco stopped and looked down at his face; he hadn’t realised they were so close.

“Malfoy,” Potter said. His gaze dipped down Draco’s body, stilling for what felt like a long time right over Draco’s cock — hard as hell and pressed snug to his hip, everything Draco’d been working overtime to ignore — before travelling back up. His lips parted, his grip tightening around Draco’s wrist.

And Draco was mad, wasn’t he, for not letting go of Potter’s hair and fleeing immediately, for having agreed to this in the first place, mad for closing the gap between them and covering Potter’s mouth with his own. It felt like someone else doing it, taking control of his motor functions, the Bothersome Thing Imperiusing him from within. But Potter’s hand clamped down around his wrist, grinding the bones, and he surged out of his chair before Draco could yank away, their mouths still touching, so Draco distantly supposed Potter was mad or possessed, too. Because Potter was kissing him back, and fuck, slanting his head to the side and groaning, and walking Draco backward and that was it, they were both in the Janus Thickey ward of St. Mungo’s, sharing some sort of fevered dream after having been cursed, that was the only explanation.

Draco was surprised to find madness so overwhelmingly good; for years, he’d assumed it must be unpleasant, but no, it was really quite nice. And since he’d clearly gone ‘round the bend and been committed, since he and Potter were both fevered and dreaming and cursed, he opened his mouth wider to the press of Potter’s tongue, pulling Potter down on top of him when they got to the bed. Potter groaned again, loosening his hold on Draco’s wrist and sliding up his hand to hold his jaw, tongue rubbing against his, lips hot and wet against Draco’s own. Draco took a fistful of Potter’s hair and tugged, not so hard that he’d pull away, but hard enough to wrench another groan from Potter’s throat, and he liked the sound so much he did it once more, even harder. Potter bit Draco’s lower lip, as if in warning, and sucked it between his teeth before crashing his mouth against Draco’s once more.

The Bothersome Thing wasn’t so bothered now, and was actually more of a Delighted Thing, but some analytical portion of Draco’s mind that had disengaged for safety observed that Potter seemed to like it when he bit at him, liked a bit of the rough stuff. Draco yanked his fingers out of the wet tangles of Potter’s hair and curled them against his back, digging them in, his free hand coming up to cup Potter’s throat, a warning of his own. He wrapped his fingers around one side of it, thumb resting over Potter’s pulse point. Potter made a strangled noise, giant baby, and kneed his way between Draco’s thighs, which spread for him with disconcerting ease. And— And— And—

“Are you hard?” Draco blurted, twisting his mouth away from Potter’s. He was, he definitely was, Potter’s cock was fucking rigid, pressed against the inside of Draco’s thigh, but it was so… unfathomable, Draco couldn’t quite process it. He tensed his thigh experimentally and pushed up against Potter. Yes, that was certainly a hard-on. A very hard hard-on. Potter huffed out a long breath and rolled his hips.

“Tends to happen. And anyway, so are you,” he said, sounding irritated and pushing his hipbone against Draco’s cock. Just as delighted as Draco was with everything, it throbbed out a little precome — then a little more, dampening the inside of Draco’s pants.

“Fuck. Yes,” Draco said, or possibly moaned, dragging Potter down into another hot, slick kiss. Potter’s chest heaved against him and Draco investigated it as they snogged, catching one of Potter’s nipples between two knuckles and tweaking it, losing his breath when Potter gasped out of their kiss and buried his face against Draco’s neck to bite and suck along the bend of it. Every graze of his teeth and pull of his lips sent a shock of pleasure straight to Draco’s cock, and really, he should probably just take off his pants soon; spunk was so hard to spell out of material. “My boxers are expensive,” he explained.

“Really?” Potter said, not seeming that interested. His eyes were no longer green so much as black, and his face was splotchy-pink and distracted. He bit at Draco’s jaw and kissed his mouth again, palms rubbing up and down his sides, and Draco wondered what had happened to his shirt, because it had gone and opened all the buttons — even the cuffs were loose, his sleeves riding up.

“Right,” Draco said a while later when Potter pulled away to let him draw in a breath. He was still moving against Draco, still hard as a rock, but he didn’t seem in any hurry to pay attention to the importance of Draco’s silk underwear. Draco wrapped one of his legs around Potter’s hip, closing his eyes and matching him stroke for slow stroke. “What are we doing?”

“Snogging,” Potter said, sounding drugged again. Maybe he was. Maybe they both were. Pansy had probably put some sort of aphrodisiac in the shampoo, which had led to the madness and cursing and… Draco forgot what else. Everything. He bit at Potter’s lips, licked over Potter’s tongue, shuddering when Potter cupped his arse.

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

They kissed for a long time, so long that Draco’s lips started feeling swollen and chafed, the skin around his mouth over-sensitive from the stubble on Potter’s cheeks. His neck felt bruised and his cock ached, but he didn’t want to stop, didn’t even want to come, everything felt so good, Potter massaging his arse and sliding over him, Potter whimpering softly when Draco twisted to work his way down his neck. He was going to, of course, and likely soon; he’d never been the sort who was too shy to get his trousers open and have a quick one off the wrist. And the bulge of Potter’s prick was feeling decidedly harder, fuller, rubbing over his thigh with more intent. Potter stroked the back of his hand over the line of hair on Draco’s stomach, then reached up to grasp his arms, pressing them into the mattress as he started speeding up.

Uhh, fuck,” Draco mumbled, wriggling into the sensation, the angle of Potter’s hip working over his own cock. “That’s— that’s good, I’m going to come.”

“Yeah,” Potter said breathlessly — and froze. Draco opened his eyes to see Potter’s face when he came, but… Potter wasn’t coming, and his face was frozen too, gaze trained on something to the side.

Draco looked over, bewildered. He jerked his arm from Potter’s grip, hiding the faded coils of his Mark against his side. “I—”

Potter shook his head, expression still caught somewhere between lust and dismay. “Malfoy...” He swallowed a few times, then glanced down between them, brow knitting as he pushed his hip against Draco’s groin again. “Did you—?”

“Of course not,” Draco said, pushing him away. Potter rose to his knees, hair dry and more disheveled than ever, face pink. His cock wasn’t fully hard anymore, either. The room suddenly felt too bright, and Draco was suddenly too bare. “Did you?

Potter frowned and opened his mouth, then shot off the bed as several excited bangs issued from the door.

“Harry!” Weasley shouted, smacking the door a few more times. “Are you in there?”

Potter grabbed his shirt and and jumper, cursing under his breath when they tangled. “Just a second!”

“You’ve got to see what my gifter got me! I’m waiting for you to open it, get out here!”

“I’m c— Yeah, just a second!” Potter flicked Draco an indecipherable look, pulling his shirt and jumper on. He checked himself in the mirror and Summoned a scarf to wrap around the purpling blotches on his neck, then glanced at Draco again and pulled open the door, stepping out and closing it behind himself without another word. Draco heard Weasley’s rambling grow quieter as they made their way down the hall.

He waited, then picked up his wand to ward the door as he packed a bag.

~ ~ ~

Six, Seven

 

Knocks sounded periodically throughout the day. Draco ignored them. With the help of a few eager-to-please elves, he was determined not to leave Pansy’s room until study sessions Monday — and maybe not even then; term was done, after all, and it wasn’t required he attend anything. Anyhow, Pansy had taken one look at his face and volunteered to bunk with her “new friend” from Ravenclaw who’d offered to “share notes,” though it didn’t escape Draco’s notice that she didn’t throw any pyjamas into the parcel she got together of her things. He ignored that, too.

Harder to ignore was the note slipped under the door on Saturday evening like a whisper, after another round of knocking. He considered burning it, tried not paying it any mind, but the folded scrap of parchment just sat there on the floor, accusingly, until it eventually made its way into his hand.

Ron loves his new Nimbus 3000. And the broom kit.

Meet me at the Astronomy Tower at eleven, if you’ll be staying with Parkinson again tonight.

HP

At eleven, Draco stole down the corridor to his room and gathered a few items he’d forgotten in his haste. Another note slid under Pansy’s door the following morning.

What’s going on?

Draco ground his teeth together and burned it. He hadn’t wanted to give Potter the time of day, let alone take his advice on cooking or wash his fucking hair. He hadn’t wanted to be kissed within an inch of his life, just to have to see that— that look on Potter’s face. Potter wasn’t one to be giving looks; he wasn’t so innocent in the long run, was he? Draco could attest to that much, whether or not anyone believed it. And whether Potter was just experimenting or playing the long-game for some sort of nasty prank, Draco wanted none of it. He had half a mind to spend the holidays in the shadowed, vacant Manor, rather than be subjected to any more of Potter’s nonsense.

“You’re ridiculous,” Pansy informed him upon returning Sunday night. Irritated, he cast a Healing charm over the marks dappling her fair throat. What was with everyone lately?

“I suppose you and the Ravenclaw ran out of notes to exchange,” he said, rolling over. She huffed and stomped over to the bed, kicking him in the shin as she crawled under the covers. He tried not to feel comforted by it.

“You’re not spending Christmas at the Manor, idiot. Stay here if you’ve got to, you know you always can,” she said, scrunching her upturned nose at him in a scowl he didn’t believe for one second, “but you’re not going back there. And please at least call the Ravenclaw Abigail. I think she’s earned that.”

“Well, my mother isn’t returning until Easter, so—”

“He asked me about you,” Pansy said. She poked him in the ribs and Draco sighed, stretching out his arm over her pillow. Pansy rested her head on it and curled up against him, wrapping one arm around his midsection, and it really was tiresome of her to make him feel soothed when he didn’t want to, but at least she was wearing pyjamas, and... this is what they’d always done. What they’d had to do far too often the past two years when things got bad. He supposed she couldn’t really help it.

“I don’t want to know.” Draco frowned at the ceiling when her nails dug into his side. “What’d he ask?”

Pansy paused with a little blink. “If you were okay,” she said with a sniff. “I said you were fine and told him you were none of his business, anyway.”

“Good.”

“But you’re not. Fine, I mean.” She took a breath, and Draco could feel the weight of her gaze on his cheek. He closed his eyes. “When you came to my room—”

“I’m fine.

Pansy fell silent, still looking at him. Their parents had come to the table multiple times over the years to engage in talks about their future. For awhile, it had seemed the thing, an obvious choice to make. It still did, sometimes, though they’d probably have to use Muggle technology to have any offspring; Draco learned at thirteen that even kissing her made his bollocks virtually disappear inside his body. It hadn’t been pleasant. But this was. And they were of-age, and he trusted her, and Pansy’d never once looked at him like...

“Do you ever think about—?”

“No,” Pansy said instantly. Draco peeked at her and her lips curled up in an impish little grin. Her voice took on an airy quality. “The extra money would be nice, of course, and you do look good on my arm, but once I come into my own vaults, I plan on making the newspapers with my scandalous behaviour on a weekly basis by shagging every beautiful woman I can find. It’d be harder to do if I had a husband to worry about.”

“I wouldn’t mind.”

“And when I do get married, it won’t be until I’m thirty at least,” Pansy continued, disregarding that, “and it’ll be to someone who can’t get enough of me.”

“I guess that really does rule me out, then,” Draco said, snorting when Pansy pinched him.

“I hate you,” she said.

Draco wrapped an arm around her shoulders and let her tuck her head against his shoulder. “I hate you, too.”

“You can’t hide in here forever.”

“I’m not.”

Pansy’s silence spoke volumes, but was better than anything she could have actually said. She snuggled into him and, soon enough, was snoring quietly. Draco closed his eyes, better able to accept her comfort when she was fast asleep.

~ ~ ~

Eight

Pansy was gone in the morning when he woke up, but she left a note on the dented pillow next to his that said, Seriously, Draco. Draco Vanished it with a sigh and killed a few hours not studying the book in front of him, but being cooped up reminded him too much of his month-long house-arrest over summer, so when he was sure everyone from the eighth year dorms had either vacated to lunch or gone out, he ventured to the showers to clean up.

Accomplishing that quickly, he grabbed his dressing gown from the hook outside the stall and wrapped it around himself before stepping out… only to come face-to-face with Potter, who looked as surprised as Draco felt.

He was wearing nothing but a towel. Again.

“Excuse me,” Draco said stiffly, when Potter stood there gaping. He turned, conscious of his feet on the wet tile, of his nudity under his dressing gown. Potter grabbed his elbow and Draco raised his chin, hardening his voice. “Excuse me.”

Excuse you?” Potter burst out, a vein bulging in his temple, his lax expression of astonishment twisting into one of incredulity. Draco shook him off, but Potter grabbed him again, tighter. “You ditched me the other night, wouldn’t meet up with me, and won’t answer my notes. What the bloody hell is going on?”

Draco heard a high, disbelieving laugh echo off the tiles and, disturbed, realised that it came from him. He slipped his wand from the pocket of his robes and aimed it under Potter’s chin, the tip stabbing into his skin. Potter stilled, chin coming up when Draco added pressure.

“Go ahead, Malfoy,” Potter said in a low voice. His eyes were slitted, mere strips of green and black, his mouth a hard line, and Draco felt the flood of toxic magic accumulate in his wrist and fingertips, barely leashed and just waiting for him to say the right word.

“That’s what you think of me, isn’t it?” is what came out instead. “You think I—” His voice cracked.

Potter stared at him, jaw working, and Draco barely heard his muttered, “Expelliarmus,” but found himself unsurprised when his wand flew out of his hand into Potter’s ready grip. Potter threw it aside, face twisting into a scowl even as he fisted a hand in Draco’s dressing gown and pulled him forward, slamming his mouth against Draco’s. And Draco kissed him back again, unable not to even though it hurt — because he wasn’t mad, after all, but this was, it was, that Potter might really want him.

“I don’t,” Potter said, pulling away. His lips were red and gleamed with saliva. “But maybe we shouldn’t— We’re in—”

“Fuck you,” Draco spat, kissing him once more in a way entirely different than they had on his bed, no longer dreamy and lost in it, but boiling with all the resentment and rage he’d had festering in him for days and possibly years, something hungry inside him blotting out all of his senses. Potter made a sound of complaint and tilted his head, opening his mouth for Draco’s tongue and fumbling open the tie of Draco’s robe to slide his hands inside. Draco stumbled into him, gasping when he came into contact with the terrycloth of Potter’s towel, hips jerking helplessly to trap his swollen prick between them, and Potter wrenched his head back once more. Fuck Potter and whatever game he was playing, fuck him for trying to wrangle out of it again.

“Fuck me,” Draco said.

Malfoy." Potter breathed hard, hands roving up and down Draco’s sides. “We don’t have time,” he said at last, gaze rising from Draco’s cock to his face. But he swallowed hard. He pulled his wand from where it was tucked into his towel at his hip and pointed it at the doors, locking them with a crooked little smile. “So no one sees us,” he explained. Draco yanked him back in for another punishing kiss, getting Potter’s towel off and casting it to the floor. His cock throbbed against the heat of Potter’s skin, Potter’s erection fiercely hard against Draco’s pelvic bone. Potter dug violent fingers into Draco’s arms, breath hitching as he rubbed against Draco, twisting his hips so their pricks coasted off each other. Draco hissed, pulling Potter’s upper lip into his mouth for a final, biting suck, then turned in his arms, rucking up his robe and canting his hips back to meet Potter’s cock with his bare arse.

“Malfoy— You. We should— We’re in the showers,” Potter said hoarsely. But he rutted into Draco anyway, folding his arms around Draco’s waist as though Draco were trying to get away instead of provoke him into sex.

“I don’t know how boring your sex life has been,” Draco said with a sharp inhale, letting his head drop to the side when Potter’s lips came down on his neck, “but I’m fairly sure people can do it anywhere.”

Not that Draco had done; he’d only ever used a bed, and not since a six-month streak with Theo well over two years ago. But Potter either took him at his word or was goaded by the challenge. The damp kiss on Draco’s neck became a hard nip, and Potter slid one hand down to Draco’s hip to pull him back, smearing precome over Draco’s arsecheek as Potter pushed against him again. He walked Draco forward, to a long bench between the showers and the sinks, his breath hot against the back of Draco’s ear.

“Get on your knees.”

Oh fuck, they were really going to—

Draco lurched forward to obey him, but Potter tightened his hold on Draco’s hips, fingertips pressing into the front of each hipbone. He kissed under Draco’s ear and said, “On the ground, chest over the bench. Put your knees out, I want to see.”

The absence of Potter’s touch on his hips made Draco sway forward, adrift. He gracelessly came down onto his knees, scooting closer to the long edge of the bench to kneel over it, spreading his thighs as Potter came down behind him with a grunt. Draco took hold of the sides of the bench, sucking in some air when Potter plucked at the collar of his dressing gown.

“Take this off.”

“No.” Draco held on tighter, knuckles whitening with the viciousness of his grip. He wiggled his hips against the tantalisting stiffness of Potter’s dick and widened his knees against the unforgiving tile of the floor. “Do it.” He looked over his shoulder. “If you know how.”

Potter’s eyes darkened. He flicked Draco a little glance, then pushed the hem of Draco’s robe higher, almost up to his armpits. “We don’t have time,” he said again.

“We’re not making a fucking potion, here,” Draco said, sneer fading in the face of Potter’s smirk. Potter’s wand clattered to the floor, rolling to hide under the bench.

Their hips were moving together now, in a thoughtless little back-and-forth rock that had Draco’s bobbing cock leaking, Potter’s touch slipping down to land on his hips, thumbs pushing into the muscles of his arse. He pressed a single kiss to Draco’s spine and his hips moved away. Draco twisted to object, but Potter wasn’t getting up; no, he was lowering his head and prising Draco’s buttocks open, and then he was sliding his tongue down between Draco’s cheeks and Merlinfuck, Theo had never done that before. Was it even a thing people did?

“Potter,” Draco said, stifled. He jolted forward at another long, firm lick against his crease, head falling forward to knock the bench. Again. Again. And oh, fuck, it was brilliant, Potter’s tongue wet and swirling over his arsehole, but god, it was— it wasn’t— “That’s— don’t, oh god!”

Draco shuddered, clinging to the bench as Potter traced the clench of his rim with rough, sloppy circles. He dipped his back to arch into the sensation, shivering when Potter groaned and pulled him closer, shaking his head for a better fit, sealing his lips around Draco’s hole with a good, strong suck.

“Fuck!” Draco’s prick jerked, hitting his stomach so hard it made a slapping sound. “Unnghh, fuck, oh, god, don’t stop, harder, suck it harder!”

Potter did, eating Draco with a single-mindedness that had the room swooping around him whenever he blinked, blinding flashes of white tile and the lights reflecting off the mirrors at the sinks. Still sucking him, Potter pushed his tongue in and Draco made another weak noise at how easy it went, the way his hole flexed to allow Potter’s tongue inside. He barely felt Potter’s fingers on his arse, could barely hear the mortifying slurps and smacks of Potter’s lips and tongue, even as warmth dripped down to soak his bollocks from where Potter was— was fucking Draco, with his mouth and tongue, instead of his cock. But Draco’s cock was throbbing and he forced one hand off the bench to reach under himself. He stroked his cock, grunting in time with each thrust of Potter’s tongue, and cried out when Potter suddenly pulled away, releasing Draco’s arse cheek to grab his wrist.

“Hey!”

“I do want to fuck you,” Potter muttered, rising. “Oh, god, I really want to.” Draco let his head fall with another thunk — his forehead would undoubtedly sport an oddly-shaped bruise, come morning — but didn’t really have it in him to protest.

“Then—” Draco broke off — and cursed, his words drowned out by the resounding thwacks from an angry student hitting the door. He barely had time to whip his head around before Potter scooped him up around the waist, pausing only once to pick something up before hot-stepping them both toward the one of the showers.

Potter closed the stall door. Locked it and twisted on the taps. The eighth year showers were wide and bright, and they looked at each other as the fabric of Draco’s dressing gown got drenched under the spray. Potter was flushed from hairline to knobbly knee, and his cock most of all. Deep red and thick, it jutted out from the nest of curls at his groin, so hard Draco’s throat grew dry. Potter shifted, circling his cock with two fingers and his thumb. He gave it an absent stroke, foreskin stretching smooth toward the head, but when Draco looked up, his face was almost… shy.

“I told you we didn’t have time,” he murmured. Not remotely close to what Draco would have guessed Potter’d say, not with that bashful expression still spread across Potter’s features, and for his lack of foresight, Draco did the only thing he could think: he gripped Potter around the waist and neck to pull him close. He kissed Potter as whoever was outside broke the ward Potter had set in place and walked in, grumbling; he kept kissing him even when someone banged on their shower door and yelled, “Do that in a fucking room!” before slamming into a different shower. And Potter gasped into Draco’s mouth, his hands squeaking across Draco’s skin. He walked Draco against the wall and pressed his shoulders tight there, nudging Draco’s arse against the wet tile with his hips. He pulled out of the kiss and, panting, gave Draco an inquisitive, intense look.

Draco closed his stance and reached between them, filling his hand with Potter’s prick. It was hot, wet, slippery at the slit, and Draco thought of how Potter might respond if he toyed with him a bit, but then two more students came in, talking loudly above the sound of both showers, and Potter’s exasperated sigh warmed Draco’s cheeks. Draco grinned and fit Potter’s prick between his thighs.

“Oh fuck,” Potter said quietly, one hand flying up to prop himself against the wall. “Oh, god, Malfoy.

His forehead touched Draco’s, and Draco watched Potter’s face as Potter rolled his hips, cock sliding between Draco’s tensed muscles. His lower lip disappeared between his teeth and he looked down between them. Draco did too, unable to see more than hints of Potter’s cock between their stomachs. But he could feel it, smooth and hard between his thighs, rubbing over that spot behind his risen bollocks, sliding against the underside of his arse. Potter shuddered and cupped Draco’s arm.

“M—Maybe… No one’s paying attention to us,” he whispered, gaze seeking Draco’s. His pupils were dilated and Draco liked that so much, he darted a lick over Potter’s parted lips. Potter exhaled. “Maybe we do have time.”

“We don’t,” Draco said flatly. The head of his cock was already aching, caught flat between them. He curled his fingers around Potter’s hip and guided him in a faster rock, closing his eyes and tilting his head back. The admission slipped out of him, softly: “That feels too good.”

Potter whined, and then Draco was being handled, so roughly he had to cut off a moan that slipped out of his throat. His eyes flew back open and Potter pushed a hand between Draco’s thighs, lifting Draco’s right leg and slinging it over his forearm, pinning Draco to the wall.

Oh, Salazar. “Maybe just for a second,” Draco said.

With another low whine, Potter angled his prick, pushing the round head of it to Draco’s sphincter, eyes squinching shut. Even his breath sounded pained, his words fumbling as he pushed gently, just massaging Draco’s hole with his prick. “I don’t— We don’t have any—”

Draco grabbed his hand and spat into it. “Don’t go mental,” he said, jittery with excitement. “Not all of it.”

“Oh, god.” Potter’s forehead fell to Draco’s collarbone, and he reached down between them, knuckles coasting over Draco’s arse as he slicked the head of his cock. “No, just—” He pushed and the muscles of Draco’s rim gave, wet enough now from Potter’s saliva and his own to ease the way. Potter gasped and pushed a little harder. “—just a little bit,” he said.

And, fuck, Potter’s ‘little bit’ felt like quite a lot. Draco’s rim stretched until the flare of Potter’s cockhead popped in, and there Potter stayed, breath laboured. Draco felt Potter’s hand flex around his cock, and then Potter wound his fist around Draco’s. He gave it a long, slow pull.

Yes,” Draco hissed, arching into Potter’s hand as best he could without unseating Potter’s cock from his arse. Potter pumped his hips a little, dragging his prick almost all the way out and pushing back in as he continued wanking Draco in that lazy, distracted way. True to his word, he kept his thrusts shallow, and what Draco’d meant as something that might drive Potter crazy, in no time was almost unbearable, the constant flex of his arsehole around the crown of Potter’s cock, all of his nerves there stimulated over and over and over. He couldn’t catch his breath, mind gone blank other than the rising need to come.

Then Potter’s hips stuttered. He tossed his head back, body shaking against Draco’s, and came with a soft, stifled cry, hand falling away to grip Draco’s hip. Draco felt the gush of Potter’s spunk inside him, felt the throb of his climax, slippery and hot. He squirmed, mad with wanting more of Potter, and deeper, and god, what was he, stupid, to have set such a limit?

“Potter,” he choked out, trying to gain some traction. But Potter still had his leg, still had him pinned, and his face was twisted up with so much pleasure that the Delighted Thing made way in Draco’s chest to store it like a Muggle snapshot, secreted away. He wiggled a hand between them to grasp his cock, but Potter knocked it aside. “I need—”

Potter shook his head, relaxed face creasing with a smile. Still breathing heavily, he pried himself off Draco — and thank Merlin, he was surprisingly heavy for someone so lean — and slid to his knees.

Draco gulped and opened his mouth — to beg or maybe object, because it wasn’t possible, was it? — but Potter didn’t give him time; he simply parted his lips and took Draco’s cock into his mouth. It was wet and hot, and the suction was just right, and Draco cursed, staring down at the lopsided way Potter’s glasses were shoved up to his hairline, the way his lashes fluttered and his green eyes opened and peered up. Draco tensed, shocks coursing through his body as he came, one of his hands coming up to hold Potter’s nape. And Potter swallowed, rumbling a moan that vibrated around the head of Draco’s prick. Draco gritted his teeth, trembling all over, and watched the seep of his own spunk leak out the sides of Potter’s mouth.

Potter coughed, sputtered a little, and pulled back against Draco’s hold on his neck. But he drew off slowly, tongue working a lazy swish, swish, swish, over the underside of Draco’s cock, and when he reached the tip, his lips turned up at the corners and he licked the slit, wringing another cry from Draco’s throat. He pulled off and looked at Draco.

Draco looked at him back.

It wasn’t often he had literally no idea what to do or say.

After a moment, Potter tipped him a little smile. He climbed to his feet and turned his face up to the spray of the shower. The whole stall was hot with steam, but Draco’s dressing gown was soaked and the occasional splatter of water from Potter washing off made him shiver with chill. He wrapped the dressing gown tighter around him.

“I got your wand,” Potter said quietly, still not looking at him. He turned around and dipped his hair under the blast from the shower nozzle to soak it. He reached up and ran his hands through it a few times, unconcerned that he was just standing there, naked, his cock thick and flushed though it was softening, his bollocks pink and smattered with dark hair. Potter opened his eyes and shot Draco a questioning look through his dripping glasses, then pointed down.

Oh, yeah. His wand. Draco picked it up and cleared his throat.

“Where’s yours?”

“Think it rolled under the bench,” Potter murmured. “No one will know it’s us in here if we time it right.”

Draco ran that through his head. He pasted on a smile. “I suppose you could always just Obliviate them.”

A wrinkle formed between Potter’s brows. He started washing under his arms, hand moving in brisk circles over the hair there. Draco averted his eyes; for some reason, that felt too intimate.

He stepped around Potter to the door of the stall and cast a drying charm over himself. His thighs and arse were more than a little sticky and he could use another shower, if he was honest, but not with Potter there. A cleaning charm would get him through, once he made it out alive.

“I don’t hear anyone talking,” he said. “I’m going to go.”

“Come back to our room tonight,” Potter said. “We should talk.”

Draco chanced a smirk over his shoulder, keeping his eyes leveled on Potter’s face. “Talk?”

“Well.” Potter coughed into his hand, mouth twitching. He said, “Can you toss me my wand and a towel when you leave?”

Draco opened the stall and peeked out. The showers were in use and the rest of the bathroom was empty. He turned back to Potter and grinned.

“No,” he said, and got the hell out of there.

~ ~ ~

Eight, Nine, Ten

Draco went back to their room, but they didn’t talk much. Barely at all, in fact. It was sort of difficult to, when someone was shoving their tongue into your mouth — which Potter was still willing to do, even after having got stuck in the shower for almost an hour until the bathroom was clear enough for him to collect his things.

They didn’t fuck, either, though Draco half expected Potter to immediately climb on top of him. More than half-craved it. But Potter only stared at him for several seconds, mouth working silently, before apparently deciding talking wasn’t as important as he thought. Then he strode to Draco and kissed him, and fucking, Draco supposed, got lost in the mix as they found other things to do instead: taking turns thrusting between each other’s tightened thighs, and Potter wanking them both at once in his fist. At one point, Draco was pretty sure he’d come just from going onto his stomach and rutting against Potter’s duvet as he’d sucked Potter off. It was a little hard to be sure what was a memory and what was a dream at that point, between how little sleep he was getting and the way Potter seemed to enjoy turning him into a boneless pile of Slytherin with round after round of snogging.

“What’s up with the constant kissing?” Draco asked around midnight when Potter woke him up by sucking on his bollocks and rose to kiss and straddle him, unbuttoning Draco’s nightshirt so he could press their cocks together between their bodies.

“I like it,” Potter said, starting to move.

Draco did too, though he never had before. Theo had been an awful kisser, so Draco’d decisively put his inclination toward it in the bin under the threat of no more sex. He couldn’t even think about kissing Pansy for fear of losing his erection. But kissing Potter was entirely different, urgent and hot, and at least it most often ended in an orgasm — though a few times, Draco got the impression that Potter was kissing him just for the sake of it. Worryingly, he wondered if that might not be the case for himself, too. That recurring thought became useful incentive on a few occasions to roll on top of Potter and take control, grinding his prick against Potter’s until Potter was gasping into his mouth and there was a warm, sticky mess between them.

What little conversation they did have was usually in those moments afterward, both of them still breathing too fast, sweat cooling on their skin. They were usually about things that didn’t matter. Like:

“What have you got, the last few days?”

“Mm. Got some novels I’d been wanting. And a jumper.”

“No more socks?”

“The jumper came with matching ones. You?”

“A book of recipes with magical notes in the margins, a potion’s kit—” Draco left out how the kit included silver-tipped knives, feeling a bit bad for Potter’s socks, “—and a new subscription to Quidditch monthly,” he said. Which led to a discussion about the current season, which led to an argument about the current season, which somehow led to more kissing and another orgasm.

And:

“So you decided you like blokes over the summer.”

“Is that a question?”

It was a dozen of them, really. Draco said, “Been with a lot of them, then?”

“Is that a compliment?” Potter grinned and and stretched. He settled onto his side and shook his head. “I didn’t hear you complaining.”

“My mouth was a bit full. I’ll make sure to pull off next time I’m magnanimous enough to do it.”

Potter snorted. “So magnanimous, I’m going to need new bedclothes,” he said in a teasing way that had Draco’s heartbeat picking back up. He paused.

“Wait, then… Before the showers, had you never…?” Draco’s voice died.

“Not that.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means what it means,” Potter said cryptically, stopping further questions with a long, open-mouthed kiss.

And:

“Ron really does love his broom. We’re supposed to have a bit of a game after dinner.”

“Why you think I care is beyond me,” Draco said, “unless you’re comparing the length of time you’ll be playing with how long it’s taking you to put your mouth back on my dick,” a rush from the Delighted Thing in his chest at Potter’s laugh sweeping through him.

“You just came,” Potter said, still laughing. Draco rolled his eyes and bit down on his grin. He tried to look severe as Potter grasped his soft prick and smoothed his foreskin back, thumbing lightly over the sensitive head. But Draco had an Advanced Transfig study group in twenty minutes, and then there was dinner and Potter’s game, so he hoped his confidence that he could get hard one more time wasn’t unwarranted.

“What’s your point?”

“I was about to say that I’m going to stay in Ron’s room tonight. We’re heading out in the morning, early,” Potter murmured when his laughter stopped. He pressed a damp kiss to Draco’s collarbone, lips drifting downward as he parted Draco’s shirt again. Licking over Draco’s nipple, he said, “We’ve got plans to spend Christmas Eve with the Weasleys, and we’ve not had much of a chance to talk lately. So I hope you’ll be here tomorrow night when I come back, instead of moving in with Parkinson.”

“Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t,” Draco said, hating how sullen he sounded. He cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow. “Maybe you can think of a way to persuade me.”

“I can think of lots of things,” Potter said. He bit down on Draco’s nipple, rolling it against his tongue, and sucked. Draco shifted his hips, cock twitching. “Keep that in mind.”

“Why the—” Draco swallowed hard as Potter continued down his stomach, dragging his tongue over the strip of hair that led to Draco’s cock. “—ah, sleepover?” His head came up from the pillow. “Were you going to tell him about—?”

Since the showers, Draco wasn’t sure how Potter wanted to play this. Potter had smiled at him the few times they’d crossed paths in public, but that meant nothing, really; they were sharing a dorm room. And even if it had been more, most seventh and eighth years had at least one and, more often, lots of people to warm their beds. There was a lot of casual shagging going on this year — far more than Draco’d ever seen or heard about in the dungeons, where Snape turned a blind eye provided you were discreet enough not to shame your family and had enough common sense to come to him for preventive potions if you had a girlfriend. There was even a sexual safety notice charmed up on the announcement board in the common room instructing students to go to Pomfrey for potions, next to the notice about the on-staff Mind Healers. So it wasn’t as if they were likely to get in trouble if they were found out.

Not with the staff, anyhow.

But beyond a few smiles, Potter was treating him the same whenever they were in front of other people: polite and a little distant, not quite meeting his eye. Draco preferred it that way.

Or so he thought, until Potter said, “God, no. I’d be mad to tell Ron right now,” before sucking Draco’s fattening prick into the slippery heat of his mouth and working his head up and down.

Draco kissed Potter when it was over, tasting his own spunk as he wanked Potter off with long, twisting pulls from root to tip. He had Harry Potter in his bed. He knew what Harry Potter liked in bed, knew that kissing him through a handjob was sure to make him gasp and writhe, knew the way his cock twitched and his thighs tensed when he came. Whether Potter was there out of convenience or because he actually liked Draco shouldn’t matter.

And yet, when Potter’s eyes crinkled around the corners afterward, Draco realised — much to his consternation — that… it sort of did.

*

“Wait, what?”

Draco sighed and crossed his arms. “I said I think I might like—”

“No, I heard you, I just…” Pansy looked around. There were only a few other students in the common room, and they were far on the other side at the study corner, but she cast a Muffliato anyway. Draco pushed his back deeper into the sofa cushions. They weren’t covered in dragonhide so ancient it felt like velvet like the sofas down in Slytherin, but they were comfortable nonetheless.

“You don’t believe me,” he said, smirking. Shocking Pansy never failed to amuse.

“Are you joking?” Pansy repositioned, folding her legs under herself and scooting closer on her knees. She lowered her voice. “I’m just surprised to hear you admit it.”

“What does that mean? You’re shit at Legilimency, don’t try to—” Offended, Draco stared at her when she cut him off, laughing so hard she clutched at her stomach.

“Draco, I don’t need to be good at Legilimency to know you like Potter. I wouldn’t even have to be particularly bright,” she said, wheezing a little. “You can barely go an hour without mentioning him.”

“So? I’ve always complained about Potter.”

Pansy brought her fingers up to her temples, still heaving. “Oh. Ohhh. Oh, Merlin, I’m trying to be a better person here. Ignore it, ignore it.”

Draco scowled. “Because he’d never consider me?”

“I was talking to myself, idiot.” She conjured a square of cloth and blotted at her eyes, composing herself, then looked him squarely and, mouth wobbling, said, “Exactly. You’ve always complained about Potter.”

“Right, so what the fuck— Oh.” Draco stared into the fire. Maybe if he stuck his head into it and called out two different addresses, it could Splinch his brain. “Oh. Shit.”

Pansy tugged on his sleeve, amusement scrubbed from her voice. “Draco?”

Fuck. Every moment, little and big over the last seven years, was reframing itself with hideous results. He stared into the fire some more. Maybe he didn’t need to Splinch himself. Burning alive seemed a fairly reasonable option. “Shit.”

“I’m sorry,” Pansy said. “But it’s just a… crush. An obsession, you know. You’re already sort of becoming friends, aren’t you? You just need some distance. After enough time has passed and we get out of this dreadful place, you’ll meet someone who—”

“We’re shagging.”

“What?” It was the reaction he’d hoped for before, Pansy’s eyes bugging from her face and her mouth agape, her complexion bleeding of all colour. But Draco didn’t want to laugh.

“Sort of.” He shrugged. “We agreed to keep it…” he grimaced, “...quiet. So don’t say anything.”

“But— you can’t be,” Pansy said, “you just can’t.” Draco narrowed his eyes, almost as unsettled by her reaction as he was by the revelation that he might have thought… more of Potter than he’d originally assumed. He remembered just how badly he’d wanted to be Potter’s friend when he introduced himself, how he’d had to send Crabbe and Goyle for something to eat on the train so he wouldn’t cry in front of them. He’d been relatively confident that was a random thing; he’d cried more than he wanted to admit that year, not yet accustomed to not getting everything he wanted anymore. But he’d never been able to justify fancying Potter, which was why he hadn’t let himself think about it much. And that had been going on since... When had Potter escaped the dragon again? Fourth year.

Draco took a deep breath. “Why not?”

“Potter…” Her tone changed abruptly, a little frustrated noise choking the word off. Her lips tightened. “Potter will hurt you.”

“He’s probably too noble to do the things you read in those gothic romances you hide around your room, Pansy.”

“He has hurt you,” she said. Draco swallowed, rubbing over a sudden phantom sting from long-faded slashes on his chest. One of the many things he and Potter avoided talking about by pursuing more enjoyable activities.

“I’m fine now,” he said. “Professor Snape told me Potter didn’t even understand the—”

Pansy’s grip on his sleeve grew tighter. She shook his wrist. “No, I mean, Potter is—” She made that strangled sound again and growled, shaking her head. “Goddammit!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be comforting me?” Draco asked, feeling rather put-out. “Telling me I’m wonderful and that anyone who gets to know me will see that? How undeserving Potter is of my praise?” he suggested.

“None of that’s true,” she said distractedly. Draco gave her a black look, and Pansy huffed a sigh. “I mean—”

“No, you’re right.” He levelled his shoulders; it was true enough. But as long as Potter didn’t realise it — or care — and as long as Draco could compartmentalise, it wasn’t as if they couldn’t keep... doing what they were doing. Perhaps until the school year concluded.

It may just be convenience, but… Potter wanted him. That was something, right?

“Thanks,” Draco said, patting her hand and removing it from his sleeve. He kissed the air next to her cheek quickly. “Good talk. I appreciate it.”

Pansy gawped, her mouth moving like a fish, squeaking noises coming from her throat. Draco frowned and rose. “You really should visit the infirmary. I think you’re losing your voice.”

*

He wasn’t a snoop.

Snooping was a good skill to have, of course — it was useful when necessary — and Draco knew how to, like most Slytherins did. But it wasn’t a common pastime for him or anything. And he’d just never put the skill to practice not expecting to find anything before.

Really, it was all Christmas’s fault.

Well, Christmas and lube.

He knew Potter wasn’t going to be hurting for gifts come Christmas morning, but it didn’t seem quite the thing to not give someone a token something when they were so willing to go on their knees for you, especially when you realised you liked them. Bad manners and all that. So his last-minute trip to Hogsmeade was totally justified, really.

He found the perfect thing right away: a pocket watch and fob that would look brilliant with Auror robes — everyone knew Potter had designs on the job — despite the little Gryffindor lion etched over the gold casing. And it was only a few extra Galleons to get it charmed with some snarky commentary on Potter’s appearance and presumed daily activities rather than the time. But it still felt a little too personal, less, “I’m fine we’re just shagging because your cock is splendid,” and more, “Here, have a look at my heart.”

It was possible the Time to Escape Certain Death and Be a Hero, Time to Get My Hair Washed, and Time to Do Something with My Boner settings were a mistake.

But looking down at the watch did bring to mind something that had a chance of balancing things out enough that Potter wouldn’t wonder too closely why Draco had a watch personalised for him.

Lube.

It wasn’t that Draco disliked conjured lube, exactly, but it did have the tendency to run sticky if you didn’t have enough focus, and right before sex, it was almost sure that your focus would be splintered. And since he was definitely planning on having sex with Potter soon, he thought it might be wise to procure some. All it took was a quick walk down from the jewelry shop to the Disillusioned room in the back of Antiquities and Amusements, and about fifteen Galleons. It was pricier than he expected, but the lube he picked was silky and easily washed away with water or a murmured spell, as well as imbued with properties for heightened sensation, and he considered it well worth the cost.

Which was what led to the not-snooping.

Draco couldn’t exactly wrap the items up with a little bow and expect Potter to understand they weren’t actually gifts, so he figured placing them in strategic places around their room and offhandedly pulling them out over the course of Christmas day was a safe bet. The watch went into his pillowcase.

The lube went under Potter’s mattress. A very basic hiding spot for someone looking to hide things.

Potter really should have put the scroll into his trunk.

So Draco wasn’t really snooping — Potter was just terrible at keeping secrets. And what was Draco supposed to do, find a scroll under Potter’s mattress and not read it?

Such a justification might have felt better, though, if the scroll hadn’t been a gift-exchange form.

Draco’s gift exchange form.

He stared at the parchment, trying to focus against the way the words jumped before he realised his hand was shaking. He dropped it, gaze following its trajectory as it fluttered to Potter’s pillow.

Name: Draco Malfoy

What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
Quidditch, flying in general, reading, collecting magazines of sweaty, half-dressed athletes and pretending I keep them under my bed because I like memorising sports trivia…

It sat there accusingly, filled with Pansy’s bitchy commentary on his life and desires, desires he’d not even let himself think about until recently. And Potter… Potter had read all of it. Draco pressed a hand to the wall, knees weak.

Potter was his gifter. And he’d been a good one. All of the things Draco’d received had been on his list, far more than the practical, thoughtful things he’d credited his gifter with. Almost the entirety of the list had been filled: snogging, hair pulling. Seeing him in the showers again.

He looked up at a tentative knock on the door. He shoved the parchment into Potter’s bedside stand and sat down. “Come in.”

Pansy crept in. She looked miserable, as bad as Draco felt, and handed him a folded note: Talk to Blaise. He’s not under a Silencing spell for knowing what I do. You’ll figure it out based on what he tells you.

Draco felt oddly blank. “I don’t need to.” He reopened Potter’s drawer and waved a hand. “How long have you known?”

“Since I opened the door so he could see you, when he came to my room,” Pansy said. She twisted her hands together. “It wasn’t— That wasn’t me, you know, it was spell-based. I knew right away somehow that I wasn’t supposed to let you know whatever he was going to ask. But he was being decent about the list,” she said plaintively, “getting you such nice things, and then he mentioned the hair potions, and…” She swallowed. “I thought it would be something we’d laugh about later, you shampooing Potter’s hair.”

“Ha ha.”

“I’m so sorry,” Pansy said, sinking down beside him on the bed. “I didn’t think—”

“No, you didn’t,” Draco said. She flinched.

“I talked to McGonagall,” she said. “When the form first Vanished. She told me that whatever was written on them would be under the same strict confidentiality clause and none of the gifters would be allowed to tell anyone about what was on them. Even after the exchange was complete, because it included such personal details. So I just hoped that you’d… That you’d get someone who was decent. And then Potter came to my room to—” She squeaked and put a hand to her throat, whatever she was about to say catching there.

“He could put it up,” Draco pointed out, glancing at it again. He looked away. “He doesn’t need to tell anyone.”

“No, the sign-up forms will Vanish tomorrow,” Pansy said. “As soon as the final gifts are given.”

“Ah.”

“Draco?” Pansy hovered a hand over his knee. Pulled it back. He forced himself to look at her; her face was anxious. “Do you hate me?”

“Of course,” he said, suddenly too tired to even feel angry. She relaxed and attempted a smile.

“I’ll kill him,” she said. “I want you to know that it’s— it’s not okay that he’s—”

“You’ll do no such thing,” he said sharply. “You won’t say a bloody word.

“But—” Pansy paused, gaze flicking over his face. “Oh. Oh, good. You have a plan.”

Draco looked a the parchment one last time. The list was horrible, truly horrible. He never thought he’d resent gifts before. But the last item listed was the worst:

10. For Harry Potter to fall in love with me.

He’d got so many of them, plus ones Pansy hadn’t written down: Potter helping him with the recipe, an autographed edition of Newt Scamander’s biography. Other things.

“No,” Draco said. “Not yet.”

After Pansy left and the buzz in his ears faded, he stared at the scroll some more. Looking it over was akin to being doused in boiling tar, but he couldn’t stop himself. The worst thing was that he couldn’t find fault with any of the items. He always had been overly-concerned with the disastrous state of Potter’s hair, after all; sinking his fingers into it was a singular pleasure he’d quite enjoyed over the last few days. And he’d been unable to stop thinking about seeing Potter in that towel, much to his infuriated embarrassment. All of it was… true.

But his eyes kept catching on number four: To suck off Harry Potter. Sorry, I don't know what's come over me, I must have been in such denial over my own desires for so long, it's all spilling out on parchment now… But seriously, I would love to go on my knees for him.

Mortifyingly true.

And yet— nowhere did it imply a need for the favour returned. Only Potter had returned it, had done it first in fact, and several times since, and Draco didn’t know what the bloody fuck that meant. He thought of Potter’s shaky voice, Potter’s warm breath against his ear. I do want to fuck you. Oh, god, I really want to.

Draco got up from the bed and flattened the scroll back under Potter’s mattress.

The lube went into his own bedside stand.

~ ~ ~

Eleven

Potter didn’t return until after dinner on Christmas Eve, when Draco’s nerves were stretched tight. They’d been studying Entertainment in Muggle Studies before the break, and all day he’d felt like those blokes at the circus who swallowed blades and walked over hot coals. When first reading about them, Draco had wondered if they were tapping into magical abilities, subverting the Statute somehow. But one of them had given an interview, and he’d said, It’s all about getting into the right mindset. Relax through the pain and find your reserves. Not that I’d suggest everyone try it.

Well, Draco was going to.

He sat up and set the book he hadn’t been reading aside when Potter came in. Potter’s cheeks were pink and he was breathing heavily. Snow dotted his hair.

“In a hurry somewhere?” Draco drawled.

“Here,” Potter said. He unwrapped the scarf around his neck — perhaps a Christmas gift; it looked new, knit in a rich burgundy that brought out his eyes — and ruffled the snow from his hair with one gloved hand. “It’s cold outside.”

“I’d gathered as much what with the snow you’re leaving to melt all over our floor.” Draco forced a smile, stomach churning. “Have fun?”

Potter’s mouth twitched indecisively, somewhere between a smile and a frown. “Not… Not really,” he said hesitantly. He skimmed his wand down the buttons of his cloak and stripped it off when they came undone, then pulled off his gloves, tossing the items on top of his trunk. “But it was good. We’re going back day after tomorrow, for lunch.”

“Mm.”

“What are your plans?” Potter asked. “For tomorrow and such?”

“A Floo call with my mother. Dinner in the Great Hall,” Draco said carelessly. He took a deep breath and lowered his voice. “But those aren’t the plans I’ve been thinking about all day.”

Pausing in the act of pulling off his socks, Potter quirked an eyebrow at him. He pulled his jumper and shirt off over his head, a grin creeping over his face and walked over to Draco’s bed, setting one knee at the foot of his mattress. “And what plans would those be?”

“Fucking you,” Draco said bluntly. Potter’s eyes darkened, the fading colour on his cheeks blooming again.

“Yeah,” he said, crawling over Draco on his hands and knees until they were face-to-face. “I’ve been thinking about that, too.” He pressed his mouth to Draco’s, pulling back when he stiffened. “Everything okay?”

“Your lips are cold,” Draco said. He gulped and slid his fingers into Potter’s damp hair, pulling him in for another kiss.

He put more effort into it this time, letting Potter’s tongue into his mouth and stroking it with his own. Potter lowered from his crouch into a straddle and Draco could feel Potter’s cock hardening against his stomach. He pulled Potter’s head back, just enough that their lips were barely touching.

“I meant that I,” he emphasised with a murmur and a brief tug of Potter’s hair, “want to fuck you.

Potter gusted a hot breath against Draco’s mouth. “Okay.”

Draco yanked Potter’s head further back. “Okay?”

“Well, yeah.” He twisted his head in Draco’s grip, wincing pointedly. Draco loosened his hold. “We can do that.”

“We…” Draco exhaled. He’d hoped, maybe— but he hadn’t really been prepared for the possibility of being right. He tried to make the quaver in his voice sound more like a purr. “Of course we can. I’ve been wanting to see how you take it.”

“Probably not as good as you will,” Potter said, voice rough. He flicked the buttons Draco’s nightshirt open one-handed and ducked his head into the crook of Draco’s neck. Kissing him there, he said, “I’d like to do that again, too. Uh, better than last time.” He laughed, warm and muffled against Draco’s skin. “I had to excuse myself for a wank today, I couldn’t stop remembering it.”

Startled into his own laugh, Draco tilted his head to allow Potter more room. Potter bit down on a tendon and he shivered. “I suppose we might be able to arrange—” But no, maybe they wouldn’t, depending on how this went. “Some other time. Not tonight.”

Potter lifted his head, dark brows coming down. He studied Draco for a moment. “We don’t have to.”

“We do,” Draco said. He leaned forward to give Potter a hard kiss, one that Potter, after a beat, responded to with enthusiasm. Draco rolled them over, working Potter’s jeans open. “I want it,” he breathed, feeling the truth of it in his bones. “I just want something different tonight.”

Yes,” Potter groaned when Draco clamped his lips just under his jaw and sucked. He lifted his hips as Draco pulled his jeans down and off, spreading his thighs willingly when Draco nudged them apart with his knee and settled between them. He palmed at Draco’s cock through his pyjama bottoms, tracing the half-hard outline of it. “Are you—?”

“I wanked four times today,” Draco lied smoothly. Merlin to Christ, he’d been getting hard nine times a day since he was thirteen and, what, now he was nervous? He closed his eyes and focused on the sensation of Potter’s fingers. “Just… fuck. Keep doing that.”

Potter hummed, sliding his hand into Draco’s bottoms instead. He folded his fingers around Draco’s cock. Pulled it. Draco lost his breath and fucked into Potter’s touch.

“Like that?” Potter asked with the hint of a smile. He used his free hand to tug Draco’s bottoms down to his thighs and switched the angle, his jerks over Draco’s shaft smoothing out and turning steady. The tip of Draco’s prick rubbed against the soft hairs on Potter’s bollocks. He shuddered.

“Yeah.” Draco licked his lips and made himself focus. “Tell me something.”

“What?”

Draco shook his head, pushing faster into Potter’s hand. “I don’t know,” he choked. “Something other people don’t know. A secret. So I can tell you one.”

“Mmm…” Potter let his mouth be taken in another kiss as he seemed to consider, still stroking Draco with that slow, warm hand. His mouth was warm now too, and Draco couldn’t help kissing him, really; Potter had got him too used to it when he was turned on. Potter broke away. “What do you want to know? I went to some clubs, over the summer,” he whispered. “I— I had all these questions about myself and I met someone. I learned some things from him, but it wasn’t serious. I’ve, um, done this part before.”

Distracted — appropriately, in Draco’s estimation — from the answer he was looking for, he opened his eyes. “Been fucked?”

Potter blushed, fist stilling just over Draco’s cock. He squeezed it lightly. “Yeah. But no one knows about the clubs, not even my friends.” His smirk was both sheepish and smug. “I still can’t believe I got away with it.”

“Me neither,” Draco said. The press had been rabid over the summer, Harry Potter Does Something! and Chosen One Does Something Else! stamped over every cover, every page. “But it’s not as if they’d mind or be shocked if they found out. Your friends. So it’s not really a secret of any real value. Give me a different one.”

“Well.” Potter met his eyes and sighed. “I was still with Gin when I first went. Nothing… happened. A couple of dances that, um, I probably shouldn’t have engaged in. Less dancing and more...almost something else, and that was it for me. I broke up with her the next day. I probably would never tell them that part.” He squeezed Draco’s prick again. He rubbed his palm over the the moisture at the slit. “What’s your secret?”

Oh. Draco collected his thoughts. He should say something about the holidays, get Potter’s head in the game. “I thought about you in Slytherin robes,” he said.

Fuck.

Potter’s eyebrows flew up and Draco cleared his throat. He could work this. “Today,” he said, lowering his voice again. “When I wanked.”

“Were they up over my waist while you were fucking me, or was I just wearing them?” Potter asked. Draco inhaled sharply. He put a hand on Potter’s wrist.

“You only left the tie on while I was fucking you.”

Potter’s gaze slid past Draco’s shoulder for a long moment. Without turning, Draco could sense he was looking at his own bed. “Seriously?” Potter asked, voice cracking slightly. “You’d seriously—”

Alright, new plan.

Draco Summoned his tie.

He wound it around the back of Potter’s neck slowly with trembling fingers, dragging the silk over his skin, then deftly looped it under Potter’s bobbing Adam’s apple. He slipped the tipping of the blade through and pulled the knot to Potter’s throat, tweaking it so the knot sat haphazardly at Potter’s collarbone, the way he wore it when he was in uniform.

Fucking Pansy. It really was kind of hot.

Potter looked down at the swath of green and silver stripes on the material resting over his chest and stomach. He let out a breath and gently pried Draco’s wand from his grip, flicking it at his own wardrobe. A scrap of maroon and gold flew into his hand and he held it out.

“I don’t know how to put a tie on someone else.”

Draco took it, those bold Gryffindor colours almost glowing in his fist. He looked at Potter, who nodded, lashes lowered.

“Go on,” Potter said, resuming his stroke over Draco’s shaft. “It’s only fair, right?”

“Right,” Draco said, heart slamming hard against his ribcage. Not letting himself think too much about it, he slung the tie around his own neck and tied it. Potter’s lips parted, his chest rising and falling faster.

“Loose, like you did mine,” he said. “Messy.” He swallowed. “I like you messy.”

A shiver zipped up Draco’s spine. He hadn’t counted on this at all.

I like you, Potter’d said.

Draco worked the knot from side to side until it hung as loosely as Potter’s.

Potter’s eyes flared with satisfaction and he wrapped his other hand around the blade, twisting the fabric around his fist to pull Draco in, to kiss him with another one of those groans that made Draco want to come on the spot. He grabbed for the lube, instead.

“Where’d you get that?” Potter asked, looking interested. Draco thumbed it open.

“That’s a secret you don’t get to know.” Draco slathered it over his fingers and met Potter’s lips in a deep, indecent kiss, teasing him as best he could with his tongue and teeth as he trailed a slippery touch down Potter’s stomach and coated Potter’s cock in a brief, taunting wank.

Nngghhh fuck!” Potter bucked up against him, body bowing, neck arched back. His eyes flashed open when Draco removed his hand. “Malfoy!”

Draco shook his head without looking up. He watched the progress of his fingers over Potter’s bollocks, behind them. Potter spread his thighs wider and Draco wiggled down a little, moving his fingers into the crease of Potter’s buttocks and over his pucker. Potter’s tongue slid over his lower lip and he glanced at Draco when he paused.

“Go on,” he said, twitching his hips up. His arshole fluttered under Draco’s fingertips and Draco pushed his cock against the inside of Potter’s knee helplessly, as much in a bid for some self-control as for the pressure he wanted. Draco massaged the spot carefully and Potter’s eyes drifted shut, ragged, panting breaths issuing from his mouth. He looked so… So good, like so many of the dreams Draco’d had over the years, flushed and tense with anticipation. Draco squeezed his eyes shut too. He pulled his hand away.

Potter caught his wrist. When Draco opened his eyes, Potter was looking at him, head tilted, brows drawn in. Draco nibbled the inside of his cheek.

“I’ve—” He forced words past his teeth. “I’ve never—”

“Topped?”

“I— Yeah.” It wasn’t the only reason for his sudden shot of nerves, but Theo’s words rang in his head. You won’t even let me kiss you, you’re certainly not putting your cock up my arse! “Just the other.”

Potter stared at him. His face split open with a sudden grin and he brought Draco’s fingers back to him. He applied pressure to them with his thumb, pushing them in a little, oh sweet Merlin.

“Then we’ll each have got to have that first with each other, yeah?” Potter said huskily.

“You didn’t really—”

“I did enough. And I can do it again, you already said,” Potter said. “It’s okay.” He lifted his hips and somehow Draco’s fingers sank a little deeper. “I want to. I really, really want to,” he said. And then Draco was climbing higher on his knees without thinking, curling Potter toward him with one hand holding the Slytherin tie around his neck. He kissed Potter because he wanted it so badly that he had to, and if Potter wouldn’t admit to the ruse of the gift exchange, if there was even still the smallest chance Potter was fucking with him, the smallest chance that Draco would look the fool in the morning after Potter revealed his identity, he would have at least got to have had this.

Potter moaned into his mouth, kissing Draco back just as fervently. He released Draco’s hand and cupped his jaw between two warm palms. Draco pushed his fingers deeper into Potter, two at once, with the same careful pace Potter had set, until they were seated to the knuckles. Potter kept kissing him, little whines breaking free from his throat when Draco started fingering him open. Potter was so hot inside, so fucking tight, Draco was a little afraid he’d spend as soon as he got in.

But if Potter came first, it shouldn’t be a problem. Pulling out of their kiss, Draco looked down and watched the glistening slide of his fingers in and out of Potter’s hole, trying to pay attention. When they were about halfway out, Potter would give an extra little shudder, so Draco went searching, feeling for the—

Oh, Jesus Christ!” Potter shouted, rocking up so his cock spit out a bit of precome against Draco’s hip bone. Almost more startled than triumphant, Draco pressed the spot harder, that little bump of jangling nerves, rubbing over it firmly. Potter wrapped his fingers around the base of his own prick. “Ready, I’m ready, Malfoy, seriously,” he rushed out, a little brokenly, “I don’t like it much after I come, so—”

Draco removed his fingers with a twist and kicked his pyjama bottoms all the way off. “Do you want it—?”

“Like this,” Potter said, bending his knees out to the point of discomfort. He pulled Draco in, fingers digging into one arse cheek, and Draco didn’t know why he should be surprised, that Potter wanted it facing him, but he was. He nodded and positioned himself, grabbing his dick with a shaking hand near the crown. He guided it to Potter’s hole and pushed in with a long exhale.

“Oh, fuck.”

He inched in a little deeper, the swamp of sensation from the ring of Potter’s rim around the head of Draco’s cock so fantastic it was almost painful; the sensory lube may have been a bad idea after all. But after a moment, Potter wriggled, canting hips up. His inner muscles loosened a touch around Draco’s cock and the bottom of one of his feet slid over the back of Draco’s calf, toes curled like Draco’s were, and Draco was sunk all the way in, the bones of his pelvis crushed tight against the flexing curve of Potter’s arse.

Draco braced himself over Potter on his hands and pumped his hips experimentally, pleasure fizzling over each nerve like Rictusempra. Oh. Okay, yes, that was— fuck, it was too good, his bollocks already tingling and tight, and why the fuck had he never insisted on trying this before, Merlin to Christ.

Then Potter grunted, shifting once more. He cupped Draco’s buttocks, simultaneously arching up and pulling Draco in. One of his palms slid up over the muscles on Draco’s back to bring him down, so Draco closed his eyes and went, plastering his chest to Potter’s and working his cock in and out of him as slowly as he could, Potter’s slippery, rigid prick pressed tight between them.

And Draco felt possessed with it, that Potter wanted him close. He sealed his mouth over Potter’s and barely felt the sudden chill of sweat at his back when Potter nimbly stripped his nightshirt off and tossed it aside, barely felt the light brush of Potter’s hand against his left forearm — could feel nothing but the wet grip of Potter’s arse around his cock and the stab of Potter’s gaze as he kissed Draco back, eyes shadowed but open. Draco fucked into him, “slow” nothing but a waning idea of how he was supposed to do it now, made even less tolerable when Potter panted out, “More, Malfoy, fuck, you can go harder,” against his mouth.

Draco went harder at him, bollocks so tight they weren’t even making that soft, damp slap against Potter’s arse anymore on each thrust. He whipped his hips, twisting them with each push in and Potter’s fingers tightened on his back, on his arse cheek. Their lips met in the middle with clumsy, gasping kisses, and Potter’s thighs pulled in, growing taut like they did when he was about to come, his knees knocking against Draco’s ribs. And just as Draco was sure he was going to lose control, Potter cried out in a low, uneven voice. His cock throbbed between the slide of their stomachs and his arse clamped down around Draco’s cock with long, pulsing spasms. Draco turned his face to press his cheek to Potter’s shoulder, hot against hot, goosebumps rising on his skin as he juddered his hips to chase down his orgasm. He pushed his cock as deep as he could and came too, mouth on the silk around Potter’s neck to muffle his groan, pleasure spiking down through his body to his toes.

They stayed like that for awhile; Draco wasn’t sure how long. The room was spinning a little, and he had the vague inclination to fall asleep like that — Potter would shove him off eventually, if he wanted. But his mind was wide awake, committing everything to memory.

Potter stirred under him, yawning. “You didn’t hurt me, if you’re worried about that,” he said, sounding sleepy.

Draco lifted his head. “I wasn’t.” He disengaged, stroking over his softening cock with his fingers and thumb and shuddering a little as he pulled out, then slid off the warmth of Potter’s body. “You’re on my pillow.”

“Nice.” Potter snorted, then wrangled the pillow from under his head, smacking it against Draco’s face. Potter grinned. “I’m in your wet spot, too.”

Fuck.

Draco swallowed. “You are my wet spot, aren’t you?”

“Guess so.” He sounded so exceedingly cheerful, Draco glared at him. He went to shove the pillow under himself, but Potter’s eyes narrowed. “There’s something flopping around in your pillowcase.” He reached for it.

Draco smacked him in the shoulder, pushing him back. “No there isn’t. It’s just my pillow.” He stuffed it under his head situating his temple against the lump of hard metal. “And dry it off, if it bothers you.”

“Being in the wet spot, or being one?” Potter grinned. “It doesn’t.” He yawned again and shot Draco an idle, satisfied smile, then rolled onto his side, blindly finding his wand amongst the rumpled bedding. He Summoned his own pillow from his bed. Draco drew back.

“You’re sleeping here?”

“Well, we have done, haven’t we?”

“I suppose,” Draco said, uncertain. He didn’t know if it really counted, the way they fucked off to their own beds the past few days when they were done — even if they’d woken each other multiple times in the middle of the night for more. Draco shifted and got the blankets out from under him, pulling them up, and Potter tugged half over to himself, snorting and casting a quick cleaning charm over the bed and his body.

“It’s not a problem, is it?”

“Whatever,” Draco said. Potter was staring at him, eyes opening and closing with the unhurried speed of someone on the brink of sleep. Draco wanted to shake him awake and watch him go to sleep, wanted to make him confess about the gifts and wanted to live in the lie for as long as he could.

Potter tilted his head on his pillow, gaze growing more alert. “I really can go back to my bed,” he said, and Draco realised he was scowling. He wiped his expression clean.

“No, it’s fine.” Draco nodded and Potter moved, their knees hitting one another’s until Potter slid a leg between his two and resettled into a different position.

“Good,” Potter said, eyes drifting shut. His smile widened. “All of it, good.”

Draco huffed lightly and let Potter scoot a little closer, to the point where Draco had to either put an arm around him or have it trapped awkwardly between them all night. He chose the former, bare forearm draping over Potter’s waist. He glanced at it, at the contrast of his pale skin and Potter’s winter-faded tan, his Mark pressed to Potter’s ribcage, and it came to him that Potter had removed his shirt… had touched the inside of his forearm with gentle fingers, just once.

What the fuck was happening?

He blew out another breath and Potter made an appreciative sound that had Draco’s heart thudding in lazy circles.

Alright, so perhaps it was feasible Potter liked him. Plenty of people liked him. Well, several, when he made an effort to be likable. It just happened to take… a lot of effort, sometimes. So, a few people liked him. Maybe Potter. Almost definitely Potter, he’d said so. Kind of.

Draco stared at Potter’s face. He could just wake him and say something. He could ask. Gryffindors seemed to appreciate the direct approach.

Except… he was a Slytherin, for fuck’s sake. The direct approach generally came out sounding like a lie from them, for some reason.

But if nothing else, they were good at putting together a game plan.

And just like that, Draco had one.

~ ~ ~

Twelve

 

Draco watched Potter jog across the pitch, puffing small white clouds of breath. He skidded to a stop a few feet away, almost slipping on the frosted tips of the grass, and propped his broom over his shoulder to hold out the note Draco had left.

“Malfoy?”

“Potter.”

“What is this?”

“What’s it look like?” Draco said. He straddled his broom and pushed off from the ground a couple of inches. “You’re wearing that,” he nodded to Potter’s Quidditch gear, “so it can’t have been that confusing, can it? Or am I giving you too much credit?”

Potter gave a bewildered laugh and looked down at the note. “‘Suit up and meet me on the Quidditch Pitch for a Seeker’s game when you wake’?” he read. “No, it’s pretty clear. What’s not clear is why.

“Call it a Christmas present to me,” Draco said. He reached into his cloak and pulled out the dormant Snitch secreted there, displaying it to Potter in the middle of his gloved palm. “I’m assuming you didn’t get me anything. Did you get the watch?”

“Yeah. I—” Potter coloured, hesitating. “I really like it. But about Christmas gifts—”

“It’s fine.” Draco waved a hand. “Come on.”

Potter frowned and mounted his broom. “I wanted to talk to you,” he said stubbornly, glancing up. He flew closer. “And it’s supposed to snow again today; the visibility will be poor.”

Draco leaned back on his broom, lifting his heels and guiding it backwards, out of Potter’s range. “Not for the audience,” he called. “They’ll be showing up soon — I put a notice we’d be playing on the board in the common room. Unless you’d like me to let them know you forfeited?”

Even over the sound of the wind gusting between them, he could hear Potter’s growl. Potter twisted to look at the doors of the castle; there were already students spilling out, despite the early hour.

“The sun is barely up and — dammit, Malfoy — we have to talk!” Potter said. But his seat on the broom changed from the bored, absent-minded way people flew on their way somewhere, to something more purposeful, posture straightening, elbows drawing in against his sides. His grip on the broom handle shifted. “I’m a bit sore for this, you know.”

Thrown by the heavy innuendo in Potter’s voice, it took Draco a second to recover. “Then I guess you’ll have a good excuse when you lose,” he said.

He activated the Snitch and opened his palm, its wings unfurling and lifting it up. Potter pulled next to him, mouth open like he was about to speak, but then the Snitch streaked up toward the heavy white sky with a flash of gold and Potter shut his mouth with a click. He threw Draco a frustrated look — and angled his handle up, pressing his shoulders forward. In one smooth, practised motion, he shot after the Snitch.

“Goddammit,” Draco muttered, and then chased them both.

*

The promised snowfall came at about a half-hour into their search. It really was bad for visibility.

Still, Draco flew as aggressively as he ever had, clipping Potter’s broom with the tail of his own whenever he could and flying into him to knock him off-course when he was closer to the Snitch than Draco was. He had no choice really, but couldn’t deny the thrill that flooded him each time Potter had to right himself in his seat, each time Potter snarled with outrage.

The game devolved. With the introduction of the Bludgers Draco had charmed to intermittently aim for them over the pitch, by the second hour, Draco had to resort to desperate measures just to stay in the air. He didn’t cheat — a Bludger narrowly skimmed his shoulder just as he was reaching for the Snitch forty feet up in the air, forcing him to set a new course and let the Snitch escape — but he didn’t pull any punches, either.

And neither did Potter.

What Draco had been worried might be a short, easily-resolved game stretched on for hours; three, then four. Some students disappeared, probably for breakfast, but they returned in larger numbers, sitting in the stands and making room for friends from all years who came out to watch.

“I’m starving, you arsehole!” Potter yelled over the wind and the cacophony of cheers from the crowd when he dodged a Bludger heading for his face. It dropped to the ground immediately but another that had been resting in the grass zoomed between them in a wide arc just to switch focus and blast toward Draco. He zipped down under Potter and came back up on his opposite side.

“Then give up!”

“Couldn’t you have picked a— I don’t know, warmer day to do this?” Potter said. His nose and cheeks were red, wind-chapped, but the rest of his face was pale — with the exception of his eyes, which glittered brightly behind his glasses, the white sky a stark backdrop behind him. He had a point; Draco’s fingers were stiff and frozen, even encased in his best, fur-lined, dragon-hide gloves, and his whole body felt like one giant bruise. A good lesson for the next time he wanted to have sex and then play a four-hour game on a broom with no sleep in between, maybe.

“Nope,” he said, infusing his voice with cheer he didn’t feel. A twinkle flashed in his periphery, hovering in place. He didn’t look at it. “Had to be today. Sorry about your arse, though.”

“That’s the one thing you shouldn’t be apologising for,” Potter said. Draco bit back a smile, running that through his head a few times so he could avoid the temptation to let his eyes shift to where the Snitch was — several yards off, and centred right between them. He shrugged and idled closer to Potter to keep his attention and gain a few feet.

“Just for everything else?”

“Well, it’d be nice to hear it,” Potter said with a quick, sardonic eye-roll. “You never have.”

“You said you didn’t want anyone to do that shit,” Draco said. “When Pansy—”

“Oh my god, Draco,” Potter snapped. His second eye-roll was more pronounced. “I got Parkinson’s letter over the summer and she damn well knew it. But then she had to come up to me in the middle of the Hall on the first fucking day of term, burst into tears and throw herself at me — getting snot all over my jumper, by the way — and beg my forgiveness. What was I supposed to say? It was too perfectly timed and scripted, I would have looked like such a dick.”

“Yeah.” Draco grinned; Pansy’s performance had been pretty splendid. “She meant her letter, though.”

“Which is why I didn’t let Hermione hex her with acne.” Potter tilted his head, mouth flattening out. “Besides, I didn’t want everyone coming up to me with apologies or— or congratulations and praise. I hate that. But an apology from you?”

Draco’s stomach flipped. “Yeah,” he said again, and angled his broom just so. “But I’m a little busy right now.”

He tightened his fingers around the broom handle and streaked off toward the Snitch, cursing as he circumvented a Bludger that shot straight into the air from below. But Potter had lingered, maybe still caught in their conversation, affording Draco precious seconds to fly after the winged ball of gold, which seemed to realise it had been seen and was flying to dizzying heights. Draco narrowed his eyes and kept it in his sight, the hairs rising on the back of his neck as he sensed Potter gaining on him. He pitched himself forward, kicking his heels high and sharp into the stirrup of his broom for an extra burst of power, and reached out, fingers stretched and breath caught in his throat for every contradictory reason there was, because he was almost there, he could almost touch it—

And Potter surged ahead, his shoulder grazing Draco’s as he passed, speed and form unparallelled as ever. His fingers slid over the Snitch and he snagged it with a crow of delight, curling it in his palm and holding it up to the roaring crowd even as a blast of wind hit him and his broom dropped, taking him down thirty metres in the span of a few seconds that had Draco’s vision blurring with fear.

Pulling himself from the wind’s trajectory, Potter took control of his broom and gentled his land, coming down onto the middle of pitch, unharmed. Draco flew down to meet him.

“You got the Snitch,” he said.

Potter made a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. “You were the one who wanted to play.”

“And you called me Draco.”

Potter studied him, looking a little disturbed. “Well, we are— you know.”

“Not really,” Draco said, exasperated. Then: “You’re my gifter.”

“Oh.” Potter swallowed. “I was going to tell you. How did you—?”

“You didn’t let me win,” Draco said.

“Are you mental?” Potter asked. “When have I ever let you win the Snitch from me? I’m a better Seeker than you.”

“I know.”

“What?”

People were coming onto the field now and Potter stepped closer him, waving them off without looking away from Draco’s face.

“I know you’re better,” Draco said. “You always have been. It’s why I— Why I picked this. It was listed at the top of the things I’d like. I wanted to make sure—” His throat tightened, strangling off the rest of his explanation, but Potter’s eyes widened anyway. He took another step forward, offence twisting his features.

“You thought I’d start shagging you because you put it on your wishlist?” He spluttered, gesticulating wordlessly, and Draco’s own ire rose, because of course Potter was going to take it the wrong way. Potter crowded him, jaw knotted, and Draco shoved him back a step.

“I only had to make sure,” he snapped. He followed Potter, a Terrible Thing growing even bigger inside him when his next push against Potter’s chest didn’t land right, Potter grabbing his wrists and planting his feet stubbornly so he barely rocked back. “You got me the things the list said I wanted! You offered to let me touch your fucking hair! You snogged me— and then stopped because…” Draco’s voice cracked, jaw going tight. “Was I supposed to find out today and not have any questions?”

“Oh get the fuck over it, Malfoy,” Potter said through his teeth, upper lip lifting in a sneer. He shook his head. “I’m not allowed to— to notice, even for a second, that you’re branded with the same symbol I had to die over? I’m not allowed to pause when you won’t even apologise for taking it, or everything else?”

Draco’s stomach clenched; he’d envisioned something a little more pleasant if Potter had got to the Snitch before him. A blowjob, maybe, for being so understanding about the gift exchange.

“You think you deserve a personal apology?” He jerked his chin up. “When I haven’t got one for what happened in the loo?”

“You told me you wanted th—” Potter’s yell faltered, his cheeks going ashen, and Draco finally noticed that the spectators Potter’d waved away hadn’t really gone as much as they hadn’t kept approaching. “Malfoy…”

“People are watching,” Draco hissed, jerking his wrists out of Potter’s hands. He kept his voice low, cheeks burning. “And I’m sorry, alright? I did say so, and I know you heard it. You were two rows back when I went in front of the Wizengamot, four people down the row, wearing the stupidest fucking disguise I’ve ever seen in my life. I said I was sorry for ever taking it, for everything I did because of— Him.”

“No one else knew I was there that day,” Potter said, as if that was remotely the point.

Draco shuddered, that Terrible Thing so big now he thought he might be ill. “You think I like seeing it?”

“No,” Potter said. “I know you don’t.”

He stared at Draco, unmoving, and Draco stared back.

“Well.” Draco took a step away. “I suppose I should thank you for the gifts,” he said, voice coming out bleakly formal. “Thank you. And I’m— sorry,” he added. “For… everything else.”

He held out his hand and Summoned his fallen broom to go, but it fell right out of his grip, Potter abruptly grabbing his waist and dragging him forward. Draco froze, a swell of sound around them, sharp inhales and murmurs, and Potter brought Draco’s head down an inch to kiss him. Stunned, Draco let it go on too long before he remembered to pull away. But Potter didn’t let him speak, just kissed him again and again, small, hard kisses over his mouth and cheeks and, when Draco tried to pull away once more, his jaw and ear.

“I’m sorry too,” Potter said. “For Sectumsempra—” Draco couldn’t withhold a shiver, and Potter’s hands on him tightened, “—and… And for making you think I’d— I wouldn’t. The list only made me… It made me notice,” he said between kisses. “I thought it was a prank you’d pulled, until— But I wanted you, once I figured out that it wasn’t. I wanted you.”

And somehow instead of trying to wrench himself out of Potter’s grip again, Draco realised he’d started kissing Potter back, all of Potter’s words quieting the Terrible Thing that had been raging through him. He wrapped his arms tight around Potter’s shoulders, parting his lips for Potter’s tongue. He slid his fingers into Potter’s windblown hair and held on, slanting his head for a deeper kiss.

When Potter finally came up for air, his lips were red and his eyes glazed. “People are watching us.”

Draco pulled away — but carefully, not removing himself entirely from Potter’s arms. “I said that, before. Is it a problem?”

Potter shook his head. “But let’s go somewhere private,” he said, absently Summoning their brooms. He laced his fingers through Draco’s and tugged on his hand. “Where we can talk.”

“Talk.” Draco’s snicker became a snort, a pulse of delight leaping behind his breastbone to fill the vacant spot left behind by the Terrible Thing. His cock throbbed lightly too and he thought he’d quite like to have other things filled. “Yes, okay, let’s go.”

*

They had to stop in the Common Room, of course, and by the time they got there, it was full, its loud buzz of voices going immediately silent as they walked in. Holding hands, like kissing, had always seemed a stupid, soppy waste of time to Draco, but he couldn’t help clutching Potter’s hand tighter when everyone’s head swivelled to look at them with an air of heavy speculation. He stood a little taller when Potter squeezed his hand back, defying anyone to say anything about it.

No one did.

But he spied Weasley sitting with Granger on the large sofa near the fireplace, and with a sigh, Draco released Potter’s hand and said, “I need a second.”

Weasley watched him approach, face blank, skin so pale his freckles stood out like a child had painted them on.

“I’m your gifter,” Draco said without equivocating. He Summoned the small gift still waiting under the decorated fir tree in the corner by all of the other religious displays, nearly hitting some of the students sitting before it — he supposed a lot of them had been watching the game, rather than opening their gifts. He passed it over to Weasley, who took it without saying a word. “It’s a scarf.”

“Oh.” Weasley blinked at a nudge from Granger. His voice was dull. “Thank you, Malfoy.”

Well, that was… easier than he’d thought it’d be.

“You’re welcome,” he said. He eyed Weasley. “Do you need to go to Pomfrey?”

Weasley looked up at him, expression so pained and filled with pleading, Draco took an alarmed step away — straight into Potter’s chest, warm against his back. He turned; Weasley wasn’t looking at him. He was looking at—

“Harry,” Weasley said, sounding rather pathetic. “Any chance he’s dosed you with a love potion?”

“Like Granger’s been taking?” Draco said. Potter poked him.

“I’m not in love with him, Ron,” Potter said, voice wry. “I just… I like him, alright?” He huffed a laugh at Weasley’s face and said, “Maybe he slipped me a lust potion?”

“I keep them in stock,” Draco said, elbowing Potter for the ‘not in love’ bit, even though a little tingle of something he might be willing to call happiness — after he examined Potter’s second comment about liking him, later — sizzled its way up his spine. Weasley blinked again.

“I knew it,” he said. Draco opened his mouth to launch into an explanation about the finer points of sarcasm, but Weasley turned to Granger and added, “Didn’t I know it?”

“You knew… something,” she conceded delicately, tossing Potter an apologetic sort of shrug.

“He’s always been like that about Malfoy,” Weasley said. His eyes flared with accusation, and Potter, interestingly enough, flushed.

“I swear I haven’t,” Potter said, grimacing. “That I knew of.” He looked at Granger. “This is something you guys talked about?”

She shrugged again and Weasley covered his face with his hands. “You’re still touching him!” he wailed into them, throwing himself back against the sofa.

Potter was. After he’d taken Draco’s elbow to the ribs, he’d settled his hands on Draco’s hips. Draco tried not to look too smug; these were Potter’s friends, after all.

“Cheer up,” he advised Weasley, feeling remarkably cheerful himself, “lust potions wear off within a few weeks. Potter’s too decent to really like me. He wouldn’t even let me win the match.”

“Right,” Potter said, sighing. “And on that note— Hermione?”

“I’ll get it,” she said, then paused in the act of shoo-ing them off. Her gaze took on a glint that made Draco decidedly nervous. “If…

“What,” Potter said flatly.

She rose from Weasley’s side to approach, lowering her voice. “Well, the thing of it is, Parkinson was my giftee. I may have given her a voucher for a photo session, but it requires—”

“I’ll do whatever,” Potter said, tugging on Draco’s arm even as Draco, aghast, said, “No way in hell.

Potter hesitated. “What is it? Is it for the paper?”

Granger looked (glared) at Draco and cleared her throat. “No, but Malfoy’s a requirement and he’ll have to… dress up.” She cocked her head at Potter. “Although, I’ve been wondering who could fill a certain slot and, actually, you might—”

“Yeah, I don’t care. Malfoy and I will do it if you can talk Ron around,” Potter said, pulling Draco along over his protestations. “We’ve got to go.”

Granger gave them a sturdy nod and moved back to Weasley, who was still making noises into his hands. Potter practically dragged Draco down the hall, hissing that it wasn’t a big deal, that Draco was being dramatic and, God, what had he got himself into. But when he closed the door to their room with a sound thunk, he paused and said, “Wait, dresses?”

“You’ll be the Sporty one,” Draco snarled. “You won’t have to wear a dress. I’ll have to charm my hair longer and wear platformed trainers and knee socks and a dress, Pansy’s already got the outfit, you see—”

“I think you’d look good in a dress,” Potter said. He looked heavenward, considering. “The Sporty one wears a tube top, right?”

“I don’t care about the dress, of course I’d look good in the dress, it’s the principle, Potter!” Draco said, trying not to picture Potter in a tube top. “Pansy’s been saying she’d figure out a way to get me to do this since the first day of term, and I swore I wouldn’t,” Draco said, peeling off his cloak and gear as he ranted. He hesitated a moment before removing his shirt and jumper, but they were rather ripe, so off they came too. Discreetly, he sniffed under his arm, curious whether he ought to have a shower before they did whatever Potter brought them there for, and continued, “We have a very unique structure in place, we never do anything for another Slytherin without having something equitable offered, and if it’s something that could potentially be used in blackmail, that needs to be taken into account too, and a photograph— Wait, why aren’t you getting undressed?”

Potter shook his head, laughing under his breath. He unpinned his cloak and sat at the edge of his bed. “We were going to talk?”

“Oh,” Draco said dumbly, looking down and wondering if there was a way to get less naked without looking as if that was his goal. “You meant to actually talk.” He resolved the matter by marching to Potter’s bed and sliding in it — he hadn’t slept in it, after all, and the sheets were clean and warm. He pulled the blankets up to his waist and folded his arms over his bare chest. “Continue.”

“Uh, yeah. So what I said to Ron—”

“And to me, you told me that you like me, too,” Draco pointed out. He couldn’t take that back, even if was just about the messy thing. And people must’ve overheard Potter’s declaration of wanting him. “Although why you were so keen to share information with Weasley now—”

Potter rolled his eyes. “Can you shut up a minute?” He shot Draco an insultingly patient look, twisting on the bed to face him as he started pulling off his Quidditch gear. He took off his gloves and tossed them to the top of his trunk, rubbing his hands together and blowing on them. “I told Ron now, because he knew.” He shook his head when Draco opened his mouth. “And if I’d told him before, he would have asked when I’d started… looking at you differently,” he hedged, “and I’d have had to explain about how he was assigned to you, and I couldn’t.”

Draco uncrossed his arms. Delighted Thing was still in Terrible Thing’s spot, but it felt slightly more apprehensive, calling to mind undefined Bothersome Thing. He worked it out aloud, slowly. “That’s why you didn’t tell me. You couldn’t.”

“Yeah.”

“And when did you start to look at me — what was it you called it? Differently?”

“Well—” Potter’s brow furrowed. “I was okay rooming with you after about a week, I guess. And then we ran into each other in the showers and you were wearing that stupid dressing gown like you didn’t realise it clings to your skin when you’re wet and parts a little in the front.”

“It does not.” Though, actually… the dressing gown had been his favourite since he bought it in fifth year, and he’d grown at least four inches since then. But, wait. “You were looking at me?”

Potter’s mouth quirked so devilishly, Draco balled his hands to keep from reaching for him. “I was looking back at you, apparently,” he said, and Draco abruptly remembered the list.

“I didn’t fill out the form,” he said. “Just so you know. I wouldn’t have ever; I didn’t even want to take part in it.”

“That was pretty obvious from the second I got it,” Potter said wryly. “But until I saw the sort of things you picked for Ron, I thought it might be some big joke you were playing on me, that maybe you’d found out about…” His cheeks darkened. “...about the clubs. That maybe someone had seen me. And then I started to, you know, wonder.”

How much of the list was true, he meant. Draco thought back to those first few gifts, the boring, respectable ties, and Potter’s approach in the library and in the Muggle Studies kitchen, his intense, curious gaze when he offered his hair for Draco to touch. Draco didn’t even try not to look smug this time.

“You were feeling me out.”

“Well—”

“You were,” he said, showing off all his teeth in a grin.

“Malfoy.”

“You wanted to see if you could talk me into sucking your cock,” Draco said. Not that Draco didn’t appreciate it. “You wanted me so badly, you stalked me for it. You had to seek me out in Pansy’s room, and in the showers—”

“I actually went to her room to ask about the list,” Potter said, annoyed, “and you were just there. And the showers was an accident—”

“And before Pansy’s room?” Draco asked, arching a brow. Potter frowned.

“I was maybe stalking you a little that day,” Potter admitted, “but only to—”

Draco laughed, Delighted Thing and Self-Congratulatory Thing (which he hadn’t felt in any real way since fifth year) fighting for space. “How did you keep finding—?”

Potter clambered up onto his knees, crawling up the bed to hunch over Draco with a menacing look on his face. He covered Draco’s mouth with his palm. “I have a magic map,” he said. Draco snorted into Potter’s hand and he pulled away.

“Fine, don’t tell me.” Draco sat back against the headboard. “So, what then. This is— what?”

“This is talking,” Potter said, casting his gaze upward again.

“Have we done enough of it yet?”

“I.” Potter blinked. “Don’t know. No. Was this why you were so weird last night?”

Draco considered what admitting, “I thought to trick you into telling the truth because, yes, maybe I thought you might be shelling out sex as gifts or pity,” would ultimately get him: Potter sliding out of the bed and fucking off. “Because I was nervous,” he said, conscience not even whimpering.

Potter looked suspicious. “And the way you wouldn’t take off your shirt?”

Draco barely flinched. “Go on, have a look if you want to see it so badly,” he said, holding out the inside of his forearm. Potter blanched a little, but to his credit, merely glanced at the Mark and looked back at Draco’s face. The last bit of tension left Draco’s shoulders. “I was trying to be sensitive, after what happened… to you.. the first time,” he sniffed.

“Fine.”

“Fine, what?” Draco asked, narrowing his eyes.

Potter smirked. He sat back on his haunches and peeled off his jumper and t-shirt, tossing his glasses onto the bedside stand before covering Draco without warning. He framed Draco’s face with his hands and kissed him soundly, pulling away only when Draco was hard enough to start rocking up to meet the weight of Potter’s body through the blankets.

“Fine, we’ve talked enough,” he said, looking damned pleased with himself. Draco forced his hips into immobility; he was pleased as well, but that didn’t mean Potter got to be conceited about it.

“So then that’s it?” he demanded, gritting his teeth when Potter snorted and began tugging the blankets down. “This is ‘talking’? That’s the shittiest answer, we’re not even—”

“We’ve got time to talk more,” Potter said, nibbling under Draco’s earlobe. Very unfair of him; it was the sort of tactic a Slytherin would use. “But watching you fly—”

It sounded complimentary, so Draco pushed him back, just far enough that he could regain his senses for a moment. Interested, he said, “What about the way I fly?”

“I’ll tell you later,” Potter said, shutting him up with another kiss.

“When?” Draco asked.

The blanket had been pulled out of the way and Draco huffed a sigh, exasperated with himself to realise he was opening Potter’s jeans. He reached into them and cupped Potter’s dick to give it a squeeze.

Potter reached down and put his hand over Draco’s. His lashes fluttered and Draco’s heart did, too — Potter looked a bit like the holidays himself, all rosy red cheeks and bright green eyes. Draco thought of how he’d look in a few minutes and tilted his head for another kiss. Potter sighed against him. “When, what?”

Draco paused, then gave up trying to remember what he’d been asking. Neither the question or answer really mattered anymore; maybe none of them had. Not if Potter was going to look at him like this after seven years, inexplicably fond and tense with desire. Maybe that look was an answer on its own to all of Draco’s questions. Maybe Draco didn’t need to know what was going to happen, didn’t need to prepare for it. Just maybe.

Still, Potter seemed to take the question seriously. He mumbled, “When will I tell you?”

Draco nodded, still mindlessly chasing Potter’s mouth. “Sure, that.”

“Well.” Potter pulled back a little to smile at him. “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?”

Draco blinked. A smile crept over his face.

“I don’t know, Potter,” he said. “You tell me.”