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Fake It Til You Make It

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Dear Auror Harry J Potter:

I am in receipt of Head Auror Robards of the Department of Law Enforcement’s request to relieve you of a temporary field suspension.

Unfortunately, this is a notice to inform you we are still in need of your Healer’s Release to Return to Work Form for the reported incident on February 6, 2019 during Case #4286334.

Under Section 2.A of the Field Auror Employee Handbook:

Prior to returning to active field duty following a medical leave, written authorization from the employee’s authorized healer is required. If an employee comes to work without providing the required documentation, it is mandatory for the employee to return home until s/he provides medical certification that s/he is able to return to work.

Please owl in a copy of the Return to Work to me on the day of return; until then Mr. Potter, you may need to continue working a modified schedule during the medical recovery period. We value your service to the Auror services and seek to resolve this matter in a timely fashion. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any inquiries or concerns.

Regards,

 

Marietta Lampley
Head of Wizard Resources
Ministry of Magic

Draco sighs softly, a lock of blonde hair huffing away from his face as he slowly twists the wrist he is writing with in an effort to rid some of it’s stiffness. His left hand picks up his still thankfully warm cup of Earl Grey as he puts aside the letter he just composed onto the ever growing pile of parchment for Lampley to simply look at and sign.

This is the fourth time he has to write the same letter since he started working for Marietta Lampley six months ago. If Head Auror Robards sticks to tradition, he will come marching into Lampley’s office not an hour after with Potter’s Release Form clutched in his hands. Most likely wrestled out of Potter’s healers hands just moments beforehand.

Draco rolls his eyes as he reaches for a new parchment to begin a new letter. They act like they cannot survive without Potter for a single week.It’s only been 4 days since Potter was slashed down with what is rumored to be a bad diffindo and patched up at St. Mungos the same day.

To be fair, it’s not often Potter is seriously hurt on duty and even Draco recognizes what a waste it is to have Potter walking around the corridors of the Ministry pretending to be on desk duty; but even the smallest of cuts and concussions come with their paperwork and Potter has to go through this many times a week. By extension, Draco has to deal with the Auror Department trying to finagle their way around many of his boss’ policies in an effort to avoid reassigning the absurd amount of pending cases Potter is required to investigate

Draco shifts in his chair and dips his Albanian Peacock quill into his ink to start constructing his second interdepartmental memo of the day.

To all employees:

This is a reminder that Ward 3 of Floor 2 will be under strict lockdown procedure beginning February 21, 2019 due to the Department of Health and Sanitation’s annual...

The day passes excruciatingly slow for Draco. He determinedly remains at his desk all day with only Susan Bones for company, foregoing lunch altogether because he forgot to pack a sandwich for the day. It’ll be a cold day in hell the day Draco decides to pay a visit to the Canteen to buy lunch.

He lifts his head up from proofreading Lampley’s presentation handout for an upcoming meeting to look at Bones. She was currently going around their designated small shared space at the front of their boss’s office. Technically, only Bones was the employee. Draco was technically a volunteer.

A volunteer required to complete 5 years of service to the community. Greg, Blaise and Pansy serviced their probation for a measly 6 months assisting in the reconstruction of Hogwarts before immediately managing to remove themselves from the eye of the public. They’re not in exile, they just rarely make an appearance in crowded wizarding locations.

They’re probably having lunch at Pansy’s, drinking mimosas while he’s stuck in a building full of people who either ignore him or spit at his feet.

Draco shook his head and returned to the stack of parchment on his desk. As he was the only one stupid enough to allow himself to be marked, he should pay a heavier punishment of course. He could have been in Nott’s place; serving the end of a three year sentence in Azkaban for also being stupid enough to accept a mission from the Dark Lord. Nott was lucky to be as unsuccessful as Draco was in his own mission, but unlucky enough to not have the Savior of the Wizarding World testify on his behalf.

Draco sighed, the blurry images of his trial flashing in his head.

“Alright!” A pale hand slammed down in front of him. “Why do you keep sighing! You’ve been wallowing for the last 5 hours and I’ve had to listen.”

Draco scowled up at the red head as he shifted as far back from her as he could. “Excuse you.” He prodded her offending hand with a single finger, as if afraid to catch something from her hand. He knows he is being dramatic, but he has always been dramatic so why stop now. “I am not wallowing.”

“Really?” Bones raised her eyebrows, her lips twisted in a small smile. “Draco, I work with you every day. I know the difference between all your silences.”

“All my silences?” Draco almost snorted, but he refrained, choosing to turn back to his work, “Don’t you have an aunt to have lunch with or friends to go bother?”

Bones turned away and started watering the small plant on his desk. “Nope. My aunt has a hearing she couldn’t scheduled at another time, and Sophie has the Minister visiting her department today. So they’re all stressed and as you can imagine I couldn't step into their office if I tried.”

Draco eyed her once more and she began to fuss with the plant, picking at the dead ends and rotating its pot to an apparently better angle. She was still standing there after a few awkward seconds. After a second too long, Draco snapped, “What are you doing? I’m sorry if you think I’m sighing too much. I’ll try to breathe quieter. Now…” Draco motioned for her to go with his hands.

Bones pouted, “Draco don't be mean.”

Draco sneered, too used to her using his first name to be bothered to correct her.

“I just really wanted to talk to you. Maybe gossip a little. You’re always at this desk and I’ve never seen your friends visit. I thought maybe a little human interaction may do you some good.”

“That’s what a personal life is called Bones and if you haven't realized, we are at work.”

Bones shrugged and walked back to her desk, sitting down and cupping her cheeks upon her hands. Their desks faced each other on opposite ends of the room. She, as the official secretary to the Head of Wizard Resources, had a much bigger and cluttered desk.

“Did you finish all the work you had to do by today?” He looked pointedly at the pile of reports he personally placed at her desk at the beginning of the day. Six months ago, Draco was miserably separating mail in the mailroom before Lampley plucked him from the dim room and began to use his connections and good penmanship for her own benefit. Now it’s like he’s the unofficial secretary for both Bones and Lampley.

Draco prefers this so much more, although he will have to be dosed with Veritaserum to admit it. The mail room was accessible to all employees and he was tired of people “wandering” into the room to throw in a good jinx or dung bomb.

Bones ignored his question. “Did you hear the rumor?”

Draco shifts closer to his desk again as he moves the packet he was reading aside, giving up on it for now to move onto another project. “I can assure you I probably have not.”

“Apparently, Harry finally received his soul mark.”

Draco paused, looking up from rifling through his filing. “What?” His soul mark...

Bones rolled her eyes. “Potter. You know, Harry Potter, your arch nemesis since the two of you were both 11. He turned 21… 7 months ago I think and he finally got it. I received mines as soon as I turned 21, as do most people don’t they.”

“I got mines a month after.” Draco muttered, swallowing and turning to look back at his files. He should tell her to stop talking, but dammit it all if he isn’t curious.

“No one knows what it is of course, only that Lavender overheard Dean telling Seamus at the Leaky last week that it was black.Dean works at Ron and George Weasley’s shop, apparently only until his book is published. Well anyways, that’s why he is a credible source and did you know Dean apparently broke up with Ginny Weasley again?”

Now Draco tuned her out, not caring a single iota for Dean and Ginny’s relationship status. He turned to his left hand and slowly moved down the sleeve of his navy Gucci cardigan. There underneath the faded ugly mark that labeled all the Death Eaters and directly on the sensitive skin over his artery was a small symbol. A triangle with a circle and a line within it; the deathly hallows…

Upon waking up to find this symbol, Draco immediately spent the next few weeks scouring the Malfoy library until he found all that he could. Most of it were detailed accounts the reign and ideologies of the Dark Lord Grindelwald. There were gaps of missing information on the symbol that spanned centuries before Grindelwald’s inception, with the only known point of reference being a single faded piece of literature that told the story of a myth. A myth Draco was too quick to push aside at the time.

Up until a few years prior of course, when the symbol popped up for the first time since the rise of Grindelwald. An article and exclusive interview with the Golden Trio published by Luna Lovegood in The Quibbler, detailing a vague outline of the events leading up to the Battle of Hogwarts.

At the time the whole world only focused on the huge bits; Harry died once more, survived, and defeated the Dark Lord. The finer details precious only to a few scholars and historians who picked up on the single detail that startled Draco to his very core.

Harry Potter is the last recorded Master of Death. The one who literally represents the symbol forever painted on Malfoy’s inner wrist.

*******

“Draco!”

Draco snapped out of his reverie to look at Greg. “Hmm?”

Greg pointed at Draco’s garlic naan. “Are you going to eat the rest?”

Draco looked down at his food and then shook his head. He’s done eating for the day anyways. He turned and caught Pansy’s eye. Her eyebrows were furrowed in concern.

“Okay, something’s definitely wrong. Greg’s been trying to get your attention for a while now and you’re not even done with the rest of your Tikka to just give Greg the rest of your naan.” Pansy pointed a finger to his plate.

Draco shrugged and avoided her stare. “I had a pretty big lunch.”

Blaise hummed quietly as he took a sip of his white wine.”Or you’re pining away as usual. Didn’t your soulmate receive his mark today?”

Draco sniffed as he pushed away the rest of his take out, “And didn’t your soulmate fuck off to France?”

Blaise scowled.

“Boys! What did I say about talking about soulmates at the dinner table! We’re supposed to be discussing my fabulous birthday plans!” Pansy throws her arms in the air after a glamorous flip of her long black hair.

Draco grabbed his wine glass, thankful for the change in subject. “We already know. Male strippers, lots of booze, and generous amounts of new couture clothing?”

Pansy winks deviously. “Well of course that is a given. But where? When? How? Who to invite?”

Blaise listed names, “Well let’s see… Greengrass. The younger one since the older one fucked off to France.” Draco sent an apologetic smile to Blaise. “Me, Draco, Greg… and you, of course.”

Pansy bit her lip. “How about.. And please seriously consider this. How about we head into the muggle world?”

Greg peered at her as if she grew two heads. Draco and Blaise were too busy trying not to react. For his part, Draco wanted to break down laughing. The last time Pansy ventured out into the muggle world, she ended up stuck in a “never ending train.” “How was I supposed to know it had multiple stops that’s just looped around to the beginning again and that my destination was a couple streets over from the the station and so would not have the name on the platform,” Pansy had cried to him after she finally gave up on her plans for the day and left the train to find a secluded corner and apparate away.

Before that, Pansy tried shoving galleons towards the manager at a Prada location until she was able to get the purse that she wanted. “Draco! For some reason they said they don’t take gold, only money. Why the fuck were the two separate things to muggles?”

Draco cringed. “To do what Pans?”

Pansy resettled her napkin on her lap, “There’s a club called Clyde’s I want to check out.”

No one responded and so Pansy snapped at them, “Don’t give me those looks! I’ve been out to the muggle world a few more times. I was able to get coffee the other morning now that I exchanged a bit of galleons at Gringotts, they’re called pounds!” Draco looks down to see her pull out a few colorful pieces of paper from her pocket. Draco bites his lip to hide a smile. “And I went to a cinema with Tory. That’s way more than what the three of you have done.”

Blaise shrugged, not bothering to hide that fact.

Draco pointed at this sweater. “I frequent the muggle stores.”

“Liar!” Pansy flicked a piece of naan at him. “You shop at muggle clothing stores operated by wizards.”

“Well I ordered this food. And all the food we ever order from a muggle restaurant.” Greg raised his hand.

“That is because you’re the only one crazy enough to have a cell phone.” Blaise stuffed another piece of tandoori in his mouth. “Where is the phone anyways?”

Greg pulled it out of his pocket. Draco leaned in to see the black glass rectangle light up at the touch of Greg’s finger. “It’s quite simple actually.”

“That’s simple…” Draco repeated apprehensively as Greg started touching the screen with more frequency.

Greg touched a button on its side and Pansy’s eyebrows raised as the screen turned black again. “Yea, very. I can’t play with it too much here. Or else the battery will get wonky or my screen breaks. It doesn’t react well inside wards. Once I’m outside though it’s fully functional.”

Draco was truly impressed. For all of Pansy’s boasting, Greg has definitely had them all beat when it came to embracing muggle culture. They have all tried adapting to muggle clothing but only Greg has started getting used to their technology and even moving out of his family’s home to rent a small flat above a nearby italian restaurant. In the muggle side of London. Although Draco has long ago moved out of Malfoy Manor, his own London townhouse is safely tucked deep within a pocket of one of the many wizard neighborhoods.

“Well since Greg has one of those devices, why not just jump into it then? Why not, lets go to Clyde’s.”

Pansy gives a high-pitched cry and launches herself towards Blaise, her red lips pressing a kiss onto his cheek.

Draco laughs as Blaise grimaces. He knows the pain of trying to wipe her lipstick off.

Draco’s eye catches a glint of gold. The last few rays of the day’s sunlight catches onto the shimmering gold of Blaise’s soulmark, barely showing over the edge of his neck collar at the side of his neck. He knows a fleur-de-lis would be marked there, the gold a stark contrast to Blaise’s dark skin.

Blaise notices Draco staring and shifts his collar. “Still gold, Dray.” He whispers, smiling at the concern he can see in his friend’s face. “I told you, we never made it far into the bond. I’ll be fine.”

Pansy was now pulled back and peering down at Blaise’s neck. “And you’d tell us? If anything changes?”

Blaises takes another sip of his wine and Draco takes a gulp of his as well. “Yes, Pans. If I so much as cough you’d be the first to know.”

Greg shakes his head, “I never understood it. That she’ll leave you. Leave all of us.”

Draco winces and mutters a response. “She’s grieving Greg. She just needed space.”
The older Greengrass heiress quietly slipped out of England two month ago, months after the arrest of her father and only three weeks after a startling miscarriage. From what Draco understood, her and Blaise weren’t trying and they didn’t even know.

The distance put a strain on Blaise and rumors of the Daphne’s exploits in France have begun to reach them.A consummated soulmate bond is strong though and Draco is sure Blaise can make it through. Even if Daphne decides to remain in France and Blaise’s soul mark fades back to black.

People do not die from broken bonds. They do run the risk of poor health and depression though, thus explaining the group of Slytherin’s caution and worry.

Pansy’s eyes flick to Draco but thankfully no one mentions the boy-who-lived-to-make-headlines.

Draco takes a long drink from his glass, wishing he hadn’t seen the cover of Pansy’s copy of Witch Weekly on the glass table when entering the foyer.

“Harry Potter’s Mark Revealed - A Dragon!”

Below the headline was the black creature, more serpentine than dragon but with its wings extended back and it’s tongue flickering out.

******

Three weeks later, Potter is hurt again. A minor concussion but Draco almost throws the incident report in the bin once he sees it on his desk first thing early morning.

Draco removes his wool coat while eyeing the stack of papers below Potter’s report. “It’s much too early to handle whatever that is.”

Bones looks up from stirring her tea, eyes still puffy from sleep. “What?”

Draco points to the stack.

“Oh, apparently someone’s mission went sideways and other aurors were called as backup. Looks like many injuries. Just file the ones who didn’t go to St. Mungo’s and send those mental health brochures to the really gruesome reports.”

Draco nods, knowing most of the procedures he has to take when he comes across deaths or injuries in the incident reports.

He fixes himself his morning cup of tea, very little milk and too much sugar, and then prepares himself for a long morning of consisting of reading the incident reports.

He was halfway through Jean Kloss’ report of a dislocated shoulder when an owl swoops into the room and lands on Draco’s desk, almost knocking over his mug. “Hey!” He scowls and cradles his precious caffeine closer to his chest.

Curious, Bones looks up from her own stack of paperwork.

Draco avoids her silent question and warily unties the letter from the owl’s leg. As soon as it’s free, the owl flies away, apparently not instructed to wait for a reply.

Draco uncurls the parchment and rolls his eyes when he catches a whiff of Pansy’s floral parchment spray. She’s never sent him a letter while knowing he was at work. They all know better than to attract unwanted attention.

Dear Dray,

It has come to my attention that we must go to the Leaky Cauldron tonight. It is imperative. For my sanity and for our long and loving friendship, you must accompany me.

I do not feel comfortable to go alone and you’re the only other who does not have plans tonight. Before you try to come up with a pathetic excuse, I know you have no plans. So meet me there at 5 PM.

Love,
Pansy

P.S. Greg is apparently spending his Friday playing in a dungeon with a dragon? Blaise, as you are aware, received another letter from a cousin in France and is locked away at the moment.

P.S.S. Weasley and Granger broke up.

Draco sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Of all places… in the whole fucking world. She had to choose the Leaky Cauldron. The always-crammed pub between Diagon Alley and muggle London. The Leaky Cauldron, whose location is only a short two blocks away from Draco’s job, the Ministry of Magic, where a good portion of their Hogwarts class work alongside him. The same pub where those same people always head towards at the end of their Friday shift.

Nope. NO. Absolutely not…

P.S.S. Weasley and Granger broke up.

Bugger it all, he has to go.

********

 

“What are the chances a great berk like him will notice me?”

Draco looks up from his gin to sneer. “Do you need me to cut you off now? You’ve only had a single martini and you’re already speaking like a ‘Puff?”

Pansy grabbed hold of his arm, her bright red fingernails digging into his thin sleeve and skin, “Take it back!”

Draco shot her an evil look as he shook her head. “Trust me, there’s no greater insult that fate aligning your path with his, of all people!” Pansy glares as Draco laughs. “I mean c’mon Pans. Look at you. I’m as gay as they come but I know you’re hot and he’s... weaselby.” Draco grimaced.

“Yeah well….” Pansy sits up straighter, begins to twirl a lock of her hair in between her fingers, a nervous tick she recently acquired. “He’s my-”

“Don’t say it Parkinson.” Draco tisked, tilting back his glass to his mouth and observing the rest of the room.

Thankfully, so far no one has even glanced their way, instead choosing to yell and boister around the Aurors that had filed in 20 minutes ago and taking up the left side of the pub, on the far side of where Pansy and Draco were sitting.

Draco noticed a few of the auror were wearing scratches and arm slings. He saw Weasley sitting next to Thomas and Longbottom, regulars to this Friday night tradition. Most of the occupants are former Gryffindors and Draco angles himself to further obstruct his [their] view.

“Oh honey, refusing to acknowledge something doesn't make it disappear.” Pansy pointedly looked at Draco’s wrist.

“Yea, well I can definitely pretend it’s disappeared. Actually on second thought, what are we discussing?”

Pansy rolled eyes and took out the olive from her glass to put in her mouth, brown eyes observing the redead from across the room. She’s meant to be looking for signs of heartbreak or relief. “He is really not my type. Why does my magic think that he is it for me.”

Draco looked up to the ceiling, tired of the word soulmate and soulmark taking up most of the dialogue around him for the last few weeks. “And remind me again why you think he is the one and why has he not said something yet?”

Pansy frowned. “Well I don’t know what he sees but…” Pansy looked down into her glass and mumbles something.

Draco gives her an incredulous look. “Was I supposed to hear anything in that last part?” Pansy is usually brimming with confidence and sass, even when she doesn’t necessarily feel confident. The last few years have been humbling to them all, but for her to start mumbling.

Pansy’s his head shot up, a frown plastered on her face, and through gritted teeth she said, “It’s a small dog.”

Draco burst out laughing and Pansy glares daggers at him. “Stop laughing,” she hissed.

“A dog? That’s it?” Draco snickers.

“His patronus is a dog!” Pansy looks around frantically, hoping no one can overhear them. They were more than safe, with the crowd on the left side rising in volume at the entrance of even more people at the door. “He’s the only one I know who has a dog patronus, not to mention the fact that I can count on my hand how many people I know can do that kind of magic. Also… it just feels right. He is it, Dray, I know it.”

It could also mean someone's pet, but Draco doesn't anything. Draco just tilts his head and decides to not pursue her line of thinking, choosing to take another sip of his glass and then finishing it off with one more gulp. He glances down at his watch and deems it early enough to continue drinking. “I’ll go get us another round yeah?”

He barely glances at her nod of agreement before slowly making his way to the bar with their empty glasses, attempting to avoid the groups of people sat on the stools at odd intervals and making his way to a small space open at the bar. He settles himself on an empty seat and waits for Tom to see him and his empty glasses. Draco is grateful that when he and Pansy first walked him, Tom just glanced at them and asked them what they would like to order. In kind, Draco makes sure to pay double for his drinks and bring the glasses up to the counter.

Draco looks down when he sees feels someone stand next to him and begins to play with his watch, making sure the cold silver completely covers the skin that can usually peak out from underneath his shirt.Draco can only thank merlin that the Dark Mark is further up his forearm and is easy to hide.

“Malfoy.”

Fuck.

“Hey, Malfoy.”

Draco glances up and thankfully makes eye contact with Tom. He gestures at his glasses with two fingers up. His traitorous head then glances at the man next to him.

Harry Potter gives a small wave with an equally small, barely there, smile.

Draco nods in greeting and turns back to look at Tom as he begins to prepare another round of drinks. Not his, unfortunately.

“I haven’t seen you come here before.”

Draco swallows and keeps looking at Tom. Maybe if Tom feels his stare he’ll hurry the fuck up. “Oh you know, decided to see what the fuss was about.”

Potter snorts next to him and turns to glance back at the room. “Well the fuss today is that Evan and Neville didn’t die yesterday.”

Tom finally walks up to them, ‘Here you go Harry.” Fuck, still not Draco’s drinks with him.

Potter smiles at the bartender as his hand grabs onto the pint of what appears to be a dark stout. “Thanks Tom.” Harry fishes out a galleon and leaves it on the counter.

He watches Potter drink some and before he knows it, he’s speaking. Draco shouldn’t have opened his mouth. He really shouldn’t have, but before he even processes the thought in his head, it’s out in the air already. “Should you be drinking?”

Potter pauses and frowns, turning to look at him. Draco averts his eyes from the bright green that is just way too intense to be appropriate and the slightly wet look Potter’s lips now have after his tongue wiped away some of the foam. “What do you mean?”

“Oh fuck it…” Draco whispers, turning to Potter. He waved his hand towards his head. “Your head. Shouldn’t you avoid alcohol while concussed.”

He laughs in astonishment, eyebrows high and eyes wide. “And how do you know that?”

“I’m not a stalker or anything.”

Potter actually has the nerve to look at him in disbelief.

“I’ll leave that up to you, thank you very much.” Draco retorts and at least the man in front of him has the decency to look guilty, “I happen to work in WR. I got your accident report for your concussion.”

Draco turns back to facing forward, already done explaining. Tom finally walks up to him and slides the two drinks in front of him. He almost shows obvious signs of his relief.

Draco’s hands just grabbed onto the cold glasses when Potter speaks again. “Well then take it off my hands then.”

Draco pauses and just stares into green eyes.

Potter flushes and pushes his glass towards him. “I know you already have a drink but think of this as an ‘I’m sorry.’”

Draco just looks down at the stout.

“For the stalking... back in 6th year.”

Draco wills any sort of blush from making its way up his neck at the thought of drinking from the same glass Potter just did. His lips touching where Potter’s lips were just touching. Potter obviously doesn’t think anything of the intimate act, pushing the glass further towards.

Draco’s left hand reaches for it and once it curls around the cool glass, Potter’s fingers slowly let go, bushing against Draco’s own fingertips.

They both freeze and Draco could literally hear Potter’s sharp intake of breath. They both look down.

The touch. Draco is so stupid. Stupid, stupid…

Draco feels the tingle, the warm electricity running up his veins and stopping where his soul mark is. It’s feels so so warm, almost hot. Where a black mark used to be, Draco is sure now rests a golden symbol.

Draco sees Potter grab onto his wrist and slowly turn it over. His watch was obscuring the symbol so without moving much, Potter’s thumb pushes the strap further down. The peak of the triangle and half of the stick appeared before green eyes before Draco came to his senses.

Draco yanked his hand back. “Actually, I just remembered.” Draco turns back to grab onto his original order of drinks. “I don’t like stouts.” With the practiced air of a pureblood, Draco gave a shell shocked Potter one last sneer before walking away.

“Wait... Malfoy.” Potter mutters softly, now frowning at the floor.

Draco make his way to Pansy and grabs onto her arm. “Come on, Pansy. We have to go.”

“What, why? What did they do?”

Draco makes sure Potter is still where he left him. “Because I’d say I have maybe 60 seconds tops to get the fuck out of here, before Boy Wonder causes a scene.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Malfoy, open up!”


Draco curls into the armchair, pulling his novel closer to his face and trying to focus on the words.


The bell chimes and more incessant knocking. Damn, how did he break into my wards to reach the front door? Draco glared at the page in front of him.


“Malfoy!”


Draco scowls up from his position in his sitting room. He pulls out his wand and casts a silencio towards the direction of the door.


*****


“Hey Dray..”


He looks away from the screen in front of him to look at her. Pansy was leaning next to the big red machine meant to dispense fountain drinks. She popped a single popcorn in between her red lips, “Why is Harry Potter sending me letters and showing up at my house demanding to know how to get in touch with you.”


Draco smirked, “Pans, he's been concussed too many times I don't know what else to tell you.”


Pansy laughed, coming in to rescue a very lost Draco and pressing a manicured finger to the red circle that said 'Coca-Cola.' A spray of white and black started pouring into the large cup in his hand. “'Your soulmate's an idiot.”


Draco hums, “Not my soulmate.” He turns to her, capping a lid on the soft drink. “Come on, let's watch this ...movie?”


***

The WWN was softly playing an acoustic melody in the background of the office as Draco completed magically binding a few new hire training manuals. He placed them at the corner of his desk as a short, balding man slowly entered., shoes scrapping against the dark maroon carpet.


“Um...”


Draco looked up and stared expectantly at him. No one usually comes into the office, choosing to correspond with the WR department via owls and memos.


The man looked around the small office, glancing back to the see the name printed on the frosted glass door. Draco understands the surprise, most people forgot he still works in the building, with all his work done and written behind the name of Lampley or Bones.


“I-” He looks at Draco once more, eyes darting down to his right arm.


Draco almost laughs. What a fool... doesn't even know on which arm the Dark Mark is and he's acting as if Draco will put out his wand. “Can I help you?


He seems to settle himself and steps deeper into the office. “Yes, I came to see what do I do about changing my vault number for my pay deposits?”


Draco immediately opens up the drawer on his right and begins to look for the form. “Fill this out, have Gringotts stamp it and then return it.” He pulls out the sheet and floats it to him without bothering to look.


“And who do I turn it into?” The sheet is taken with two careful fingers


Your mother. Draco thinks. “Just return it to me, I'll process it.” Draco responds pulling another file towards himself and grabbing his quill.


He can hear the man shuffle awkwardly, “Is there somewhere else?” Draco grips his quill knowing he actually meant someone else. “It's just... it's my personal information.”

 

Draco’s lip couldn’t stop itself from curling back. As if he wanted anything to do with his bank information. He himself had more than the pathetic man in front of him can begin to save up in five lifetimes. “You do realize I already have access to to it all right? Your address, your family, your medical records.” He turned to him, shaking his head at this man's stupidity.

 

The man in front of him scowled. “Not right if you ask me. Death Eater scum like you shouldn't be allowed in this building, taking an honest job from someone more deserving.”

 

Draco rolls his eyes and turns back to his desk.

 

“You should be rotting in Azkaban, you murderous-”

 

The sudden cut off of the man's tiring spiel had Draco's head whipping back and his hand closer to his wand.

 

The man was still staring at Draco, eyes wide and accusing. His mouth opening and closing, obviously speaking, but zero sound coming out. Draco's eyes were already looking behind him towards the door when the man also turned his back on Draco to see the source of magic.

 

The man steps back closer to Draco and Draco snorts.

 

Potter stood at the entrance of the office, two cups of what has to be some variation of caffeine in his hands, tall, imposing, and with the embodiment of authority in his eyes as he stares down the stranger. There's something like a sizzle in the air and Draco feels goosebumps cover his arms. Potter speaks, voice low and face hard, “Don't speak to him that way. Ever.”

 

Potter voice holds promise and the man can only nod. Potter tilts his head behind him, “Leave.” The whimpering man scrambles to pass Potter as he exits.

 

Draco raises his eyebrows, impressed that the Gryffindor Golden Boy doesn't hold back when inspiring fear to a civilian. It was almost Slytherin.

 

Draco turns back to his work now that the office is one person less and ignores Potter as he feels him reign in his magic. He swears he feels Potter's magic sweep over him one last time, almost like a caress on his arm before its gone again.

 

“Malfoy, I – Can I call you Draco?”

 

“No.” Draco breathes out a laugh trying to concentrate on what he has to do next. Hmm... ID's. Need to schedule appointments for new hires to come in to take their photo. Draco dips his quill into the inkwell.

 

“What are you playing at Malfoy?”

 

Draco looks up at that. Potter is standing closer now, hands still carrying those cups.

 

“You've ignored all my owls asking you out for coffee. You refuse to look at me for more than a second.” Damn, Draco winced. He did go back to look at his desk. “I had to spend almost an hour walking around the ministry trying to find this office and you're still acting like – this,” Harry points towards his shoulder. Ah, there it is. -is the worst thing to happen.”

 

“Well...” Draco tilts his head.

 

Potter growls, stepping up to his desk and slamming a cup in front of him. “Look I wasn't exactly ecstatic either but you didn't have to run from me. We need to talk.”

 

Draco sighs and swivels his chair to look at him. He shakes his head as he looks into Potter's face. He looks hopeful and so so earnest, but Draco is quick to give him a dose of reality. “You must be someone polyjuiced as Potter. The real Potter would know how crazy that sounds. I was a death eater and you're Saint Potter, boy who could do no wrong. Obviously there was a mistake. Potter, you and I-” Draco points his fingers between both of their bodies. “We wouldn't work. Hell, there might be a full investigation into me if this comes out.”

 

Harry shook his head, black curls bouncing along with it. “What are you saying. We're soul-”

 

“Oof, don't say it.” Draco huffs, turning back to his papers.

 

Potter grabs the back of his chair and rolls him completely out.

 

Draco cannot believe his luck. Where was Bones when he needed a witness. “How very dare you. This is harassment.”

 

“You're my soulmate. We're matched. Legally-”

 

Draco cut him off again, “Potter, I suggest you stock up on pepper-up potions and lots of orange juice because trust me. You and I, it's.. it's laughable.” He forces out a smile, trying to make Potter see how crazy it was.

 

Potter just stared at him, hurt. “Of course, the person meant to love me wants nothing to do with me.”

 

“How melodramatic.” Draco scowls. Potter remains silent and Draco begins to fidget under his stare. He refuses to deny or confirm what the other man said and instead eyes the bright red cup sitting on his desk. He points his chin in it's direction, hoping to change the subject. “What is that?”

 

“Coffee.” Potter responds softly, moving it closer to him. “From that new coffee shop, Daverly's that opened up next to Fortescue's. Figured I'd bring it to you.”

 

Draco carefully picks up the cup, only touching the cardboard sleeve around its middle. He sniffs the small opening and almost closes his eyes in content. He is embarrassed to admit he loves the smell of coffee.

 

Potter continued staring at him as he tentatively takes his first sip. It's not hot anymore, but at least adequately warm. It's actually bloody delicious though and Draco take another grateful swallow. “Thank you Potter.”

 

Potter nods and takes a step back, letting go of Draco's chair as Draco finally relaxes in his seat without the brunette's body so close. “Is your coworker out for lunch?”

 

Draco's grey eyes flicker to Bone's empty desk before going back to Potter. He merely nods.

 

Draco places his coffee down on the table with a groan as Potter wandlessly and silently summon Bones' desk chair over to Draco's desk. It rolls on command to a stop next to Potter and he settles himself down with his own cup of coffee meeting his lips. Draco gives him an incredulous look.

 

Boy Wonder just smirks and shrugs. “I have nowhere to be for the next 20 minutes.”

 

Elegant eyebrows raise, “Well if you're taking away my choice knowing I'm not allowed to leave, stay. I'm just going to focus on work.”

 

On cue, Potter swallows and looks down at his cup in guilt, “Fuck...” He starts nodding his head and gets up. “Okay, I'll go but I'll bring you coffee tomorrow, okay?”

 

Draco isn't given a chance to respond before Potter starts walking out. Alone now, he lets out a small laugh and hides his small smile with another mouthful of coffee as the WWN begins a faster tune in the otherwise too quiet office.


***


“Mr. Malfoy!”


“Malfoy, look over here!”


“Can you confirm you're Harry Potter's soulmate?”


“Is it true his mark is You-Know-Who's snake?”


“Mr. Malfoy!”


Draco's pupils were blown wide, flashes of light all he could see everywhere. He's currently on the concrete steps to one of the Ministry's side entrances, the one leading out to a Wizarding neighborhood.


Stupid Potter and his stupid big-mouth friends. Bet it was one of them.


Draco holds his breath as he starts making his way down the steps, shoving past the rude crowding photographers.


“Mr. Malfoy, is this why he testified on your behalf?”


“Mr. Malfoy!”


Draco quickly pulled out his wand and a few of reporters around him immediately stepped back. The flashes began in earnest. He scoffed at their fear and quickly transfigured a pen from his coat pocket into sunglasses, shoving them on his face to avoid being blinded and quickly making his way to the nearest apparition point. Out of all the days. He forgot to turn on his Floo Network before he left his house this morning, having it turned off in case Potter decided to say screw it and choosing the slow commute to work on the rare sunny day.


The reporters followed and the yells became louder and frequent.


His ears rung for hours after.


****


“Where is he?” Draco grumbles into his scarf, the cool wind already turning his nose and cheeks pink. The sooner they can get to their destination, the sooner Draco can leave. He's promised his mother he would be staying at the Manor this weekend and is expected for brunch with her in the morning.


Unfortunately, Greg is making them all wait in the cold. Astoria locked elbows with Pansy as they both tried to huddle close. Blaise was smoking his second cigarette a couple feet away. They were all waiting for Greg outside his home, expecting him to have been inside but apparently not.


“At least we got you away from those reporters. How long have they been outside your house Draco?”


Draco narrows his eyes in thought, staring at the muggles that are passing by them, entering the busy Italian restaurant behind them. “About three days.”


“Why haven't you called Aurors?”


“They'll probably twist it into a romance. Hero lover coming to help his soulmate.” Pansy laughs.


Draco groans, “Can we please not say that word? He's not, that.”


Blaise rolls his eyes, fed up with Draco about as much as Draco's fed up with the topic. “You can't keep faking ignorance, Dray.”


Draco narrows his eyes at him. He can fake and pretend all he wants. Even Potter's sort of given up, choosing to just ask about his day whenever he walks into his office to drop off coffee or the occasional tea. Potter doesn't attempt to stay longer than a minute and Draco's thankful he's being given space. He opens his mouth, to say what he doesn't even know, but is saved by the other blonde of the group.


Tory points a finger behind him, “Hey, I think that might be him.”


Draco scowls and turns to look at his longtime friend cross the street and walk towards them. A white paper bag in his hands. Once he's closer, he snaps, “Where on earth have you been Greg?”


“I know I'm late, but I had to get presents.” He lifted up the bag in his hand. Draco was immediately appeased, trying to guess what it is but not recognizing the logo on the bag.


Tory wasn't amused. “Did you know we couldn't even place warming charms because you decided to live among the muggles? We could've frozen to death.”


“It's not that cold, right?” Greg turned to look at Pansy.


Pansy rolled, “No of course not Greg, we're just in coats and scarves for fun. Honestly, are you never cold?”


Greg shrugs and then smiled, thrusting the bag forward. “You'll forgive me once you see the present. It was originally meant for just Pansy but it's no fun if it isn't for all of us.”


Pansy reached for the bag pulled out one of the rectangular boxes out.


“Phones? You bought us muggle phones?”


Pansy handed each one out to them, staring at her own box with excitement. “We can call each other now? No owls?”


Greg nodded, taking her box and opening it. “It's all set up now too. We can message each other. There's a green square you'll press on when you turn it on too. In another green box, you can click on my name or the one that has all of our names to write a message. Unless we're inside wards, we'll get it in real time.”


Draco opened his box as they started walking, “Then considering I'm always either at work or home, it doesn't seem useful to me.”


Greg shrugged. “We can also see where we are at all times. Thought it could come in handy like on a night like this.”


Blaise sighed, pressing random buttons on his own phone. “Except we don't know how do that.”


“Yet.” Pansy raised a finger. “Do not assume I cannot learn this. I will.”


“Well thank you, Gregory. I'm sure we'll use it.” Draco moved the empty box into his jacket, vanishing it once his hand was hidden. He stuffed the white cables and phone into his coat pocket. “Let's move faster. I'm in the mood for a stiff drink.”


Greg grins at him and Pansy smirks, stuffing the phone in her purse and grabbing onto his arm. “That's the spirit.”


They walked a few minutes longer and successfully reached their destination, with only a few hidden Point Me's along the way.


They came across a stone building, a neon martini glass with the name 'Clyde’s' across it and tinted windows lining the front. There was a long line and Draco almost called the night off, refusing to stand outside for an hour, until Pansy pushed them to the front. “I had Mimzy make reservations, come on.”


A man dressed in black with the word 'Security' in white across the back, led them in and up a set of stairs. It was very loud and packed, the scent of sweating bodies and alcohol filling Draco's nostrils, his arm gently pulling Tory in front of him as they were all pushed closer. Another man unhooked a red velvet rope to allow them to pass by. They settled themselves around a large half-circle glass table, a bottle of champagne on ice already waiting for them. Draco looked around, observing the dancing bodies that crowded the floor below them.


The bass and the music was overwhelming and Draco loved it, his hands slipping his coat off. Although he was at a club, Draco is suited in his usual smart fashion, refusing to touch any of Blaise's leather or what Pansy considers to be “appropriate”dancing clothing. Appropriate definitely not the word to describe anything she wears nowadays. He wore black dress trousers and and a white button down shirt underneath a navy cashmere; his Malfoy family ring on his finger and silver watch covering his left wrist.


He shared a smile with Pansy and followed her and Tory back down and onto the dance floor. Blaise immediately goes to the bar and Greg follows close behind, keeping a close watch on their the dark skinned Slytherin. They only managed to get him out of his house today on the promise of alcohol.


Draco smiled and swayed to the music, both girls sticking close to him. They were quick to learn that the muggle club isn't so different from a magical one. One just has to be careful not to do magic.


Pansy grabs onto three small plastic cups from the platter that a scantily clad girl was walking around with, yelling out her table number for the girl to place it on her tab and passes the shots to each of them.


“Happy Birthday Pans!” Tory yells.


Draco cheers with them both and swallows down the clear liquid, happy to be celebrating something with his friends. They grew up together, hanging out together for years even before the first day at Hogwarts, and in that moment, Draco felt nothing but love for them.


They do two more shots in the span of five minutes, music and alcohol making them feel weightless. That is until Draco sees a familiar figure standing off to the side.


Draco freezes and goes to grab onto Pansy's arm. She leans in from where she was dancing with a tall man and Draco hisses angrily, “Why the fuck is Potter here?”


Pansy stopped dancing and looked around. He pushed her chin in the right direction, waiting for her to see him.


What he didn't expect was her to openly clap her hands in glee. “Oh he came!”


He reeled back, “What?!”


Pansy threw her arms up in the air to get their attention. He immediately pulled the closest arm down. “Oh don't give me that look! He kept sending me letters and I wanted to meet Ronald. So I, you know.” Pansy shrugged. “I took advantage in the hopes that he'll bring him. I'm sorry Dray! But look, he’s here too!”


Draco turned and sure enough, next to Potter was Weasley. Even better. Potter must have seen them because they were much closer now and the distance was closing by the second.


Draco glares at his supposed friend. “No wonder you're wearing your fuck-me pumps and that dress.”


Pansy ran her hands down her tight slip of a dress, black as her hair and heels, red lips smirking, “Of course, darling. Come on Dray, think of it as a double date?”


“I need a drink,” with that Draco turned his back on the approaching aurors and made his way to the bar. He sees from the corner of his eyes Blaise, standing by as Greg and another man talk to one another. Blaise doesn't move although the other man is obviously trying to pull their bulky friend, knowing Greg is going to turn them down when he catches on to their intent.

 

Draco find a clear spot at the bar and orders a gin and tonic, advising the bartender of the name on their tab.

 

While waiting he feels a hand touch his back. “Can I buy you a drink?”

 

Draco stiffens and turns to the voice whispering into his ear. The man behind him was tall, with dirty blonde hair and green eyes, the wrong kind of green but handsome nonetheless. Draco looks up, matching his smirk with one of his trademarked one, “I already have one, but how about you buy me my second drink?”

 

The other man smiled, “My name's David.”

 

Draco laughs and grabs hold of the drink placed in front of him, grabbing David's hand and leading him to the dance floor, “I don't care.”

 

Draco spends the next few songs dancing with David, pressing himself against him and enjoying the feel of another man against him. He considered taking it a step further just to piss off Potter, staring from his place at the bar, but Potter's obviously already pissed and David and he just aren't clicking. They continue dancing though, enjoying the music and giving the occasional flirty winks. David comes though with his promise of another drink but eventually they both move on to new dancing partners. Draco now pressed against a man named Andrew.

 

Once he's out of breathe and thirsty, Draco finally gives the man a peck on the cheek goodbye and makes his way to the bar.

 

He sees an open space next to Potter and without thinking it further he squeezes himself next to him. “Oh don't give me that look, you'll get wrinkles.”

 

Potter finishes off his drink, refusing to say anything.

 

Draco shrugs and looks to the bartender, “Gin and tonic please?”

 

He runs a hand through his hair, a few strands coming back down near his eyes again. He feels sweaty even in the cool room and begins unbuttoning his sleeves, folding them up for the first time in a long time.

 

Harry's eyes immediately follow his movements. Draco says, “They won't know what it means. The muggles.” He attempts to hide his left forearm from Potter's intense stare.

 

“I don't care about that mark. At least not anymore.” He flushes looking away as the bartender places Draco's drink in front of him. “Another whiskey sour please.”

 

Once he's gone, Potter continues, “I used to be obsessed with seeing it in sixth year though.”

 

“Ahh your stalking days.” Draco smiles, drinking from the straw in his cocktail.

 

Potter laughs, looking away to hide his pink cheeks. “Yea sure, go with that. Tell me though, how did you find out about Hagrid's dragon in first year?”

 

Draco laughs as well and raises his eyebrows, impressed and refusing to look away. “By stalking you of course.”

 

Potter waves his hand forward, “See... totally acceptable.” He bites his lip and turns back to Draco, “Can I see the other mark?”

 

“Huh?” Draco says, eyes glued to Potter's mouth.

 

“Your soulmark. Well mines technically.”

 

Draco's too tipsy not to say, “I'll show you mines if you show me yours.”

 

Potter smiles and shakes his head, green eyes bright and shining. Draco didn't realize but they're so much closer now. He could see a few light freckles on Potter's nose. “I'd have to take off my shirt for that.” He grabs Draco's free hand, the one not clutching a drink, and presses it to the back of his left shoulder.

 

Draco's fingers feel warmth immediately, knowing exactly where to press by following the feel of their magic and keeping his hand there. He takes another sip of his drink as he moves his fingers up and down, in a light brush.

 

Potter sucks in a breath, now off of his stool and closer. The hand pressed on Potter's shoulder tightens on the curve above it, encouraging him even closer.

 

Draco clears in throat and removes his left hand from the cool glass on the counter. He offers up his left wrist.

 

Draco avidly looks at the brunette as his watch is pushed aside, as much as it can go at least, and the gold symbol is fully visible. Potter holds the wrist in one hand as another slowly presses a digit to outline the triangle.

 

Eventually, it becomes too intimate and the small buzz of pleasure from the mark was making him feel hot. He removes his hand from Potter's and grab his drink again. Potter begins to speak, voice low but distinguishable from the loud music around them, “I hated that symbol at first. When I learned what it did to Grindelwald and then Voldemort, I thought it was nothing but bad news; but in the hours leading up to the final battle, before I was going to meet him, it was all I can think about. Death.”

 

“Potter.” Draco tried to stop him, but he continued.

 

“I was fully prepared to die and I thought about the last brother, the one who met death as a friend in the end of the story. I wished I could be that brave.”

 

Draco took a large gulp from his drink, shaking his head, “You are brave.” What a beautiful fool, thinking he was anything but.

 

Potter leaned in smirking, “What if I told you I faked it? I was terrified.”

 

Draco snorts, laughing, “Well yes Potter, that's called being brave no? Faking it until you make it?”

 

“Well I think it worked out,” he shrugs, leaning back from Draco and smiling when the blonde starts to follow his retreating face. Draco caught himself in time and turned to look back at the dancing crowd, cold glass meeting his lips once more.

 

“How about a dance with me?” Potter offers up his palm as he in turn finishes his drink.

 

Alcohol warming his cheeks and relaxing his body, Draco took hold and led them to the center. Potter's body walked close behind him until Draco's back was pressed up against his front and sun-kissed hands gripped his hips. Fuck, this wasn't dancing. Well it was, but Draco didn't stick this close to others. There wasn't a single space between them as they followed the rhythm of the music and the crowd around them. Draco turned around, an arm coming up to grab onto Potter's shoulder. “You were a shit dancer in school!” He yelled.

 

Potter laughed, the rumble in his chest felt by Draco's hand. “And now?”

 

He turns Draco around to lead them into a new song. He feels the press of Potter's arousal pressing against him. He curses and turns, “Now, I kind of want to fuck you.”

 

Potter's jaw drops and Draco presses closer, still dancing as his lips meets Potter's ear. “I want to be on my knees for you as you cum down my throat.”

 

Draco smirks as Potter's grip on his hips squeeze and a gasp breathes out onto Draco's hair. He loves talking dirty, especially when he can get someone hot and bothered in public. He breathes out a giggle as Potter's face buries itself between his neck and shoulder, “Fuck.”

 

A small kiss is pressed against his neck and Draco grabs at Potter's hair, moving his head back.

 

Both mouths meet viciously, open mouth and messy at first. Draco cups Potter's cheek and presses closer, breathing the other in as he nips at the plump bottom lip. Potter pulls back a little to start kissing in much better angle, hands wrapping around Draco's slender frame.

 

“Dray! Dray!” He feels a pull on his shirt and both males break away from each other. Draco looks down to see Pansy swaying in the arms of Ron Weasley. The red head is blushing, lipstick smearing his face and avoiding his eyes as Pansy trips forward to Draco's arms, uncaring of the little space between he and Potter. “We're leaving. Stay safe, can – can you take him home? Great!” Pansy turned to Potter, patting him on his cheek without needing an answer.

 

“You're so pissed Pansy, how about you come with me?” Draco straightens up, away from the arms still wrapped around him. They were still on the dance floor and people were bumping into them now.

 

“Nope.” Her lips popped at the 'P,” returning back to Weasley's arms and bringing his face down to meet hers.

 

“Uhh....” Potter turns to look at him, away from the nauseating sight.

 

Weasley drags Pansy away, with a backwards wave to Potter, “See you at home Harry! I'll uh- don't wait up.” He blushes as Pansy starts kissing his neck and the two disappear among the masses again.

 

Draco turns back to the bar, trying to spot his other two friends.

 

“I think they left already.” Potter's back beside him, hands slowly going around him and a cold nose nuzzling his neck.

 

Draco keeps looking, staying silent as Potter begins to kiss and bite.

 

His eyes close and he leaned back, moaning at the feeling only Harry Potter can elicit and slowly he starts nodding. “Okay, okay,” Draco steps away, gulping at the sight of the aroused man. “Come back to mines?”

 

Please,” the word is whispered in his mouth.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Draco's beautiful brown horse, Miramar, comes to a slow trot parallel to Narcissa's, Daisy. They were now making their way back to the stables from the far end of the Malfoy grounds.

 

Draco huffed and looked to his right, a thin sheen of sweat covering his face and his breathing just starting to catch up. He lost the small race he and his mother just had. He shared a grin with her, her face lighting up when catching the eye of her son. She allowed herself a victorious laugh and shrugged her long blonde braid over her shoulder with a hand, a funny display of arrogance. He gave her a face and looked away.

 

Draco loved seeing her this happy, the sight so rare at the beginning of his father's imprisonment. It's getting much better now, with Narcissa finally venturing out of the grounds upon completion of her house arrest to go on a long string of holiday's with Eleanor Parkinson, who was mourning the loss of a conscious husband and running from the sight of a soulless one. Gone was the pale, submissive women who allowed her husband to lead them to ruin and allowed her home and son to be taken advantage. Draco knows she feels nothing but guilt over the choices they made, but he's tried telling her there was nothing anyone could've done. It wasn't just done, defying ones head of house. He turned to the ring on his finger, the one he inherited when Lucius was stripped of all titles not being the word 'criminal,' pureblood marriage contracts mandating that all lands, titles, and money revert to the heir and not the wife, effectively keeping Malfoy Manor and fortune only with the one who has Malfoy blood to avoid the possibility of Narcissa remaining loyal to the Black family or her remarrying. Lucius still has ten years left in Azkaban and, once freed, will still not be allowed to hold seats in the Ministry or reclaim Draco's claim as head of household.

 

Draco was head of the Malfoy family now and he refuses to be anything like his father anymore. His hair is kept moderately short, strands only touching his ears and his mother, the once proper and quiet Narcissa, is given free reign over however much money she wants to spend from her son and liberty over the remodeling [or destruction depending in which wing you're standing in] of their ancestral home. Among their number of vaults, one was made to specifically contribute to a dozen charities and organizations, which include school funds for muggle-borns and those who could not afford Hogwarts. There are minor family members in France currently trying to plot the removal of the ring on Draco's finger for those reasons alone.

 

It was Draco's goal to finish his probation and quickly pack to meet his mother at whatever beautiful island or estate she was staying in and close up Malfoy Manor for the next century or so.

 

Up until last night of course. “Mother,” He starts but was cut off with a sigh from his right.

 

“I told you, Draco.” Narcissa pushed her steed closer to him to be able to hear him better. “Call me mum, like all those other children do and half bloods and the like.” She waved a hand to motion the rest.

 

Draco rolled his eyes, but corrected himself. He doesn't know where words like mum, bullocks, and cheers are coming from but he's starting to get used it. The other day his mother turned to him and called a waiter a wanker for purposefully ignoring their table. Draco almost fell out of his seat and they both left the restaurant hungry but laughing like two schoolmates.

 

“What is it sweetie?” Narcissa turned to him, face composed to a more serious concern. “You've obviously been hesitating in telling me something all morning. I haven't had that many bloody mary's to not see it.”

 

“Do you believe in soulmates?”

 

Narcissa pursed her lips and looked forward, Daisy turning away from Draco and Miramar to go around the large oak tree in front of her. The birds above were deafening in the silence that followed. After another few seconds, she answers, “Assuming you're not talking about the mere existence of soulmates, because that's an already proven fact, and you're questioning me if I believe in the ideology behind it; staying, marrying and loving one's soulmate – then yes, I do.”

 

Draco shook his head, “Even after father?”

 

Narcissa shook her head, “I loved your father, he is my soulmate but you're right to be dismissive of my answer; if he was here, maybe I wouldn't be here next to you, riding Daisy. You blame him for the dissolution of our marriage but I failed him just as much Draco. Relationships are more than what you feel for each other, it's what's around you, the compromises, and the difficulties you face together. Magic brings you together and its up to you to cultivate what could be something wonderful. Lucius and I... we couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle it, I started to resent him. My love for you was so much stronger than my love for him I think, I was just so angry over his decision to follow someone his father Abraxas chose to follow. Draco, many couples sometimes find out that love just isn't enough.”

 

Draco saw her face dim with what could only be flashbacks in her mind of events that could've left her to where she is now. “Mum, look at me.” Her mother's grey eyes met his own, both inherited from the Black family line, both a contrast to the generations of blonde and blue-eyed Malfoys. “You're so young still.” She laughs at that. “So beautiful. Do you think you can be happy without him?”

 

Narcissa smiled sadly at him, “Oh sweetie, my mark started turning black months before the end of the war. I think I may, but it will be so hard. It's hard every day. I feel like I'm battling myself choosing to get out of bed sometimes.”

 

Draco sucked in a breath, turning away. He doesn't think he has the strength to sit by and see his other wither before him. “But you've been doing so well.”

 

“I've sought out a mind healer. She speaks to me and we talk – about everything. I've started doing this muggle exercise called Yoga with Eleanor. We learned about it on our two month trip to East Asia. I've been surrounding myself with friends and a wonderful son who I can and will live for. I'll be fine Draco. Trust me, this I know I can survive.”

 

Draco latches onto that. “So you think I'll be fine too?”

 

Daisy obediently stopped at Narcissa's small tug. “What?”

 

Draco turned Miramar to her and shrugged his shoulders at her shocked face. “I found my soulmate. It turned gold almost a month ago.”

 

Narcissa stayed immobile for a second and then slowly nudged her foot into Daisy's side, continuing their trek back to the stables. “If that was a happy discovery, you wouldn't be talking about surviving foregoing a bond with her.”

 

Draco laughs bitterly, “Oh, mum.... foregoing a bond? I'm talking about maybe surviving a broken bond and avoiding him for the rest of my life.”

 

To her credit, she doesn't stop Daisy this time. “Him. Well there goes the thought of any grandchildren.” She turned to face him. “You've consummated the bond, Draco.”

 

Draco pursed his lips, “Yes.”

 

“Well, may I ask why you're not choosing to pursue this?”

 

Draco huffed, “Well the mark that bonds me to this man is sharing an arm with the mark that bonded me to one who wanted to murder him.”

 

Narcissa laughed.

 

And then continued laughing.

 

A smile breaks out and he shares a chuckle with her, “Okay now, stop. It's not that funny.”

 

More laughing.

 

Mother.”

 

She does eventually calm herself but continues to bite her lip, her eyes twinkling with unshed tears. “Oh my sweet boy. What are the chances Harry Potter will be okay with blood rituals?”

 

That made Draco pause, “What?” He rolls his eyes once he realizes what she's still referring to, “Drop the topic of grandchildren, Mother. He wouldn't do it. Not that I'm thinking of the chance of that happening. But hypothetically, I don't even think he knows.”

 

“If I talked with him maybe? Explained how it's perfectly safe and only requires a minimal amount of blood?”

 

“Mother, it's not happening. We're not adopting children. We're definitely not replacing their genetic code with ours with what he will most definitely consider a branch of Dark Magic. I know this, because he and I will definitely not be together to even discuss this very hypothetical situation.”

 

“Well if you don't want to adopt, there is male fertility.”

 

“Mother.”

 

“Well why not? Why can't you and Harry be together?”

 

“It's Potter to us and because... I can't do it. I've done too much.”

 

Narcissa nods, their horses winding away from each other again for a couple of other trees. “You were able to sleep with him, it shouldn't be that hard.”

 

Draco blushed, purposefully turning Miramar away to trot around another tree,

 

“Don't blush, Draco. You're an adult now. Even if it's awkward, let's discuss this.”

 

“I was drunk.” Draco says quietly, leaning forward to pet Miramar as they get closer to his mother. “We went out for Pansy's birthday yesterday and he was there. I was drinking all night. I know he was too.”

 

He shrugged and stopped talking but she continued teasingly, “And one thing led to another.”

 

His face was red but he smiled, “Ew.”

 

They were coming towards the end of the trail, the stables just coming into view. Narcissa spoke, face thoughtful, “Draco, this is your life. For what probably feels like the first time, you do not have to live by anyone's expectations and you can live for yourself and only yourself. I certainly have no problem with what you choose to do. I long gave up my right to have any say in telling you to do anything.” She raised a hand to silence him, “I want you to be happy, so I want you to fight for Harry. That is all I have to say in that matter.”

 

Draco sees her push Daisy forward and gracefully climb off her back. House elves started popping up around them, ready to take the reigns and take care of things from there on. Narcissa handed over Daisy to their custody and walked over to Miramar. Draco followed her lead and climbed off, stretching his aching body. He loves horse riding, just as much as flying. It was what he needed after waking up today to find a gorgeous black haired man sleeping on his bed and the subsequent panic in the living room.

 

His mother takes off her leather gloves and places them in the pockets of her tweed blazer, diamond encrusted pin shining brightly from the collar. She placed both her hands on her sons cheeks and kissed his forehead. “I'll meet you inside, my dragon. Remember we're meeting up with the Parkinson's, I have a gift for Pansy and Eleanor invited us to go shopping with them later today.”

 

He nods and sees his mother apparate away, most likely directly into her bedroom. She had long Hunter boots for the Wiltshire morning landscape, but never chooses to walk the long, probably muddy, trek back to the manor.

 

Unlike Draco, who finds peace outside in the clean country air and his own brown tall riding boots dirty with dried mud. As usual, the house elves work on Daisy, leaving Draco to lead his own into the stables and into her own stall.

 

“Hey beautiful.” Draco's fingers smoothed the horse's hair down, “Thank you. I really needed you today.”He leaned his forehead closer to her nose and breathed in a deep sigh. He was so screwed. When he focused, closed his eyes and felt within himself, he found that somewhere deep where he could feel the pulses of his magical core was Harry. Potter.

 

Fuck. The consummated bond. He slowly tugged onto this imaginary branch or string of what was himself and someone else and his eyes flew open at the feel of it tug back. With a hand on his chest, his face scrunched in discomfort and he mentally forced it aside, choosing not to explore that anymore.

 

His hands quickly got to work, removing the saddle and stirrups from Miramar and grabbing a bucket of lukewarm water for her. He made quick work of untacking her, scraping off any sweat and finding her favorite brush to start grooming her.

 

He smiled at her as she gently pushing her head closer to his. He gave her praises in between his rants and brush strokes across her body, “And he's an auror, Miramar! So reckless, always in danger... Am I supposed to just wait for him to come back from these missions like a house wife?”

 

“I don't think that's likely to happen.” Draco freezes. And of course, Potter appears. “Hello gorgeous.”

 

He slowly turns to the entrance of Miramar's stall and narrows his eyes, “Isn't this trespassing?”

 

“I uh, have access.”

 

Draco grips the brush tightly, his jaw stiff in anger remembering the months after the war where aurors flooded the halls of his home. They weren't allowed to barr selected DMLE members until the end of Draco's five year probation.

 

Harry is quick to add, “I'll never, ever, step foot into your home without permission. I just thought... maybe the stables were far enough to be fair game?”

 

“Fair? You're on my property either way.”

 

Potter steps closer, a frown marring his face and fingers clenched in a fist. “You left me this morning. In your home. After fucking me the night before. Yes, I do think this is fair.”

 

Draco stops and looks at him, the early morning sun behind the auror, forcing Draco to squint at him. There was no question the man in front of him was beautiful. Potter's always been beautiful, wide emerald eyes behind long lashes, gold-wire frames sitting delicately on his nose, a much fashionable replacement for the too small circular ones he used to wear as a child. He was taller now, short of Draco's height by only a couple inches, and although not bulky, still padded with no small amount of strong muscles.

 

He resumes brushing the horse's hair and looks away, swallowing down the pure lust that's tightening his insides. “I had to meet my mother early.”

 

“Couldn't wake me? I mean, I figured you would've at least kicked me out.”

 

Draco remained silent.

 

Potter presses further, reverting back to old habits and hoping for a reaction. “Wouldn't you have though? Kicked me out this morning, or the night before. Is that what you usually do, what you would've done with those guys if I wasn't there last night. Hell, why'd you give me your shirt and let me sleep with you then. I-” His voice catches and Draco turns to him in horror, watching Harry wipe a tear from his eye. Harry set his his jaw, visibly forcing himself to turn to Draco. “I didn't want this at first either. Actually, I was in denial as well. I didn't want to think of why Magic would think we were compatible or capable of loving one another. You and the word loving, now I thought that was laughable, Draco.”

 

Draco remains emotionless, watching Potter as he ran a hand through his unruly hair. Hair Draco now knows are actually as thick and as soft as they look, soft to his touch, and loose curls quick in bouncing back to its original shape after Draco pulls on them.

 

“I'm not perfect, Draco. You know this, you know who I am. You know me sometimes better than I know myself. I am reckless, I am impatient, and you're right I cannot give you the privacy you crave. I have been called short-tempered and naive. I will never give up my career for something safer like teaching because after all the shit I've been through I never learned how to live like a civilian. I need to always know what's going on or be in the middle and the thick of things. I am also ambitious and for this, I might receive even more attention but I long gave up denying myself things for the sake of others. I can also be a jealous person.” He shrugs, accepting of all the things that Draco knows about him already and the new information he is freely giving.

 

Potter steps closer into the stall, but stops when Draco moves a step back as well. Potters looks on sadly. “I am flawed too. You keep throwing it in my face that you were a Death Eater, trust me I won't forget it. Hermione hasn't forgotten the slurs or the anguish she's suffered in this house. Ron hasn't forgotten the taunts. But we've all moved on. We've all hated to the point where we don't have much hate to give. Neither do you, I think.”

 

“Crazy enough, my denial lasted all but 20 minutes. The more I thought of it, the more I wanted. I want you, Draco.” He stepped closer. “You just don't want me, and I don't think I have enough fight left over for me to have to beg you to be with me anymore.”

 

With another sad look and pause, it seemed like Potter was holding his breath, waiting for Draco to say or do anything.

 

Say something, you idiot. Draco was frozen.

 

With a nod, Potter walked away from him and the bond within the two tugged and hurt within their chest.

 

***

 

Potter stopped bringing him coffee after that. Which Draco tells himself is the only reason he misses him. Except now whenever Draco has to file more medical reports for the auror, he is quick to anger and his day is ruined. Draco wants to march up to someone in that damn floor and know what happened, why were they so careless with Potter, who didn't have his back, and if the green eyed wizard was okay. His only access was to the man was the occasional tugs he feels when he wakes up and the gold still shimmering on his left wrist.

 

Draco spends work shifts wondering if he can bribe his way into accessing the classified auror reports to know what Potter is doing and what is taking up his time. The story going around is that Potter has taken it upon himself to double his already heavy workload to work with other Auror Department's around the globe and thus hasn't been seen in weeks. The Department of International and Domestic Portkey already sent out a memo to restrict people asking and snooping in their offices to find out where he is. Which Draco had half a mind to do, maybe ask Bones to check with her friend Sophie who works there.

 

For the coffee, of course, which Draco misses. Which Draco is going to finally going to buy at the moment. He steps into the small coffee shop settled in Diagon Alley, pushing open the glass door with the name Daverly's painted in red. He decided to risk checking out the new coffee shop only on a Sunday morning, imagining 7 AM to be early enough to avoid any type of crowd.

 

There are only a few customers seated about the small area, their heads bowed in front of open books or scratching their quills against parchment. He made his way to the front, thankful there's only a single person behind the counter finishing up an order. “Large black coffee.” The woman behind the counter announces for no reason, handing the cup to the customer in front of Draco. “That's 17 sickles.”

 

The women still had her head bent down, counting sickles when Draco walked up next. He was looking up at the menu when he heard a shriek. The woman, a small freckled thing, pointed her finger at him and whispered, “You – you can't be here.”

 

“What?” Draco stammered. He shook his head. “I just want a coffee. I'll get out of here soon after.”

 

“No.” The women pursed her lip, shaking her head. “I do not – will not serve your kind here.”

 

Draco stared at her, stiff as a board. Of course. “My kind?”

 

“Get out.” She hissed at him. “Anyone with that foul mark is not welcomed in my shop.”

 

“I have money. Charge me double if you have to, but I have the right to buy a coffee.” Draco whispered back, heat rising at the back of his neck knowing they've caught the attention of the other customers. This was mortifying.

 

“Keep your dirty money.” She spat.

 

Draco stared at her as she took off the apron from around her waist, her glare telling him how much she hated him.

 

“Hey, you can't speak to him like that. Do you not know who he is?” The previously serviced man apparently stayed behind, almost next to Draco and motioning to the blonde. “He's Harry Potter's soulmate.”

 

'I do not care.” The lady announced, not bothering to keep her voice low now. “He's also a Death Eater.”

 

“He was only a child!” Another woman who was previously working on either a very long letter or essay spoke up as well. Rising from her seat, she said, “He's not anymore, Potter even spoke up for him at the trial. If its enough for him, of all people, it should be enough for you.”

 

The young man next to Draco took his arm and shoved his own coffee in his hand. “Here take mines.” He turned to the woman, “It's the bigoted older generation like you who started up these wars in first place, taking turns ostracizing groups of people. Learn from your mistakes.”

 

The woman yelled and marched towards her back room as the man backed away as well refusing Draco's money or his coffee back. Draco left the coffee shop with him, a young man named Evan, who lost both his parents to the viciousness of Fenrir Greyback.

 

“Thank you.” Draco muttered, still uncomfortable and upset. He didn't want the coffee in his hands anymore.

 

Evan shrugged. “Any one of those people would've done the same I think.”

 

“No, I don't think so. Thank you, Evan.”

 

Evan smiled and waved goodbye. “If you're other half spends his time saving and defending us, then we can do the same for you. Goodbye, Draco Malfoy.”

 

Draco laughed and still in daze, he apparated, coffee cup thrown in the nearest bin.

 

****

 

Weasley was slowly closing Pansy's front door, robes bunched up under his arm and his shoes hanging off his fingers when he arrives to the Parkinson home. Draco leans against the brick wall outlining the brick steps, hands stuffed in the pockets of his black, tastefully oversized trousers that were cinched high on his waist, loose offwhite tee tucked in, watching as Weasley turns to him, relief disappearing.

 

Blonde eyebrows raised behind dark sunglasses, “Wow, Weasley. Floo's too loud for you?”

 

The ears start matching the hair on the tall man. “Shut it, Malfoy.”

 

Draco snorts at the comeback, watching as Weasley almost trips in his haste to pass him. He continued watching until Weasley passes the wards and apparates away. This is the sixth time he's seen Weasley sneak out, usually meeting him in the entrance hall or just outside Pansy's rooms.

 

He shakes his head and goes to knock on the door. Pansy's house elf opens the door wide and allows him inside, grumbling about blood traitors and the burning of linen. Draco smiles, agreeing that the red-head was not good enough for the heiress that resides in the estate although for different reasons.

 

He saunters though the house, fingertips touching velvet fabrics and marble art decors on his way, knowing Eleanor Parkinson is in Japan with his mother learning to make sushi and Eddard Parkinson in a vegetative state in the furthest room in the house. He was given the Kiss after his trial, having taken down two aurors fighting his initial arrest.

 

“Pans!” Draco calls out after entering her suite, the white door already ajar. He crosses the living area, making noises of disgust at the vibrator next to the loveseat, and stands in front of the huge double doors to knock. “Pans!”

 

After a few seconds, the blonde stares in disbelief at the silence. The fucking arse left while she was sleeping. His fingers pull apart both doors, watching them open wide in front of him, leaking light into the dark room. Draco mutters a small, “Oh honey,” as Pansy slowly sits up to look at him, face still creased from the pillow and her hair an absolute mess, her silk bed sheets clutched up to her chest to hide her nude body.

 

“Draco.” Pansy looks at him tearfully.

 

Draco frowns, going up to the window and opening the curtains. “Come on love, lets get you bathed and dressed.”

 

Pansy just nods and grabs her wand, summoning a black silk robe and wiping away the excess tears before they can fall. “Fuck, I know. I'm an idiot.”

 

“Eh. We both are.” He flashes her a small smile. “Dotti.”

 

A small pop and a house elf appeared. “Miss' friend is back! What is Miss' friend needing?”

 

“Run a bath, add some oils, and set us up for some breakfast in the garden?”

 

Pansy looked up as she ties her robe around her and twists her hair in a messy bun. They walk to the en suite bathroom where a bath was already warm and ready once the doors were opened. The scent of roses overpowering for only a moment.

 

Without missing a beat, Draco settles himself across a gold trimmed pink couch as Pansy submerges herself. Nudity never made them uncomfortable, both confident in where they stand with one another. Draco especially, his libido silent and dormant as usual at the sight of her body.

 

He watches her as she stares ahead, swimming in the large tub to lay nearer to where Draco sat. She finally speaks, her voice quiet. “He came last night to break it off with me, telling me he is considering resolving things with Granger. Give it another go.”

 

Draco scowls but doesn't say anything.

 

“She doesn't have a soulmate yet, you see, so she doesn't understand. She thinks we have the choice to choose and doesn't like the idea of soul marks.”

 

“And this is Potter's friend?” Draco asked incredulously, it was hard to believe.

 

Pansy flicks water at him and continued, “You would think I would be angry and throw him a good hex or two. But I slept with him. I told him how much I wanted him and he just said he couldn't do it.” Pansy groaned and angrily wiped at the tears that betrayed her and fell from her eyes, “That he can't offer me a mansion, or expensive jewelry. He couldn't give me a good wedding ring even if he tried.”

 

“Little does he know you already bought your own wedding ring because you wouldn't leave it up to a man to pick an ugly one and you really liked it.” He whispers and she laughs in spite of the tears.

 

“But I told him that and he got even more upset.” Pansy shakes her head and moves to lather herself in a body wash. “Whatever, fuck him.”

 

Draco looks as she scrubs at her own skin, tears now running at a faster rate. “Pans, he's literally a piece of shit. He broke up with you and then slept with you.”

 

“And left me again, yea I know.” Pansy get ups and wraps a towel around herself. “Come on, I'm starving.”

 

Outside, seated among coffee, fruits, and pastries, Pansy continued to vent. She didn't bother changing, hair still in a bun, make up free, and silk robe tied around her tiny frame. “Did you know he hasn't told a single soul that we were together?”

 

Draco stopped sipping at his latte.

 

“I mean were we even together? I was just a fuck buddy to him. No string attached, his mark might as well have said 'For a good time call Pansy Parkinson.' No one knew. Not his parents, siblings, or co-workers. We never went out together since my birthday.”

 

“Since your birthday Pans?” Draco spluttered.

 

“I know, Merlin, I know!” Pansy choked out, tearing up again. “He's going back to Granger! Who am I to compete with her? She's going to be the Undersecretary soon isn't she, youngest ever. All I do is shop and eat.”

 

“That's not true Pans.” Draco scowled, “You are so smart, equally as smart. You are funny and outrageously beautiful. Where could you even get a job in today's world? Serving lunch at the Ministry canteen? No, you're much better than that and I would rather ship you out of the country than see you in those Ministry halls or even compare yourself to Hermione bloody Granger.”

 

Pansy sniffed and buried her face in her hands.

 

“Pansy, stop it. Stop crying. He's immature. Maybe give him time or forget about him. Pick any boy waiting in line for a chance with you and try to find happiness elsewhere.”

 

Pansy shook her head, black strands falling from her bun. “I don't want to be unhappy. I don't want to be like Blaise. I haven't seen him in weeks, and only Greg is allowed in his house anymore.”

 

Draco pinched the bridge of his nose. He didn't know what to do. Fuck soulmates and fuck magic.

 

“Do you think Potter knows?”

 

Draco shrugged, heart squeezing at the name. “I don't know, Pans, and you shouldn't care. Obviously Weasley doesn't care for Potter's point of view if his are so different.”

 

Pansy slightly pink face turned to him fully, her voice full of wonder, “Why did you push him away? Do you really not care?”

 

Draco looks down thinking back on the last few weeks, tearing a piece of his croissant off. He laughs, eyes stinging in effort to hold back his emotions. His voice unfortunately cracks. “Of course I do. Fuck, you know how much I cared about him – in school, and now, seeing him grow into this amazing man. I love him Pans. I think,” Draco's head tilts, voice straining, “I think I always have to be honest.”

 

“Then? You can have him Draco. He's probably literally waiting with open arms.”

 

“I can't. I can't do that. It's like fate is dangling him in front of me, knowing he is within my reach but I can't touch hurts.”

 

“That's so rubbish.”

 

Draco throws the piece of the croissant towards her, “He's gone anyways, I haven't heard from it since you're birthday.”

 

“Well I can't blame him. Why aren't you willing to show him you want the two of you together?”

 

“I can't.” Draco pushed away the small china plate. “So I have to pretend Pans. Pretend until I can convince myself and he moves on.”

 

Pansy stared at him sadly, “Not if you need pepper-ups to lie to yourself, Dray. Fuck, I need one now.” Fresh tears welled up in her eyes and Draco sighed, moving closer. “I'm so scared, Dray.”

 

“It'll be fine, Pansy. You and me, we got this.”

 

***



It didn't work. She slept with him once more a week later and Weasley still snuck out that very morning. Draco was over it.



He was sat at his desk when he heard a certain Auror had returned and was somewhere in the bowels of Ministry.



Seething, Draco made his way to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, ignoring the whispers that sprung every time he was seen.



“Is that Malfoy?”



“Mate, I think I just saw Draco Malfoy?”



An auror to his left spills his coffee on himself while another walks into someone else.



“Hey, are you allowed in here?” An auror looked at him questioningly.



“Technically, no.” Draco admits, “Where's Potter?”



The man squares his shoulder, “Definitely cannot tell you that. I think you have to go.”



Neville Longbottom shouted from a cubicle at the far end, “Oi, that's Harry's soulmate! Leave him be.”



Draco's eye twitches but repeats, “Boy-who-lived, heard of him? Point me in the direction.”



Another woman spits out, “Watch how you speak to us, I'll have you arrested.”



Draco sneered, “For what? Having a higher IQ?



Others hear that and begin yelling, gaining the attention of others and more people were craning their necks to look.



“Hey Malfoy, fancy seeing you here?”



Draco turns and is relived to see a familiar face. “Evans.”



The man from the coffee shop a week ago smiles at him and waves. Huh, what a coincidence that he's an auror as well. “Come on, follow me.”



Haughtily, Draco scooted past the glaring man in front of him and followed Evans.



Evans pointed at a door, “Go in there and ask to speak to Potter. That's the Head Auror's office.”



Draco shook his head, “No, I don't want-”



“You're going to have to. Come on, he's actually less intimidating than Potter himself.” Draco allowed himself to be pulled anyways. This was starting to feel like a very bad decision.



Head Auror Robards was a greying man of about 50, surrounding by paperwork and cursing to himself.



“Robards.” Evans knocked on the door once to gain his attention.



The man looked up to see the two, focusing on Draco. “Ahh, I was wondering what could be causing all that commotion. I though it was Potter.”



“Said he was looking for Potter and showed him to you. Good look Malfoy.” Draco glared as Evan winked and left him.



The Head Auror leaned back on his chair, observing Draco. He didn't speak up so Draco was quick to fill the silence, “Look, I'm sorry. I was just looking for Auror Potter.”



Auror Robards shrugged, “My men do about 10 to 15 hour shifts, I stopped getting mad when their personal lives come banging on my door to chew my ear off or when soulmates storm my department a long time ago.” He motioned for the chair in front of him. “Sit, Malfoy.”



Draco shook his head, “This isn't a personal matter, Sir. Well it is, but not with us. I needed his help with something.”



The seated man's eyebrows rose. “Hmm.. well Auror Potter isn't here at the moment. He is currently in the Minister's office for a meeting with the Department of Mysteries. I wasn't invited and its all a big mystery.” He smiles at his own joke.



Robards rises to his feet and begins to walk out of the office, “Follow me Malfoy. You can wait in here.” He shows him to another office, right next to his own, the door engraved with 'Captain HJP.' He waved his hand over the door and it swung open. “I normally wouldn't ever allow others in here, but I don't want you distracting others or causing another scene with your presence, no offense.”



Draco blushed, and lifted his palms up to show he didn't care. Robards held the door open and Draco walked in.



“He should be back soon.” Robards stays by the door, a hand on the doorknob. “Remember, people without clearance get a nasty curse when files are opened.”



Draco stammered out an, “Of course,” before the door was shut. He glanced around at the comfy space. The carpet was the usual maroon and the wood a dark brown. A desk cluttered with files, used mugs, and an old pizza box was at the center. A book shelf directly behind it and a giant fireplace to the right. To the left was an enchanted window, open to allow a slight breeze to drift in. It looked like muggle London outside and Draco took a step closer, inspecting the tall buildings and dozens of pedestrians.



Draco shrugged and settled himself on the couch directly in front of it, pushing aside the pillow and blanket.



For the next ten minutes, Draco has no choice but to stew in his anger. He had the sensational idea of marching here, pointing a finger at Potter's chest and yelling at him. Now that his plans were screwed, Draco has to sit here like pouting child until the object of his anger returns.



Draco sighs as he grabs hold of the pillow next to him, his anger slowly leaving him. With a glance towards, the closed door, he clutches it to his face and breathes in.



Vanilla, a hint of treacle tart, and musk fills his senses.



Abruptly, Draco curses and throws the pillow down. He was an idiot. Draco decides he made a stupid Gryffindor-ish decision and gets up to leave. Unfortunately, just then the door of the office flies open and Potter comes flying in, scaring Draco.



“Draco!' Potter doesn't stop until he's grabbing Draco's face in his hands, eyes raking over his features. Draco shivers as he feels a wave of magic fall over him.



“Potter.” Draco spits out his name from where his cheeks are squished, brows furrowed in annoyance. “What are you-hmmph.” His lips are covered by Potter's, soft, velvet meeting his open mouth mid sentence. Potter removes one hand from his cheek to push against the blonde's back, Draco flush against the other's body.



A hint of tongue slips out of Potter's mouth to caress his bottom lip and Draco's eyes close with a moan. His soul mark flares and Draco's almost dizzy from the spike in pleasure. Potter moves Draco forward as he walks backgrounds, resting back so that Draco is the one pressing him to the wall and allowing Draco to take control. He almost complies, but only allows himself a second taste, moving his own tongue to meet Potter's as their mouths continue to press and bite, before he pulls back to gaze down at Potter's now red lips.



The other quickly presses another small kiss to Draco's mouth before Draco finally steps back in confusion. “The fuck Potter?”



Potter rakes a hand through his hair and offers up an explanation,“They told me you here. That you stormed in here asking for me and that you looked distressed. I panicked and thought the worst, especially when hearing you needed my help. And that scared me more, thinking of the reasons why you would enter my department.”



“This is how you greet people coming for professional help? What an auror you are.” Draco snorts, crossing his arms.


Potter scowls. “Sorry, I was scared but I don't recall you pushing me away.”



Draco is proud of himself. On the outside, he didn't react, merely giving a half shrug. Inside, his heart stuttered remembering Potter's lips and how Draco had grabbed the lapels of the auror robes even closer, hearing Potter say that he was scared and Draco's heart thinking that meant he cared about him.



He turned from Potter's eyes and went to go sit on the wooden chair in front of Potter's desk, his long legs extended out in front of him and his elbows on the arm rests. “Your best friend is screwing my best friend.”



Potter walks over to sit behind his desk, removing his robes until he's in a t-shirt and black jeans. He replied as he sat down, “Okay? That's hardly auror business, Draco.”



“It's Malfoy, Potter.” Draco sighed. “Look, I had to spend my weekend consoling my best friend because yours decided to get back together with his ex.”



Potter blinked in surprise. “Ron's not getting back together with Hermione.”



“That's even worse, see.”Draco shook his head. “Talk to your friend. Pansy's not like me. She might act aloof and confident, but she buys into the romance of it all.”



“The romance?” Draco is met with a questioning look.



“They're soulmates – Your weasel and my Pansy.”



“Fuck.” Realization hits Potter, finally, and he frowns. “But then maybe she misunderstood. Ron wouldn't do that.”



“Potter, you need to face reality. Soul mates do not equal happiness, hardly ever in my experience. Nor are they kind and loving.”



“In your experience? What experience? You've been dodging the fact that we're matched and ignoring that I'm right here. You rejected me.”



Draco interrupts, “Scarhead, don't turn this into another “us” discussion.”



“Another one? We'll have to have the first to have another.”



“Look Potter, throughout most of my Hogwarts years my parents hated each other and barely spoke to one another without me in the room to mediate. Blaise is drinking himself to an early grave because his mate is off in France sleeping around and wanting nothing to do with him. Greg doesn't have a soul mark, his mate died when he was 17. You remember, you were there.” Potter looks away from him in horror. “And Pansy is allowing herself to be fucked around by your best friend,” Draco jabs a finger in his direction, “because he's what, afraid? Not man enough? Horrified at the thought of a Slytherin as his soulmate?”



“Malfoy... they're not us and we're not them.” Potter says softly.



“Potter, you don't get it.” Draco can't stop. The words are finally pouring out of his mouth. “We're too different. I can't stand your friends, I can guarantee you that you won't like mines. You're impulsive and short-tempered, you'll piss me off one day and I will definitely push you away then because I do not like confrontation.”



“Funny, you've never had that problem before! When have you backed down from a fight with me!”



“But one day I will! I'll get tired of it! I'll shut you out, I hate talking about feelings and from what I see you always feel the need to. We'll always be fighting, I'll want to spend thousands on clothes and you'll complain one too many times about it. I'm too sarcastic, I can be mean – you know this from experience and I haven't even begun to dissect our past. I hate the color orange and you have a vomit-inducing orange sweater that I'll definitely burn away and why are you laughing!”



Potter attempts to control his smile.



“I can be cold.” Draco adds.



“But we've never been cold. Hermione actually mentioned the other how completely unsurprising this all is. And, Malfoy, what makes you think I don't know any of this already? As if I don't know you.”



Draco looks at him, his mouth opening and closing.



“And I don't care how much you spend on clothes! Malfoy, is that what you think? I know you're rich and you love to spend your money. I cannot tell you what to do with it nor will I ever. You don't speak to my friends and I don't speak to yours so who knows, we just might get along if we tried. Or pretended to be amicable, because we're adults now, Malfoy, and that's what adults do.” Potter just has the audacity to continue smiling. “And you can burn any pieces of clothing you want. They're just clothes. I find your attitude cute instead of infuriating now anyways.”



Draco settles back in his seat in horror, crossing his arms and ignoring the cute comment. “Regardless, I hate attention and you've brought nothing but that. I'm getting letters from you fan club and reporters wanting an exclusive from an acquitted ex-Death Eater turned paramour.”



The auror's smile slowly disappeared as Draco talked. Potter then gets up and makes his way around his desk, leaning against the front, leg brushing against Draco's ankles. He ignores it. “I can't do anything about that. Except maybe ask why do you not want the attention? The old Draco would've spun this to his advantage.”



“Why do I not want the attention? There's no way I can spin this into anything. You prat, I'm not a masochist. The Malfoy name can get no lower; I won't give those vultures the chance to demean it any further.”



“By sacrificing me?” Potter shakes his head. “I'll be in the papers too, you know. I'll have to deal with the gossip as well. Is it too much to ask for you to try ignoring it, giving me a chance to make it worth it? Besides, the wizarding world might surprise you.”



Draco lets out a sarcastic, “Right.”



Potter shifts closer, his foot pushing apart Draco's legs and allowing the auror to move into the space between them. Potter leans down, arms trapping Draco.



Draco swallows, body stiff as he feels Potter's breath huff over his neck, soft lips just barely touching. Fuck...



“I mean, doesn't it mean something that since we found out about our marks, you've yet to say you didn't want me.”



Draco flinches back. “What?!”



Potter's green eyes stares into his, a hand coming up to cup the back of his neck. “You've listed about a hundred things that'll make this hard but none of them had anything to do about how you feel about me. You've never once told me that the reason you don't want to be with me is because, well, that you don't want to be with me.”



Draco stares up at him in indignation. He knows Potter is stating the truth but he won't give him the satisfaction of saying it aloud. He places a hand on Potter's chest before he can move closer. Draco's eyes are glued to Potter's lips as he states, “Pansy and Weasley.” He pushes Potter off of him and pokes at his chest, “Tell him to stop playing around with her and to stay away if he's not going to man up.”



With that Draco turned on his heel and left office.



 

Chapter Text


Tuesday, June 5th is Draco's birthday.


Tuesday, June 5th is also when the worst happens. Draco was in his chair at work, his usual setting Monday through Friday, when an owl swoops in and drops a letter on his lap. Draco pauses and slowly opens it, hoping it wasn't another birthday card from Potter. He already had one tied to a small package when he first walked into work, but doesn't put it past Potter to over do it.


It definitely wasn't a birthday card.


Draco sucks in a breath, rereading Greg's hastily scrawled note, before rereading it again. He gets up from his desk carefully. He should've seen this coming. They all should've seen this coming. It was right in front of their faces for months. Months.


He slowly walks out of the office, hoping Bones doesn't notice his shocked and pale face. He walks the halls slowly, and then much more quickly, until he's running into the DMLE and rushing into the office of the parole officers, eyes already scanning for Mr. Borden. He finds him in the right corner desk, eating a sandwich.


Draco has to clear his throat a few times to find his voice. It comes out breathless and shaky, “I have to go... I have to go to St. Mungo's. There's an emergency.” Draco ends the sentence in a whisper, both hands clutching the letter in his hands.


Mr. Borden, a too wide for his chair man with pieces of eggs and bread crumbs in his white mustache, looks up in surprise and only blinks at him.


“I have to go. May I please have your permission to leave work today? Maybe for a few days? A friend... an emergency popped up.” His voiced cracked when he said friend.


“Now, Mr. Malfoy. You know that's not protocol.”


Draco shook his head in disbelief, not daring to believe how much time he's wasting saying another word.


“You must give two weeks notice to request off. Any absences will lead to an occurrence which can be held against you-”


“I didn't...I can't do this! I need to go!” Draco turned back to the door, fed up and ready to run again when the door slammed shut in front of him.


Draco turned to look at Mr. Borden, the other man's wand out and pointed towards the door. The other parole office in the room slowly stood up as well. Mr. Borden smirked, a laugh beginning to bubble up from his chest. “Mr. Malfoy, if you leave I'd have to bring this up to the Winzegamot. Explain how after I have denied you this request of absence, you defied my rules and abandoned your community service.”


“I'll see you in court, Borden. You know where I'll be ” Draco merely lifted his wand and blasted the door open. People outside yelled as Draco charged out. The wards will notice as soon as he's left the building without authorization, but Draco will deal with that when the time comes.


“Mr. Malfoy! Mr. Malfoy.. that... that was destruction of property! I'll have the aurors called after you!”


“Draco!”


“Ah Potter! Look, look what he has done! He's trying to leave!”


“Draco!”


Draco kept walking unsteadily, rushing around people as he made his way towards the lifts, needing to be on the ground floor already.


“Draco, Draco, please... c'mon, use my floo if you don't want other's to see you. It's faster.”


Potter grabs him by the shoulder steering him away from the lift and back towards the Department of Law Enforcement. He didn't notice tears were running down his face. He couldn't hear the words Potter was saying but tried to explain, “St. Mungos. I have to go.”


Potter leads him into his office, glaring at the people who stood up from their desk or looked out of their offices to see the commotion. “Here... we can go through here.” In the room, Potter reaches out a single hand to turn on his Floo Network, body too close and a hand rubbing Draco's arm up and down, still trying to soothe him.


“We?” Draco croaks, looking at him.


“I'm going with you.” Potter's other hand quickly wipes away the moisture on Draco's cheek.


Draco steps away, “No you're not. I have to go and you're going to remain here.” Draco wiped his other cheek with his sleeves, uncharacteristically unbothered by using his clothing as a handkerchief at the moment. God, he was so scared right now.


“Draco, you don't have to go alone. Whatever happened, it'll be fine. Let me be with you...” He steps closer.


Draco shook his head.


“Please, just.. just let me in.”


“God, you would've been great in Slytherin.” Draco laughs humorlessly. Potter freezes at those words. “This isn't about you, or me. So stay out of it. You are no one to me to provide any comfort or to come along. It's inappropriate Potter.”


Potter winces at the first words. “It didn't say it for my own gain. I didn't know if you'll be alone and I don't want to know that you're in pain. I just wanted... please let me be some kind of help.”


“No, this is what will happen if I let you in! Possibly dead!” Draco chokes out, shaking hands showing him Greg's letter, instructing Draco to meet him in St. Mungo's. That he found Blaise this morning, overdosed on a cocktail of potions. He pleads for Potter to understand,“When someone's soul aches for another that badly... badly enough to want to kill yourself if you can't have it. I don't want that, good or not.”


Potter sucked in a breath, the words piercing but knowing Draco was just in shock at the moment. Draco raised his hand, stopping any further conversation, having had enough.


He turned to the small pot of floo powder, grabbed a pinch and stepped into the fireplace.


The last thing he saw was Potter's small smile and his soft, “I'm here if you need me,” before green flames engulfed him.


***


It has been three days since Blaise was admitted. He went through two procedures trying to undue the damage done by the mixed and very reactive potions and today his healer finally informed the small Slytherin group in the waiting room that he has finally been cleared away from Death's door. Astoria has respectfully kept her distance due to her connection with Blaise's soulmate. They are all silently thankful; the younger blonde looks like a mini-Daphne.


That morning Blaise was transferred to the Janus Thickey ward to continue his evaluations. They haven't seen him yet, and have been taking turns returning home for a quick shower and fresh change of clothes, but today he might be able to receive guests. Blaise is in the middle of his last evaluation for the day. Hes been in and out of testing. When they owled his mother, she regrettably informed them she couldn't make it, as she was in the middle of ensnaring a Viscount from Denmark and that according to her staying in Denmark was much more beneficial for Blaise than to have his mother sitting there.


Pansy cursed the woman and refused to owl her with updates. Draco knows Greg secretly still sent her an update yesterday because unlike the other two, he hopes she still cared for it.


The three were hunched together, with Pansy curled between the two boys, staring blankly at the blank white walls and glancing up only at the sight of a healer robes. Now that the worst has passed and Blaise was to be alright, they were scared to find out how much of their friend will be left after this.


“Pansy!”


They all turned in unison to the left, looking at Weasley, tall, lanky and red faced, panting from obviously having ran from wherever he was. His shoes squeaked to a halt in the middle of the all white entrance of this ward's waiting room, seeing the three in the empty room.


Pansy tensed up from next to Draco, her head lifting up from his shoulder.


“Weasley.” She greeted coldly, her red eyes and ruined make up not deterring her from sneering up at him as he walks closer. “Did something happen to Potter that you rushed over to tell Draco?”


She turned to face Draco but her eyes never left Weasley's stiff posture. Draco was so damn proud of her. He turned with raised eyebrows to Weasley, knowing that what Pansy just said was to be spiteful but Fate was out to get him after all and he still held his breath hoping it wasn't the case.


The redhead flushed, eyeing the other Slytherins gathered. He came even closer, his eyes catching their tired eyes and empty cups of coffee. “No, nothing's wrong with Harry. I was at home with him, you see since me and Mione's break up, I've been staying there, and he told me .. he mentioned...” Draco's mouth opened in surprise as Weasley started tearing up. “Pansy I thought it was you.”


He walks even closer and Draco can feel Pansy's sharp nails digging into his arm.


“He wouldn't say much, he doesn't know much. Harry was really worried about Malfoy and he told me he helped rush him to the hospital the other day, because a friend had..”


Weasley stopped right in front of Pansy's sitting form and the stupid Gyffindor bent both knees down to the floor and grabbed onto her leg, tears of relief dropping onto her jeans. Draco shifts away from the emotional scene, looking up to meet Greg's equally uncomfortable eyes.


“Weasley.” Pansy sighed, “Get up.”


Weasley shook his head, closing his eyes, cheeks red from embarrassment but still refusing to get up from the ground. “I was such an idiot. Me and Mione aren't getting back together. We never would've worked, we never will try to make it work. I'm so sorry I said that shit... I was so scared. So scared I couldn't match up to be the man you deserve, that my family wouldn't accept you. I can tell you I don't give a shit what they have to say anymore, Pans.” His blue eyes stared up at hers, imploring. “Please, I can only keep saying how sorry I am Pansy.”


Pansy pursed her lips, looking down, “And you dropped yourself on your knees because you decided you don't care for your family's opinion anymore?”


“It'll hurt but, if they don't want anything to do with you, I can live with that. I can't live without you, Pansy. I needed to tell you that I love you – and knowing you, you would want me on my knees.”


Pansy quickly hid a smile and self-reflected for barely a second, before nodding, liking the view of him on his knees too much. “I'd also want roses but I'll let it slide this once.”


Weasley sighed and pressed his forehead against her knee. “I'm so sorry Pansy. I – I'm so relieved, so happy right now, seeing you here. Safe.”


Is he sniffing her?


Pansy glanced at Draco and Draco merely smiled back. He shifted, lifting his ankle to his knee and turning to face his best friend. He smoothed a few stray strands of her bangs back into place. “Look at that, Pans. You caught yourself a love-struck Gryffindork.”


Pansy sighed in relief, Draco's humor and affection telling her that he okay with the decision she's made. Pansy smiled and looked down at Weasleby. Her fingers combing through his almost shoulder length red hair, pulling on it until he was facing her again. “Ronald.” Blue eyes closed at the use of his first name. “You're ruining my new jeans.”


Draco has to look away before he gives into laughter, seeing the ears turn bright red in embarrassment.


Pansy leans down and shares a kiss with Ronald. Draco turned away until he heard the telltale sound of them parting, when it was safe to turn around now. “Now, go get us more coffee and come back to me?”


Weasel leans up for another long kiss before nodding. “Yea, coffee. I can get that.” Hesitating he gets backs up and starts walking away. Draco rolls his eyes at the amount of times he looks back at her, sappy smile in place.


Pansy leaned her head back down to Draco's shoulder, a small smile on her face. He looked down and they shared a small smile. At least one of them can get their happily ever after.


When Weasley returns, it's to pass them all a cup and to say goodbye. He gives the Slytherin heiress another, long kiss, whispering that he'll be back later for her. The redhead nods at the two friends before he leaves.


Not long after that, Blaise was allowed to have visitors. Tentatively, Pansy walked into the assigned room, pushing the door open for the two behind her. Draco whispered a small, “Don't cry in front of him,” to Greg, watching the much bigger man struggle to control his composure. He was the one most affected, usually the more emotional one in the group even though from the outside he is the more intimidating.


Blaise was in a light blue hospital gown, the recline in his bed up high and his dark brown skin stark against the all white bedding and walls. He wasn't looking at them, turned towards the windows that showed the usual dreary English weather.


They settled themselves around his bed, Draco sitting by his feet while Greg and Pansy sit on the two available chairs on either side of him.


“Heeeey, Blaise.” Pansy whispered, grabbing onto his hand. “How are you feeling today?”


“Like shit.” Came the small grunt. Blaise finally turned to her and squeezed her hand in reassurance. “But better.”


“We- we are so happy you're okay.” Greg croaks out, voice obviously distraught.


Blaise shrugs and remains silent. His brown eyes turn to look at Draco.


Draco sends him a small smile and things flowed easier after that. They don't mention what happened or why... not wanting to have that conversation yet. They were all just happy to have their fiend back and alive.


“...and then I had to apologize and clean the food and the broken plates. By hand!”


Draco and Blaise forced out chuckles at the end of what is supposed to be Greg's funny story, but Pansy was not amused. “They made you clean and sorry, how deragotory! Why would you return!”


“It wasn't like that. It's just... called having a job, Pans. I'm happy to work there.” Greg rolled his eyes, forearms folded beside Blaise on the bed. “Besides, I get free Italian food at the end of the night.”


“That's not real Italian food, but sure Gregory, whatever makes you happy.” Blaise ruffled his head.


“I like it, I'm hoping to get promoted to a waiter soon. I think I can do it, I have the menu memorized.”


“You'll definitively get it. If they don't, I'll just buy the place for you.” Draco joked.


Greg turned to Pansy, “You and Weasley should come. It'll be a nice date and it's among muggles, so it'll be easy for you.”


At the mention of Pansy's soulmate, the atmosphere shifted; Pansy's smile dropped and she stared at Greg in fear of seeing Blaise's face. Draco then took a glance at Blaise, and to his credit, he seemed unaffected.


Blaise turned to the only woman in the room, “You and Weasley? When did he finally grow the balls?”


“Oh, um, just today actually. It's very new. We'll just see how it goes, right?” Pansy shrugged, trying to force the topic to seem nonchalant but failing.


Blaise held onto her hand again, “Hey, you guys don't have to avoid the topic just because of me? I want to hear about it. And we all know it's not a “we'll see how it goes” kind of relationship. Hes your soulmate. I'm happy for you Pans.”


She returned his watery smile, placing her other hand over his. Finally, she “She was shit, Blaise.”


“No, she wasn't.” Blaise replied, “Daphne and I... we were messed up to begin with and I guess I hoped that as my soulmate she could just fix me. She couldn't though, not without working on herself first. I get that now. Especially after the miscarriage....” No one spoke and watched as Blaise took a deep breath. “We did everything we were supposed to do straight after finding our marks. Except we shouldn't have. We weren't ready. We weren't ready to be parents either and I think it became too much... to grieve for something you wanted but didn't at the same time. Is that really shitty of me? To have felt relief?”


Pansy shook her head, “Absolutely not.”


“Well it felt shitty. I kind of didn't know who she became after. She closed herself off and you know how she's not like us, her family, although of pure blood, is not an old ancestral name. Her fortune was new and tentative, it took a major hit after the war, and her father put to much on her shoulders. I was expected to step into the business for her... but fuck it if I didn't give a single shit about doing that for the rest of my life. I said no, and I think she resented me more. We were planning a wedding and then the next day, she was gone.”


Draco swallowed his anger and looked down to Blaise's covered legs. It wasn't his place to show his ire but oh how he wishes he can be mean and mad on his behalf.


Greg speaks up then, “Well now we can both go stag and get pissed at Pansy's wedding, make fun of her ridiculous decorations together.”


“Hey! There is no wedding!” Pansy blushes, pretending to be angry and slamming her hand down on the side rail of Blaise's bed.


“Not yet?” Draco teases.


Pansy narrowed her eyes at him. “We literally just decided to move forward with this a few hours ago.”


Blaise smiled at her, “Either way, I'm so happy for you Pans. You deserve this, even if we've yet to see if he deserves you.”


Pansy nodded, “Oh don't worry, Blaise, I have every intention of making him work for it.”


Greg turned to Draco at that, “Well don't make him work too hard, like Draco here is with Potter.”


Draco groaned, “Can we not?”


Greg shrugged. “Just don't see why you're doing it, mate.”


“I'm not doing anything, just don't see what the fuss is about.” Draco sighed, turning to look at Blaise and hoping to move the subject back onto Blaise – the person they were all here for.


That was the wrong thing to say. The worst by the way Blaise is looking at him.


“What the fuck?” Blaise spits out, eyes narrowed. “You're still here pretending you're not in love with him?”


“I-”


“I hoped after all that you've seen happen to me, to Greg, you would be smarter than that.”


“Woah there! How about we talk about you. How are you feeling Blaise?” He glared at him, forcing the subject to change if they weren't going to move on naturally.


“Shut the fuck Draco, no let's talk about this. I just... I don't know if I can stand to look at you right now, let alone watch you spew some bullshit on me right now.”


“What?” Draco breathed.


“You love the guy! You've been obsessed since you were a kid, before you even knew what the word means.”


“Blaise.” Greg cringes, holding onto the Italian's hand, but the other didn't turn to pay him any attention. Draco just bites onto his lip hard, face devoid of emotion as Blaise sits up straighter.


Blaise glares at Draco. “I love you Dray, but you've literally had it the easiest. I'm sorry people are saying mean things to you but you're hardly suffering and it's annoying having you whine about it. You're the only one stopping yourself from being happy. You're the only one to blame. Because if I was in your place...” Blaise pauses, taking a breathe and staring at him in wonder. “Merlin if I was in your place, Draco.”


“Blaise.” Draco shakes his head.


“No, Draco. I want you to go. I can't even look at you if your going to continue rubbing it in my face that you have something not all of us are lucky to have. And then having the fucking nerve to throw it aside. Leave. Just leave.”


Blaise looks away from him, shoulders sagged in exhaustion, and Draco gets up from the bed in astonishment. Pansy avoids looking at anyone, holding onto Blaise's hand. Still, she tries, “Blaise you don't mean that.”


Blaise just cocks up an eyebrow to her. “We were all thinking it.”


“Mate...” Draco looks to Greg at the sound of his voice, who only looks down at Draco's shoes. He whispers, “Maybe it's best you just leave the room for now.”


Draco remains mute, nodding his head and slowly backing away from the room.


He closes the door, his heart hammering in his chest as he sees Blaise crumble into Pansy's side.


He doesn't leave the hospital, just heads down to the first floor and buys himself a cup of hot tea and settles himself in the lobby's waiting area. He's far enough not to be seen if Pansy or Greg leave Blaise's room, but close enough to run back if needed.


The thing about the first floor though is that everyone who is walking into the hospital will be able to glance at him. Draco settle's himself further into his seat, moving the collar of wool coat a little further up and hoping his cup obscures half his face. His eyes avoid meeting any of the people walking by, instead fixating on a little girl by the gift shop's display window. She was trying to grab a teddy double her size, chocolate curls and wide skirt bouncing as she jumped.


Pouting she turned and a saw him sitting there and he quickly turned away. The cute little girl had similar green eyes and he couldn't stand it, couldn't help but ache at the daydreams of a little girl with similar features.


He missed him, a lot. Maybe he is being a fool.


Draco looks down at his drink, trying to hide his face from the little girl, knowing she'll probably ask her mother about the weird guy in the corner and her mother in turn will explain the kind of monster he is.


The monster single-handily responsible for the the occupation of Hogwarts years back.


The stab of guilt is not new, however the sadness that wells up includes a whole new pain; because for all that Potter and his friends push him towards accepting his soulmark, he knows he cannot measure up. He can fight to be a better person, Merlin knows he's been fighting, but Draco has never been one to be brave and to put himself out there. Allowing himself to grow sick or depressed would've been his decision, of his own making, but allowing himself a chance at a relationship and seeing it crumble in his hands down the road.... he will ruin it. Of that he is sure of.


He swallows a mouthful of his English Breakfast, hot water scalding his tongue but needing a quick distraction. He takes out his phone and starts typing a message to Pansy: I'm downstairs if you need me.


Message failed. Draco scowls.


He's still wincing at the pain in his mouth when a pair of nude heels step into his field of vision. “That won't work here,” a voice sings above him.


Oh, he knows that voice. He knows that voice all too well. Draco's lowered eyes quickly rise from the nude heels and navy, pressed pantsuit to the familiar brown freckled face and gravity-defying bushy hair.


“Granger.” He greets coolly, attempting to lean back and appear perfectly composed. He hopes his hair doesn't seem too greasy or limp. He hasn't had time to properly wash it since he found out about Blaise.


She raises an eyebrow, smile curling on one side, not believing his act for a second.


He doesn't pretend to hide his displeasure when she goes to take the plastic and uncomfortable seat next to him. “Fuck,” he mumbles, turning slightly in his seat. The last time he was in her company was at his trial, testifying her point of view of the events at Malfoy Manor.


He couldn't face her then and he can't face her now. See, in school, Potter gave as good as he got. Hermione Granger, though, excluding that admittedly great punch in third year, never gave Draco a reason to bully her – was always above him in that regard. Still is very much above him.


“Was walking about, running errands, had to stop by and get these.” He hears the scrunch of a paper bag, “when I saw you sitting here. Thought I'd say hello. You look like you need an ear.”


He still doesn't look at her and shakes his head, “Uh, no. I'm good, thanks.” He turns to look at his surroundings; there was a couple crying further down the hallway, a woman yelling at a receptionist, bystanders obviously staring at the two of them, and oh look at that... more people staring.


“Oh...” She sighed, “Well, what are you doing today, Draco?”


“Draco?” His eyebrows furrow at his first name. This time he turns to look at her in disbelief, “What are you doing here Granger, sitting next to me?”


She pauses, staring at his tired eyes and pale face, “You don't look so good.”


He ignores that.


“Harry doesn't look any better.”


And there it is. “What do you want Granger? If you want your boyfriend, he's not here anymore, however he was just with my best friend. I wouldn't recommend getting in between, she has claws.” He turns forward, bringing his tea up to his lips, taking a much smaller sip this time.


Granger snorts, turning forward as well, seemingly getting comfier in her seat. She crosses her feet in front of her and both elbows lean on the arm rests. She looked like she was ready to stay for a while. “I already know about Ronald and Pansy. I also know about you and Harold.”


He leans back and looks towards the ceiling as she continued talking, “I mean really. You never thought, Hey, those two seem to be taking all this so well.” She laughs, “Trust me, my two boys are clueless when it comes to love and relationships. Well with Ronald, it's still a struggle sometimes, but I try.”


She lets out a small laugh at her own joke. More people were settling themselves into the empty seats of the waiting area, although a circle of empty seats were still left open around them, granting them some privacy. For added security, Hermione waves a spell around them, muffling the noises of the waiting area to a small hum.


Draco turns to her, grey eyes narrowed, “Seriously, Granger. Don't you have a government to help run? Laws to pass?”


Granger smirks, “That's certainly my 9-5 job. However I had to come by to do what seems like my actual day job.” She lifts a hand and gives the white paper bag in it a small shake, drawing his eyes to it. “Make sure Ronald didn't combust on his way here and to pick up Harry's prescription.”


Grey eyes return to the white ceiling, a list of possible potions rake his mind, thinking of what Potter could be taking. Something that requires regular consumption? Draco hopes it's not pepper-up. Their not that far gone are they? Draco's only needed one or two so far.


She sighs, turning to play with the ends of the bag, “He forgets to pick them up all the time and St. Mungo's stopped doing mail orders. Apparently there was an increase in fraudulent prescriptions and potion abuse cases since the war. People have been trying to get their hands on pain relievers and dreamless-sleep.”


Draco then says, “Or they can brew it themselves,” knowing how privileged that made him sound. He cringed, regretting it as soon as the words left his mouth. A cauldron is a large expense, an actual one, not the same student sized ones Hogwarts students are required to buy. Unless done in bulk and with galleons saved on the side, the price to gather the ingredients and the time needed to brew a measly vial makes it not worth it.


You also need to have the knowledge but she doesn't comment further.


“I was thinking...” Granger starts saying softly, “Draco I have quite a bit to do today. Want to go hand this to him yourself?”


He scowls at her but she just pushes the bag into his hands forcing him to hold onto it. He accepts but only because if the glass vials break it will not be on his head. “Oh Merlin, you're serious?” His eyebrows raised as high as he can feel them go, “You're genuinely seriously handing me Golden Boy's medicine? To go give it to him? At the DMLE?”


He laughs, she's definitely lost the plot.


She starts digging into her leather satchel in the empty seat to her right. “He's not at work today. He's off today and I think he's working from home tomorrow to... aha!” She pulls out what Draco learned is a pen and a piece of paper. “Tomorrow he's working from home, writing reports. He's been behind on a lot.” She informs him mindlessly, writing something on the small piece of parchment.


She hands it to him and having an idea of what's written on the piece of paper he shakes his head. It's one thing to just be starting to warm up to the idea of a relationship but to go waltzing up to him right now is too much!


She scowls and shakes the piece of paper impatiently, “Take it and memorize it, Malfoy, it won't hurt you. I'm only going to write it this once.”


Draco groans, “First you give me his medicine, then you try giving me his address, and now you pretty much revealed you're his secret keeper. Granger.” He huffs as she takes his hand and slams the address in his palm. “You didn't even make sure I was me.”


“There's no mistaking your brooding. Now read it.”


He looks down.


Penthouse 4, Wellington Court, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X, UK.


He stares at it and continues staring, until the edges start turning black and it turns to dust. He repeats the address in his head like a mantra, looking up at Granger and her wand. She stuffs it back in her sleeve and smiles, “Phone please?”


Already giving up, he unlocks the phone with his thumb and slides the glass phone to her, “For what?”


She starts thumbing away, obviously more proficient than he with the technology. “I'm adding Harry, Ron, and I's phone number. Just in case.” She looks up, bottom lip under her teeth as she gives him back his phone. She hesitates, “Maybe, one day, you and I can have lunch?”


Draco gulps but remains silent. It's all he can do whenever something manages to surprise him. Gryfindors jump to their first reactions, but Draco has always reacted to news with silence and thought.


The curly haired girls shrugs, for the first time unsure, “Just a small lunch, if you would like. We can go out for drinks maybe. You can text me.”


“Why? Why have you forgiven me? Have you forgotten all I've said to you? The things I've said about you?”


Granger's mouth drops and her eyes widen, “Forgotten? Draco... I don't know if I can answer that right now. I don't think I have.”


He almost vomits. “Then why all this? The trust and the lunch? Exchanging phone numbers as if... as if..”


She grasps his right hand, brown eyes wide and full of expression. “Draco, I'm not doing this for you. Or for me. I'm sure you're a great guy, and I'm making an effort to get to know you and the great guy you've become, but this is all for Harry. He's – he's my brother. I don't have a family anymore and he's never had one. We only have each other and sometimes on occasions we walk into the burrow and become a part of theirs.” She waves her hand at his wrists. “I might not have been given the gift of finding my mate, but Harry finally has and you have to know how much that alone makes me so happy. Harry hopes you'll choose him one day, choose to be with him, and I want to see and be a part of his happiness when that day comes.”


Draco stares at their joined hands, feeling her squeeze them as his throat squeezes too. Shiny slate eyes meet brown.


“Draco, you're already part of our little family. Please go to him. I don't hate you. I haven't in a long time. And one day, I promise you one day I'll give you my answer.” She squeezes his hand again. “But, I do know that this Draco is not the same Draco from 10 years ago, nor 5 years ago. That is why I'm trusting you. Ron and I are trusting you to stop being so stubborn and learn to forgive yourself. Go to him Draco.”


Cheeks pink, Draco takes in a shaky breath, and starts nodding, squeezing her hand back.


She beams up at him and sags in her chair in, “Thank you.”


He shakes his head sadly. “For what it's worth, I'm sorry Granger.” He looks down at their hands. “I'm so very very sorry.”


“And that, Draco, is actually worth a lot to me.” She lets go of his hand and starts gathering her things, getting up to go, “Treat him right, Romeo. My punches have gotten a lot better.”


Draco scoffs, “Well comparing us to a tragedy isn't making me feel better.”


Granger freezes, looking at him with a widening smile, “Did you just say.... Draco, you read muggle literature?”


Oh no.


She points a finger at him as she starts walking away, canceling the spell around them. “Now you have to text me.”


Two hours later, Draco finally stops freaking out and apparates to the memorized address. Years of being raised by Narcissa Malfoy and the cultivated years of friendship with Pansy Parkinson has taught Draco one thing; never dare apologize or grovel without tokens and gifts. So he had to make a couple more stops on the way.


He shakily asked the guard stationed next to the glass double doors for directions on reaching Penthouse 4 and is given a strange perplexed look. The man in uniform points to the lift and Draco gets in slowly. The numbers on the side of the metal doors have PH 1, PH 2, PH 3, and then it skips to PH 5. The rest of the buttons fail to have a PH before it.


After a second more of staring and panic settling in, a shimmer appears over the buttons and like a house under the fidelius charm, a new button appears and shifts in between PH 3 and PH 5. He presses it quickly and attempts to control his breathing as the metal lift takes him up, a bouquet of sunflowers in one hand and a box of his favorite Swiss chocolates in the other.


He didn't know what Potter – Harry – would like so he chose a big assortment. Thank Merlin, his nervousness didn't make him forget Harry's prescription, clutched tightly in the same hand as the flowers.


Draco was cursing to himself softy as the doors swung open, a stream of fuck, fuck fuck, in his head. He was considering throwing the chocolates away and opting to leave and find box of jewelry instead when he looks up to see that he arrived.


A single digit number has never looks so menacing. Well it's now or never.


He holds his breath and lifts up a fist. He remains frozen for some time and then gives up, choosing to stare at the door for another few minutes.


Once his heart rate seems like it's in a much safer rhythm, he raises his fists and knocks before he can change his mind.


After about 30 seconds there was still no answer, Draco deflates. That was anticlimactic.


He knocks again. Silence. He begins knocking again. More silence.


“Potter?” He continued knocking, not finding the irony funny. It feels like a lifetime ago Potter was doing the same thing to his own door. “Potter?!”


What if he doesn't want me anymore? What if Granger's wrong?


He knocks once more but no one answers and the door remains shut in his face. Swallowing down a knot that's formed in his throat, he steps away. Maybe he'll try tomorrow....


“Draco?”


Draco spins around quickly, his breathing catching at the sight of Harry walking out of the elevator.


“Draco, what are you doing here?”


He stares at his soulmate; black hair, pink lips, and green eyes. Harry was a sight and Draco smiled at him softly as the other walked closer to his apartment door. Harry was holding a couple bags of what appeared to be groceries clutched in one hand and an iced coffee held in the other.


The slightly shorter male stops in front of him, returning his soft smile with one of his own and a look of slight puzzlement and pure fondness in his emerald eyes.


Draco doesn't wait for the 'What are you doing here' and clears his throat, his eyes not leaving Harry's, “These are for you.” He gestures at the gift his hands. Draco continues staring at him; the silence loud between them. Wide eyed and breathless, his voice breaks at the next words, “I'm sorry, Harry.” He stops speaking, searching for more words, anything to show Harry an inkling of what's inside him right now. “I uh- I'm supposed to say something really cheesy and embarrassing right about now, but I don't know what to say.”


I'm so sorry I rejected you. I'm so sorry I made you wait. I'm so sorry.


I'm ready.


Harry's eyes crinkle as he just beams up at him, teeth and dimples making an appearance and bright green orbs sparkling with joy. He seems to understand exactly what Draco wanted him to know, an unspoken finally responding back. “How about I cook you dinner and we see what you can come up with?”


Draco lets out a breath and nods, “Yes, please.”


Harry bites his lip, and hesitates for a moment. Then he steps closer and suddenly lips are pressed to his own. Draco freezes for only a second before melting, pressing his own lips back and stepping closer. Lips continue to press down until they trail their way up, each eyelid and cheek getting kissed. Harry pressed a kiss on Draco's forehead, this time staying there and breathing in Draco's shampoo.


“Welcome home, Draco.”


There's a tug in his chest and Draco smiles into the side of Harry's face, for the first time embracing the warmth and love the bond is sending through his veins. No faking this time. For the first time, Draco's accepting; he deserves this and will fight for it.


“Harry... where's that orange jumper?


There's a bark of a laugh, a small nuzzle to Draco's face and the two stumble into the house kissing once again.





The End.