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Hearts on Your Cheeks and Chains Around Your Neck

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Harry hadn’t stepped foot in muggle London in nearly seven months. 

 

The last time he had done so, it was when he had been dumped in the middle of the street by none other than Ginny Weasley. So understandably, it was with immense brooding and a fair amount of sulking that he had been convinced to join Ron and Hermione at a bar. ( A bar! A muggle bar!!)   

He had spent nearly the whole morning scowling, as he had considered himself some sort of hermit nowadays. Unless, of course, you counted apparating in and out of the house to work as an auror at the Ministry of Magic. Harry, however, hardly considered that an outing. (Ron worked as an auror as well, but Harry had been ordered on a case which involved tracking three suspected dark wizards. This case had been going on for months, and Harry was so busy with it that he had only seen Ron in passing.) So, in retaliation, Ron had sent him eight letters. Eight letters with eight threats Harry just knew had come from Hermione's mouth—not Rons—and two howlers. The howlers told Harry in Hermione’s loud, angry voice that if he “ dare not set foot in that bar, she would have his ears on a platter, ready to be fried and served to his house elf .” She was starting to sound an awful lot like Mrs. Weasley. Harry figured that was due to the two years Hermione had spent living at the Burrow with the Weasleys after the war 

 

Harry was now trudging down the street, away from the train station he had just left. His least favourite thing about going into muggle London was the inability to apparate wherever he wanted. Apparating in muggle areas often resulted in wizards landing on top of muggles, which Harry agreed was indeed very dangerous. The weather was less than pleasant, as the heavy clouds had spent their entire day dripping all over the city, and there for making Harry’s worn-down sneakers sopping wet. They squelched every time he walked, and it was with his arms crossed angrily that Harry stomped along the sidewalk. He thought about whether or not he had locked the door to 12 Grimmauld place. Not that it would matter, there was nothing of value there unless you counted the old house elf, Kreacher, as a treasure. (Harry was sure that nobody since Mrs. Black was alive thought that.)  

 

Harry moped along the side walk, sending angry glances at all the muggles who bumped against his shoulders. They muttered half-assed apologies in his direction, not caring enough to look up and see the scowl on his face. His glasses were muddled with raindrops, and why he didn’t bring an umbrella, he would never know. It was three more blocks to the muggle bar, a place called Stu’s . Even the name sounded stupid and muggle to Harry, though he continued on, only stopping when a fat raindrop fell in his eye, causing him a mild panic. 

 

He dodged around many umbrellas, passing by the outdoor seating of a few restaurants, their tables unoccupied due to the gloomy weather. The sky was darkening as Harry walked, he caught snippets of conversation here and there. He passed by a venue of some sorts, and he was shoved off the sidewalk and into the street by the long queue of muggle teenagers that stood outside. They were huddled together, grins on their faces, unbothered by the rain. He caught portions of their conversations as he struggled to make his way around them. 

 

“Do you think she’ll sing songs from Yours?” 

 

“No way! That’s such an old album, I’d be bloody surprised if we heard even the singles off that one!”  

 

Harry rolled his eyes and moved away from the teens who were chatting loudly, it was no doubt a queue for a concert. The queue seemed to go on for hours, it stretched over at least two blocks before it curved around a building. Harry finally fell away from the kids in line and he moodily huffed at them, taking up the entire sidewalk, on the only day he has to get somewhere. 

 

Harry was throwing minor insults around his head when he nearly walked head on into three girls who were standing to the side of the walkway. 

 

“Sorry.” He muttered, ignoring their glares on the back of his head. He made to continue walking when he heard what one of them was saying. 

 

“Did you see his post on Instagram?” One of the girls said, she was tall, her arms covered in bracelets. 

 

“Who’s?” Another, shorter, with bright, unnatural, pink hair asked. 

 

Draco Malfoy’s , obviously.” 

 

Harry stopped moving, and turned to stare at the girls, his mouth open like a fish. They continued speaking, their backs now to Harry’s look of surprise. 

 

“Oh!” The pink-haired girl squealed, “Yes. Do you think that boy from the other one’s his boyfriend ?” 

 

“No way, Angie. He’s said on live sooo many times that he’s single.” 

 

“Oh I do hope so. He’s only five years older than me.” The girl-Angie-said this in a dreamy tone, and Harry turned away. 

 

He hurried down the bustling street, his mouth still threatening to hang open all the way to the bar. When Harry reached it, he pushed open the door and momentarily forgot why he was rushing. 

 

The bar was full of young people, many in jerseys, shouting up at a television screen with beers in their hands. He grimaced; muggle sports weren’t up to Harry’s standards ever since he’d been introduced to Quidditch. He scanned the room, spotting Ron’s flaming hair amongst the crowd, and pushed his way in. 

 

They had managed to get a table near the back of the bar, and Hermione turned to grin at Harry as he took a seat next to Ron. 

 

“Hi Harry!” She said, reaching forward to grab his hand. “How are you?” 

 

Harry felt all his undirected anger fall away as he stared at the smiling faces of his two best friends. He suddenly felt guilty that he had ever doubted joining them in the first place. 

 

“I’m alright, how are you two?” 

 

Ron immediately dove into a story about how Charlie had brought a dragon's egg to the Burrow to show Ginny, and how it had hatched unexpectedly and nearly burned off Charlie’s eyebrows. 

 

Harry laughed in all the expected places, asked the right questions, and answered them in turn. His mind faltered, however, to the conversation he’d overheard on the street. Draco Malfoy violently pushed his way to the front of Harry’s brain. He shoved all of Harry’s thoughts down and Harry kept finding his mind full of that infuriating sneer that Malfoy wore so well. 

 

Harry, Hermione, and Ron drank their way into the night. They alternated buying each round for the table, and Harry kept wondering how his two best friends has acquired so much muggle money. 

 

Approximately four beers later, Harry was ready to spill about the conversation he overheard in the street. 

 

“So,” He started, looking from Ron to Hermione, a lopsided grin on his face. 

 

The two of them leaned in, as though it was rare to hear a piece of new information from Harry. Given that he hardly ever left his house or work, they were right in acting that way. 

 

“I overheard something odd on the way over.” Harry then looked at the table, feeling like he was spreading gossip. 

 

“Well get on with it.” said Ron, his eyes interested and his mouth stretched in a smile. 

 

“Er, I heard some girls talking about some...instant gran or whatever... “ 

 

“Instagram.” Hermione corrected. Harry didn’t know what she was talking about. 

 

“It’s a phone application, Harry. For muggles. They take photographs of themselves or their food and post them for their friends to see.” 

 

“Like Facebook.” Said Ron. 

 

“I never used Facebook.” Harry shrugged, moving on. 

 

“They were talking about, er, someone on ins-ta-gran.” Harry thought the word sounded unnatural, and he was having a difficult time pronouncing it. 

 

Hermione adopted a knowing look in her eyes and she frowned, a crease appeared between her eyebrows. 

 

“Harry, if you’re talking about what I think you are, he’s estranged from his family now and he’s created quite a name- “ 

 

“Who are you talking about?” Ron asked, interrupting Hermione. His face was morphed in confusion, showing misunderstanding of the topic. 

 

Harry ignored him. “Why are girls on the street talking about him as if he’s famous?” 

 

Hermione cringed, her head seeming to retract at least a centimeter into her big, bushy hair. “He kind of is , Harry.” 

 

Harry blinked, his mouth dry as he blindly reached for his abandoned glass. “What do you mean?” 

 

“More like who do you mean.” Ron muttered, his voice like a warped echo of Harry’s utter confusion. 

 

Hermione looked apprehensive, like she didn’t want to upset Harry. “He gets paid to post photographs. Loads of people do it, but not many of them get the same amount of attention as he does.” 

 

Ron groaned and lifted his hands to wave them in front of Hermione's face. “Who is paid to take photos!” He cried. Harry and Hermione both turned their heads toward him. 

 

Harry said “Malfoy!”, while at the same time, Hermione huffed, “Draco!”. 

 

Ron went silent, putting his hands back on the table. “Oh, that git. Still around, is he?” He sounded disappointed, like he was expecting someone more interesting. 

 

Harry turned back to Hermione. “I thought he disappeared after the war.” He reasoned. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t wondered about Draco for the last three and a half years, he’d spent more time than he’d like to admit searching The Daily Prophet for articles involving the Malfoys. Lucius Malfoy had been imprisoned in Azkaban a few months after the war, but Harry knew Draco had gotten out of his trials unscathed, as Harry had spoken on Malfoy’s behalf during his trial.  

Harry remembered the pictures of Malfoy in the papers after the trails, the way his angular face looked sickly and tired. And he recalled the ones a year later, where his hair was starting to grow to his chin and he was photographed kissing boys in alleys and hotel lobby’s. Harry had stopped looking when it was reported that he had left Malfoy Manner, that Narcissa Malfoy had cut ties with her son. By that time, Harry had a new life and job to worry about, Malfoy was out of his hair then for all he cared. It had seemed like he’d dropped off the face of the earth. 

 

“He did disappear, he moved to muggle London. He hasn’t been spotted in the wizard world in nearly two years.” 

 

“So, he’s famous then, is he?” Ron asked, his voice unconvinced. 

 

“Yes, I’ve seen him online. He has girls fawning over him.” Hermione said matter-of-factly. She reached across the table toward Harry, stretching out her hand and opening it for something. “Harry, give me your cell phone.” 

 

Harry raised an eyebrow, but reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone anyway. He barely used it, there was no point in having muggle technology when he could use magic. Hermione had gifted it to him last Christmas so that he could text her, not that Harry ever did. 

 

Hermione unlocked his phone with ease, he didn’t have a password, as he didn’t see the point. She tapped the screen a whole bunch of times, ignoring Rons protesting noises, until a few seconds later she slid it across the table toward Harry. 

 

He looked down at the bight screen. The top read dracomalfoy with a little blue check mark. It said he had 3.7M followers, but those words meant nothing to Harry. Hermione pointed at the number. 

 

“That’s how many people look at his photos, Harry.” 

 

Harry made a quiet “oh” sound, and he continued looking at the page. He could see three photos across the top, and he clicked on the one on the left. 

 

Instantly, Draco Malfoy filled the entirety of the phone screen. He was sitting on a couch, below an open window. His hair pushed off his face and his cheeks covered in what Harry figured was pink makeup. It reached to just below his eyes and covered the tip of his nose, making him look rosy, almost like he just stepped inside from a snowstorm. He was wearing a pinstripe suit jacket, without a shirt. A single silver chain hung down across his pale chest. 

 

Malfoy’s grey eyes were only half open, giving him a sleepy, almost sultry look, and Harry felt he was staring through the phone screen into his soul. It made his insides twist uncomfortably. Malfoy’s jacket sleeves were rolled up, and Harry’s eyes were drawn to the spot where the dark mark once stood, black against alabaster skin. Harry couldn’t see it there, and he wondered whether it had been hidden by makeup or whether it had faded so much after years of disuse that he could no longer detect it through the small screen. 

 

Harry slid the phone back toward Hermione. “So he left? To become a muggle celebrity ?” 

 

Hermione let a small smile appear on her lips. “What did you expect? He’s been blacklisted in the wizard world, and muggles are easy to manipulate.” She shrugged, acting as if this should be common knowledge to Harry. 

 

Ron grabbed the phone off the table, taking a look for himself. “You knew Malfoy was a muggle celebrity and you didn’t tell me? What kind of fiancée are you?” 

 

Harry nearly spat out his drink. “ Fiancée ?! What?!” He snatched Hermione's left hand from its place in front of her on the table, raising it to his eye-level. There was a sparkly silver band encasing her ring finger. 

 

“When were you going to tell me?” 

 

Hermione and Ron shared a look, their faces growing uneasy. 

 

Ron hesitated, “Mate, we tried to tell you-“ 

 

Harry scoffed, feeling a small seed of betrayal plant itself inside his stomach. “What were you going to mention it at the wedding? Or during the honeymoon?” 

 

“Harry...we announced it at our dinner party, you were invited but you said you had too much work to get through.” Hermione said. She had a sad sort of smile on her face, her eyes shone guiltily. 

 

“We had an article in The Daily Prophet and everything.” Ron explained gently. 

 

“I haven’t read any news since... er...” Since Malfoy disappeared , Harry thought, but he kept this secret. “Since the last Death Eaters were sentenced.” He followed lamely. 

 

Hermione grabbed Harry’s hand. “We’re sorry, Harry. It’s just been months since we’ve last seen you and Ron says you’ve been working separate from him for the last few months on a case and... and...” 

 

“And what?” Harry said bitterly, looking away from his two friends' sympathetic faces. 

 

“And you never ask about our lives anymore.” Ron supplied, examining the surface of the table between them. 

 

Harry frowned, “I don’t see how that would get in the way of something this big.” 

 

“Mate, we only see you for minutes at a time.” 

 

Harry stared moodily at his now empty glass. He didn’t know what to say. Harry knew he’d been a bad friend; it had happened after all the aftermath of the war was sorted. He found himself unable to leave the war behind. He had spent the last three years mourning his friends and family, feeling guilty for the pain he had caused. He was obsessed with the past, and anytime he saw his old schoolmates he couldn’t help but think about the pain he’d thrown upon them.  

 

“I’m sorry.” He muttered, still refusing to meet either of his best friends' eyes. “It’s been hard for me.” 

 

“We know it has, Harry.” Hermione gently rubbed her thumb along the back of Harry’s hand, letting him know she was understanding. 

 

“We’re here for you, mate. Always have been.” Said Ron, and Harry knew that he meant it. 

 

 



Harry, Ron, and Hermione left the bar a few hours later, making their way back to 12 Grimmauld place at Harry’s request. 

 

He shimmied the door open with some effort, as it was beginning to stick due to years of disuse. It swung open with creak, and hit the wall behind it, resulting in a loud thump. 

 

Immediately, the large portrait of Mrs. Black began wailing. Harry sighed, and Hermione and Ron clapped hands over their ears as they stepped over the threshold. 

 

Harry kicked off his shoes and made to shut the curtains, noting Kreachers sudden presence in the doorway into the dining room. 

 

“Hullo, Kreacher.” said Ron. 

 

“You’ve still not found a way to remove the permanent sticking charm on that awful painting?” Hermione asked, shooting a weary glance at the portraits peering down with distasteful expressions at her in the dark hallway. 

 

“No. I’ve tried everything, I don’t know that there’s anything that will unstick a permanent sticking charm, except maybe burning the entire wall down.” Harry joked, earning a small chuckle from Ron. 

 

Kreacher was grumbling under his breath, something the three of them had grown very used to. “Master Harry wants to take down my dear old mistress. Master Harry wants to burn down 12 Grimmauld Place. Master Harry will not have a home or Kreacher to take care of him anymore.” 

 

“No, Kreacher, I’m not burning anything down. Don’t worry.” 

 

Kreacher turned away, his feet slowly taking him back into the dark kitchen. 

 

“He still gives me the creeps.” Ron said, shuddering dramatically. 

 

Harry lead them upstairs toward the drawing room, using his wand to flick the lights on throughout the old house. 

 

The drawing room was as Ron and Hermione remembered it, though dustier. When the three of them had first stepped foot inside 12 Grimmauld Place, they had spent a number of hours cleaning it and ridding it of various creatures. Harry had barely stepped foot inside the drowning room since the war, and a thick layer of dust had settled over each surface in the room. 

 

“Sorry, it’s not very clean.” Harry grunted, he stood awkwardly just inside the room. Harry hadn’t had guests in a long time, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands. 

 

Hermione grimaced, spying the old Black family tapestry. 

 

“Kreacher hasn’t been cleaning in here?” She asked, her voice full of curiosity. 

 

Harry shrugged, “He cleans some of the other rooms, but I haven’t been in here in so long that I told him to stop cleaning this one.” Hermione had this uncomfortable look on her face, and Harry knew it was because of her work with S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). The society had really taken off, and Hermione had managed to get a large percentage of elves across the wizard world wages and vacations. Kreacher, however, would rarely accept Harry’s galleon offerings. He’d tried, as had Hermione, to pay Kreacher, but he’d been in the Black family for so many generations without pay that he typically refused. 

 

Ron was busy examining the Black family tree on the far wall of the drawing room. 

 

“This one has a permanent sticking charm too?” He asked, tracing a finger over one of the lines connecting families. 

 

Harry made his way over, pushing an old chair out of the way as he went. He really needed to consider redecorating. 

 

“Yeah, so do the posters in Sirius’s, I mean my , bedroom.” 

 

Ron pulled a face, showing obvious distaste toward the permanent decorations. He then continued examining the family tree, pointing near the bottom at the Malfoy family. 

 

“I can’t believe that stupid git is famous in the muggle world now. D’you reckon his parents would be proud? I’m betting they don’t know.” 

 

Harry chuckled, following Rons outstretched hand to where Draco Malfoy’s name sat. 

 

“I don’t think so. I reckon they’d say he’s tainting the Malfoy name by fraternizing with muggles.” 

 

Ron looked curious at that. “Yeah, you’re right.” 

 

Hermione approached the two of them. “It’s rather dusty in here. Shall we go back to the dining room downstairs?” 

 

Harry and Ron turned. “Alright.” They said in unison. 

 

They returned downstairs, to the dining room as Hermione had requested. Kreacher was there with tea and biscuits for the three of them. 

 

“Master.” Kreacher muttered as he placed the tray in between them on the table. 

 

“Thank you, Kreacher.” Said Harry, feeling grateful for the house elf. Harry was a horrible tea-maker, he liked his tea far stronger than Ron or Hermione did. 

 

The three of them chatted until well after midnight, catching up on Harry’s last few months of reclusiveness. He recounted a few stories from the case he’d been on, while Ron caught him up on what had been going on with the Ministry outside of Harry’s work. 

 

Around one o’clock, Harry sent Ron and Hermione off by floo, promising Hermione at least four times that he would quit hauling himself up in the house and get out at least once a week. 

 

 

 

 

When Harry finally got to bed that night, he found himself unlocking his phone and drawn to Instagram. 

 

Harry fooled around with the app for a while until he figured out how to change his settings, naming his account @ aurorharrypotter , because he had no idea what he was else supposed to call it. 

 

He made sure to edit his account to say his name on the main page, and then Harry fiddled around until he figured out how to change his profile picture. 

 

Harry had only three photos on his phone, as Hermione had gotten interested in still, muggle photos and she had taken a few on his phone a few months prior. 

 

Once Harry was satisfied with his profile he messed around with the other buttons on the app until he found the search bar. Malfoy’s profile immediately came up, as Hermione had searched for it earlier, and Harry gave it a click. 

 

Malfoy’s profile unfolded, and Harry noticed that he had posted something new since the shirtless couch photo Harry had seen earlier. He gave into his curiosity, clicking on it to make it bigger. 

 

Malfoy was wearing all black in this one. He had on a black turtleneck below a different black t-shirt, and the picture cut off around his midsection. Malfoy’s hair was falling into his eyes, below which were a handful of small silver stars, scattered like shiny freckles along his cheeks. 

 

Malfoy had a puppy-dog look to him. His mouth was folded into a pout, and his eyes shone charmingly. 

 

Harry couldn’t help but think that maybe this was some doppelgänger of Malfoy’s but with the same name. Or a long-lost twin. Harry had never seen Draco make a face even close to the innocent, fragile one that was staring back at Harry from the screen. 

 

Harry clicked back to Malfoy’s main account page, clicking things here and there that brought him to long lists of account names and pictures that seemed to be reposts of Malfoy’s own photos. 

 

Harry noted the big blue button in the middle of his screen, and he clicked on it. It turned white, and read following . Harry looked at it in horror as he put two and two together, realizing he was now going to be in Malfoy’s list of followers. Harry was still staring at the screen, confused and slightly embarrassed, when a little red bubble popped up on the bottom of his screen. Harry clicked on it, mostly out of curiosity, and it brought him to another nearly blank page. 

 

The only writing on the page read “ dracomalfoy started following you.” 

 

Harry looked at it in surprise, then went to look at his own profile where his and Ron’s smiling faces peered up at him from the tiny circle that was his profile picture. It said 1 Follower, and when he pressed on it, the screen told him that his one follower was dracomalfoy with that tiny blue circle and white check mark. He’d have to ask Hermione what that meant. 

 

Harry continued playing around with the app, and he spent a bit of time looking through Malfoy’s photos. He came across one of Malfoy in a striped shirt, and then one of Malfoy and a man Harry didn’t recognize. The two of them were wearing faded pink jumpers. It occurred to Harry that he’d never seen Malfoy in anything but black or Slytherin green. 

 

As Harry continued to look through Malfoy’s posts (he had quite a lot) he started to get drowsy. It was nearing three o’clock in the morning when Harry finally fell asleep, his phone still displaying Malfoy’s Instagram profile, left forgotten beside his head on his pillow.

Chapter Text

It was the following week on Thursday when Harry saw Hermione and Ron again. He figured, as Hermione lead him and Ron through the eighth floor of the Ministry building, that there was no use putting up a fight. His months of recluse had come to an end, he was finally being forced back into friendship. He couldn’t complain though, as much as Harry had thought he deserved the alone time, it was nice to talk to someone other than Kreacher or his coworkers. 

 

The case Harry had been hard at work on had finally been closed, resulting in the arrest of a couple dark wizards. He was now back to his cubicle located on level 2, and it was there that Hermione had come to collect him and Ron for lunch. 

 

She lead them through the atrium, stopping every now and then to bid someone a hello or a how have you been ?. Ron and Harry held back by a few steps, doing their absolute best to avoid everyone Hermione stopped to chat with. It wasn’t that Harry didn’t like talking to people, it was that he was sick and tired of everyone’s immediate pity, or worse, their appreciation of what he did during the war. Harry felt deeply unsettled when his ministry coworkers thanked him for the trouble he had caused three years prior. Ron, however, just didn’t like talking to people the way Hermione did. 

 

Hermione lead them past the row of fireplaces toward the guest exit, stopping to back at the two of them expectantly. 

 

“We’re going into Muggle London.”  She explained, and Harry raised an eyebrow.

 

“Again? Why?”

 

She shrugged. It was quite unlike Hermione to not have a motive for something.

 

Still, Harry was suspicious, “I’ve been meaning to ask, where did you two get so much muggle money?” 

 

Hermione and Ron shared a look, and Harry glanced wearily between them.

 

 “Well spit it out.” Harry urged, crossing his arms over his chest impatiently.

 

Hermione suddenly looked guilty. “My father offered to pay for our wedding...in muggle money.” She explained.

 

“Pay for your…? But can’t you just...?”

 

Hermione nodded, “Arthur and Molly have already explained that nearly everything we need, they can conjure with magic. My parents, however, don’t completely understand that.”

 

“So now we have a whole bunch of muggle money.” Ron finished, his face unnaturally stony and expressionless.

 

Harry felt his face break into a grin, and Rons did the same, as if he had been holding back.

 

“You two are mad.” Harry said, and he couldn’t help but laugh.

 

Hermoine raised her nose in the air haughtily, “We’re doing absolutely nothing wrong.” 

 

“Except stealing money from ‘Mione’s parents.” Ron joked, earning a hmph! from Hermione.

 

“We aren’t stealing anything. They gave us the money, they just simply don’t know where it’s going to.” 

 

“Whatever you say Hermione.” Harry grinned, setting foot toward the exit again and leading the three of them out. 

 

They appeared on the street in a muggle telephone box, it was a tight fit but together the three of them pushed their way out, onto the sidewalk of Whitehall. 

 

“Where we off to?” Asked Ron. He glared at a pair of muggles who were giving them a weird stare for stepping out of a telephone box together. 

 

“Piccadilly Circus.” She said simply, starting down the street and reaching back to grab Ron's hand in hers. Harry watched as her ring glittered in the sunlight, reflecting dazzling lights onto Hermione’s coat sleeve.

 

Harry didn’t bother asking questions, Hermione had that typical determined look in her eye, meaning even if Harry protested accompanying them, she’d drag him there by his toes if she had to. It was about a fifteen minute walk to Piccadilly Circus from Whitehall, the sun was shining down on them, but it was a cold October day otherwise. Harry pulled his collar up against the wind and stuck his hands in his pockets to keep them warm. He walked beside Hermione and Ron, listening as Hermione told them how she’d asked Ginny to be her maid of honour. They walked through large groups of people, and Harry kept being pushed away from Ron and Hermione as muggles shoved their way between them. Piccadilly Circus was a common tourist location, and by the time they reached the square Harry found himself grumpily glaring at all the muggles surrounding them. 

 

Hermione let go of Rons hand and spun around, grinning at Harry. 

 

“What?” He asked, still at a loss for why she had brought them here. 

 

“Let’s take a picture. Give me your phone.” Hermione stuck out her right hand toward Harry, and Harry began to search his coat pockets. 

 

“We’re not tourists.” Ron complained, as Harry unbuttoned his coat to check his inside pockets as well. He found it in the pocket of his trousers. He pulled it out and handed it to Hermione, then began to redo his coat as it was cold enough that Harry could see his breath. 

 

“Why do you want to take pictures, Hermione?” Harry asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes.

 

“Because you need some new ones if you’re going to continue making secret social media accounts, Harry. Which, might I add, are not very secret when you put your full name and job title in them.” 

 

Harry opened his mouth to protest, and closed it again. “It’s not secret it’s-“ 

 

“It’s that you didn’t tell me, and I found it on my own.” She said, sending him a smile that showed she was pleased with herself. 

 

“What the is she talking about?” Ron asked Harry in a low voice, glancing warily at Hermione. 

 

Harry shrugged, not feeling that it was his duty to disclose he had made an Instagram account for himself, or that Draco Malfoy was his only follower. Harry realized in alarm that Hermione must know, and he looked at her with wide eyes, but she was busy holding up his phone at him.

 

She clicked on it and it made a sound like a camera shutter, and Harry reached forward in a fury to not have photographs of himself like that. 

 

“Muggles don’t even have moving pictures.” Ron huffed.

 

“Actually, they do. They’re called gifs .” Hermoine said matter-of-factly. 

 

Ron rolled his eyes, and Hermione raised the camera once again at them. 

 

“Okay, pose you two. Act like you’re enjoying this.” 

 

Ron scoffed, and Hermione clicked the camera a number of times. As Harry and Ron grinned toward the camera, Harry let his eyes wander around the area, looking up at the changing ads on the billboards surrounding Piccadilly Circus. Harry was watching one for a fast food restaurant change into an ad for a new cell phone, when one to his left caught his eye.

He turned his head to look, and as Hermione called him to look back at the camera in her hand, he realized he was staring at a large picture of Draco Malfoy.

 

“Bloody hell!” Ron yelled, having noticed the same billboard Harry had. 

 

Harry was at a loss for words, and Hermione had stopped snapping pictures in favour of turning to see what the two of them were staring at.

 

She only looked shocked for a moment, before she chuckled. “See, I told you two he’s nearly famous.” 

 

“That git’s a model , then?” Ron asked sceptically, still obviously staring up at Malfoy’s enormous face. 

 

“Really, are you that surprised?” Said Hermione, she looked at Ron, and then at Harry, who was silent. 

 

“Yes. To me, he’ll always be a stupid, ugly, no-good ferret.” 

 

This made Hermione laugh, and then Harry began to laugh.

 

“Let’s get going or else you two are going to waste your entire lunch staring at Draco Malfoy.” 

 

At this, Ron shuddered dramatically. “I’d rather bunk with a blast-ended skrewt.” He said solemnly. Harry laughed, Ron grinned, and together they followed Hermione across Piccadilly Circus and into a dimly lit restaurant.

 

They waited patiently as Hermione told the hostess, “For three.” And a waitress dressed in all black emerged to lead them to their table.

 

She seated them and handed out menus, prompting drink orders from the three of them. 

 

Ron began to say butterbeer, when Hermione stomped on his foot under the table and said, “Three waters is just fine, thank you.” 

 

The three of them discussed work, Hermione explained what was going on with S.P.E.W. lately, and Ron told them how he’d been stuck with piles of paperwork lately. 

 

When their waitress came by again, they each ordered their food and handed her the menus. 

 

“Harry, may I see those pictures I took?” Hermione asked him, and Harry slid his phone across the able toward her. She flicked through them, occasionally turning the phone back toward him to show. 

 

“I like this one.” Hermoine said, handing his phone back. He looked down at it, both him and Ron had their heads turned away, obviously when they had spotted the billboard, but they were both still grinning. 

 

“Yeah it’s nice.” Harry shrugged, looking back up at Ron and Hermione.

 

“You should put that one on Instagram.” Hermione commented, and Harry immediately felt himself flush.

 

“Why would I do that?” 

 

Hermione smiled, “Well I put the app onto your phone, didn’t I? Obviously you’d have deleted it if you weren’t interested.” 

 

Harry nodded dumbly, feeling rather embarrassed for a reason he couldn’t quite pinpoint.

 

The three of them chatted and ate their food, and Hermione and Ron offered to pay for Harry’s meal. 

 

Harry looked at his watch, “Our lunch is nearly up. Shall we apparate instead?” He asked the two of them. 

 

Hermione nodded, “Just go separately into the bathroom and do it. I’ll meet you in the atrium.” 

 

Ron and Harry obliged. Following her instructions, they each met back in the atrium of the Ministry with a familiar crack. Harry and Ron parted ways with Hermione, heading back to the eighth floor to tackle all their paperwork. 

 

When the clock struck five, Harry said goodbye to Ron and apparated back to 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry arrived in the foyer with a loud crack, routinely waking Mrs. Black on the wall. He pulled her curtains shut and took off his shoes, making his way to the kitchen. 

 

Harry entered the darkening room, hearing Kreacher speak from somewhere in the shadows. “Master Harry, you have returned from work. Kreacher has made vegetable soup for dinner.” 

 

Harry flicked his wand, turning the kitchen lights on. “Thank you, Kreacher.” He said, smiling softly across the room at the elf. 

 

Harry accepted a bowl of hot soup from him and took a seat at the table. He pulled out his phone as he ate, opening Instagram and watching as it immediately showed him a picture of Draco Malfoy. This time, Malfoy was laying atop a messy bed. He was wearing a black shirt that was unbuttoned nearly all the way to the bottom. He had black makeup encasing his eyes, making them look a dark, gunmetal grey rather than the cloudy silver Harry was used to seeing. Malfoy had on three golden necklaces that hung tangled together against his pale chest, below his shirt. He looked sleepy, as if he had just woken up to a camera sitting in his bedroom, ready to take photographs.

 

Harry experimentally clicked the little heart below the photo, assuming it would show he’d seen and enjoyed Malfoy’s photo, or something similar. Harry then played around with his posting options. He pulled up the picture of him and Ron in Piccadilly Circus, and figured that could be his first picture. His phone urged him to caption the photo, so Harry wrote Ron and I doing muggle things. Then he clicked post. Harry wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do after that, so he left it and placed his phone back on the table, aiming to finish his bowl of soup. His phone screen, however, lit up as Harry was eating his last mouthful. He snatched his phone off the table and read the screen.

 

dracomalfoy liked your post.

 

Then another, dracomalfoy commented on your post.

 

Harry opened his phone, clicking on the notification he had gotten. Below his photo said 

dracomalfoy everything is muggle on here you insufferable git.

 

Harry scoffed aloud. He wasn’t entirely sure what he had expected but it certainly wasn’t a comment, or more appropriately, an insult, from Malfoy. Harry stared at the screen, unsure of what to do. Below Malfoys comment, was smaller, grey text that read reply . Harry clicked this, and it brought up a text box. 

 

He wrote, @dracomalfoy well the muggles don’t know that, do they?

 

Harry put his phone down again, and he smirked down at his empty bowl. He stood up, bringing his bowl with him to the kitchen sink. He waved the kitchen lights out with his wand as he left the room, making his way down the hallway as quietly as possible, as not to wake Mrs. Black’s portrait yet again. 

Harry climbed the stairs two at a time, turning on the lights as he went. He paused in the doorway of the drawing room, his attention had been attracted by a rattling sound coming from his cupboard in the far corner. It was likely just a boggart, but Harry didn’t quite feel like staring into the face of his fears that night. He continued across the landing and up the stairs, passing two other floors until he reached Sirius’s- his- bedroom. Harry spent the rest of his night trying various spells on the posters stuck all over his room, but as usual, he couldn't figure out a counterspell to the permanent sticking charm. 

 

When Harry finally went to bed that night, it was with Draco Malfoy’s Instagram flashing behind his eyelids.



+



When Friday rolled around, Harry found himself unable to concentrate on his work for very long. He spent his lunch inside, at his desk, working his way through a mountain of paperwork. 

 

At half-past four Ron appeared in his cubicle, eyeing the newspaper clippings on the walls as Harry finished up his last bit of work. When he completed it, Harry spun around his chair to look at Ron.

 

“‘Mione and I were wondering if you wanted to join us for dinner tonight. We’re having a couple mates over.” Ron asked, staring at Harry expectantly.

 

Harry's first instinct was to excuse himself, come up with a reason to stay home as he typically would. It made him nervous to face people he had potentially hurt during the war, but Ron was looking at him with a mixture of hope and pity, and Harry found himself agreeing.

 

So just after five o’clock Harry followed Ron up to the second floor, and together they travelled by floo to Hermione and Ron's house. The two of them had moved into a small house in Hogsmeade, a short walk from the main road where Honeydukes and The Three Broomsticks were. Harry and Ron appeared in the fireplace, immediately greeted by a shrill “Ron is that you?” from a few rooms away.

 

“Yes love! It’s Harry and I.” Ron called, and Harry began to think how remarkably his two best friends sounded like Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

 

Hermione emerged from the hallway, wearing an apron and her wand in hand, and Harry determined she was beginning to act like Mrs. Weasley too. 

 

“Hi Harry!” She greeted, “I’m just starting dinner.” She directed her eyes at Ron, “If someone would help me it’d get done much faster. Make yourself comfortable, Harry, Neville and Luna should be here soon.”

 

Ron made to follow Hermione out of the drawing room, but stopped to look back at Harry. “Ginny’s coming, by the way. Do you want a drink?” Ron smiled sympathetically, and Harry nodded.

 

“Firewhisky, if you’ve got it.” He said lamely, and Ron grinned. 

 

“Right, one butterbeer then.” 

 

Harry couldn’t help but laugh, he situated himself on the couch where he could keep an eye on the fireplace. Hermione and Ron's home was cozy, the drawing room was designed in shades of brown and burgundy. The couch Harry was seated on was a deep brown leather, and the throw pillows around him were beige, burgundy, and white. The floor was hardwood, but they had a beige, patterned rug sitting below Harry’s feet, and he suddenly thought to take his shoes off. He did so, placing them by the fireplace, which was white and beige marble, and resumed his position on the couch. It was quite a change from The Burrow, and though Ron hated burgundy, Harry thought this room suited him quite well. There were bookshelves lined against the pale walls, piled high with so many books that many were sitting piled on top of other upright books. Harry even spotted a tower of books at the foot of one of the shelves, and he wondered whether or not Hermione was planning to build a library. On the other side of the room was a wooden stand and a television. It was surrounded by photographs, Harry identified himself from a distance, and a few of the frames were currently empty. Harry found himself wondering where those subjects other portraits were located. He spotted Ron's family amongst the photos, and he felt a pang of guilt upon seeing Freds smiling face. 

 

Ron returned with Harry's butterbeer, and he beamed as he told Harry that himself and Hermione had taken a page out of Mrs. Weasley’s book, and had all kinds of dishes stirring themselves. It was then that the fireplace erupted in emerald green flames, and out walked Ginny Weasley. She looked from him to Ron, and smiled.

 

“Hi, Harry.” She greeted, and Harry felt his cheeks go red.

 

“Hullo, Ginny.”

 

She kicked her shoes off and followed Ron toward the kitchen, going to greet Hermione.

 

The flames roared green once more, and together Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom emerged. 

 

Luna was wearing a long, flowing, lavender dress, and an odd amount of flowers in her hair.

 

Harry stood up to greet them, and was immediately encased in a hug from Luna. “I’ve missed you.” She said sweetly. She pulled away, and to Harrys surprise, Neville pulled him into an embrace as well.

 

Harry suddenly felt grateful, and as Neville pulled away he grinned. “I’ve missed you too Luna. And you, Neville.”

 

“It’s been a while.” Said Neville, his eyes travelled behind Harry. “Ginny!” 

 

Neville stepped around Harry and Luna, and embraced Ginny as well. The same happened as Ron and Hermione joined them from the kitchen.

 

“Oh!” Luna exclaimed, reaching into her small hand bag and pulling out a rather large bottle of wine. “I brought you this!”

Hermione gratefully accepted the bottle and ushered them all toward the dining room. 

 

The group of them chatted gleefully. Neville told them what it’s been like teaching at Hogwarts as he was now the Herbology teacher. Harry asked him about Hagrid and Professor McGonagall and Neville told him all about how well they were doing. Ginny talked about her quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies, and how she’d gotten promoted to seeker. Luna told them of the new species she’d discovered a month prior, and Harry felt happier than he’d felt in a long time.

 

Through dinner they spoke less, opting to enjoy Hermione’s cooking more. Some way through the meal Ginny said “thank you for such a wonderful meal, Hermione.” and the rest of the table followed with a chorus of thank-yous. To this Ron joked, “it was mostly me.” Which was followed by a round of laughter and a loud scoff from Hermione with her nose high in the air.

 

After dinner they drank wine and spoke some more. Harry noticed Hermione and Ron had acquired a clock similar to Mrs. Weasleys, but this one had a few new names on it. Its little arms said Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, George, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, and Percy. It was quite a crowded clock, but Harry was delighted to see his name next to Hermione, Ron, and Ginny’s, pointing at home. He was also quite happy to see 12 Grimmauld Place as one of the destinations. 

He pointed this out, and Hermione told him how Mrs. Weasley had gifted it to them as an engagement present. It was very useful for occasions when Ron needed to track down all the Weasley’s at once, and Harry understood why Mrs. Weasley had one in the first place.

 

When the clock began to hit only single digits leading up to midnight, everyone began to head home. There were many hugs shared and thank-yous passed around, and Harry helped send everyone out. Neville left on foot, as he couldn’t apparate in or out of Hogwarts, and both Ginny and Luna left by floo. Harry stuck around to help Hermione and Ron clean up, and then he bid them goodnight and stepped into the fireplace himself.

 

Rather than heading back to 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry headed to Diagon Alley. The muggle entrance wasn’t very far from 12 Grimmauld Place, only about twenty minutes on foot, and Harry felt as if a brisk walk was in order.

 

When Harry stepped out into Diagon Alley, he found it nearly deserted due to the late hour. He made his way to the Leaky Cauldron, and went through it without pause, emerging on the street in London. 

 

Muggle London was busier than Diagon Alley. The streets were bustling with the night life, and drunk strangers knocked into Harry on his way down the street. The night was cold, but Harry’s coat kept him warm and he kept his hands in his pockets to shield his fingers from the chilly air. Streetlights lit up the area, and Harry passed restaurants closing for the night and busy queues for nightclubs. Harry went by a number of darkened shops, most businesses were closed due to the hour, but here and there he would pass a pub or a corner store that were still brightly lit and open. Harry reached a stretch of road that was mainly just townhouses, and he only saw one or two muggles on the street there. He walked past one pair of muggles who were kissing quite enthusiastically on a doorstep and he averted his eyes, walking briskly as to not bother them. Harry crossed the street, only a few blocks from 12 Grimmauld Place, and he went by a number of muggles standing at a bus stop in the dark. When Harry was only about a block away, he heard shouting in the distance. Immediately he had his wand in hand and followed the sound. Harry ducked around the corner, coming up on a dimly lit alleyway. The voices were loud now, and Harry peered around the corner at a handful of men standing in a tight circle.

 

“Ay I’ve got his wallet.” One of them said, and Harry watched as they passed it around. 

 

“‘Bout a thousand pounds in ‘ere.” Another said.

 

Harry watched quietly, and he heard a snarky, but shaky voice speak up. “Stealing from your old friend, how nice.”

 

One of the men growled, “Shut the fuck up or I reckon you’ll get more than a broken nose.”

 

“Oh will I? Must be my lucky day-” The voice was cut off by a groan, and Harry watched one of the shadowy men raise his leg, obviously throwing a hard kick into whoever they were attacking.

 

If Harry had not heard such an awful cry in retaliation to the repeated beating that was now happening, he would not have even thought about stepping into a muggle fight. However, against his better judgement, he stepped out of the shadows. 

 

Petrificus Totalus !” Harry yelled this three times, cursing each of the standing men into full-body binds. They toppled over like bowling pins in the alley and Harry rushed forward.

 

Harry had expected to see a muggle on the ground before him, he was expecting to receive a letter from the ministry threatening his arrest for performing magic in front of muggles, but Harry was quick to realize none of these people were muggles. 

 

Harry thought maybe he was dreaming, and he pinched himself on the arm. “Ouch.” He breathed, staring down at the recognizable faces around him.

 

“Well that was stupid.” The familiar drawl taunted at him from the ground, and Harry found himself sticking out a hand to help up none other than Draco Malfoy.

Chapter Text

Malfoy accepted the gesture and Harry pulled him off the ground.

 

Harry eyed the wizards laying like wooden boards on the ground surrounding them, he recognized two of them immediately. “Goyle..?” Harry blinked, feeling blatantly confused. There were two other men laying paralyzed on the ground before them, but Harry didn’t recognize them.

 

“Thanks, Potter.” Malfoy said smoothly. Though he looked slightly maniac as he stared at Harry, it was as if he hadn’t expected to ever come face to face with Harry again. He made to step past, but he stumbled on his left leg. Harry instantly reached out, grabbing Malfoy under the arm, but Malfoy recoiled, yanking his arm out of Harry’s grip. 

 

Harry didn't know what to say. His mouth felt drier than usual. Malfoy winced as he stood on his foot, and Harry watched as blood dripped from his chin and onto the sweater he was wearing. Harry bent down toward one of the wizards he didn’t know and pried the wallet from his still hands.

 

“Let me help.” Harry found himself saying, and he reached out once again to support Malfoy.

 

Malfoy said nothing, reluctantly putting his weight on Harry’s shoulder and letting himself be half walked, half dragged out of the alley and back onto the street. Harry muttered a counter jinx to the full-body bind, releasing the wizards behind them as they left the scene. Once under the streetlights, Harry could see a bruise blooming across Malfoy’s eye and cheek.

 

“I’m just around the corner.” Harry mumbled, dragging Malfoy down the street. Malfoy drew away from Harry, trying to walk on his own best he could on one leg. 

 

“Quit being difficult, I’m only trying to help.” Harry muttered, pulling Malfoy toward himself. He placed his right arm under Malfoy’s left, and wrapped it around his upper back to support him. Malfoy begrudgingly put his left arm over Harry’s shoulders and allowed himself to be moved down the street. Harry helped him up the front steps of 12 Grimmauld Place and unlocked the door. He shimmied it open and yanked the protesting Malfoy through the front door.

 

“I don’t need help, Potter. Let me go.”

 

Harry, however, didn’t let him go until they were standing inside the house, and Harry forced the door closed behind them. It stuck to the frame, and Harry had to shove it harshly to close it with a thud. As always, Mrs. Black’s portrait began to scream into the dark foyer, and Malfoy adopted a horrified expression as he clapped his hands over his ears. Harry flicked his wand to turn the lights on as he walked over to close the curtains, silencing Mrs. Black once again. Harry turned around, kicking his shoes off and eyeing Malfoy in the bright light.

 

His nose was crooked and slightly purple. It produced a steady stream of blood that had stained crimson on Malfoys grey sweatshirt. Harry eyed Malfoy apprehensively, he was wearing black denim trousers, and Harry realized how odd it was for him to see Malfoy wearing muggle clothes in person. Harry had been so used to the Malfoy he’d known in school, and the one he’d seen online, that it took Harry by surprise how tired Malfoy looked. He had deep purple bags below his eyes, and his face looked hollow, rather than angular and sharp like it used to.

 

Harry lead Malfoy through the house to the kitchen, he greeted Kreacher as they entered, and he pulled out a chair for Malfoy to sit in.

 

Malfoy collapsed into the chair, and Harry fetched a bag of ice for Malfoy’s cheek and eye. He handed the bag over and Malfoy stretched out his hand to accept it. Harry felt their fingers momentarily brush, and Mafloy snatched the bag away  like he’d been burned by Harry’s touch. 

 

“Thanks.” Malfoy muttered, averting his eyes from Harry’s face. Harry nodded, watching as he pressed the ice to his cheek and gasped quietly at the coldness against the pain.

 

They sat in silence for a number of minutes, Harry was staring at Malfoy and Malfoy was trying his hardest not to meet Harry's eyes. Malfoy lifted his left foot up onto his chair, gingerly rolling up his pant leg to expose a stretch of pale skin. He firmly pressed the ice against his ankle. 

 

“Does it hurt?” Harry asked quietly, his eyes glued to where Malfoys fingers were holding the ice. Harry imagined his fingers must be freezing, and he stood up to retrieve a cloth for Malfoy to hold between his hand and the bag of ice. 

 

Malfoy looked up at him sceptically, “Of course it does. I think it’s broken.” He removed his grey eyes from Harry’s stare, turning them back to his ankle. 

 

Harry was alarmed, he’d thought only Malfoy’s nose had been broken. He pulled a chair out for himself, taking a seat across from Malfoy. “Let me see.” He demanded, half expecting Malfoy to refuse, but to Harry's surprise, Malfoy carefully stretched his leg out for Harry to see. 

 

The inside of his ankle was an angry shade of red, and Harry gently pressed his hand against it. Malfoy jerked his leg away. “Ow! What the fuck, Potter?”

 

“We should go to St. Mungo’s, then. If you’ve got a broken nose and a broken ankle.”

 

Malfoy looked up at him in shock, shaking his head frantically. “No, take me to a muggle hospital.”

 

Harry narrowed his eyes, looking at Malfoy as though he were insane. “What? No, it will take weeks to heal if you leave it to muggle doctors.”

 

“I am not going to St. Mungo’s Potter.” Malfoy spat, looking at Harry defiantly. He clutched his left knee to his chest, his eyes challenging Harry.

 

“You’ll be fine by the morning if you would just let me take you to St. Mungo’s.” Harry reasoned, staring back at Malfoy with an equally as defiant expression.

 

“I said no , Potter. There’s no fucking chance I’m going there.”

 

“Honestly Malfoy, quit acting like a twat and let me take you.” 

 

Malfoy raised his voice, “NO! No! I’m not going there!” His shout took Harry by surprise, and he stared at him with wide eyes. Malfoy’s eyes were huge and angry, as if daring Harry to try and convince him again.

 

“Okay! Fine! What is it with you?” Harry looked around the room to where Kreacher was peeking out from behind his door at the commotion.

 

Malfoy shrugged, apparently regretting his sudden outburst. “I haven’t been in the wizard world for nearly two years. Unlike you, I don’t want my face to be on the cover of The Daily Prophet.”

 

Harry scoffed, “I never wanted to have my face on the cover in the first place.” 

 

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “My point being that I’d prefer to stay in the muggle world.” He looked away from Harry, “Where I won’t be identified to my mother.” 

 

Understanding dawned on Harry, and he nodded quietly. “Fine. Er...we can apparate to-”

 

“We can take a taxicab, to the muggle hospital.” Malfoy corrected, staring at Harry as if he had taken his brain and removed it from his skull. 

 

“Right, a taxi.” Harry halfheartedly checked his pockets. “I have no muggle money.” 

 

“You’ve literally got my wallet in your pocket, Potter.” Maloy raised an eyebrow, and Harry felt his cheeks heat up in embarrassment. He reached back into his coat pocket and pulled out Malfoy’s wallet, handing it over to Malfoy who took it and placed his bag of ice on the table. 

 

Harry stood up and made his way back through the house to the foyer where he slipped his shoes back on. He watched as Malfoy limped down the hallway, using the wall as support. When he reached Harry, Harry put his arm back under Malfoy’s to help him walk. Malfoy made a noise of dislike, but Harry ignored him. Together they left the house, Harry barely remembering to lock the front door. They called a cab on Grimmauld Place, and Malfoy turned his head to watch as number 12 shrunk between number 11 and 13 until it had disappeared. 

 

“Who’s house is that?” He asked as they slipped into the back seat of the cab, and Harry let the driver know where they were going. 

 

“It used to be Sirius’s, but it’s mine now.” Harry looked out the window, watching the streetlights blur past in the dark night.

 

“Oh. Has it always looked like that?” 

 

Harry barely heard the question, but he hummed in response. He was thinking about the wizards he’d seen in the street.

 

“Who's that awful screaming painting of, then?”

 

Harry twisted round in his spot to look at Malfoy. “Why were those men and Goyle in muggle London? And why were they trying to hurt you?” Harry asked, watching as Malfoy’s eyes grew dark.

 

“I asked you first.” He said, averting his eyes from Harry’s questioning ones.

 

“What? Oh, it’s Mrs. Black, Sirius’s mother.” 

 

Malfoy nodded, “That makes sense.” He angled his body away, looking out the window. Harry eyed the bruise around his eye from the side. 

 

Harry waited patiently for Malfoy to speak again, feeling oddly calm. He studied the back of the seat in front of him, following the outline with his eyes. He watched the brake lights of the car in front of them as it slowed to make a left turn. 

 

“They think of me as a traitor.” He finally commented, his voice low.

 

“A traitor? Why?”

 

Malfoy glared out the window, his mouth a harsh line across his face. His eyebrows were furrowed, Harry thought he looked frustrated.

 

“Why do you think?” He snarled, turning to fix Harry with an angry glare. 

 

Harry didn’t respond, he didn’t particularly feel like letting Malfoy have a go at him in the back of a taxicab. Harry knew what Malfoy meant, but he didn’t know what Malfoy wanted to hear. 

 

Because you were a coward? Because you were scared? Because you were forced onto a side you never belonged to? Harry thought coldly, turning away from Malfoy’s steely eyes. He nodded nonetheless, saying nothing and looking back outside at the buildings that whizzed past. They sat in silence for the remaining cab ride, and when they arrived at the hospital Malfoy paid the driver. Harry once again put his arm under Malfoy’s to help him walk to the door of the emergency room, and inside Malfoy spoke to a nurse quickly.

 

She asked him for his name and identification, to which Malfoy muttered “Draco Lucius Malfoy” and dug around in his wallet for his ID. Harry looked around curiously, he was so used to the chaos of St. Mungo’s hospital, rather than the quiet, sad looking muggles in this one. 

 

Harry and Malfoy were instructed to take a seat in the waiting room, and together they sat next to an unhappy looking mother and a feverish looking child. The child kept grabbing into her mother's neck and whining, and Harry guiltily felt worried about catching sickness, rather than sympathy for the muggles around him.

 

After a few minutes Malfoy was called by a nurse in blue scrubs, she beckoned him over as her stood up, and Harry found himself numbly rushing to Malfoys aid and helping him walk. Malfoy, however, was getting tired of this, and pushed Harry away so he was only holding Harry’s shoulder for balance, rather than letting Harry wrap his arm around his torso. Harry begrudgingly let Malfoy press his hand into Harry’s shoulder, and they slowly moved toward the nurse. 

 

Malfoy hissed as he limped, finally resorting to hopping on one foot. Harry stared at him incredulously, his eye was in the middle of changing from brilliant red to a harsh mixture of purple and blue. It bloomed out to below his cheekbone where he had held ice against it earlier that night. 

 

Harry helped Malfoy onto the bed where his ankle would be inspected, and took a seat on a single chair that was sitting back against the sea green curtains surrounding them. 

 

The nurse closed the curtain behind them, looking  gently from Harry to Malfoy. “So Mr…” She glanced at the clipboard in her hands. “Malfoy.” 

 

Malfoy nodded, and the nurse smiled at him. “Can you tell me what happened?” 

 

Harry risked a glance at Malfoy, and surprisingly Malfoy looked wearily at Harry for a split second. Harry could tell he was fabricating a story in his head, and Harry thought that he too would have lied about the situation.

 

“My mate and I were wrestling.” Malfoy said awkwardly, meeting the nurse's eyes. “He kicked my leg pretty hard.” 

 

She smiled again, wrote something on the clipboard, and continued asking him questions. She first cleaned up the blood around his nose that Harry had been ignoring, and established that his nose would be fine healing on its own. She then examined and prodded his ankle in different spots, and every time Malfoy let out a hiss or whimper of pain Harry’s head shot up automatically. The nurse took Malfoy to x-ray his ankle, and Harry sat quietly in his chair, waiting for them to get back. 

 

A loud ringing sound pierced the silence around him, and Harry jumped in his seat. Harry quickly realized it was coming from his coat pocket and he stuck his hand inside to fish it out. When he pulled it out Hermione's name was what lit up the screen. Harry immediately clicked the green telephone button and held it to his ear. 

 

“Hermione?” Harry answered, and Hermiones worried voice came through the speaker. 

 

“Harry! What happened? Are you alright?” Hermione sounded scared, her voice was shaking just the tiniest bit.

 

“What? Nothing happened. ‘Course I’m alright.” Harry furrowed his eyebrows, not understanding why Hermione sounded so bothered.

 

“Why are you at the hospital? Are you at St. Mungo’s? Ron and I can apparate in we’ll be there in-“

 

“No I’m not.” Harry said quickly, cutting Hermione’s train of worry off. He could picture her shutting her mouth as if to stop the words. Harry began to wonder how Hermione had known Harry wasn’t safe in bed at 12 Grimmauld Place, but then he remembered Hermione’s Mrs. Weasley esque clock. His name would notably be pointing at hospital , which Harry knew Hermione would worry about enough, even if it wasn’t mortal peril.

 

“Where are you?”

 

Harry felt a lump in his throat. How was he to tell Hermione that he was in the muggle hospital to aid her bully of so many years? 

 

“I’m at the muggle hospital, but-“

 

Hermione cut him off, her voice calmer than before.

 

“Why are you at the muggle hospital?” 

 

“Well, er…” Harry found he was having trouble with an explanation. 

 

“You didn’t….” Hermione seemed to be choosing her words carefully. “You didn’t save a muggle, did you Harry?” 

 

Harry was quick to answer. “No I didn’t.” 

 

“Okay…then who..?” 

 

Harry swallowed the lump in his throat. “Please don’t freak out but I’m with...er...“ Harry lowered his voice incase Malfoy was to return in the next few seconds. “I’m with Malfoy.” 

 

Hermione let out a tiny gasp, and Harry was sure he heard Ron in the background ask who Harry was with. 

 

“Oh...Harry…” Hermione whispered, her voice sorrowful, like Harry had just informed her of a friends dog passing. “What happened?” She asked quietly.

 

Harry shrugged, then a moment later realized Hermione could not currently see him, and said “I found him.”

 

Hermione took a moment to think of a sufficient response, “You found him...where?”

 

“In an alley near Grimmauld Place.” Harry said simply.

 

“Alone?”

 

“No he was-” Harry stopped speaking as the curtains parted and in hopped Malfoy, followed by his nurse. “I’ve got to go. Everything’s under control.”

 

“No, Harry, don’t you leave me worry-”

 

Harry ended the call, slipping his phone back into the safety of his coat pocket.

 

“Who were you talking to?” Malfoy asked, his eyes narrowed sceptically. 

 

Harry met his eyes, “Hermione.” He dared Malfoy to pull a face, or made a snide remark regarding his best friend, but Malfoy did nothing of the sort. 

 

Harry sat in his chair for a long time. Malfoy’s ankle was declared fractured, and placed into a cast that resembled a grey, plastic, boot. Malfoy was being handed a pair of crutches when Harry finally looked at the time, he was alarmed to see it was nearing half past three in the morning, and Harry was feeling exhausted.

 

Harry was examining the floor tiles when the nurse began to send them off. 

 

“I suggest you stay with him tonight, as he’s the one who brought you in and I assume will take you home. It won’t take more than eight weeks to heal, four if you’re careful. When it’s all healed you can come back and we will remove the cast. Any questions?

 

Both Malfoy and Harry shook their heads, and Harry stood up, his legs feeling rather numb from sitting for so long.

 

They left the hospital in silence. Harry called a cab and helped Malfoy into the backseat, holding his crutches to stop them from falling over and crushing Malfoy during the ride.

 

“You can stay with me tonight.” Harry said curtly, and if he had been looking in Malfoys direction, he would have seen Malfoy pull a face similar to a grimace.

 

“It’s not ideal...but you’re going to need help getting used to having only one foot.” Harry sighed, looking round at Malfoy.

 

Malfoy was staring straight ahead, his eyes unwavering. 

 

“If you’d rather work it out alone, I can take you home.” Harry pressed, watching Malfoy expectantly.

 

He continued to avoid Harry’s eye, fidgeting his hands in his lap. “I’ll be fine at yours.” He muttered, and Harry huffed.

 

They arrived at number 12 Grimmauld Place close to four o’clock, and Harry dragged his feet as they walked across the street, feeling so tired that his vision was rather fuzzy. The house unfurled itself, making the ground shake slightly, and Harry climbed the steps as they appeared, helping Malfoy up as well.

 

Harry forced the door open, careful not to let it hit the wall behind in an effort not to wake the awful portrait of Mrs. Black. He pushed off his shoes and pulled out his wand to flick the lights on. He watched Malfoy struggle to get his single shoe off for at least a minute before he thought about sleeping arrangements. 

 

“There’s a guest bedroom on the second floor.” Harry offered, begging his ascent up the creaky stairs. 

 

“How the hell am I to get up there?” Malfoy snapped, drawing Harry’s attention again. He stepped back down onto the main floor. 

 

“Just apparate up if you can’t walk.” Harry thought this was rather common knowledge to a wizard. 

 

“I don’t have my wand.” Malfoy replied quietly.

 

Harry frowned, “I can side-along you up, then.”

 

Malfoy shook his head, and Harry groaned. 

 

“Fine then. I’ll help you up the stairs. You owe me for this, Malfoy.” Harry was coming to the end of his patience. He was exhausted and annoyed, and he felt rather like he’d prefer bed to this any day.

 

Malfoy adopted a bitter expression, “If I recall, you picked me up and brought me to this spider infested, dirty old place. I didn’t show up on the doorstep asking to be let in.”

Harry scoffed, narrowing his eyes. “Would you rather sleep down here with Kreacher?”

 

Malfoys face reddened slightly, and he hopped forward with his crutches to the foot of the stairs and grabbed onto the railing. Harry used his wand to levitate Malfoys crutches up to the guest bedroom, and he reached out two hands for Malfoy. Malfoy reluctantly placed his cold hands in Harry’s warm ones. Malfoy gingerly stepped on his cast-foot, and winced slightly as he used it to push himself up the stairs. They climbed slowly, Harry walking backwards and pulling Malfoy along in his wake. 

 

As they passed the first floor, Malfoy noticed the rattling cabinet in the drawing room.

 

“It’s only a boggart.” Harry explained, and they continued up to the second floor. 

 

Harry brought Malfoy to the room him and Ron once stayed in for part of a summer and a Christmas holiday, trying his best to ignore Malfoys obvious judgement to the decor and dust.

 

“Where will you be sleeping?” Malfoy asked curiously as he took a seat on one of the empty beds. 

 

“I’ll be two floors up in Sirius’s- my- bedroom.” Harry looked around at the room, feeling a swarm of memories as he stood in the doorway. 

 

“Well, good night Malfoy. Just call if you need me.” Harry felt awkward, and he turned away, making to shut the door.

 

“Thanks, Potter. Night.” Malfoy replied gently, and Harry shut the door.

 

Harry climbed the remaining two sets of stairs. He brushed his teeth and changed into his pyjamas, all the while thinking about Malfoy. He swished his wand to turn out the lights as he entered the bedroom. He muttered “ lumos ” in the dark and watched as his wand lit up. Harry kicked a pair of discarded jeans out of his pathway to the bed, and he sat down on the side. Harry kept a glass of water at his bedside, and he picked it up to take a sip. As he extinguished the light from his wand, he felt heavy and tired. When Harry’s head hit the pillow it was almost instantly that he slipped into a deep sleep.

 

Harry dreamt of odd things that night. He first dreamt that he and Luna Lovegood were stuck in a large fish bowl, and she kept saying that it had been Hermione and Ron who placed them there. He kept hitting the glass walls and yelling “ I don’t have gills, Hermione! I can’t breathe underwater! I’m going to drown if you don’t let me out, Ron!” However, he and Luna managed to breathe through the water anyway.

Harry’s dream then shifted into something new. He was strolling down a pathway in the middle of a field. The sky was full of swirling grey clouds, and the grass that flanked either side of the path was a vibrant shade of green. The path Harry walked on was covered in gravel, and Harry kept feeling pebbles in his shoes. He stopped every few minutes to pull his shoes off and shake out all the rocks, only for more to accumulate as he walked further. Harry walked for a long time, not knowing where he was headed. There was no sign of a town or animals, but Harry spotted a few trees in the far, far distance. 

 

Harry walked on and on, he walked until he was sure he had walked the length of London at least twice, and then some more. When Harry finally began to contemplate stopping, he spotted a change in the path. The path forked into two directions, and Harry stopped in between the two. He looked to his right, seeing a crowd of people at the end who were beckoning him over. He identified Ron and Hermione, as well as Ginny and George. Then there was Luna, Neville, Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley stood with Bill and Charlie behind the rest of the group. They all stood with smiles on their faces, waving at him and making gestures to lead him closer. 

 

Harry then looked to his left, spotting one figure at the end of the path. A tall, angular figure with strikingly white-blonde hair. Harry knew it was Malfoy at the end of the lane. He was standing still, not smiling or beckoning Harry over. He stood, as if challenging Harry to get closer. Harry looked between the two pathways, at Ron and Hermione’s grinning faces, and at Malfoy’s stony one. 

 

Harry took one last glance to the right, and found his feet moving left. The figures to Harry’s right immediately faded away, and Harry found himself travelling toward Malfoy with one hand outstretched, as if ready to grab on.

 

Harry’s dream was cut off unexpectedly, and he was jerked awake by the sound of hollow screaming coming from two floors below.

Chapter Text

Harry sat bolt upright, pushing blankets off his upper body as he did so. He reached over to his bedside table and hastily grabbed his glasses, he put them on and snatched his wand. Harry was on his feet in seconds, the screaming from two floors below continued, and Harry rushed into the hallway. He was halfway down the first set of stairs when he said “ lumos ” and let his wand light his way. 

 

Harry came to a skidding halt at the door leading to the bedroom Malfoy was in. He threw it open and the screaming was loud enough to make Harry want to plug his ears.

 

“Malfoy!” He called, attempting to shut Malfoy up. Malfoy, however, was asleep. He was thrashing around in the twin bed he lay in, and Harry felt slightly nauseous. 

 

“Oi! Malfoy!” He bellowed, taking a few steps into the dark room. 

 

Malfoy was screaming himself hoarse, and Harry carried on to his bedside. He reached down to grab hold on one of Malfoy’s moving shoulders, but Malfoy sat up, his eyes wild, and grabbed onto Harry’s arm with a death grip. 

 

“They’re going to kill her!” He cried. He stared at Harry with a horrified expression, but something in his eyes told Harry that Malfoy didn’t recognize he was there.

 

Harry took a deep breath. “Nobody’s being killed. It’s okay.”

 

Malfoy stilled, his breathing changed, and he said it again. “He’s going to kill her! My mother!” He howled, his voice was desperate and pleading and Harry felt a twinge of something similar to sympathy in his chest. 

 

Malfoy made a noise of despair, and Harry grabbed his arm and shook him. “Wake up, Malfoy. It’s not real.” 

 

Malfoy ceased whimpering.

 

“They’re gonna kill her.” He said quietly. Harry furrowed his eyebrows. 

 

“No, they’re not.” Harry replied, watching Malfoy intently.

 

Malfoy blinked once, then twice, then he squinted as his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

 

“Who’s ’at?” Malfoy asked. His voice had changed significantly, as if the memory of his nightmare had disapparated before them. 

 

“It’s just me, Harry.” Harry felt badly for Malfoy, if anyone knew what it was like to wake up screaming, it was Harry.

 

“‘Arry?” Malfoy repeated. It was as if he hadn’t fully awakened yet and was still trying to gage his surroundings. His voice was rough from screaming, but also heavy with sleep.

 

“Yeah, Harry.” Harry replied gently, lowering his wand to his lap. 

 

Malfoy blinked, and slowly pulled his hands off of Harry. “What?” He cleared his throat and stared at Harry, his eyes bubbling with confusion in the darkness.

 

Harry stayed in his spot, looking at Malfoy curiously. “Are you okay?” He asked quietly, unsure of what he was to do in this situation.

 

“‘Course I am.” He replied, his voice suddenly snappy, yet still sleepy. He took another look at Harry and laid back into the pillows, letting his eyes shut automatically. 

 

Harry did nothing, but quickly realized Malfoy had dropped back to sleep as quickly as he had awoken. Harry stared at his pale face in the dim light from his wand. Malfoy looked momentarily at peace, and Harry made his way back toward the door.

 

+

 

When the morning finally came around, Harry found himself dreading the awkward encounter regarding Malfoy’s midnight episode. He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of having a row over breakfast, so he took his time in the shower and dressed himself slowly. When Harry finally decided to head downstairs he met Malfoy on the landing of the second floor.

 

“I can’t get down the stairs.” Malfoy said immediately, furrowing his eyebrows in frustration.

 

Harry stared at Malfoy, his mind throwing up various images of the horrified expression on Malfoy’s face the night before. Malfoy’s eyes remained blank. The bruise around his eye had turned from red into shades of purple and blue.

 

“Are you going to admire me all day or will you quit it and help me down the stairs? I’ve been waiting for you for nearly an hour.”

 

Harry snapped out of it. He pulled his wand out and sent Malfoy’s crutches to the main floor, then he took a step down the first stair and turned around. He held his hands out with his palms up, waiting for Malfoy. When Malfoy gently placed his hands in Harry’s, Harry had a fleeting feeling that they were getting ready to dance, and he felt his cheeks warm with embarrassment at the thought. He cast his eyes down, trying his best to hide his reddening face from Malfoy’s gaze. 

 

Malfoy was busy concentrating on walking down the stairs, he gripped Harry’s hands tightly. 

 

Harry decided not to bring up the previous night's events, and Malfoy seemed to have no interest in discussing the topic. As they descended the stairs Harry thought too much about Malfoy’s hands in his. When they were four stairs from the bottom Malfoy unintentionally squeezed Harrys hands as his cast-foot slipped and he nearly fell into Harry. Harry quietly said “Whoa” and noticed a small blush creeping up Malfoy’s neck. 

 

When they reached the foyer, Malfoy’s pocket began to buzz enthusiastically, startling Harry. Malfoy gave him an amused glance as he stuck his hand into his pocket, pulling out his cellphone. He pressed it to his ear as Harry walked down the hall. 

 

“Hello?”

 

Malfoy’s voice faded as Harry stepped into the kitchen. He greeted Kreacher and headed to the cupboards to find a jug. Harry vaguely registered Malfoy’s tone of voice changing to something more urgent and distressed as he filled the jug with water and poured it into his coffee machine, but he paid it no mind. The coffee machine burped when Harry closed the lid, and it began to enthusiastically spit coffee out into the pot below, gurgling quietly as it did so. 

 

Harry turned around and leaned against the edge of the counter, watching as Kreacher began to stir something on the stove. Malfoys voice grew louder and angrier, and Harry briefly thought back to the evening he had listened to Malfoy and Snape argue during Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts. The memory made him feel sick, he didn’t like to think about the things that had gone on that year. 

Harry heard Malfoy shout a string of swear words, and he heard him limping down the hall toward the kitchen with his crutches. 

 

“Everything alright?” Harry asked. Malfoy stood with an angry expression on his face, his nostrils flaring. It was strikingly familiar to Harry.

 

“No.” Malfoy hissed, hopping over to a chair to take a seat. “I can’t go home.”

 

Harry raised his eyebrows. “Why not?”

 

Malfoy huffed angrily and placed his cellphone on the table with a thud. “My building flooded. Elevator’s ruined and won’t be fixed for weeks.”

 

Harry thought about this for a moment. “Can’t you just w-”

 

“I live on the ninth floor, Potter.” Malfoy snapped, glaring at Harry as if this was his fault.

 

“Can’t you stay with one of your mates?” This seemed like basic problem solving to Harry, but Malfoy scoffed.

 

“What mates?”

 

Harry shrugged, “What about the one on your instagram?”  Harry thought about those girls on the street who had called him Malfoy’s boyfriend. 

 

Malfoy shook his head, “Thomas lives with his girlfriend in a single bedroom flat. I’m not spending the next few weeks on a couch and with a fractured ankle.” He balled up his fist and slammed it on the table, making Harry jump. 

 

“Fuck!” Malfoy swore. He glared at the table so harshly Harry began to worry it might burst into flame from his eyes alone. 

 

“Er...well.” Harry began, unsure of what he was going to say.

 

“Well what?” Malfoy snarled, moving his glare to Harrys face. Harry wouldn’t be surprised if Malfoy was trying to force Harry to burst into flames.

 

“Quit glaring at me like that. You can stay here.” Harry felt his face flush and he was unable to figure out the cause. He didn’t think he was embarrassed.

 

Malfoy shook his head and glared at Kreacher’s back. Harry could tell the house elf was eavesdropping, he would probably be overjoyed if Malfoy moved in. 

 

No .” Malfoy said loudly, narrowing his eyes. “I’d rather stay at the Weasels than here.” 

 

Harry tapped his fingers against the edge of the counter, trying hard to keep his temper against Malfoys annoying insults. “What other options do you have? I’ve got plenty of room.”

 

Malfoy kept his mouth shut for a moment, then said. “I don’t quite feel like bunking with the ghost of your godfather.”

 

Harry stood up straighter, any desire of wanting to avoid an argument gone.

 

“What the fuck, Malfoy?” Harry spat, feeling a familiar strike of anger flow through him. He balled up his fists and Malfoy sneered. Harry felt like he was back in his teenagehood. 

 

Malfoy leaned forward. “I don’t want to sleep in your dead godfathers guest bedroom and watch you sulk.” He shrugged like he’d said nothing unusual, and glared at Harry with a too-familiar taunting look. His eyes were challenging Harry, asking him to step up to the fight, show Malfoy he still had it in himself. 

 

Harry narrowed his eyes. “And I don’t want to hear you screaming bloody murder every night.”

 

Malfoys stare faltered, a flash of confusion gleamed in his eyes. “What?” He asked, his voice stern. 

 

Harry noticed Kreacher had stopped stirring his pot on the stove and was standing very still, obviously listening intently to the conversation.

 

“The screaming.” Harry said simply. “I don’t want to hear it.”

 

What screaming?” Malfoy hissed, his mouth became a tight line in frustration.

 

Harry cleared his throat. Did Malfoy not know he had woken up screaming? Did he not remember the nightmare he’d had? 

 

Harry quickly decided it was best to back down. “Nevermind.” He muttered, but Malfoy pressed on. 

 

“What are you talking about, Potter?” His voice had less bite than it had moments ago, as if he had just thrown himself back into reality rather than his childhood rivalry. He once again looked tired. 

 

Harry shifted awkwardly. “You...er...you don’t remember?” 

 

Malfoy shook his head and said nothing. He looked pointedly past Harry’s head, not meeting his eyes. 

 

Blush began to creep up Harry’s neck, a silence stretched between them like a never ending road. The coffee pot behind Harry began to cough out the last drops into the pot below and Harry turned around to stop its noisy hacking. 

 

“Coffee.” He said, breaking the silence. He’d meant to pose it as a question, but he’d already begun summoning two mugs from the cupboards. Malfoy said nothing, and Harry watched the pot lift itself up and spit out its contents into the cups. 

 

Harry didn’t face Malfoy when he asked, “Milk? Sugar?” 

 

Malfoy grunted, “Both.” Harry flicked his wand and the mug to his left lightened in colour. He levitated it over to Malfoy, finally turning around and grabbing his black coffee in the process.

 

They sipped in silence,  until Kreacher began to loudly dump the contents of his pot into bowls. He brought them both to the table, placing one in front of Malfoy. 

 

“Kreacher has made porridge, Master Harry.” Kreacher said as he placed one of the bowls in front of an empty seat. He then added “Master Draco.” 

 

Malfoy looked stricken, his eyes wide enough that Harry would have laughed if it weren't for the awkwardness still in the room. Harry, however, wasn’t surprised in the slightest. 

Harry took his seat and they began to eat quietly, the only sounds being Kreacher cleaning the dishes and the sounds of their spoons scraping the bottoms of their bowls. 

 

Malfoy cleared his throat and Harry looked up to see him smirking into his bowl. “Your first thought was the bloke from my instagram? How much stalking have you done, Potter?”

 

Harry flushed, “I overheard some girls speculating that you and him were...er... together .” 

 

Malfoy’s eyes ignited with an evil fire Harry hadn’t seen since his early years at Hogwarts. “Jealous, Potter?”

 

Harry shook his head urgently. “Jealous? Of you?”

 

Malfoy shrugged one shoulder, eyeing Harry mysteriously. “Jealous of Thomas, I suppose.” 

 

Harry nearly choked on his food. As he sputtered he wondered what his face was doing to make Malfoy look at him like that. “I’m not jealous of any of the people you’ve been with.” 

 

Malfoy hummed, and Harry was fairly sure he had said something stupid by the time Malfoy actually opened his mouth to speak. “The people? Plural? Wow, Potter, I underestimated you. You’ve been following me since the trials then, have you?”

 

Harry bit his lip, willing his cheeks to quit burning so harshly. He shook his head awkwardly. “I didn’t-”

 

“You didn’t what?” Malfoy said, but his tone had gone from teasing to bitter in a matter of seconds. “Follow my every move after the war? Afraid I was going to murder your friends, were you?”

 

Harry shook his head again. “Of course not. I was just-” He couldn’t believe how quickly Malfoy had gone from teasing to offended.

 

Malfoy scoffed angirly. “Seriously, Potter? You mistrust me that much?”

 

“I stood up for you at your trial!” Harry exclaimed, throwing his hands down on the table. Malfoy jerked away, but not from fear. 

 

“You stood up for me because you felt guilty, not because you cared about what would happen to me.”

 

Harry felt his eyes widened in disbelief. “ No , I stood up for you because I-”

 

“Just give it up, Potter! If you really meant it you would have stood up for my father too!” Malfoy raised his voice, his cheeks flush with anger.

 

“Your father tried to kill me!” 

 

“My father did what he had to do to keep me safe!” 

 

Harry stood up, leaning forward on his hands toward Malfoy. “You are so insufferable! I helped you! I offered you a place to stay! I could have left you out on the bloody sidewalk to be killed by wizards you thought were your friends!”

 

Malfoy struggled to stand up, but he managed it whilst gripping the table edge with white knuckles. “You only helped because of your stupid hero complex! Don’t pretend you knew it was me out there until you’d already cursed those idiots! Not everyone needs saving, Potter!”

 

Harry let out an angry growl and violently pushed his chair away from the table. He stormed out of the room, breathing heavily as he stomped into the foyer. 

 

“Fuck!” He bellowed halfway up the first flight of stairs. The portrait of Mrs. Black chose this moment to throw open its curtains and begin to scream. Harry heard Malfoy yell something in shock but he ignored it, and ignored the painting to continued stomping heavily up the stairs. When he reached Sirius’s former bedroom, he slammed the door shut. The sounds of Mrs. Black’s wailing were muffled, and a few moments later he heard them subdue. 

 

Harry carelessly threw one of his long forgotten potions books at the wall. A loud smack echoed around the room as it hit the wall and fell to the floor with a thud. Harry took a seat on the edge of the bed. How dare Malfoy accuse him of having a hero complex, he only wanted to help. He wasn’t a hero, he didn’t want to be a hero. And to think Malfoy would even suggest Harry stand up for his father! Lucius Malfoy deserved to be in Azkaban, Harry thought fiercely. The only reason he had stood up for Malfoy was because Malfoy had helped him when he was taken into Malfoy Manor. Malfoy had told Lucius he was too unrecognizable to tell, but Harry had seen the spark of pity in his eyes. Harry had felt it was only right to show some pity in return, he hadn’t expected it to be rejected so flatly. 

 

Harry was angry and frustrated, he didn’t know why he’d offered Malfoy a place to stay. If he was forced to live with that attitude for the next few weeks Harry was sure one of them would end up killing the other. Harry could hardly believe that he had actually seen Malfoy in a state of vulnerability only a few hours prior. 

 

Harry sat quietly for a long time. Every now and then he would think about what Malfoy had said and get angry all over again. He didn’t ever want to look at Malfoy’s stupid face again. 

Eventually Harry distantly heard the front door open and close, though it sounded careful not to wake the portrait again. Harry stayed quiet, listening for any sound of movement.

 

His cell phone buzzed distractedly in his pocket, and he grabbed it and held it up. 

 

dracomalfoy: I have a job to get to, thanks for the bnb

 

Then another.

 

dracomalfoy: that means bed and breakfast

 

Harry stared incredulously at his phone screen, and retrieved one more message that contained ten single-digit numbers. He unlocked his phone and clicked on the notifications. 

 

dracomalfoy: that’s my number, text me you bloody idiot

 

Harry wasn’t aware of what made him do it, but he copied the number and played around with his phone until he figured out how to add to his contacts. The only one he had was Hermione, so he added Malfoy’s number under the name Insufferable Wanker to make himself feel better. 

 

Harry opened up his text messages. He typed Insufferable Wanker into it, and a new screen popped up. 

 

Harry sent There. Better?

 

He retrieved a response in a matter of seconds. 

 

Immensely

 

+

 

That afternoon Harry was compelled to clean. Whether or not Malfoy was staying at 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry decided if he were to have guests over he would be rather embarrassed to call it his house. 

 

He instructed Kreacher to tackle the kitchen and dining room, and Harry got to vanishing the dirt and dust from the drawing room and guest bedrooms. He had the bathrooms cleaning themselves, brushes scrubbing and cloths wiping every surface, as if they had brains of their own. Harry transfigured the twin beds in the second floor guest bedroom into one bed, he replaced the sheets and cast a cleaning charm on the pillows. 

 

Harry left the boggart in the cabinet alone, not because he wanted it to stick around, but because he once again didn’t feel like finding out what his biggest fear was at this point in his life. 

 

Around six o’clock an owl came barreling out of the fireplace. Harry immediately recognized it as Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon. Pigwidgeon ruffled his feathers, sending a spray of ash across the carpet of the drawing room, and came to perch on Harrys head. He hooted happily and stuck out his leg with a letter, and Harry huffed as he tried to shoo the owl off and onto anywhere but the top of his head. 

 

Pigwidgeon hopped off Harry’s head and zoomed over to the piano, where he landed and once again stuck out his leg for Harry. Harry hurried over and untied the letter, recognizing the writing as Hermione’s immediately. For the first time in his life, Harry wondered why she hadn’t just texted him. 

 

He took the letter with him to the sofa where he sat down and tore the envelope open. 

 

Harry,

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about our brief telephone call last night. I haven’t told Ron what you’ve been up to, but I’m worried about you. Did Draco stick with you last night? I’d just like to make sure you’re still alive and didn’t attempt to murder him. Hopefully he’s not with you right now, it would be rather awkward if he read this. 

 

Please write back and let me know if everything is alright. 

 

Hermione.

 

Harry chuckled, of course Hermione had written to him to make sure he hadn’t been busy murdering Malfoy. Though he had to admit, the thought had crossed his mind a few times that day. 

 

Harry retrieved a piece of paper and a quill from the writing desk in the room, and he sat back down to write. He assured Hermione that everything was just fine, and he hadn’t committed any crimes against Malfoy. He made sure to include that Malfoy had left earlier that day, and he finished off with talk soon.  

 

Harry folded up the letter and sealed it in an envelope, addressed it to Hermione and attached it to Pigwidgeons leg. Pigwidgeon hooted happily as Harry retrieved a handful of floo powder for him to scoop up in his beak. The little owl ruffled his feathers as Harry shouted Hermione and Rons address into the green flames, and Pigwidgeon disappeared. 

 

Harry resumed his seat on the sofa, relaxing after all the cleaning he’d accomplished that day. The cabinet rattled menacingly, and Harry glared at it, as if that would make it stop. He watched the golden light from the setting sun dance across the walls, casting shadows across the carpet on the floor. The dwindling sunlight lit up the Black family tree, and Harry stared at it across the room. It was as if the house was made for Malfoy. His own face and name were sitting mere feet away from Harry, and no evidence of Harry himself was anywhere in the house. 

 

Harry sighed and laid his head back against the sofa. He closed his eyes, breathing in the new, dust-free air of the room. Harry must’ve drifted off, because when he opened his eyes the room was dark and Kreacher was standing at his feet. 

 

Harry nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of the house elf in the dark. 

 

“Master Harry, Master Draco is locked outside.” Kreacher croaked. “Kreacher has made dinner and Master Harry has let it go cold.” 

 

“What?” Harry asked, his glasses askew on his face. He straightened them and stared at Kreacher, who had begun to turn away. 

 

“Kreacher made dinner and Master Harry-“

 

“No,” Harry said impatiently, “Malfoy is outside? Why didn’t you let him in?” 

 

Kreacher slowly turned back to Harry in the darkness. “Master Harry has instructed never to let anyone in but his traitor and mudblood  friends.” 

 

Harry rolled his eyes, as he was used to Kreacher’s hurtful words by now, and pushed himself up off the sofa. His neck ached from the odd position and he rubbed it half heartedly as he stood up. 

 

Harry took a painfully long time to walk down the stairs to the front door, and he was feeling smug when he finally reached it and pulled it open. 

 

Malfoy was standing, shivering, and pouting in the doorstep of 12 Grimmauld Place. He looked Harry up and down. 

 

“Took you long enough.” He said, but there was no bite to his words.

 

Harry hummed, “You made it up the stairs.” 

 

Malfoy huffed and pushed himself up on his crutches and inside. “I’ll be staying here, if you will so kindly host me.” His words were not genuine, nor were they mean. A tone full of teasing thread its way through Malfoys voice.

 

“I’ll have to think about that one, if you’ll just wait outside for a minute.” Harry couldn’t help but grin, he still felt groggy from sleep.

 

“Ha fucking ha.” Malfoy huffed and struggled to take his one shoe off while Harry shut and locked the front door. 

 

“Have you eaten yet?” Harry asked, watching Malfoy as he gave up and collapsed onto the floor to untie his shoe. 

 

Malfoy looked up at Harry with one eyebrow raised. “It’s half past ten.” He pointed out. 

 

Harry shrugged, “I was asleep. Can’t you tell?” He gestured to his hair, which he was sure was sticking up wildly in all directions, clear evidence of sleep. 

 

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Your hair always looks like that.” 

 

Harry scoffed. “Yes, well, I never bothered to spend time slicking it back.” 

 

Malfoy mockingly stuck his tongue out at Harry, then began attempting to push himself up off the floor. 

 

“You are so helpless.” Harry teased as Malfoy struggled to stand. 

 

“Not helpless, independent.” Malfoy grunted as he finally managed to pull himself off the ground with his crutches. 

 

Harry chuckled and shoved his hands in his pockets, waiting for Malfoy to officially right himself. Malfoy wobbled on his one foot, and Harry reached out a hand to balance him, it met Malfoy’s chest gently.

 

They stared at each other for a long, drawn out moment, until Malfoy said, “No, I haven’t eaten. Has Kreacher made dinner?” 

Chapter Text

On Sunday morning when Harry awoke it was with great displeasure to the rain rapping on the windows. Harry had been jolted awake by the same awful screaming that had taken place on Friday night, but this time Malfoy’s eyes had been full of empty tears and his voice nearly gone. 

 

Harry had leisurely taken to his side to once again to try and wake the sleeping monster, but it was with no luck that Malfoy had stopped and fallen right back to sleep. Harry had a hard time drifting off after that, he found himself worrying what Malfoy was dreaming of, and then when he realized he was actually worrying about Malfoy, he laid there in shame. 

 

So when Harry brought himself downstairs and found Malfoy waiting beside the stairs yet again, he felt his face flush with embarrassment, before he’d even said good morning. 

 

“No need to look so worried, Potter. I only just got up.” Malfoy drawled, leaning his body casually against the railing. The railing gave an awful groan against the weight and Malfoy propped himself up by his crutches at lightning speed, looking alarmed.

 

Harry chuckled and Malfoy narrowed his eyes, but Harry took two steps down the stairs to help Malfoy anyway. He spun around and held his hands out, Malfoy placed his in Harry’s open palms. His hands were cold, and Harry felt a sudden urge to squeeze them, but he resisted. 

 

“You look tired.” Malfoy stated, no menace behind the words, it was only a fact. Harry, however, felt a surge of annoyance at this.

 

“‘Course I’m tired.” Harry grunted, looking over his shoulders to the stairs below. The clock on the wall made a face like someone sticking their tongue out at him, Harry stuck his tongue out back.

 

“You didn’t sleep well?” Malfoy pressed, raising his eyebrows a fraction. 

 

Harry shrugged and they reached the foyer. Harry dropped Malfoys hands and handed him his crutches. “Not particularly.” said Harry, turning away from Malfoy to head toward the kitchen. 

 

It was the same routine as always, Kreacher was cooking something while Harry woke the coffee maker. It grumbled as Harry poured water into it, and once again it began magicking water into coffee and spitting it into two mugs. 

 

Malfoy sat quietly at the table, his phone in hand. He was wearing what looked like a terribly old maroon jumper, and Harry stared at it for a long time before he realized it was most certainly not Malfoys, because why would he have clothes at number Twelve Grimmauld Place? 

 

“Where did you get that?” Harry asked loudly, and Malfoy looked up from his phone screen.

 

“Get what?” He questioned back, looking mildly surprised.

 

“The jumper.” Harry said plainly. “It looks like one of Ron’s.”

 

Malfoy looked slightly apprehensive. “I don’t have anything to wear.” 

 

Harry felt smug, “So you’d rather wear one of Ron’s jumpers than your old bloody one?” He teased, Malfoy pulled a face of disgust.

 

“Which would you prefer?” Malfoy shot back smugly, and Harry pondered this for a moment. 

 

“Bloody, you look weird in Ron’s jumper.” He said simply.

 

Malfoy pulled a face of disgust, “You think I’d look better covered in blood?” 

 

Harry chuckled. “ I’ve ran around covered in blood a number of times.” 

 

“So have I, Potter.” Malfoy said pointedly. He looked toward Harry, and Harry felt as if he was being forced to look away from Malfoy’s piercing eyes.

 

Harry cleared his throat awkwardly. He was internally trying to push away a million different images that popped into his head. Malfoy lying bloody on the bathroom floor of Hogwarts, Malfoy shielding his face after being hit by hundreds of tiny pieces of glass at Malfoy Manor, the Malfoy Harry had seen through the eyes of Voldemort, and finally, Hermione’s fist against Malfoy’s nose. 

 

Malfoy was staring at Harry intently, and Harry was staring dramatically into his cup of black coffee. As an awkward silence began to stretch between Harry and Malfoy once again, Kreacher appeared with plates full of eggs and toast. 

 

“Thank you, Kreacher.” Harry and Malfoy said in near unison, surprising Harry. He shot a weary glance at Malfoy, who had stopped staring at Harry in favour of devouring his breakfast seemingly happily.

 

They ate in silence, Malfoy scrolled through his phone while Harry sipped on his coffee quietly. It occurred to Harry that he was stuck with Malfoy for more than a few days. The two of them hadn’t been stuck in anything together since their school years, and Harry thoughtfully realized he wasn’t sure he and Malfoy had a single thing in common. 

 

Harry cleared his throat, catching Malfoy’s attention. He raised his gaze from the cellphone in his hand.

 

“Yes?” Malfoy asked, the question hanging in the air like moisture. He pressed a button on the side of his phone that caused the screen to go black and placed it beside his plate on the table.

 

“What do you, er, do for work?” Harry asked uncomfortably. He pushed his eggs around on his plate with his fork, arranging them into a half-pile against the small piece of toast left. 

 

Malfoy raised his eyebrows, but he didn’t look uncomfortable. “Well, it’s called being an influencer , basically.”

 

Harry furrowed his eyebrows and scooped some eggs onto his leftover toast. “Influencer?” He mumbled to his plate, his plate didn’t reply.

 

Malfoy leaned back in his seat. “I model, mostly. I’m paid to promote brands on Instagram. They pay me per post, and I’m hired to do photoshoots by an agency.”

 

Harry looked up from his food. He found himself to be mildly interested in what Malfoy was saying, for the first time in his life.

 

“You get money for your pictures ? That’s mad.” 

 

Malfoy shrugged. “Speaking of modelling, I was wondering if you’d do me a favour.” 

 

Harry stared at him expectantly, “What is it?” Harry thought of eighteen embarrassing and awful things he could be asked in the few seconds that it took for Malfoy to respond.

 

“I need you to go to my flat and bring some of my things here.” Malfoy explained. He looked rather sheepish, as if he had asked Harry to share his deepest secrets. Harry was just glad it wasn’t one of the embarrassing things he’d thought of.

 

“Why can’t you go?” Harry questioned immediately, and Malfoy scoffed.

 

“The same reason I’m stuck here . I can’t. ” He retorted, rolling his eyes.

 

Harry huffed. “I don’t know where to apparate to, or where things are in your flat.” Harry mulled over a few different excuses as he spat the first two out. Malfoy narrowed his eyes, something Harry was getting rather used to.

 

“I will tell you where you’re going, what to get, and where to find it. Please ?” He added the please as if it were an afterthought, something that might persuade Harry. 

 

It worked, as Harry had never heard the word come out of Malfoy’s mouth. “Okay, fine. Since you asked so nicely.” 

 

Malfoy shot Harry a smile, and Harry found himself feeling more confused than he had ever felt in his life. 

 

+

 

Harry was tying his shoelaces as Malfoy instructed him where to go his flat and what to do. 

 

“I think I got it the first time, Malfoy.” Harry sighed. He stood up to face Malfoy, who looked very relaxed for someone who was sending their childhood rival into their apartment unattended. 

 

“Don’t make enough noise for the neighbours to hear, alright?” Malfoy huffed, leaning his back against the wall. “It would be hard to explain.”

 

“OK, I’ll see you in a bit, then.” said Harry. He clutched his wand in his hand, and with a spin he felt the familiar feeling of being pressed into a tube, and his vision went black. A moment later he was standing in the living room of a large flat.

 

The wall to his left was almost entirely made of glass. It looked out over muggle London and Harry could see as far as the River Thames. Sunlight was shining into the room through gloomy clouds, making everything bright and washed out compared to number Twelve Grimmauld Place. 

 

There was a large sofa to Harry’s right, it was dark brown leather, and in front sat a coffee table that was also made of glass. Harry looked around in wonder. A book sat open on the coffee table and Harry noticed a shelf full of books against the wall behind the sofa. Harry made his way around the flat, which was much larger than he had anticipated. He came across muggle photographs of Malfoy and other people Harry didn’t recognize, as well as one celebrity he did. The kitchen was made up in marble and dark wood. Malfoy’s cooking appliances looked barely used, and he had half a pot of cold coffee still sitting out on the counter beside the sink. When Harry made his way down the hallway of the flat, he found a guest bedroom that looked like it had come straight out of a shopping catalogue. The bathroom in the hallway was also very neat and shiny. Harry could tell Malfoy prefered his place to be spotless. 

 

Harry knew he had reached Malfoy’s bedroom the moment he pushed open the door. In a case on the wall were Malfoy’s old Slytherin robes. It looked as if they had been professionally cleaned, and it seemed as though they were the only item reminiscent of the wizard world in a muggle home. Malfoy’s bed was made, the bedspread and pillows were in shades of white and gold, and a television set sat on the wall across the room. On the bedside table sat another open book, this one was face down. There was also a scented candle and a half full glass of water. Malfoy’s closet was open, and as Harry turned the bedroom light on he spotted an array of colourful things. Malfoy hadn’t told him exactly which clothes to grab, but he had instructed Harry to be sensible. 

 

Harry approached the closet wearily, there were so many items to choose from. He was drawn to the darker items in the closet, as in Harry’s mind Malfoy was typically dressed in black. Or green. 

 

Harry pulled out a black turtleneck, finding himself easily able to picture it on the tall blonde. He grabbed a few pairs of black jeans, as well as a pair of army green joggers. The first coloured item that caught Harrys attention was a pale pink dress shirt, and he placed it on the bed beside the others. Harry continued picking interesting clothing items, and once he was done he found himself squatting down to look at Malfoy’s shoes. He had quite a few pairs, many of which were black. Harry thought back to his own shoes, which he had only two, and they were currently on each of his feet. As Harry sat in the door to Malfoy’s closet, he noticed a few boxes sitting behind the array of shoes. Letting curiosity get the best of him, Harry reached back and pulled two of the boxes out. 

 

He pulled the lid off one and was met with a box full of familiar items. Harry picked a few up and placed them on the carpet around him, the first being an old time turner that looked as though it would no longer work even if Harry tried. The next item Harry pulled out was a badge that, now permanently, read Potter stinks! Harry found himself chuckling as he placed it back into the box. The rest of the first box was made up of various old magical objects that seemed to be from the time Harry and Malfoy had spent at Hogwarts. Harry pushed the first box back toward the closet and he pulled the second closer toward himself. As Harry popped the lid off he found a thick stack of moving pictures. Many of them were of Malfoy at Hogwarts. Malfoy playing quidditch, Malfoy with an injured arm from Buckbeak, Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. Some were of the Malfoy family, of Lucius and Narcissa with and without their son. There was one of Malfoy as a small child running in and out of frame toward his father, Lucius’s arms outstretched and his dark mark bold and proud. Harry found a few with Crabbe and Goyle, and another of Pansy in what seemed to be the boys dormitory of the Slytherin common room, sitting upon a bed with Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, laughing. Harry wondered how in the name of Merlin they managed to sneak her into their room. At the bottom of the box was something wrapped in soft, emerald green fabric. Harry pulled it out gently and began to unwrap it, until finally Malfoy’s hawthorne wand was sitting in his hand.

 

It buzzed in his palm like something itching to be used, and Harry realized with a jolt of uneasiness that it felt familiar since he had disarmed Malfoy in Malfoy Manor all those years ago and been forced to use it. This was the same hawthorn wand Harry had used against Voldemort, the wand that had cause Voldemort’s curse to rebound on himself, the wand that had helped Harry kill Voldemort. Harry wondered vaguely how long it had been since Malfoy had used the wand, it seemed rather weird that it would be placed into a box in the back of his closet. It was as though Malfoy had put any reminder of his magic into those boxes, asides from the Slytherin robes. Harry placed the photographs back into the box and put the lid back on. He put both the boxes back where they belonged in the back of the closet, Malfoy’s wand still in hand, and stood up from the floor. Harry rolled the wand between his hands, feeling the magic buzz like electricity between his fingers. He thought about putting it back inside the cloth in the box, but something persuaded Harry to keep it. Harry shoved the wand into his pocket and continued his hunt for Malfoy’s stuff. When Harry had a solid pile of clothing and shoes sitting on Malfoy’s bed he made his way to the ensuite bathroom. 

 

The bathroom had marble counter tops and dark cupboards, similar to the kitchen in colour scheme. Malfoy’s shower was massive. It had a waterfall showerhead and the walls looked like stone, giving the appearance of the outdoors. The things Malfoy asked Harry to get were on the countertop. His toothbrush, hairbrush, hair product, and a toiletry bag half full of eyeliner, concealer, and blush. Harry also grabbed Malfoys razor and shampoo from the shower, and then set off to find a bag.

 

Harry found a large duffle bag in one of the closets in the hallway, and he put everything Malfoy had asked for into it, then once he was sure Malfoys wand was concealed in his pocket, he turned on the spot and emerged into darkness. A moment later he was standing inside the drawing room of Grimmauld Place. He dropped the bag on the sofa and headed downstairs to get Malfoy.

 

Malfoy was sitting at the dining table, speaking to his phone. 

 

“Er...hello.” Harry interrupted, and Malfoy looked over his shoulder.

 

“Hold on,” He said to his phone screen. “Did you find everything okay?” He asked Harry.

 

Harry nodded. “It’s up in the drawing room. Who are you talking to?” Harry took a few steps forward until he was leaning over Malfoy’s shoulder. On Malfoy’s phone was himself and Malfoy, it looked like Malfoy was videotaping them.

 

“This is my, er, friend , Harry Potter.” Malfoy said at the screen. Harry could see what looked like thousands of tiny comments scrolling up the screen. He thought he caught his name, but he wasn’t quite sure because holy shit , Malfoy had just referred to Harry as his friend.  

 

“What is this?” Harry asked honestly, squinting at the screen.

 

“It’s Instagram Live, you old man. My followers are watching me talk.” Malfoy rolled his eyes playfully, then began to scan the comments. 

 

“People enjoy watching you talk ? They must be mad.” 

 

Malfoy scoffed. “They’re all saying ‘Hello, Harry’ ‘Who is Harry’ and ‘We love you, Harry’.” 

 

Harry grinned. “They love me, do they?” 

 

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “You should see how many ‘I love you, Draco’s I get in a minute!” The comments were flying by fast enough that Harry could hardly pick up a single word.

 

“You guys are chatting too fast.” Malfoy teased. “Who is Harry Potter…” He read, mumbling as he did so. “Harry’s a friend from school.” Malfoy answered simply, and Harry thought about how weird it was for Malfoy to call him Harry.

 

Malfoy continued attempting to read the chat as it flew up the screen. Harry leaned closer to take a look, and saw that there were over one million people watching them right at that moment, and Harry felt oddly embarrassed. 

 

“How long have you known each…” Malfoy trailed off, reading another question. “Um, 10 years now? Does that sound right?” He looked at Harry for confirmation, and Harry nodded.

 

“Wow, ten years since we started school. Weird.” Harry mumbled. Malfoy nodded in agreement. Harry thought that the last ten years both felt more like one hundred years and two years at the same time. So much had happened since Harry first stepped foot on the Hogwarts express that he felt as though he’d lived an entire lifetime since then, but somehow he remembered that day like it was yesterday. 

 

Malfoy continued answering questions, mainly about Harry and their time in school. Malfoy worked hard to avoid mentioning much about Hogwarts or the nature of the school and Harry sat down in the chair beside Malfoy, leaning toward Malfoy until their shoulders were touching. Harry read off a couple questions himself and Malfoy shot him a look full of amusement. 

 

“Where are we?” Harry read. He chuckled, and Malfoy answered. 

 

“Harry’s house.” Malfoy offered. Harry caught himself a split second before correcting Malfoy. He had been overcome with the need to say ‘ no, Malfoy, this is Sirius’s house. ’ Harry nodded along dumbly. 

 

Harry read another comment. “What’s my instagram?” He asked aloud, and Malfoy chuckled. 

 

“Harry’s not quite figured the internet out yet. His user is aurorharrypotter .” He turned to look at Harry smugly. “You’re welcome.” He said.

 

Harry narrowed his eyes, “For what?” He asked, and on the inside he really meant it, Harry had no idea why he should be thankful.

 

“I just gave you a shoutout, you’ll gain a couple thousand followers now.” 

 

As if on cue, Harry’s phone buzzed wildly in his pocket. He pulled it out and stared at the screen. It read, dracomalfoylovebot started following you before it changed a moment later. Harry scoffed and placed his phone on the table. 

 

“Anyways,” Malfoy said, turning back to the screen in his hand. “We haven’t been friends for ten years, No.” Malfoy said sheepishly, he was responding to another question. “Harry hated me in school. Still does a bit, I think.” Malfoy explained, smirking.

 

I don’t hate you. Harry didn’t say. I never did . Harry forced a chuckle. “I don’t hate Ma- Draco. ” The name felt foreign on his tongue. “He’s just a bit of a twat.” Harry added, Malfoy laughed. 

 

“I sure am.” He joked, his face breaking into a smile. “What is this sweater? Oh I found it here.” Malfoy was still wearing the awful Weasley sweater. “Maroon isn’t my colour.” Malfoy said and Harry grinned. The chat was going so fast that Harry only caught a few single words. His name popped up a number of times, as did a few words that made Harry fight off the urge to blush. 

 

Malfoy read off a question about his black eye, “It’s nothing. It was only a stupid accident.” Harry spotted a few words of sympathy.

 

“Is Harry my boyf-“ Malfoy cut himself off, his cheeks going red. “No, he wishes.” 

 

Harry felt himself blush, “No I do not!” He called, watching as the chat seemed to go up in flames.

 

“Harry and I better get going. Thank you for watching, I love you guys.” said Malfoy. He smiled and pressed a button on the screen, shutting off the video of them. He turned to Harry.

 

“It was nice hearing you say my first name.” 

 

Harry furrowed his eyebrows, unsure of what to say. Malfoy, however, beat him to it. 

 

“I reckon they liked you, Harry.” He made to stand up. “Can you help me up to the drawing room?” 

 

+

 

Malfoy was sitting on the carpet in the drawing room, his clothes spread out before himself. 

 

“Harry, you’re sure you didn’t see the white converse?” He asked, looking up at Harry, who was seated on the couch opposite him. 

 

No , they must’ve been away from the closet.” Harry huffed, leaning back against the couch.

 

“I think I left them by the door. Perhaps you’re off the hook.” Malfoy smiled smugly. He reached forward to move one of the turtlenecks away from the pile and beside his army green joggers. “What do you think, the joggers with the boots,” He pointed toward the single pair of black combat boots sitting to his left, “Or the vans.” He pointed to a pair of flat, black and white checkered shoes to his right.

 

“Er...vans?” Harry hesitated, he wasn’t much of a fashionable person himself. 

 

Malfoy shook his head, “Boots.” He sighed, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’re shit at this, I hope you know.” 

 

Harry sat up again, narrowing his eyes. “I don’t do fashion, M-” Harry caught himself. “Draco.” 

 

Malfoy raised his eyebrows. “The famous Harry Potter can save the world, but he can’t dress himself properly? What a shame.” He snatched the boots from his side and placed them with the joggers and turtleneck. “I need a chain for this one.” He muttered, mostly to himself. 

 

“It’s not like I had time to wear anything other than robes, anyway.” Harry felt a dire need to defend himself, he didn't quite like being picked on.

 

“You spent all those summers with muggles, yet you still dress in jeans and sweatshirts. You’re mad.” Malfoy was teasing, Harry knew that, but still, he felt defensive.

 

“It wasn’t a walk in the park, you know. I spent a great number of those years locked in a cupboard under the stairs.” Harry said it as a throw away line, but Malfoy started.

 

“What?” He seemed earnest, as though he was genuinely interested. Harry wasn’t quite fooled, Malfoy would only be luring Harry in to take the piss out of him.

 

“Don’t act surprised.” Harry said with disdain, meeting Malfoy’s grey eyes.

 

Malfoy’s cheeks reddened, but he looked sincere. “I didn’t know you lived in a cupboard.” 

 

Harry hummed, looking past Malfoy and the sofa behind him and out the window, into the rapidly darkening sky. “It wasn’t by choice. My aunt and uncle were rather awful. I’m sure you had your fair share of scarring childhood, though. Mine wasn’t very special.” 

 

Malfoy furrowed his eyebrows, his face held real concern, and Harry felt put-off. “I’d rather not talk about my childhood.” He said quietly. “I’m sorry yours was so terrible. I would’ve thought it was okay.” 

 

Harry frowned. “Of course you would, but it’s not as though I asked to be the chosen one. I didn’t get a say in the matter. You, on the other hand, had a choice to do what you did.” He spat. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed to slits. Harry had called on the storm, and it had arrived. He had no reason to back off. 

 

“During my trial you said I was brought up in the situation. My parents chose a path for me and I was forced to follow it, you said it yourself.”

 

Harry leaned forward, placing his hands on either side of himself on the edge of the sofa. “I said what I could to save you the trouble of being shipped off to Azkaban, I didn’t say it to impress you.” He felt heat building in his chest, his cheeks going scarlet. 

 

“Do you think I wanted to hurt people the way I did?” Malfoy asked, his voice both skeptical and furious at the same time. 

 

“You never said you didn’t.” Harry argued fiercely. He didn’t know why he was so angry all of a sudden, but he knew he wanted Malfoy to feel it too. 

 

Malfoy yanked up his sleeve to his elbow, thrusting his arm forward for Harry to see. What used to be the dark mark now sat like a scar on Malfoy’s skin, pink against white. Harry had a momentary thought of Hermione’s own scar that said mudblood, it had been given to her the same day Harry had taken Malfoy’s wand, the one that currently sat inside his sweater downstairs.

 

“I didn’t ask for this, Potter. I was forced.” His voice was like venom in the silence of the room. Harry wanted to reach over and strangle him. 

 

“Right, like you were forced to try and kill Dumbledore. Forced to hex Katie Bell. Forced to support Voldemort!” Harry snarled. He stood up, reaching forward and yanking Malfoy to his feet as well. He didn’t let go of Malfoy, only bringing them face to face. 

 

“Do you honestly think I wanted to kill Dumbledore? Are you that stupid?” He wobbled on his feet, and Harry held onto him with more force. Malfoy sneered at him.

 

“I think you wanted to prove yourself.” Harry snapped, his face red.

 

“I fucked up! Is that what you want me to say? I did what I had to do!” Malfoy shouted, his chest heaved with the effort, Harry’s hands were bunched in the collar of Ron’s forgotten jumper.

 

“Yes!” Harry shouted back. “That’s exactly what I want you to say. You chose that side! It was only when it went too far that you realized it was a dead end, that I was right all along!” Harry’s voice shook, and Malfoys eyes darted from left to right to meet Harry’s.

 

“Well I was wrong.” He hissed, clenching his jaw. “I didn’t do what I did because I wanted to be like my parents, I did what I did because I wanted to save them. I’d do it again if it meant saving them, and you.” 

 

Harry felt his eyes widen, and he loosened his grip on Malfoy’s collar. “Saving me?” He asked, his voice suddenly falling weak. 

 

“Yes, saving you .” 

 

“Why would I need saving?” Harry asked, his voice a near whisper. 

 

“Because you’re…” Malfoy hesitated. “If you’d...if you’d died, my family would have died too.”

 

Harry cleared his throat, “I almost died. A number of times, actually. I don’t think you were there to save me for most of them.” He said pointedly.

 

Malfoy huffed. “I was nearly killed that day at the Manor, when you and Weasley and Granger were caught by snatchers. Because I didn’t identify you.” Malfoy stared at Harry as though he was scared to look away.

 

“I didn’t know that.” Harry mumbled. He was frustrated, he didn’t want to hear about any  damage he had caused.

 

“Yeah, well.” Malfoy shrugged. “The least I could get is a thank you.”

 

“Thank you, Draco.” Harry whispered. Malfoy’s eyes faltered, his gaze dropping down to Harry’s lips, and jumping back up as quickly as they had gone.

 

Harry couldn’t explain what came over him, but in a second he had pulled Malfoy across the gap between them, and Malfoy didn’t fight it. 

 

A rage Harry had never felt before surged through him, and Harry wanted to hurt Malfoy as bad as Harry had ever hurt. He held Malfoy’s collar so tightly that his hands began to ache, and his lips met Malfoy’s, hard. Harry had gone mad, that much was obvious to him. 

Malfoy tasted like nothing. Harry distinctly remembered kissing Ginny and tasting something sweet, and kissing Cho and tasting salty tears, he had never kissed anyone and not been able to identify it. It made Harry irrationally angry that he wouldn’t be able to remember a taste to Malfoy’s mouth. He was so furious that he barely registered Malfoy kissing him back. Malfoy’s lips didn’t fit right, and Harry let out a half-growl in frustration. Harry’s hands fell away from Malfoy’s collar, and he reached up to cup Malfoy’s cheeks in his hands before he’d even realized what he was doing. 

 

Their lips rolled together for longer than Harry could possibly keep track, or maybe it had only been seconds, but Harry found he couldn’t breathe properly. As the thought crossed his mind he felt teeth biting down on his bottom lip and he shoved Malfoy away. Malfoy, having only one good foot, was sent backward into the carpet. 

 

“You bit me!” Harry cried, tasting blood on his tongue. 

 

“You pushed me!” Malfoy cried back, scrambling to pull himself off the ground. 

 

“Because you bit me!” Harry groaned, touching his lip gingerly. There was blood on his fingers. 

 

“Well you..you kissed me, you twat!” Malfoy grabbed the coffee table to pull himself back into a standing position. His cheeks were so red that Harry thought he looked sunburnt. 

 

Harry felt his cheeks burning as well, he had kissed Malfoy. “What the fuck?” 

 

Malfoy scoffed halfheartedly, “Yeah, that one’s all on you.” 

 

Harry took two steps backward until his legs hit the sofa. “You-you kissed me back!” 

 

Malfoy crossed his arms over his chest. “Only because you kissed me first.” 

 

“You provoked me!” Harry yelped. He ran his tongue over his bottom lip, still tasting blood.

 

“I provoked you?” Malfoy roared. He kicked a pair of jeans with his cast-foot. “Ow! Fuck!”

 

Harry leapt forward, “Are you okay?” He questioned, reaching forward. 

 

Malfoy slapped his hand away. “I’m fine .” He growled. 

 

Harry didn’t bother trying again. He clenched his hands into fists at his sides. 

 

“I’m sorry I-” Harry began. Malfoy looked at him pointedly. “I didn’t mean to-” He huffed. “I wasn’t going to- Agh!” Harry cried, turning away from Malfoy. He practically ran for the stairs, passing Kreacher on the landing, who was carrying a tray full of chicken, and potatoes, and corn to the drawing room. 

 

“Kreacher brought dinner, Master.” Kreacher said, but Harry was so focused on getting away that he ignored the elf as he bolted up the stairs. 

 

When Harry reached the bedroom, he slammed the door behind himself. He leaned his back against it, his breath falling heavy and fast. He felt a million different things at once as he stood there, his chest heaving. Harry was so undeniably angry . He stomped across the room, picked up a pillow, and threw it directly at the lamp sitting on the bedside table. It fell against the wall with a clatter, and Harry snarled. He sat down on the bed, his breathing still erratic, and realized how embarrassed he felt. Harry had just kissed his enemy, his childhood rival, and enjoyed it. Harry had kissed Draco Malfoy and been rejected, and he was furious about it. Furious, mad, angry, and any other synonym for pissed off that he could think of. He was fuming, embarassed, and simultaniously, really fucking turned on.