A couple of days passed before Harry had more interaction with Draco, aside from faculty meals. He bumped into him in the library, literally. Draco had been squatting down in search of a book low on the shelves when Harry stumbled right over him. Harry managed to gracelessly catch himself from falling on top of the blond. However, it didn’t save him from embarrassment.
“Oi, what are you doing down there?” Harry asked, flustered.
“I wouldn’t have been down here had I known you walk around without watching where you’re going,” Draco smirked. He stood and brushed himself off. “I was looking for a book, of course.”
Harry blushed lightly. Obviously, Malfoy was looking for a book. They were in the library.
“Right,” Harry muttered. “Um, how is the Potions office coming along?” he asked, changing the subject.
Draco sighed. “Slowly. There’s a lot to go through. Mainly trash, but I need to go through it carefully in case there is something important.”
“Well, my offer still stands,” Harry said.
“What offer was that?” asked Draco.
“If you need help with Snape’s things . . .”
Draco opened his mouth to turn down the offer, but realized that it would take a lot longer to get things in order on his own.
“Thank you. I could probably use a hand.”
Not realizing just how much work there was to do, Harry felt it was more of a token gesture, just to be friendly. Little did he know, he would end up spending the better part of the following few days in the blond’s company.
“What about this?” Harry asked, holding up an old, battered copy of poetry written by some obscure wizard. He was ready to toss it into the trash pile before getting Malfoy’s answer.
“Keep,” the Slytherin Head called out. He was sitting on the other side of the room, mirroring Harry’s actions of throwing items into either the trash, keep or donate pile.
Harry wrinkled his nose at the book. “Really? It smells.”
“I can always spell it clean,” Draco replied. “Keep,” he repeated when he noticed Harry hesitate.
The same actions had been repeated over and over during the prior three days. They started in the middle of the room and worked their way out. Harry was thankful the job was nearly finished, as it was Saturday, and the last thing he wanted to do was clean on the weekend. On the other hand, he and Draco had more constructive conversations in those three days than they had over the past thirteen years.
As they went through Snape’s personal items, one of them usually had some insight about it. Mostly Draco, but occasionally Harry had something to add.
Most of the day had been spent dividing Snape’s belongings and rearranging the things Draco decided to keep. He offered Harry a few trinkets as keepsakes and put the rest in a small box for McGonagall to donate. Before too long, most of the office had been restored to functional, if not comfortable.
“Alohomora. Open. Difindo.” Harry heard Draco in the other corner muttering spells and waving his wand.
“What have you got over there?” Harry’s curiosity got the better of him.
“It appears to be some sort of diary or love letters. Something to that affect,” Draco answered. “But I can’t open it.”
“There’s probably a password. I doubt you’d just stumble upon it.”
Harry straightened up from sweeping the ground. He rubbed his back, which ached a bit from hunching over all day. Draco walked to join him, book in hand.
“You’re probably right.”
“May I?” Harry held out his hand.
Draco shrugged and handed it over.
“For My Love,” Harry read aloud. “It sounds like it’s written for a lover.”
They both instinctively wrinkled their noses, then laughed at the other’s reaction.
“I don’t recall Severus ever speaking of a lover,” Draco offered. “It’ll probably never open.”
Harry stood looking at the book and wondering. He had an idea. He took out his wand and pointed it.
“Lily,” he said. The book lock released.
“How did you do that?” Draco questioned accusingly. “Did you know about this book before?”
“No,” Harry replied, shaking his head. “He was . . . in love with my mother. But I assumed he must have had other romances. Not that he and my mother were ever romantically involved.”
“And her name was Lily? But she died when--” Draco cut himself off, realizing it may be a sensitive subject for Harry.
“They knew each other as children,” Harry explained. “And then at Hogwarts. He’d been in love with her forever. I saw his memories of her.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “You are full of surprises, Potter.”
Harry shared what he saw in the pensieve, giving Draco a glimpse of Snape’s softer side. Between the two of them, they formed a fuller, more realistic picture of the man they had both grown to admire greatly.
Despite feeling guilty for prying, the former adversaries sat down and read through some of the journal entries meant for Lily Potter. Though, Harry presumed that Snape would never have actually given it to her.
After reading a particularly sensual and detailed description of his mother, Harry had had enough and left Draco to leaf through the rest of it on his own. At one point Harry could have sworn there were tears in Draco’s eyes, and was then cursing himself for stopping. Harry swept up the remaining trash and dust from the floor while Draco finished the journal. He didn’t notice when Draco approached him with the book.
“Your mother must have been quite extraordinary.” He held out the tome for Harry to take. “You should keep it.”
“No, I couldn’t. You were closer to him,” Harry protested.
“You should read more of it. It’s lovely. I never knew Severus was such a romantic. There are only one or two entries that might make you blush again.”
And just like that, their beautiful moment was ruined. As far as Harry was concerned anyway. Pointing out Harry’s embarrassment had been a faux pas.
Reading the diary had been one of the most profoundly intimate activities he’d ever engaged in that wasn’t actually sexual in nature. And he shared it with Draco Malfoy of all people. In the moment before Draco opened his big mouth, Harry felt a deep connection to the Slytherin.
Going about the rest of his business, Draco hadn’t realized he’d said anything wrong.
Harry ended up taking the journal. He decided that he would not have been nearly as mortified if he read it on his own. Intending to leave as quickly as possible, Harry was once again caught off guard by Draco.
“I really appreciate all of your help, Po-- Harry.” Even after working with Harry and seeing him at meals for the past week, old habits were hard to break.
“No problem. I didn’t like the idea of Snape’s things being abandoned without care. I didn’t really understand him until after he died. But, he was a good man.”
Draco looked around at the newly restored office. “Not quite how he kept it . . .”
“But it’s not his office anymore,” Harry said. “It’s yours. And it should be kept how you want it.”
“Thanks. I’d like to repay you for all your help. Perhaps I could treat for supper some time. Although, it hardly seems a fair trade.”
In his mind Harry couldn’t help thinking that cleaning up and moving the Potions supplies down to the dungeons was well worth a night out alone with Draco. He mentally smacked himself for that thought. “Well, are you busy tonight?” Harry asked.
“No,” Draco shrugged.
“It’s about supper time now. Let’s go for a pint or two. I haven’t been to the Leaky Cauldron in ages.”
Draco and Harry went to their respective rooms to change for supper and met back up at the entrance hall.
“I thought we were just going to the Leaky,” Draco said when he saw Harry dressed in a soft button down shirt and nice trousers. Draco wore jeans and trainers as opposed to his usual attire, which was much the way Harry was currently dressed.
“We are,” Harry answered.
“But you look so . . . dressed up.”
“It’s how you usually dress,” Harry shrugged. “Of course these clothes didn’t come from Twilfitt and Tattings,” he chortled.
“Clearly, I no longer shop there,” Draco said as he drew his hands over his outfit to make his point.
“You look great. It’s about time you started dressing like the rest of us. Let’s go,” Harry said before the compliment could register in Draco’s mind.
Once inside the Leaky Cauldron, neither of them cared how they were dressed. The place was dark and filled with people that paid them no mind. They had to wait several minutes for a table and each had a butter beer while they waited.
“It’s funny,” Harry said. “There was a time when I couldn’t go out in public without someone accosting me--thanking me or telling me about their lost loved ones. A few people asked me to bless them.” He laughed out loud.
“Yeah, I had a similar problem,” Draco commiserated. “Except people spat on me, or tried to hex me. Or actually did hex me. A few people told me they wished I’d died in the war.” Draco took a long swig of his butter beer, finishing it.
“I’m sorry. I wish things had been different for you. It wasn’t your fault.”
“It wasn’t yours either.”
A waitress came by to seat them at a table, breaking the melancholy mood they had fallen into. She led them to a corner booth with a candle on it. Harry thought it would have been very romantic if it had been a date. And if there weren’t a bunch of rowdy drunk wizards singing loudly in another corner.
They each ordered a proper beer and a starter of fried cheese.
“So, do you miss it?” Draco started up the conversation again, but this time he would be careful not to bring it down.
“The fame, the notoriety.”
Harry shook his head emphatically. “Not at all. Everybody wanted something from me. It was like I was everybody’s saviour---okay, poor choice of words. Maybe I was because of Voldemort, but people wanted more. I like the life I have at Hogwarts much better. What about you?”
“Things are better. As much as I loathe Rita Skeeter, her series of articles completely degrading me downgraded my status from Death Eater to laughing stock. I’ll take laughing stock. At least everyone leaves me alone now.”
“What?” Draco frowned.
“Nothing. You took that very well. There was a time when you would have had an all out hissy fit over someone making fun of you.”
“We may be back at Hogwarts, Potter, but we’re no longer children.”
Their fried cheese and pints arrived and they each ordered a main dish from the limited menu. They discussed the curriculums for their classes and speculated what this years crop of first years would be like. Harry filled Draco in on new policies and gave him suggestions on when to give research assignments based on when other professors gave theirs. Draco felt as though he should have been writing some of it down, but Harry assured him that he would be happy to help anytime.
Too many beers sent Draco to the loo in the middle of supper, leaving Harry contemplating the evening on his own. He could scarcely believe how well they were getting on. He wished that some of his proper dates had gone so well.
The waitress came to check on them and Harry ordered more liquor. He thought he may screw up enough courage to suggest to Draco that there could be a real friendship between them. Perhaps even something more.
When Draco returned to the table, Harry dismissed his earlier notion. Draco had his life back in order. He was sophisticated and certainly not lacking for fit admirers. Why on earth would he want to have anything to do with plain old Harry Potter--who hadn’t even the courage to come out yet?
“Steady there. You’re in no shape to apparate,” Draco said as he grabbed a hold of Harry’s arm, keeping him from falling over. It was well past midnight and he and Harry had been drinking beer and snacking all evening at the Leaky while reminiscing about their youth at Hogwarts.
“I’m fine,” Harry replied. He paused a moment then said, “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
“Well, don’t do it here. I’ll take you back to the castle.”
With his hand still on Harry’s arm, Draco apparated them to the gate outside Hogwarts. He removed the charms in order to open the gate and led Harry inside. After restoring the wards, he guided Harry to his second floor quarters, stopping several times along the way when he thought Harry might gob. He was thankful when they reached Harry’s quarters without incident.
Draco tried the door to find it unlocked. He smirked to himself, thinking that down in Slytherin, he would never have left his door unlocked.
“In you go, Potter.”
Harry stumbled inside and went directly to the door leading to his bed chamber. He struggled with the handle, prompting Draco to help him open the door. Harry tried to sit down in a chair, but was dragged to his bed and gently pushed down into a prone position. Draco lifted his feet up, then sat on the edge of the bed to take off Harry’s shoes.
“You’re still completely pissed,” Draco shook his head. “I didn’t think you had that much more than me.”
Harry grinned. “I did a few extra shots when you went to the loo.”
“Good thing tomorrow is Sunday. You’re going to have one hell of a hangover. I assume I won’t see you at breakfast. Better get some sleep.” Draco patted his shoulder.
Suddenly, Harry sat up. “Where’s my kiss?” he slurred.
“Sorry?” Draco frowned.
“There’s supposed to be a kiss at the end of a date.”
Rendered speechless, Draco sat gaping.
Harry leaned forward, closed his eyes . . . and promptly passed out on Draco’s chest.
Snapping out of his shock, Draco looked down at the messy head of hair resting on him and chuckled softly.
He cradled Harry’s head and leaned him back onto his pillow. He sat observing Harry. Was the Gryffindor always like this when he was drunk? Was he deluded into thinking Draco was some girl?
Draco sighed. He leaned over Harry and whispered, “It was a lovely date.” Then he gently pressed his lips to Harry’s.
On his way back up to his own chambers, Draco thought about what happened in Harry’s room. He hoped Harry really was as out of it as he seemed. The last thing he wanted was for his colleague to know he was harboring a secret crush on him.
As predicted, Harry was a no show for breakfast. Draco was admittedly a bit surprised when he showed up for lunch even. Several other professors were not present, leaving a large gap between Draco and Harry’s regular places. During the long walk to the table, Harry contemplated where he should sit. Would it be odd to leave three empty spaces between him and Draco? Or would it be too obvious to sit right next to him? McGonagall made the decision for him.
“We’re a rather small group this afternoon, Harry. Why don’t you sit next to Draco so we can all chat together?”
Avoiding Draco’s eyes, Harry nodded. “Morning,” he mumbled and sat down. Of McGonagall, he asked, “Where is everyone?”
“Oh, Sibyll and Pomona went to Diagon Alley. Of course Professor Binns never eats in the Great Hall.” Minerva glanced at the door as it creaked open. “And here come Professors Flitwick and Sinistra.”
“Does Hagrid no longer work here?” Draco asked, puzzled.
“Oh, he’s participating in an exchange program this year,” Minerva said. “He wanted to work with dragons in Romania. One of their experts came here to teach Hagrid’s class.”
“I see,” said Draco.
Minerva leaned a little closer and lowered her voice. “He stays in Hagrid’s hut most of the time. Not very social.”
Since Harry was already seated next to Draco, he thought it would be odd if he moved to his usual place. The other professors took the two seats to Harry’s right without interrupting their conversation.
As the group ate, conversation was casual among most of them. Draco kept silent, mostly listening. But he occasionally glanced at Harry as he spoke to Minerva. Harry continued to avoid looking at Draco, being embarrassed by his drunkenness the night before. He wondered if he said or did something in his stupor that made Draco so quiet.
After lunch was over, Harry followed Draco out. Instead of stopping on the second floor, he continued on until he caught up with the blond.
“Draco, wait,” he called out.
Draco stopped and turned around, seeing Harry on the steps below him. Harry stepped up and Draco walked down as they met somewhere in the middle.
“What is it?”
“Is everything okay? You were awfully quiet at lunch.”
Harry looked around to see if there was anyone wandering nearby. “Look, I know what you did last night,” he said in a hushed voice.
“Uh . . .” Draco was left speechless. He was certain Harry had been unconscious when he kissed him. How could he possibly have known?
“I’m so sorry I put you in a position to have to be responsible for me like that. It was very unprofessional of me to get so pissed,” said Harry.
Draco relaxed a bit when he realized that Harry was only speaking of the way Draco took care of him. “We were out after school hours as friends, not as professors. At least you didn’t throw up on me.”
Harry blushed slightly and smiled. “That’s good to know. I hope I didn’t do anything else stupid.”
“Not at all,” Draco answered. If Harry didn’t remember, he wasn’t about to tell him.