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Christmas at the Leaky

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“Isn’t that Harry Potter? Look, over there!”

“Leave the man, s’pose the Chosen One needs a break just like the lot of us. Cheers!”

Harry was treading through the crowd, careful not to drop the tray full of shots. He was unsteadily levitating it over people’s heads while trying to ignore any curious glances and amused whispers. In the present circumstances, it was hard to focus and keep a steady hand. Naturally, first-grade spells were by no means a challenge  - he was an auror, after all, and a bloody good one at that. However, he had enough integrity to admit, albeit with reluctance, that there were certain reasons for his unusual ineptitude.

One: Boxing Day was probably one of the busiest nights of the year at the Leaky Cauldron. The pub was filled to the brim with merry witches and wizards from all over London. It was hot and stuffy, the air infused with an assortment of smells, from the rich, spicy aroma of gingerbread and mulled wine, down to cloying perfume and the fetid stench of stale liquor. To add insult to injury, Cribbage's Wizarding Crackers were handed out, occasionally creating small explosions and puffs of colorful smoke, accompanied by boisterous laughter. All in all, the colorful mass of people in varying states of inebriation was rough to navigate.

Two: He was, well, plastered. All right, maybe not completely passed-out-throwing-up-in-an-alley drunk but he had certainly had his fair share of assorted Christmas concoctions that night. His head felt wobbly and his vision got warm and fuzzy at the edges. He carefully took each step as the rowdy, buzzing atmosphere made all that tray-levitating business seem to be a near-herculean task. 

Three: There was a very recent change in Harry’s life. One slightly more significant than he was willing to admit. When Stan Donnelly, his auror partner, retired a few months back, he was assigned a new one. One of great skill, unimpeachable morals, and exceptional test results. That’s what Robards had said, more or less. So when the next day, none other than Draco Fuckwit Malfoy had entered their tiny office, Harry was prepared for massive amounts of trouble to come his way.

And said trouble did not disappoint. Seven months had passed and Harry hated the prat. He hated how well they worked together. He hated how they were willing to put their lives on the line for each other without a second thought. How easily they fell into this rough camaraderie and how Malfoy would always bring him coffee in the mornings but never mention it out loud. He hated his stupid bloody hair and how much he wanted to thread his fingers through the delicate strands. And his stupid, thunderous, silvery eyes, and his mouth that looked so soft, and his smooth, slender hands that Harry wanted all over his body. He hated all of it along with his idiot brain.

So Harry did what every responsible adult would have done in his situation. He hid those pesky little thoughts behind a locked door in his mind and threw away the proverbial key. And then, went on with his life, convincing himself there was no door in the first place.

He finally reached their booth, where Ron, Dean, Seamus, Neville, and Malfoy sat. Hermione was at Ginny and Luna’s so they ended up having a guys’ night. It was a strange view - their little Slytherin addition had been controversial at first but with time, apologies were exchanged and the old wounds had healed. 

Harry lowered the shot tray onto the table as his friends erupted with laughter. “Who are we making fun of?”, he asked, taking his seat next to the blond. Draco was equally tipsy, lounging elegantly on the leather seat, his arm atop of the backrest. Harry’s stomach fluttered when he felt the heat radiating off of the other man, along with the heady scent of his expensive cologne. And did he roll his shirt sleeves up when Harry was gone? Rude.

“Harry! -hic!- Malfoy doesn’t want to play with us!”, Seamus slammed his hand on the table so hard, the glasses rattled.

Draco rolled his eyes. “Finnigan, I never expressed any interest in this little game of yours. Go back to pestering Weasley about his mediocre sex life.”, he replied in an amused tone, his words a tiny bit slurred.

“Boys, boys!”, Neville put his hands up and turned to Harry, his gaze unfocused. “Mate, we started playing Truth or Dare and”, he bent over the table and finished in a dramatic whisper, “Malfoy fancies someone and he won’t tell us who!”

Harry swallowed thickly and dared a quick glance at Draco. The tips of his ears were pink but it was impossible to tell if it was the alcohol or Neville’s revelation that was to blame. Still, the little closed door in his head opened just a little bit. What if there’s someone? He feigned a laugh and replied weakly. “Neville, he’s a Slytherin. You sure he’s not playing you?”

By the time he had finished, Neville was already screaming something across the table to Dean, who was bursting into giggles with Ron in tow. 

Harry nearly jumped out of his skin as he suddenly felt Malfoy’s hot breath in his ear. “Good thinking, auror Potter. As you very well know, Slytherins are also all about self-preservation. And sharing such... sensitive information could make my life very hard.”

“How so?”, Harry’s heart was pounding. He felt a light touch, just barely there, on his shoulder where Malfoy’s hand rested.

“Well, if I were to, say, act on intuition and end up being wrong... It could cost me my job.”

For the rest of his life, Harry would remember that moment as the one time he sobered so fast, his ears were ringing. Was he saying... No. Impossible. 

“Draco. That’s the eggnog talking. I’m cutting you off. Let’s- Let’s call it a night, yeah?” He was blabbing and couldn’t stop, and he needed air, and Malfoy to get away before Harry did something very stupid, and unprofessional, and stupid

The other man stiffened immediately. The pleasant warmth on his back disappeared and Harry knew he just royally fucked something up. They said their goodbyes and left the Leaky. Think, fuck, think. Bloody fix it. You’re a Gryffindor. Act like one.

They walked in tense silence under the glowing lights of Diagon Alley, fresh snow crunching under their boots. Before he had the chance to talk himself out of it, Harry grabbed Malfoy by the sleeve and pulled him into a dark side alley. He pinned the blond against the nearest wall, grabbed his stupid, gorgeous face and captured his mouth in a hard, hungry kiss.

Draco’s hands shot straight to his hair, grabbing it and pulling with urgency, making Harry groan at the sensation as he deepened the kiss. He trailed Draco’s lips with his tongue, tasting and nipping lightly, finally able to see that it was all he had thought it would be. The other man licked into his mouth, making small, soft noises at the back of his throat and Harry almost went blind with pent-up lust.

When they broke apart, they were both gasping for air, their foreheads touching. Draco’s soft snort broke the silence. “You stupid fucking git”, he kissed Harry again, short and sweet. “My place. We have at least 5 months of snogging to make up for.”