Draco hummed under his breath as he sent off the last parcel for the day, watching as his tawny owl flew out over the Manor grounds and disappeared into the distance. She'd been busy today, flying to and fro all over Great Britain delivering various orders, and Draco allowed himself a moment to appreciate the progress he'd made with his mail-order potions business over the past several years. As of this month he was officially breaking even, and he no longer had to dip into the family coffers to buy ingredients and cover other overhead costs—a massive feat considering the Malfoy name wasn't exactly respected these days. It just made him all the prouder of how far he'd come, knowing that he'd truly earned his success.
He closed the window and turned towards the room, ready to clean up for the evening. Not that there was much left to do, as Severus had always drilled in the importance of a tidy workstation. Draco went through and gave everything a final scrub-down before putting away the few ingredients still left on the tabletop, giving the lab one final sweep before nodding in satisfaction. On his way out he stopped by the cauldron bubbling in the corner. The Wolfsbane still had another day left to brew, and the colour, texture, and smell thankfully all indicated it was proceeding along exactly as it should be. Draco refreshed the Monitoring Charm and headed out of the lab and up towards his living space.
After the war, he'd claimed the left wing of the Manor for his own. With him and his parents all under a year of house arrest, Draco felt it prudent to have plenty of his own space, particularly given some of the war's lingering effects. It had touched them all in different ways—his mother's increasingly erratic mood swings, his father's long periods of listless depression, and Draco… Well, he personally felt, with no small amount of bitterness, that he'd been dealt the worse hand, but he supposed the grass always did seem greener on the other side. He wasn't sure when it happened, when he'd developed his particular affliction, though he knew he hadn't always been this way, that there'd been a time before. Was it triggered by one particular incident, or was it merely an amalgamation of the many things he'd seen and endured during those few hellish years? Did it even matter? In the end, the result was the same.
Draco couldn't bear to be touched.
He'd assumed it would go away on its own given enough time, but if anything it seemed worse now than it had been five years ago when he'd first noticed his aversion. He could still remember the shudder of terror and revulsion after the Battle of Hogwarts when his mother had been so grateful to find him alive that she'd performed an unusual display of affection and attempted to wrap him in a hug.
Perhaps, if Draco were somebody else, he might have sought help. He knew his disgust for human touch was a mental issue, and one he clearly wasn't strong enough to overcome on his own. But the thought of admitting his weakness to a stranger was almost as horrifying as the idea of being touched, and really, things weren't so very bad. His parents were used to his eccentricity by now and maintained a safe distance whenever they were together; most of his friends had fled the country anyway and owl correspondence and International Floo Calls required no touch at all; he had a decently successful business to occupy his days that was conducted entirely by owl-order, and he even had a non-corporeal mentor who was helping him work towards his Potions Master certification, a mentor Draco could work with safely with no fear of an accidental touch.
That had been one of the more surprising developments of the past five years, the unexpected addition to their household. Draco had known, of course, that Severus had been murdered during that final battle—a fact that had hit him with nearly as much pain and regret as Vincent's death, much to Draco's surprise—but he'd never expected Severus to come back as a ghost. Apparently, after dedicating most of his life to ensuring Voldemort's permanent defeat, Severus hadn't been content to die and leave the rest up to fate. He'd needed to see the job done, even if it meant giving up his chance to finally be at peace.
Severus had already given up everything else, what was this one last thing?
When Draco had learned that Severus was haunting Hogwarts, he'd been overcome with the need to see him, to talk to him one last time. Draco'd had so many questions, and his curiosity had been great enough to give him the courage to write to Headmistress McGonagall. Of course, given Draco's house arrest, he'd not been able to go to Severus himself, and he hadn't really expected that Severus would consider Draco's request important enough for Severus to come to him, but he'd had to try. It had been quite the shock when Severus had materialised one day out of Draco's Floo—though ghosts couldn't use Floos in the traditional sense, it was nearly impossible for most ghosts to travel long distances given the amount of focus and will power it required, and Floos were a good way to help in the visualisation process.
Severus had been just as surly and taciturn in death as he'd been as Draco's professor, a fact that Draco found strangely comforting, almost soothing. For all that the world had changed, Professor Snape was the same as ever, living or not.
Of course, it meant he wasn't particularly forthcoming when it came to answering Draco's many questions, but when Draco asked if he might be willing to continue Draco's potions education, Severus was surprisingly amenable. Apparently the thought of being trapped in Hogwarts for all eternity sounded like Severus's personal hell, but there weren't exactly a lot of places that would welcome a ghost, particularly his ghost. Malfoy Manor was large enough to be interesting, and blessedly free of any other ghosts that might want to socialise with him, so Severus had offered his services in return for free reign to officially haunt the Manor.
Lucius had been… resistant to the idea, not overly fond of his erstwhile friend after learning of his duplicity. But Lucius didn't have much sway these days, and when Narcissa backed Draco, that was that.
The Manor got its very own ghost.
Speaking of, Draco wondered where Severus had got to. Draco hadn't seen him at all today, which wasn't particularly unusual—Severus did like his solitude—but he usually made it a point to check in once or twice a day. Draco had come to look forward to those visits, the way Severus would watch over him, making snide yet helpful comments as Draco brewed, reluctantly allowing Draco to draw him into conversation. Draco felt safe with Severus in a way he didn't feel with anybody else these days, not even his parents. Draco thought it probably had to do with the fact that Severus was a ghost—non-corporeal—so that even if he wanted to, even if he forgot about Draco's limits, there was no way Severus could touch him. Draco didn't need to be on his guard, didn't have that thread of tension knotting up his shoulders that he got whenever he was in another person's company. When Draco watched Severus's hands, it wasn't because Draco was worried they might reach towards him unexpectedly, but rather to appreciate the slim length of Severus's fingers, the masterful way they prepared ghostly potions ingredients as he demonstrated his perfect technique.
It was strange, how obsessed Draco had become with watching Severus's hands, given his disinclination to be touched. Then again, perhaps it wasn't really all that odd, Draco fixating on hands that couldn't actually ever touch him. Hurt him. It wasn't as if Draco's dislike of touch had done away with his sex drive, after all, which was rather inconvenient. Really, it was only polite if he were to become all but allergic to touch that he lose his desire for sex as well. Because what was sex if not the pinnacle of touching and connection?
He'd actually tried, once, right after his year of house arrest had lifted. His aversion hadn't been quite so bad, then, and he was sick of waking up sticky and desperate. He'd thought that perhaps it would be different, that maybe he could stand to be touched if it were in a sexual manner, given the way he begged for it in his dreams. So he'd snuck off to a Muggle club, where nobody would know who he was and he could be free to find what he was looking for.
He didn't even make it through the door.
There'd been a queue to get inside, people packed in close while they waited, laughing and flirting and jostling one another, and Draco had experienced a full-on panic attack. He'd barely had enough presence of mind to stumble into an alleyway and Apparate back home to the Manor, collapsing onto his sofa in a heap of shame and helpless anger. Severus had found him like that, and he'd stayed with Draco, not offering any explicit comfort, no touch or words of wisdom, but Draco didn't think he could have borne any sympathy just then anyway, not without cracking in two. It was enough that Severus had stayed, his ghostly presence a surprisingly soothing balm.
Draco's fairly certain that's when things started to change for him, when he began to see Severus in a different light. He'd been horrified at first, strangely guilty every time he brought himself off thinking of Severus's hands, his low voice, the quirk of his lips when he found himself reluctantly amused. But Draco quickly got over all that. He wasn't hurting anybody, and Severus didn't ever need to know.
The familiar tingles of arousal began to course through him, sensitising his skin so that even the faintest brush of his robes made him shiver. His cock began to fill as he thought of Severus, and he really should adjourn to his bedroom for the wank he was now desperate for, but there was something so naughty and thrilling about doing it right here in his living room. It wasn't as if anybody ever came to his rooms uninvited anyway. Well, nobody but Severus, but he'd been gone all day, and the faint possibility of him floating in and seeing just made Draco's cock throb more intently.
He settled back against the sofa, unbuttoning his robes and exposing himself to the empty room. He shuddered as the warm air caressed his cock, and he wondered if it was normal to be so sensitive, or if it was a byproduct of never being touched. He supposed it didn't really matter and took himself in hand, not bothering to suppress his throaty moan at the sudden friction. His dick was hard and flushed, making his hand look even paler in comparison, and he couldn't help but imagine what Severus's hand would look like wrapped around him, the large palm and long fingers. Severus was good with his hands, capable, and Draco had no doubt that Severus would know what he was doing, would have no difficulties at all wringing pleasure from Draco's body.
Draco was so caught up in wanking, in the safely impossible fantasy, that he completely lost track of his surroundings; he was quite thoroughly shocked at the sudden clearing of a throat. His eyes flew open, meeting Severus's undeniably amused gaze. He hovered mere feet away, his presence powerful and undeniable, despite the fact that Draco could literally see straight through him.
"S-Severus," Draco stuttered, unsure if he was more horrified or turned on by the unexpected interruption.
Severus's lips twitched into a smile. "Don't feel the need to stop on my account," he said silkily, and that decided it—definitely more turned on.
"I—" Draco hadn't started wanking again, though his hand was still firmly wrapped around his dick. "Are you planning on staying?"
Severus looked at Draco for a long moment with his penetrating stare. "Isn't that what you want?"
Draco gasped, his cheeks heating at the realisation that apparently he hadn't been as subtle with his admiration as he'd thought.
"I didn't think you'd be…"
Severus hummed thoughtfully and drifted closer. "Perhaps not in life, no. There would be far too many reasons for this to never happen. But death does seem to change things." Draco swallowed, unable to tear his gaze away from Severus's dark, glittering eyes, seemingly more substantial than the rest of his non-corporeal form. Severus's voice lowered, his tone softening into something almost kind. "I'm aware of your difficulties, Draco. If my presence can give you something you're unable to get elsewhere, I'm not unwilling."
Draco couldn't stop his pleasurable shiver, his cock throbbing in his palm, reminding him that he'd been in the middle of something before he was interrupted. He gave himself a long, firm pull, and his lashes fluttered at the sudden sensation.
"There you go, Draco," Severus murmured, sounding not unlike he did when Draco shredded Boomslang Skin just right. "You're already close, aren't you? It won't take you long at all."
The question was clearly rhetorical, more a statement, really, but Draco nodded his head anyway, gnawing on his lip as he began to fuck up into his fist. His eyes were half open and focused on Severus or, more accurately, on Severus's hands, grey fingers pale against the slate of his ghostly robes. Severus picked up on Draco's preoccupation—of course he did—and he held one hand up as if to give Draco a better look. It appeared massive, much larger than Draco had realised, and Draco couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like against his skin, even as he knew that if Severus really could touch him, the first brush would make Draco recoil.
"Have you ever been touched by a ghost?" Severus asked as Draco continued wanking, his orgasm beginning to build inside him.
Draco shook his head, beyond words at this point. Most of the Hogwarts ghosts avoided all contact with the Slytherins, likely due to the Bloody Baron's violently possessive nature, and Draco had been too terrified of him to ever get close enough to touch. Severus, for all the time they spent together, had always kept a healthy distance between them. Or perhaps it was the other way around—it was second nature these days for Draco to maintain a certain perimeter of comfort whenever he was near another being.
"Would you like me to?"
Draco made himself actually think about it, slowing his pace somewhat as he considered. The thought didn't make his heart race or his skin feel tight—all he felt was curiosity, and something not unlike anticipation.
"Yes," he whispered, his cock throbbing as he stroked. "Please."
Severus gave Draco that familiar half-smile that never failed to make Draco's insides glow as he moved in closer, mere inches away from where Draco was sprawled out on the sofa. He stretched out, his hand hovering mid-air as if he wasn't sure where to place it. And then he reached towards where Draco's fist was flying over his dick, his hand passing right through Draco's cock with a chilly tingle.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd had such a powerful orgasm, the aftermath leaving him loose-limbed and dazed as he blinked blearily up at the ceiling. Draco could sense Severus's presence nearby, and the fact that he'd stayed made Draco feel hotly content. He managed to turn his head to the side with no small amount of effort, meeting Severus's gaze as he watched over him, seeming entirely unruffled, as if he hadn't just made Draco come.
"So that was fun," Draco said. Severus gave him a look.
"Yes, you did seem to have enjoyed yourself."
"And you?" Draco wasn't even sure if ghosts could enjoy themselves like that.
"I… was not unaffected," Severus said, his lips pursed and expression thoughtful. "My body doesn't function in quite the same way as it did before my death; I've not yet sufficiently explored its capabilities."
Draco gave him what he hoped was an encouraging smile. "Would you like to? Because if you'd like to do some… additional explorations of your ghostly body's limits, I'd be more than happy to do this again."
Severus's cheek plumped with the bare edge of a smile. "How selfless of you."
Draco's own smile grew cheeky as he cleaned himself off with his wand and began to button his robes. "We're Slytherins. Nothing wrong with a mutually beneficial arrangement." Draco did his best to sound unconcerned, but he was fully prepared to bust out his most potent powers of persuasion if necessary; he hadn't experienced anything so close to sex since the few awkward fumblings he'd had at Hogwarts before the war, and he was already eager for more.
"No," Severus said slowly, his impenetrable gaze fixed on Draco. "I suppose not."
Draco barely suppressed his crow of triumph as his belly gave an exhilarated flip. "Oh, all right then," Draco said breathily. "I guess I'll just, err, let you know the next time I…" Draco trailed off awkwardly.
"Yes, you do that," Severus said, clearly amused by Draco's clumsy fumblings. He began to float towards the lab, no doubt to check on Draco's work for the day. He looked over a transparent shoulder, murmuring as he passed through the wall. "You know where to find me."