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just tell me when it’s alright

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Although Harry didn’t know it at the time, it started with Ginny.

It was over that long, hot summer after the Battle of Hogwarts, a summer that Harry, in truth, had never expected to get. But he was seventeen, and the shadow that had lurked in him his whole life was - gone. Just gone, and not coming back, and the days were warm, and he and Ginny had reunited in a blaze of relieved, remembered affections.

They spent months after the world opened back up to them tucked away together, just off in the trees on the edge of the Burrow’s property, in the various rooms at Grimmauld as Harry and his friends methodically cleaned the place out, and once, just once, in Ginny’s childhood bed when the house was miraculously empty one weekday afternoon (they didn’t repeat that one - Harry couldn’t look Arthur in the eye for a full week after, and even Ginny in all her disregard for so-called ‘appropriate behavior’ felt uneasy). Harry felt full of a constant, restless energy, one that set his leg to jittering and fingers to twitching whenever he caught sight of Ginny’s long hair, or the curl of her smile, or her tight curves in profile- he couldn’t stop himself from reaching for her, and she seemed similarly affected. He could barely look at her without blushing at the ground and exchanging smiles as though they shared a secret. Hermione rolled her eyes indulgently at them, and Ron politely pretended he didn’t know what was going on.

During Sixth Year, Harry and Ginny hadn’t had the time (or the privacy) for much more than heated snogging sessions when they could snatch a few moments alone on the far side of the lake. Harry also had spent much of the year distracted—with good reason, it had turned out, hadn’t it Hermione—by Malfoy skulking around and quitting Quidditch. Now, though…

One muggy, humid Saturday, Harry and Ginny were up on the third floor at Grimmauld, ostensibly stripping wallpaper in one of the spare bedrooms. Ron and Hermione had popped in for lunch, but Hermione had ushered them back through the Floo once she’d caught one of the heated glances Ginny was throwing in Harry’s direction. Harry had sent her a grateful smile as she pushed a none-the-wiser Ron ahead of her, and she’d rolled her eyes at him.

Now, though, they were alone, and Harry’d shot an overenthusiastic Scourgify to freshen up the bedding before they tumbled onto the duvet.

They’d lost their shirts almost right away, and it took a few minutes of enthusiastic mutual struggling until they were both down to their pants. They hadn’t thought to open a window, though, and Harry could feel sweat trickling through his hair.

He was on top of Ginny, one thigh insinuated between hers, and his lips were going numb. He moved off her mouth, gasped in some air, then buried his face at the crook of her shoulder, a sensitive spot for her, and nipped and licked as he pressed his thigh more firmly between her legs.

Ginny had one hand buried in his hair, and as she moved and ground up against his leg she’d occasionally tighten her fingers and pull unconsciously; every time she did, a frisson went down his spine. He was hard, and the wet spot on his boxers made the friction as he rutted against her hipbone almost unbearable, but he couldn’t stop moving.

The tugs against his hair became more purposeful, then, and as Harry lifted off her neck with one last nip, Ginny suddenly flipped them until she was on top, pinning his hips between her muscled thighs, smirking down at whatever expression he was making.

“I want to try something,” she said, all bravado, although he caught a hint of nerves in her eyes. She gathered her hair up and tied it up into a bun, arching her back slightly as she rocked against him.

“Sure,” he panted, dropping his head against the pillow and running his hands up her legs until they rested at her waist.

She ducked down and kissed him briefly, not letting either of them get caught up in it again for more than a minute—just long enough for Harry to move his hands around to her firm arse. She laughed at him and wiggled free, then gave him a cheeky wink and slowly started to kiss her way down his torso.

“Oh Jesus,” Harry gasped, getting her intent immediately and fisting his hands in the bedsheets to stop from grabbing at her shoulders. “Ginny, you don’t…”

“I know,” she said, pulling down his pants and dropping a kiss at the cut of his hipbone before settling herself between his legs. “I know I don’t, I want to.” She flashed a smile up at him, then bent her head and started licking over the head of his cock.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuck,” Harry groaned, tensing his thighs in an effort to stop himself from bucking up into her mouth. He could feel a pressure building in his groin with each tentative lick and soft press of Ginny’s lips up and down his prick, and bit his lip in an attempt to not come immediately with no warning.

He could—Jesus, he could feel her laugh around his dick, and the vibration made his hips twitch up, just a little, just enough to cause Ginny to cough and move back. Her teeth accidentally grazed the underside of his cock and—

“Fuck!” Harry shouted, throwing his head back as he started to come. “Ginny, I—!”

She licked around the head as he came into her mouth and almost passed out from the sensation.

After a few moments, Ginny’s touch became unbearable, and he reached down and gently pushed her back with a hiss. “Sorry, I—” he flopped back onto the bed and covered his eyes with a forearm. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to—”

Laughing, she crawled up back next to him, draping one leg over his. “It’s OK; trust me, I’m going to take it all as a compliment. That was…” She tucked her face into the crook of his neck and began rocking against him, voice getting rough in that way he loved to hear. “Wow, Harry, that was so hot. Your face...watching what I was doing to you like that…” Her motions quickened, and Harry could feel how damp her knickers were getting against his side.

He pushed her so she was lying on her back, smirking a bit at her gasp. “Well, if you enjoyed it that much…” Ginny moaned, and Harry buried his smile in the soft skin of her stomach as he worked his way down her torso.

That was the first time, even though he didn’t know it then.

 

 

The summer eventually had to end. As the long days shortened and the autumn sun leached heat from the air, Ginny’s patience with Harry’s dark moods wore thin, and her tendency to barrel through life with no forethought pricked at his nerves.

Harry preferred routine, now—mornings with the Weasleys, trying to make George laugh over breakfast; lunch through the Floo with Hermione, who was in Australia and by the time Harry was ready to eat his midday meal was usually on her second or third drink; afternoons at Hogwarts when he didn’t need to be at the Ministry, helping the staff and reconstruction crew pull Dark magic out of the stones or reinforcing the wards around the perimeter; evenings puttering around Grimmauld redecorating, or out at his local with anyone who wanted a pint.

Ginny, on the other hand, was whirling from event to event, her glittering smile gracing the society pages in each Monday edition of the Prophet. She grasped onto this new life with both hands, and seemed determined to take advantage of every new opportunity given to her. She did her best to drag Harry along, but as the weeks marched on and he stubbornly refused to alter his daily schedule at the drop of a hat for what he classified as ‘frivolous, pointless parties’, her frustration grew, and their fights became more frequent.

It came to nobody’s surprise when, instead of returning to Hogwarts for her seventh year, Ginny was scooped up to join Holyhead’s reserve team as Chaser, and over her mother’s protests that she could Floo over daily, promptly moved to a flat overlooking the Old Harbour with a few other women new to the team, spending her limited non-training time exploring the nightlife. It came as a surprise to everyone in the Wizarding world except their closest friends when they broke up. Harry abruptly announced at one Sunday dinner that he and Ginny were no longer in a relationship, Mrs Weasley, they were better off as friends, so she should just stop pushing him about when he was going to propose, because it just wasn’t going to happen.

Harry missed the next few mornings, after that, until Ron called him up and, in a voice that brooked no arguments, told him to get over himself and come back home for breakfast, and that nobody was angry at him, so he should stop acting like an overdramatic prat.

Molly didn’t understand, that much was clear, but she did her best to keep her mouth shut. The first time Ginny had a long enough break to come back home for a few days, her clear relief to be able to just pal around with Harry and her brothers, and Harry’s obvious relaxation over the lack of teasing and pressure put the final nail in the coffin, and all the subtle hinting stopped for good.

 


 

Auror training is...a bit less grand than Harry thought it would be, when he signed up. He and the rest of his class, when they’re not receiving practical assessments, are assigned administrative work—a task that’s generally reserved for junior Aurors, they’re informed, but as there currently are no junior Aurors (Harry doesn’t like to think about why), the trainees are taking on some of those responsibilities in addition to their training schedule, which has been modified to reflect their experiences during the War.

He’s paired with Ron, mostly, but sometimes rotates in with Justin Finch-Fletchley, or Tony Goldstein, who’s the sole Ravenclaw in their cohort. Harry’s enjoying the chance to get to know the people he would have graduated with that weren’t in his House—Justin’s kind of an arse, but viciously funny when he wants to be, and Tony’s self-deprecating sense of humour has their whole class in stitches more often than not.

The trouble, like so many of Harry’s past problems, begins in a bathroom. The Auror department’s shared bathroom, in this instance.

Harry’s suddenly noticing that he’s having to fix his eyes forward in the group shower to avoid letting his gaze wander when they’re all rinsing off after whatever sadistic games the instructors set for them that day. He laughs at Justin’s jokes maybe a bit harder than is warranted, but he can’t help it—the way Justin’s eyes light up in self-satisfied pleasure when he’s validated is mesmerizing. His eyes get caught on the flex of their Survival Duelling instructor’s biceps as he demonstrates proper defensive wand technique.

And then Charlie Weasley comes home.

Harry’s invited to Christmas at the Weasley’s, of course—George had rung him up and practically demanded a promise that he’d be coming, not like Harry was planning on skipping—and the trainees are given from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day off like all the other Ministry employees, with the understanding that they’re to report to headquarters if something comes up, so he plans to stay over instead of Flooing in each morning.

Molly had spent Sunday dinner the weekend prior fretting over not having exact numbers, as Charlie hadn’t been able to give a definite yes or no on his attendance, and Bill and Fleur were undecided on when they’d be getting back from her family in France to join the rest of them at the Burrow.

It would appear that Charlie was able to make it back, Harry thinks dazedly, clutching his cup of tea on Christmas morning as he stares out the kitchen window.

Charlie is out in the Burrow’s back garden, stripped down to a tight, clinging vest, muscles bulging as he hauls tables and chairs about under the warmth of the atmospheric charms Hermione and Ginny had set up the day prior. Molly is there too, directing him to drop that table here and scoot that one just there, but Harry barely even registers her presence as he traces a bead of sweat down Charlie’s face to his collarbone. His mouth is so dry.

“What’s caught your attention out there, Hazza?” pipes a voice off to his right, and he startles badly, almost dropping the teacup.

“Don’t call me that,” he says automatically, cutting a narrow-eyed stare over at Ginny, who’s smirking at him. “You’ve turned into a right jock, you know—keep me out of your hideous nickname cult, if you don’t mind.”

She jabs her finger into his side. “It’s how I show love, Haz. Don’t think I’ll be distracted, either—you were practically drooling. Is Fleur out there?” She jostles him aside despite his protests to peer out the window.

“I’m not—It wasn’t—” he stutters, feeling a hot crawl of shame up his spine.

Ginny watches Charlie, who’s now spacing the chairs out to Molly’s exacting specifications, and when Harry finally gets the courage to look at her face, it gives nothing away.

She shakes herself a bit, then directs an elbow into his stomach. “You dog, ogling the help from behind a window? I don’t think this is how you’re supposed to use those Stealth and Surveillance classes…” She’s got a sly tone, and Harry is filled with a rush of warm affection for her reaction, for the smile that’s totally genuine despite the small amount of hurt he picks up on.

He elbows her back. “Dare you to tell Charlie you called him the help. And I wasn’t ogling, I was...looking respectfully.”

Ginny snorts. “That’s a new one. I’m sure the punters who line up outside the Harpies practices every day would love that—looking respectfully, Merlin, you’re such a prat. Seriously, though…” She turns to face Harry, crossing her arms. “I don’t care who you’re getting off with now—no, really, I don’t—but it cannot be one of my brothers, alright Harry? That is just not on. Not to mention a little too incestuous, yeah?” She’s doing her best to look serious, but Harry can see the corner of her mouth jumping up with a repressed smile.

“Gin!” Harry yelps, punching her shoulder. “Don’t—I wouldn’t, I’m not even…” he trails off and scrubs a hand through his hair. “This is...a rather new development, and I’m not even sure it’s...real, you know?”

She snatches the cup out of his hands and sets it on the counter, then wraps her arms around his middle. “I know. Well...I don’t know know, but I can empathize. Hey...have you talked with Dean much, since summer?”

Harry blinks down at the top of her head. “Er...no, actually. Haven’t heard from him since my birthday, now that I think about it. Why?”

“Well...he’s living with Seamus, now.” Ginny’s tone makes it clear she’s said something meaningful, but Harry can’t for the life of him figure out what’s revolutionary about Dean living with his best mate. He stares blankly at her until she tuts impatiently and pushes away from him. “Harry, he’s living with Seamus now. You should write to them.”

Harry’s silent for a minute until he lands on her meaning. “Oh. Oh! You mean they…oh. Wow. That...actually puts a lot into perspective, thinking about it.” He reaches out and squeezes Ginny’s hand. “Thanks, Gin. Seriously. I think I will write.”

She flashes another smile at him. “Good. Now, I bet if we hurry, we can sneak out to the far fields before Mum comes in and assigns us chores—think you’re able to keep up with a professional Quidditch player, Potter?”

“You’re on, Weasley.”

 


 

Harry writes to Dean on Boxing Day, and he and Seamus reply almost immediately, offering to meet him at a Muggle coffee shop in Soho they know the next Saturday.

Pausing on the sidewalk, Harry takes in the line of rainbow flags in the windows, the coiffed and trendy clientele, and glances down at his ripped jeans and plain tshirt with trepidation. He pushes the door open, and when one of the shiny-looking baristas looks him up and down and then very clearly dismisses him, he feels incredibly out of place.

Luckily, he spots Dean and Seamus almost right away; they’ve chosen a table that’s partially obscured and in a corner, he’s grateful to note.

“Harry!” Dean says, jumping up and pulling Harry into a hug. “So good to see you. Happy New Year!” Seamus stays seated, but shoots Harry a blinding smile.

Harry grins tentatively as he seats himself. “Alright Dean, Seamus. Thanks for agreeing to meet me—Ginny suggested I look you up over Christmas. Sorry I haven’t been in touch since summer, Auror training, you know…”

“No worries, mate,” Seamus interrupts, waving Harry off. “We’ve all been snowed under, haven’t we? Bit different from school.” Dean snorts in agreement, then flags down a painfully handsome waiter, who scribbles down Harry’s stammered order and stomps off without a single word.

Harry watches him go, then turns back and frowns when he finds Dean and Seamus grinning at him. “You two look scary. Give it a rest.”

Dean chuckles. “You know, I had a suspicion why you wanted to talk to us, but that was enough to confirm it for me. Welcome to the club, mate!”

Harry scowls, embarrassed and confused. “I don’t...I mean, I’m not sure. How do you even know? I dated Ginny, you know, for a while, and we weren’t...it’s not like we were celibate?” Groaning, he tugs at his hair and stares at the table, not wanting to meet either of their gazes.

They’re quiet for a minute, then Dean’s hand is covering Harry’s. “I get it, Harry. Really, I do—in a way Seamus probably doesn’t.”

Harry glances up at that, surprised. Dean looks patient, empathetic—but not, Harry’s relieved to note, pitying. “What do you mean?”

“Well…” Dean starts, moving his hand back and dropping it on Seamus’ thigh, leaning back in his chair. “I was raised by Muggles too, you know. It’s not the same as it is in the Wizarding world—one of the few ways wizards have advanced beyond Muggles, actually. My parents...they’re not homophobic, not in the really virulent way you see on the news at least, but...well, you know how it is. Little comments here and there—nancy boy, poof, ponce, all just sort of peppered into conversation about men my dad disapproved of. And then I started playing football, and that was even worse—homophobia is absolutely rampant in sport, and the locker room was...unwelcoming, to put it mildly. It was conform or get the shit beat out of you, even when we were only 10. You internalize everything, when you’re that young, and it’s hard to let go of that even if you end up somewhere you know you’ll be accepted.”

Harry thinks back to Vernon’s sneering commentary at the television when his football team was doing poorly, or a politician he disagreed with was being interviewed. He remembers the school bullies (‘Who’s Cedric? Your boyfriend?’ rings hollow in his head), the desperation he felt to just fit in, no matter what it took. He even thinks about the cupboard a bit, how his breath gets tight when he’s in an enclosed space, how he always needs to have eyes on an exit no matter where they go; how to this day, despite what he’s done and what people say, there’s a part of him that still thinks he must have deserved what they did to him. He nods slowly. “Yeah...yeah, I think I know what you mean.”

Dean’s eyes are kind. “I thought you might. So, I get to Hogwarts, and I find out that people just—don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It’s a non-issue, nobody thinks anything of anyone having a same-sex partner. I was so confused, it was almost unbearable at first. I mean, when you’re eleven, you don’t really get attraction, you know, but I met Seamus here—” he lightly shoves at Seamus, who’s now grinning madly, “—and I knew I wanted to be around him all the time, and even when we were together something was missing. The older I got, the more I realized what that might mean, and it terrified me. And then—Ginny asked me out, and I thought, oh, nothing’s wrong with me after all, girls do like me.” Dean blows out a big breath and smiles ruefully. “And after we broke up...I mean, Ginny was the fittest girl in school, you know? I realized that if I couldn’t feel anything for her, I probably wouldn’t for any girl. And so, after the Battle...I finally pulled Seamus aside to talk. Scariest thing I’ve ever gone through, and I know that’s saying a lot—but luckily it worked out.”

Seamus elbows Dean slyly. “I’d been waiting for him to wise up for years.”

Dean rolls his eyes, but then they smile softly at each other for a moment, and Harry feels like an intruder.

He clears his throat. “Dean, I’m...thank you for sharing that with me, really. And I’m so happy it worked out for you—for both of you, really. But…” He hesitates, because this part is hard. “I don’t...I don’t know if this is real. I mean—could I be faking it? Can you fake being...being gay?” He swallows. There. The word’s out there now. “Or could this be some sort of weird trauma reaction? I mean...it’s not...it wasn’t the same, for me. I do find Ginny attractive—” he winces a little, imagining her reaction if she knew what they were talking about, “—Ginny, and other girls too, sometimes. It’s just...I’m noticing...boys now, too. So, that means something’s wrong with me, yeah?”

Seamus nods seriously at that. “I hear what you’re saying, Harry, and first—thank you for trusting us with this. What you’re thinking and what you’re worrying about are completely normal, but I don’t think either of us are really the best people to talk about that particular concern with. Do you think you could come again, this time next week? There’s a friend of ours I think you’d get a lot out of speaking with, if you’re willing.”

Harry nods. “Yeah, absolutely. I’m always free on Saturdays.”

“Even with Auror training?” Dean asks, raising an eyebrow. “Only, I was talking to Justin—Finch-Fletchley, he’s in your program? He was whinging on about how they’ve got him on rota every second weekend and it’s cutting into his social life. Don’t you all have to take a weekend shift?”

Harry grins and leans back in his chair, gratefully taking Dean’s subject change. “Well...not everyone has to do the weekend shifts.”

Seamus gasps, loud and fake, and puts his hand to his mouth in feigned shock. “Harry Potter! Are you telling me you threw your name around for preferential treatment at the Ministry??”

Harry laughs out loud at that.

He feels better than he has in a while. There are still lingering concerns in the back of his mind, but talking to someone who gets it, who’s able to articulate the gnawing shame he feels every time his eyes stray, is a huge relief.

They spend another hour at the cafe, catching up on the last few months, and Dean and Seamus coax Harry into pointing out men in the shop he finds attractive; his face is on fire as he whispers that he thinks the barista who cut him when he first walked in is pretty fit, and Seamus and Dean exchange an odd glance before teasing him about it.

They part with Dean and Seamus’ address written down on a napkin in Harry’s pocket, and Harry hugs them both for a little too long before they confirm their plans for next week and take their leave.

 


 

“Seamus,” Harry hisses as soon as the fourth member of their group gets up to order coffee at the counter, “are you serious? Adrian Pucey, are you joking?” Images of the headlines the Prophet is sure to run tomorrow are running in his mind, and he cringes.

Seamus punches Harry’s arm and grins. Harry winces. “Ah, come on, you’ve got to give him a chance, Harry! He’s a great guy—plus, we’re all out of school now, aren’t we?”

Harry frowns, but manages to make his expression neutral by the time Pucey is back, balancing four takeaway cups with a sheepish smile.

“I didn’t really think this through—they wouldn’t give me mugs since I was carrying four—forgot this place was Muggle and I couldn’t just charm them to follow along behind me.”

Of course, Harry thinks viciously, but he accepts the cup with as much a smile as he can muster. “Thanks, Pucey.”

Pucey throws his head back and laughs at that. “Oh Merlin, that brought me straight back to the Quidditch pitch—please, call me Adrian.”

“...sure thing, Adrian,” Harry says uneasily. “Er—in that case, Harry’s fine.”

“Mmmmhm,” Pucey—Adrian—murmurs, running his eyes over Harry’s torso with clear appreciation. “Indeed.”

Dean smacks Adrian’s chest. “Cut it out, prat. Harry’s just a baby, we don’t need you scaring him off with your sex pest act.”

Wincing, Adrian rubs his chest and flashes Harry an apologetic—and incredibly charming, Merlin, Harry’s ears feel hot—smile. “Sorry, Harry. Can’t help myself sometimes—I see a pretty boy, and I can’t control what comes out of my mouth. Although I wouldn’t mind you—”

He’s cut off by a laughing Seamus slapping his hand over Adrian’s mouth. Adrian winks, then shoves Seamus’ arm off. “I got it, okay, I’ll behave!”

Harry relaxes a bit. Adrian isn’t what he expected at all; he seems fun, and funny, and Harry understands why Dean and Seamus are friends with him. Maybe he’s not walking into a trap after all.

Adrian settles into his chair and fixes Harry with a much more serious gaze. “Seriously, though, Harry—I hope you don’t mind, but Dean and Seamus told me a little of what you spoke about last week, just so I knew why they were asking me to meet you—Seamus was very clear this was not a fix-up, to my eternal disappointment—and the first thing I want to say is that the confusion you’re experiencing, it’s completely normal; nothing is wrong with you. Not for how you’re feeling, and definitely not for who you find attractive.” He exchanges a glance with Dean and pauses, seeming to choose his next words carefully. “I...don’t know a lot about your childhood, but there have been articles—I’m going to assume that you haven’t had any exposure to the LGBT+ community, right?”

Harry nods. His heart is pounding and his palms are sweaty.

Adrian half-smiles at him. “So—I kind of get where you’re coming from right now. The Wizarding world is very accepting of non-straight sexualities, but I’m sure you noticed that Hogwarts isn’t exactly overflowing with sexual education? We’re all just dumped into a boarding school at age eleven and expected to muddle through everything on our own—anyway. I knew I was attracted to other boys pretty quickly—your Quidditch captain cleared that right up for me when we were in third year—so I assumed that meant I was gay, right? But then all of a sudden it’s sixth year, and Daphne Greengrass came back to school with all her uniform pieces modified—shorter skirts, unbuttoned shirts, the whole thing—and I was more confused than I ever had been, because I was panting after her like nobody I’d ever crushed on before. So, I finally screwed up the courage to talk to Marcus—Flint, do you remember him? He was like an older brother to me, our families have always been close—and he told me...well, Harry, have you ever heard the word ‘bisexual’ before?”

Harry shakes his head slowly, but his heart rate speeds up even more—half his life learning spells hasn’t left him totally useless when it comes to prefixes, and he feels a flare of hope that maybe nothing’s wrong with him after all.

Adrian must see the beginnings of a realization in Harry’s eyes, because his smile brightens. “So, Marcus Owled some books in for me because I was too embarrassed, and I learned about heterosexual, and homosexual—and bisexual, and suddenly it was like everything I’d ever been feeling clicked into place. It had literally never occurred to me that you could find both attractive, you know? I assumed you either liked boys, or you liked girls—no nuance, no middle ground.”

“Wow,” Harry says quietly.

“Yeah, that was about my reaction too,” Adrian agrees, looking pleased. “Makes everything make sense, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Harry breathes, thinking. How had it never occurred to him before? “So...there are...other people? Who are...bisexual? That like both?”

“Loads,” Adrian says firmly. “Loads and loads. And some like girls just a little bit better, some prefer boys, some are truly 50/50—but anyone who doesn’t find themselves strictly attracted to just men or just women, they might consider themselves to be bisexual.”

Harry nods and takes a deep breath. “Wow. Adrian...wow, just...thank you. I...am totally embarrassed to admit that when I saw who Dean and Seamus had brought with them today, I almost left. Guess I need to work on knee-jerk prejudices, huh?”

Adrian chuckles. “Believe me, I was hesitant too when they asked—turns out years of listening to Draco Malfoy wish hideous death on you in the Common Room at every opportunity still had an impact on my opinion of you. I must say that you’ve been a surprise and a delight, Harry, and I am honoured to be your gay sherpa throughout your next few weeks of discovery.”

“Oi!” Seamus bursts out. “We found him first—if anyone’s going to be his gay sherpas, it’s me and Dean. No poaching, go get your own baby gay!”

Adrian puts his nose in the air. “I think you’ll find you’re bang out of order, old bean—as a baby bisexual, Harry is mine by rights,” he says in a horrible, posh accent.

Harry and Dean burst into laughter, and just like that, the fraught atmosphere dissolves, coffee turns into cocktails, and Harry isn’t allowed to go home until he promises to Floo Adrian the absolute first second he feels ready to go out to a gay bar.

It’ll be soon, Harry thinks. He has to talk to Ron and Hermione first, though.

 


 

Harry takes a week or so to psych himself up, but he shouldn’t have worried—Hermione bursts into tears and nearly breaks a rib hugging him, and Ron pats him on the shoulder and asks that Harry stay away from any more of his siblings (Harry refuses to clarify why he bursts into laughter at that).

He also should have known that Hermione would tumble through his Floo the very next day, toting books and papers covered in her cramped handwriting. She shoves some of the books at him, then sits him down and goes through all the notes she’d taken about London gay neighborhoods, queer bars and nightclubs, and even LGBT+-friendly bookshops (of course).

Harry is—overwhelmed, putting it mildly, at all these places that he suddenly can go and be part of a community. He tears up at all the effort Hermione’s put in, and they both cry while holding hands for a little bit until Ron shows up, teasingly shoves Harry away from ‘his girl’, and passes out beers and tells jokes until Harry’s feeling less weepy.

Harry’s mortified to discover not one but three books about gay sex in the pile Hermione left him, but he’s also incredibly grateful—there’s not a chance in hell he’d have picked anything like that up for himself. He reads through them raptly in his off-hours, though, and the one that includes diagrams leaves his trousers uncomfortably tight.

One of the books has an introduction that he almost skipped, but ends up being glad he didn’t. It talks about the damaging societal implications of virginity, and how it’s a meaningless, made-up construct, and that all sex can be ‘real’ sex if the people having it think that it is, and that nobody’s definition of ‘real’ sex is wrong. Harry thinks about that a lot, about how he and Ginny had been ‘just fooling around’ for weeks before they finally ‘had sex’, and how hitting that arbitrary milestone had felt special, to be sure, but not necessarily more significant than any other time they shared together.

He copies those pages from the book and owls them to Ginny. It takes a few days, but she owls back a single parchment that only has three hearts drawn on it; Harry smiles and sticks it to the bulletin board in his bedroom.

 

As the months go by, Harry continues to meet up with Dean, Seamus, and Adrian on a regular basis—weekly when they can, but never less frequently than once a month.

They stick with coffee shops and restaurants and bookstores, but eventually, Hermione starts nudging at Harry to go out to a bar or club, to try and chat someone up even if nothing happens. Finally, about nine months after his Big Bi Bombshell, as Ron and Ginny have begun calling it, he tentatively suggests that next weekend they could maybe go out to a club somewhere?

Dean, Seamus, and Adrian are all thrilled—their level of enthusiasm is a bit concerning, actually—and next Saturday finds them all clustered at the bar of a loud nightclub, shouting drink orders at the bartender.

Harry is overwhelmed—the lights, the music, the alcohol, and the scantily-clad men have him dizzy. He can’t stop looking around and self-consciously adjusting his shirt until Adrian slaps his hands away and drags him into the dancing mob.

He can’t dance—has never progressed past what he’d been forced to learn for the Yule Ball, and it shows—but the crowd is so dense it hardly matters; soon Harry has someone grinding up behind him and controlling their rhythm, and Adrian winks and gives him a big thumbs up from behind his own dance partner.

Harry doesn’t go any further than dancing that night, but after a few weeks of semi-regular visits, he meets someone with sharp eyes and a wicked tongue curling along his ear, and lets himself get dragged into a back room for heated snogging. He’s not really sure of the etiquette here—does he unbutton his jeans? Does he stick his hand down his partner’s? Do they get off in their pants?—but after whatever-his-name spends a few minutes applying tongue and teeth to Harry’s neck, he pulls back and suggests they get out of there, if Harry’s interested?

Harry very much is interested, and after checking in with Adrian, heads out into the crisp November air with his partner, whose name turns out to be Elijah and who lives just a few blocks away.

The walk is quiet, and Harry’s nervous, but incredibly turned on, and every time their arms brush heat gathers in his groin.

Elijah lets them in, offers Harry some water, and as soon as Harry declines pulls them into the bedroom.

And Harry finally understands what that book was saying in a very tangible way—he and Ginny certainly got further together than exchanging oral before they broke up, but sinking to his knees in front of a man is one of the hottest things he’s ever experienced, and he can’t believe it’s taken him this long to get here.

 


 

Harry puts up with the good-natured ribbing he gets at brunch the next day, but much to Adrian’s disappointment refuses to divulge any details—it seems too private, too significant, to share with anyone. He’s heard other groups loudly share raunchy stories of past hook-ups, but Harry thinks that he’d rather keep that sort of thing to himself—not that he doesn’t enjoy Adrian’s dramatic retellings of his sexual exploits when he’s in a chatty mood.

He gets braver, as they explore new bars—more inclined to approach someone instead of waiting to be approached, bolder with his pickup lines, coy on purpose in his glances across a room instead of ‘endearingly shy,’ as Adrian had put it. He doesn’t go home with every man who gives him a look, but every now and then something about someone’s eyes, or smile, or the way they hold themselves will catch and hold his attention, and he’ll go back to theirs for the evening.

He never stays the night. He never invites them back to Grimmauld either, no matter if they’re a wizard or a Muggle. He’s not sure why exactly; maybe he likes the ability to escape, he thinks one night at four in the morning as he’s standing at a corner with his wand out for the Knight Bus, still too tipsy to Apparate home safely. Maybe it circles back round to privacy again, and keeping his own space for himself.

He doesn’t dwell on it too much, though—he’s too busy checking off his mental list of experiences, and brushing up on things he particularly enjoys. He’s got a few skills he’s pretty proud of, by now; Hermione blushes near-purple when he teases her with the threat of explicit details, but she still looks proud of him for getting out there.

Of course, it’s just when he gets comfortable with this new addition to his routine that it all goes tits-up again.

 

One Thursday in early September finds Harry sat at the bar at one of the quieter spots he frequents with Dean when neither of them want to brave the meat markets in the early evening, quietly nursing a beer. He put in for a day off tomorrow to take a long weekend, and has vague plans to invite Neville and Luna to dinner, or maybe drop in on Minerva up at Hogwarts now that the first-week rush is past, but mostly needs the extra day to get caught up on the shopping and some chores.

He’s idly watching the television set up behind the bar, half-paying attention to the Manchester United match that’s on, when someone takes a seat at the barstool directly next to him, and a voice he thought he was well shot of now that he wasn’t in school any longer drawls in his ear.

“My, my, is this Harry Potter I see drinking alone in Soho on a Thursday night? How interesting; I wasn’t aware this was the type of venue you were frequenting these days…”

Harry’s back stiffens and a shiver hits his spine. Draco Malfoy; what are the odds?

“Malfoy,” he responds, pleased that his voice is steady. He turns and, with a feeling of impending doom, faces the one person he never thought he’d have to see in person again after the Battle of Hogwarts.

That isn’t to say he hasn’t seen Malfoy—the papers can’t get enough of him. The Malfoys were all pardoned, and while Lucius and Narcissa had decamped almost immediately to France, Draco had stayed, stubbornly insisting on getting his NEWTs and making appearances in Diagon Alley, nose high in the air no matter the reaction he got. He’d donated to all the right causes, thrown his support behind all the right bills, and Hermione has begrudgingly admitted that if it weren’t for the Malfoy name still carrying weight at the Ministry, most of her reform efforts would have failed before even making it to the Wizengamot for a vote.

Malfoy also, Harry is now forced to admit, is shockingly, unfairly fit.

He’s still a bit too pointy—his lips are thin, his brow a little too pronounced, and while he’s not as deathly-skinny as he’d been (as they’d all been) at the end of the war, his frame can’t be described with any other word than ‘lanky’. But something about how he carries himself in those devastatingly-tailored, jewel-toned Muggle suits, how he stares down reporters with fire in his stare, draws the eye and the camera lens, added up to one of the most striking men Harry’s ever admired pictures of.

The effect in person is even more pronounced, because now Harry can see flecks of blue in his eyes, brought out by the cobalt suit. Harry can see the graceful lines of his neck, tracing down to his collarbone under the unbuttoned shirt (surely that’s too indecent for the public, Harry thinks, taking a hasty swallow of his lager to moisten his mouth). Harry can see his stubble, for god’s sake, just as blonde as his hair and invisible unless one is close enough—which Harry is, he realizes, as he brings his gaze back up to meet Malfoy’s smirking one.

Merlin, he’d just been caught blatantly checking out Draco Malfoy at close range. He cringes, imagining what Adrian would have to say about this entire situation.

Malfoy leans back a bit, tilting his head and giving Harry a once-over. “Well, well. This is a rumour I should have heard before—you’ve done a remarkable job of keeping this quiet.”

Harry smiles a bit. “It’s...still a relatively recent development, I suppose; I’m mostly out at Muggle places. The wizarding ones tend to turn into a bit of a scrum when I show up, although I’m sure you’ve some experience with that yourself?”

Draco’s lips quirk, and Harry can’t look away. “I think I finally understand a little bit of what it’s like to have Potter levels of notoriety; allow me to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly apologize for assuming you were an attention-hound in school.”

That surprises a laugh out of Harry. “Apology accepted, Malfoy—any other regrets you’ve been storing up for just this moment?”

Malfoy’s eyes spark. “I think not,” he says teasingly, lowering his eyelids just a bit. Damn, his eyelashes are long. “You were just as much a prat as I was, when we were boys.”

“Evenly matched, we’ve always been,” Harry says absently, eyes caught on Draco’s fingers as he raises his glass to his lips.

Malfoy’s breath catches, and he carefully sets the glass down. “Indeed,” he murmurs, eyes tracking over Harry’s face. Whatever he sees there pleases him, because he smiles, and oh, Harry’s suddenly re-evaluating all his tentative weekend plans.

 

Harry’s one beer turns into two, then four, and then when he comes back from the loo Malfoy’s waiting with a hideously bright pink cocktail and a twinkle in his eyes. Harry drinks it with as much dignity he can manage, and he doesn’t miss the heat in Malfoy’s gaze when he licks some errant whipped cream off his lips.

The conversation flows much more easily than Harry could have ever anticipated, if he’d thought about encountering Draco Malfoy in person ever again. Harry could put that down to the alcohol, but while that’s definitely helping, there’s something about Malfoy now that makes him want to stick around.

Malfoy’s still viciously mean, he hasn’t changed that much, but it’s tempered, almost—less malicious, more pointed and funny, and Harry finds himself in gales of guilty laughter while simultaneously trying to hush Malfoy’s acerbic comments about the people around them multiple times throughout the evening. And the look in Malfoy’s eyes when he makes Harry chuckle—there’s a satisfaction there that makes Harry shiver.

He’s charming, too—Malfoy could never be accused of being subtle, but the sly little compliments he weaves into their chat are deftly done, enough to fluster Harry but not embarrass him or put him off. Harry’s been on the circuit for long enough now to know when he’s being pulled, and it’s flattering, to have the dedicated attention of this man when so many others in the bar are cutting eyes at him.

Malfoy’s respectful of his space, doesn’t crowd in up against his knees or push into Harry’s bubble with excessive physical contact; Harry appreciates the distance, finds himself leaning forward a bit, angling his torso towards Malfoy, fingers twitching with the desire to touch. He doesn’t normally lead like this, content to let whoever he’s chatting up take initiative, but something about Malfoy pulling back, making him chase, is thrilling—and Malfoy can tell, knows exactly what he’s doing, if the smug gleam in his smile is any indicator.

“It’s getting a bit loud here,” Harry says abruptly, refusing to think too hard about what he’s doing. “D’you maybe want to go back to mine? I’m at the old Black home, you know, on Grimmauld Place—I inherited quite the wine cellar.”

Draco raises a disbelieving eyebrow. “You’re the one who got saddled with that pile? Merlin. It dropped off the family ledger in ‘94 and never added itself back. Not that Mother was all that disappointed—she hated that place as a child, and only took me over a few times, when I was very young...I think for someone’s wake? I was very small; all I remember is I wasn’t allowed to bring my dragon toy as it was too noisy, and everything was very dark and cramped and smelt of rose and vetiver. How did you end up with it?”

Harry hesitates, regrets that he ever brought this up, but plows ahead. “Er. Sirius Black—he was my godfather? And he...when he died, at...at the end of our fifth year, he left it to me. It probably dropped off your register because it no longer belonged to a Black, plus it was under Fidelius when the Order used it as headquarters…”

Draco nods, just once, keeping eye contact with Harry. “Right, of course, the Fidelius would have done it.” He pauses, half-smiles, and then—he doesn’t move, but Harry can’t describe it any other way than withdraws. “Well, Potter, it’s been an unexpected pleasure chatting tonight—do pass my regards along to your Weasleys, and tell Ms Granger that I’ll no doubt be seeing her at the Ministry in the near future.”

He makes to leave, but Harry reaches out and grabs his wrist. Pausing in a half-stand, Draco glances down at Harry’s fingers on his skin. Harry loosens his grip, but doesn’t let go. “So—you didn’t want to come over, then?” he asks, heart in his throat.

“I—” Draco clears his throat and sits back down, looking unsure for the first time that night. “—of course, Potter, I was simply—” He stops, shakes his head slightly. “That is to say, yes, if the invitation still stands, I would love to come over.”

Smiling, Harry waves down the bartender to settle the bill. He doesn’t let go of Draco’s wrist.

 

He’s nervous for some reason, when they Apparate into the Arrivals room. Harry has to leave Draco alone for a moment to dash off and fiddle with the wards to allow him into the rest of the house, and he’s thankful when the old house cooperates for once and doesn’t kick up a fuss about adding access—Harry wonders if it has to do with who he’s letting in, if the house recognizes Draco’s bloodline and is as eager to make him feel welcome as Harry himself is.

When he returns, Draco is examining the fireplace, enlarged and redone with a holly mantle and light stone. There’s nothing personal in here—Harry has it warded separately from the rest of the house, so if anyone does get past his first level of security and work their way indoors, they’re directed into this room and kept there until Harry can come deal with it. Only certain people are allowed to Floo into the fireplace in his study, or Apparate into the front hall; he doesn’t think about how he’s just given Draco the ability to do that, if he wants to.

Harry leans against the door frame. “Would you like a tour? As you can probably tell, it’s fairly different from the last time you were here.”

Draco faces him and tilts his head. “Certainly, Potter. Tell me, did you pick holly simply to be unbearably self-centered, or was it a happy coincidence?”

Harry chuckles and leads them out into the hallway on the ground floor. He’d dropped the floors to be level with the front door, eliminating the few steps that used to trip him up every time he walked in through the front. The hallway is also larger, now, and the ash floorboards Harry’s put down here and through the rest of the house make the space seem airy and light.

Well, most of the rest of the house—there are a few rooms that Harry hadn’t touched, couldn’t make himself go into. He’d draped the study with the Black family tapestry in heavy preservation charms, then locked and warded the door so nobody wandered in by accident; the same with Sirius’ old bedroom, which the house had obligingly moved up to one of the little-used top floors when it noticed he’d warded it off.

He starts them in the ground floor sitting room, which takes up most of the space on this floor. The windows are absolutely massive, and in the daylight the sun pours in and the light hardwood flooring almost sparkles. Draco listens as Harry points out various pieces of furniture he’d restored and updated to match his new colour scheme of greys and blues, examining the details closely with an appreciative eye.

Next is the library, and Harry points out the staircase that leads down to the kitchen, which he fully renovated with the help of George to integrate Muggle technology. His kitchen is a little over-the-top, he knows, and he’s not quite ready to show it to Draco yet, but the intricate spellwork it took to get everything functioning seamlessly is one of the things in the house he’s most proud of. Draco looks suitably impressed as he listens to Harry describe all the work it took, but doesn’t ask to go downstairs.

Harry guides him up the main staircase, which is finally devoid of Walburga Black’s shrieking portrait (he made Hermione promise to never tell him what she did to get rid of it, as he’s fairly certain it wasn’t quite legal) and redone in graceful, sweeping lines up to the first floor.

Harry had been stumped on this floor for quite some time, as it had some gorgeous original woodwork the house didn’t seem inclined to let him move, but also was a warren of guest bedrooms and storage closets that saw little use. With Ron’s help, Harry finally was able to redesign the entire footprint of this floor, knocking down walls and shoring up load-bearing beams with extra support spells along the ceiling in order to turn the whole space into his oasis—the part of the house he’s most proud of.

His large study looks over the back garden, with bookshelves placed at intervals to leave room for pictures and artwork over all the walls. Harry had his desk custom-built, but he spends almost as much time in the cosy chair-and-couch set closest to the bay window. The room seems almost empty, with plenty of room for more furniture, but Harry’s stubbornly resisted buying more—he likes how airy it feels. It helps him think.

The remaining two-thirds of the space on this floor are devoted to 12 Grimmauld’s crowning jewel, in Harry’s opinion—the master suite.

The bathroom, of course, is huge, with a big bath that reminds Harry of the bath in the Prefects' Bathroom at Hogwarts, and a large glass-paned shower with multiple shower heads and shelves tucked into the wall. It’s incredibly white, all done up in fine marble, and Harry grins to himself when Draco’s eyes widen as he peers around.

And then, of course, there’s the master bedroom.

The blue and grey theme is carried through in here, and the centerpiece of the room is the bed—a huge mattress on a four-poster frame, with light, gauzy drapings that float like clouds at the top of the posts. Harry had splashed out on the sheets, which are an obscenely high-thread-count cotton that’s cool and silky no matter the temperature in the room.

Draco eyes the grey coverlet with clear appreciation, then turns, grabs Harry by the shirt, and shoves him onto the mattress. “Posh digs, Potter. Surprised you make your bed every morning.”

Harry gasps, then reaches up and pulls Draco on top of him. “I’m full of surprises, Malfoy. Maybe I’ll let you in on a few of them.”

Draco raises one eyebrow at that, then leans down and presses Harry into the soft blankets with the full weight of his body, kissing him into quiet.

They roll around a bit, and Harry gets a few minutes to admire the contrast of Draco’s dark blue suit against the light grey blanket before he wrestles the jacket off him, but soon enough they’re both naked and Draco’s on top of him, pinning Harry’s hands over his head with their fingers twined together.

Harry is letting out little sounds that are definitely not whimpers as Draco mouths along his neck—he’s so thorough, leaving no spot untouched, and Harry’s beginning to feel a bit dizzy already.

Draco works his way up to Harry’s ear and blows in it lightly, then lets go of one of Harry’s hands to reach down and grab his cock. “I want this in me, Potter. Merlin, if I’d known what you were hiding in your pants, I’d have talked us into this ages ago.”

Harry gasps and squeezes his eyes shut. “Oh fuck. Yeah. Yeah, I...except—ahh, Draco, Draco hang on, I haven’t...actually…” He trails off, distracted by Draco’s hand running lightly up and down his shaft.

Draco sucks in a breath. “Never fucked a man before, Potter? Well, I’d be privileged to walk you through it, if you’re amenable?”

“Bloody git, of course I’m bloody amenable, are you going to chat like we’re at High Tea the whole time?” Harry pants, making abortive little thrusts up into Draco’s hand.

Draco grins sharply. “Like my voice, do you, Potter?”

Harry really, really does—but he likes it even better when Draco slithers down between his legs and takes his cock into that mean, clever mouth.

He wraps his hands around Harry’s hips and urges him to fuck up into his mouth, relaxing his throat and keeping his eyes fixed on Harry’s face. Harry’s breathless, props himself up on his elbows to watch, can hardly believe what he’s looking at.

Draco pulls slowly off Harry’s cock and feathers kisses over his inner thighs. He grazes his teeth against the thin, sensitive skin there, and Harry instantly breaks out into full-body goosebumps, and has to grit his teeth against coming immediately. Draco pauses, just for a minute, and looks up at Harry speculatively, but goes back to sucking Harry’s cock like he’s getting paid to do it.

Harry’s getting close, and he reaches down and tugs lightly on Draco’s hair, pulling him off even though every cell in his body is screaming at him for release. “Don’t want to...want to come in you,” he pants out, and Draco’s eyes flash.

He scrambles back up the bed and lies on his back, pulling Harry on top of him. He glances down at Harry’s hands and Harry gets the hint, snapping his fingers and summoning the lube from his nightstand drawer. Draco shivers a bit and spreads his legs, pulling one of Harry’s hands to his mouth and sucking on two of his fingers until they’re wet and Harry’s close to coming again just from watching.

Draco talks Harry through it—how he likes to be fingered, when to put another finger in, how to move them to get his back arching and sweat beading at his brow—all of it in a fucked-out voice that gets hoarser as Harry works him over more. Hoarse from Harry’s cock, and does that ever send a rush of heat through him.

Finally, Harry’s slicking himself up and pushing in, holding his breath and fixing his eyes on Draco’s face, watching for any sign of discomfort. Draco’s head is thrown back and the tendons in his neck are in sharp relief, and he looks ecstatic.

Fuck yes,” he moans, pulling Harry down so their bodies are flush, fastening his mouth over Harry’s neck, and biting.

Harry’s head swims and his vision goes blurry, and he speeds up, angling his hips until he gets Draco gasping and squirming under him, and he doesn’t let up until they’re both flushed and sweating and spent, come barely cooling on Draco’s stomach when Harry moans and finishes inside him.

“Stay,” Harry whispers, after the cleaning charms have been applied and Draco’s back from the bathroom, dressed only in his pants. “I can lend you some pyjamas, if you need them, but—stay. Please?”

Draco nods, blinking tiredly and giving Harry a half-smile. “Gladly, Harry. I didn’t ask before—do you need to be up early tomorrow?”

“No,” Harry yawns, rolling out of bed and shuffling into the wardrobe, locating a pair of joggers that are a bit too long on him and thus should be OK for Draco, even if they need to be cinched in at the waist. “Put in for a day off. Taking a long weekend—first one in for-bloody-ever, I plan on sleeping in as much as I’m able tomorrow.”

Once they’re both dressed for bed and under the covers, Harry waves his hand to turn off the lights and shut the curtains. Draco groans slightly. “Stop that, Potter—you know full well how unbelievably hot your magic feels on my skin, and I don’t think I could get it up for all the gold in Gringotts right now.”

“Wear you out, did I?” Harry jokes, preening just a bit.

There’s enough ambient light still in the room that Harry can see Draco’s teeth flash white when he smiles. “Absolutely,” he says throatily, then chuckles. “Hate to shag and drop, Harry, but truly, I am beyond exhausted, and I don’t think I can stay awake another minute. Fair warning, I’m a cuddler, so be prepared to wake up having been reappropriated as my pillow in the night.”

Harry turns to face him and slings an arm over Draco’s waist. “Fine by me. Good night, Draco.”

“Good night, Harry.”

 


 

Harry gets his lie-in the next day, and when he wakes up mid-morning, Draco’s still asleep, curled up against his chest, just a few tufts of his hair visible above the blanket. Harry smiles to himself and stares at the ceiling until his bladder urges him out of bed. He takes time to brush his teeth too, just in case, and does his best to slip into bed without waking Draco.

It’s too late, though—one grey eye is squinted at him from the pile of blankets, and suddenly Harry’s being pushed onto his back. Draco straddles his hips and reaches out to snatch his wand and whisper a quick mouth-cleaning charm before he grabs the bottle of lube, now fairly significantly depleted, and winks down at Harry. His eyes zero in on Harry’s neck, where he’d bitten the night before, and Harry can feel Draco’s cock grow harder against his stomach.

“Good morning,” Draco purrs, slicking his fingers and trailing them down Harry’s torso until he gets to Harry’s arse.

“About to be,” Harry moans, pushing into Draco as one of his fingers slips inside.

Soon Draco’s got two fingers twisting inside him, brushing regularly over Harry’s prostate, and he’s sucking hard on Harry’s neck and chest, raising blood to just under the surface of his skin and in some spots leaving teeth marks. Harry’s beyond words, sweating and begging with unintelligible sounds for more, for Draco to let him come, and when Draco finally relents, it’s with his mouth fastened over Harry’s nipple.

Before Harry can even catch his breath, Draco’s straddling his torso again, hand a blur over his own cock, staring down at the livid red marks all over Harry’s chest. He comes, then rubs it into Harry’s skin, pressing harshly down on the marks on Harry’s pectorals, making him whine and twist and start to get hard again.

It’s the best morning Harry’s had in ages, and the bruises Draco’s left all over his body make him half-aroused every time he gets a glimpse of them in the mirror, every time Draco brushes his hands over the marks.

They nap a bit, then shower, and Draco takes Harry out for pastry and coffee. They sit wrapped up against the early autumn chill at a cramped outdoor table, knees knocking together, and smile at each other over croissants until Draco has to take his leave, dropping a kiss on Harry’s cheek and promising to owl him soon.

He does, just a few hours later, asking if Harry wants to meet him for dinner.

Harry does. He abandons all pretense that he’s going to spend his long weekend doing anything other than Draco Malfoy.

 


 

Harry stops going to the bars to pull immediately after that, much to Adrian’s disappointment. He refuses to tell anyone who he’s spending time with, despite their pleading—this thing with Draco is too new, still, and he doesn’t want to deal with the attention they’d get as a couple just yet.

Harry and Draco go out together, sometimes, but it’s mostly just to grab a drink or two and wind each other up before they go back to Harry’s. Never Draco’s; Harry’s not even sure where Draco’s flat is, just that he has one, and that he only goes back to the Manor quarterly, to renew the maintenance spells and check in on the ledgers that cannot be moved from the seat of the Malfoy family. He’d asked, once, as they were falling asleep after a later-than-usual night at a Muggle gay club in Soho, and Draco had said something about potions fumes, but when Harry had muzzily asked if that’s what he did for work, Draco had laughed and launched into an explanation that seemed too vague to be at all helpful, something about monitoring accounts and approving adverts, and Harry had been too wrung-out from their post-club activities to pay attention, dropping off mid-explanation.

Harry hasn’t told his friends he’s seeing anyone. He doesn’t think…well, he’s pretty sure they wouldn’t have any issues with it—Hermione wouldn’t at least, and Ron would come round—but something has him keeping it to himself for now. He doesn’t know if Draco’s told anyone, but any worries he might have had about them being on the same page are assuaged one day when Harry’s having a bit of trouble shaking an overeager admirer (and honestly, they’re at a wine tasting, what makes him think Harry’s open to getting cruised?) and Draco loudly asks if there are any bottles of a particular vintage for sale, because his boyfriend has taken a liking to it and he’d like to stock up while they’re here.

His boyfriend. Harry Potter is Draco Malfoy’s boyfriend. Harry’s fairly certain that somewhere, Dumbledore has fallen down from laughing so hard, while Snape no doubt is apoplectic.

He can’t bring himself to worry too much, though. The looming spectre of public opinion and Harry’s constant fear of being a disappointment fades away to nothingness when Draco pops through his Floo to take him to breakfast, or hauls over ingredients so they can cook dinner together, or just sticks his head through on busy days, just to say hello. A month after they first started sleeping together, Draco sends Harry flowers at work, sending the whole Auror department into a tizzy—he hadn’t signed his name, but Harry smiles stupidly at the orchid arrangement whenever nobody’s looking at him, and he refuses Ron’s offer to test for curses with no explanation.

The one thing that lurks at the back of his mind, no matter how distractingly wonderful his time with Draco, is what they do in bed.

It’s fantastic, mind-blowing, incredible in a way that Harry had never known sex could be—Draco knows his body in a way nobody ever has, knows exactly what to say and what to do to coax him into the most unbelievable orgasms, but that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?

One of the things that Draco knows exactly to do to wind Harry up the most, as it turns out, is leaving bruises all over Harry’s body.

Draco never bites hard enough to draw blood, but every time they’re together, Harry gains new marks, on his neck, his chest, his thighs, his arse. And worse, he can’t stand to heal them—he’s taken to Glamouring only those that would show in public, the ones that are high on his neck, or too close to where the hems of his exercise tops hit.

He likes knowing they’re there. Likes feeling them, hours and days after Draco’s left them—their sharp sting the next morning when they’re fresh and the hot water from his shower hits them, the starburst of pain if he runs into something that inevitably brings up a memory of what they were doing.

Draco likes them too, Harry thinks—they don’t talk about it, it never comes up, but his eyes get dark and approving when he strips Harry down and runs his fingers all over his torso, pressing down on whatever bruises haven’t faded away yet to make Harry hiss and buck into him. He certainly seems eager enough to make more, too, applying his mouth to whatever bare patch of skin he can reach when they’re together—but a little voice in the back of Harry's mind keeps niggling away, saying that surely, surely this is when his luck runs out, when his idiosyncrasies are no longer revealed to be normal after all, flaws instead of quirks; this has to be where the line is drawn.

Until that other shoe drops, though, Harry will take what Draco gives him and enjoy every second of it.

 


 

“Holy hell, Harry, what happened to you??”

Ron’s voice is loud in the Auror locker room, and Harry cringes at the echo, grateful that he’d been dawdling and daydreaming as he washed off and nobody’s left except the two of them.

“Nothing happened to me, Ron, what are you talking about? And you don’t need to scream, I’m right here.” Harry tightens the drawstring of his joggers and reaches for the jar of scentless salve Draco brewed for him that eases muscle cramps and stiffness almost instantly (there’s one in his locker here at work, and once they realized it might have a dual purpose Draco stashed jars all throughout Grimmauld for easy access; Harry blushes maroon every time he discovers another one, and it’s only through force of will that he doesn’t get hard every time he sees this one). Today’s field day had been brutal, and he can feel a twinge in his calf that promises to turn into a cramp in the chill of the night if he doesn’t tend to it quickly.

Ron eyes the jar with intense envy (Harry won’t share or tell him where he got it, obviously), but isn’t deterred. “You’ve got a big screaming bruise right up on your shoulder blade, mate! Can’t you feel it? I didn’t even see you take any hits in the exercise today; what caused it? It looks awful.”

Harry’s hands get cold, and he tosses the jar back into his locker before marching to a mirror, turning away from it and twisting about until he can get a good glimpse at his back.

And—Merlin, Ron’s right, there’s a huge nasty bruise near the top of his scapula, just where a cursory glance would keep it hidden unless Harry seriously contorted like he’s doing now. It’s a few days old, now, and the tooth marks that Harry can vividly remember have thankfully faded by now, but it’s still a lurid purple at the center, fading out to greenish yellow around the edges.

He stares at it for a minute, transfixed, until he catches Ron’s eyes in the mirror and summons up a shrug. “Oh, er—I was up in the attic over the weekend, sorting through some of the furniture that’s stored—I was checking to see if there’s a, you know, a wardrobe to restore, for one of the guest rooms? And one of those bloody iron family crests we shoved up there when we did that initial clean-out fell and knocked me in the back. It didn’t hurt the next day, I honestly forgot it happened until just now.”

He turns back and faces Ron, whose eyes are narrowed. “You should be more careful up there, mate. Maybe don’t go up alone again—I don’t know how thorough our wards were. I’ll just heal it then, yeah?”

Harry flinches as Ron raises his wand, but there’s no excuse he can give to stop him, so he lets Ron cast a healing spell, watches in the mirror as the swelling goes down and the bruise fades to yellow, then brown, then nothing.

He’s been careless—winter’s extra layers had let him keep the bruises dotting his neck unhidden, safe beneath scarves and upturned collars. And now Ron knows something.

Ron doesn’t bring it up for the rest of the evening, but he watches Harry all through dinner with a considering expression, and despite Hermione’s prodding he refuses to say what he’s thinking about.

The morning of their next field exercise day, Harry spends twice as long at his bathroom mirror, carefully healing every single mark Draco had left the night before. His stomach hurts a little bit as he watches them fade away—he’s upset that they’re not there any longer, can’t be felt or prodded at, but he’s also embarrassed that he needs to do this in the first place. Who lets their boyfriend bite them so hard they need twenty minutes of healing spells the next day?

Draco frowns that evening when he pulls Harry’s clothes off and sees his unblemished skin; Harry doesn’t complain when he spends half an hour sucking on his neck and gripping his hips tighter than normal, allows himself to feel relief the next morning when he sees the red marks blooming floridly along his collarbone.

He works on his Glamours after that, applies them double- and even triple-strength, but he never heals them again—he didn’t like seeing that frown on Draco’s face, didn’t like how watching Draco’s visual claim over him fade made him feel.

He tries not to think about it.

 


 

Harry wasn’t sure at first what Draco’s definition of ‘boyfriend’ included, but after his little display at the winery all those months ago, he knows they’re exclusive. Harry hasn’t even looked at someone else since their first night together, and while Draco enjoys teasing him when they’re out at bars by pointing out attractive men that are checking one of the two of them out, Harry knows Draco feels the same way.

He hadn’t anticipated the extent of Draco’s jealousy, though. He should have—Draco is fussy over his things, particular about how his clothing is tended, exacting when it comes to his expensive purchase—but for as many months as they’ve been together, Harry hadn’t quite grasped that Draco considered Harry to be his, as well.

They’re out in Vauxhall one warm night in May, but Harry isn’t enjoying the first truly nice early summer weather, because he’s picked up an unwanted shadow.

The blond Muggle is pretty enough, he supposes, all big blue eyes and long eyelashes deployed to devastating effect, and Harry certainly would have been happy to chat him up a year ago, but now he’s incredibly conscious of Draco’s hot silver gaze on him as he tries to shake his very persistent admirer and make his way back to their table without spilling their drinks.

He pastes on a bright smile, though it feels more like a grimace, and navigates the crowds as best he can, musing that all of this would probably be easier if he hadn’t dared Draco into matching him on that line of shots when they first got here. Oh well. All he has to do is make it to their corner, and Draco will scare off this knockoff, and they can dance for a while before they go home.

Finally, he reaches his sanctuary and pushes one of the bright blue drinks across to Draco, who ignores it in favor of hooking his arm around Harry’s waist to reel him in and push him against the wall, shoving a thigh between his legs and kissing a bruise into his lower lip. Harry clutches Draco’s shoulders and lets him have his way, sinking into the kiss and relishing the tender feeling every time Draco nips at his mouth.

By the time Draco pulls back, the imitation is long gone, and Harry can barely remember what had happened before he got back to the table.

Draco puts his lips to Harry’s ear and grinds his thigh up, just on the wrong side of too-hard, and Harry squirms. “Finish your drink quickly, Potter. We’re leaving as soon as you’re done.”

Harry’s gasping, sagging against the wall, and Draco moves away fully, slamming back his drink in three swallows. Harry watches his Adam’s apple work, and one quick sidelong glance his direction gets him moving again, grasping at his glass to finish the drink as quickly as possible.

 

They’re too drunk to Apparate, and the nearest Floo is a six-block walk, so they duck down a quiet side street and hail the Knight Bus, and as soon as they get through Harry’s door they leave a trail of clothes from the front hallway up through to the bedroom.

Draco’s got both of Harry’s arms pinned above his head, wrists caught in one of his own hands, and he’s rocking his hips down, angling his cock against Harry’s. He’d conjured some lube before crashing their bodies together, but it was barely enough, and the friction is driving Harry mad.

He twists his arms and whines, needing something else, something more, but not sure what to ask for, or how.

Draco’s lips are swollen when he pulls back and fixes Harry with a hot stare. Harry’s neck is covered in stinging points, and he feels his cock twitch when Draco snarls down at him, canines visible.

“Yeah, you’re really begging for it tonight, aren’t you, Potter,” he muses, voice harsh. “But I’m afraid you’re going to have to actually beg for what you want; use your words, Harry.” His tone has dropped down to almost a croon, and Harry’s eyes roll back in his head for a moment.

“Draco—” he chokes out. “Draco, I need, I need—”

“Yes, Harry? What do you need? Tell me,” Draco urges, slowing his movements until the slip-slide against Harry’s cock is unbearable.

Fuck me!” Harry sobs out, twisting his arms in Draco’s grip. “Please Draco, please, I need you inside me. Please.”

Draco stills. “Are you sure?” he asks, staring down at Harry with wide eyes. “Harry, you don’t have to—I don’t want you to—”

“Draco, if you don’t have your cock in me in the next fifteen minutes, I swear on the Founders I will go out and get someone else to do it,” Harry grits out, and that’s all it takes.

In seconds, Harry’s arms are free, and Draco’s slick fingers are prodding at his entrance, first one, then two, so far nothing unfamiliar; when Draco’s third finger starts nudging in, Harry tenses up a bit, but Draco distracts him by digging his teeth into Harry’s chest and biting down until Harry’s howling and begging for more.

When Draco first pushes in, Harry thinks he might pass out from sheer pleasure, but he hangs on, gripping Draco’s arms and hooking his feet together behind Draco’s back, angling himself until Draco’s hitting his prostate on every pass. Harry’s not sure what he’s saying anymore, has no control over the words coming out of his mouth, but the combined pressures of Draco’s cock in his arse and Draco’s teeth in his skin sends him over the edge faster than he ever believed possible.

When they’re done, as Draco carefully cleans him off and tucks him into bed, petting him as they drift off, Harry hazily wonders why he waited so long to try this.

 


 

The next morning, Harry’s barely able to hobble into the bathroom. Every single muscle is sore beyond comprehension, his arse aches, and his neck is throbbing.

He’s shocked, almost, when he sees himself in the mirror—he’s more bruise than unmarked skin on his neck and chest, and he suspects if he looked down at his thighs and around at his arse it would be the same. He glances at his bicep at one particular bite that’s so deep, he swears if Draco had used just a millimeter more pressure he’d have drawn blood.

Harry prods gingerly at the contusion and moans at the bright painful burst. He grips the edge of his sink and stares at himself, eyes roaming over the bruise pattern. He can’t believe it, but he’s getting hard at the faint pulsing of blood he can feel under the deeper bruises, at the sight of Draco’s claim all over.

“Look at you,” comes a voice from the bathroom door. Harry turns his head in time to see Draco stalk towards him before he’s pushed into the shower.

Draco gets one of the shower heads running, then scrubs Harry down, fingers rough in his hair and against the bruises. After a few minutes, Harry’s shoved face-first into the shower door, and moans when he hears Draco drop to his knees behind him.

“Anyone who gets anywhere near you is going to know you’re mine,” Draco breathes, biting hard on Harry’s arse before he elbows Harry’s knees further apart and buries his face between his cheeks.

Harry’s head thunks against the glass as Draco’s tongue worms into his hole, and he feels his knees getting weak already.

 

Harry spends the rest of the day mostly hard; Draco’s noticed how sensitive he is today and keeps pushing against him and hissing “nobody else gets to touch you, Harry” into his ear as they move throughout their day. Draco almost gets him off twice more, but stops them at the last minute, leaving Harry panting and begging for completion; Draco refuses to let him come, and Harry’s desperate.

He thinks he’s almost talked Draco into finally getting him off on the couch of the ground floor sitting room when there’s a sudden pounding at his front door. They spring apart, and Harry hurries into some clothes (he thinks he’s got Draco’s shirt on, but it’s too late to switch) and throws a glamour over whatever bits of skin he can find before he rushes to the door and cracks it open.

Ron and Hermione are standing on his doorstep, and Harry’s heart sinks; it’s after six o'clock on a Saturday, and he was due at theirs for dinner almost an hour ago. He sends up a quick thanks that he’d remembered to block all Floo access when he figured out what type of mood he and Draco were in today so at least they didn’t stumble onto something they’d rather not see, but he can’t stop the guilt crashing over him.

“Oh, Harry!” Hermione cries, stepping forward as he opens the door a bit wider. “Thank God! We were so worried; I was sure you were hurt, or sick, or something, and that you were just lying on the floor here alone with nobody to help!” Ron nods from behind her, eyes bright.

Wincing, Harry absently notes Draco creeping closer, pressing up against the wall until he’s leaning in Harry’s vision behind the door, completely out of sight to those outside. “I’m so, so sorry, you guys—I was out late last night, and—”

“Oh!” Hermione gasps, eyes darting over the hallway floor—glancing down, Harry spots an errant suit jacket and hastily kicks it behind him and over towards Draco, who smirks at him. “Harry—did you bring someone home last night? Is he still here?” She cranes her neck, trying to peer down the hall, and Harry stands up taller, doing his best to keep her from pushing in and spotting Draco behind the door.

Draco—Harry glances his direction and almost chokes. Draco hasn’t dressed, and he’s lounging back against the wall, staring directly at Harry, hand moving slowly over his cock.

“I, er—no. I mean, no, Hermione, I just. Was up too late! And have been sick all day!” Harry’s voice is too high, he can tell, and he keeps glancing to his right, unable to keep his eyes off Draco, whose chest is rising and falling faster and faster as he speeds up, tweaking his nipple with his other hand. Harry, he mouths, mouth dropping and head thunking back against the wall. Harry clears his throat loudly to cover it.

“If you’re sick, Harry, you should let us in—I can make you soup or something, make sure your Pepper-Up isn’t expired. Move!” Hermione is closer now, reaching out to move him. Her hand lands on the bruise on his bicep, and Harry nearly bites through his lip.

“No, it’s fine, Hermione. Thank you, but I just—I need to go get some rest.”

“But—”

“Love,” Ron finally interrupts, tugging Hermione back and shooting Harry a suspicious glare. “The man says he just needs to rest—let him rest. He’s an adult. If he needs us, he’ll call—right, Harry?”

Harry nods frantically and slams the door shut almost before Ron’s done talking, throwing up a heavy Silencing spell before whirling on Draco, who’s gasping now, clearly close, but still smirking maliciously. “You—you’re a fucking nightmare, I can’t believe you were doing that, what if they had seen you—”

Draco growls and steps forward, shoving Harry against the opposite wall. “Let me make it up to you,” he whispers in Harry’s ear before he sinks to his knees.

 


 

They lie panting in the claustrophobic heat of the front hall for a while before Harry finally works up the energy to wave a hand and dash a cooling breeze over them. Draco groans in relief and rolls onto his side, smashing his face into Harry’s neck and mouthing at his tendon. “You’re a bloody marvel, Potter, have I told you that? A proper miracle-worker, you are.”

Harry chuckles and twines his fingers in Draco’s hair, hissing a bit as Draco’s teeth graze over a fresh hickey. He loves how loose and chatty Draco gets, after—he’s not reticent as a general rule, always ready with a quip or a comment, but there’s something different after they’re fucked; he’s more relaxed, less careful with what he says, or how.

They breathe together for a minute longer before Draco sighs and pushes himself up to his feet, reaching down and pulling Harry with him. “Come on. As your friends were so kind to point out, we’ve missed supper—let’s get cleaned up, I can probably call over to Humble Grape still and get us a table, they’ve got that riesling you like and I’m in the mood for scallops. Plus, I’ve got something to discuss with you, and it’s pretty clear at this point we aren’t going to stop getting distracted if we stay here…” Draco’s eyes crinkle at that, and Harry can’t help but return the smile, even though his stomach swoops at I’ve got something to discuss with you.

Draco wouldn’t take him out for his favorite wine and dump him in public. Right?

 


 

While it’s not a breakup, Harry thinks morosely later as he stares up at the ceiling, unable to sleep, it isn’t that much of a step up.

Draco is leaving. For three weeks. Three weeks, he’ll be out of the country on some vague, undefined work trip, and while intellectually Harry understands that three weeks is not forever, it certainly seems like it.

Sighing, he kicks his blanket off his feet and squeezes his eyes shut, trying to let Draco’s sleep snuffles (‘Malfoys don’t snore, Harry, how very dare you’) lull him to sleep like they have so many nights before, but the room is too hot, and his mind won’t still.

 

Draco’s twitchy tonight, Harry notices, observing over his wine glass. He keeps fiddling with his cutlery, and he’s distracted from their small talk.

With a sigh, he sets his glass down and reaches over, covering Draco’s tapping fingers with his own. “Out with it, Malfoy. What’s got you so antsy?”

The corner of Draco’s mouth jumps a bit. “Right. So...right. It has come to my attention that—” He sighs. “I’m afraid that starting next week, I’ll have to be out of the country for a bit. For business purposes.”

“Oh.” Harry pulls his hand back and frowns a bit. “Is that it? That’s not—”

“It’s for three weeks,” Draco says in a rush, looking down at his plate. “Three weeks. I tried to...I wasn’t able to shorten it, unfortunately. The people I’ll have to—” He waves his hand. “Well, anyway. That’s...that’s what I wanted to say. I know it’s quite a long time…”

Harry smiles, hopes it’s convincing through the cramping in his stomach. “That’s all, then? You had me a bit worried, you know...you’ve been off since we left the house. When...when do you leave?”

Draco grimaces. “Next week. Early next Sunday, specifically—to get my Portkey on time I’ll have to be up around three in the morning. I—I know this is last-minute, but I was trying to...limit the amount of time I’d be gone, resolving things remotely and such...I was somewhat successful, at least, but some things require seeing to in person.”

Harry nods automatically. “Right, of course. Where—what are you going to be doing? Where will you be? Should I—” Should I take time off and come along, he’s about to say, but stops himself.

Draco waves his hand dismissively. “Oh, this and that—nothing interesting, I assure you, I’d really much rather not go at all. I’ll be in the south of France for some time at the vineyards after a day in Paris, then Zürich, then Oslo. I’m glad I was able to wrangle everyone into going along with this proposed schedule, to be honest—fortunately enough of them are scared enough of making me angry that they’ll acquiesce to whatever I ask for.”

“Sure,” Harry says distractedly. Three weeks.

“It’s not as bad as all that, Potter,” Draco teases, reaching out and patting his cheek. “It’s a long time, I know, but...it’ll go by fast, really. And I promise to bring you home something pretty.”

Harry snorts at that. “You’re right, I guess. Just...wow. I…” He swallows. “I’ll miss you, you know.”

Draco’s eyes are soft when he meets Harry’s gaze, all previous tension bled out of him. “And I you, Harry. Truly, I wish there were another way, but it’ll be fine. We will be fine.” He nods decisively, then beckons for the bill.

 

Harry rolls onto his side and starts tensing and relaxing his muscles one by one, a meditation trick Luna taught him. He’d rolled his eyes at the advice at the time, never one to meditate, but there must be some merit to it after all, as before he makes it all the way down his body, he’s drifting off.

 


 

As much as Harry wishes the next week would pass slowly, it doesn’t—he blinks and suddenly he and Draco are waking up mid-morning on Saturday, and Draco is tugging him out of bed and chivvying him into the bathroom for a quick shower, before dragging them out to a lengthy brunch at Duck & Waffle’s prime table.

Harry knows when he’s being distracted, but he’s certainly not going to object to tangling his feet with Draco’s under the table, or Draco’s light touches over the table, or the teasing lilt to his voice as he dares Harry to order the Reformed Pornstar (which was delicious, thank you very much, and certainly more exciting than Draco’s mojito). The conversation is deliberately light and superficial, consisting mostly of exclaiming over the views and surreptitious gossip about the people around them, and when they arrive home hours later, full on duck Benedict and pastry, Harry’s almost managed to put Draco’s trip out of his mind.

Almost. And, of course, the illusion is shattered almost immediately, as Draco declares that he has to pop back to his flat to pack— “I’m not sure how, but only three of my sets of fancy dress robes are here, and I’ll need at least six—you’re ruining my sartorial reputation, Potter,”— and leaves Harry alone at Grimmauld.

Harry pours himself a glass of wine and stands at the bar cart for a moment, thinking. He honestly cannot remember the last time he and Draco slept apart for more than one night—in fact, Draco hasn’t slept at his own apartment in at least two weeks, hasn’t even gone back at all unless it’s during the day while Harry’s at the Ministry.

Harry glances around the study, seeing as if for the first time the second desk littered with messy piles of parchment, ostensibly organized in some inexplicable Malfoy system, the fancy quills he prefers jammed into a novelty Harry Potter Boy Hero pint glass; he thinks about the various jumpers Draco leaves draped over every chair he can get away with ‘in case it’s draughty’, the shoes crammed haphazardly in the front closet, the pointlessly expensive umbrella leaning in the front hall. He remembers when he came home from work one day to find that Draco had expanded the interior of his wardrobe and promptly taken over two-thirds of it with his clothes and more shoes; the first time he knocked one of the vials of hair and face who-knows-what that were suddenly ringing his sink and balanced on his shower ledges.

He stops thinking, then, and subconsciously thumbs over a raised bruise on his wrist as he wanders his home, touching all the things that don’t belong to him but still belong, waiting for Draco to come home.

Draco gets back, drops his bag at the Floo, and takes Harry to bed; Harry doesn’t think about anything at all for the rest of the night but the feel of Draco’s teeth at his throat.

 


 

Harry stretches out as he slowly drifts awake, toes curling into the warmth of his blanket. It must be mid-morning already judging by how the sun’s crept through the curtains, and he finds himself reaching out to the other side of the mattress before he remembers—right, Draco’s out of town now, he’d had to leave in the middle of the night. Harry isn’t sure if the kiss dropped on his shoulder and the soft brush of a finger across the nape of his neck in the quiet of the night had been real or a dream, but he likes to think that Draco would be that gentle with him, even if only when he thought nobody would notice.

When it’s clear he’s slept as much as his body will let him, Harry sighs and slumps off to the bathroom. Standing in the shower, he feels flat—the idea of not seeing Draco in any capacity for the next three weeks is a grim one, and he’s not quite sure just when he got so attached, so clingy.

He’s never felt this way the morning after a night of brilliant sex before—normally, when Draco sleeps over, he pets Harry to wakefulness, fingers digging into his scalp and murmuring in his ear until Harry feels alert enough to get up and start his day. They don’t always fuck again, but Draco always likes to wash his hair in the shower, and Harry’s more than happy to accept the attention, and let the hot water Draco prefers near-scald his skin.

Now, though, no matter how hot he turns the temperature, he still feels wrong—empty almost—and even the humidity left in the air when he gives up and steps out of the shower doesn’t prevent him from breaking out into goosebumps when he ponders the long stretch of nothing he has planned for the rest of the day.

What’s wrong with him?

A wave of his hand clears the steam from the mirror, and Harry mechanically brushes his teeth. When he’s done, he drops the toothbrush and grips the edge of the sink, staring at himself in the mirror.

He doesn’t look ill—no bags under his eyes, he slept well as he always does with Draco in his bed; no feverish shine to his eyes; no sallow tinge to his skin. So why does he feel so shit?

His eyes trace down his reflection, pausing on the livid, painful-looking bruises blooming where Draco’s fingers and hands had marked him—the whole left side of his neck, collarbone, just over his nipple, fingermarks dotting his waist, and—

Oh. He shifts slightly, hissing as the large, lurid purple and red mark at his hipbone presses into the sink’s edge. He vaguely remembers Draco spending quite a bit of time in that general area last night, right before he’d—

His cock twitches, and Harry shivers. He reflexively pushes his hips towards the solid surface of the sink, and when the bruise presses even harder against the edge he moans through gritted teeth as the pain lances through him and his cock gets even harder.

Sick. Harry’s sick—not ill, but something must be seriously wrong with him. Even so, he steps back just a bit, enough so he can fit his hand down around his dick while still angling the bruise into the marble, and the slight angle change causes the corner to press into the center of the contusion. His stomach swoops at the sharp sensation, and his cock jumps and leaks precome over his fingers.

A second later and he’s wandlessly slicked up the fingers on his right hand and slowly starts to wank, slipping almost immediately into the rhythm Draco prefers to use—slow, almost agonizingly so, with more pressure at the head than the shaft, fingers tapping out an irregular beat as his hand glides up and down.

Harry clenches his eyes shut; he can almost feel Draco’s presence behind him, his lips at Harry’s ear, whispering filth before digging his teeth into the meat of Harry’s neck. Can almost feel the pressure of one hand at his hip, holding him still, fingertips digging in, spread proprietarily over his flank, marking him up. Leaving his mark, Draco’s mark, branding him for anyone to see if they looked hard enough.

Even after that close call and poor, stammered excuse with Ron, Harry never heals or Glamours the bruises under his clothes. Draco likes to see them. Harry likes to see them.

Harry lifts his free hand to his neck and digs his fingernails into his neck, dragging them down just a bit and hissing at the sting. A thought and that hand is slicked up too, and he rubs, gently at first and then with increasing pressure, on the new raised lines scoring his already-swollen neck.

He can hear, as if from a great distance, that he’s gasping, sounding anguished as he forces himself to keep his right hand’s pace slow. Wrenching his eyes open, he stares at his neck in the mirror, tilting his head to see the bright red lines over the purple and blue.

His hips jerk forward and when his hip pushes hard against the sink edge, he groans like he’s dying.

Harry can’t look away from himself. His left hand trails down his torso, stopping to press on each spot Draco’s marked him, and he revels in the bright burst of pain that blooms behind his eyes. His pupils are blown, there’s sweat beading at his hairline as the humidity of the room presses close, and the colours Draco’s left on him are so, so stark against his fading tan.

He slips his hand back around to the small of his back, scoring his nails down his arse, down over the tooth marks Draco’d left. Rubbing two fingers over his hole, he feels himself clench down and whines, finally letting his right hand speed up as he pushes his middle and index fingers inside himself with no further warmup.

The shock tilts his torso forward just a bit, and the pressure against his hip, the now-frantic movement of his hand over his cock, and the two fingers curling and uncurling inside himself is enough to send him over the edge—Harry comes all over his marble sink.

Panting, he pulls both hands back up and braces himself on his forearms, refusing to meet his own eyes now that he’s come.

Three weeks. Draco is gone for three weeks. As Harry cleans himself up, following the rest of his morning routine by rote, all he can think about is how is he supposed to go that long?

After breakfast, Harry drags himself back to the bedroom. He piles his pillows into a sort of nest and burrows under the covers, pulling the cover over his head.

His neck and hip are throbbing, his arse is sore (his fingers are thicker than Draco’s, he’d forgotten), and he feels—guilty.

Surely, he thinks, turning his face into the pillow, this isn’t normal? It isn’t right? He shouldn’t...he’s felt odd, before, about what Draco does to him—what he lets Draco do, begs for even, some nights—he never wanted anything like this with anyone else, never asked for it, never needed it.

But...that’s not quite true, is it? He might not have known what, exactly, with anyone else, but something always felt missing. Harry was never unhappy with any of his other lovers, but he never felt complete, either—not like he does with Draco.

And now Draco’s gone. And instead of coping like a normal person missing their boyfriend, maybe feeling a bit sad at times but going about their day like normal, he’s taken to his bed in the middle of the day, hiding away and near-tears and obsessing over the fact that he spent his morning hurting himself while he wanked, and even worse, that it didn’t hurt as good as when Draco did it.

Merlin. Something really is wrong with him, and even as he thinks that, his mind circles back around to how empty his bed feels, how Draco’s cologne is already wearing off from the pillow he insists is ‘his’, and how he really, really doesn’t know how he’s going to get through the next three weeks alone.

 


 

The week after Draco leaves seems to have conspired with his absence to be absolutely miserable. There’s a pub night scheduled on Thursday, but when that day’s Prophet has a screaming headline about Draco Malfoy’s Flight To The Continent—What Is He Doing There?, Harry just can’t make himself go. He begs off with a touchy stomach, avoiding Ron’s eyes through the Floo as he makes his excuses, and goes home to lie facedown in his bed until he falls asleep far too early with no dinner.

He’s woken on Friday by the insistent tap of an owl at his window, and after he blinks the sleep out of his eyes realizes that he fell asleep in his clothes.

Sighing loudly, he lets the owl in and unties the two letters from its leg, but when he reaches for the bowl of change he keeps for paying the post birds it hoots at him and takes off out the window. Someone’s personal owl, then, or maybe a rental, as he hadn’t recognized it and can’t think of anyone whose letters are allowed through his wards who’s purchased a new bird recently.

The top letter has a large red sticker with Returned—Unable to Locate in block letters, and—Harry blinks, but yes, that’s a frowny face drawn next to the text.

He sets the second one aside for now and breaks the generic black-wax seal.

Harry,

Meant to write to you once I was here and settled—Paris was an utter shambles, I had no sooner checked into the hotel than I was bombarded by these bloody pigeons they use for intra-city post here, they were swarming the front desk just waiting for me, an absolute nightmare, you can’t even imagine the din. Some sort of bloody emergency that couldn’t wait an hour for me to refresh myself and breathe before jumping into all the bollocks.

Anyway, it’s Monday evening now, and I’m safely installed in the Loire Valley at the vineyard estate. I’ll be here until Saturday, then it’s off to Zürich and the various financial institutions, which promises to be utterly tedious, but the views should be pleasant.

The next few days will be filled with tastings, so I anticipate that I’ll be pleasantly tipsy for the next 48 hours.

I’ll write to you soon,

-D

And at the bottom of the neat printing is a hastily-scrawled addition:

Bloody local post owl brought this back stamped ‘unable to locate’ and left the damned thing at the post office instead of trying to locate me—I didn’t find it until I brought the second letter down to send—have hired a private owl for the duration of my trip, cannot cope with further incompetence at this juncture.

Harry chuckles, feeling his spirits lift a bit at the familiar penmanship, and moves to the second letter.

Harry,

Have a dreadful headache today—it would appear that drinking steadily from sunup to sundown for two days will leave one with aftereffects that even a robust Hangover Potion cannot get rid of entirely.

There’s a vintage I tasted yesterday that’s ready for distribution that I think you’ll be fond of—I’ll bring a few bottles home with me. It’s a red, but not too dry; would go well with that pasta dish you made a few weeks ago, I think.

Unfortunately, the more diversionary portion of this leg of the trip is over. I’ll be cooped up reviewing the ledgers and meeting with the marketing team for the next two days.

By the time you get this, my trip will be close to one-third complete already.

-D

Harry smoothes the letters out and places them gently on his nightstand. He hadn’t—Draco’s writing to him every two days, which he hadn’t expected, despite assurances. He thought he’d get maybe one quick note per destination, and while he can’t say that these letters are chatty, Draco is clearly making an attempt to keep Harry up-to-date on his daily activities, even if he’s still frustratingly vague.

Checking the time, he swears when he realizes he’s only got an hour to shower, figure out breakfast (his stomach is absolutely screaming at him by now), and get to the Ministry.

At least it’s a Friday, which means all the junior Aurors are scheduled for gym time and practice in the obstacle course, instead of the drudgery of admin and patrols they’re assigned to the rest of the week.

 


 

Harry dutifully attends family dinner at the Burrow on Sunday, and pretends not to notice Ron’s thoughtful gaze. He puts on the best face he can and chats gamely with everyone present, avoiding being left alone with Ron as subtly as he’s able. Ron isn’t fooled, and Hermione looks concerned too, but he focuses his energy on George, and fussing over little Victoire, and as soon as is socially acceptable he makes his excuses to Molly and slips home, citing a need for a good night’s rest before the work week begins. She’d clucked at him and passed her thumbs over the pronounced bags under his eyes, but sent him on his way without further lectures.

 

Another letter arrives Monday midday, detailing Draco’s irritation at how dull the financiers in Zürich are, and also his delight at discovering that his hotel has a thermal spa facility which provides an ‘authentic Roman bath ritual’, whatever that involves (that night, Harry might have had a rather nice time imagining his own version of Draco in a Roman bath, to fairly satisfying effect).

 

By Thursday, Harry hasn’t gotten another letter, and while intellectually he knows it’s just because Draco’s busy, he can’t help feeling hurt, and left alone. He begs off pub night again, leaving word with Neville this time in an effort to avoid Ron and his too-sharp eyes, but just as he’s settling in with a glass of Blishens to mope his Floo flares green and Ron steps through.

Harry sighs. “Hi, Ron. Aren’t you meant to be at the Castle with the rest? Didn’t Neville tell you, I’m not feeling all that well, needed a night in—”

“Cut the shit, Harry,” Ron interrupts firmly, pouring himself a glass of whisky and sitting in the chair opposite Harry’s chosen spot. “Something’s wrong with you, has been for two weeks now—and I think I know what it is.” Leaning forward, he taps the front section of today’s edition of the Prophet Harry had left strewn over his coffee table.

Today's headline reads Sozzled Scion: Malfoy Heir at Private Bacchanalian Bash, and has a grainy image of Draco at a table with a handful of older men, all of whom are hanging on his every word as he sips from one of the multiple wine glasses in front of him and gestures expansively. The accompanying article is littered with coy suggestions of just what exactly Draco did with his guests as the night wore on, and Harry hadn’t been able to read it all the way through.

He knows it’s not true. He knows. It’s Draco’s family vineyard, that much was identified at the start of the story, and that combined with Draco’s letter about his visit makes it clear that these are employees, investors maybe, but Harry couldn’t stop watching Draco’s unguarded laugh and toothy smile in a loop this morning at breakfast as he paged through the paper.

“So—Malfoy’s been at some party overseas and got papped, what else is new? I’m not sure what you’re getting at, Ron—”

“Did I not say to cut this shit, Harry, how dense do you think I am? You’ve been a complete mess since Malfoy left on this little Grand Tour of his, and I’ve seen you mooning at the articles and staring out the window at all hours. You’re not sleeping, you’re not eating right, you’re not even complaining about the admin shit at work—I know you, Harry Potter, and this little funk of yours has something to do with him. Frankly, so have your good moods the past…” Ron pauses, casts his eyes up to think. “...it’s been almost ten months, hasn’t it?”

Harry’s stomach drops. Ron knows, and frankly, he’s not sure why he ever thought he’d be able to keep a secret this big forever. “Look...ok, yes. Fine. I’m sorry I didn’t...it’s not that big of a deal, ok? Dr- Malfoy and I have been...sleeping together. For...since last September, so. It’s not—it’s just, err, it’s just sex, Ron, and by now I’m used to—you know…” He trails off and stares down at his glass.

Suddenly, Ron’s hand is covering one of his, and Harry relaxes his grip just a bit. “I’m not angry with you. You don’t...I’m not entitled to every little detail about your private life, you know. I don’t expect that. Honestly, I don’t…” He breaks off and chuckles a bit. “I can’t say I don’t care at all who you’re seeing, of course I care, but you don’t owe me explanations. You’re a good judge of people, Harry, and I know that you wouldn’t stay in a relationship with someone who wasn’t making you happy. I just worry about you, you know. I can tell when you’re upset, I can tell when you’re...well.” Harry sees Ron glance around the room and feels ashamed, suddenly, at how messy it is, how clearly uncared-for; Harry hasn’t had the energy to tidy beyond the absolute necessities, and it shows. “We’ve all been here, you know. You’re not alone. I just want you to know that.”

Harry nods, eyes stinging suddenly, and feels a weight lift off his shoulders. Ron’s watching him kindly now, no judgement, and really, Harry should have known better than to worry about this.

“You’re right. I know I’m not...I’ve just gotten used to him being around, you know. I haven’t gone this long without seeing him since last autumn. It’s...I know it’s a little pathetic, it’s just...I feel off, when he isn’t here.” Harry cringes as he gets the words out.

Ron nods and leans back into the chair. “Mate, I’m the same way when Hermione’s off diplomat-ing, and she’s only ever gone for five days at the most. Malfoy’s been away for, what, ten days now?”

“Twelve. And he won’t be back until next Saturday.”

Ron winces. “Wow. Nothing he could do to cut whatever this is for short, then? Is this work? Where’s he off to this whole time?”

Harry settles in and talks through what he knows about Draco’s trip with Ron. He’s amazed at how much better he feels, chatting and commiserating with his friend about his boyfriend’s extended absence.

He won’t skip pub night again.

 


 

Harry wakes on Friday morning to the impatient tapping of Draco’s now-familiar rental owl, and he leaps out of bed to let her in. Today is already looking up; he got his best night’s sleep since Draco left after talking with Ron, and now finally a letter.

Harry,

Merlin, but will I be glad to finish this trip up. While the thermal spa is just as delightful as I hoped, I find myself growing sick of hotel accommodations, no matter how gorgeously-appointed they may be.

It’s stunning here, as anticipated, but I am inexplicably wishing it would rain, just a little bit, as the constant sunshine grows tiresome; the relentless cheeriness of the weather is mocking my own less-than-perfect mood today.

Have you been to Pophams since I’ve been away? I had a dream about that bacon maple croissant last night, and nothing in the many many bakeries near this hotel have anything even close.

I also find myself thinking about that hideously-decorated jungle cat-themed bar you dragged me to last month—the one with the appalling cocktail list but excellent sake selection—although I’ll admit that my memories of that place are slightly less focused on the food and drink. Do you remember?

I haven’t the time to write more in this letter; I may not get another one off to you before I leave for Oslo, where the sunshine promises to be even more unbearably incessant this time of year.

I hope all is well at home. -D x

Harry’s bright red by the time he reaches the end of the letter (he does remember their visit to The Leopard Bar, and more specifically their post-drinks activities in the gents—Draco’s tongue gets very loose when he’s been drinking, and not just in a way that makes him talkative), but he fixates on that little ‘x’ at the end.

Draco’s never—he’s not informal, not in how he speaks and certainly not in how he writes, but this letter seems almost sentimental, emotional in a way that Draco hardly ever lets himself appear. He’d clearly written it in a hurry if the penmanship is anything to go by—another oddity.

Harry has known, intellectually, that Draco cares deeply for him; there’s no chance he’d put up with what Harry likes in bed if there weren’t feelings attached. It’s different, though, to see it written out in black and white (well—green and white, as Draco still insists on using emerald ink that’s so dark it could almost be mistaken for black, but Harry knows better, and teases him relentlessly about taking the boy out of Slytherin), to read his reminiscing and—is it possible that Draco is homesick?

Harry smiles and runs his thumb over Draco’s signature, blurring the ink into the creamy parchment, before he sets it on top of the stack on his nightstand.

Today will be a good day, he decides. And this weekend he’ll tackle the clutter, so that when Draco gets back next Saturday he can relax and enjoy being back at Grimmauld without worrying about anything. Now that Harry’s talked out his feelings with Ron, this last week should go by just fine. He’ll be ok. They’re almost there.

 


 


Harry should have known better than to hope his good mood would last.

Friday at work goes well, and he spends Saturday out in Holyhead playing a pick-up game of Quidditch with Ginny, Ron, George, Seamus, and, inexplicably, Blaise Zabini (who spends most of the game smouldering at Ginny and making her blush and drop the Quaffle much more often than a professional Quidditch player should, to Harry’s great delight as Zabini is on his team), and on Sunday he has a lie-in and decides to put off tidying until Monday after work.

When he droops back late Monday evening, though, it’s all he can do to brush his teeth and change before falling into bed, and the rest of the week goes in the same pattern. He goes to bed at a reasonable hour but can’t stay asleep, and spends his work hours half-awake and dazed, staring off into the distance for long stretches of time until Ron hisses at him to snap out of it and get back to his paperwork if he doesn’t want Robards to come down on them.

Harry doesn’t know why he feels this way. He manages to at least keep the rubbish situation under control, but everything else he planned on doing—reorganizing his wardrobe, putting away his shoes, tidying up the first floor, putting out the summer duvet and performing the maintenance spells on the mattress—falls by the wayside, even as he thinks each day that he should work on at least some of it.

He tries wanking, once, but there’s nothing for him to focus on, not a trace of Draco left on his body, and he comes, but it leaves him feeling even flatter than he did before, and it’s depressing enough an outcome that he doesn’t bother another attempt.

 

Finally, it’s Saturday—the day Draco’s scheduled to return—and Harry wakes up late, and is immediately disappointed in himself, in how far he’s let himself and his home go. Draco’s been traveling, he scolds himself as he lays in bed and works up the motivation to get up, and he deserves to come back to a boyfriend who’s ready for the fancy dinner Draco’s last letter had promised (apparently the trip has overall been a success and Draco is coming home a much wealthier man) and whose house doesn’t resemble a jumble sale.

Draco hadn’t said when, exactly, he’d be over—he’d warned it might be a later dinner since he has one last meeting today and Harry assumes he’ll be going home first, so even though it’s—Merlin, it’s already noon—Harry should have time to get ready and at least get a few things put away.

He takes his time in the shower, using the leave-in conditioning potion Draco bought him and shaving carefully. He even takes the time to slather on that customised moisturizer Draco brought over one day, silently admitting to himself that it does smell perfect; light, with just a hint of lime.

Securing his towel around his waist, he makes a beeline for his wardrobe and starts picking through the piles to try and find something Draco will want to see him in, but doesn’t make it look like he’s trying too hard.

A quarter of an hour later, and he slams the wardrobe door, kicking it all the way shut when it catches on a pair of trousers and ignoring the shirts scattered on the floor as he stomps back to the middle of the room. Why doesn’t he own anything that makes him look like an adult? All his clothes are too casual, too plain—and none of his fancier items fit right, either too tight at the shoulder or too loose at the waist. Nothing he owns works for the type of establishment he can guess Draco is going to take them to.

Still in his towel, he falls back onto his bed, grabs a pillow, and screams into it for a minute before propping himself up on his elbows. His eyes land on his nightstand, and, rolling onto his stomach, he grabs for Draco’s letters, still stacked in a neat, careful pile. He’s still got time, and maybe reading through them will distract him from his clothing dilemma enough to reset his mood…

 

He’s suddenly being shaken awake, and unconsciously gropes for his wand and jabs it off to his side, poking it into something. Whoever he’s hit lets out an oof and shoves Harry’s shoulder until he’s turned onto his back, blinking up and readjusting his glasses until the blurry figure comes into focus.

Harry winces when he sees Draco’s crossed arms and frowning face. He peels one of the letters off his shoulder where it had gotten stuck in his sleep. “Draco, you’re here already! Err...sorry about the...stabbing thing. You startled me! I must have fallen asleep by mistake. Hey, what time is it—you’re back earlier than I thought you’d be?” He hastily gathers the letters back into a pile and sets them on the nightstand, then gets up and moves towards his wardrobe, kicking one of the piles of shirts and ties under the bed as subtly as he can.

“It’s only three. I was able to wrap my last meeting up and made it just in time for the mid-afternoon Portkey instead of having to wait until the evening departure—Harry, are you alright? Neville said there was to be a pub crawl this afternoon, I came straight here and had planned to shower and surprise you wherever you were when I’d freshened up—are you sick?” Draco’s voice filters through the door as Harry moves about in the closet, shoving aside piles and looking for something that isn’t wrinkled. 

Harry frowns. He does sort of remember Ron chatting about a get-together yesterday, but he’d been in such a hurry to get home at the end of the day that he hadn’t paid much attention. He throws his towel back out into the bedroom and hops into a clean pair of pants. “No, err...I’m feeling fine, just—long week, you know? But I don’t need to tell you that—I’m so glad you’re back! How was the rest of Oslo? I can’t wait to hear all about it. Did you want to go out before dinner? Just give me a tick to find something to wear—we could go to Gordon’s first, if you want…”

Clutching a pair of jeans and a jumper that pass muster, he edges out of the wardrobe, only to have Draco gently grab his elbow and steer them to the (unmade) bed. He pries the clothing out of Harry’s hand and tosses them off to the side, then sits them both down and leans forward, resting his hands on Harry’s thighs. “Harry. What’s wrong? I almost tripped over your Quidditch gear when I came through the Floo, the dishes aren’t done, there are shoes and clothes and paperwork all over...I thought there had been a break-in at first! Did you have to go out on a mission while I was away, is that why you didn’t write back?”

Harry meets Draco’s gaze and wishes he could smooth away the line of worry that’s between those concerned grey eyes. “No, I...you wanted me to write back? I’m sorry, I…” He averts his eyes, staring down at his hands, which are twisting in his lap.

Draco shifts closer and reaches over to tilt Harry’s chin up until they’re looking at each other once again. “I’m not upset, Harry, I was worried!” He cups his other hand around Harry’s head and thumbs over the dark circles Harry knows are prominent under his eyes. “You look like you haven’t been sleeping, you’re thinner than when I left...please, Harry, tell me what’s going on? Is it Ron or Hermione? Did something happen to someone else?”

Harry sucks in a breath at the concern so clear in Draco’s eyes and voice. “No! No, everyone’s fine. I...honestly, I don’t know. I just...I missed you a lot,” he mumbles, picking at his nails until Draco drops his hands down and pulls Harry’s fingers apart, holding him loosely. “I...I didn’t realize how hard it would be, having you away for so long? I guess I didn’t write back because...you were busy, and I didn’t want to bother you…”

Bother me? Harry, you’re my partner. Why would getting a note from you do anything but make me happy? And of course I missed you, too—of course I did, it didn’t matter that I was busy, being gone that long and sleeping away from home, away from you, was an experience I don’t wish to repeat. If I ever have to take this long a trip again, which hopefully I won’t, I’ll do everything in my power to give you enough notice so you can come along if you want…”

Harry can’t believe how earnest Draco sounds, how soft. Can’t move his brain past the word partner. Doesn’t understand how he hasn’t seen this before, the sincerity and genuine emotion in Draco’s eyes. Had he really ever thought Draco was cold and reserved?

Draco must see something in his eyes, because he’s frowning again. “Harry...you do know that I wanted you along, yes? That I...god, I haven’t somehow...are we not on the same page here? Have I…” He’s pulling back, and Harry reaches out and grabs his hands, scared he’s going to leave.

“No! No, we...you’re not. You didn’t. I just.” Harry takes a deep breath. “I...had a bad couple of weeks, with you gone. I got used to you being here all the time. I love having you here. And...it’s like, when you weren’t here, when we couldn’t...something got mixed up, in my brain, and I would get stuck thinking about how...maybe you didn’t want me to come and that’s why it didn’t come up, and it would just spiral into maybe you were happy to be gone, to be away from my...issues. My...weird, you know, thing.” He’s stuttering and his face is hot.

“Your weird...Harry, you aren’t talking about...is this the biting thing? You think I was happy to be away from you because you like a little bit of rough play?” Draco sounds appalled.

“Well it isn’t just a little bit, is it?!” Harry flares up, yanking his hands back and wrapping his arms around himself. “I mean, I’ve seen them, you know. I’ve…thought about it, while you were gone. I know something’s wrong with me, for liking that! I know it’s not normal! So forgive me for assuming you’d rather a break from my problems!” He’s breathing heavily and can feel the muscles in his arms shake.

“Jesus,” Draco groans, passing a hand over his face. “Potter, do I seem self-sacrificing enough to ever do something in bed that I don’t get pleasure from? Do you really think I’m that selfless? Whatever problems you think you’ve been burdening me with—I have them too. I like that you let me do that. I like that you trust me enough to allow it. I like looking at you when we run into each other at the Ministry, or when we’re out together, and knowing what’s under your collar, under your shirt, and knowing that I left those marks there. That you let me see this side of you that nobody else gets.” He’s breathing more quickly now, and when he looks up, Harry feels pinned by the heat in his gaze.

His face feels hot again, but for entirely different reasons. Draco catches the blush creeping down his neck and his eyes spark, and that’s all the warning Harry gets until he’s shoved back and up the bed until he’s laying against his pillows.

Draco kicks the blankets off the bed (‘we’ll have to switch to the summer duvet, it’s too hot out now for this one’), then straddles Harry’s waist and runs his gaze up and down Harry’s torso until he’s squirming, goosebumps breaking out everywhere he feels Draco’s eyes.

Smirking, Draco runs one finger from Harry’s neck down his body, stopping to circle a nipple until it’s hard and pebbled. “I did miss you, you know. I suppose, since you don’t seem to believe me, I’ll have to show you just how much.” He leans down and feathers kisses across Harry’s clavicle until he hits the juncture at his neck that always makes Harry whine. He starts gently, sucking until Harry’s panting and wiggling under him, then bites down.

Harry moans and lets his eyes slip shut. This, this was exactly what he’d missed, what he’d needed—Draco over him, under him, teeth digging into Harry’s skin until they’re latched together. He’s been fully hard since the first whisper of Draco’s mouth on his neck, and Draco’s insinuated a thigh between his legs, is letting him rut up into the pressure while he drifts.

Draco pulls back and presses his thumb into the swollen patch of skin, causing Harry to whine and arch his neck at the sharp burst of pain. He opens his eyes and sees Draco looking down at his neck in satisfaction as he pulls his thumb off the bruise.

Leaning back down, he pulls the lobe of Harry’s right ear into his mouth and sucks, digging the nails of his left hand into Harry’s flank. Harry shivers. Releasing his earlobe, Draco whispers something, and suddenly his fingers are slick, slipping over Harry’s side and down the cut between his thigh and abdomen, circling his cock before Draco presses them behind his balls. Harry cries out, and it’s only the pressure of Draco’s body that keeps him from thrusting up.

“Did you miss me too, Harry?” Draco whispers, moving his fingers further back until he’s pressing against Harry’s hole.

“Yes, yes—Draco, please, I need, I need—” Harry pants out, twisting his hips in an effort to draw Draco’s fingers in.

“I know what you need.” Draco’s breath ghosts over Harry’s ear, then he works his way down, stopping to leave hickeys all over Harry’s pectorals, sucking on his nipples until they’re so sensitive that Harry’s near tears.

Finally, Draco settles between Harry’s legs. He looks up as he’s mouthing at Harry’s inner thigh, leaving red marks and teeth indentations all over the thin skin there, and Harry throws his head back and hisses as Draco winks, then takes Harry’s whole cock into his throat at the same time as he pushes two fingers directly into his arse.

God—” Harry groans, gritting his teeth against the sharp burst of sensation as Draco crooks his fingers roughly, not giving him a chance to fully adjust. He pulls back and sucks at the head of Harry’s dick, pressing directly onto Harry’s prostate at the same time, and Harry yelps at the too-much, just-right pleasure-pain he’d been missing for almost a month. “Draco, Jesus, I can’t, it’s too much, I can’t—”

Draco lifts his head and raises an eyebrow at Harry, increasing the pressure on his prostate. “You can.” He turns back to Harry’s cock and sets a wet, brutal rhythm, accommodating Harry’s thrusts with ease and keeping his fingers steady on that spot inside.

Harry can feel it rushing up on him, too soon—his thighs are warm and shaking where they’re slung over Draco’s shoulders, he can feel the pressure building in his back and groin—and then, when Draco runs his teeth down the length of his cock, it explodes out of him, and he comes with a shout that’s almost a sob.

Draco’s fingers move slightly off direct contact with Harry’s prostate, and he continues to suck until Harry bats at his head, sensitive to the point that his teeth are on edge. Draco pulls off with a pop and moves up Harry’s body, kissing him harshly and biting his lips. He hasn’t swallowed everything, and Harry groans as he tastes himself on Draco’s tongue.

Pulling back, Draco moves to Harry’s side and examines his body with dark, glittering eyes. All Harry can do is lie back and pant as Draco uses his free hand to skim over his torso, pausing to press down on every place he’s left a mark.

Harry suddenly notices that somehow Draco is still dressed, and heat rushes through him at the image—Draco, fully clothed, kneeling next to Harry, who’s naked and sweating and bruised up, marked, the blood rushing to the bite marks under Draco’s critical eye as he slowly moves his fingers in and out of Harry’s hole. Harry’s cock twitches—too soon, too soon, and he grits his teeth against the feeling.

Reaching up, he plucks at the hem of Draco’s shirt. “Off, please,” he rasps.

Draco quirks an eyebrow and smiles, and it’s not a nice smile. “I don’t think so, love,” he says pleasantly, easing a third finger in and watching in satisfaction as Harry winces and pushes back into the feeling. He moves his fingers back over Harry’s prostate and presses down, and Harry howls.

“Oh, oh—Draco I can’t it’s too soon, please—”

Draco bares his teeth and moves his fingers firmly over the spot. “And yet you will regardless.” His thumb is suddenly up against Harry’s perineum, and the pressure from both sides has him screaming out, still-soft cock blurting come onto his abdomen.

Harry’s vision is blurry all of a sudden, and he’s grasping at the sheets with both hands, because Draco isn’t stopping, and his legs are shaking and his whole body is warm, now, and surely he isn’t—surely he can’t—

“Oh god,” he sobs, thrashing his head back and forth as he comes again, tears spilling out from the corners of his eyes with the movement. “Draco, Draco, please.”

Draco’s eyes are all pupil now, and he’s breathing heavily—loud enough that Harry can hear him over the rushing sound in his own ears. He’s fumbling at his fly with his free hand, and manages to unbutton, unzip, and pull his trousers and pants down to mid-thigh with three fingers of his left hand still buried in Harry’s arse.

He whispers again and now his right hand is slicked up, too, and he takes Harry’s cock firmly in hand, rubbing his thumb over the head and pushing down into the slit. He’s rubbing Harry’s prostate again, but more lightly, enough to start the pressure pooling in his groin but not enough to let it go anywhere, and Harry groans, twisting his hips down into the mattress and away from the hand on his oversensitive cock. “Draco—”

“Hush, Harry,” Draco soothes, pulling his left hand out and moving back between Harry’s thighs. Harry’s more than half-hard now, and his eyes are stinging, because it hurts, it hurts, and if Draco stops now Harry thinks he’ll kill him.

Draco lines himself up and meets Harry’s eyes. “I do love you, you know,” he says quietly, then pushes in all at once, no pausing until he’s buried balls-deep in Harry’s arse. He groans and squeezes Harry’s cock just a little too hard. “Merlin, I missed this. How you feel, Harry.”

Harry is breathing in great hitching gulps as Draco starts to fuck in and out of him, drawing back slowly until just the head of his cock is stretching his entrance, then slamming back in, brushing roughly against his prostate each time. And still, Draco’s hand is on his cock, moving steadily, squeezing at the head and loosening his grip on the way back down, tapping his fingers against the shaft. Harry’s crying, full-on sobbing as Draco hits his swollen prostate on every stroke, as his right hand pulls at Harry’s cock, as Draco’s left hand moves up his torso to his neck, pressing down on one of the newly-formed bruises and digging his nail in.

“Draco,” he gasps, and that’s all he can manage through his tears as his fourth orgasm blows through him. He can’t see, can’t hear, is barely aware of Draco’s hands moving down to his hips and holding him still as he speeds up until he, too, comes with a groan.

Harry feels totally boneless. His toes and fingers are tingling. He manages to move his head to face Draco, who’s pulled out and flopped onto his stomach next to him, breathing into the mattress. He thinks he’s still crying, and the ghost of his last orgasm is sending shivers up and down his body at regular intervals.

Groaning, Draco sits up and drops a kiss on Harry’s cheek before heading to the bathroom. He returns with a full cup of water, which goes on the nightstand after he’s moved his letters safely to the side, and a wet flannel, which he rubs over Harry’s stomach, cock, and arse, cleaning him off gently.

Harry sighs and relaxes into the ministrations with his eyes closed. Shortly after the damp cloth is removed, a blanket is settled over him, and Draco curls up against his side, head resting on his shoulder. “How are you feeling?” he murmurs, brushing his lips over Harry’s neck. He finds a swollen bruise he’d left earlier and sucks gently on it.

Harry stretches out his legs and hums. “Hmm...good. Sore, kinda. Good, though.” 

Draco chuckles into his neck, then sits up and produces a second, dry flannel, which he uses to wipe Harry’s face off. His expression—Harry is almost brought to tears again. “I’d say I didn’t mean to make you cry, but that wouldn’t be quite truthful,” Draco says, grinning like he’s holding a secret. He brushes his thumb under Harry’s eye, a mimic of his earlier gesture, but with no concern or worry in his expression this time. 

Harry smiles helplessly back at him. Oh, the three weeks were worth it for this.

“So, Harry, listen—” Draco tosses the flannel onto the floor and curls them back together, tangling their legs. “I was thinking while I was gone. You know, the reason I came straight here to shower before I’d planned to meet you is because all of my stuff is here. Nothing I use on a daily basis is left at my flat, it’s all my dress robes and stuff from school. What would you think if…” He hesitates, and Harry realises that Draco is nervous. “What if I moved in? Permanently, I mean. I would keep the flat, I think; my potions hobby lab is set up to my liking there and I don’t fancy hauling everything over and redoing it all here, and it’s got furniture I’m not keen on parting with, plus it’s in a good location—I could do my potions work there, still, and if we have friends from out of town who don’t want to Floo or Apparate back they could stay there for some privacy, and if I’m hosting any business associates they could stay there…” He trails off, and Harry can feel how tense he is.

“You...you really want to move in here?” he asks, hating how his voice trembles.

Draco nods against his shoulder. “Yes. Yes, if you want me to—very much.”

Harry smiles, and it feels like his chest is cracking open. “Yes. Please, yes. Move in. Move in tomorrow if you want. Today? Is there still time to go get all your stuff now?”

Draco laughs at that, reaching up and tweaking one of Harry’s nipples. Harry hisses and bats his hand away. “Tomorrow. It’s still…” He conjures a Tempus. “It’s still only half six. We can still go to Gordon’s if you want, before dinner? I hadn’t actually made reservations...I wasn’t sure what type of food we’d be in the mood for, so we can play it by ear—between the two of us we won’t have any issues getting a table, yeah? Tomorrow, you can come over and help me pack up the rest of my belongings that I’ll want to bring here. What do you think?”

“Yeah,” Harry says softly, closing his eyes as he listens to Draco get up and start sorting through their clothes. “Yeah, that sounds perfect.”