Actions

Work Header

Another Mask Behind You

Chapter Text

Prologue.

“Hello, my dear girl,” said Draco, having just arrived from the Floo. “What mischief have you been brewing?”

“I dislike mischief.” Pansy sat at her desk, but didn’t appear to be working on anything. This was nothing new, as she never appeared to be working on anything. Languidly, she held out a scroll, acting as if she had not called Draco to her office with the express purpose of giving him an assignment.

“You dislike anything that requires effort. And yet,” Draco said, coming over to her desk, “I detected distinct wickedness in your tone when you summoned me.”

He reached for the scroll, but Pansy did not let go. “I’m not sure I should trust you with this.”

Draco dropped his hand, shrugging. “A new client? Perhaps you don’t need my help.”

Pansy’s eyes narrowed. “Do you want it or not?”

“It’s not really a question of want, is it?” Draco said, but took the scroll anyway. Unrolling the parchment, he read the name and request of their newest client. Once he had read the paper twice, he looked back at Pansy.

“Don’t kill the messenger,” she said.

“Is this meant to be amusing?” said Draco.

“Why would I bother?” said Pansy.

Draco gazed at her bored face a moment longer, then back at the parchment. “Harry Potter requires an escort to a Ministry gala.”

“I’m capable of reading,” Pansy said.

“This is a joke. A poor attempt at humour.”

“Whatever.”

“Then you won’t mind.” Draco took out his wand, lighting a small flame at the end of it.

Just as he was about to bring the scroll down to touch the flame, Pansy said, “I wouldn’t do that.”

“Why not?” Draco held the scroll precariously close to the blaze.

“I don’t really care either way.” Pansy examined her nails. “But it could bring in a lot of money.”

“And you care about that.”

Pansy looked up at him. “We both care about that.”

Draco put out his wand, slipping it in his pocket. He looked at the scroll again. “Harry Potter, hero of the wizarding world, darling of the press, beloved by the Ministry, saint to the masses—that Harry Potter—is hiring an escort.”

Pansy lifted a lethargic shoulder. “Maybe he’s bored.”

Draco read the parchment again. It did not read like a cold owl; Potter must have already been in contact with Pansy. Knowing her, she had likely already signed Potter as a client, complete with the secrecy clause. Potter might be hiring an escort as his date, but no one would ever know.

Rolling up the parchment, Draco tapped the scroll against his lips in thought. “He’s not bored,” he said, moving the scroll away. “He’s disappointed.”

“Oh, because he has so much to be disappointed about.”

“He is,” said Draco. “I know him. Saint of the people. Hero of the war. It’s not enough.”

“Are you going to rant?” Pansy pulled a fresh sheet of parchment towards her. “This will be just like old times.”

“It’s not a rant. Don’t you see?” Draco spread his arms. “He longs to become a god.”

“Don’t we all.” Pansy dipped her quill in ink.

“It’s not enough that crowds worship him and hordes follow him,” Draco went on. “He wants a slave—someone who will agree with everything he says, do his every bidding. He wants someone who will hide in his shadow, someone who will only come out to kneel at his feet and lick his hand.”

“Licking costs extra.”

“It’s sick,” Draco said. “The enormity of his ego.”

“You’re saying I should give the job to Theo?”

“Theo?” Draco blinked, pulled from his own thoughts. “No. Theo would muck it all up. No. Theo? Honestly.”

“Well, you certainly can’t take it.”

“I wouldn’t want to.” Draco glanced down at the scroll still in his hand. “Why couldn’t I?”

“You’re too emotional.”

“Emotional? I’m not emotional.”

“Disgust is an emotion,” Pansy said, writing something on the parchment on her desk. “I should know. It’s basically the only one I have left.”

“Potter ruined our lives.”

“No, he didn’t. Voldemort did.”

“You know what I mean.” When Pansy just went on writing, Draco said, “Potter and his lot. But him especially.”

“It’s always him especially.”

“Where did they expect us to go? What did they expect us to do? They took everything from us. Did they still expect us to function as human beings?”

“Maybe they expected us all to resort to prostitution. It’s served us well so far.” Pansy put down her quill, then waved her wand over her parchment to dry the ink. “Are we going to go through this every time we get a Gryffindor client?”

“Have you got others?”

“No.” Pansy began folding the parchment. “We won’t have others, if we botch this one. This is the highest profile client we are likely to have, and if it goes well, we’ll make gobs of money. If it goes poorly, then the company will fail and so will we. We need our best on this, Draco, and the last time I checked, that was still you. So tell me, are you able to behave like a man and serve your arse to Potter? Or shall I find someone with larger bollocks?”

Pansy went back to folding her parchment. “I always forget how eloquent you are,” Draco told her.

She didn’t look up.

The settlements and reparations had stripped Draco, Pansy, Theodore Nott, and several others of both fortunes and lands. By the time the trials were over, Father and Gregory Goyle were in Azkaban and the Malfoys only had enough money left to pay for a flat for Mother. Draco needed a job, but shortly after the reparations, the Ministry passed the Articles of Reconstruction.

Article three-seven-nine of the Articles of Reconstruction stated that no business or organization could hire anyone identified as a former Death Eater or Death Eater ally. Though Pansy and Nott had never been Death Eaters, Nott’s father had been one, and all of Hogwarts had heard what Pansy had said about giving Potter to the Dark Lord. Identified as allies, they too were unable to seek gainful employ.

Article three-eight-two of the Articles of Reconstruction prevented former Death Eaters and allies from performing anything but rudimentary spells with wands in public. Spells that required more than two flicks of the wand, two words to incant, or force of emotion behind casting were not allowed. Though they could use more complex magic at privately, anything beyond what a third year learned at Hogwarts was prohibited by law in public. Similarly, article three-eight-three prohibited them from buying or brewing potions more complex than the most simple tinctures and tonics.

Draco, Pansy, and Nott hadn’t even been able to get work in the Muggle world. The horrible Muggle clothing shops and restaurants all demanded licenses and papers, and even when Draco found out what these things were—enough to cast illusions anyway—he was lost in the Muggle world. Everyone expected him to know how to work things like money and mobiles and all their little machines, and no one had the patience to teach him. At least in Azkaban, Draco would have had a roof over his head.

Pansy had been the first to sell herself. She wasn’t freer with her body; she was merely cleverest. Prostitution was one of the only jobs on Earth for which a legitimate identity was not required, and it was the easiest. Pansy had been the one to discover that she could fuck without anyone caring who she was, and she could do it for money.

Draco had hated it. He was supposed to protect her. He was supposed to protect them all, and he had failed them. He had led them astray, and if anyone should pay for it, it should have been him. He had tried to convince her to let him sell himself instead of her, but Pansy had refused. The only way to help her was to join her.

After six months of selling themselves on the streets, they had made enough to keep themselves fed and rent a flat together, as well as rent another space for Pansy’s office. That was when they could begin to afford ingredients for Polyjuice as well, which not only hid their true identities from clients, but also allowed them to cast complicated magic such as Apparition in public. Though the potion was illegal for them to brew under Article three-eight-three, they brewed covertly, and the business flourished from there.

Luckily, they were talented—not just at sex, though they were talented at that. With their formal upbringing, they were excellent companions for clients. They could sing, dance, play instruments, speak several languages, perform any number of beautiful and entertaining spells, easily make small talk or conversation about politics, books, or history. Soon their clients were paying them for much more than sex.

Eventually, the company was able to take on further employees, the first one being Nott. With another employee, Pansy could take on more of the business aspects of the job, leaving the clients to Draco and Nott. Pansy had always been better at planning and organizing things than Draco, and Draco had wanted her to stop selling herself. The compromise was necessary.

They called the escort service Verity, a kind of in-joke among themselves. Eventually, Verity took on a couple other Slytherin employees—Daphne Greengrass, Millie Bulstrode. Verity’s clientele had also expanded—mostly thanks to Pansy, who handed all the contacts and contracts. They were no longer a simple prostitution ring. Verity was as close to a legitimate company as an escort service could be. With many clients, Draco didn’t even have sex. Clients paid for the pleasure of his company—in which they delighted, as long as they never knew who he really was.

After eight years of this, both of Draco’s parents were out of the picture. Since Pansy could support herself, Draco really only had himself to look after. Now Draco was making enough money to have his own posh flat and plenty of other things he wanted—but he was still an escort, and Potter was to blame for it. Potter had spoken for him at the trials, then walked away. Everyone had walked away, asking for mercy for the children, then leaving them with no means by which to live. The Articles of Reconstruction had destroyed the House of Slytherin.

Draco wanted Potter to pay. He put the scroll on Pansy’s desk.

“Are you still here?” Pansy asked.

“I’ll do it,” Draco said.

Pansy, writing in one of her ledgers, didn’t look up. “Will you be using Tristan?”

Pansy’s hair was so shiny black that parts of it didn’t even look black; they looked silver in the light. “Yes,” Draco said.

“Give this to Horatio.” Holding out a folded square, Pansy still did not look up.

Draco took the square of parchment. “You knew I would accept.”

“Tell me when the last time you said no to something involving Potter,” Pansy said.

“I can say no. I’m not obsessed. I’m completely capable of having nothing to do with Potter.”

“Try.”

Draco’s mouth tightened. He gave the owl the square of paper. “Take it to Potter,” he told Horatio.

Horatio took off, and Draco watched the owl’s wings spread out against the sky.

*


Part I – Tricks Turned


One.

Five days later, Draco arrived on a lane in a wizarding hamlet of Hampshire, wearing Tristan’s face.

In the early days of Verity, Draco and Pansy had always used Polyjuice. As the business progressed, Draco had developed variations on the potion. With Polyjuice, there was always the danger of someone recognizing the body one used. Furthermore, Pansy required that all of her employees wear posh clothes while on the job, and it was a shame when those clothes only fit the Polyjuiced body Draco used to please clients.

As a result, Draco had developed Masker Ade. Masker Ade wasn’t as versatile as Polyjuice; it couldn’t add or subtract mass from the body, only changing select features. These features, however, could be altered to an appearance of the drinker’s choosing and didn’t have to look like anyone else. Masker Ade was useful in other ways, lasting much longer than Polyjuice, and evading usual test and detection spells. Draco suspected Pansy was surreptitiously using his stash to make her nose appear less pug-like.

Tristan was Draco’s latest masterpiece, created with the help of Masker Ade. In some ways, Tristan looked very similar to Draco—just not enough to be recognizable. Tristan’s mouth was rather fuller, more attractive than Draco’s, though Tristan’s cheekbones were also less pronounced. Though Draco’s brow was not at all heavy, Tristan’s brow was weaker still, his jaw also a little rounder. Besides these essential differences, Tristan’s eyes were blue and his hair was a dirty blond, curly instead of straight.

Masker Ade gave Draco a different face, but let him keep the same body. The only thing that Draco ever altered about his body these days was the Dark Mark and the scars. He might have wished for broader shoulders, his own being somewhat lacking, but he had long since resigned himself to being slender. At least he was quite tall, if not broad.

Because he would be dealing with Potter tonight, Draco had made one other alteration—he changed his voice. Potter might recognize his own, and so Draco had altered it with a spell, giving it a slightly higher pitch and less resonance—silk instead of velvet.

Standing in the lane, Draco smoothed his frock coat. He wore a dove grey wool suit, impeccably tailored to set off his figure. His cravat was sky blue to match the eyes, and Draco knew that he would succeed.

The street was appropriately called Hawthorn Lane, as several hawthorns lined the road. Country houses were dotted along it every acre or so behind Draco, but at the end of the lane there was only a rolling field sprinkled with trees. Draco did not see Potter’s house until he took a piece of paper out of his pocket and read it, and a little house sprang up in front of him, square and rather unimpressive. There was a tangled garden in the front, unkempt and overgrown. Ivy climbed the sides of the house to cover it with curling green.

Possibly this was just one of Potter’s dozen houses, and he used it for all his clandestine rendezvous with unsavoury or secret characters. A love shack. No doubt he considered it quaint.

Walking down the little path through the garden, Draco made it to the front door, where there was a crumbling stoop. Lifting a resolute hand, Draco knocked.

Nearly a full minute later, Harry Potter answered, flinging open the door. He wore all black—black waistcoat, black shirt, still undone at cuffs and collar, an untied black bow-tie at his throat.

“I’m Tristan,” Draco said.

Potter’s eyes raked over him. “You’re early.”

“It’s five thirty,” Draco said. “You’re late.”

Potter’s gaze lingered on him.

Swallowing a smirk, Draco casually slipped his hands into his pockets. He knew exactly how good he looked, and he could see that Potter noticed. “Shall we spend the evening on the stoop, then?” Draco drawled.

Potter opened the door wider. “Come in.”

Potter hadn’t improved any insofar as manners, Draco noted, stepping in after Potter. Someone instantly began yelling.

“How dare you!” said the shrill voice. Turning, Draco saw that the voice issued from a portrait. To his surprise, he recognized the portrait as that of Great Aunt Walburga. “Bringing filth amidst—”

“Don’t,” Potter said.

“But Harry,” Aunt Walburga said, tone softening. “Can’t you see? He profanes your presence! This—this man is no better than a—”

Potter jerked a cord on the wall, closing a curtain over the portrait’s face. “Don’t listen to her,” Potter said. “She doesn’t mean it.”

Behind the curtain, Draco could still hear Great Aunt Walburga muttering.

“In here.” Yanking open a set of doors, Potter stepped into a room off the main hall.

Following, Draco entered a modest and rather homely sitting-room. A crumbling hearth and a dumpy-looking sofa were its primary features, with a worn leather chair in one corner and an overstuffed loveseat in another. The worn-down, commonplace aesthetic was how Draco had always imagined the Gryffindor common room to look.

Potter probably thought that he was humble. Typical.

“Who’s the portrait?” Draco asked, gesturing back in the direction of Great Aunt Walburga.

“Sort of an antique,” Potter said.

“Why don’t you just get rid of it?”

Potter shrugged. “It was passed down. It’s a family thing.”

Draco’s eyes narrowed. Walburga was his family, not Potter’s. “I had an aunt like her, once.”

“You get used to her.” Potter held out his hand. At first, Draco didn’t know how to interpret the gesture, but presently some small objects rattled into the parlour under the door. They were Potter’s cufflinks, and the bastard was casting wandless magic. Just to show off.

“Dealing with family is rather like banging one’s head into a wall,” Draco said, as though he saw wandless magic all the time. “After a while, it doesn’t hurt any longer.”

Potter glanced up, but didn’t otherwise reply, eyes flicking down again to cast the spell to fasten one cufflink.

Draco examined Potter. Usually, Draco prided himself on his ability to read people—everything from expressions to body language to hidden motivations. Given that Draco’s whole career was the service of other people, the skill was a useful one.

Potter, however, was not as easy to read as so many of the clients Draco had known, which was a bit of a surprise. Potter had always been quite demonstrative in school. Perhaps he was simply so dull that there was nothing to read.

For one thing, Potter had small eyes. Big eyes were conventionally attractive, and yet everyone went on and on about Potter’s, especially since he’d lost the glasses. The procedure was Muggle, people said. It had to be, as there was no spell to permanently improve eyesight, which Draco very well knew. People probably waxed poetic about Potter’s eyes because of the way they looked like they were hewn into his face—underneath his strong, hard brow and perfectly Grecian nose, his eyes looked narrow and dangerous.

“I assume you know the details,” Potter said after a while of working on the cuffs. “We’re going to a Ministry party.”

“Oh, yes,” Draco said. “I know everything about it.”

Potter grimaced. “People make such a fuss about me being single. I didn’t want to have to deal with it.”

“People make a fuss about me being single too.” Potter shot him a glance, just as Draco expected. Giving Potter his ready smile, Draco added, “On Diagon Alley it’s a constant lament.”

“Is it.” It wasn’t really a question, and Potter went back to his cuffs.

“Indeed,” said Draco. “And on Knockturn Alley, there is constant rejoicing.”

Potter jerked on his sleeve. “Tonight shouldn’t be too much trouble.”

“It’s no trouble at all,” Draco said, testing out the silkiness of Tristan’s voice.

Potter’s eyes raked over him swiftly; then he went back to fiddling with his sleeve. “Mostly you just have to stand there and smile.”

Potter’s rudeness didn’t make Draco uncomfortable. Plenty of clients treated their escorts as mere accessories, and Draco hadn’t expected anything different from Potter. In fact, Draco had planned on it—charming Potter wasn’t at all necessary for victory tonight, and if Potter didn’t want to make small talk with his escort, that much the better. Potter could act as though Draco was one of his cufflinks, one more possession to add to his costume.

The only real obstacle to Draco’s plan that he could see would be pretending Potter was in the least bit tolerable.

“We should still have a story,” Draco said, slipping his hands into his pockets again.

Potter glanced up.

Draco gave him a pleasant smile. “Even if I’m only standing and smiling, I expect you would not wish to tell attendants at the gala that you’re paying me to do so.”

Potter frowned. For a long moment, Draco thought Potter was actually considering telling everyone exactly that, which would completely ruin everything.

“I guess not,” Potter said abruptly, turning away. He went to go look in the mirror on the mantle, performing the spells to tie his bowtie. “What kind of story?”

“We met in a broom shop. You were examining the Jet Stream 560, when I—”

“No.”

“Oh?” Draco tried not to let his annoyance show, instead formulating a look of pleasant confusion.

Potter wasn’t even facing him to admire the expression, his back still to Draco as he finished with the tie. “I don’t go broom shopping.”

“Why ever not?”

Potter shrugged arrogantly. “They send them to me for free.”

Draco made himself laugh. “I suppose if you’re the hero of the wizarding world, the shops all come to you.”

“I guess.” Potter turned away from the mirror, going over to the door. “Accio cloak.”

“We shall say we met at a tailor then,” Draco said.

“No,” said Potter, as his black robes glided through the door. “They give me all my clothes, too.”

“Then why are you dressed for a funeral?” The words just slipped out—Potter was just so disgustingly entitled.

Instead of getting upset, however, Potter allowed the side of his mouth to twitch. Draco would have called it a smile, except the rest of his face didn’t make it; it remained hard and inscrutable. “Maybe I’m going to one,” was all Potter said.

Now that Draco thought about it Potter’s eyes had darkened on the stoop, when Draco had told him he was late. Potter liked them with a little cheek, apparently.

“Forgive me,” Draco said, keeping his voice light. “I’m afraid I have little experience with fabricating stories to meet the Boy Who Lived. Do you have any suggestions?”

Potter’s frown deepened. “I don’t know.”

“Come now.” Draco smiled a smile he knew to be compelling—a smile that was his own smile, a slow curl at the corner that gradually burned. He knew that on Tristan’s face, it would look encouraging, instead of cruel. “Where do you find dates now?”

“I pay them,” Potter said.

The words were so flat and bleak that Draco was momentarily startled. Making himself laugh, he regained his composure. “Perhaps you should say so after all,” Draco said. “No one will believe you, and it will save ourselves having to formulate a lie.”

Potter turned away. “A Muggle café.”

“Pardon?” Draco asked.

“We could say we met at a Muggle café.”

“Very well,” Draco said. “That’s settled, then. My name is Tristan Bonchance. I am a French potions master, only recently moved to England. We met at a Muggle café; we got on splendidly; you asked me to the gala. I plan to return to France shortly, and thus we do not expect our brief romance to continue.”

“A French potions master?”

“Would you prefer something else?”

“No. Do you speak French?”

Oui.

Potter’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t talk like a . . .”

“Hooker?”

“I was going to say French person.”

“My accent is exquisite in both languages.”

“And the potions?”

“Oh, yes, I am a world renowned brewer. I only took up prostitution as a side job, because it seemed so fun and interesting.”

Potter’s brow lifted. “Just wondering.”

Draco smirked. On Tristan, the smile would look teasing. “My marketable skills are—shall we say—more suited to another field.”

“I hope that field includes talking to a bunch of dull people.”

“I am in fact superb at talking to dull people. It was my specialty in school.”

The line appeared briefly at the side of Potter’s mouth, something like the earlier twitch of lips. His gaze was as intense as ever. “Thanks for doing this.”

“It is my pleasure.” Letting his mouth curl at the corners, Draco held out his arm. “Shall we, then?”

“Yes,” Potter said, taking his arm.

*

Draco had not set foot in the Ministry since the trials more than ten years ago, but he had not let himself forget how imposing the main hall could be. He was prepared for it, exactly as he was prepared for every single detail of this evening—including the official who greeted them as they stepped out of the special invitation Floo.

The official looked overjoyed to be greeting and announcing the presence of the Wizarding World’s Hero. “Harry Potter and guest!” the official said, beaming. He rushed over to the Floo, vigorously shaking Potter’s hand before Potter had even fully stepped out.

“Huxwell,” the official said, still pumping Potter’s hand as they walked through the reception area. “It’s such a pleasure to see you again, Mister Potter.”

“Thanks,” said Potter, extricating his hand.

“I’ll need the name of your guest,” Huxwell said, not even turning to face Draco. “We’ll announce your entrance.”

“That isn’t necessary,” said Potter.

Huxwell stopped in a tizzy of upset.

“I’m Tristan Bonchance,” Draco said.

“Pleasure.” Huxwell nodded briefly in Draco’s direction, then turned back to Potter. “Is there anything else I can do for you, Mister Potter? I know several of the dignitaries attending. I could easily introduce you to—”

“Huxwell,” said Draco. “Huxwell. Not Millard A. Huxwell?”

“Yes.” Huxwell turned slowly back to Draco, frowning. “That’s me.”

“Didn’t you hold a seminar on wizarding relations with Turkey?”

Huxwell’s frown deepened, his bushy moustache wiggling. “Fifteen years ago.”

“Yes, exactly.” Draco smiled brightly. “An acquaintance of mine attended that conference. She put that seminar in a Pensieve and made me watch it—said it was the best seminar she had ever attended.”

“Did she?” Huxwell looked surprised. “I didn’t know anyone remembered.”

“Well, I certainly thought that it was brilliant,” said Draco. “Of course, I was but a teenager at the time, and you know how it is—a struggle to pay attention to anything important. Could your remind me of your conclusion?”

Huxwell escorted them through the Atrium, happily recounting the details of the one moment in his history in which he had done something the slightest bit remarkable, and Draco listened with an expression of thoughtful fascination. Of course, Draco had never known anyone who had attended Huxwell’s seminar. Draco had never even heard of the seminar until a couple of days ago—he’d never even heard of Huxwell. But though Huxwell obviously had not forgotten that he was in the presence of an illustrious hero, Harry Potter was no longer the focus of the conversation, and that was all that Draco intended.

Once they were announced and admitted to the gala, however, a myriad of new challenges presented themselves. Potter was swarmed by his drooling fans—most of whom, in this crowd, were people who held some of the highest offices of magical state.

Draco smiled, shook hands, and made nice with everyone. “Senior Undersecretary Chen, I read your book on the value of the Galleon in modern wizarding economics,” Draco said.

“Did you?” said Undersecretary Chen, who had been panting at Potter’s heels.

“The book was the most riveting of the year,” said Draco, who had never turned a page of it. “Do you plan on writing any more like it?”

Potter, who had probably never cracked a book in his life—besides that one potions textbook he stole—stood there like an utter blockhead and listened.

With Warlock Puri, a Quidditch enthusiast, Draco held a spirited conversation about the local leagues, despite the fact that Draco never followed Quidditch. Puri, distracted by the conversation, gradually stopped trying to get Potter to promise to sign his Snitch, and instead became engrossed by explaining various feints to Draco, who pretended to be ignorant. Potter, who was interested in Quidditch but was sullen and a boor, was eventually left out of the conversation entirely.

To Auror Espy, who was notoriously obsessed with work, Draco put a question regarding some latest arrest Draco had read about in the news. Gradually, Espy stopped trying to discuss her work with Potter and just as happily talked at Draco, who nodded and smiled and pretended he was listening. Potter, who was beginning to realize his social skills barely rated above a semi-intelligent walrus, wandered off into a corner.

The real challenge came about when Potter’s friends descended among all the fans and sycophants. As Auror Espy continued to pontificate, Hermione Granger swished over to Potter in his corner. Her hair was as large as ever and yet surprisingly pretty this evening—she’d left off trying to contain it, instead letting it float out like a cloud. There were tiny enchanted stars caught in it that matched her dress.

Granger had been one of the loudest voices to rise in defence of Slytherin children in the wake of the war. She’d also been one of the most notably absent figures in the denial of Death Eater rights during reconstruction.

Draco felt the twist of hatred hard in his gut, and put on a sweet, mischievous grin. Breaking away from Auror Espy, Draco walked over to Potter, using a gait he knew set off his figure. “Harry,” he said, voice lightly teasing. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

“Do I need to?” The slight, dry line appeared at the side of Potter’s mouth, still not quite a smile. “You seem to know everybody here.”

“But Misses Weasley doesn’t know me.” Draco gave Granger an elegant bow.

“Call me Hermione.” Granger’s brow furrowed. “I don’t?”

“Pardon?”

“I feel like I do know you from somewhere.” Granger put her hand out, shawl falling slightly off her shoulder. “I just don’t remember where.”

Draco took her hand and kissed it, despite the fact that that was not her intention. “I think I would remember,” he said, then let go.

“What was your name?”

“Tristan Bonchance,” said Draco.

“I don’t suppose I do know you.” Still looking troubled, Granger looked from Potter to Draco. “How did you two meet?”

Draco laughed. “You mean because Harry never meets anyone?”

Hermione smiled, the suspicion beginning to ease out of her eyes. She tugged her shawl back up over her shoulder. “Well—yes. He does tend to be a bit—reclusive.”

“A bit.” Draco shared a conspiring grin with her. “He hasn’t put two words together all evening.”

“I’ve been using them separately,” said Potter.

The joke almost threw Draco off. He hadn’t expected Potter to be funny, but Draco recovered quickly. “What he lacks in words, he does make up in wit,” he told Granger.

“He can be quite droll,” Granger agreed. “Not many people seem to realize that. What do you do, Tristan?”

“I’m a potions master.” Draco had already chosen his next words very carefully. Granger was a clever witch, not simple enough to be distracted by talking about herself—particularly since she was bound to be suspicious of someone she’d never met dating Potter. The way to win her wasn’t by flattery, but by capturing her interest. “I’ve been pondering a particularly difficult potion proof this last week—but this is technical. Will it bore you?”

Granger laughed. “The opposite, really.”

“Truly?” Draco said, pretending to be surprised. “How lovely. The problem is one of substitution.” He went on to explain the proof to her, and gradually Granger began nodding. It helped that the proof was one that Draco had puzzled over before—not because he found academic journals particularly engrossing, but there was quite a bit of potions research he had conducted in his experiments with Masker Ade. Besides which, Draco wasn’t averse to magical theory. Back in the days before Harry Potter had ruined his life completely, Draco had thought he might be a professor. Or a broom designer. Or a world famous wizard rockstar.

When Longbottom entered the conversation, they all began to discuss the recent research on Devil’s Snare. Potter, obviously bored by all these academic subjects—possibly too daft to even understand the conversation—sulked in the corner, drinking champagne and glaring at everyone—at Draco most of all.

Draco, meanwhile, made nice with Potter’s friends, danced with Ginny Weasley, flattered Gryffindors he had always hated, then gracefully and elegantly manoeuvred himself into positions that would block and distract people from Harry Potter.

Seducing the guests wasn’t as easy as Draco made it look. He had magically hacked the guest list, memorizing the names of each of the attendees. Many of the guests were people that Draco already knew from his attention to news and wizarding publications. Aside from the fact that Draco liked to stay informed about politics and society, being up-to-date on current issues was vastly helpful among clients who liked pleasant small talk or interesting conversation.

Outshining Potter would not have taken so much effort had the world been a fair place. Potter was a social dunce. He might have had a rather striking appearance, if one liked the beefy, hulking sort of fellow, which Draco didn’t—but beyond that, Potter had nothing but his history to recommend him.

The real trouble was that people had forgotten the days before the Dark Lord, when intelligence, wit, and cunning had ruled the political scene and social court. Draco could remember the parties when he was only small, big important parties full of big important people—charities, benefits, fund-raisers, rallies, and galas full of the most powerful witches and wizards. Draco could still remember the way that Mother and Father worked the room, earning the admiration and praise of everyone around them because they were so smart and kind and beautiful, because they were quick-witted, because they were clever.

Father had not had to strong arm his way into the centre of attention, like Harry Potter. Lucius Malfoy hadn’t fought his way to the top with a wand or a sword. He had merely influenced the people around him using the charms and assets he had already, making and using his alliances to slowly, gradually work the system until he was the only choice possible for the next Minister for Magic.

And then the Dark Lord had come and ruined everything. The Dark Lord had caused Father to aim too high too soon; Voldemort had made promises he couldn’t keep, and his power had turned Father’s head.

Father had been an idiot. If Draco had been in his place, he could have shown the world a leader worth loving.

Under the Articles of Reconstruction, Draco would never get another chance to attend a Ministry party, never get a chance to move in the higher social spheres or have any influence in politics. Draco was a prostitute, and he would always be a prostitute. But just this one night, he would show the world the intelligence, the charm, and the elegance that they were lacking, and Harry Potter would fade into the background.

Potter, of course, hated it.

Almost every time someone approached Potter, Draco cut them off, giving them his golden smile, Tristan’s bright blue eyes. Each time it happened, Potter sipped more champagne, his eyes growing icier and icier over the rim of his flute. There was, in fact, quite a lot of champagne—after a while, the wait staff were the only ones who bothered to approach Potter, and every time they came with a tray, Potter took another glass. He downed flute after flute, his gaze growing sharper and narrower until Draco knew that Potter wasn’t looking at anyone else in the room. Potter only had eyes for him, and he was furious.

All Potter had wanted for the evening was an accessory. He had wanted a slave, someone to dote on him and set him off, someone to hang on his every word. Instead, he had got Draco Malfoy, who was gradually and quite effectively beginning to soak up every ounce of lime light previously devoted to their hero.

The best part was Draco himself could not be blamed. So politely and effortlessly did Draco charm everyone around him, so attractive and magnetic were his face and personality, that Draco could not be easily accused of purposely drawing focus. Were Potter to attempt to complain to Verity about his escort drawing more attention than he did, it would only look like sour grapes. Potter was getting exactly what he had hired—an intelligent and attractive companion for the Ministry gala, and if that companion was too intelligent and too attractive—that was Potter’s own fault.

Eventually, the party started breaking up, the guests with children and other responsibilities making their way home. In the corner, Potter peeled himself off the wall, coming towards Draco.

Draco knew that Potter was angry. He was probably also dead drunk, and whatever scene they played out back at Hawthorn Lane was not going to be pretty. Draco knew that Potter was unlikely to contract Verity ever again, and Pansy would probably be furious. Draco didn’t care—he’d done what he’d meant to do, and he’d had a pleasant evening besides. He could still feel the slight buzz of laughter and champagne, even when Potter loomed right up next to him.

“Shall we go then?” Draco asked, giving Potter one of the light, happy grins he’d been using all evening.

Potter’s frosty eyes swept over him. “Only if you’re ready.”

“I’m ready whenever you are,” Draco said, flirting.

The line appeared at the side of Potter’s mouth. “Then let’s go.” Potter put out his arm, just as though he was pretending to be a gentleman.

Draco laughed and took it. They swept out of the Atrium, down to the reception hall, and then into the Floo. Draco knew he should be dreading what would happen when they reached the other side, but he couldn’t care less.

At Hawthorn Lane, Draco stepped out of the Floo, brushing the slight dusting of ash off of his immaculate suit. Now that they were out of the public eye, he half expected Potter to punch him, but he didn’t. Instead, Potter simply let go of his arm and stepped away.

“That was a wonderful evening,” Draco said, pretending he didn’t know that Potter was seething with resentment. “Perhaps we might do it again sometime.”

“Yes.”

Draco looked up quickly, but there was nothing to be read in Potter’s face. There was nothing at all, and something very much like fear trickled down Draco’s spine. Hiding it well, Draco gave Potter another one of Tristan’s seductive smiles.

“Stay the night,” said Potter.

“Pardon?” Draco almost stuttered.

“Stay,” said Potter.

Fear sluiced through Draco hard. “But you didn’t enjoy your evening.”

“I enjoyed you.”

Potter did not sound at all drunk. “You stood in the corner. No one talked to you. You hated it. You—”

“I want you,” said Potter, cutting off Draco’s senseless prattle. “I’ll pay.”

“But . . .” Draco swallowed hard, attempting to compose himself. Quite suddenly it occurred to him that though he had known Potter in school, he didn’t know Potter now. Certainly this evening had illuminated very little about him—Draco had barely talked to Potter at all. He had no idea what Potter was capable of; that time in the bathroom—

“We can draw up a new contract. Right now.”

Potter wasn’t drunk. He wasn’t at all drunk; his eyes were too steady for that. Draco didn’t know what Potter wanted, why he would ask this—

“You can say no,” Potter said, “but you should say it now.”

“No,” Draco said quickly. “No. Indeed—I . . .” Draco almost laughed. He had a tendency to babble when unsure of himself. “Certainly not.”

“All right.” Potter stood there for a long moment, brow wrinkled. “Do you want to go?” He gestured, as though to show Draco out.

“I can—I can find my own way out,” Draco said, turning blindly towards the door.

“Tristan.” When Draco turned back, Potter hadn’t moved. “I didn’t meant to insult you. You—did very well.”

Draco knew the expression on Tristan’s face was unguarded. On Draco it would look weak; he didn’t know how it would look on Tristan. Draco quickly formulated a smile. “It was no trouble. Not a problem. A pleasure.” He put a hand on the knob. “Thanks for your business,” he said, going out the door.

Draco was too busy getting out of there to find out if the barb landed.

Draco had planned to spend the rest of his evening basking in his success. He’d thought he might open a bottle of wine and then have a bath; his sleep that night would be peaceful for once, the rest of the triumphant. Instead, by the time Draco got to his flat, he was trembling with fury.

What did Potter mean by asking him to spend the night? Was it to remind him that he was nothing but an escort? To shatter Draco’s triumph by proving that Potter was still the one with all the power? And yet, Potter should have no idea that Draco was glowing with inner victory; Potter should not have known to quash it.

Draco clawed at his cravat on the way through his flat to his kitchen. He felt dirty. He felt filthy; he needed—slamming open the cupboard, he took out the Firewhisky, uncapped it, started drinking straight from the bottle. He didn’t care that it was uncouth, that a trickle of the Firewhisky spilled down his throat. After a long, burning gulp, he slammed the bottle down. Coughing, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

That Potter would ask to spend the night with him . . . Draco shuddered in revulsion.

Draco fumbled for a cigarette. What if he had said yes? What if he had been foolish enough to fall for Potter’s trap? Would Potter have laughed in his face? Or would Potter have fucked him, merely to prove that he could—he could buy Draco and have him, just like an old used broom.

But that necessitated the question—had Potter wanted it?

Bringing the Firewhisky and the cigarettes, Draco walked over to his balcony, opened the door. He never let himself smoke inside, and the night air was cool enough to feel clean on his skin. Struggling with his wand, Draco lit the cigarette, then tugged open his collar farther. Merlin.

Potter.

For some reason Potter had found him repulsive almost since the first moment that they met—not at Madam Malkin’s, but that time on the train when they were eleven. Draco had never considered that with a different face, Potter would give him another chance. A different chance.

Slumping against the wall on the outside of his flat, Draco drank more of the Firewhisky, finishing off his cigarette. The stars were indistinguishable through the clouds and Muggle smog, and the moon was just a sliver.

Potter always ruined everything.

*

A week later, Pansy contacted Draco with another assignment.

“You look like warm cat vomit,” Pansy told him when he walked in. Her voice was as disinterested as ever, and she barely looked up.

“Thanks as usual, darling,” Draco said, throwing himself into the chair in front of Pansy’s desk.

“How was Potter?” Pansy went on scribbling in her ledger.

“Insipid.” Draco began picking at the stitching on the leather chair. “Potter is mindless and bovine; what would you expect?”

“You must have made an impression.”

Draco’s nail snagged in the stitching, and he glared up at Pansy. “Did you call me for work or for gossip? There are, in fact, other things I could be doing.”

“I had no idea.” Pansy held his gaze. “He wants you back.”

“Excuse me?”

“Harry Potter has requested our services again,” said Pansy, floating him the scroll. “He’s specifically requested the companionship of Tristan Bonchance, if he is at all available.”

Draco grabbed the scroll out of the air, quickly scanning the bold text. The engagement was two weeks from now for a charitable ball to be held in a wizarding hotel outside of Bath. The charity was for Squib children, and Potter mentioned Tristan by name. If he’s not available, read Potter’s large scrawl, anyone will do. The parchment began to crumple before Draco’s eyes, and a moment passed before he realized he was gripping the paper too tightly.

“Well?” said Pansy.

“Well what?”

“Is Tristan available?”

Draco looked back down at the parchment, a thousand thoughts flying through his head. If Potter had been trying to cut Draco down with his request for sex that night, requesting Draco once again was no way for Potter to reinforce his victory. Unless . . . Draco scanned the parchment again, but Potter was not requesting sex. He wanted a social companion.

“It’s quite a bit of money,” Pansy said, after a while.

“I know that,” Draco snapped.

“You don’t have to take it if you don’t want it.”

Draco looked up, but Pansy wasn’t looking at him. “Who would you give him?” Draco asked.

“Perhaps Theo,” Pansy said.

“I wouldn’t trust Theo near Potter farther than I can throw him.”

“Nor would I,” said Pansy.

Nott had been completely neutral during the war, but in the aftermath he’d been branded a Death Eater, despite his lack of participation. After years of unemployment and scraping by, Nott had grown petty and bitter. Draco’s jaw tightened, and he looked down again at the parchment.

“Was it really so awful?” Pansy sounded bored, but the fact that she was asking spoke worlds. “I could—”

“No.” Draco clutched the parchment.

Pansy’s expression didn’t change. “You didn’t even hear what I was going to say.”

“It wasn’t awful.” Draco stood up. “I may not care for Potter, but the social stimuli was . . . somewhat invigorating. Besides, I don’t care about Potter. I can take care of him, whatever he’s playing at.”

“I doubt he’s playing at anything,” Pansy pointed out. “You say all the time that he’s an imbecile.”

“I suppose we shall see.”

“I’ll firm up the details,” said Pansy.

*

Two.

When Draco showed up two weeks later at the end of Hawthorn Lane, he was once more wearing Tristan’s face, though this time he was immaculately outfitted in deep blue. The colour suited both Tristan and Draco, so blue it was almost black, and the robes were cut to show off his figure, laced tightly against the sides and sleeves.

Potter’s eyes darkened when he opened the door and saw Draco on the stoop. Potter himself was wearing black again, though this time he had allowed for a white collared shirt underneath. It was currently open at the throat, and Potter seemed to have just finished shaving. “Come in,” Potter said. “Shut it,” he added, when Great Aunt Walburga began to scream. “You can come with me if you like.”

Draco wasn’t particularly interested in chatting with Potter, but part of the reason he had accepted the job was that he was curious. Following Potter through the house, Draco realized Potter was leading him to his bedroom, which was at the back of the house. The room was spacious, but outfitted similarly to the sitting-room in front—comfortable, but highly unfashionable.

Draco began to relax a bit when Potter stepped into the washroom to rinse his face, and apply aftershave. Apparently he wasn’t planning on asking for sex again—at least, not yet.

“I was afraid I had insulted you,” Potter said.

Draco struck a pose against the wall, pretending to lazily watch Potter through the door to the washroom. “I’m a hooker. I don’t get insulted.”

Potter glanced at him from the washroom, but didn’t come out. “Does that mean you have fewer feelings, then?”

“It means you may do what you please.”

“It doesn’t please me to hurt anyone.”

“Really,” Draco muttered, not loud enough for Potter to possibly hear.

Accio braces,” Potter said. Again, without the wand, the clothing item floated neatly into Potter’s hand. “You don’t have to do everything I tell you,” he said. “We don’t belong to anyone but ourselves.”

“How charming. Did we learn that in school?”

Realizing what he had said, Draco prepared to play off the comment, soften it somehow, but instead a soft, deep chuckle issued from the washroom. “No,” Potter said, “we didn’t.” Potter cinched the braces, and Draco froze again, thinking he’d been caught.

But Potter just went on dressing, and Draco remembered something he’d realized before—for some reason, Potter enjoyed a bit of snark. “How about punctuality? Did you learn about that at all?” Letting his tone go lazy, Draco exaggerated his pose against the wall. If Potter was attracted to Tristan, there was no harm in drawing it out a bit. “Tardiness appears to be a habit with you.”

“It’s not that late,” Potter said.

“I could teach you to be on time.”

Potter’s eyes flicked towards him, darkening again, but instead of coming closer he went to the bureau on the other side of the bedroom, picking up another set of cufflinks. “Thanks again for doing this,” he said. “I think it’ll be about the same as last time.”

“I enjoyed myself exceedingly last time,” said Draco, attempting to be pleasant while also making a slight dig. He still didn’t think Potter could have enjoyed himself very much that night. “It’s not on every engagement that I interact with so many interesting people.”

“You think they’re interesting?”

“I find people interesting in general. They all have their . . . quirks.” That much was true. What Draco didn’t add was that the main thing he was interested in was finding those quirks and exploiting them. There were plenty of ways to do that as an escort, but to do it without sex—to do it subtly, invisibly, with smiles and handshakes and a flattering word here, a doubting word there—that was far more interesting. The gross manipulation of bodies did not interest Draco particularly, but he delighted in the intricate mapping of men’s minds.

Usually he was quite good at it, but Potter—Potter was proving more difficult than most.

“You sound like Hermione,” Potter said. “She says I should be more open.”

“Perhaps you might try three words together this time.”

Potter’s mouth ticked at the corner.

Draco raised a brow. “Or are direct objects beyond you?”

“You tell me.”

Three words, the last one a direct object. “That was very well done,” said Draco.

“You sound surprised.”

“I hadn’t thought of you as clever.”

The tick came again, deeper than before, though Potter was looking around the room instead of at Draco. “What did you think of me?”

“Oh, several multisyllabic adjectives you wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m glad to know I have your good opinion.” At last Potter located his waistcoat and spelled it over to him.

“You’re the one who stands in corners and doesn’t speak to anyone.”

The tick went away, and Potter focused on buttoning up his waistcoat.

Draco shifted against the wall. “We should update our story.”

“Our story?”

“It’s been three weeks since our last appearance together,” Draco pointed out. “We should decide what we have been doing in the interim or else people will make something up for us.”

“Right. You’re good at this.”

“I’m good at everything.” Draco smirked.

Potter glanced over at him, just as Draco meant him to. “I bet you are.”

“You have no idea,” Draco purred.

Potter turned away.

“Our story?” Draco said, after a long moment.

“We haven’t seen each other,” Potter said.

“Very well,” said Draco. “I thought I was going to be called back to France. When you found out I wasn’t, you invited me to the ball. For old time’s sake.”

“It’s more believable than the idea that we’ve been dating,” Potter said, scooping up his robes. “I don’t usually keep secrets from Hermione and Ron.” Seeming to be weighing something, Potter paused. “She asked about you,” he said finally.

“Hermione?” Draco said.

Potter nodded. “She liked you.”

“Lovely.” Draco gave him a warm smile. “I liked her.”

Perhaps Potter’s jaw was too hard and manly to even smile; he just had this line that deepened at the side of his mouth when he tried.

Potter liked the fact that Tristan liked Granger. Draco rapidly tried to sort out something nice to say about her, aside from the fact that she had finally learned how to make her hair appealing. “Her views on restricted ingredients are fascinating,” Draco said.

“Which views?”

“She thinks Beings should have more say in the distribution of products related to them.”

“Hm.”

Her views were fascinating, rather, now that Draco thought about them. “Take mermaid gravestone, for instance. It’s restricted because merpeople grave sites have been desecrated for years in the attempt to get the ingredient. But at the same time, regulating mer gravestone means that merpeople themselves can’t sell gravestone from their own plots, from family members who might have wanted them to profit from it. Besides which, if regulations were restructured in favour of the merpeople, it could shut down the black markets and make merstone more accessible.” Potter was smiling for real, now, and Draco feigned modesty. “Is that funny?”

Potter shook his head. “That’s why she likes you.”

“Because of my economic frame of mind?”

“You’re clever.”

“Phenomenally.” Draco grinned.

Sucking in a breath, Potter turned away. “Let’s go.”

*

As Potter had predicted, the Squib charity ball was not so very different than the Ministry gala. Draco had looked up the list of attendees far in advance. Some of the guests were the same as had been at the gala, though others required new research. People recognized Tristan, which made it even easier for Draco to draw attention to himself. With some of the careful research Draco had done on Squibs, together with the impassioned speeches he’d crafted about their rights and abilities, Tristan was easily one of the most popular people there.

Potter, as before, stood in the corner and stared.

This time Potter drank rather less champagne. Instead of concluding that Potter’s brooding was a result of envy or resentment, Draco tried to pay attention to the nuances of Potter’s expressions. This was rather difficult, as Potter was so wooden—perhaps he was not capable of many expressions. Perhaps that was why he stood there scowling at everyone. Or perhaps his brow was simply too heavy to move, his jaw too solid to do much more than clench.

“Tristan?” said Mister Mallinger. “Mister Bonchance?”

“Of course,” said Draco, realizing he had been staring. “What sort of music does your son play? I’m ever so interested.”

“Magic flute!” said Mallinger, puffing up. “Now tell me Squibs can’t do anything magical!”

“Lovely,” said Draco. “The flute was my favourite instrument as a boy. And you’re right, it is the perfect instrument—anyone can play; one only needs the proper instruction and practice.”

“My thoughts exactly,” said Mallinger. “The spells are all there. He doesn’t need the magic; he just needs to know how to work ‘em!”

“Precisely,” said Draco. “Do you think he’ll take up music as a career?”

Mallinger went on talking. Draco could really care less about Squibs either way, though researching the issues surrounding them in preparation for the ball had been somewhat enlightening. Draco had had no idea that there were factions that wanted to take away what little magic some Squibs had. If Draco had been born with limited magic, he’d want to keep it, not have it stripped from him just so he could better live as a Muggle. Draco had never heard of anything so cruel.

Draco said as much to Warlock Kendal, who was there in support of the Squib cause, and they talked for quite some time about rights and the conditions of Squib schools. They gathered a crowd around them, and when a couple of swooning young wizards and witches caught sight of Potter across the ballroom, Draco wrapped them into the conversation, livening it up a bit.

Across the room, Potter looked . . . relieved.

Draco saw a similar expression whenever he steered the conversation away from praising Potter’s glory, and yet again whenever Draco intercepted Potter’s sycophants, diverting their attention with carefully aimed flattery. It was the strangest thing—as though Potter didn’t want people fawning over him, as though he didn’t live and breathe for being the centre of attention.

Draco had trouble fathoming the possibility. In Draco’s mind, Potter was the big, overly-happy buffoon at the pub who bought everybody beer and occasionally stood up on the tables to sing. Now that Draco thought about it, however, he realized the ways in which that image didn’t fit what he had known of Potter in school. Potter was much more likely to be the glowering brat at the head of the table, whom everybody sought to please and no one could. He probably just wanted to be left alone so he could brood about what a special snowflake he really was.

Although Draco couldn’t really understand not wanting to be popular, the longer Draco watched, the more convinced he became that this vision of Potter was far more accurate. As Draco turned the idea over and over in his mind, another fact became clear—Potter was grateful to Draco for taking the limelight. That was why Potter kept looking at him like that.

That, and Potter was attracted to him.

Potter wanted him. Potter wanted him in precisely the same way that Draco was making everybody else want him; Potter was no different. He was like putty in Draco’s hands, and there was nothing about Draco—no natural revulsion, no inborn repellent—that made it so Potter couldn’t like him. Potter could like him fine—Potter could lust for him, for Draco Malfoy, had only circumstances been a little different. As it was, Potter lusted for Tristan, and that was good enough for Draco.

The knowledge added a spring to Draco’s step. He always got quicker and cleverer, more charismatic, when he knew that people liked him. That it was Potter who was looking at him, desiring him, gave Draco a high beyond anything he’d experienced in a long time.

Everyone wanted to take him home.

But Potter was the one who would do so, and Draco thrilled with the knowledge that Potter might ask again. Potter might ask him to stay the night, and not because Potter was trying to trick him or pull one over on him. Potter wanted him. Potter wanted his body, and even though the face was Tristan’s, the body was Draco’s; Potter wanted to have sex with Draco’s body, and if Draco had been able to tell Potter who he was he would have laughed and laughed. He’d laugh in Potter’s stupid sodding face.

There were times when he was a teenager when Draco had tasted victory like this, and Draco knew it made him look good. It made him look wonderful. Draco was preening as he stepped out of the Floo with Potter and back into the house at the end of Hawthorn Lane.

“Thank you for another lovely evening,” Draco said, sliding his arm out of Potter’s and giving him a sly smirk.

The line appeared at the side of Potter’s mouth. “You certainly seemed to enjoy yourself.”

“I did, thank you. And you?”

The line fell away. “I never enjoy those things.” Potter paced over to the door. “Would you like to stay a while?”

Potter wasn’t going to ask him to stay the night, Draco realized, even though he obviously wanted to. Draco had refused him before, and Potter felt it would be rude to ask again. In any other circumstances Draco would have been impressed that Potter could muster up enough social grace to realize he had been crass, but now Draco just felt frustrated. He could make Potter ask. He had to make Potter ask.

Draco put on a charming smile. “I believe I will,” he said.

Potter’s only reaction was to lift a brow. “Can I get you a drink?”

“I don’t know.” Draco sauntered over to him. “What do you have?”

Potter’s eyes flicked over him as he approached, but so rapidly that had Draco not had a lengthy career in sex work, he might not have noticed. Potter opened the door to the parlour. “Mostly beer.”

Typical.

In the kitchen, Potter looked at the shelves in his larder. “Butterbeer, pepperbeer, mustardbeer, honeybeer, thunderbeer . . . and magic apple cider.” Potter turned back to look at Draco, the line beside his mouth again. “You’re not really a beer type, are you.”

Draco smiled back, though inwardly he was sneering. Beer. With all of Potter’s money, a larder full of beer. “Allow me,” he said, swaggering over to the shelf and taking out the Butterbeer. “Glasses?”

Potter went over to another cupboard, pulling down two large pint glasses.

“Oh, no, that’s all wrong.” Draco’s voice was teasing as he came up behind Potter, letting his chest brush Potter’s back as he reached into the cupboard past him. “Accio two Glencairns.”

“What are those?” Potter said, moving away.

“Hm,” Draco said, when nothing came from the cupboard. “Accio lowballs.” There was a resultant tinkle in the cupboard, then two cut glasses floated out.

“I didn’t know I had those,” Potter said.

Draco smirked. “You’re not really a whiskey type, are you?”

“I don’t have any whiskey.”

“Not yet,” said Draco. Opening one of the Butterbeers, he poured half in one glass and the other half in the other glass, then began to weave a spell. Rather complicated, with several incantations, the spell took a full minute to complete.

Draco knew he looked good using magic. Pansy used to say he made casting a spell look like sex, and that was because for him, magic was like sex. Magic was better than sex. There were few things Draco enjoyed more than the flow of power moving through him, his own strength bending the world around him to his will—and this time Potter was watching. All of those times Potter had laughed in his face when Draco threatened him with his magic, and this time Potter was watching him, just watching.

When Draco finished the spell and looked up, Potter was looking at him intently, something soft in the usually hard line of his mouth. When he realized Draco was looking back at him, Potter’s gaze moved to the glasses on the counter. There was only half an inch of liquid in each, a deep, molten gold that caught the light.

“Cheers,” said Draco, handing Potter one of the glasses.

Potter took it. “That looked like a tough spell.”

“Just intricate.” Draco made his tone flirtatious. “Try it. It won’t bite you.”

Potter took a tiny sip, after which he began coughing.

Draco laughed again. “Neophyte.” He brushed his fingers on Potter’s arm, reaching for his own glass. “Allow me to show you how it’s done.” Draco gracefully tipped back the drink, allowing the fiery, still-too-sweet taste to burn down his throat in one large sip.

Potter stared at Tristan’s throat, which was precisely Draco’s intention.

Draco put the glass back on the counter.

“It’s whiskey,” Potter said finally. “How did you do that?”

“You really don’t know?” Potter shook his head. “It’s a distilling spell.”

Swirling his glass, Potter sniffed it again, then lifted the glass and swallowed its contents. He still came up coughing, and Draco gave him a friendly yet lingering pat on the back.

“Is it really so dismal?” Draco asked, laughing again.

“No. It’s good.”

Turning away, Draco opened another bottle of Butterbeer, again splitting it between the glasses.

“Where did you learn that?” Potter asked.

“Somewhere between advanced potions and Celtic rune translation. I’m surprised you haven’t seen it before.”

“I guess not many people I know really drink whiskey.”

“That surprises me also. What do they drink?”

“Ron likes beer. Sometimes Hermione has wine.”

Draco waited, then realized that was all Potter was going to say. Of course. Draco had seen the way Potter had reacted to people at the ball this evening. Potter thought he was so special, so different, such an outcast. “You don’t drink with other people,” Draco said, making his voice low. “They don’t really understand you, do they.”

Potter gave a noncommittal shrug, but Draco saw the flicker in his eyes. A few more maudlin clichés and Draco would have him wrapped around his finger.

“People assume that they know you. They think they know everything about you, because they read a bunch of lies in the paper,” Draco said.

Potter shrugged again. He really, really didn’t talk as much as he used to.

“And you don’t share much,” Draco said. “I’ll bet they’ve never once bothered to get to know who you really are.”

Potter’s mouth tightened.

“It’s all right,” Draco said. “People make assumptions about prostitutes as well. Correcting them always seems like too much bother.”

Taking out his wand again, Draco performed the distillation spell again, spelling the Butterbeer to become whiskey. It was not as good as the expensive Firewhisky Draco preferred, but just about anything was preferable to Butterbeer. When Draco looked up, Potter was once again watching him intently.

“Would you like another?” Draco asked.

“Not now.”

So much the better. Draco picked up one of the glasses, Potter’s eyes drawn to his hand as though by a magnet. Potter watched him as he brought the glass to his lips, and Draco slowly lifted his eyes to meet Potter’s as he swirled the glass. Then he threw back the next shot, smooth and easy.

Potter stared at Draco’s throat, but looked away as soon as Draco put the glass down.

“Could you show me the spell?” Potter asked.

Draco covered his surprise with a laugh. “It’s a trifle long.”

“It’s beautiful,” Potter said.

“All right,” Draco said, making himself sound amused. “The first part is the distilling—that’s the hardest.” Draco purposefully waved his wand about dramatically and fast. “Stillabit.

Taking out his wand, Potter made some scribbles in the air in an attempt to copy him.

“Like this.” Draco waved his wand again. “Stillabit.

“Like this?” Potter scribbled again. The wand, Draco was relieved to note, was not any that Draco recognized.

“This.” Draco put down his wand, then put a light hand on Potter’s. Hand guiding Potter’s, Draco helped him trace the shape in the air, slowly, leaning into Potter as he did so. “Imagine the water, droplet by droplet,” Draco murmured, guiding Potter’s hand again. “You’re pulling each one of them out, separating them from the alcohol.” He leaned into Potter’s ear. “Stillabit.”

Stillabit,” Potter dutifully repeated.

“Yes, just like that,” Draco said, taking his hand off Potter’s, but still standing close. “Now Banish the excess water—you must have learned this in potions. Siccatum.”

Siccatum.”

“Good. Now, remove the sulfur-based compounds. You learned this in potions, too.”

“Um . . .” Potter turned a little towards him, his hair brushing Draco’s face. It smelled bland, like soap.

“Don’t you remember?” Draco’s lips were almost brushing Potter’s ear. He could feel the response in Potter’s body.

Sulfur ejecto,” Potter croaked.

“Good. Now this part is delicate.” Draco put his hand back on Potter’s. “You want to age it, adding the flavour of oak, but you don’t want it to come out tasting like a tree. You have to do them both at the same time, slowly.” Moving Potter’s hand, Draco traced a slow clockwise motion, then a series of loops. “Saporem quercu, cum tempus.”

Draco let go of his hand, and Potter tried it. “Saporum—

“Slower, Harry,” Draco said, covering Potter’s hand again. “Gently. Think about the shape of the oak tree, trace it. Softly. Learn the lines of it, and stroke them.”

Potter sucked in a harsh breath. “Saporem quercu, cum tempus.”

Draco moved away. “You have it.”

Potter stayed turned away for a moment. “I haven’t learned a new spell in a long time,” he said at last, turning around.

“I haven’t taught anyone in a long time.” That was true. The sweet little smile Draco gave him wasn’t. They would be coming to it, soon. Potter was going to ask him; Potter was going to try to touch him.

Potter put away his wand. “Thank you.”

“Never bother.”

“No.” Potter came closer. “It’s a good spell.”

Inexplicably, pride stirred in Draco’s chest, and he crushed it. It didn’t matter whether the spell was good or not; he was playing a much better game. “It’s nothing. It’s—”

“I think it’s a good spell.”

“Well, obviously, if you think it a good spell it must be positively sublime.” Draco huffed, annoyed that he had let sarcasm get the better of him. “I mean to say—”

The line appeared beside Potter’s mouth. “I think you meant to say that I shouldn’t correct you on what you think of your own magic.”

“Not at all.”

For a long moment, Potter just looked at him. He didn’t move away. “Where did you come from? Are you really from France?”

“I came from an escort service.” Potter’s tone had grown soft, but meanwhile, Draco’s was still sharper than he meant for it to be. “Are you going to have that other whiskey?”

Potter shook his head.

“Do you mind?” asked Draco. When Potter shook his head again, Draco took Potter’s glass. When Draco threw back the shot, Potter watched with dark eyes. The warm feeling returned in Draco’s belly, and he felt a little more settled. He was still in control of this situation.

“I don’t want to insult you again,” Potter said.

Right on cue.

“I wasn’t insulted,” Draco said, deliberately misunderstanding. “You were complimenting my magic.” He produced a rueful smile. “I should learn to take a compliment with grace.”

“I wasn’t talking about that.”

“What were you talking about?” Draco didn’t quite flutter his eyelashes, but he knew that the light set them off—Tristan’s lashes were darker than his own. Draco cast his gaze down so Potter could see them, triumph fluttering similarly in his stomach.

He wasn’t thinking about the fact that subtlety was lost on Harry Potter.

“I want to sleep with you,” Potter said, blunt but not at all gruff. He just sounded honest.

“Ah.” Draco pretended to be thinking about it, eyelashes still cast down. Meanwhile that warm, bubbling sensation of success was slowly surging from his belly to his chest.

“Do you do that sort of thing?”

“All the time,” Draco murmured.

“I want you. I’ll pay. I’ll sign a new contract with your . . .” Potter seemed unable to finish the sentence, and Draco wondered whether he had been going to say pimp. Pansy would have laughed and laughed. “I’ve never done anything like this before. Tell me if I’m out of line.”

Draco suppressed his smirk, finally lifting his eyes. “You’re not out of line.”

“Will you stay?”

“Oh, is that what you were asking?” Potter’s brow knit, and Draco made a move—fingertips drifting along the top of Potter’s forearm, then touching his wrist. Draco rested his fingers there, lightly, and as expected, Potter’s gaze went straight to the contact. Then Potter lifted his eyes to Draco’s, hot with desire.

Draco felt positively drunk with power.

“Tell me,” Draco said, his voice nearly a purr, “if you wanted my services, why did you not simply request them to begin with?”

Potter shook his head. “I thought I was crazy the first time. I didn’t know I’d . . . want to touch you so much.”

“You want to touch me?” Draco looked down at where his fingers touched Potter’s wrist, moving his finger to brush inside the sleeve of Potter’s robe, the delicate skin on the inside of his wrist.

“Yes.” Potter’s breath was short. “Please.”

“How nice.” Draco let his eyes drop to Potter’s lips.

Potter’s breath turned ragged. “Can I—”

“Do you want to kiss me?”

“Yes.”

“Lovely.” Draco let his other hand brush Potter’s hip. “Do you want to fuck me?”

“Tristan—”

Here it was, the moment of truth. Draco took his hand away. “No.”

“Tristan—”

“I do apologize.” Draco gave him a sympathetic smile. “I’m quite tired. I have so many other clients, you see.”

“Oh,” said Potter, sounding thick and stupid.

“Well then,” Draco said, moving away. “I’ll be going.”

“Now?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

This was not at all the reaction Draco had been so carefully calculating. “Thanks for the drinks,” he said.

“Yes. Thank you. You’re welcome.”

“No hard feelings,” Draco added.

“No,” Potter said quickly. “Of course not. Are you sure—you’re going now?”

“Yes. There are just so many other men lined up to fuck me tonight,” Draco said, trying to dig it in.

“All right,” said Potter. “Yes. Sorry.”

This was—everything had been building to this moment, this final moment, and Potter was not cooperating at all. “I’ll show myself out,” Draco said, his voice chilly.

“Sorry,” Potter said again. “I’m sorry.”

“Have a nice evening,” Draco snapped.

“You too. I mean—thank you.”

Gritting his teeth, Draco walked out the door.

Back at his flat, Draco jerked at the fastenings of his robes until he finally simply spelled them off, the magic so violent he could hear the fabric rip. He could feel the butterwhiskey inside his stomach—sick now, threatening to come back up. Draco was desperate for a fag.

Draco was supposed to feel satisfied, denying Potter something he wanted, but Potter hadn’t been disappointed. No, he’d been disappointed, but just hadn’t given Draco what he’d wanted. Potter had got the better of him again. Maybe Potter had tricked him again. Maybe Potter was playing him—but he wasn’t.

Potter was no better than anybody else and far worse than some. Draco’s other clients thought of him as property, and Potter was no better; he thought other people were beneath him. He thought Draco was beneath him—and then he had apologized, and looked guilty for wanting him when Draco, with every look, with every touch and every sweetly aimed flirtation, had done everything he could to lead Potter on.

Sitting on his balcony, Firewhisky in one hand and cigarette in the other, Draco could look back on it and pinpoint the moment when most clients would have grabbed him. Most clients would have had him up against the wall, the way that he had been flirting with Potter, the way he had been touching Potter, the way that he had intentionally been making Potter want him. Potter hadn’t even tried it. The second Draco had told him no, Potter had pulled away.

What little triumph there had been in the moment now felt sour. Despite all the other conquests of the evening, Draco still hadn’t been able to conquer Harry Potter, and Draco had lost his chance to, now. There was no way that Potter would accept Tristan again, even if he did request another escort. There was no way to make Potter pay for everything he’d done, even in the littlest way, and Draco felt so small.

He felt small and insignificant and filthy, oh so filthy, because Salazar help him, in spite of everything Potter was gracious, and accepted rejection like a bloody saint.

Draco hated him; he hated him. Firewhisky burned down Draco’s throat and the smoke tasted acrid and bitter; his mouth felt like paper and ashes.

Draco took a long draw on the cigarette. The smoke swirled away into the night.

*

Draco only took a couple days off. If he took more, Pansy would begin to suspect something had gone wrong with Potter, and Pansy could be quite merciless in her pursuit of gossip. As it was, the business was successful enough these days that Draco usually took a day or two between clients. It had been some time since he had had to turn a trick every other hour, and in those days, he’d never known where the next bite to eat was coming from.

Pansy asked few questions, and life went on much as before, until another week passed and Pansy called Draco to her office.

“What have you been doing with Harry Potter?” Pansy asked without any preamble, the moment Draco stepped into her office.

“Ignoring him, I hope.” Draco had paused on the threshold, but now he came the rest of the way in. “Has he complained?”

“No.” Pansy held a parchment in her perfectly manicured hands.

Pansy, meanwhile, remained silent, which was not at all a good sign. “What is it?” Draco said, rolling his eyes and coming around to her side of the desk.

“Ironic,” said Pansy, and gave him the parchment.

Draco scanned the page, but could not make sense of it. He tried to read it again, and it still didn’t register. Only when he realized his heart was beating in his throat did Draco take a deep breath, and read the missive again—slowly, word by word.

Potter was requesting an escort again. This time for a banquet at a castle in Dover, held by the NimbusCorp, celebrating the release of the Coriolis 1000. Potter requested Tristan, even offering to pay extra to ensure his availability. The request was explicit: only public service as a companion to Potter, no private services before or after. The party was in another week.

“I assume you’re not otherwise occupied,” Pansy said eventually. “I don’t have you booked for that night.”

“Conveniently.” Draco let the parchment drop on the table.

Pansy looked at it, then up at him. “Are you shagging him?”

“Don’t be appalling.”

“Are you?”

“No, I’m not shagging him.”

“Do you want to be?”

“I’d rather fuck a wet Crup.”

“I suppose that can be arranged.” Pansy was silent for a while. “So?”

Draco looked down at her. “So what?”

“Why does he want you? Just you, no one else?”

“I suppose he’s infatuated with me.” Draco sat down in front of Pansy’s desk.

“And you’re not fucking.”

“Salazar’s feces, Pansy, give it a rest.” Draco began picking on the stitching of the leather chair.

“So you’ll take the client?”

“Yes, I’ll take the client. Is there anything else you want to slide down my throat while my mouth is open?”

“You don’t have to take him.”

Draco wanted to look up. He wanted to, but he didn’t. “Of course I do,” he said sourly. “It’s a lot of money.”

“No.” Pansy stood up. “Actually, you don’t.” Pansy came around the desk and Draco hated her. He really hated her, because Pansy never did this. She never went down to her knees in front of him, never touched him gently like she was now, never looked at him kindly, like she was now, and that made it that much more terrible when she did. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” she said.

“I’ll just tell all my regulars my legs are closed then, thanks.”

“I can take on more clients again, if that’s what you want.”

Grimacing, Draco picked the stitches some more, trying not to look at her. “Obviously, that’s not what I want.” Draco’s voice was rougher than he meant it to be, but Pansy was between his legs with her hands on his thighs and the only time in his life when a position like that had nothing to do with sex was Pansy. It was always Pansy.

“I don’t mind,” Pansy said, rubbing his thighs.

“I do.” Grabbing her wrists, Draco pulled her hands off of him. “Stand up, for Merlin’s sake. I can handle Potter.” Pansy stood up and Draco stood up as well, moving away from her. “He just has a bit of a crush is all.”

“You don’t have to handle him,” Pansy said again. If she was saying it three times, she must be worried.

“I can,” Draco said, lifting his jaw. “I will.”

*

Three.

At the appointed time, Draco showed up at the house on the end of Hawthorn Lane. Potter opened the door wearing some Muggle thing. Typical.

“Thanks for coming,” Potter said, opening the door wider. “Come in.” Potter held the door as Draco entered. “Don’t even start,” Potter told the portrait of Great Aunt Walburga, then opened the doors to the sitting-room. “I’m sorry about last time,” Potter said, once they were inside. “I don’t want you to be afraid it will happen again.”

“I’m not afraid,” said Draco.

“Good.”

Apparently Potter was attempting to be polite. Shocking that no one had told him staring was rude.

Draco smiled back. “In fact,” he said, “I was hoping you would bring it up again.”

“You were?”

“I really was otherwise engaged on the evening of our last encounter. Tonight, I’m available.”

Draco had expected Potter to have a definite reaction to this revelation. Instead, Potter looked away. The carefully constructed expression Draco had put on Tristan’s face began to crumple, but Draco took a firm hold over his emotions, resisting gritting his teeth. If Potter was going to play hard to get, so be it. Draco would still get him in the end. Potter had wanted him before; Draco could make him want him again.

“Do we have to make up a new story?” Potter said eventually.

“Only a short time has passed since our last engagement,” Draco said. “People will think we’re casually dating.”

“I don’t date casually.”

“Never bother.” Draco gave him a flirtatious smile. “They’ll think I’m playing hard to get.”

Potter looked away again. “We should go to the banquet.”

“Indeed. Is that . . .” Draco gestured. “The full attire?"

The line appeared again. “I didn’t know you were pure-blood.”

Draco only smiled again. “You caught me.”

“It’s called a dinner jacket,” Potter said.

“Oh. Well, it looks very nice,” Draco lied.

Potter grimaced. “I don’t like it. But it’s better than robes.”

“Oh is it? I hadn’t noticed.” Draco’s tone was innocent.

Potter actually smiled—not just the line. His eyes actually crinkled at the corners.

Draco felt disconcerted. Potter’s eyes really were very tiny.

“I’m fairly certain you notice everything,” Potter said.

“Only things that pertain to me,” Draco said, remembering that Potter liked them cheeky.

Potter definitely liked it. He seemed to find that answer cute.

“We’ll be late,” was all Potter said, despite the smile. “I know you don’t like that.”

Draco was about to comment that his preferences hardly factored into the matter, but instead he smiled pleasantly. “No,” he said. “We wouldn’t want that.”

Potter had been about to take a step towards the Floo, but at the tone in Draco’s voice he paused, eyes lingering.

Feigning innocence once more, Draco walked over to the Floo himself. “Shall we?” he said, turning back to Potter and putting out his arm.

“Yes.” Potter came up and took it, then took a pinch of powder. “NimbusCorp Castle,” he said, throwing the powder in the hearth.

They stepped from the dumpy, sad sitting-room into the glittering pageantry of the most wealthy wizarding company in the entire world, and whatever promises Potter had made to himself, they would soon be forgotten. Rather than outshine him, the glamour of all these people would show Draco at his best advantage. They would only emphasize how attractive, clever, and sociable he was, and Potter would see it all. Potter would watch every move he made, knowing that Draco was for sale. Potter would see him and want him, lust for him—by the time the night was over, need him.

Draco had Potter right where he wanted him.

*

With his trap so well-laid, Draco didn’t expend extra effort seducing Potter during the banquet. Instead, he applied his varied skills to seduce everyone else there.

Meanwhile, because it was a banquet, Potter was unable to get away with his tall, dark, and silent routine throughout the evening. He had to at least pretend to interact, which he didn’t do very well, remaining terse and sullen at the supper table next to Draco.

“I suppose you’re still seeing men, then,” said the woman sitting on the other side of Potter. Her name was Helena Rich, the secretary for the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes.

“Yes.” Potter went on eating.

“But would you date a woman?” Rich asked.

“Would you?”

“Oh!” Rich laughed nervously. “I’m not gay!”

“Pity,” Potter said, going back to his food.

“What Harry means is he’s seeing neither men nor women,” Draco said, leaning towards that side of the table. “He’s seeing me.”

The annoyance melted from Potter’s eyes. Putting down his fork, he turned a bit towards Draco. “You’re neither a man nor a woman?”

Draco cast Tristan’s lashes down. “I’m one man.”

“Hm,” Potter said.

“Are you still chasing dark wizards?” asked Philip Tran, a Warlock from the Wizengamot. “I know the papers say you don’t, but there’ve been so many reports of people seeing you near the Minister’s office.”

“The Minister has excellent coffee,” said Potter, turning back to his plate.

“Come Harry,” said Rich. “No one believes you visit the Minister so often for the coffee.”

“Why not?” Draco asked.

“Are you working on Granger’s legislation?” Rich asked.

“No,” said Tran. “We think he’s liaising secretly with the Auror office. Helping them on some of their harder cases.”

“You all have Harry absolutely wrong,” said Draco. “You completely misunderstand his devotion to a fine cup of coffee. Why, just the other day when I looked in his cupboards—” Potter went stiff beside him, and Draco could tell Potter was tense at the idea that Draco was revealing personal information. Merlin only knew why, since Potter had the most banal cupboards imaginable and didn’t even have appropriate whiskey glassware—“and they were full of nothing but coffee. And coffee paraphernalia. Why, just a few weeks ago, Harry Apparated to Somalia just to sample a new kind of bean.”

Beside him, Potter relaxed.

“You went to Somalia?” Rich asked, looking at Potter with interest.

“Oh, yes, it was a lovely trip,” Potter said.

“You went with him?” said Rich, looking slightly more interested in Draco now.

“Oh, no,” Draco said quickly. Potter had got a little stiff again—probably upset that Draco might make his relationship with an escort out to be more than it was. “But he told me all about it.” Then Draco proceeded to tell the whole story of the trip, which of course had never happened. Draco had more than enough details to work with, however—one of his clients and been from Somalia and spoken of it often, and another of his clients had been quite the connoisseur of tea. Completely different than coffee, but Draco just changed all the terminology and then made some of it up.

Meanwhile, Rich and Tran listened with fascination, thinking they were getting an inside story about Harry Potter. Once Draco was done, he asked Rich some questions about her work and engaged Tran in a conversation about brooms.

“You made all of that up,” Potter whispered, once Rich and Tran had turned back to other people beside them.

“But it worked,” Draco whispered back. At Potter’s furrowed brow, he explained, “They’re leaving you alone now. They find coffee exceedingly dull.”

Potter’s eyes searched his face. “They don’t find you dull.”

“Of course they don’t. I’m deliciously entertaining.”

Potter’s eyes dropped to Draco’s lips.

Draco pretended not to notice. “Not to worry, love,” he said, putting his hand on Potter’s thigh under the table. “I’ll protect you from horrible people who want to do awful things like make polite conversation.”

Potter didn’t smile, just looked at him.

Feeling his face grow hot, Draco took his hand off Potter’s thigh.

“What do you think about the new Coriolis, Harry?” asked Orsino Thruston, one of the Weird Sisters. Thruston was sitting directly across from them—Millie probably would have been drooling. “Do you think it’s better than the Jet Stream?”

There was a rather long pause. “I don’t really know,” Potter said finally. “I heard Tristan say something interesting about it earlier.” He turned to Draco. “What do you think?”

Draco swallowed. Earlier he had taken the focus away from Potter, but now Potter was deliberately giving it to him. Draco didn’t care. He was being asked to charm a Weird Sister, so he did.

Whenever Draco glanced beside him, Potter was just looking away, as though he had been staring, and his mouth had that little line. When every once in a while more people tried to speak to Potter, Draco simply spoke for him, sometimes lightly touching Potter’s hand—like a lover would, so that people could see Draco had Potter’s permission to speak in his stead. Draco played the lover in other little ways—stealing morsels off of Potter’s plate, occasionally sipping Potter’s wine. Such behaviour was rather crass, in Draco’s opinion, but Potter seemed to be enjoying it—in the end, he simply pushed his plate next to Draco, giving Draco his entire share of dessert.

Draco could hardly protest. They were having chocolate truffle crème brûlée.

After the meal, the vice president of NimbusCorp invited Draco, Potter, and a handful of other people into a back room where they were served fairy acorn mead in thimbles. The drink was potent, so Draco only drank one half of a thimble—offering the other half to Potter, who declined. Meanwhile, the vice president of NimbusCorp seemed very impressed with Draco.

The excitement of the evening caused any dread Draco had held for the night to come loose and simply melt away. Here Draco was at a big important party full of big important people, and one of the most important of all enjoyed him. He might have even been able to get a job with NimbusCorp, were it not for Article three-seven-nine. Perhaps he could even speak to the vice president, hint at the truth, see if there was any way that he could possibly—

But no. Of course not. Draco was still a prostitute, whatever else may come.

He drank the rest of that thimble-full after all.

As the warmth spread through him, Draco stopped his gloomy train of thought and instead focused on enjoying the evening. Whatever else happened tonight, he would still have his revenge. It would taste as sweet as the fairy mead.

*

“That was brilliant,” Draco said, after they Floo’ed back to Grimmauld Place. He tried to put as much sincerity as he could into his voice. “Thank you.”

“I’m glad you had fun,” Potter said. Then he just kept staring at him, like the utter lummox that he was.

Draco cast Tristan’s lashes down prettily.

“Stay for a drink.” Potter’s voice was rough.

“I don’t know.” Draco looked at him, expression teasing. “Do you remember how to distil your Butterbeer?”

“Yes.” Potter went over to the door, holding it for him—rather more because he wished to herd Draco about than out of politeness, Draco suspected.

“I suppose I might be persuaded.” Maintaining the teasing tone, Draco went out the door and led the way down the corridor to the kitchen.

Potter’s shelves were considerably better stocked than the last time Draco and Potter had had a drinks—besides all the beer, there was now hard liquor, and a lot of it. There was even Dwarvish scotch. “I’ll fix us something,” Draco said, because Potter probably didn’t even know anything about expensive malt and would do something horrible to it.

Potter leaned against the counter while Draco spelled the glasses out of the cupboards, along with various bottles from the shelves. Since he had already had the fairy mead, he planned on having something light—just enough to loosen Potter’s tongue and self-control.

Potter watched him, eyes locked on Draco’s wrists.

Draco flexed them, just to make them look pretty.

“How did you get in this line of work?” Potter asked, after a long moment.

“Oh, you know. I thought it was a good idea at the time.”

“But you had other options,” Potter said. “Didn’t you? I mean, no one’s really forced into it these days.”

Draco barely missed a beat. “Certainly. But I’m quite good at what I do, and I believe one should always excel at one’s chosen career.”

“You’re certainly good at going to parties.”

Draco slid him a sideways glance. “Don’t you want me to be?”

“Yes.”

Draco handed Potter one of the drinks. “Cheers,” said Draco, tapping his glass against Potter’s.

Potter watched as Draco took a sip, then looked down at his own glass. “I don’t really want a drink.”

“You’re the one who suggested it.”

“You said that you were available. Tonight.” Potter put the glass on the counter. “What did you mean?”

Now they were coming to it. “What do you want it to mean?”

“I think I’ve made it clear. Before.”

Draco cast his eyes down. “But what about tonight?”

The silence went on long enough that Draco lifted his eyes. Potter was staring at him with his cold, intense eyes. They were still tiny. “I still want you,” Potter said.

“Mm.” Draco set down his glass. “How much?”

“What do you mean?”

Draco came closer. “How much do you want me, Harry?”

“I’ll pay,” said Harry. “I’ll pay double.”

“Double.” Draco leaned in, so close his lips were nearly brushing Potter’s cheek when he spoke. “You must want me a great deal.”

“Yes.”

“Tell me how much.”

“Triple.”

“I don’t mean Galleons.” Pansy would have been shocked—triple would pay them both for an entire week—but Draco honestly didn’t care. Power over Potter was more important than money right now; it was more important than anything. “I want to know how much you want me. Enough to beg?”

There was a pause, Potter tilting his head to listen to the whisper of Draco’s voice. The long line of Potter’s throat was within reach of Draco’s tongue. “Yes.” Potter’s breath was short, and Draco was used to making people feel this way. He did it all the time; the only thing strange about this situation was that he could do it to Potter.

“Do it,” Draco whispered in Potter’s ear. “Beg me.”

“Tristan.” Potter’s voice was harsh.

“Beg.” Draco lifted a hand to touch Potter’s throat.

Potter caught his wrist, rearing away from Draco’s lips. “I don’t want to if you’re not willing,” Potter said.

“Excuse me?” said Draco, blinking in confusion.

“You have a choice,” Potter said. “I don’t want to force you to do anything.”

That was the best joke Draco had heard all evening, but neither bitterness nor sarcasm showed at all on his face. Instead, Draco melted into the grip Potter had on his arm, angling his body slightly into a submissive pose. “I’m willing,” he said.

“Good,” said Potter, bringing his other hand up to Draco’s face.

Draco let him get close enough to kiss, then pulled away. “The contract.”

Potter let him go.

Pansy had developed an easy spell to Summon a company contract in just these sorts of situations, and Draco performed it now. “Triple, you said?” Draco asked, when the scroll appeared in his hand.

“Yes,” said Potter.

“Maybe you should look,” said Draco, handing Potter the scroll. “I’m quite expensive.”

“I don’t care.”

“Very well then. Sign at the bottom.”

Potter didn’t even look the contract over. Instead he just signed along the line, after which the contract snapped up and disappeared. “That’s gone among our files,” Draco explained. “The money will be extracted from your account the moment the contract is fulfilled.”

“All right,” said Potter.

Quickly, Draco cast protective spells on both of them, ensuring they wouldn’t give each other any kind of diseases. “Now, where were we?”

Potter reached for him again, hands cupping Draco’s face.

“Oh,” Draco said, as Potter’s lips descended. “No kissing on the mouth.”

Potter paused, his mouth nearly brushing Draco’s. He pulled back.

“It’s in the contract,” Draco said.

It wasn’t in the contract. It was just another way to make Potter want him, another thing to throw in Potter’s face when Potter found out who he really was, another way for Draco to know he had the upper hand.

“This is allowed,” Draco said, beginning kissing Potter on the jaw.

Draco was good at this—very good. He knew how to lick and kiss and suck just long enough that he would leave no marks, to the point where the person he was kissing would almost want him to. Sure enough, Potter’s hands slid gradually into Draco’s hair, holding Draco against his neck, carding and combing, gently playing with Tristan’s sandy curls. Potter’s breath hitched more than once, and then Potter began to kiss him back, gentle kisses in nonsensical places—Tristan’s brow, his cheeks.

“You’re beautiful,” Potter said, when Draco pulled away.

“I know,” Draco said, reaching for Potter’s dinner jacket.

The line appeared beside Potter’s mouth, just as Draco meant it to. Potter helped get the dinner jacket off, but when Draco started in on the buttons underneath, Potter began kissing again—Draco’s neck, this time.

Honestly, Potter was one of the least eager people to undress him that Draco had ever shagged.

A wide black line circled a large scar at the centre of Potter’s chest, over Potter’s heart. The tattoo was unexpected, but it made sense when Draco thought about it. Potter was just that pretentious, and he probably thought that it made him some kind of rebel. Draco didn’t pay much attention to it.

Once Potter’s shirt was open, Draco began on his own robes himself. Perhaps Potter was one of those sorts who just expected the rentboy to do every single piece of all the work. Probably he just expected to lie back and have Draco ride him—a pastime Draco somewhat preferred with many clients, as that way he didn’t have a sweaty body grunting over him, and he got to choose the pace. With Potter, however, it was just another sign of how entitled the Boy Who Lived really was.

“Do you want it here?” Draco said, taking off his robes.

Potter seemed momentarily captivated by the well-fitted shirt Draco wore underneath. “Where do you want?” Potter asked.

“Anywhere.” Draco kissed Potter’s jaw, putting his hand on Potter’s chest. “Anywhere you want.”

Potter leaned down, but before he could kiss Draco on the mouth, Draco turned his head. Instead Potter kissed Draco’s jaw, opening his mouth against Draco’s skin. “Bedroom,” Potter muttered. “Bed.”

“Yes.” Draco put his arms around Potter’s neck. “Take me.”

Potter leaned in to kiss him again, and then he was Apparating them, appearing in Potter’s room even as Potter kissed the line along Draco’s throat. Potter’s mouth was warm and eager—not that bad, actually, considering that it was Potter, but when Potter got to the vee of Draco’s shirt, he went no further. Instead he explored the place where Draco’s collarbones met as though it was new territory, as though he’d never met a clavicle before.

Above Potter’s head, Draco rolled his eyes. Potter was obviously one of those clients who thought everybody was having fun here. That Potter actually thought he could get Draco to enjoy himself was ludicrous, and Draco wished that this was over with already. Realizing that he would have to move things along if they were ever going to get to the point, Draco started opening his own shirt.

Potter went on kissing Draco’s chest, taking his sweet time exploring. It was sort of boring, really. It was just a chest. Perhaps Potter had only been with girls. At any rate, it gave Draco a chance to try a couple of things.

In the next several moments Draco learned that Potter liked it when Draco made sounds, liked it when Draco’s hips moved or his breath shuddered, as if in response to things that Potter did. Draco also learned that Potter liked it when Draco tugged his hair, which was interesting and unexpected.

Using Potter’s hair, Draco pulled Potter back up, then spelled Potter’s bow-tie off, tugging at the shirt that still hung unbuttoned on Potter’s body. The rougher about it Draco was, the more Potter seemed to like it, and a picture was gradually forming. Potter must like them to fight—Draco would now lay money on the idea that Potter would like biting and scratching as well.

Perhaps Potter wouldn’t just lie back and have Draco ride him. Perhaps he wanted Draco to take care of the preliminaries so Potter could subdue Draco later, and wasn’t that just like Potter. Of course Potter would want to exert his dominance over the situation. Of course he’d want to take control over the person in his bed—hold down someone who was spitting and snarling, make them take it.

Draco was trying to decide when Potter would choose to force him as he spelled their shoes off, took off both their trousers and pants. Draco had Potter up against the wall now, and mostly Potter just made sounds—harsh breaths and tiny whines, a couple guttural sounds, just like an animal.

Probably a howler once they got to the shagging, Draco thought, and resisted rolling his eyes.

Eventually Draco got them both undressed—seeing as how Potter wasn’t interested in doing any of the work. Even once they were both naked, Potter just kept kissing him—hands tracing the long, lean muscles in Draco’s back, skating down to hips, now—okay, yes, now . . . . One of Potter’s hands found its way to Draco’s front, loosely circling Draco’s mostly disinterested cock.

Potter was fully erect, and not unimpressive, but more than Potter’s inept stroking was necessary for Draco to get his own cock up, especially considering just how often Draco had sex. Plenty of clients didn’t even bother, though, and it was somewhat intriguing that Potter—that Potter—

Potter’s other hand had come around to touch Draco’s bollocks, holding them and squeezing as Potter’s other hand stroked lightly up—

“Ah,” Draco said, allowing himself to make a sound as he caught Potter’s wrist. When Potter looked up inquiringly, Draco soothed, “We don’t want to go too far before the main event.”

“All right,” so Potter, but only looked at him after that.

The main event was never going to happen, Draco realized, if he left it up to Potter. Strangely, Potter did not seem squeamish or nervous, or any of the usually things that prevented clients from getting on with it.

One question was answered when they finally got down to the sheets—Potter made it fairly clear he was to be the one on the bottom, which meant he expected Draco to ride him. Draco supposed he might have expected it, considering the way the evening was going, so after a bit of kissing and frotting, Draco picked up his wand and pointed it at himself. It appeared Potter wasn’t even planning on doing the courtesy of prepping him.

Potter’s hand closed around Draco’s, preventing Draco from casting the spell.

“Prep is in the contract,” Draco said.

“I can do it,” Potter said. He pulled the wand out of Draco’s hand, setting it aside. Waving his hand, Potter muttered an incantation.

Draco frowned. “I didn’t feel anything.”

Taking Draco’s hand again, Potter guided it down—down—between Potter’s legs, under his cock and balls, between his cheeks—

Draco jerked his hand away. “I—you want . . ?”

Potter spread his legs.

“I thought . . .” Draco couldn’t process it. For one thing, to have read a client so completely incorrectly—but this client was Potter. Draco had just assumed that Potter would—

—arse was what nearly all of Draco’s clients wanted. Men who engaged male prostitutes sometimes liked to bottom, but—Draco was very good at taking it. He was very, very good. He had no real preference, liked both about equally, but he was good at bottoming. Good at it in ways that Pansy and Nott simply weren’t; they usually took the clients who wanted to be penetrated, and most of those who liked to switch as well.

Draco took the ones who liked to play at being dominant, the daddies, the bears, the tops—whatever they wanted to call themselves, because Draco could squirm beneath them so well. He could make them feel whatever they wanted to, however big and powerful and in control they wanted to; he could make them feel that they owned him completely, that he would do anything they wanted, that he would squeal for them.

Draco had never been good at taking charge of the situation, of standing out in front, but over time he’d become better at manipulating it. He’d become someone who could get what he wanted by letting other people think that they were getting what they wanted, and it made him good at submission, at being wet and willing for people who wanted to fuck him.

“Is it a problem?” Potter asked.

“No, of course not,” Draco said, automatically, because that was what he said to clients. “Anything you want.”

“I want to try it like this,” Potter said, taking Draco’s hand again. He guided one of Draco’s fingers to his hole, and Draco pushed it in.

He didn’t understand how he could have misread Potter so completely. Now that he thought about it, Draco recognized all the signs—signs of someone who not only wanted to be penetrated, but dominated. That was why Potter had let Draco undress them both, why he had waited for Draco to manoeuvre them to the bed—even why he’d wanted Draco to choose where they shagged. Potter had been waiting to see what Draco would do, willing to follow, wanting to follow . . .

“Tristan.” Potter’s breath was a little short, but his hand was strong when it closed around the wrist of the hand Draco was using to open him up. “Put another one in,” Potter said.

Lost in thought, Draco hadn’t been paying the usual attention he gave to clients. Renewing the lubrication spell, Draco eased another finger against Potter’s hole, and then slowly pushed it inside.

Draco was well aware that personalities outside of the bedroom were no indication of what someone wanted when they were having sex. Some of Draco’s most dominant clients were the meekest men you might ever meet if you saw them on the street. Still, the fact that Potter wanted this was difficult to fathom.

It was just so awkward. Everything about Potter seemed to scream that this should be going the other way around. Potter’s thighs were just like tree trunks; Draco didn’t doubt that even Potter’s arse was thick with muscled strength, despite the fact that Draco didn’t exactly have a good view of it, laid out as Potter was. But Potter’s hole was tiny. It was so so small, and Draco had forgotten how it could feel, his fingers in someone else’s body. So often he didn’t even bother to prep himself—he let the spells do it for him, so his body was ready to take whatever clients decided to give him. It wasn’t about pleasure. It was work.

Draco pushed another finger in, watching Potter’s face as the muscles in Potter’s body first tensed, then loosened to accommodate the new girth.

“Is this . . . what you wanted?” Draco said. The question was one he didn’t usually have to ask, but he couldn’t read Potter’s expression.

“I think so.” Potter shifted his hips, adjusting himself around Draco’s fingers. Potter’s hand slid to the back of Draco’s neck, burying itself in Tristan’s hair.

The room was hot. Draco was hot. Everything was so hot, too slow; Draco could feel sweat starting at his temples. He was having trouble acting naturally, a problem he usually never had with clients, but Draco knew that he had to move along. He had to get inside somehow; he had to fuck him—bloody Harry Potter, who was kissing his neck now, moving his mouth hotly along Draco’s skin. Somehow, Draco had to figure out what Potter really wanted, why he wanted it, and Draco had to do it quickly, but there were no answers, and now Potter was loose enough, wet enough.

Draco slid his fingers out and Potter pulled away as though to protest. “I think you’re ready,” Draco said, nonsensically, because he could not give up the game now. He had to make this happen, and so he got into position, and as he did it occurred to him that this was Harry Potter.

He was going to fuck Harry Potter, this person who had caused him so much strife and ruined everything, this person who thought he was superior but wasn’t really; he wasn’t anything at all. Draco looked into those green, green eyes as he held his cock and put it at Potter’s entrance, and he knew those eyes well. He knew them so, so well, and he hated them.

When Draco pushed inside he wasn’t gentle about it. Potter made a choked sound, and Draco had a moment of scrambling confusion. He was supposed to make this good. He was supposed to make Potter love it; he was supposed to make Potter never want to live without it, so afterwards he could make Potter regret every sweet and heady moment of it.

Potter was so tight that breathing felt difficult.

“Damn it,” Potter said. “Move.”

So Draco moved, thinking about it now—long, slow thrusts, carefully aimed to make Potter want it, make him need it. Potter didn’t pull him closer though, didn’t even touch him. Instead he put his hands on the mattress, curling in the sheets.

Maybe Potter thought he was too good to hold a prostitute.

Draco set his jaw. He didn’t know what Potter wanted, but Draco still knew how to do this. He still could do this, despite the fact that he was topping and it was Potter. Adjusting his angle, Draco thrust deeply, searching for that spot that would make Potter sing.

Potter flailed—just a little, hands letting go the sheets and yet barely touching, grazing Draco’s shoulders as though to grip, then skittering away. After a moment Potter grabbed the headboard above his head. “More,” he grunted.

Draco could give him more, if that was what he really wanted. Potter didn’t want to touch him, wanted to just lie back and take it—then Draco could give it to him.

Rearing back, he slammed inside Potter hard, his cock encased in that tight warm heat. Potter just took it—looking at him, as though waiting. Jaw hardening, Draco pulled back and did it again, and Potter just lay there, hands tightening on the headboard above him, taking it and waiting for it and watching him.

Potter had looked that way right before he had sliced Draco open. Draco could still see Potter’s eyes, Potter’s cold, flinty eyes, unashamed, arrogant. Draco associated that gaze with the taste of blood in his mouth, the scars across his stomach, which Tristan didn’t have, the sharp scent of dittany and the coldness that had filled his mind.

Potter. Sodding Harry Potter, never bloody sorry for a fucking thing.

Draco’s hips slammed into Potter and he hated him; he hated him. Potter had ruined his life and Draco wanted to hurt him; he wanted to tear him and split him open and make him bleed—clients had done that to Draco before and Draco wanted Potter to know, wanted Potter to feel it.

Draco fucked him hard and fast, so hard it was like he lost his mind, couldn’t think straight, just had to do it, and the sweat and the heat and the pain made him just keep going. He just kept going, and something in him, automatic, made him reach down and grab Potter’s cock, grab and twist and get it out of him because Potter needed to know what it felt like to be a whore. Potter needed to know what it felt like—

Draco wanted it to hurt, wanted orgasm to rip through Potter like something painful, something unpleasant, something that stripped and burned away all sense of self and made you just a body, just a body, just something that existed for someone else to pull and tear apart. And Potter did come, came with a shout and a groan almost inhuman—guttural, from deep within.

It made Draco pause, come back to himself, slowing, and then Potter shook his head—his shaggy head was wet with sweat, and he said, “Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep—” But he didn’t finish, just arched and caught his breath again when Draco pushed inside.

Merlin.

Draco didn’t know how to stop; he needed to come but he didn’t understand how he could, and oh God, it was so tight. Potter was so, so tight and hot around him, gripping him so profoundly and it was Harry Potter, Potter whom he hated, Potter who had saved him and then thrown him away like he was worth nothing—

Nothing—

Draco shuddered and the chills moving down his spine setting him off, the juddering of his hips pushing himself to new depths inside of Potter, and then Draco was coming.

Merlin and he kept coming; he couldn’t stop. Draco couldn’t remember the last time he’d fucked anyone that way. Had he ever fucked anyone that way—the way that they fucked him? Hard and ruthless, without a thought given to what was beneath him?

Pulling out, Draco spared just enough energy to pull himself off of Potter, flinging himself down on the bed next to him. Nimue’s Oak. He could sleep for a week. He could sleep for a century. His cock was wet and cold and sensitive—it felt disgusting; every part of him felt filmed with sweat and fluids drying slowly in the evening air.

All of it was disgusting. He was fucking freezing. He needed a wash.

Draco closed his eyes.

When Potter began to touch him, it stung. Draco hated it when clients wanted to cuddle after a long, hard fuck. They should be too tired to do anything like that, if he had done his job. Draco was too tired. He was too tired to even brush Potter away, and Potter kissed his shoulder.

Disgusting. That was disgusting; there was so much filth all over Draco, and Potter had his mouth all over it. Adding to it. Potter’s hand closed over Draco’s arm, warm and sure, and Potter levered himself up to kiss Draco’s neck, his chest.

The plan had been to reveal his true identity. He’d let Potter fuck him, and then he would look down on Potter scornfully as Potter became embarrassed and ashamed.

The plan didn’t seem like such a good idea now, considering. Draco felt far too tired to properly appreciate his triumph, and mocking anyone was entirely beyond him. Besides which, he definitely hadn’t fucked Potter the way he’d originally planned . . . Maybe later. At the very least, Potter’s lips were warm.

Potter kept on going—kissing, touching until the tacky residue over all of Draco felt as though it had melted back into his skin. Every time Draco thought about stopping him, he decided to let Potter go on—maybe this way Potter would thoroughly embarrass himself before Draco told him who he really was.

Potter was using both his hands now—dragging them over Draco’s chest, spreading apart to touch Draco’s hips. Draco was too exhausted for this.

And then Potter’s hands were on Draco’s thighs, spreading his legs. Now they were coming to it; Potter was going to—

Put his mouth on Draco’s cock.

Yelping in surprise, Draco started, almost kicking Potter in the process.

Coming off of Draco’s cock, Potter looked up. “Can I?” he asked, though it sounded much less like a question and much more like a demand.

Draco couldn’t figure out what Potter wanted.

“I want to suck your cock,” Potter said, as though Draco needed that explanation. The clod.

Regardless, saying no at this point would really just be petty. “I suppose,” Draco said, opening his legs.

Instead, Potter stayed where he was, head between Draco’s legs, looking up. When Draco made to close his legs, however, Potter held them open. “You’re the hottest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“I know.” Draco wasn’t really thinking straight. “I’m the hottest thing I’ve ever seen as well.”

“Christ.”

“Weren’t you going to suck it?” said Draco. In response, Potter put his mouth on Draco’s cock.

The head wasn’t the best Draco had ever had. In terms of cocksucking Potter was just mediocre, really—nice and thorough and wet, but unsteady, not well paced. Draco’s cock was not very discerning in terms of quality, however, and responded just as any well-fucked cock might be expected to respond—with lethargic but building eagerness.

Draco’s cock had just been in Potter’s arse, and Draco knew what it must taste like. But Potter didn’t even seem to notice, just went to work licking and sucking, and Draco’s cock certainly wasn’t smart enough to know what was good for it, that it needed to rest before getting into it again.

Testing out a theory, Draco touched Potter’s head. When the touch was not rejected, he carded his hands through Potter’s hair. Recalling how Potter had responded when Draco had pulled it earlier, Draco tightened his grip on Potter’s head.

Potter liked it. Potter must have loved it, because when Draco twisted his fist in Potter’s hair, controlling Potter’s head entirely, Potter’s tongue became doubly invested. Draco’s cock responded almost as eagerly. Potter made a sound much like approval, so Draco tightened his grip and then held him there, fucking Potter’s mouth.

Salazar, he was fucking Potter’s mouth, and Potter just knelt over him and took it—took it took it took it, Draco not worrying about Potter’s breathing, not worrying about Potter’s jaw. Merlin and Morgana, he was just taking it—God—

Draco hated it when johns did this to his mouth. He was already giving them head; he should at least allow them to breathe—Draco’s grip tightened in Potter’s hair.

Potter should take it. He needed to take it. After everything that Draco had been through, all the ways all those other men had treated Draco—

Potter fucking deserved it.

Potter was making sounds—these hoarse, enthusiastic sounds, like a rutting animal and Draco didn’t care. He just didn’t care about Harry fucking Potter; he cared about that wet throat, that full, silky wet throat encasing his cock and Draco wanted to feel it. He wanted to feel Harry Potter’s throat stuffed full of Draco Malfoy’s cock, feel the soft skin of Potter’s neck from the outside and know that he was inside of it, thick and pulsing inside of Potter’s proud neck.

When Draco did—touching Potter’s throat as it bobbed, feeling it contract as Draco forced himself in deeper with his other hand in Potter’s hair—Draco came again.

God, it felt so good, coming down Potter’s throat. Knowing Potter was drinking it and taking it and had no choice, all that thick hot come sliding down Potter’s throat, just like Potter deserved.

Slowly, Draco came down, and Potter saw him through it—warm and stinging touches on Draco’s cock, his bollocks. Merlin, Potter would just not stop touching him—nuzzling Draco’s cock, stroking Draco’s thighs. It was enough already, and why did Potter need so much touching . . .

It was Draco’s last thought before he drifted off to sleep.

*

When Draco woke up, the room was dark.

There were lips on his throat, and it had been ages since Draco had fallen asleep on the job. It was unprofessional. Careless.

Dangerous.

Draco started fully awake.

“It’s all right. It’s me.” Potter’s voice was low and rough. And idiotic, as if Draco didn’t go to bed with someone different every night or three. “Go back to sleep.”

“I can’t if you’re doing that,” Draco said, before he thought about it. Potter was lining kisses along his shoulder, and Draco was irritated.

Maybe a little freaked out.

Fortunately, he had designed Masker Ade to last longer than Polyjuice. Because the potion had to do less work—only changing Draco’s face, instead of his whole body—the potion could last over twenty-four hours.

Potter huffed a breath across Draco’s bicep. It might have been a laugh.

“What do you want?” Draco meant to make his voice low and sultry, but instead it came out sounding annoyed. There was more than one reason he did not go to sleep with johns, and one was that he was never in a good mood upon waking.

Potter just chuckled again, low and deep. “Do you want to fuck me,” he said. It didn’t sound like a question.

“That depends,” said Draco. He wasn’t trying to snark. He really wasn’t.

“On what?” Potter was turning him over now, reaching for him.

Maybe Potter would fuck him now. Maybe he was just waiting until Draco was groggy and tired, unprepared for it—in a mood where he’d fight back, scratch and bite and make Potter feel like such a man when he defeated him.

But Potter didn’t try to fuck him, didn’t try to defeat him, didn’t try to do anything but suck Draco’s throat and slowly stroke his cock.

It was the middle of the night, and Draco was still sleepy—but Merlin it felt good. Honestly, Draco’s response was automatic—biological, anatomical; anyone stroking his cock when Draco’s mind was half-asleep would have turned him on, his body on auto-pilot. Draco wasn’t turned on because of Potter, but—Potter’s hand was on Draco’s cock and Draco knew that he had to take control of the situation. He couldn’t just give in to capable hands and a hungry mouth sucking on his throat; he couldn’t—

“Fuck me,” Potter said, still low and still rough. His lips moved up against the shell of Draco’s ear. “Put it in me.”

“Mm,” Draco said, trying to sound sensual instead of grumpy. “Haven’t you had enough?”

Potter just laughed again, guttural, right in Draco’s ear. “Of you?” he said. “No,” and then he put his hand on Draco’s arse, and he was manhandling Draco’s body to position it on top of himself.

Salazar’s Chamber, Draco was going to fuck him again. He was going to fuck Potter in the middle of the night, his limbs still heavy with sleep and Potter was going to spread his legs and take it. He was going to fucking take it, and Draco wouldn’t have done it except his cock was definitely on autopilot, responding to Potter’s body. And Potter’s hand was positioning Draco’s cock at his entrance and Draco’s cock was still so stupid; it wanted it. His cock definitely wanted it—wanted to push right in, remembering that snug heat and the way that Potter’s body gripped him, clung to him like he was necessary, so desperately necessary.

And why not, Draco asked himself. Why not? He’d just be taking Potter’s body. He’d be taking Potter’s body, stealing his own pleasure, and why shouldn’t he, when so many people had taken from him, and Potter had denied Draco of what should rightfully have been his. Draco deserved to get pleasure from it, to slam his cock in hard to Potter and just take—take—take—

Draco was doing it before he had even quite decided; his cock had decided for him, sheathing itself inside of that hot body and Merlin, it felt good. It felt so, so good. It had been so long since Draco put his cock in another man, inside of anyone, and he’d forgotten it could feel this way. Forgotten how the flesh wrapped tight around him, tightening and convulsing as though to push him out, yet clinging when he thrust as though Potter’s hole couldn’t bear to let him go.

Salazar, Potter’s hole; he was fucking Harry Potter. He was fucking Harry Potter and after this, Draco was going to tell him. He was going to tell Potter who had really fucked him and Potter would be devastated, ashamed.

Draco was already fucking him hard, but the thought made him fuck harder, made him thrust his hips at a punishing pace. He was going to tell Potter; he was going to defeat Potter; he was going to win—

And everything got harder tighter faster and Potter was somewhere in the thick of it all, his voice hoarse—“Fucking hell, Tristan—”

And Draco came to Potter groaning, Potter taking it like a two-Knut rentboy and loving it. Salazar, Potter loved it, loved getting fucked by him, spreading it and taking it and getting filled up with his come.

His come was in Harry Potter’s body, Draco thought sleepily, rolling off of him. His come was leaking out of Harry Potter’s body, filthy and wet, and if Potter wanted it cleaned he’d have to do it himself.

Draco was tired. His cock was wet again and he was bloody exhausted, but he felt good. Every part of him felt good, sated and loose, relaxed as though every part of them that could be tense or hard had melted into something soft.

He was even softer than the bed. The sheets were coarse against his melting skin.

God, it felt good, and it was so dark. It was so dark.

“You’re a-fucking-mazing,” Potter murmured, and then he tucked his warm body against Draco’s.

Potter was an idiot.

Draco went to sleep.

*

Draco awoke to a mouth on his cock.

Merlin.

Merlin.

Merlin.

It was so good. Hot. Wet. Merlin.

Draco couldn’t remember the last time he’d woken up like this. There was a body under the covers, nursing at his cock, and Draco put his hands down—down under the sheets into thick hair—thick, too long hair . . . Potter. It was Potter. Draco’s hands convulsed.

This was the third—no fourth—the fourth time—this had to be a dream. Some kind of crazy, sexy, insane nightmare.

There was something wrong with Potter. Yes, there were johns who loved to give head, but—but they just weren’t Draco’s type of clients; he was always the one on his knees and—

Draco sucked in a breath. Potter was swirling his tongue around the head. He wasn’t that skilled but what he lacked in finesse he made up for in willingness. There was nothing tentative about Potter’s tongue, nothing shy about his mouth. Potter sucked and licked just as though he liked it, one hand softly tugging at Draco’s balls and the other stroking what Potter’s mouth could not cover.

Merlin. Draco arched up against that mouth, cockhead skating along the roof of Potter’s mouth, bumping the back of Potter’s throat. Merlin. Draco’s hand tightened again in Potter’s hair.

What the fuck was Potter doing, waking an escort with a blow job—did he know? Was there something he was trying to prove? Was he trying to throw Draco off, make it so he couldn’t win, show Draco he was—

Oh. Oh.

Potter was trying to deep throat him, trying to take it further down, and Draco could feel him choking. Draco could hear him choking, and he kept his hand tight in Potter’s hair, holding him there, letting him choke, making him take it, and Potter did not resist. Instead he just kept making those sounds, those tight, desperate sounds, frantic for breath, and then he took it further. Potter took it further, the wet muscle of his throat convulsing around Draco’s cock repeatedly.

Potter was choking on his cock. Harry Potter was choking on his cock.

Draco’s hips slammed up and he held Potter there, and then Draco was coming. He was coming and coming and it was in Potter’s mouth down Potter’s throat and Draco didn’t care. He didn’t care.

It was morning, Draco registered, as he came down from orgasm. His eyes were closed and the light was dim, but there was light. Early. Just past dawn. The bed was warm and disgusting, all that sweat and come soaked into the streets and filthy on his own body. Everything smelled like sex.

Four times.

“Let me,” Potter said, and the scouring spell was firm and hard.

Draco felt like a thin layer of skin had disappeared, and beneath it everything was new and clean, completely untouched. Potter did it to the sheets too, and instead of hard and starchy—the usual result of scouring spells—they felt light and warm, clean like something tumbled dry with sunshine potion. Draco’s naked skin felt sensitive, and he wanted nothing more than to burrow into the cocoon of warmth and softness.

Draco drifted off to sleep.

*

Draco next awoke to the scent of coffee and bacon. Sun slanted through the window at an angle that suggested ten or so. Draco never really woke up early, but he felt like he could stay in bed all day. He felt like he’d spent all night running.

Then Draco remembered where he was, what he had actually spent the night doing.

Hastily, Draco sat up, searching for his clothes. They were laid out on a chair in Potter’s bedroom, folded a little messily, but smelling clean. Draco started putting them on, mind racing into overdrive.

He’d fucked Potter. He’d fucked Harry Potter, and then Potter had sucked him, and then Draco had fucked Potter again, and then he’d woken up fucking Potter’s mouth.

Four times.

He’d shagged Harry Potter four times. Draco had orgasmed four times, and before this, he couldn’t even remember the last time he’d done it more than once in eight hours. Maybe once when he had two clients back to back, but often Draco didn’t even orgasm when he was with a client. Often enough they didn’t care; often enough they didn’t even notice.

Four times.

The door eased open silently. Draco, only in trousers, looked up.

Potter had on Muggle jeans and a Muggle t-shirt. Holding his wand, he directed a tray into the room. “Breakfast,” Potter said, directing the tray down on the desk.

Potter’s jeans were faded, rather worn about the crotch and knees.

“Did you want some?” Potter asked.

The words jerked Draco out of his sudden stupor, and he started putting on his shirt. “Breakfast. Breakfast? No. I’m not. I couldn’t possibly. I’m—I was just going.”

“Okay,” said Potter.

Draco made himself stop babbling, concentrating on the spell for the buttons on his shirt. Potter lounged against the doorframe, watching Draco dress.

Draco had come inside of him. He’d come inside of Potter four times.

As if reading his thoughts, Potter said, “I had a good time last night.”

“Naturally,” said Draco, automatically, straightening his sleeves. “They always do.” His shoes. He needed his—

“I want to do it again.”

“I—what?” Draco paused in the midst of reaching for the shoes, then made himself take them, put them on while he answered Potter. “Right now? I can’t. I have very important—I’m very important.”

“I didn’t mean right now.”

Draco looked up at the tone. Potter had that very faint smile at the corner of his mouth, drily amused.

Infuriating. Infuriating. Potter was infuriating.

“Maybe sometime next week?” Potter said.

Draco sneered as he reached for his waistcoat. “I’m usually booked a month in advance.”

Potter’s smiled deepened. “Because you’re very important?”

Potter was laughing at him. Laughing.

Let me out, Draco thought.

Let me out let me out let me out, but he didn’t want Potter to see how much it frustrated him, how much it humiliated him, and so Draco put on the waistcoat, spelled the buttons closed in a swift, straight line. Grabbed his cloak, and tried to think of a snappy rejoinder.

All he could think about was the fact that he’d come down Potter’s throat. Potter shouldn’t be laughing; Draco’s cock had been in Potter’s face and Potter had sucked it, just like a whore.

“I have to go,” Draco said, taking his eyes of Potter’s mouth.

“Thanks again,” said Potter, as Draco pushed past him.

“I can see myself out,” Draco said.

“How dare he let filth like you spend the night!” said Great Aunt Walburga, as Draco pushed out of the door and into the garden.

*

Apparating into his flat, Draco didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know what he should do. He needed a shower. He needed—he smelled like Potter, and the scouring spell didn’t matter. He’d slept in Potter’s bed; he’d curled up inside Potter’s sheets; he’d been inside of Potter—

“Where were you?”

Draco whirled around, already knowing who it was.

Pansy had a way of looking like she owned not only whatever piece of furniture she was sitting on, but also the surrounding vicinity. She also had a detestable habit of wearing dark colours and lurking in the shadows, which was not at all complimentary to her sharp pale face. She also had a flat, low voice that Draco hated; he hated it.

“You were at Potter’s.” Pansy rose out of Draco’s living room chair.

Pansy used to be a dominatrix. Draco suspected she still was in her leisure time. She knew how to intimidate people; she liked it.

“Mind your own business,” Draco said, stomping off towards his bedroom.

“I suppose he paid a significant price for you,” Pansy said, following. “Tell me, did you charge extra for your scars?”

“I said sod off.” Draco wanted to shut the loo door on her, but Pansy could not be stopped, following him in directly. Draco didn’t care; Pansy had seen him naked plenty of times before.

Pansy had seen him fucked until he was bleeding and couldn’t see straight, and afterwards she’d cleaned him up.

Draco pulled off his shirt, turning his back to her.

“That’s right,” Pansy said. “This body doesn’t have any scars.”

Pansy was right yet again. The Masker Ade still had not worn off.

“Was it worth it?” Pansy asked, watching him take off his trousers.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Draco said. “Did you want details? I forgot what an enormous fan you are of Gryffindor cock.” Not even looking at her, Draco stepped into the shower.

“Are you?”

Draco, about to spell on the water, turned to her. “Honestly, is this how you get your thrills, now that you’ve stopped taking clients? Living vicariously, are we? If it’s truly so fascinating to you, perhaps you were better off a whore.” Turning back to the shower, Draco spelled the water on.

“Fine.” Turning around, Pansy walked out of the loo.

Draco knew plenty of other people who would not have been able to leave it like that, but Pansy had a habit of refusing to engage when Draco was “in a mood,” as she called it. She knew Draco too well—knew that if she left him alone for long enough he would go crazy, and then she would have her way with him. She always did, and he resented her for it.

Pansy was in every way better—smarter, more controlled, more careful. When she made a plan she carried it out, and Draco—Draco hadn’t planned on fucking Potter. He hadn’t planned on fucking Potter four times.

The hot water poured over Draco from the shower, and for the life of him, he could not understand why he had done it. Draco had meant to get shagged, reveal his identity, and win his victory. That was it. Instead he’d fucked Potter not just once but over and over, and Draco could not remember thinking it through. He couldn’t remember thinking about fucking Potter; he could only remember how good it felt. All that wet heat wrapped around his cock and—

Draco hadn’t enjoyed fucking Potter. Not one bit. He’d done it for revenge. All of it had been about revenge.

Potter had been the one to spread his legs, and that made it worse for Potter, didn’t it? That he’d been fucked by Draco Malfoy, a former Death Eater? That he’d let Draco defile him, let Draco enter his body and deface him with his cock—

Opening the soap potion, Draco worked up a good lather, scrubbing himself and scrubbing himself, washing every memory of Potter down the drain.

*

Draco gave himself three days before facing Pansy.

“All right, have at it,” Draco said, sauntering into the office. “Tell me what a deplorable Slytherin I am. Tell me I’m a disgrace.” Sinking into the leather chair, he lounged carelessly. Despite two days of feeling like utter shite, he knew he looked impeccable.

He’d washed every article of clothing he had ever had. He’d cleaned his entire flat top to bottom; he’d even got rid of the disgusting inexplicable stains on the rug in the corridor. He’d got a haircut; he’d gone shopping; he’d done his brows. Pansy could call him whatever she wanted, but Draco felt much better about everything, mostly because he had not thought about it at all.

“We seem to have another regular,” was all Pansy said. She floated a scroll towards him.

“Oh?” Plucking the scroll out of the air, Draco attempted to feign nonchalance, but he could already feel dread curdling in his stomach. He knew who the scroll was from even before looking at it.

Unrolling the parchment, Draco scanned the page. Potter wanted Tristan, only Tristan, on whatever date “worked best”. There were a list of future social engagements spread out over the next month.

“He didn’t request further services,” Pansy pointed out.

“No,” Draco said, rolling the scroll back up.

“I do find it extremely interesting that he wasn’t charged for a full night in your previous contract,” Pansy said.

Of course. The rate had been triple for the specific act of penetration. Staying until the next night, being available for a variety of services—including oral—was a different rate entirely. What Potter had paid was just below the amount Draco usually charged for a full night.

I only want him, the parchment read.

“Well?” said Pansy.

“It was a mistake.”

“I’ve already written him,” Pansy said, “explaining Tristan is booked solid.”

Draco’s head snapped up. “You haven’t.”

“I have,” said Pansy. “I didn’t send it yet.”

Draco heaved himself out of the chair, but he didn’t want to approach Pansy any more than he wished to remain sitting. Instead he found himself pacing. He made himself stop.

“What is this?” Pansy said, and Draco hated it when she sounded that way. She just sounded so young, the way she had at Hogwarts, when she was just lonely and lost and wanted someone to look up to, and she’d looked up to him. The worst of it was, she still did. He didn’t know why, but she still thought he was someone special. “Why did you do it?” she asked.

Draco lifted his eyes to hers. “I was going to tell him.”

“What?”

“I wanted him to know. After I—after we shagged. I wanted him to know it was me.”

Pansy looked at him, the lost look seeping out of her eyes. She sighed, sounding more like her normal self. “I imagine that went well.”

“I didn’t tell him.”

“I gathered. What stopped you?”

Draco thought about it. “It’s complicated.”

Pansy made a sound suspiciously similar to a snort. “Was his cock just that good?”

Draco shook his head. “No. Mine was. I fucked him.” It felt strangely good to say, after all this time. He’d fucked him. He’d fucked Harry Potter, and apparently Potter had loved it. No one from Hogwarts would ever have believed it.

Pansy looked significantly unimpressed. “Despite your propensity to share the gory details, I don’t actually care who got the leg over whom.”

“I’m just—I think I can use him, Pansy. We can get him for his money, and then—”

“We don’t need Potter’s money.”

“We always need money.”

“Not his.”

“Think about this rationally,” said Draco.

“I am,” said Pansy. “You’re the one who’s not rational. You’re never rational where Potter is concerned. You come up with these insane plans to defeat him; they never work; and then you—”

“That was in grade school.”

“You’re humiliated, and Potter doesn’t even know you were competing. He honestly doesn’t even care if you still exist, Draco.”

“He cares about Tristan.”

“Tristan isn’t a former Death Eater.”

“Exactly,” said Draco. “We can use it, Pansy. Potter wants Tristan. Quite a lot. And Potter has power, and connections, and eventually maybe we can leverage him so that—”

“Leverage him how?”

“I don’t know!” Draco snapped. “I’m saying he’s useful.”

“It’s not useful,” said Pansy. “This is an obsession. You need to stop. I should never have let you take the job in the first place.”

“Let me?” Draco reined in the volume. “Verity is just as much mine as yours.”

“There’s a reason I run the business end.”

“Tell him I can make the end of next week,” Draco said. “The Friday date, for the Ministry auction.”

“This is a mistake,” said Pansy.

“It’s not,” Draco said. “I’ll prove it to you.”

*

Draco had been going about this all wrong. He had researched everyone at the Ministry gala, everyone at the charity ball—everyone except Potter. He’d just assumed he knew Potter, and that was why he had been taken so much by surprise that first night when Potter asked to sleep with him. If Draco had done his homework, he would have figured out that Potter not-so-secretly longed to be a social recluse, and that a social butterfly like Tristan was attractive to Potter partly because Tristan took away attention from himself.

The research, however, proved somewhat difficult. Potter had had few lovers, and even fewer of them male, according to the papers. One lover was Ginny Weasley, whom Potter had dated for nearly a year after the war. Two more were also female, leaving only Jason Weathersby, whom Potter had dated for sixth months, shortly after he came out to the press nearly three years ago.

Weathersby provided a little information at least. Directly after the breakup, he’d given Witch Weekly an exclusive interview. Weathersby had most likely grown tired of Potter being a sanctimonious, condescending prick, because he’d been quite willing to give up private information. He’d told the interviewer that Potter “liked it rough” and was “kind of a kinky bloke”. He’d even told the magazine about the tattoo on Potter’s chest, though he hadn’t been able to explain it.

Either Potter had stopped dating anyone at all after Weathersby, or he’d just become extremely discreet after that, because Draco could find no evidence of other boyfriends. More was the pity. If Draco had had time, he would have tracked down Weathersby just to compare notes.

Unable to find other information about Potter’s ex-lovers, Draco extracted his memories of the last encounter and put them in the Pensieve. He did this sometimes with clients who were problematic, studying the interaction to figure out how he might control the john more easily.

Draco wasn’t looking forward to reviewing the memory. He would need to rein in his disgust for Potter, his hatred, to take note of each and every detail—expressions or little movements that indicated desire, which he had been too thrown off that night to notice. This time, Draco would not be taken by surprise.

Draco put his head in the Pensieve.

The memory began in the bedroom, and Draco could see now that Potter wasn’t reluctant to undress him because he was lazy. Potter was letting Draco control the scenario entirely, opening his body to Draco completely, and Draco had just been too distracted to realize it.

Then their clothes were off and they were on the bed. Potter whispered in Draco’s ear, and Draco knew what Potter said less because he heard it in the memory but because he saw his own body stiffen. Draco had behaved clumsily after that, fumbling like a virgin, but Potter didn’t seem to mind it—still touching him, always with the touching.

Potter was just so—he’d just got broad since Hogwarts; that was all. Not huge, as Draco had thought before, but certainly much wider in the shoulders than Draco, thicker in the chest. What Draco had failed to realize that night was that almost all of it was muscle, and with Draco’s slender body against his it just looked like—he looked like—

Pornography.

It was pornographic, the way that Potter set off Draco’s body, the way they fit together. Draco could see how long and lean he was, how elegant and fine-drawn his lines looked against Potter’s rougher frame. And Potter—the part where Potter just—

He just let Draco take him, opened up powerful thighs and just let Draco do it.

Draco fucked Potter hard and Potter’s mouth fell open, eyes rolling back in his skull as he held on and didn’t touch, didn’t try to control, just took it, took it, knuckles turning white against the headboard. Potter was obviously enjoying it—Draco didn’t remember whether Potter had enjoyed it, but looking in the Pensieve, Draco could tell that Potter obviously had. He liked being made to take it; he liked to be subdued, dominated, controlled.

Potter liked to submit. He got off on it.

Then Potter was coming, and Draco was pulling his head out of the Pensieve. He had enough to go on.

He’d had more than enough.

*

Four.

When Draco arrived as Tristan for his appointment with Potter, Potter actually looked almost ready. “Hi,” Potter said.

He was obviously pleased, but didn’t even give Tristan the once-over Draco had prepared for—been counting on, in fact. Perhaps Potter thought that now that he'd had Tristan once (four times), it was over. After all, as Pansy had pointed out, Potter hadn’t requested further services in the appointment for tonight.

No matter. Draco would have him regardless. “Hello,” he said, putting on his best smile.

“Glad you could come,” said Potter, letting him in the door.

When Draco stepped past the threshold, another grumpy voice said, “Hello.” Startled, Draco looked over at the portrait of Great Aunt Walburga.

“Oh, hello,” Draco said, slightly wary. As far as he knew there was no way Great Aunt Walburga could have discovered his true identity, but portraits had funny ways of knowing things.

“Lovely weather we’ve been having.” Great Aunt Walburga did not sound as though she enjoyed anything about the weather at all, which Draco supposed made sense, attached to the wall as she was. The portrait looked over at Potter. “Well? Are you satisfied?”

“Yes, thank you, Misses Black,” Potter said, very serious.

“She seems to have softened up,” Draco said, when they got inside the sitting-room.

“We had a talk,” said Potter.

“About me? Or just the general treatment of guests?”

“About you.” The line was beside Potter’s mouth.

Draco turned what would have been a triumphant smirk into a pleasant smile. “You wanted me to come back.”

“I hoped you would.”

Draco stepped closer. “What else did you hope?” he asked, his voice sultry.

Potter’s expression faded into something more serious, but Draco didn’t take it as discouragement. He’d studied Potter, and knew that Potter could look quite dour when turned on. “I hoped we’d go to the Ministry auction,” was all Potter said.

Draco moved closer still, his breath brushing Potter’s jaw. “And after that? Did you hope for anything else?”

“Tristan.” Potter leaned in.

Draco turned his head. “Not on the mouth.”

Potter kissed Draco’s jaw, and Draco let him, curling his hand in Potter’s thick hair. “I thought you wanted to go to the auction,” he murmured, after several moments of Potter’s teeth and tongue working down his neck.

“Mm,” Potter said, moving down Draco’s throat.

Thinking of what he had seen in the Pensieve, Draco tightened his grip on Potter’s hair. “Let’s go to the auction.” He yanked Potter’s hair, holding it hard, using it to pull Potter’s ear to his lips. “Then we’ll come back,” Draco whispered, “and I’ll fuck you. I’ll fuck you so hard you won’t be able to walk for days.”

“If you think you can.”

“Sign the contract and pay now, and I’ll have to,” Draco drawled.

Accio quill." A quill snapped into Potter’s hand from seemingly out of nowhere, and it was true that Potter was more intense when he was turned on.

He’d killed the Dark Lord, Draco thought, and shivered.

“The contract?” Potter said.

“Yes.” Shaking himself, Draco drew his wand to Summon the contract, which Potter signed again without looking. “Done,” Draco said, snapping up the contract, Banishing it to their vault. The money would again be magically extracted from Potter’s account.

Potter pulled Draco close again.

“Ah, ah.” Draco wagged his finger. “I said after.”

The line appeared beside Potter's lips.

“Come, let’s go to the auction.” Draco put out his arm. “It’s like foreplay anyway. You love watching me work the room.”

Potter took his arm. “Do I?”

“Please.” Draco gave him a teasing smirk. “You thought I didn’t notice?”

Potter folded Draco’s arm closer. “You certainly don’t miss much.”

“I must say I appreciate the chance to highlight your social incompetence to everyone. It’s refreshing to showcase what a dullard you truly are.”

Potter laughed—a low, warm sound, and Draco felt a thrill go through him. All this time, Potter had just wanted someone to take him in hand, and Draco knew how to do that.

The evening was going to be spectacular.

*

After the auction, Potter and Draco stumbled back through the Floo to the house at the end of Hawthorn Lane, and Draco immediately had Potter up against the wall.

“I’m going to fuck you,” Draco told him. “I’m going to shag your brains out.”

“Tristan,” Potter said, and Draco was ripping off his clothes.

“I’m going to ruin you,” Draco said, because he wanted Potter to understand. “I’m going to leave you wet, full of come, weak—I’m going to make you feel so weak—”

“God,” Potter said, his head thunking against the wall. He was trying to help with his clothes in a perfunctory way, but Draco knew that it was because Potter wanted to be undressed; he wanted Draco to do it for him; he liked Draco doing it for him. Potter wanted to be used.

Those other times at parties, Draco had thought that Potter had been glaring at him. He’d thought Potter’s eyes had looked cold, but they weren’t. They were on fire; those were Potter’s sex eyes; Potter had been practically eye-fucking him the whole auction, and all those other times too. This time, Potter hadn’t even tried to hide it.

Potter was going to spread so wide for him and Draco knew just how to fuck him. Draco was prepared for how to fuck him; he was going to give it to him so good; Draco was going to subdue him, the most powerful wizard in the world, and Potter was going to love it. Potter was going to thank him for it.

Draco felt drunk on power, the feeling transmuting itself to lust. He had Potter naked against the wall of the sitting-room now, and Draco himself was half naked—sans shirt and shoes, but still possessed of trousers. Draco wasn’t even fully certain of how they’d got to this point. He wanted to touch Potter everywhere; he wanted Potter to touch him everywhere; he wanted to feel in control of Potter, for Potter to feel Draco’s control of him—

Not until Potter’s hands touched the fastenings of Draco’s trousers did Draco snap back into himself. “Slow down,” he hissed, clamping his hands down on Potter’s wrists.

Potter laughed, his voice husky. “You’re the one on me like a freight train.”

“I was . . .” Draco grimaced. “We can’t all have your moribund passivity.”

“I’m not passive,” Potter said. “Trust me.” He moved his hips against Draco’s, but he didn’t need to—his cock was exposed, and anything but moribund. It . . . it was very large.

When Draco looked up, Potter seemed amused. Draco resisted the urge to grit his teeth. “Get to the bedroom,” he said instead.

“How about right here?” Potter rolled his hips again.

Draco glanced down disdainfully, then purposefully moved away. “Go on,” Draco said.

“Tristan—”

“You want me inside you?” Draco leaned in until his teeth were by Potter’s ear. “You want me inside your tight little hole?”

“Tristan.”

“Answer me.” Draco nipped the lobe of Potter’s ear with sharp teeth, then went on, “You want my cock packed tight into that hot—” Draco nipped him again—“wet—” again—“little—”

“Fucking hell.”

“Then you get over to the bedroom,” Draco told him, “and you get that arse all ready for me. Slick it up and spread it out. I want you to be easy for me. I want to slide right in.”

“I didn’t know you were this dirty,” Potter said.

“I can be so much worse,” Draco said. “Go on.”

Potter held his eyes for a long moment. “Hm,” he said, then popped out of sight with a large crack.

Turning, Draco backed up to slump against the wall. He took a deep, rattling breath, then another. Pansy always said that he turned red when he got agitated.

Turning his head against the wall, Draco closed his eyes, which also felt too hot. Potter was . . . just another client. A john who liked being dominated in bed. Draco could do that, even if he didn’t get a chance to do it often. Draco could do that very well, and then Potter would be entirely in his power. Draco would hold all the cards; he could humiliate Potter however he wanted, manipulate Potter however he wanted.

Pushing on off the wall, Draco took a deep breath. The wards would not allow him to Apparate in Potter’s house. He walked down the hall to the bedroom.

*

“You need to pick a safeword,” Draco said.

Sitting on the bed, Potter didn’t look as though he’d done anything Draco had told him. He was still naked, but he leaned against the headboard with his hands behind his head, lounging as though he owned the place. Technically he did, but the point was that Potter was imposing. He didn’t look like someone waiting to get fucked. “A safeword?” was all he said.

“You do know what a safeword is?”

“I don’t need a safeword.” Potter looked amused.

“For what I’m about to do to you, you do,” Draco said.

“Mm.” Potter slid down a bit against the headboard, spreading his legs and taking his hands out from behind his head. Now he looked a lot more like someone about to be fucked. “What are you going to do to me?”

“It isn’t a joke,” Draco said. “I won’t shag you without one.”

“I don’t need a safeword.”

“Pick one,” Draco said. “Right now.”

Potter’s eyes went heavy-lidded. “Hogwarts,” he said.

“Hogwarts,” Draco repeated, because checking was important. He sauntered forwards, still in just his trousers, and climbed on the bed. “Say Hogwarts if you want me to stop,” Draco said, pinning his knee between Potter’s legs.

“I’m not going to want you to stop,” Potter said.

“Say it anyway.” Draco pushed his knee in closer, tight against Potter’s balls, his cock, and then he lifted Potter’s arms above the headboard and took out his wand. “Astrictus,” Draco said, and Potter’s wrists snapped together, bound magically to the headboard.

Potter’s lips parted slightly.

“You like that?” Draco asked, leaning in.

Potter licked his lips, then attempted to break the spell, tugging on the magic bonds. “Could be stronger.”

Draco stared at him. Though it would not be obvious to many, Potter was turned on. His eyes were dark, heavy lidded; his voice was slightly rough. Draco cast another binding spell and an entanglement for good measure.

Potter twisted again. “That’s better.”

“Good.” Moving his knee so that he straddled Potter’s thighs, Draco shoved Potter down. Potter’s hands remained fixed above his head but his arms straightened, splaying Potter down on the bed, his wrists bound awkwardly a bit too high for his shoulders to rest comfortable on the mattress.

Getting down between Potter’s legs, Draco Banished his trousers. Then he manhandled Potter’s thighs, opening them wider, pushing up and back until Potter’s knees bent, and Draco kept pushing and spreading. “I’m going to tie your legs open,” Draco told him, “just like a slut. You’ll like that, won’t you?”

“Find out.” Potter’s voice was pure gravel, and then he spread calves legs wider, his thighs against his chest.

His arse was on display like this.

Draco pointed his wand, and the bonds that issued from it snaked underneath Potter’s knees, knotting back to the headboard beside Potter’s wrists, forcing Potter’s legs to remain in the air, out and up. The position lifted Potter’s lower body off the bed enough and stretched him open enough to reveal the pink hole. Draco put his fingers against it and found that Potter had done what he had said after all—Potter was wet between his legs.

“You like this, don’t you. Tied up, helpless. At my mercy.” Draco played with Potter’s hole, then pressed his fingernail against the rim, scraping tender flesh. “Do you want me to hurt you?”

“Why don’t you try?” Potter said hoarsely.

Draco put his lips by Potter’s ear again. “You’re so wet and slippery down here, I’m surprised you can even feel it.”

Potter made a strangled sound, and Draco leaned in so that his lips were at Potter’s collar bone. “I know what you want,” he whispered. “You want someone who will use you. Someone who doesn’t care that you’re a hero. Someone who will fuck you and hurt you and use you until there’s nothing left, until you’re full of come and bruised everywhere; is that right?”

Potter twisted in the bonds again. “Something like that.”

“I know you,” Draco said. “Everyone thinks you’re perfect. Everyone expects you to be in control. You don’t have to be in control this time.” Draco positioned himself against Potter. “You just have to lie back and take it.” Then Draco pushed inside of him in one solid, smooth thrust.

Draco groaned again on his next thrust just to hear it. Merlin, he sounded indecent; his own voice sounded like someone’s filthiest wet dream. “Look at you take it,” he said, just to hear his own voice. “Look at you take it just like a whore.” Draco closed his eyes, and he hated it when clients talked to him this way. They seemed to think it was hot, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t hot when you were the one getting it; it was hot when you were the one giving it because you were in control. Draco was so in control, Potter just wet and willing and waiting, and Draco could do whatever he wanted with Potter’s body. Whatever he wanted.

He thrust in again, hard, just because he could, just to hear himself moan and to feel the warm spread of Potter’s arse.

Draco lifted himself up and back, then slammed in particularly hard. Potter wanted to be used, and Draco knew it, which meant that Draco taking his pleasure of Potter was also Draco gaining power over Potter. The victory was double, and Draco knew he was getting excited about it again but for once he didn’t see why he shouldn’t. Potter would get off on it if Draco went overboard, if Draco lost his cool. There wasn’t anything Draco could do to make himself lose.

Potter was making these low, tight uh sounds, uh every time Draco found that spot inside him, uh uh uh over and over. Draco put his hand over Potter’s face, turned Potter’s face away so he didn’t have to look at him, then fucked him harder—faster and harder and Potter writhed—

Just like a bitch in heat, he writhed—

Potter loved this; he loved it so much—

The walls were shaking.

Draco only gradually became aware of it. He thought the bed was moving, hitting the walls, but it wasn’t. The bed was very sturdy—perhaps expressly for this purpose—but the walls were still shaking. Things were falling off Potter’s bureau on the other side of the room—

“It’s all right,” Potter panted.

“What . . . ?” Draco was slowing down. His hand slid off Potter’s face; he twisted to turn around—

“It’s all right,” Potter said. He squeezed his arse, tightening around Draco’s cock. “Don’t pay attention to it.”

“What—”

“I won’t hurt you.” Potter squeezed again.

Potter’s accidental magic. It was accidental magic, and Potter was so turned on he was losing control. He was completely losing control, and Draco had made him do it, and Potter was the most powerful wizard in the world.

“Cassandra’s Curse,” Draco muttered. He’d never been so turned on in his life.

“I won’t hurt you,” Potter said, completely misinterpreting. “Don’t stop. Please. I—”

“Cassandra and Macbeth’s witches,” Draco said, slamming into Potter’s arse again, harder than before. “I’m going to—” but Draco couldn’t even think of how to say what he was going to do; he wanted to fuck Potter so hard.

“Fuck.” Potter groaned. “Fuck—”

So Draco thrust into him, again and again, harder than before and rougher, but it still wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough, so Draco sharply scratched Potter’s inner thigh.

Potter flailed against the bonds, his body a pretty bow against the bed.

“You like that?” Draco said, scratching him again.

“Do whatever you—want,” Potter said, speaking with effort as Draco fucked him still.

“I said, do you like it?” Draco scratched him again.

“Yes.” Potter arched into it.

“Do you want me to hex you?”

Potter twisted in his bonds.

“I said, do you want me to—”

“Yes, Tristan, yes, do whatever you—”

So Draco Summoned his wand and hexed him, a sharp, stinging hex along the exposed skin of Potter’s other thigh. Potter shuddered and came. He came with nothing more than Draco’s abdomen scraping against Potter’s cock, and Potter came everywhere, hard and wet. On the other side of the room, something shattered.

Potter shuddered through it. “Don’t stop—fucking me,” he said, and for once his voice sounded shaky, a little high. “Please don’t stop—I want you to come—in me—”

The words sent Draco over the edge. He’d never fucked anyone like this. He’d never felt like this, and the fact that it was Potter was just too much. It was entirely too much, and Draco couldn’t stand it.

He saw white. He couldn’t even feel it when he came; he only knew that he was still coming afterwards—thrusting mindlessly over and over until at last he started slowing, and no more was coming out, and he was slower, and slower.

Finally finished, Draco collapsed on top of Potter.

Merlin. That was—

Merlin. So good. Really good.

Draco felt weak. All that energy, all that come—all of that heat, and his body was covered in sweat. Potter’s body was uncomfortable under him, and Draco was cold.

Salazar, Draco always felt like such utter shite after he came. He hated everything, all of it. He felt dirty and he was too tired. He was too tired.

Then Potter’s hand found Draco’s hair.

Not right. Something was not right.

Potter nudged him, and Draco groaned. He didn’t want to move. Potter nudged him again, and something was definitely wrong. Potter shouldn’t be able to—

Potter pulled Draco's shoulders, and Draco slumped off of Potter’s body, over onto the bed. Potter’s hands should have still been in that binding spell, but they obviously were not. How had he—

A scouring spell ripped over Draco, a shock to the system, just like ice water, followed by something light and warm and clean. It felt good, and Draco just wanted to sleep.

Potter kissed Draco’s nose, his cheek, his jaw. “I didn’t know I needed that,” Potter said, when Draco opened his eyes.

“Mm. That’s why I’m the expert.” Draco meant to push Potter off of him, but instead his hand just lingered on Potter’s shoulder. Potter was very warm, and Draco still felt a little cool, even after the warming spell.

“Do you think . . .”

Draco couldn’t help smirking, because Potter was a dullard. “Yes?”

“I’d like to see you when you’re not working.”

“What?” Draco pushed him off.

“I like you,” Potter said. “I’d like to get to know you.”

This happened sometimes. This happened frequently. Clients who didn’t know any better got attached, asked for his address, wanted to date him. Draco was so used to the conversation by now that he practically had a script, but this was Harry Potter. Harry Potter wanted to date him. This was unbelievable. This was unbelievable. This was . . .

This was the most hilarious thing that had ever happened.

Draco put on his sweetest, most regretful smile. “You’re cute,” he said.

The furrow formed in Potter’s brow—a frown. Pity Draco hadn’t thought to lead him on further.

“And fun to shag,” Draco said, voice dripping sincerity, “but I just don’t think it would work between us.”

“I’m sorry,” Potter said. “I shouldn’t have asked.”

“You’re very sweet.”

Getting off the bed, Potter held out his hand. At first, Draco thought that Potter was gesturing to him, but after a moment a pair of jeans appeared in Potter’s hand. He hadn’t even used an Accio.

“Lots of people get confused.” Keeping his voice completely innocent, Draco stretched out on the bed, glorying in his nakedness. “I understand.”

Potter looked down at him. “I’m not confused.”

Pretending to stretch, Draco twisted, showing himself off. “I’m an escort. You’re a client. I couldn’t possibly. You see how it is.”

“Yes, I see.”

The ironic edge to Potter’s voice made Draco turn to peek up at him. Potter had on his slight smile, the line at the corner of his mouth. Draco had laid it on too thick; Potter knew that Draco was rubbing it in. What Draco didn’t get was why Potter thought it was funny. Potter was the one who had behaved like an idiot.

Huffing, Draco stood up. “Accio trousers,” he said, finding his wand and swishing it. Once he’d got them on, he stood, feeling unreasonably moody. “I’ve got to get my clothes.”

“I’d like to see you again,” Potter said, as Draco stepped away.

Draco turned back to face Potter, something teasing and seductive on his tongue, but stopped with sudden realization. He should have told Potter he was Draco Malfoy when Potter asked him out. Better yet, Draco should have told him when he had been bollocks-deep in Potter. Somehow, Draco had forgotten.

“Don’t go through Verity,” Draco said.

“What?”

“When you want me again,” Draco said. “Don’t go through Verity. Send me an owl.”

“Won’t you get in trouble?”

Draco covered his annoyance with a smirk. “I own half the company. I won’t get in trouble for doing business on the side.”

“You own half the company?” Potter said.

Draco’s smirk twisted. “Why, did you want a street hooker who was relying on her pimp for all her tricks?”

“I wanted you,” Potter said. “I thought that was obvious.”

“Anyway.” Draco grimaced. “I won’t come back if you go through Verity.”

“All right,” said Potter. “Is your name really Tristan Bonchance?”

Draco opened his mouth, then closed it. Potter was right—if Potter told the owl that name, the owl would never find him. Looking around, Draco saw a desk with a quill and paper. Going over to the desk, he scribbled on the paper. “Send correspondence to this address,” Draco said, going to Potter and giving him the paper.

“Okay.” Potter took it.

“Tristan is my real name,” Draco said. “But don’t—it’s a P.O. Box.”

Potter’s brow furrowed again. “P. O. Box?”

Draco frowned back. “Public Owlery Box? That means anyone could see it, theoretically. I live in a Muggle building,” he lied. “I can’t have owls coming to my flat.”

“You live in a Muggle building?”

Draco glared. “Don’t try to find me.”

“I won’t.” Folding up the paper, Potter put it in the back pocket of his jeans.

“Well, then.” Switching his expression to a seductive smile, Draco walked closer. He put his hand on Potter’s muscled chest, then slid his palm down—down into Potter’s jeans. He wrapped his hand around Potter’s dick. “Owl me,” Draco whispered, squeezed, and then let go.

“I will,” Potter said.

Draco sauntered away.

Pansy was going to kill him.

*

“Did you tell Potter who you are?” Pansy asked several days later.

“I have it under control,” Draco said.

Pansy raised a deceptively lazy brow. “That’s what you always say when you’ve got into a hopeless situation.”

“Hopeless?” Draco scoffed. “There’s nothing hopeless about it.”

“You said it when we followed Voldemort,” Pansy said. “You said it when I started selling myself on the streets. You said it when your father—”

“This is different,” Draco said. “I have a plan.”

“Your plans don’t—”

“They have so far,” Draco said, cutting her off. “It’s different than it was in school, Pansy. I’ve changed. I know him better now. I know exactly how to play him.”

“You don’t need to play him,” Pansy said. “Just walk away.”

Sneering, Draco turned from her. “You don’t understand.”

“You’re right. I don’t.”

“Then it’s fortunate I don’t need you,” Draco said.

*

Five.

The owls from Potter came to the P. O. Box every three to five days.

At first, they were invitations to events, similar to the appointments Potter had made with Verity—galas, banquets, balls, charities, fundraisers, celebrations. Draco drew up a private contract for every appointment, basing it on similar ones to those he’d had with Verity, keeping the vows of secrecy and safety so central to their business, adding the clause about not kissing on the mouth. The former would keep Potter feeling safe; the latter would keep him interested.

The appointments passed similarly to prior engagements, Draco continuing to woo the crowds under the guise of Tristan, Potter continuing to let him. Afterwards they returned to Hawthorn Lane and shagged.

Draco was careful to vary the sex. Defying expectations was important, and Potter didn’t strike him as the type to want the same thing every night. Sometimes Draco tied him up, fucking Potter hard and fast. Other times he went slowly, almost gently—hurting him the whole time, scratching spells and hexes that raised welts on Potter’s thighs and chest.

Just as often, however, Draco didn’t do any of that. Those nights were like the first night, except now Draco was prepared. He simply paid attention, studying Potter’s body, listening, adjusting to every movement and every moan. Those nights were often slow and hot, Potter under him—not quite surrendering, but desperate by the end, crazy for it.

On the third night that Draco shagged him, Potter asked him to spend the night.

“I don’t sleep over,” Draco told him.

“You did the first time,” Potter pointed out.

“The first night is an exception.”

Potter turned towards him in the bed. Draco didn’t enjoy talking after sex. In fact, he didn’t enjoy being anywhere near the person who had fucked him, but Potter hadn’t fucked him. Draco had fucked Potter, and Potter’s cleaning spells were—they were extremely vigorous, and Draco always felt . . . good after them. Extremely good.

“That’s not what the initial contracts said.”

Draco’s eyes flew open. “You read them?”

Potter’s brow raised a bit. Draco was as yet unsure, but he had a suspicion the brow-lifting was a precursor to the line at the side of his mouth, which was itself a precursor to the smile. The amusement in Potter’s voice confirmed the suspicion. “You thought I wouldn’t go back and check?”

Draco turned his head to look up at the ceiling. He kept his tone light, but in reality his heart was pounding. “I wasn’t sure you were literate.”

“Mm.” Potter traced an idle line on Draco’s chest, just around a nipple.

Draco’s nipples were not sensitive. He resisted shivering anyway.

“Those contracts didn’t say anything about kissing on the mouth either,” Potter said. “Only your new ones did.”

“It was in the fine print.”

“No. It wasn’t.” Potter’s hand moved from nipple to neck, tracing Draco’s throat to rest upon his chin, then tipping Draco head down. Potter’s face moved over Draco’s, so that Draco couldn’t help but look into his eyes. “You don’t want me to kiss you on the mouth,” Potter said.

“No,” Draco said.

Potter leaned down anyway, his mouth so close it almost brushed Draco’s. “I won’t do it if you don’t want me to.”

Potter’s breath was warm and clean, the way the air feels when it is humid but not unpleasant. Draco turned his face away. “It’s not in the contract.”

“Okay. I won’t.” Potter kissed the corner of Draco’s lips, along Draco’s jaw. Then Potter’s teeth were scraping just behind Draco’s ear. Inadvertently, Draco caught his breath, then gritted his teeth to keep himself from making any sound.

“Let’s go on a date,” Potter said.

“No.”

“Fine. Spend the night with me.” Potter’s lips were soft against the corner of Draco’s jaw.

“I said no.” Draco pushed him off, standing up from the bed and grabbing his wand. Summoning his clothes, he began to get dressed.

His refusals had nothing to do with Pansy. Draco still had the situation perfectly well in hand. This was just going to work better if Potter didn’t get complacent. If Potter could always rely upon Draco’s services, he could begin to take it for granted. Meanwhile, if Draco kept strictly to the appointments and did a thorough job in keeping them, Potter would always be left wanting more.

“I’m sorry,” Potter said. “I shouldn’t have pushed.”

Draco continued putting on his clothes.

“At least let me suck you,” Potter said.

Draco paused. Potter’s blow-jobs lacked finesse, but they were not unpleasant. Without looking up, Draco went on buttoning his shirt. “It will cost extra.”

“How much?” Potter got off the bed. “Seven hundred?” He started coming closer, and then he was close enough that Draco found himself backing up. Potter just kept coming. “A thousand?”

Draco’s back hit the door, but he looked at Potter defiantly anyway. They were of a height. If Potter weren’t such a brute, they would have been evenly matched. “Two thousand.” The price was unfair—Potter had just paid the same amount to get shagged, and blow-jobs were always less expensive. And usually they were the other way around—

But Potter deserved it.

“I don’t care,” Potter said, getting down on his knees. He opened the trousers Draco had just fastened.

“I suppose I can . . . stay for a little while.” Draco’s head thunked back against the door behind him, his hand burying itself in Potter’s hair.

Potter made a sound vaguely like a laugh, but there was no line, no smile—just hot breath huffing over Draco’s cock, and then Potter’s mouth was on him.

Draco’s hand tightened in Potter’s hair. He was only going to stay a little while.

*

Six.

On the fourth night Draco shagged him, Potter said, “If you can’t stay the night, stay the month.”

Draco snorted. “How would that work, exactly?” he said, turning towards Potter on the bed.

Potter cupped Draco’s cheek with his hand, his palm broad and calloused. “I don’t want you by the hour.” He took his hand away.

“If I won’t stay the night, why in Merlin’s name would I stay a month?”

“I’d make a compelling offer.”

Draco allowed a faint smirk to cross his face. “You do realize this isn’t how negotiation works.”

“Three hundred thousand Galleons.”

Draco felt himself go blank. “What?”

“A million. Since you like to charge triple.”

Draco lay back on the bed. “Oh, I see,” he said, forcing a laugh. “You’re joking.”

“Your hourly rate times twenty four, times thirty days for a month, times three.”

“My hourly rate,” Draco said.

“What you charge for shagging me, and letting me suck you. Sometimes that takes less than an hour. Do you want more?”

Draco sat up quickly, the sheet pooling around his waist. “You don’t have that many Galleons.” He looked over his shoulder at Potter. “No one has that many.”

Potter’s mouth was a flat line. “They pay me to use their brooms. They pay me to wear clothes. They send it all to me for free and then they pay me to use it.” Swinging his legs over the other side of the bed, Potter bent down to grab his jeans. While putting them on, he said, “After the war I didn’t know what I was doing. They wanted me to advertise, so I did it. They wanted my picture, so I let them take it.”

Standing up, Potter pulled his jeans on the rest of the way, then turned around. “Arthur made sure I was protected, so I’ve got royalties. Even giving eighty percent of what I’ve got to charities, I’ve still got too much. They keep using those adverts, and the checks keep rolling in. You’ve seen this house. It’s all I want. I’ve more money than I know what to do with.”

Draco started laughing. He laughed and laughed.

“I know,” Potter said. “If only Ron could have this problem.”

Tears leaked out of the corner of Draco’s eyes.

“I don’t care about the money,” Potter said. “I like you. I like your company. I want you to stay with me longer.”

Draco swallowed, making the laughter stop. “Interestingly enough, you can’t always get what you want.”

“I can pay.”

“It isn’t an issue of payment.”

“What is it an issue of?”

“Oh, Harry.” Draco made Tristan’s voice sound soft. “I simply don’t have the time.”

As Potter looked down at him, Draco looked innocently back up. “You’re sure you won’t reconsider?”

“I can’t.” Shaking his head, Draco managed to sound sincerely regretful. “I have other obligations.”

“I understand,” Potter said, putting his knee down on the bed and leaning in over Draco. His lips brushed Draco’s cheek.

Draco turned his head. “It will cost extra if you want me to come in your mouth tonight.”

Expecting Potter to pull back as though slapped, Draco was surprised to hear Potter laugh. The sound was low and warm against Draco’s hair. “You’re a treasure,” Potter said, pulling away.

Confused, Draco couldn’t tell if Potter was being sarcastic.

“How much extra?” Potter asked, and then his hand was underneath the sheet, warmly wrapping around Draco’s cock.

Draco let out a breath in surprise.

Potter squeezed, firm and sure. Draco wasn’t certain how Potter’s hands had got so rough; he had worked a day in his life. “I said, how much?” Potter squeezed again.

“Thirty percent more,” Draco said quickly. His voice was breathless, a trifle high.

“Because tonight you’re particularly grouchy? Or just because?”

Potter was stroking him now, and Draco struggled to make his voice steady. “I can do what I want.”

“Of course you can,” Potter said, his voice amused. “Spread your thighs for me.”

There was something about that, spread your thighs, that stirred something deeply in Draco. The words felt like a button, triggering an automatic response, and Draco spread them, spread them wide, sinking down and opening up. Potter was going to suck him and he needed access; Draco was going to give it, let his eyes roll back in his head and lie there, just lie there, while Potter did the work.

“The offer stands,” Potter said.

Draco opened his eyes, lifting himself up to look. Potter still had his hand wrapped around Draco’s cock, but his eyes were on Draco’s face.

“A million Galleons,” Potter said.

“No,” Draco said, feeling strangely sulky, even though the fact that Potter wanted to make the offer again should have been a victory.

“Just think about it,” Potter said. Then his warm, wet mouth enveloped Draco’s cock and Draco couldn’t think about anything at all.

*

Draco didn’t even think twice about turning down the money.

The amount didn’t even really matter. Power over Potter wouldn’t be got through money, and though Draco supposed he should have felt regret at turning down that much, he didn’t. Instead it felt sweet—so, so sweet, the amount that Potter had offered, that Potter was willing to go to those lengths, and Draco could simply say no. Denying Potter gave Draco the upper hand and he revelled in it; having that dominance was heady, like sex was for other people.

And Draco was already making money without Potter’s loot. Aside from the contracts with Potter on the side, Draco was still working with all his regular clients. Pansy couldn’t complain that he wasn’t pulling his weight for Verity.

She was no doubt aware of Draco’s extracurricular activities. Pansy had her ways, and at the very least, Tristan’s face was always in the wizarding news. Draco couldn’t very well avoid it, going to public functions with Potter as he did, and furthermore he didn’t wish to avoid it. He loved having his picture taken, posing, setting his figure off to advantage. Everyone reading all the gossip magazines and columns were wondering who he was, and Draco’s only regret was that he could not give interviews.

Reporters tried, of course, but when they looked for Tristan Bonchance, they couldn’t find a trace of him. Many speculated that the name was an alias, but no one guessed the reason why.

Pansy had to know better, and yet she kept silent on the issue. Not wanting to invoke further remonstrance, Draco didn’t say anything about it either. His appointments with Potter were not her business anyway. Pansy had no right to complain as long as Draco continued pleasing their regular clients.

And please them Draco did, straight up until he couldn’t stop thinking of Potter whenever someone shagged him.

The first time it happened Draco was with Monty Nils, one of Verity’s oldest and most regular clients. Nils was never very complicated. He liked the same thing every time, and Draco wore one of his early creations with Masker Ade—an angelic face with brown curls named Winston.

They’d already got past the preliminaries; Draco had undressed Nils, stroked him into hardness, murmuring sweet and dirty things just the way Nils liked. They’d made it to Nils’s bed—wide, always clean, comfortable if a little lumpy, and Nils had cast protection spells.

“Gonna fuck you now,” said Nils.

“Come here and do it, then,” Draco said, spreading his legs. “I’ve been needing a man to fuck me.”

“You want a real man’s prick inside you.”

“Mm,” Draco said. “I can’t wait. Just want a big man like you to come fuck me with his monster cock.”

As Nils entered him, Draco spread his legs and groaned, just as Nils liked. Draco was completely flaccid, but it didn’t matter—focus was of utmost importance. There were nuances to the way Nils moved inside of him—sometimes he wanted Draco just to lie back and take it; other times he liked Draco to hold himself open, egg Nils on. Knowing when to moan was an art, keeping Nils going at a slowly building pace until Draco started getting louder, rocking with him, more desperate. Most orgasms were enjoyable, but the idea was to provide the best one, the kind that kept them coming back.

Draco prided himself on it. Even with clients still more oblivious than Nils, attention to detail was essential. Little things could tell Draco how to move, how to adjust, how to shift or moan just so.

For instance, Potter wasn’t very easy to read, which was interesting considering how expressive he had been at school. Draco had his number, though. He knew all about Potter, knew that the firm set of Potter’s mouth was simply the way his face was set and meant nothing, unless you looked into the eyes. He knew the way that Potter’s eyes widened slightly, when Draco entered him, knew that the flicker in the retina was swiftly subdued fire.

When Draco shagged him, he could read Potter’s jaw going harder, tenser—even if it was only a slight thinning of Potter’s lips Draco knew; he knew that when he angled himself just so, Potter’s mouth would finally sag open. He’d gulp for air, a rough, strangled sound, and Draco would know he had him.

He had him, and that feeling was just so intense, so exhilarating, because Potter was coming apart even though Draco was wrapped in his tight, warm heat—

“You’re loving this,” said Nils.

“Hm?”

“Love my big cock ramming into you.”

“I—” Draco began, then realized he was hard. Nils must have noticed, and Draco panicked. “Oh yes, I love it,” Draco said quickly, automatically. “I love big cocks filling me; I love getting the cock of a real man—”

“Yeah.” Nils grunted. “You love it.”

“Oh, yeah.” Relaxing again, Draco lifted his legs, tilting his hips, opening himself more. “Yeah, that’s all I need, a big fat prick to fill me.”

“Yeah.” Nils thrust harder. “Yeah, want it so bad.”

Draco babbled a bit more. As long as there was a hole to fuck Nils would basically be happy. He didn’t seem to notice at all that Draco had been drifting, but Draco noticed.

He couldn’t stop thinking about it.

This had never happened to him before. He never started thinking about one client when he was with a different one. He focused on the person he was with, devoting the time and attention necessary to divine their wants and needs. And yet, it happened again. And again.

Three weeks later, when Draco was letting Fox Fitz-Lloyd fuck him, he thought there was no way that it could happen. Fitz-Lloyd was large and a trifle violent, but Verity had kept him as a client because he was quick, clean, and paid very well. Although he had never hurt an escort, he kept Draco on his toes, lest any of his predilections take a turn towards danger. Other than that, the job was never difficult, as Fitz-Lloyd preferred a passive fuck—someone who would lay there and take it and not say anything.

Honestly, the shag was boring, and while Draco lay there with his legs open getting pounded, his mind began to drift. Potter had owled about a wedding; the request was rather short notice, as Potter had thought he wouldn’t originally bring a date. At the last minute, however, Potter had decided Tristan would make the whole thing more entertaining, and had hired him for the evening.

Draco could wear formal white robes. And then that night Draco could leave them on while Potter begged to kiss him, while Potter’s mouth nipped and licked along Draco’s jaw. And Potter was more tan, his skin darker than Draco’s, which sometimes in the lamp-light made him look gold all over, and Nimue’s Oak the way his legs would just fall open like he was ready to be taken, and his cock—

Potter’s cock was always ready even though Draco rarely used it, only sometimes stroked it for him, and that was shocking wasn’t it, because Potter’s cock was just so big—

Draco wondered what it would feel like inside of him.

Fitz-Lloyd bore down particularly hard, and Draco gasped.

“Shut up,” said Fitz-Lloyd. “Whore.”

This kept happening: Draco thinking of Potter while another client was fucking him, and slowly getting off on it. There were even several nights Draco found his own hand creeping down beneath his satin sheets; he was having dreams, hard in the middle of the night, and that never happened. It didn’t happen. Draco had so much other sex that his prick was uninterested completely; he didn’t want it, and yet it kept happening. Draco found himself frantically wanking in pre-dawn hours—thinking of nothing, desperately thinking of nothing—almost twice a week now.

The problem was Potter. Potter wasn’t sexy—it wasn’t that. Potter was still a buffoon, overly muscled—though sleek, Draco had to give him that. There wasn’t extra muscle, and said muscles weren’t individually defined and veiny, like some of those Fiendfyre fighter models or dragon wrestlers. His arms were just bigger than they should be—though well proportioned, really, and his waist was quite trim and narrow—

But Potter wasn’t attractive. Draco wasn’t attracted to him. The problem was that Potter was Potter, and Draco wanted desperately to defeat him. He’d always wanted that, and Pansy was right, to some extent—Draco was obsessed. He wasn’t obsessed with Potter for himself, because Potter was an idiot, but Draco never had been able to stop thinking about Potter.

On top of that, Potter wanted him to top. It had just been so long since Draco had had any kind of control when it came to sex, and even though Potter was the one giving it to him, it was heady. It was just so heady, and Draco felt so free and hedonistic with Potter spread before him; he felt like he could do anything.

And Draco didn’t know why he shouldn’t. There was no reason he had to stop it. He was in control of this situation, perfectly in control. He might be thinking of sex more lately because he’d been having more—the regular contracts from Verity, plus Potter on the side, not to mention how much Potter liked to suck Draco off. If Draco wanted to, he could have cut the contracts off with Potter; he didn’t want them, except for the money and the power. Meanwhile, the money and the power were quite pleasant, thank you.

Just to prove it, Draco dashed off a quick owl to Potter to let him know that they wouldn’t be shagging after the wedding, explaining that he had another appointment. That would keep Potter on edge, waiting, and prove that Draco could quit any time. He could do anything he wanted—have sex with Potter or not have sex with Potter, anything he chose. Potter sent back a brief message saying that he understood.

And if Pansy asked, this would be proof that Draco knew exactly what he was doing.

*

Seven.

When Draco arrived in the formal white robes to go to the wedding with Potter, he was still resolved not to have sex with Potter that night. They would just do the wedding, and then Draco would go home. Perhaps on the next appointment, they would shag again.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” Draco asked, when Potter opened the door to the house at the end of Hawthorn Lane.

Looking over Draco’s white formal-wear, Potter swallowed. “Yes,” he said, his voice sounding thick.

Draco made a light tsking sound. “That won’t do,” he said, stepping inside the house.

“Oh,” said Great Aunt Walburga, sounding surprised. “You look—rather nice.”

“Thank you, Misses Black. Harry, come with me.” Draco took Potter to the bedroom.

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” said Potter, as Draco proceeded to his wardrobe, scanning it for better garments.

Draco gave him a reproachful glance. “Someone is getting married.”

Potter looked down at his clothing. “I thought I dressed nice.”

Draco smiled. On Draco, the expression would have been patronizing. With Tristan’s features, hopefully it looked fond. “It’s a wedding. You can’t dress casually.”

“I’m pretty sure they’re going to be casual.”

Draco turned back to the wardrobe. “It’s disrespectful.”

Potter came to look over Draco’s shoulder.

Potter was very close. Draco pulled out a dove-grey robe, but it was almost as unsuitable as Potter’s current attire.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come back and stay a little while after the wedding?” Potter said.

“I told you.” Draco tossed the robe back and pulled out a new one. “I’m otherwise engaged later this evening.”

“We can leave early.”

“What are the colours?”

“Colours?” Potter’s breath was hot on Draco’s neck.

“Yes, colours.” Draco was annoyed, but he was also aware that Potter found it endearing that Draco was respectful towards people getting married. Potter was a troll. “What colours are the bridesmaids? The flowers?”

“I don’t know.” Sure enough, Potter sounded amused.

“Honestly, Harry.” Draco turned to face him again.

Potter’s narrow eyes were bright. “Sometimes you sound just like Hermione.”

“I suppose I’ll take that as a compliment,” Draco said. In reality, he was appalled by the comment, though coming from Potter, he supposed it was meant to be positive. And Granger was quite a brilliant witch—she was just so self-righteous. Although the last time Draco had talked to her she’d seemed fairly even-handed on most issues, and—

Draco took out his wand. “I suppose I’ll have to do it myself,” he said. “It won’t be as good as a magic tailor, but it will have to do.”

“What will have to do?”

But Draco was already pointing his wand, altering Potter’s clothing to be more formal—high quality, but also understated. Draco'd had quite a bit of practice doing similar things when he had been on the streets—no one wants to fuck a boy in rags, and he hadn’t lost the skill, though now he could afford any clothes he wanted.

Potter was silent as Draco cast, just as Draco meant him to be. The wash of someone’s magic moving over you, that close to you, that intimately, could be quite erotic. Taking longer with the spells, just so Potter would have a chance to admire his magical prowess and the way he looked casting spells, Draco furrowed his brow and worried his lip with his teeth. They were old habits that Draco had tried hard to curb when thinking deeply, but Draco would lay money on the bet that Potter would find them attractive.

Draco would have won that bet, too. When at last he was done, Potter’s voice was tight. “Tristan,” he said, reaching for him.

Neatly, Draco stepped away. “Those should last the evening,” Draco said, “but not past the night, I’m afraid. They’ll revert to their former state, with some wear.”

Potter’s mouth quirked, making the line flash and disappear. “Am I Cinderella?”

“I think I make a rather good fairy godmother, don’t you?”

“No.”

The fairy godmother of legend had been a very powerful witch. Draco put his wand away. Perhaps next time he might do some stronger spells, just something to make Potter—

Potter stepped in close, hot breath across Draco’s face. “I think you’re the prince,” Potter said.

“Mm.” Draco stroked a slow finger down the lapel he had just Transfigured. “Are you an evil stepmother?”

“No.” Potter leaned in, and Draco let him get close—so close, until Potter’s breath was in his mouth and Draco could taste it, warm and wet, and Potter’s mouth was almost touching his—

“We had better get to your wedding.”

“Yes,” said Potter. “Are you ready to Apparate?”

“Yes,” Draco said. “Who’s getting married, anyway?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Potter said. “George Weasley.”

They Side-Alonged.

*

The wedding was a disaster. There were Weasleys everywhere. There were even other Weasleys, Weasleys Draco had never even heard of before—Arthur Weasley’s second cousin from Australia or something; it was terrible.

This affair was nothing at all like the other events Draco had attended with Potter. Here, Potter knew everyone and seemed to actually like them. He wanted to talk to them; he asked them questions; he smiled. Even though he still didn’t talk much, he never once stood in a corner, and he seemed to listen to everything everybody said.

Potter had a large laugh. Draco couldn’t ever remember hearing it before.

There were the low chuckles in bed, in Draco’s ear, a soft husky laugh whenever Draco was acting particularly spoilt. Draco couldn’t remember actual laughter—that rich, velvet sound, the way Potter threw his head back, exposing the line of his throat. Draco had seen it in school—he knew he had seen it at school, Potter chortling with his friends, mocking Slytherins, crowing over his latest triumphs. Draco just couldn’t remember that it had sounded like this. Possibly Potter’s voice had deepened since then.

Furthermore, the Weasleys did not know how to put on a wedding.

Draco remembered going to tons of weddings when he was little. Father and Mother had known so many people and been so important, Draco had attended a wedding what felt like every other month or so. He knew how they were meant to be. They were large and white, with rows of flowers, and magic pipes playing at one end; the bride was meant to have a veil that trailed halfway down the formal hall.

Meanwhile Weasley and Johnson were getting married in Johnson’s mother’s yard, and Johnson wasn’t even wearing white. Her bridesmaids didn’t match, and Charlie Weasley wasn’t even wearing robes—just shirtsleeves and a waistcoat, and what looked like work-a-day trousers.

People were meant to stand in straight lines and be silent, and after the ceremony they were all meant to file out in a particular order. The reception was meant to be lavish, with white tablecloths and champagne, with ten or so elegant, slightly biting speeches. Meanwhile, Weasley and Johnson had a curry buffet and kegs of ginger beer, and Lee Jordan deejayed music by the Weird Sisters.

Everyone here was either a Weasley or someone who had hated Draco at Hogwarts, and the overlap between those two categories was wide. All of that ridiculous gang of troublemakers from fifth year was there—“Dumbledore’s Army”, they had called themselves—even Zacharias Smith and Anthony Goldstein. Bloody McGonagall was there, and Draco thought he caught sight of Minister Shacklebolt.

With Potter being a veritable social butterfly in comparison to his typical behaviour, Draco’s usual trick of stealing the spotlight was not on. During the ceremony, Draco was pierced by a rage so deeply penetrating that he was convinced he would do something foolish. Pansy was always saying he did foolish things when he was worked up and she was mainly right—he’d chased Potter in Dementor’s clothing, after all, and challenged Potter to that duel; she was right that he generally lost it when it came to Potter and—

But that was in the past. Draco was only reacting this way because so many of his enemies from his childhood were here. The Articles of Reconstruction had pushed him down, and these people had left him to rot. They had all forgotten him, expecting those who had been defeated in the war to slither under rocks somewhere and lick their wounds, always hid in darkness. They expected him to be stunted, small; they didn’t think he could rise up—

But Draco had. Even if he couldn’t wear his own face, Draco had money now, and a flat, posh clothes—not to mention he had Potter eating out of the palm of his hand. Draco was in control; he could be, even though the Articles of Reconstruction had crushed him and trod upon him, still he survived. Still he was strong, against their every expectation.

“Are you all right?” Potter asked, leaning in.

At the front of the crowd, Johnson said, “I do.”

“Swimming,” Draco murmured back. His voice was infinitely calm.

After that came the reception, but Draco was in control of himself now. He knew what to do.

“Hermione!” Draco called, his voice pleased.

“Tristan,” Granger said, clasping his hand.

“You look absolutely ravishing,” Draco told her. “Your hair is beyond incandescent—a web of stars.”

Granger blushed. “It’s nothing, really.” Putting a self-conscious hand to her hair, she added, “I use a potion.”

“Veela’s breath?” Draco said.

“How did you—”

“I use it all the time,” Draco said easily. “Do you think my own hair is naturally curly?”

“I hadn’t considered.”

The hair Granger was looking at was not Draco’s own hair at all, of course, and he didn’t use a styling product. The curls were solely a result of Masker Ade. Draco had finessed the potion in order to achieve exactly the sandy curls that would complement Tristan’s fine, narrow face—so similar to Draco’s own, and yet so markedly different that no one would ever know it. “Let me tell you about my modifications,” said Draco, “and then tell me why Misses Angelina ever consented to marry such a churl.”

Granger laughed. “George?”

Draco waved a dismissive hand. “All men are churls when they are marrying women as pretty as that.”

“Surely not all men,” Potter said, coming up beside him.

“Harry is the most churlish of all,” Draco told Granger.

“I don’t think Harry will ever marry a pretty woman,” Granger said, looking between the two of them.

“He’ll have to settle for a plain one. Excuse me,” Draco said. “But is that—it isn’t—is that Minerva McGonagall?” He pointed through the crowd.

Granger turned to look, while Potter said, “How do you know McGonagall?”

Draco looked at Potter as though he were crazy. “Minerva McGonagall? The Headmistress of Hogwarts? She was a hero in the war, not to mention a prestigious figure in academia.”

“Oh,” said Potter.

“I know that your tiny brain can’t cope with things, but I—you wouldn’t—could you introduce me, Harry?”

The line appeared beside Potter’s mouth. “You’ve never needed to be introduced before.”

“Harry.” Here Draco turned beguiling. “Please?”

Something shifted in Potter’s face.

“You better introduce him, Harry,” Hermione said. “That pout could ruin a kingdom.”

“I’m not pouting.” Draco pouted. “I’m earnestly entreating.”

Putting his Butterbeer down on a nearby table, Potter took Draco’s arm, then guided him to McGonagall. Draco then proceeded to gush—not in the entirely embarrassing way that would have set the old bat on edge, but in a sincere, respectful manner. Essentially, Draco treated her with the dignity that McGonagall had never once afforded him or his family, instead demonstrating the sycophantic favouritism she had always displayed towards Potter.

McGonagall was charmed.

Molly Weasley was next, then Ronald once again, then Lee Jordan, then Alicia Spinnet and all of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Every enemy, Draco romanced.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself,” Potter murmured, finding Draco alone for the first time.

“I like your friends,” Draco told Potter, smiling at him brightly.

“They like you.” Potter’s lips brushed Draco’s hair.

“I get the feeling that we would not all have got on so well in school.”

“Why?”

“They would say I don’t come from a good family. I . . .” Looking to Potter, Draco found green eyes so sympathetic—so eager to accept. Deceiving Potter was almost too easy. “I’m an escort,” Draco said softly.

“I don’t care,” Potter said. His eyes were just so gentle. “No one here cares, Tristan. It’s what’s inside that counts.”

“I think that if they knew—really knew—they’d hate me.”

“Tristan.” Potter edged closer. “That’s not true.”

Draco gave him a blankly innocent expression. “Isn’t it?”

“No.” Potter came closer still, almost pressed up against him—right there in the middle of the dance floor. “Tristan, let me—”

“Get a room!”

Twisting to see who had spoken, Draco finally came eye to eye with the groom—George Weasley. George Weasley, who had locked Montague in the Vanishing Cabinet for months and months and never got punished for it; George, who had pranked and humiliated Slytherins for years and years without so much as a slap on the wrist.

“So,” said George, clapping a hand on Draco’s shoulder. “You’re the bloke who’s got Harry all tied up in knots.”

“Periodically I untie him,” Draco said, keeping his voice smooth. He turned to Potter. “Don’t I, dearest?”

Potter’s eyes darkened.

“You’re from France, aren’t you?” Weasley went on.

“Yes.” Draco slipped his arm in Potter’s, still turned towards him. “That thing I did with my tongue the other day? That was French.”

“You should talk with Fleur,” said Weasley.

“I would,” said Draco, turning back to Weasley, “but I’m afraid I’ve been captivated by the most beautiful woman in the room—the one with the braids wearing green? She was up at the front a bit ago.”

Weasley beamed. “Yeah, she’s really fit.”

“Quite so,” said Draco. “I don’t know what that pillock up there beside her did to deserve her.”

“I’ve no idea either.” Weasley’s beam increased. “Lucky bastard!”

“He truly is fortunate,” Draco said, squeezing Potter’s arm. “Isn’t he, darling?”

“Yes,” said Potter. “Fortunate.”

“Bloody great to meet you,” Weasley said, pumping Draco’s hand. “But you know, booty calls.” Waggling his eyebrows, Weasley dropped Draco’s hand, then gave Johnson an enthusiastic wave from across the room.

“I want you to fuck me,” Potter said.

“Pardon?” Startled, Draco looked around the room, but everyone at the reception was loud and talking to each other, and no one had heard.

Potter leaned closer. “Fuck me,” he said in a hoarse whisper, “right now. Take me home.”

Draco pulled away. “What’s got you so—”

“Watching you with my friends,” said Potter. “It doesn’t matter who you are, Tristan. You’re—I want you.”

Looking around again, Draco saw that Potter was perhaps only half wrong. It did matter who Draco was; if they found out that he was Draco Malfoy, they would have turned him out into the cold, just as they had done when they passed the Articles of Reconstruction. And yet, Draco had managed to win them anyway; he had won again, not just a room full of strangers but all of Hogwarts, all his former enemies, everyone he had ever hated. The wrath that had been seething in Draco’s veins all evening took a hold of him, intermingled with glory.

“Take me home and fuck me,” Potter said roughly, and the words hit Draco like a physical jolt, a thrill of arousal so hard he rocked back on his heels.

“Yes,” Draco said hotly.

“If you’re with me, it’ll get you through the wards,” Potter said. “Apparate us.”

Draco did so without a second thought.

*

Draco spent almost the whole next day in his flat.

When he’d got back from Hawthorn Lane late in the night, he’d tumbled directly into bed, only getting up after several hours to eat, take a bath, then go back to bed again. When he woke yet again, he wanked, just because he could. He could, now, when for a long time, he hadn’t wanted to—hadn’t even been able to get it up just for the fun of it, had only managed to do it when it was needed.

Draco could do this all day—eat, sleep, get off, wash, eat, sleep. Ignoring the fact that he did, in fact, do this all day, Draco wanked himself to completion, closing his eyes and thinking of nothing. This was better. Things were so much better now; Draco had made things better for himself, and he had curled up afterwards with that thought and a smile.

He didn’t think about how he hadn’t meant to fuck Potter after the wedding the night before. It had simply happened. Circumstances had called for it.

When Draco awakened again it was early evening. He’d just got himself something to eat when Pansy Apparated in.

“What in Salazar’s name do you think you’re doing?”

“This is my flat, in case you’ve forgotten,” Draco told her.

“A Weasley wedding.” Pansy tossed a newspaper on the sleek coffee table. “You went to a Weasley wedding with him, Draco.”

“Is it the loss of revenue that bothers you?” Draco put his dinner plate on the bar, open to the kitchen. “Or the fact that I’ve managed to continually contract a client worth more than you’ve ever managed?”

“You’re delusional.” Pansy came around the table, while Draco gave an eloquent shrug.

“He’s offered to buy me for a month.”

Pansy stopped dead. “What.”

“He wants to give me a million Galleons.”

“Why?”

“I expect he likes me.”

Pansy came closer. “Do you like him?”

Draco flinched. “Pardon?”

Pansy came closer still. “Do you like him?”

Draco rolled his eyes. “For Merlin’s sake, Pansy. Do you take me for an imbecile?”

“Yes.”

He likes me,” Draco hissed. “He dotes on me. If you only knew the things he lets me do to him—”

“What things?”

Draco gave her a wolfish grin. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

“Not particularly.” Pansy’s expression was flat. “I’m not interested in the sexual antics between our worst enemy and someone I used to trust, who’s now gone completely off his—”

“I’m using him,” Draco said. “Can’t you see that this is to our advantage? I can make him do anything I want.”

Pansy’s mouth went tight. “He’s using you. For sex. I don’t care what he lets you do to him. Draco, you’re a prostitute, or have you forgotten what he reduced us to when—”

“He doesn’t think of it like that,” Draco said. “He wants me for myself.”

Pansy had been leaning forwards, but now she reared back. Her shiny black hair, piled atop her head, made her pointed, pale face look exceptionally stark. “He doesn’t know who you are,” she said.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Draco said impatiently. “He wants me for who he thinks I am. I think I could make him . . .” He trailed off as a sudden idea struck.

“You can’t make him do anything,” Pansy said. “He’s Harry Potter.”

“I can make him fall in love with me.”

“Draco—”

“Hear me out.” Draco came closer. “You don’t understand the way he needs me. The way he craves my body. Over the last six months, I’ve made him—”

“People don’t fall in love with prostitutes,” Pansy said, her voice deceptively even. She always got that way when she wanted to shake someone. “They fall in love with someone they’ve imagined, someone they—”

“But you see, it hardly matters if he falls for me, or something I’ve created. I can make him want me, unable to live without me. Not just in body—his heart, his soul. Don’t you see, Pansy, I could own him.”

Why?” And Pansy’s calm suddenly broke, the word high-pitched and shrill the way Pansy never was—not any more, not since the war. She sounded like a frightened little girl, and in that moment, Draco felt sorry for her, so sorry. She didn’t see. She couldn’t see. “Draco,” she went on, coming closer, touching him, “you’ve got what you wanted from him. You don’t need Potter’s heart; you don’t need his soul. This obsession—”

“It’s about power,” Draco said, frustrated by her blindness. “Once I’ve crushed him, we’ll . . .”

“We’ll what?”

Draco thought of something quick. “To begin with, we’ll strike down the Articles of Reconstructions. We’ll allow Slytherins and those of us who escaped sentence to Azkaban to live in proper wizarding districts. We’ll—I’ll get a respectable job on the board at Hogwarts, like Father—”

“Draco.” Pansy gripped his arms. “Listen to yourself.”

Draco jerked away. “I’m listening.”

“What does any of that have to do with making Potter fall for you? At the very most, you’ll make him angry with you—and then where will you be?”

There was a time when Draco would have shared Pansy’s viewpoint, but the more Draco thought about it, the more he knew that he was right. He had not considered it before, but he was most certainly right. He couldn’t only make Potter want him; he could make Potter love him. “You don’t know him.” Draco sneered. “You don’t know him like I do. Potter is lonely—weak. He hungers for companionship—not just sex. He wants someone to take away his burdens, and he thinks that I’m the one who’ll do that.”

Pansy started laughing.

Draco scowled.

“The idea that Potter is lonely,” Pansy said. “That’s just funny.”

“I said he thinks he is.”

“How could he?” Pansy said. “He’s world famous. There are Harry Potter action figures, Draco. Harry Potter-themed bands.”

Draco’s scowl deepened. “They don’t know Harry Potter either. They think he’s—” Draco cut himself off, trying to think of what to say. “They don’t know who he really is. They know a persona.”

“Ah.” There was something decidedly sardonic in Pansy’s face that Draco didn’t like. “So, you’re the only one who knows the real Harry Potter. Meanwhile, he has no clue as to the real you.”

Draco could feel his frustration building. “How could he?”

“Whenever you used to talk about Potter in school, you were always talking about yourself.”

“That was then. Things are different now.”

“No,” Pansy said. “They’re not. Draco.” Pansy’s voice went soft, and Draco hated it when she did this. He hated it, and he was particularly irked that she was using it on him now—now that he finally knew what he was doing, finally had a plan. She was just so blind. “End this,” she said gently. “It’s your heart you’d be risking, not his.” Pansy laid her hand on his chest.

“My heart has nothing to do with it.” Draco pushed away her hand, irritated by just how little she understood. “Just wait and see.”

“Somehow I knew you’d say that.” Pansy turned away, something tragic about her profile, those slumped shoulders, all that glossy hair.

The loveliness of her only made Draco angrier. “You’ll see,” Draco said. “He’ll get what’s coming.”

“Yes,” said Pansy sadly. “I suppose you will.”

Her Apparition didn’t pop. Instead she slowly faded into the air.

The relaxed calm that had suffused Draco for the entire day peeled back just like wrapping paper, and Draco felt frustration boil over. He could win. He was going to win. He could prove it to her, and then she would see.

*

Eight.

Draco rang the bell at the house on the end of Hawthorn Lane holding only a single small valise. The clothing, accoutrement, and other things he would need for the month were shrunken down and organized within the bag. Draco had dressed in well-fitted trousers and a tailored silk shirt, casual attire but still sharper than anything Potter would ever wear.

When Potter opened the door he looked surprised; then he sucked in a breath. “We didn’t have an appointment,” he said.

“I reconsidered your offer,” Draco said. “To stay the month.”

Potter just looked at him, and a sudden sinking feeling gathered on Draco’s shoulders. Potter had asked, obviously—multiple times, but that didn’t mean that the offer was still on. Perhaps Potter had changed his mind or now wasn’t a good time. Now that Draco thought about it he could hear sounds coming from within the house—after all, Potter could just hire any other escort and then—

“Come in,” said Potter, opening the door wider.

Draco went in, and Potter’s eyes raked over him. There was a laugh from within the kitchen—Potter definitely had company.

“Are you sure?” said Potter.

Draco lifted his chin. “Yes.”

“Do you have a contract?”

Opening the valise, Draco took out a scroll. “You can take the opportunity to look it over. I can come back another—”

“No.” Potter opened his hand and a quill appeared in it—yet another instance of wandless magic. Draco would have assumed Potter was showing off, but Potter was already flattening the scroll against the wall and scrawling on the bottom line. He hadn’t even read it. He hadn’t even looked at it, and then he was snapping the parchment into a roll and handing it back to Draco.

Draco put it in the valise.

“I’ve a couple friends from the wedding visiting,” said Potter. “I’ll ask them to leave. Come with me?”

“I . . .” Draco swallowed. “I can stay in the front room.”

Potter looked at him again, just looked, and there wasn’t a line beside his mouth. Draco remembered thinking Potter’s eyes were cold, but they weren’t. They weren’t anything. Draco couldn’t read anything in Potter’s face, nothing at all, except he obviously wanted Draco there; he was telling his guests to leave; he’d signed the contract—

“I don’t have a problem with my friends knowing you’ll be staying here a while,” Potter said.

“I didn’t mean to impose,” Draco murmured. “Forgive me; I should have given you notice that I was coming. I can wait until—”

“There’s nothing to forgive. Come with me.”

So Draco put his valise in the sitting-room and then went with Potter to the kitchen, where Granger, several Weasleys, and Jordan all seemed to be drinking Butterbeer. They recognized Tristan, and there were a couple hellos before Potter said, “I’m very sorry everyone. Something came up.”

“Is everything all right?” said Granger.

“Tristan’s moving in,” said Harry. “Tonight. I want to help him get his things sorted.”

“Moving in?” said Ron Weasley.

“We thought you were Harry’s party boyfriend,” Jordan said.

“Party boyfriend?” Draco said politely.

“Are you all right?” Granger asked, turning to Tristan.

“Yeah,” said Jordan. “Party boyfriend. We only ever saw you with Harry when there was a party. We thought maybe he paid you.”

“No,” said Harry. “I’ve been asking him for weeks. He only just said yes.”

“He wouldn’t be able to afford me,” said Draco.

Several of the company laughed.

“But so suddenly,” Granger said.

“I only decided tonight.” Draco glanced at Harry. “A whim, I’m afraid.”

“Stay and drink with us,” said Charlie.

“I want to get things settled,” said Harry.

“We see how it is,” said Ron.

“Do you need any help?” said Granger.

“I think we’ve got it under control,” Potter said.

“He’s got more than that under control,” Jordan said.

There were some other jokes and questions, but Draco wasn’t really hearing them. Potter was kicking his friends out of his house. For Draco. Hadn’t even asked any questions about it, hadn’t looked at the contract, hadn’t hesitated for a moment. Just completely stopped everything simply because Draco had shown up on his doorstep.

Draco wondered whether—if he had developed Tristan’s face earlier—he could have just shown up on Potter’s doorstep eight years ago and everything would have been solved. He could have just shown up, sucked Potter off, said he needed money, and then Draco would have been set for life—Draco and Pansy; they would never have needed to prostitute themselves; Draco could just be Potter’s kept boy—

Potter’s party of friends was heading down the corridor and Potter was behind them, ushering them out. Draco trailed behind him, unable to get the thoughts out of his head. Potter hadn’t even hesitated; he wanted Draco so much; Potter would do anything for him—

Everyone trooped out of the door, and Granger stopped to hug Potter round the neck. She whispered something in his ear, and Potter said, “I know. It’s fine,” then said goodbye. Granger left, and Potter shut the door.

Draco slammed him up against it.

“Oh,” said Potter.

Draco was biting Potter’s neck before he even knew what he was doing—licking and nipping and kissing because he couldn’t kiss him on the mouth, couldn’t put his tongue inside of him, but Draco was damn well going to put it everywhere else. He yanked Potter’s stupid t-shirt out of his stupid jeans and got it off him, then started kissing his chest, too.

Draco didn’t know whether he was angry or turned on or relieved or—or what; he just wanted Potter close to him, Potter against him, touching him—

Potter turned them, getting Draco against the wall instead, against the painting.

“Excuse me!” said Great Aunt Walburga.

“Tristan,” said Potter, kissing Draco’s jaw. The kissing wasn’t the gentle kind—violent and rough, hungry, and Potter’s thigh pressed hard between Draco’s legs. “Here?” Potter said.

“Here.” Draco’s hands were like claws in Potter’s hair, holding too much of it too tight. “Right here.”

“I think not!” said Great Aunt Walburga.

“Yes,” said Potter. He leaned down to kiss Draco’s neck, Draco’s hands still in his hair, and Draco knew he could make Potter do anything he wanted. He could make Potter do any damn thing he pleased, so he pressed down on Potter’s skull, tugged down on Potter’s hair.

Potter willingly went down on his knees.

“Open it up,” said Draco, and Potter was already doing it, jerking on the fastenings to Draco’s trousers, yanking on the fabric.

“This is an outrage!” said Walburga. “Perversions! Perversions!”

“Suck it,” Draco said, but Potter didn’t need to be told that either. Once Draco’s pants were open Draco’s hips canted forwards and Potter went eagerly, sucking willingly, and it was so, so good. Potter’s mouth was so hot and he was so eager, and Draco was making fists of Potter’s hair but it felt fantastic; it felt so fantastic.

Potter was so hot for him he’d kicked everyone out of his house so he could suck on Draco’s cock, and do it for an entire month, spend an entire month on his knees, and he was doing it in front of Great Aunt Walburga. Pansy had no idea. She had had no idea what she had been talking about; she hadn’t known that Potter was like this, that Potter wanted him like this. Potter wanted him so very badly, more than anyone in the world had ever wanted Draco, and it was so good. Everything about it was just so, so good.

“Befoulment!” said Walburga. “Prostitution!”

Draco canted his hips again. “Suck it,” he said, just to hear himself say it again. “Keep that sweet mouth on it.”

Harry Potter moaned around his cock.

“Desecration!” screamed Walburga.

Potter slid his hand up the back of Draco’s thighs, spreading them. Pulling his mouth off Draco’s cock, Potter said, “Hold on.” Then he waved his hands and Draco’s shoes and socks and trousers vanished.

“How—” Draco began.

“It’s just a spell.” Leaning in, Potter kissed him at the root, opened his mouth and dragged it along the side of Draco’s cock. His hand returned to the back of Draco’s thigh.

“But—”

“Let me,” said Potter. “I just want to.” Then he was lifting Draco’s leg and putting it over his shoulder, and Draco was obscenely open, legs spread right in Potter’s face, cock erect and pink—

Then Potter was going down on it again, hot wet mouth between Draco’s open legs and Draco didn’t care that his leg was draped over Potter’s shoulder. Whatever vulgar, deviant thing Potter wanted to do was perfectly fine, and Draco’s head thumped against the wall behind him. “Yes,” he breathed, because he didn’t even have to hold Potter’s head. Potter would just fuck his mouth with Draco’s cock because he loved it, and Draco could stand there with his legs wide open, his cock down Potter’s throat, and Potter would take it and take it and take it.

“Yes,” Draco said again, and arched his back. Potter was taking some of Draco’s weight now, Draco’s thigh heavy on Potter’s shoulder.

Then Potter put his hand on the back of Draco’s other thigh, and Draco knew what Potter was going to do.

An obscene sound left Draco’s mouth as Potter did it—lifted Draco’s other thigh over his other shoulder, proceeding to take all of Draco’s weight on his shoulders and holding Draco’s hips steady with two powerful hands. All of Draco’s weight was taken by his back against the wall and Potter’s shoulders, his thighs on either side of Potter’s face, and Potter just kept sucking him.

Draco didn’t know if Potter was using magic to hold him up, or maybe he was just really that strong, and it made Draco insane; it made him completely insane that Potter was carrying all of Draco’s weight and had Draco’s cock down his throat. He couldn’t stand it.

“Filth!” said Walburga. “Profanity!”

“I’m going to come down your throat,” Draco said.

“Has he really got you on his shoulders?” said Walburga, and Draco came.

He didn’t know how Harry held him up through it, but he did—Potter’s strong, solid hands on Draco’s arse as Draco twisted and writhed, then came slowly down.

Merlin.

Merlin.

It was white hot, and blind, and then when it was done Draco felt weak, spent. His legs were locked into position around Harry Potter’s head, and a part of him thought that was a good place for them—his cock always within reach of Harry Potter’s mouth.

Experimentally, Draco flexed a foot, then put his hand in Potter’s hair and tried to pull a leg off. The muscles were cramped in place, but eventually it came, and Draco got one foot on the ground.

Gently, Potter took Draco’s other thigh off of his shoulder, and Draco looked down. Potter’s stupidly chiselled face was clean. He’d swallowed it all down.

Potter stood up, and Draco couldn’t stop looking at Potter’s mouth. Draco wanted to taste it. He wanted to taste himself on Potter’s mouth. He shouldn’t want to but he did, and Draco’s knees felt weak anyway.

Holding onto Potter, Draco pushed him around, got him up against the wall, then sank to the ground.

“You might kill me,” Potter said.

“I’m only just getting started,” Draco said.

*