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My Life As A Butterfly

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Draco Malfoy knows a great many things. He knows Hermione Granger is the smartest witch he'd ever meet, and if he weren't gay he'd be in love with her; instead, he's just envious of how brilliant she really is. He also knows if she weren't best friends with Ron Weasley, he'd actually be her friend. Except, now he just scowls at them, gets jealous of her intellect and tries not to think about Harry Potter wrapping his arm around her in the Great Hall.

Harry Potter.

Draco Malfoy knows a great many things. He knows to stay the fuck away from Potter.

Being the son of two war heroes that both died in the Wizarding World War, had left Harry Potter an orphan but famous; he'd grown up with his godfather, Sirius Black. Black was a notorious troublemaker in his day and now it seemed, Potter was following in his footsteps. It wasn't just he was just like Black. According to Draco's godfather, Professor Snape, Potter was also just like his own father, James.

Rumours of Harry snogging three different girls and several blokes during the Yule Ball in Draco's fourth year had spread like wildfire, and then, he'd been put into detention for a year because he'd caused many of the jealous boyfriends, of said girls, to start a fight with him.

"The resemblance is uncanny," Professor Snape had once told Potter about him and his dad in one his classes he'd shared with Draco. He'd also called him 'exceedingly arrogant'. Draco could see that. Potter was all of those things. And that was why Draco stayed away from him.

He tries to tell himself it isn't because Potter is so handsome and popular, there are many other handsome and popular boys in seventh year, it is just that Potter is...dangerous. He'd be bad for Draco.

Very bad.

Except, Potter likes to show up everywhere Draco is and it's getting more and more difficult for Draco to avoid him. Blast the man for looking as good as he does. Draco hates himself for looking, then looking away, and then longing to look again.

Perhaps it's time for him to pass from sight.

——My Life As A Butterfly——

October 1997

When Sirius gave Harry the Marauder's Map, Harry never thought he'd use it to find the whereabouts of Draco Malfoy, of all people.

He remembered meeting Draco at Madam Malkin's robes shop, and Draco had been so obedient. He nodded and smiled at everything his mother told him, and then at the Hogwarts Express all the kids wanted to sit in the cabin with Draco. Everyone except for Ron and Hermione, of course. Hermione didn't know anyone on the train, because she was Muggleborn and it was her first time in the wizarding world. And Ron was just jealous of Draco. He is still jealous of his family's money; even though Harry tells him so many times having a loving family is better than having money.

Harry knows that, because he only has Sirius.

Now, years later, Harry sits on his bed, curtains drawn, and stares at the Marauder's Map. Draco Malfoy spends more time at the library than any one he knows. Even Hermione sometimes. He paces around in the Slytherin Common Room for two hours before he settles in for the night. What he's doing, Harry is very curious to know, but doesn't know who to ask. More importantly, he doesn't want anyone to know that he wants to ask. And then, there is the hour he spends in the Astronomy Tower every night. Sometimes at eleven, and other times at two in the morning; there seems to be no pattern to it. How does he never get caught?

Draco always stiffens up when he sees Harry in the Great Hall; they quickly lock gazes and then Draco rushes off. Harry has tried several different experiments during breakfast and lunch in order to see how Draco will react. He places an arm around Hermione and Draco glares. He puts an arm around Neville, leans in to whisper something, and Draco scowls.

During dinner, when Harry doesn't talk much—because Hermione is reading a book and Ron and Ginny are arguing over something Quidditch related—Harry looks at Draco who is in the midst of a story-telling and everyone around him is interested. Even the Head of the Slytherin house, because naturally he loves Draco, and for some reason, hates Harry.

Only at dinner, Draco is carefree. He engages himself with his friends, and that's when Harry likes to watch him the most. Without a Marauder's map, but just his own eyes. He can't stare, though, because then his friends would have millions of questions, and Harry wishes he could sneak under his Invisibility Cloak and really look at him. Maybe one day, he'll sneak into the Slytherin Common Room and find out why Draco paces around so much at night, too.

Harry knows he has a reputation. He's snogged a lot of people; even got off a few times here and there in the boys' bathroom. He doesn't mind the supposed 'bad boy' image everyone's given him; he does have a name to uphold. He's James Potter’s son and was raised by Sirius Black; he's supposed to be loved or envied by everyone. Maybe that's why Professor Snape hates him, too, so he can't let it show he likes Draco Malfoy. Draco Malfoy, the Hogwarts virgin. The only person more pure than Draco—more uptight and more virtuous—is probably Hermione. And even she holds hands with Ron walking down the hall and grabs his thigh under the table.

*

"What's with you and Malfoy these days?" Neville asks casually one evening and Harry's realised that he hasn't been as nonchalant about Draco as he'd originally thought.

He looks at Neville, confused.

"What's your angle with him?"

"I'm just you know..." Harry shrugs.

"You're thinking of being his first," Neville says.

"What?" Harry asks; a question also echoed by Ginny.

"Everyone knows Malfoy is as pure as they come. He studies hard, gets ‘Outstandings’ and ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in everything, and you're not the first bloke who thinks he can seduce him."

"I'm not thinking that," Harry says.

"So you think you can't," Seamus says, joining in. Harry is thoroughly annoyed at this conversation. This is not how he wanted to get together with Draco Malfoy. If he wanted to get together with him, in the first place. Which he does not.

"You're just twisting my words up," Harry protests when Alan laughs along with Seamus.

"I bet..." Dean drawls; great he's also in the gossiping mood now, "you couldn't even get Malfoy to sit with you in the library and go over your homework. The chances of you actually getting anywhere with him is slimmer than none."

Harry stays silent. He doesn't want to react. He won't.

"You're not gonna take that from Dean, are you?" Seamus pushes him.

Harry won't snap. He won't.

"Draco Malfoy has far better sense than to date the likes of someone like you," Hermione says, casually. He knows she's not egging him on, and for some reason, that hurts worse. "Please, like a proper Pureblood wizard would give it up..." She snaps her fingers, "like that."

"What does that mean?" Both Ginny and Ron ask at the same time.

Hermione blushes, looking rather uncomfortable. "You know what I mean..." she says, pleading, hoping Ron would come to her rescue but he just looks annoyed.

Ginny looks purely pissed off. "No, I don't, Hermione. Tell me," she demands.

"Okay, I've had enough," Harry says, cutting in. He doesn't want to see a brawl at the Gryffindor table just yet. He gets up and grabs his things before he makes his way out the Great Hall. He turns his head slightly, and he can see Draco's eyes on him.

*

Harry hides in the only place he knows no one will think of look for him. The library. It has nothing to do with the fact that Draco goes to the library for some time after dinner. Harry isn’t trying to catch one more glimpse of him before he heads to the Slytherin dungeons and paces around for two hours before settling in for the night.

The library is very big, and he most likely won't even see Draco there.

"You're sitting at my table."

Harry looks up from his parchment he's just doodling on, and finds Draco staring down at him.

"Excuse me?"

Draco huffs and drops his books on the table. "I sit here."

"I don't see your name anywhere," Harry says.

"I don't see yours either." Draco's scowl refuses to falter, and so does Harry's determination.

"Listen, Malfoy. I'm just sitting here minding my own business. If you want to sit and study at the table, feel free to do so. I didn't know you sat here, and I'm not going to move because I was here first."

Draco frowns and looks around the room. He makes half a step to go and sit at the next table, but changes his mind and, finally, sits down across from Harry. He opens up a few books and is taking notes on his parchment when he looks up again and raises his eyebrow at Harry.

"What do you want?"

"What was the first thing you did when you turned seventeen?" Harry asks, pushing his books aside.

"What?"

"You know. When you became of age and there was no magic trace on you. You could do anything you wanted. What did you do?"

"Why do you want to know?" Draco's eyebrows are all furrowed and his mouth is slightly parted as he stares at Harry.

Harry shifts his gaze from Draco's eyes to his mouth, then back at his eyes. He bites his lower lip slightly before he speaks. "Come on, tell me. Everyone has a story."

"What's your story?" Draco asks. "Did you Apparate to the closest brothel and let them have their way with you?"

"Please," Harry says, rolling his eyes. "Like I need to pay for it." Harry takes a moment to realise just how twisted Draco's mind can be. "Besides, you didn't answer my question."

Draco takes a few minutes to think about the answer. Harry thinks he's probably weighing in the option of whether or not he should tell Harry the truth. Finally, he takes in a deep breath and closes his book.

"If you must know...I placed myself under a Disillusionment charm and went to Knockturn alley."

"What did you do there?" Harry asks in a hushed voice.

"There's a rare potion that the Ministry has banned, it causes temporary condition of Morbilli, measles, amongst the Muggles. I wanted to get it because I wanted to experiment on my plants. To see if I could kill the plant-harming bugs in my mother's garden, but wizards are highly sensitive to Muggle diseases and this potion is forbidden." He gets a faraway gaze in his eyes before he continues. "I also wanted to see if I could create a cure for it."

"So what happened?" Harry asks, excited, and slightly impressed.

Draco shrugs. "I wanted to write a paper on my research but it was a hoax. There was no seller in Knockturn alley, and in turn I only got propositioned for sexual favours in exchange for Galleons."

Harry looks at Draco and he can tell that Draco is lying. There is clearly more to the story and Draco isn't telling it.

"Right," he says.

"What?" Draco asks.

"Whatever," Harry says and opens his book and stares at it, even though he's not reading a word of it. "If you don't want to tell me the truth, then fine. I don't care."

"I just told you what I did."

"It's not the whole story, and don't think I don't know it."

"How do you know it's not the whole story? You weren't there."

"So what's the whole story? Did you let one of those blokes fuck you?" Harry snarls. Draco looks a bit taken aback, and Harry knows he's crossed the line.

After that, they were both sitting quietly at the table, studying. Or at least Draco is studying. Harry reads a chapter of his book, not really registering what it'd stated, and then steals glances at Draco. Draco is almost always scowling at his notes, then writing more notes, then flipping through the book. Harry wants to reach across the table and smooth Draco's eyebrow out.

He snaps his book shut loudly and abruptly stands up. It's time to leave.

"You're finished?" Draco asks, sounding confused. "I didn't even see you write the conclusion of your essay."

"I'm done for the night," Harry says, and starts to pack his things.

Draco doesn’t say another word. He returns to his own homework and it is as if he is pretending Harry isn’t there anymore.

"Will you be here tomorrow night?" Harry catches himself asking, even though he isn't sure why, and he already knows Draco will be there.

"You're not getting the table tomorrow night," Draco replies.

"Do you want to sit together?" Harry asks, frustrated. He doesn’t even know why he is trying. It isn't like he is trying to prove anything. If it is his friends he is worried about, he'd tell them he'd already won that bet because he and Draco had already sat and studied together. Okay, Draco had done the studying, and Harry usually just stared. Secondly, he isn't interested in dating Draco, so it isn't like he is trying to prove to himself he could.

"If you insist," Draco says. "But I won't be answering any more personal questions."

"Fine," Harry says.

"Fine," Draco replies.

"See you tomorrow." Harry is out the door before he can change his mind or do something more irrational. Did he really ask Draco Malfoy if he could study with him? What is he going to tell his friends?

*

"You actually finished the essay?" Hermione looks over Harry's homework after he's asked her to read it before he shows it to Draco. The last time he'd wrote the essay, Draco had found several mistakes. This time, Harry wants to be prepared.

"Yeah. What do you think I've been doing when I said I've been going to the library," Harry asks, trying not to sound smug.

"And Sebastian said you haven't come by to see him in over a week," Ron says. "Not that I want to know what you get on with other blokes with, but he was actually pouting."

Harry rolls his eyes. "I told him I was busy."

"So what's his name?" Hermione asks, giving Harry a knowing look.

"What's whose name?" Harry shrugs his coat on before he grabs his bag to head over to the library.

"It's clear you're trying to impress someone. There isn't a girl in this school you'd give that kind of attention to, so it has to be a boy," she says. Ron immediately sits up and gives Harry his undivided attention.

"There's no one. Just..." Shit. He's said too much.

"Ah!" Hermione nearly squeals. "There is someone. You just don't want us to know it matters."

"It's no one," Harry assures her. "I'm just going to go and finish the rest of my homework, so we can all go to Hogsmeade this weekend. All right?" His friends don't look convinced. "Do you two want to come with?"

Ron shakes his head violently. Hermione looks mildly interested but responds with, "I've already finished all my homework and the reading for next week." At that, Ron sighs with a relief and Harry now knows he's in the clear.

He makes his way to the library, already knowing he's late. Ever since the first time Draco had found him at the table studying, Harry has always shown up before Draco, so it's Draco who always has to find an excuse to sit next to him. Now, he knows Draco is going to have that smug look on his face, and Harry will have to make some sort of an excuse to talk to Draco.

Except, when Harry arrives at the library, the table is empty. He immediately checks the Marauder's Map and sees Draco is rushing to the library—not from the Slytherin dungeons but the opposite direction. Harry can only wonder what Draco's been up to. He hasn't consulted the Map in a while to check on Draco.

When Draco is close enough, Harry quickly settles into his seat and brings his books out. He watches as Draco enters the library, but he doesn't immediately come towards Harry. He's looking around, as if he's contemplating finding another table to sit at. He also doesn't look very happy.

"Draco," Harry whispers and waves in his direction. "What are you doing?" He brings his hands up in the air in a questioning, confused, gesture.

Draco eventually walks over and settles in the seat across from Harry. "What?" he snaps.

"I did my essay, I thought you might want to take a look at it."

"Why me? Don't you have friends who read your homework for you?"

Harry looks at him confused. "Yeah. But you said you'd help me, so..."

"Fine," Draco says, angrily, and all but yanks the parchment out of Harry's hand.

"Why are you cross?"

"Why do you care," Draco snaps again. "I'm no one..." He stops himself from saying something else, and then adds, "I don't understand why you keep coming here. Bothering me. You're perfectly capable of doing your homework in your Common Room."

Harry is so confused right now. Where is all this anger coming from? In the past few weeks Harry has been coming to the library, Draco seems to have melted his cool resolve, but it seems to be back with a vengeance tonight.

"I like doing my homework with you," Harry says, as honestly as he can. "You really help me, and, well, if I'm always around, then Ron and Hermione can't be alone..."

Draco groans something fierce. "All right, that's enough." He starts reading the essay and looks lost in the content so Harry leans back and watches him. This is his favourite part. His expression changes from annoyed, to impressed, to confused in a matter of moments, and they're just subtle changes, but Harry seems to find them brilliant nonetheless.

When Draco looks up from the parchment, Harry blurts out, "I want to kiss you."

"Ex—excuse me?" Draco stammers and immediately stands up. He grabs his bag and leaves the library in such haste that Harry isn't even sure if he had actually been there. Except, Draco's quill and ink are still on the desk, so he must have been.

Harry grabs them and rushes out of the library, trying to find Draco.

He's nowhere to be found.

Harry makes his way to the Slytherin dungeons, and he's sure, even if Draco can run fast, he will catch up to him.

He has no such luck.

By the time Harry reaches the dorms, the doors are closing and it's too dark for Harry to see if Draco was there or not. He waits around by the entrance, but no one walks by to let him into the dorm. It's getting too late, and his friends are going to only ask more and more questions so Harry makes his way back to Gryffindor Tower, wondering if he should just keep Draco's quill and ink until the next night.

*

When breakfast time arrives, Harry's determined he is going to confront Draco. It's one thing to not want to kiss him, but to run away like that? What a coward. Of course, Harry can't expect Draco to be a Gryffindor like him, but he'd thought that at the least Slytherins had some tact.

When he's in the Great Hall the next day, Draco is surrounded by his friends, and he is laughing and joking as if nothing had happened. As if Harry hadn't scared him away. He is about to get up off the table and walk over to the Slytherins when Professor Snape, of all the people, approaches the table and stops Harry in his tracks.

"Where are you going?" Professor Snape asks.

Harry gestures towards the Slytherin table. "Just to—"

"Don't you have class to get to, Mr Potter? Or have we decided we're too good for it?" Snape's voice is cold and it cuts Harry. Every time he speaks, it cuts Harry. Harry has no idea why Snape hates him so much, but it's clear there's something there that Harry knows nothing about.

Harry shoots one look at the Slytherin table and sees Draco watching him and Professor Snape, so he just shrugs and walks away. There's nothing he can do about it now. He's going to the library tonight, and hopefully Draco will be there and they will be able to talk.

He knows Professor Snape is watching him walk away. Harry can always feel his gaze on him, even if Harry isn't looking. And if he knows anything else, it's that Snape is not going to make it easy for Harry to get to Draco.

*

Harry stares at the Marauder's Map, looking for Draco. Draco isn't in the library. He's still in the Slytherin common room. He's been there all night and there seems to be no chance for Harry to be able to talk to Draco tonight.

They share Potions class together; Harry wonders if Snape is going to stop him from speaking to Draco, then. Most likely, so Harry won't even try. He'll just have to do something else.

When it's been over a week, and Harry hasn't had a chance to speak to Draco, he finally decides to take drastic measures. It's Potions, the only class Harry shares with the Slytherins, specifically Draco, so that's when he's going to make his move.

He struts into class as if he hadn't been anguishing over someone for the good part of a week and drops his books next to Theodore Nott. Nott looks up from his notes and eyes Harry suspiciously.

"Hi," Harry says with a soft smile. "Do you mind if we partner up today?" He can feel his friends' gaze on him, along with some of the other students around him. Harry's used to attention. It doesn't bother him, at all.

"I—uh—"

"Zabini is out sick with wizard pox, I know," Harry all but whispers the words into Nott's ears. "He won't mind."

"Erm. Sure," Nott looks at Harry and smiles before he tears his gaze away to look at another table. Harry follows his gaze and sees Nott looking at Draco, who is watching them with a look Harry can't decipher, and Nott shrugs.

"I was supposed to partner up with Draco and Pansy, but I'm sure they won't mind."

Harry's smirk turns into a wide grin. "Brilliant."

Now, Harry can feel both Snape and Draco glaring at him, but he isn't going to show he's noticed. For all that matters, it's business as usual.

As the class progresses, Harry follows Nott's lead. Usually, Hermione is there to tell them what to do, so now he's paying attention, maybe a bit too much attention, to what Nott is doing. He touches Nott's hand purposely, and is glad when Nott doesn't shy away.

Nott gives him instructions, and Harry follows his orders as to what to put in the cauldron and when to do it. He's not really paying attention to what's happening in the class, Potions isn’t his strong suit anyway, but he's still having fun.

When they're nearly done with the assignment, Harry leans real close to Nott to ask him a question. "Do you have—"

"What do you think you're doing, Potter?" Nott asks, finally. He hasn't flinched, raised his voice, or shown any sort of sign he's agitated, but he looks like it. He turns his face in a way so only Harry can see his expression.

"What do you mean?" Harry asks, confused. He takes a small step back. "I was going to ask you if you wanted to go to Hogsmeade together this weekend—"

"What do I mean?" Nott rolls his eyes at Harry. "First, I have a boyfriend. Second, Draco is my friend," Nott says.

"What does Draco have to do with it?" Harry asks.

Nott raises and eyebrow and stares at Harry. He doesn't say a word for a very long time. "I'm not going to let you use me so you can make him jealous."

"I just... I mean, I'm not..." Harry sighs and runs a hand through his hair. "Am I that obvious?"

Nott shrugs. "No. I'm very good looking so it would be natural for you to flirt with me. You've managed to snog, shag, or otherwise satisfy quite a few students over the years, so I was just waiting for you to try to pull me. Even though I have a boyfriend. I just didn't think you would after you and Draco..."

"We haven't done anything," Harry says quickly. "Maybe, that's the problem."

Nott snorts. "Draco would never. Not with you anyway."

"Hey, what does that mean?"

"There are obligations Draco is expected to fulfil. All Pureblood children are, but Draco's family was involved in the war with the Dark Lord and they were on the wrong side. It's his responsibility to uphold the Malfoy name. To clear it of any misconducts of the past. He's always concentrated on his studies and if he were to involve himself with someone, it wouldn't be someone like you."

"Why? He's afraid of a little fun?"

"You don't know one thing about Pureblood courtship," Nott says.

"You and Zabini..."

"We've been together for a very long time and if we have progressed into the physical aspect of the relationship, it's because of how we feel about each other. We didn't start touching each other's cocks in the dark corners of the Astronomy Tower at the first chance we got when we realised there was attraction there."

"Oh," Harry says frowning. "You heard about that." Nott just shakes his head at Harry. "So what am I supposed to do?"

Nott raises his eyebrow again. "Do you like Draco?" Harry opens his mouth to say something clever when Nott raises his hand to stop Harry. "Think about your answer. Do you just want to satisfy your own curiosity, or do you like him?"

Harry takes a moment to think it over. "I like him."

"Then, you must stop your antics, like the one you pulled in the library."

"What? When I told him I wanted to kiss him?" Harry scowls. What was so wrong with that? He likes Draco and he wants to kiss him.

"You have to make him trust you. And right now, he doesn't. He was starting to like you, you know. He looked forward to going to the library and reading your badly spelled essays and smiling when you would scowl at his corrections—"

"He told you all of that?"

Nott ignores Harry's interruption. "He thought you had changed. That you weren't the same Boy that always tries to score anymore and actually cared about him. He said he was starting to let his guard down with you when you just flat out—"

"I wanted to kiss him!" Harry says with annoyance. Never has he ever had such a huge problem from trying to get one little kiss from someone.

Nott rolls his eyes and turns his attention to the assignment. It's as though he's given up on trying to reason with Harry.

Harry has no idea why this is such a big deal. According to Sirius, he and Remus fooled around with other boys until they were both genuine about getting together. He knows his parents, on the other hand, had only had eyes for each other. Maybe he would have been a different person if Harry's parents were still alive. All he has is his godfather Sirius, and Harry looks up to him.

Maybe he can ask Sirius about this next time they see each other, but he already knows what Sirius would say. "Do what your heart tells you and don't give an arse about what others think."

"How am I supposed to fix this if Draco won't even talk to me anymore?" His heart's telling him to fix it, he just doesn't know how.

Nott takes a deep breath and his brows wrinkle as if he's deep in thought. "Well, not flirting with Draco's friends would be step one."

Harry rolls his eyes and stirs the cauldron. "How do you know so much anyway?"

"Draco and I have been friends since we were five years old. Our families grew up together, and we spent almost every summer together since then. He's told me about..." he hesitates for a moment.

"Has he talked to you about me before? Before the library incident, I mean."

Nott smiles as if Harry has no idea what he's getting himself into. "He's talked about you since the day you met at Madam Malkin's."

Harry tries to remember that day over six years ago, when he was waiting for Sirius during his robe fitting, with Draco next to him, standing straight up, nose in the air. Harry doesn't remember what they'd talked about except for maybe what House they were going to get sorted into. Harry had said he wanted to be in Gryffindor because of his parents and godparents. Draco had all but sniffed and turned away.

Harry is about to say something to Nott again when Professor Snape's dry voice cuts in. "Mr Potter, if you are going to just stand here and distract Mr Nott from doing his work, then I will just have you return to your former group. Perhaps copying off Ms Granger's work is far better than flirting with a capable student that has a bright future in Potions."

Harry can't help himself. He holds his head high and speaks, "Professor, if all I wanted to do was flirt with a student that has a bright future in Potions, then I would have asked to be partnered up with Malfoy."

If Professor Snape's sneer is anything to go by, Harry knows he's just landed himself in detention. Luckily, Seamus's cauldron bursts, taking all the attention away from Harry, and Snape rushes over to Dean and Seamus's working station.

Every student is looking over at the destroyed cauldron and desk when Harry turns to look at Draco, who is looking right at him. Harry gives him half a smile and shrugs as if he's trying to tell Draco he's really just that hopeless.

Draco smiles back and shakes his head before he returns to his things and starts to pack them in his carrier. Harry quickly does the same, and he's the first one out the door when class is dismissed because he wants to wait for Draco in the hallway.

*

It's been a week and Harry is finally getting to spend more time with Draco. They go back to their normal routine of studying in the library, and most days Harry walks Draco back to the entrance of the Slytherin dungeons, where they say goodnight.

They barely talk about anything but schoolwork. Once in a while Harry mentions something cheesy or romantic Ron did for Hermione, and Draco shares the romantic tales of his friends, especially Zabini and Nott.

Draco tells him sharing a room with the two boys that are boyfriends can be hectic sometimes, and he has to hang around the common room while Nott and Zabini are "otherwise occupied." The rest of the boys that share the room with them also find others things to do.

Now Harry knows why he sees Draco pacing around in the Slytherin dorms at night.

*

During the Hogsmeade weekend, Harry is out with his friends when he spots Draco with Nott, who gives Harry a nod, Zabini, Parkinson and some other boy Harry doesn't know. Parkinson is hanging off this bloke's arm, and Zabini and Nott seem to be having a private conversation. Harry waves and locks eyes with Draco, who smiles back and waves as if he's just going through the motions of being out there. Harry can imagine how frustrating it can be when all your friends are paired off and you are the only one that isn't.

In the past, Harry would have found someone to fool around with in the alley behind Honeydukes, but since he's told Nott that he actually likes Draco, trying to get off with someone isn't doing it for him.

"Hey, do you want to go for a walk?" Harry approaches Draco and asks him. His group of friends notice Harry's not with them anymore and they all stop to gape. Draco's friends are not very subtle, either.

This is the first time Harry has publicly acknowledged Draco in a setting where they aren't insulting each other.

"I..." The conflicted look on Draco's face makes Harry cringe. What if he says no? His friends’ words from weeks before are ringing in Harry's ears.

...a chance of you actually getting anywhere with him is slimmer than none.

Draco Malfoy has far better sense than dating the likes of someone like you...

Harry reaches over and brushes his hand against Draco's arm. "Come on, I'll buy you a Butterbeer."

Draco looks down at Harry's hand on his arm before he looks up at Nott. Harry follows his gaze and sees Nott nod at Draco. "Okay," Draco says and his friends start to walk away while Harry's friends are still staring.

Harry shakes his head at them and turns to take Draco's hand in his own. He's nervous as hell, and he prays that Draco doesn't dismiss him – at least not in front of his friends.

They enter Madam Rosmerta's when Draco turns to Harry and says, "I don't care for Butterbeer."

Harry grins widely. At least that isn't something he'd say in front of his friends. "What would you like then?"

"Coffee," Draco answers.

"Brilliant," Harry says.

*

They still sit in the library across from each other, but now Harry's leg rests against Draco's. They do their homework and gossip about the teachers, and Draco is even kind enough to listen to Harry grouse about Snape and takes it in stride. Walking to class together after breakfast is now a routine, and so is holding hands and walking to the Slytherin dungeons after their library sessions. Harry sees Draco off to his dorm almost every night, and almost every night, he leans in for a kiss, but Draco turns his face and offers his cheek instead.

Nott's told him it's a trust thing. If Draco still hasn't kissed Harry yet, then it just means he still doesn't completely trust him. Harry has no idea how long he can hold on for. But then, in the morning, Harry sees Draco's smile when Harry approaches the Slytherin table to walk him to class, and Harry knows perhaps, he can hold on for just a little bit longer.

There's gossip, of course, that Harry is deceiving Draco, and he's seeing someone else behind Draco's back. Surprisingly, Draco is far more trusting than Harry deserves. He still gets into the habit of flirting with boys in his classes, but it never amounts to anything, because he knows he doesn't want to be that kind of a bloke anymore. Sure, he's been a free spirit in the past, but he's never cheated on anyone. He's always been upfront and he knows he needs to give Draco the same amount of respect. He's assured Draco that he can trust Harry, and Draco seems to take his word for it.

At night, Harry checks the Marauder's map. Most of the time, Draco is settled in one place, and then there are the nights when he's pacing around. Mostly in the common room. Harry wishes he could be there with Draco. Maybe they could sit together on the sofa and talk while Zabini and Nott are having their "time alone." He wonders if he could ever bring Draco back to the Gryffindor Tower with him. What would it be like to sleep in his bed with Draco?

Harry puts the map away, takes off his glasses, and casts a silencing charm around his bed.

He closes his eyes and he even though doesn't want to--he thinks about Draco. The weight of his knee against Harry's when they sit next to each other. The softness, and the warmth of his skin against his own. Harry's started to get bolder with Draco when they are alone. Placing his arm around Draco's waist, pulling him closer, kissing his neck. Draco allows most of it to an extent and out of the blue, Harry can smell Draco's scent in the room.

He opens his eyes, thinking maybe he'd just fallen asleep and thought Draco was there. He's still in his room and it's dark. He thinks he can still smell Draco there, though. Merlin, Harry has it bad.

He bites his lower lip as his hand reaches down and slips under his trousers. Just thinking about kissing Draco, his familiar scent, makes Harry hard. He starts to stroke himself, brushing his thumb on the head of his cock as he imagines Draco looking at him while he's doing it. He lets a small moan escape him when he imagines what it would be like if Draco wrapped his lips around Harry's cock.

His strokes are harsher and he wants to be with Draco so badly. "Please," he whispers to himself as if Draco is there, and Harry is begging for Draco to take him. He wants Draco's mouth around his cock, Merlin, he wants to lick and suck Draco off too. Harry's never fantasised about pleasuring someone before. Most of the time, he does it because it's expected of him, but when he's alone and he wants to get off, he thinks about what that bloke would do to him. But now? Now he wants to suck Draco off. He wants Draco to grab Harry's hair and push his cock in and out of Harry's mouth until he comes, and then Harry would bend him over and fuck Draco.

He thinks about how he's going to do it. He's going to have Draco on his knees, taking in his scent, before he'd open Draco up with his tongue. First his tongue, then his fingers, and when finally Draco would be begging for it, Harry would slide his cock in.

Harry arches up. The thought of being inside Draco pushes him over the edge, and he's coming all over his hand, mumbling Draco's name.

"What am I doing?" He knows he's torturing himself. He hasn't even kissed Draco yet, and he's already dreaming about being with him. The way Draco is with him, Harry doesn't know when he'll be able to gain all of his trust and be allowed in.

When he's just about done cleaning up, Harry hears some rustling on his bed. He can't seem to locate where it's coming from. After casting a Lumos, Harry sees a small black and green bug sneak under his pillow. He has no idea where the little critter came from. When he picks up his pillow, the bug makes a dash off Harry's bed, it quickly climbs up the wall and is out the window before Harry can even wrap his head around it.

It isn't the first time Harry's seen this tiny little bug near him. He's seen it in the common room, the benches near the Quidditch pitch, and now in his bedroom. If he didn't know any better, Harry would think the little thing was stalking him.

What if it heard Harry wanking? Could little creatures tell when you were pleasuring yourself? This isn't a question Harry can ask Hermione, and if he were to look it up in the library, he wouldn't even know where to start.

Worn out and agitated, Harry checks the Marauder's map again. As always, he's looking for Draco. Instead of being in his bed, Harry sees Draco walking around again. This time, he isn't pacing around in circles but in a straight line. He's moving really fast. After all this time, he still has no idea what goes on in Draco's head, and he finds himself longing for his boyfriend.

Boyfriend. It's the first time Harry's thought of Draco like that. Does Draco think of Harry as his boyfriend, too?

*

"It wasn't a Disillusionment charm," Draco says out of the blue one evening when they're alone in the library. Still, they're holding hands under the table.

"What?" Harry asks in confusion. This sounds important and vaguely familiar, but Harry has no idea what it is that Draco is talking about.

"On my birthday. I said I'd used the charm to go Knockturn alley."

"Oh, so what did you use?"

"I'd simply changed my appearance," Draco says, and he's a bit tense so Harry knows not to push too much.

"Into what?" Harry asks. Draco makes a contemplative face but doesn't respond. "Okay, did you really go looking for that potion or was there something else, too?"

"Hmm," Draco says looking away.

Harry's about to ask one more question when Hermione walks into the library, and Draco lets go of Harry's hand.

*

Christmas break is the toughest.

The ride back to King's Cross Station is pleasant because now all of Harry's friends are paired off, along with all of Draco's friends. So if Draco and Harry sneak away for some alone time, they don't have to feel bad about abandoning someone.

Draco grabs Harry by the arm and takes him to the very last compartment. They are alone only for a few minutes, and Draco leans closer, opens his mouth to say something, when Luna interrupts them.

Harry groans with frustration, because he'd thought Draco was finally going to kiss him. Inadvertently, his reaction upsets Draco when Luna turns around to walk away.

"I didn't mean it," Harry says, running after Luna who isn't upset that Harry got frustrated, but because she had obviously interrupted a special moment.

Harry knows the special moment is now lost.

They hug goodbye on the train because Draco is worried what his parents would say if he got off the train with Harry. Harry knows Sirius wouldn't have cared, and he probably is going to tell Sirius all about Draco, anyway. Still, the last thing he wants to do is start a fight right before Christmas.

Draco kisses Harry on the cheek and leans in to whisper in his ear. "I'll miss your eyes."

They promise to write to each other, and they do. Harry talks about working on motorcycles with Sirius, and Draco writes about new spells he's trying. What those spells are, Draco never shares.

The things Draco does share are his feelings. Every time he writes to Harry, he tells him about how much he misses the little things Harry does. He misses being alone with Harry, the way Harry kisses his neck, bites his ear and always wants to touch him.

The letters begin to get more and more heated, and Harry finds himself reading them in his bed. He can't read them when he's around anyone else, because they make Harry ache for Draco.

Harry doesn't understand how he can want Draco as much, when they haven't even kissed. They haven't done anything but spend time with each other, and hold hands. If he were to tell anyone about this, surely they'd think he was a fool.

How can he ache for Draco? How can he think he might even love him when they aren't even proper boyfriends?

Still, if Draco's letters are anything to go by, he knows they are going to take their relationship further after the holidays.

Harry buys Draco a pocket watch for Christmas and owls it to him for the holiday.

"Counting down to the minutes to when we can be together again. HP"

In return, Draco sends Harry a picture of himself holding the watch and looking at it.

"Counting down to the minutes to when I can give you your Christmas present. DM"

Harry can only imagine finally being able to kiss Draco.

*

On the way back to Hogwarts, Harry's friends demand he sit with them during the ride, and Draco's friends do the same. Harry promises to come and see Draco first thing after the Welcome Back Feast.

Draco says he understands, but Harry can see the disappointment on his face. Then every time he says "to hell with them," Draco insists it really is okay.

Things are chaotic the first night and Harry isn't able to see Draco, after all. All students are ordered to return to their dormitories immediately after the Feast. They haven't told the students why, but there is speculation that the carnivore spiders from the Forbidden Forest have been set loose and Ron has just about lost all his marbles.

Harry and his friends gather around in the boys' dormitory and play games. Harry wishes he could be with Draco, but it's nice to be with his friends too.

"So Harry, how long are you going to keep up this relationship with Malfoy?" Alan asks with both eyebrows raised. Alan always starts arguments with Harry, egging Harry on. He's sure Alan's always just been jealous of him, and he doesn't understand what Alan's problem is now. Ever since Harry's been with Draco, he hasn't tried to pull anyone else. Alan has all the free reign he desires.

"Why are you waiting around for my sloppy seconds?" Harry asks and Seamus makes a noise as if Alan's just been challenged.

"Please," Alan says, rolling his eyes. "I like having sex. I don't have time for a bloke that won't even touch my prick."

Harry narrows his eyes at Alan.

When Seamus stops laughing he asks, "It's not true, is it?"

"What?" Harry snaps. He doesn't want to talk about his sex life, or lack thereof, with his friends. And Alan is not his friend. He hasn't even told Ron and Hermione that he and Draco haven't kissed yet. Harry knows his friends are just speculating, given what they all know about Pureblood traditions, and he's not going to fuel the fire.

"Don't tell me," Dean says, "You've been fooling around with blokes and girls since our fourth year. There isn't a bent Hogwarts student you haven't kissed, and now you've settled down and what? Become celibate?"

"I'm not going to talk about this with you," Harry says and turns to look out the window next to his bed. The black and green bug from the other night is back. The bug seems to retreat when Harry reaches for it, so Harry leaves it alone. He smiles at the bug and turns to look at his friends again, who are gaping at him.

"I bet you're just leading the poor bloke on," Alan says in an accusing tone. "I bet that Pureblood ponce doesn't even know that once you fuck him, you won't look back."

"That's cold, Harry," Seamus says with an amusing tone.

"I'm not—" Harry knows he doesn't have to defend himself. The more he says, the more guilty he looks. "What makes you think we're not already fucking?"

"Because if you were, then you would have been with him at the Hogwarts Express. I know about you and Sebastian in the loo on the train. You would have found Malfoy and made him suck you off like you did with Seb!"

"Seb?" Harry says, with an eyebrow raised. "I thought you said you weren't interested in my sloppy seconds, Alan."

"Whatever," Alan says, ignoring Harry. "Poor Malfoy. You're making him wait for it. So he's there, begging you to fuck him so you can just use him – that pretty little mouth of his – and then find some other mouth."

Harry closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath. He's not going to stoop to Alan's level. Alan's a Prefect and if he starts a fight with him, he'll only report Harry to the Headmaster.

As he releases his breath, Harry notices something familiar. The same scent as before. The one that reminds him of Draco is in the room. He turns to look out the window again, and he sees the little bug pacing around in circles. It's agitated. Harry knows how it feels.

"Please. Believe what you want. You're just wishing, waiting for me to dump Malfoy so you can go after him. He's only going to tell you—you can't fuck half as good as me. So don't even think about it."

"So is that what you're going to do?" Seamus asks eagerly. "Are you going to fuck and drop Malfoy?"

"What? No!" Harry retorts. "I like him, okay? I am not going to dump him."

Harry shakes his head, annoyed beyond belief, and then he looks for his little friend on the window sill again. The bug is gone. So is the scent that reminds him of Draco. Harry wonders if the bug flies around Hogwarts, collecting scents and maybe it’s been to the Slytherin dungeons before coming to the Gryffindor Tower. He wonders if the bug lets Draco play with it and that's why it reminds Harry of him.

God, all Harry wants to do right now is go to Draco.

"I'm calling it a night," Harry says and pulls the curtains down on his bed, grabbing his Marauder's Map. He's looking for Draco, and Draco is in the Slytherin dorms, still. He's probably sleeping, Harry figures. He's going to go find Draco first thing the next day, and get that kiss. He's going to tell Draco he loves him. He's going to ask Draco to be his boyfriend.


1st March, 2003

Harry places the last of the tools in the toolbox and locks it tight before placing it in the drawer under his work desk. He has to close up shop early tonight because he doesn't want to be late for Ron's surprise birthday party. Turning twenty-three isn't that big of a deal, but during his party Hermione is also going to announce to the family that she's pregnant. It's going to be an amazing time, and he's really looking forward to it.

After he walks out of the front door, he locks it, places a protection spell on the shop, and he looks at the sign again. Lightning Spotters: The fastest brooms in town.

He could have been an Auror, like his dad, or he could have been a Hogwarts Professor, like Remus, but what he prefers most in the world is working next door to Sirius's garage.

After Sirius had opened his bike shop in Diagon Alley, Harry knew he wanted to work with him. Except, he hadn't been all that great with magical motorcycles, or any motorcycles, and he'd always had a passion for flying, so he became a Broom Maker instead. He worked hard for several years, learning the craft, and now his company's brooms were the fastest selling transportation devices in the wizarding world. So much so, even the Aurors in the British Department of Magical Law Enforcement swore by them.

He always looks forward to the orders he receives via owl every few months for a new batch of brooms. And he always looks for the authorised signature on the invoice, even though said endorser hasn't spoken to Harry in nearly half a dozen years.

"Thinking about it again?" Sirius asks, since Harry has been staring at the sign for a while now. He does have the habit of getting lost in his thoughts, and once in a while he allows himself to think of the past. How he could have fixed it, and he didn't.

"Just, you know, the usual," Harry says, shrugging. "It feels like a dream sometimes."

Sirius smiles and places an arm around Harry's shoulder. "But it's a good dream," he says. "Your parents would have been proud."

"You think so?"

"Of course. Your mum used to love watching you zoom around on that tiny broom when you were barely a year old. She would have definitely predicted this happening. Even if I didn't have any influence on you." He winks at Harry and pulls him a bit closer. "You ready? Remus is probably waiting for us."

Harry nods and leans into Sirius's embrace for a moment before pulling away. They walk for a little while, stopping in at their favourite coffee shop, before Apparating home.

He has to shower, change, and pick up Ron's present before heading to the Burrow.

When they arrive home, Remus is waiting on the sofa, already ready, and he raises an eyebrow at Sirius. Sirius hands him his coffee cup and makes his way to the bathroom. Harry laughs at them and heads towards his private flat that is in the attic of the house. He usually comes in through his own private entrance, except for the evenings when he arrives home with Sirius. Given they all have to leave together for the Burrow, it'd probably be best he's ready to go just as soon as Sirius is.

"Is Jérôme meeting us there?" Remus asks when they're all congregated back into the sitting room.

Right. Harry sort of forgot to tell them about that. Jérôme is...was... Harry's boyfriend. Up until yesterday, when Harry realised the relationship was progressing too fast for Harry, and Jérôme thought it was the opposite.

"He...well..." Harry stammers over the words. "No."

"No!" Remus exclaims in obvious disappointment.

"Another one?" Sirius asks jokingly.

"I liked this one," Remus says. "He seemed to really like you, too."

"Yeah. Maybe that was the problem. He might have liked me too much."

"That's ridiculous," Remus says. He always takes the ex-boyfriends' sides; at least Sirius never gets that judgy tone with Harry. "What did you do?"

"What did I do?" It's unbelievable, really. Harry has tried relationships. They just don't work for him.

"He wanted to go on a holiday. He wanted to take me to Paris and meet his extended family."

"What's so wrong with that?" Sirius asks casually. He just seems more curious, rather than cross, like Remus. They both look at him expectantly, and Harry is a bit nervous.

"I was over at his flat the other day, and I overheard him on the Floo, he was speaking to one of his relatives. It was in French, of course, but I understood the basic gist of the conversation," Harry says. He shrugs and makes a face. He really doesn't want to tell them the reason.

"What was it about?" Remus asks, and when Sirius places a hand on his shoulder, he adds, "I mean, if you're comfortable sharing, that is."

"He was saying something about a ring and drawing up the contract for his family's mansion in Chichester. He wanted to add my name on the property—"

"He was going to propose," Sirius says.

"Hmm," Remus says, sounding surprised. "That's rather sudden. I mean you've only been dating for what—"

"Eight months. I mean I hadn't even told him I—"

"Did you?" Sirius asks

Harry shrugs. "I don't know. I would think not if I freaked out—"

The Floo in the sitting room comes to life and Hermione's head is floating in the fire. "Are you lot still at home?"

After assuring Hermione they are on their way, Harry, Sirius, and Remus quickly Disapparate to the Burrow. Their conversation regarding Jérôme, has thankfully, come to an end, and Harry knows there's really not much left to say. Jérôme, just like Ethan before him, and Calvin before that, have all been part of the same pattern. Harry says he's not looking for anything serious, but Harry is loyal and true to the men he dates.

Eventually, they all want something more serious. It's funny, Harry thinks, how things have turned. He doesn't even try to pull anyone anymore, and he still manages to make someone fall in love with him...except for the one that had just shunned him away.

*

Ron's surprise party is off to a great start. Everyone is gushing over how much Hermione is glowing and how Ron is such a lucky fellow. Ron, just like his dad, has gone into Law Enforcement and is well on his way to becoming Head Auror. His other brothers are off doing their own thing — George and Fred with their jokes shop, Bill at Gringotts, and Charlie working with Dragons in Romania. It's only Ron and Percy that work at the Ministry.

Ron doesn't talk about him. Not really. Even though Harry knows Ron sees Draco nearly every day. Percy, on the other hand, who has no idea, and is sort of a pompous prick —is always gushing over Draco.

"Draco Malfoy came up with a new filing system for archiving old reports and he's just so brilliant." Percy's face would turn red as if he were getting all hot and bothered over the stationary Malfoy had chosen for the invitations for the latest Ministry ball. "Draco has created a new financial record system to calculate how much the Ministry spends on wand maintenance."

Percy, or Perfect Percy rather, is Junior Assistant to the Minister, and calls Draco his "right hand man." After Hogwarts, Draco had gone into Auror training first, but eventually moved into the more proper role of Office Administrator. According to Percy, he and Draco had become fast friends, and he constantly talked about Draco until Ron had to finally tell him to stop, or rather, "Shut it, Pinhead."

Ron always says Percy makes Draco sound like a glorified secretary, and Hermione, who tends to keep her comments about Draco to herself, is always upset by it. According to her, Draco is a brilliant manager, and has done wonders for the DMLE. Percy only sees one side of it, and despite of how close he claims to be with Draco, it's rather evident Draco isn't close to anyone.

In situations like these, Harry likes to be around Oliver. The more he's with Oliver, the less Draco Malfoy talk there is. There's only so much of gushing over Draco Oliver tolerates from Percy. So Harry knows he's safe there and all they discuss is Quidditch, the next World Cup, and Harry's broom business, which Percy thinks Harry should sell to the Ministry at a discount price.

"Where's Jérôme?" Hermione asks when the evening is beginning to wind down.

"He's gone to France to visit his family," Harry says, which is the truth, partially.

"I thought you were going to go with him." Hermione looks confused, and slightly distracted. She's clearly keeping an eye on Ron, Fred, George, and their dad drinking in the corner.

"Things didn't work out," Harry says softly, hoping it's good enough for Hermione for now. She'll surely visit him at work the next day to discuss it over coffee.

"Another one?" Hermione says. "Why can't they seem to last even a year?"

Harry's starting to wonder about how and when had Hermione started treating Harry's relationships as if they were plants that he kills? Whatever, he was never good in Herbology, anyway.

Harry hesitates. He's not sure what to say now. "I—"

"Ron, no!" Ginny shrieks from the other corner of the room, and Ron is standing over a glass table with Fred and George laughing their heads off, and Arthur nearly passed out on the armchair.

He looks over to the other corner where Percy is curled up with Oliver, and Sirius and Remus are sharing a drink. Sirius locks his gaze with him and mouths the words, "Ready to go?"

Harry shakes his head and gestures towards the garden. He thinks maybe a bit of fresh air would be a good idea.

Dean is holding onto Ginny as she yells at the twins, Hermione is cross with Ron, and everything is normal. Harry opens the door to leave the Burrow and is now face to face with the next-to-last person he expected to see. Pansy Parkinson.

"Oh, hello." Harry looks at her, confused, wondering if she's actually there or if this is just some weird twist of his imagination.

"I was supposed to meet Seamus—"

"There you are!" Seamus walks brushing past Harry and pulls Parkinson in for a kiss.

What? Okay, this is definitely a dream.

"Heya, Harry. You know Pansy, of course. From school." Seamus gives Harry a big grin as he wraps his arm around her waist.

"Of course," Harry says, nodding. He wonders if he should bang his head against the door just to find out if he's dreaming or if this is real.

"I was going to come by earlier, but I was otherwise engaged with prior dinner plans," Parkinson says.

"I didn't know you two were—"

"Yeah, it's new," Seamus says and Parkinson slightly shivers from the cold night air, and Harry gets out of the way so they can come into the house then he closes the door behind them.

So much for the fresh air.

"I ran into Pansy at—" Parkinson elbows Seamus in the ribs and he nearly topples over. "Right. So I asked her out for coffee and since then..."

"Where did you meet?" Harry asks, curious. Up until Seamus had started talking, Harry hadn't cared. Now he's rather eager to know.

"At a party," Parkinson says, nonchalantly. "Something like this one. Except, I'm terribly late."

"Come on, I'll introduce you," Seamus says and he grabs her hand and they walk away.

*

On the first of November, Harry receives two different announcements via owls. The first, which he already knows, and it's simply a formality, is the birth announcement of Rose Weasley, who was born on the twenty seventh of October, 2003. The second announcement, comes as a surprise. It's an engagement party invitation from Seamus Finnigan and Pansy Parkinson.

They have been together for longer than Jérôme and Harry, but it's not by much. Evidently, they are willing to get married after dating for less than a year. Harry doesn't know what it says about him, and his own past relationships, but he knows one thing for sure.

This is an invitation to a celebration. It will be formal, but he'll have a reason to be there. He might even have an obligation to talk to Harry. He's one of Parkinson's best friends; he won't be allowed to leave early.

Since the venue, is the Malfoy Manor.

*

It's the seventeenth of December and Harry is alone at Grimmauld Place. Remus is on holiday from Hogwarts, so he and Sirius have gone on their annual Christmas trip, leaving Harry alone. They'd started the tradition after Harry'd turned twenty one, because until then they felt guilty about leaving him.

Harry had to all but arrange the Portkey for them to go to Australia, claiming he was now old enough to have his own traditions.

Tonight, though, he wishes his godparents were there with him. He has to go to Seamus and Pansy's engagement party, without a real date, and without a support system.

Harry stares at his robes in the mirror for what seems like the umpteenth time. Should he wear the green tie or the blue? If he wears the green, does it look like he's trying too hard? But the green goes with his eyes, and they are something he gets complimented on all the time. They were what Draco had said he’d miss seeing.

Maybe he should work on bringing out his eyes some more. Maybe Draco will remember how he used to like them too.

There's a knock at the door and now Harry knows he has to leave. He has no time. At least Luna didn't just Apparate into his flat giving him a start. Luna gives him a once over and kisses him on the cheek. "You look very sharp, Harry," she says and holds his hand.

Okay, so maybe he does have a nice date, and a nominal support system. Maybe it'll work, after all.

*

The room is decorated lavishly. Floating candles everywhere, and magically sparkled lights that look like fireworks have been frozen up above them. And there's Draco. He looks, Merlin, he looks beautiful. It's been a long while since Harry's had a proper look at him. He's tall, taller than Harry remembers, his hair is parted on the side with strands falling on his face. It's long in the front and short in the back, and it looks like there's different shades of blond there. His nose is still as pointy as Harry had remembered, and he's smiling at Pansy, with his full lips. Lips that Harry obsessed over. Lips, that Harry never got to taste.

How could Harry forget how beautiful he was?

He didn't forget. Not really. He just didn't know that a finer version of Draco could have existed. He should have tried harder. He should have worked more to get him back. How stupid had he been? He could have had him this whole time.

"You're staring," Nott says as he walks over to Harry's side and whispers in his ear.

"I can't help it," Harry admits. "I don't know if I can ever look away."

Harry tries to remember everything he knows, he's learned about Draco in the past six years. He was a Junior Auror but he gave that up in order to improve the training program. He's published books from Plant Potions, to Forensics, to of course Transfiguration. He not only had to amend the Malfoy name, he had to amend the Malfoy name after being eschewed by society for being the gay son of a former Death Eater.

He's only twenty three years old.

He's still fucking beautiful.

"You should say hi," Nott says with a small chuckle.

"And get kicked out of the party before it even starts?" Harry replies, finally tearing his gaze away from Draco to look at Theodore Nott, his friend.

He's grown up too, but Harry sees Nott a lot more than any of his other fellow Hogwarts alums that weren't in his House. Nott's a famous Quidditch player now, and he custom orders all of his brooms from Lightning Spotters.

Nott gives Harry a genuine smile and pulls him in for a hug. "It's good to see you again, Harry."

Harry can see Blaise Zabini watching them from the corner of his eye, so Harry tightens his hold on Nott and gives him another squeeze. "Let's make that husband of yours a bit more jealous," Harry teases, whispering in Nott's ear and Nott slaps him in the arm.

"You'll never change," he says.

"Some things never do," Harry says with a smile before he lets Nott go completely, and watches him walk back to Zabini. Harry winks at Zabini for good measure and turns to find Luna and some Firewhisky.

Not that Harry has ever been to the Malfoy Manor before, but he is sure the huge dining room isn't always set up the way it is now. There are several huge tables placed in a big circle with fifteen chairs each. The head of the room has the table for six where Seamus and Pansy sit with their parents.

Harry is seated with Luna, Neville, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Dean, Fred, George, their dates, along with Katie, Susan, and Lavender.

He can see Draco two tables over, but it’s only his side profile. His jaw twitches a few times as he looks up at the head table, or to the person seated next to him. He never, for once, looks at Harry.

It's like the Great Hall all over again. Except this time, Harry isn't flirting with anyone next to him, just to torture Draco. This time, it's Draco torturing him. Just like he did for the rest of the school year after he'd broken it off with Harry.

It is like the Great Hall, because from the corner of his eye Harry can see his former professor, Severus Snape, glaring at him.

Some things never change.

As far as Harry can tell, Draco isn't here with a date. He's also surprised by the absence of his parents at the party. Harry thinks they might be in France, as they tend to spend their holidays there, but this close to Christmas? He wonders if they don't approve of Pansy's choice in marrying a half-blood.

"I hope you'll talk to him tonight," Luna says as she leans in and whispers in Harry's ear. She's pretending to be picking up the salt shaker placed in front of him and quickly straightens up.

Harry can see Neville's eyes widening with surprise, at what might look like harmless flirtation to anyone else.

"I want to," Harry says, turning to her. His posture is casual and he gives her a soft smile. "Are you going to dance with Neville tonight?"

She gives him half a smirk and picks up her wine glass. "I might."

*

The speeches have been made, and the happy couple has thanked everyone for coming. The guests are asked to proceed to the ballroom so the real party can begin. Harry takes his time getting up just so he can see what Draco is doing.

Luna helps him by pretending to have dropped her bracelet on the floor, and Neville is helping her look for it under the table. Bless his friends for existing.

As everyone leaves through the main doors of the dining hall, Harry sees that Draco is not with them. Instead, he's picked up a bottle of Firewhisky and has taken the side door that leads to the garden at the manor. It's December, so surely it must be freezing outside. Draco has probably charmed the veranda with a heating spell and not shared that information with anyone.

He has always been too good with his sneaky spells, hasn’t he?

"I'll see you two later," Harry says and pats Neville on the shoulder before he makes a stop at the centre-piece vase at the head table and picks up a tulip.

He softly opens the door leading out of the dining room and into the small hallway leading to the side of the manor. The door to the veranda is open and Harry sees Draco, his back to Harry, looking out into the snow blanket.

Harry takes a moment to gather his courage. The scent, the thing he's missed for nearly six years keeps rushing back to him. It's so familiar, it's scary. His knees tremble slightly and he can feel his voice waver before he even opens his mouth.

"Draco..."


January 1998

When Harry wakes up in the morning, there's a note waiting for him at his bedside table. With the style of penmanship his name is written in, he can tell it's from Draco. He has no idea how it got to his room, much less to his bed. Maybe Draco paid someone to bring it over.

Harry quickly gets up, puts on his glasses, and opens the note. It only has five words.

It's over. Don't contact me.

Harry's heart drops into his stomach. What? Is this a joke? Surely, it's a joke. When he'd seen Draco yesterday, he'd been smiling and sweet, and understanding towards Harry. They couldn't be together the night before, but Harry was going to tell him today that he loves him. He was going to tell Draco he wanted to be his boyfriend.

And now this? What had he done wrong?

Harry checks the map and sees that Draco is still in the Slytherin dorms. He quickly gets dressed and waits by the entrance of the Great Hall for Draco. Draco never comes. He's finally dragged into the Hall for breakfast and ten minutes later, Draco is there, accompanied with Professor Snape.

Harry knows he can't talk to Draco right then, but he's going to try later.

In Potions, Draco isn't there. Harry asks around and finds out that Draco attends all the classes he doesn't share with Harry, but he's suddenly sick when Harry is around.

Harry's never been so lost.

Every night, Harry checks the map frantically looking for Draco. Sometimes, he just disappears off the map completely. At other times, he's in the library, but when Harry arrives there, Draco's nowhere to be found. His things wait at the table, and Harry waits there with them. Until he gets kicked for the night. The next morning, Draco's things are gone. It's like he's got his own version of the Invisibility Cloak Harry knows nothing about.

A week passes, Draco is back in the classes, but Harry isn't allowed to approach him. When he tries to approach Draco outside of the class, Draco is always with Professor Snape.

"I think there's something strange going on between Professor Snape and Draco," Harry tells Sirius when he's home over Easter break. Harry only finds out later, that Professor Snape and Draco are staying at Hogwarts over the holiday.

"Strange how?" Remus asks.

"I don't know. I think he's controlling him. Maybe, I don't know—"

"Harry, Snape is a lot of things, but he's not like that. Dumbledore wouldn't have hired him if he didn't completely trust Snape." Remus looks over at Sirius who doesn't look convinced, but nods anyway. "Dumbledore hired a werewolf to teach in his school; I'm sure he's done thorough background checks on all the professors."

"I know. But, you don't see the way he controls Draco. I can't get anywhere close to him. I can't even get one of my friends to give him a note, without Snape interrupting it in its route."

"Maybe..." Sirius begins to say.

"You'd told me that Snape hated my dad when you were at Hogwarts together. Maybe he's taking it out on me—"

"Severus wouldn't do that, Harry. I'm sure he's protecting Draco but he isn't doing it to hurt you," Remus says.

"Maybe you just have to accept the fact that Draco doesn't want to be with you anymore," Sirius says, sombrely. Harry can tell he's not happy saying the words but someone has to.

Harry does have to accept this fact. He knows it. He just can't let go of this so easily.

When he returns to Hogwarts, he tries to let it go. He purports to have moved on. He doesn't look up at Draco when he enters the classroom. His nose is always in his book. He follows the instructions well, and manages to spend his time in the classroom pretending to learn something new.

The only thing he is good at when he's not sulking about, is Quidditch. Harry finds new ways to manoeuvre the broom to do his bidding. He's the Team Captain, and he doesn't have time to think of anything else but the next game. He has to win the House Cup, it's the least he can do.

Still, the familiar scent of Draco haunts him when he sits on the side-lines and watches his team practice. He can't sit still. The smell drives him wild, and he knows if he's not doing something productive, he'll snap.

One night, when Harry's asleep, the scent lingers. He wakes up frantically and looks around the room. His friends are asleep in their own beds and everything seems normal. Harry quickly checks the Marauder's Map, and sees Draco rushing to the Astronomy Tower.

What is he doing there at this time of night? Then Draco starts his pacing. He's pacing like he usually does in his dorm, but now he's in the Astronomy Tower. Harry gets dressed quickly, grabs his Invisibility Cloak and heads out of the Gryffindor common room.

He's following the map as he's under his cloak and Draco is still there. He hasn't moved away. He slowly walks up the steps; it's dark. There doesn't seem to be anyone there, but when Harry turns the light of his wand to his map, Draco's name is there. He's still, but it's there. He has to be here.

Harry follows with the little light that is under his Cloak, and taps his map close. He walks up to the Tower, looking into the sky when he is hit with that scent again. There's the tiny black and green bug on the railing.

It's there. Again. That scent is there. Still. The little bug was there Harry's first night back at Hogwarts.

Harry removes his Cloak and looks down at the bug. The bug stills and scurries back a few steps. What is Harry going to do? Squash it?

He knows.

Harry knows now. How Draco's been able to hide from him for so long. He's been able to hide everything but his scent. He was there and he'd heard Alan. He thinks the worst of Harry and now Harry can't do anything about it.

"If you don't want me, then stop chasing me," Harry whispers as he looks up at the sky. He feels defeated. Shattered. Everything in his body hurts and he collapses on the floor of the Astronomy Tower and loses it.

"Don't chase me when I can't chase you back," Harry mumbles into his hands and buries his face in them. He's not going to cry. He's not. A moment later, the scent has disappeared and Harry turns to his side and falls asleep.

*

The sun is starting to shine directly at his face as he's at the highest point of the tower. Harry wakes up and realises where he is. Remembers the night before. He casts a Tempus Charm; it's half five in the morning. He puts his cloak back on and returns to the Gryffindor Tower to sleep his exhaustion off.

The next day, at the Quidditch practice, Alan is there. He's the team Chaser and Harry switches spots with the team Beater. Every time the Bludger comes in his direction, Harry hits it towards Alan. He's taking his frustration out on the one person he can easily place the blame on.

Alan glares at Harry every time he dodges the Bludger, and Harry just shrugs at him and spits out a, "sorry!"

After the break, when Harry is back at being Seeker, he purposely tries to fly by really close to Alan, in order to get him to fall off his broom.

"What is your problem, Potter?"

"I thought that was obvious," Harry sneers. "It's you."

"Just because your boyfriend is too good to suck your cock—oh yeah, that's right. Not your boyfriend anymore. Couldn't even satisfy a virgin, could you?"

Harry holds the front of his broom and tilts it down to give himself speed. He crashes into Alan and they both fall onto the ground where Harry starts to punch Alan with concentrated power.

Everyone is telling him to stop. They're pulling on his arm, his body; they're trying to separate them, but Harry doesn't stop. He punches and punches until he sees blood and Professor McGonagall has to Spell him off Alan.

"What has become of you, Mr Potter?" she spits the words out in disgust. "My office. Now!"

He sits in McGonagall's office with his head hung low. He's just staring at his hands because he doesn't want to look at her. He doesn't want to say anything. She gives him a speech and he just listens, not really knowing what she's saying. It doesn't matter anyway.

Alan's in the hospital wing. He'll need some stitches and has to be there for observation for at least a week. Harry smiles slightly, content, knowing he's done a number on Alan. It won't bring Draco back. It won't change time, and there wasn't really a point in hurting him. But he'd felt in control. And that was good.

"I'm suspending you from the next three games," she says, when Harry hasn't said a word the entire time.

Harry nods in acknowledgement.

"And you're to serve detention with me every Sunday from eleven o'clock until four."

Harry nods again.

"If one more thing like this happens again—"

"It won't," Harry says quickly. "I lost control today, got too competitive. It won't happen again."

He knows it won't happen again. He won't even look at Alan again. Knowing Alan to be the coward that he is, he’ll probably quit the team anyway.

"Can I go now?" Harry asks, looking up at McGonagall for the first time.

"Very well, Mr Potter," she says.

"Thank you, Professor. See you on Sunday." Harry leaves the office and makes his way to the dormitory. He wants to crash there. Sleep and not wake up for a very long time. Every Sunday from now until June. Five hours, every Sunday, for almost twenty Sundays.

He tries to think of something else that will take his mind off this now. Flying. Harry did like the way the broom responded to him on the Pitch. Maybe he'll pick up a few books and start reading about broom making.

As soon as he's at the Fat Lady's Portrait, he sees Remus waiting there for him.


17th December, 2003

"Draco..."

The glass shatters on the ground first. Clearly, Harry startled him. Then, Draco hangs his head low. Harry has no idea if he is going to get a hex, a scolding for invading someone's privacy, or be just flat out ignored.

Eventually, he turns around, and his sharp gaze nearly cuts Harry through and through.

Harry opens his mouth slightly to say something. He could apologise for disturbing Draco. He could pretend he got lost. No, he is just going to stand there; he is going to stand his ground. He has nothing to apologise for. It's been six years, and there is no going back.

"Potter," Draco says, his face as impassive as it could ever be. "Enjoying yourself?"

Harry shrugs. "As much as a single person can at an event celebrating love," he says. "At least there's free alcohol."

Draco chuckles. He fucking chuckles! "Indeed," he says a moment later, and straightens up. It's as if he'd forgotten who he's talking to.

"Do you need help with that?" Harry points at the shattered glass at Draco's feet.

"No need," Draco replies, and he removes his wand from his pocket. With a nonverbal spell, the glass materialises into its old form, and it floats in the air until it settles on the table next to the Firewhisky bottle.

"Drinking alone?"

"Just needed a moment," Draco says; he taps the glass on the table, and so it turns into two. Clearly, Draco has a few tricks up his sleeve. He always did. "I'm not used to so many people at my house. Not since I was a child and my parents hosted these lavish parties. I thought I could handle it—play host for Pansy's sake. Not as easy as it seems."

He pours two small shots in both glasses and offers one to Harry.

Harry finally steps all the way onto the veranda, and he can feel the heating charm that's there.

"Cheers," Draco says and he taps his glass with Harry's.

"What should we drink to?"

Draco shrugs. "You can decide."

"Making amends?" Harry says in a hopeful tone. "Maybe...second chances?"

Draco gives him a curt nod and downs the drink in one go. Harry does the same. It's bitter, but it goes down smooth. This isn't the stuff they're serving at the party. Harry can tell this is the vintage stuff, the kind of drinks Lucius Malfoy would keep in the basement of the house. The kind Sirius and Remus hold onto for special occasions.

"It's good," Harry says.

"Do you know much about Firewhisky?" Draco asks, sounding slightly curious.

"I know what tastes good," Harry says, chuckling. He realises what's he's just tasted is the same taste that's in Draco's mouth. If he were to kiss Draco right now, would he taste similar?

"Hmm." Draco turns around to look at the snow in the garden again. The empty glass, still in his hand.

Harry steps in further and grabs the bottle. He tops himself off and offers to pour some in Draco's glass. Draco accepts.

Now they’re standing next to each other, and this is the closest Harry has been to Draco since they left Hogwarts. It's the scent that does him in again. That fucking smell. What is it? Is it his cologne? Has he been using the same thing forever or is it just something that's just Draco?

"You smell the same." Wait, did Harry just say that out loud? He must be more inebriated than he realised. He was fine drinking wine up until he'd entered the veranda. Two shots of Firewhisky. When did Harry become such a lightweight?

"Pardon me?" Draco's curious tone remains, and he turns to look at Harry, one eyebrow raised.

"That's how I always knew you were around," Harry says. In for the sickle, in for the knut.

"Around where?"

"Hogwarts," Harry says. One word. "I knew you were around because of your scent." This is the only chance Harry has. He'd tried to write to Draco in the past, and Draco never opened his letters. There was always some force of nature that was betting against them and winning. He needs this night to tell Draco everything. If he'll keep him here for the rest of it, just so he can come clean, he will.

Draco frowns. It's that look Harry hasn't seen since their time in the library. When Draco read Harry's essays and gave a look of, What the fuck are you on, Potter?

"I've read your book, Draco," Harry says. Realisation slightly dawns on Draco's face, but there's so much more to this. "Even if I hadn't, I'd have known," he adds.

Harry knows more about Draco than Draco realises. He knows more about Draco than he gives himself credit for. He knows Draco was doing really well at the DMLE as a Junior Auror and he was making a name for himself. When he'd opted to work in the office as a trainer instead of becoming an Auror supervisor, rumours about his sexuality were starting to discredit him from his work.

Being gay in the wizarding world isn't a big deal, but discrimination can be found everywhere. Draco was starting to face it in his workplace. And Harry was aware of a lot of Draco's struggles. Between what was being published in the Prophet, Ron, Hermione, Percy's rants, and Nott's conversations with Harry, Harry was always kept updated.

Eventually, Draco had contracted with a publishing company and wrote a textbook he'd offered to McGonagall and Dumbledore to add into the course curriculum for Transfiguration.

My life as a butterfly.

The book, written more as a memoir than anything else, examines various forms of Transfigurations one could have, and the easy spells that surrounded them. It is an in-depth research of pushing the limits of the rules of Gamp's Law of Self Transfiguration. It also discusses Draco coming to terms with his own homosexuality at the age of twelve and deciding nothing was going to keep him away from reaching for his dreams.

Each chapter reviews the benefits of Transfiguring into various creatures, along with several pages that focus on the black and green bug that blends into the background. The butterfly reference was more towards his sexuality than his Animagus, which Draco claimed he could never really settle on.

Draco doesn't necessarily look surprised. It was the number one bestseller for six months, even if it was featured as a textbook, one that eventually led him into the role as an Undercover Investigation trainer.

"All that time I spent with you in the library," Harry says with a soft smile. "Turns out, I like reading."

"The scent lingers," Draco says in deep thought. Leave it to him to turn Harry's attempt at a confession into a scholastic matter.

"Yeah. It does." Harry turns to look at him wondering what he's going to do now? They're face to face after so long. What's the next step? Is Draco going to slap him? Tell him to fuck off? Or send Snape to fight his battles again.

Okay, maybe Harry's still a bit bitter about that.

He fetches into his pocket and brings out the tulip he'd nicked from the dining hall. He offers it to Draco. The bug, it was his favourite thing to nibble on.

Draco looks down at the flower for a long while, but he doesn't take it. "What do you want, Potter?"

What does Harry want? All those years spent practicing what he was going to say to Draco, and now he feels hesitant. He has to make it worth it.

"Why do you order my brooms?" Okay, maybe it’s not the best thing to say, but jumping in before thinking has always been kind of Harry's thing.

"Because they are the best in the country." Draco's response is so matter-of-fact that Harry wants to argue, but it's also a compliment so Harry knows he shouldn't argue.

Harry opens his mouth again, unsure of what he's about to say, when Millicent taps on the door that leads into the veranda.

"Draco, it's time."

Harry turns to look at Millicent, who gives him a quick smile and then looks at Draco expectantly. Harry watches Draco as he searches for something in his pocket, and he freezes the moment he's taken it out. Of course he hadn't thought about the fact that Harry is standing right there. He quickly glances at his pocket watch and then closes it up before placing it back to where it came from. "Be there in a moment, Millie."

The pocket watch. Harry's pocket watch, the one he'd given to Draco for Christmas when they were seventeen.

I was in love with you. Harry wants to say. Instead, he blurts out, "You look hot." He puts the tulip on the lapel of his robe.

Draco gives him a look of utter confusion and annoyance. His brows furrow and his eyes slightly narrow. They're the same height, yet Harry can't help but think of how tall Draco is all of a sudden.

"Just wanted to say that. In case no one else has."

"I'm needed," Draco says, pointing at the exit door and a moment later, has disappeared into it.

"Yes. You are," Harry mumbles to himself and makes his way back to the ballroom.

*

Soon, Harry finds out, it's time for cake. The happy couple makes a show of cutting the cake while champagne is served, then everybody toasts. They look ecstatic to have their best friends standing by their side for this joyful occasion. Dean and Draco take pictures with Seamus and Pansy while they are being fussed over by the professional photographer.

The rest of the evening is a blur. The guests leave one by one and Harry tries to linger on for as long as he can. Luna has had too much champagne, so Neville offers to take her home. If it were anyone else, Harry would have been worried, but he knows she'll be safe with Neville.

"You coming, mate?" Ron asks Harry just as he and Hermione are about to step into the Floo.

"I'll be heading home in a few. I'll catch up with you later," Harry says and they nod, hesitating a bit, but leave anyway.

Seamus and Pansy are sitting on an armchair in the corner, snogging, while Draco stands by the Floo, one hand behind his back and the other holding a champagne glass as he bids the guests goodbye. Harry approaches him cautiously.

A curt nod, then, "Potter."

"Draco..."

"Thank you for attending."

"Can we—"

He starts to walk away. "I have to deal with some last minute details, if you don't mind—"

"I mind."

"What?"

"What if I told you, I mind?"

"Potter, this isn't the place."

"When is the place? Or the time?" Harry is calm, despite the nervousness he feels in his heart, despite the anger he feels in the pit of his stomach.

"I don't—"

Harry takes a deep breath. "I don't want to talk about this tonight," he says, to which Draco's eyes widen. "I just want to have dinner with you. You name the place and time. I just want to talk. Then."

"Very well. I'm free on Saturday evening."

Harry raises an eyebrow. This is almost too easy.

Draco rolls his eyes. "I will not reschedule, I promise."

"Are you sure...?"

"Potter."

"Brilliant." Harry resists the attempt to not push his luck any further, he Disapparates from the Malfoy Manor, only to crash on his bed at home. Draco's agreed to go to dinner with him on Saturday. He can only hope he has the patience to last until then.

Before undressing, Harry takes the tulip off his robe and places it under a stasis charm so it's still fresh in the morning when he wakes up.

*

The next day when Harry arrives at Lightning Spotters, he has an idea. He brings out the latest broom he's working on and wraps it to mail it off. He summons his owl and sends the broom to the Ministry, to the DMLE. Specifically, to Draco Malfoy.

I'm sending you my latest ideas for a new broom, along with the specifics. Please let me know what you think of them. Perhaps we can discuss them over coffee this evening?

The response comes almost immediately.

Potter, the new broom looks good. I do have some ideas for improvement, but we are already meeting on Saturday, let's discuss it then.

Harry smiles at the parchment and writes a swift reply. Draco, I'd rather not discuss business on the evening of our date. But, if you don't want to meet this evening, that's not a problem. I'm just glad to know you still remember our arrangement.

Harry returns to work, and tending to his customers as the day goes on. He doesn't have to wait long until another reply arrives.

You all but refused to leave my home last evening unless I agreed to go out with you. Trust me, I'm far too familiar with your tactics. I'm well aware, if I'd not agreed to meeting you on Saturday, you would only badger me until I'd said yes. And I didn't say it was a date.

Harry scowls at the letter. It's a date.

During lunch, when his assistant comes into the shop for her shift, Harry goes to the flower shop two doors over, and buys a bouquet of tulips. He sends them to Draco with a note that says: It's a date.

Another response comes, but it's not from Draco, but Percy.

Harry, the Minister wants to know if you're going to be dating a DMLE employee, can we get your brooms on a discount?

Harry throws his head back and laughs as hard as he can. He can only write one thing, No, Weatherby. I'll only charge double.

On the next day, Harry sends another bouquet of tulips to Draco, reminding them of their date, and a Say Hi to Percy for me.

*

Harry arrives at the gates of the Malfoy Manor where a house-elf greets him. They walk into the main hall, and the room looks exceptionally different from a few days ago when Seamus and Pansy's party was here.

Draco walks into the room wearing a Muggle suit, and Harry's glad he too had opted for wearing formal Muggle wear. Not necessarily a suit like Draco's, but a silk dress shirt with black trousers, and a lightweight black jumper. He doesn’t look nearly as good as Draco.

His hair looks the same from the other night, and Harry didn't think it could have got more sexier. But it has. His lips are wet as if he'd just placed some sort of balm on them, probably because of the cold weather, and Harry has to remind himself he should not stare at Draco's lips the entire night.

He could, but he shouldn't.

"Ready?" Harry asks, struggling to sound casual. He reaches in his back pocket and pulls out a red tulip to hand to Draco.

Draco scowls, but Harry can tell he isn't that upset. "Your little gesture has really made a mockery out of me at the office," he says, before he takes the flower and places it in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.

"Why? Did Percy get jealous he isn't the only one that gets flowers delivered to him at the Ministry?" Harry says before he takes Draco's arm.

Draco smiles at Harry's comment but doesn't respond to it.

If Harry had thought Draco was tight lipped when they were together at Hogwarts, it doesn't even compare to how quiet he is now. At least before, he had been able to decipher what Draco's expressions, silence, and smiles meant. But now, it's like he has to start from scratch again.

"Where are we going?" Draco asks, looking down at Harry's hold on his arm.

"To a Muggle restaurant," Harry replies. "Is that okay?"

Draco nods with his usual impassiveness.

"I'll have to Apparate us there, to an Apparition point near the restaurant, and then walk from there. Is that okay?"

"Certainly."

"Brilliant." It's all Harry can say since he's at a loss for words with Draco being so close to him. His scent is intoxicating and Harry wonders if there really is something about being Animagi or a morphing expert that makes the scent stronger. He could always tell Sirius had entered the room before he'd even look up.

He has to concentrate extra hard because of Draco being there with him. He doesn't want to accidentally splinch himself or worse, Draco, and when they arrive at the alley just around the corner from the Muggle restaurant, Harry releases a sigh of relief.

"Been a while?" Draco asks, and Harry can't help but wonder if there's a tone of concern hidden in his voice.

"Just when doing it with another person," Harry says with a smile.

"Don't Apparate much with other people, do you?"

"No," Harry says, shaking his head. He places a warming charm on himself and Draco before they begin to walk towards the restaurant. "It's been awhile since I've Apparated with someone."

Draco nods, looking down on to the ground. Their arms brush slightly, but Harry doesn't pull away. Neither does Draco.

"What about you?" Harry asks.

"Are we talking about Apparating, Potter?"

"You know we're not, Draco."

Draco looks like he's going to tell Harry it's none of his business, or just to shut up, or maybe he'll just walk away; but he releases a resigned sigh, instead. "It's been at least a year since I've Apparated..." He looks confused for a moment, "...with someone."

"Hmm. So you do date."

"It's been known to happen."

"So all that stuff about Pureblood expectations and finding the right partner to marry—"

"Those are all true," Draco says with a defensive tone. "Just because I wasn't a tart at Hogwarts..."

"Right," Harry says and he turns to point at the entrance of the restaurant. "We're here."

They enter Chez Henri and the host takes their coats promptly, before she seats them at a corner table. The restaurant isn't very full as it is the holidays and most people spend time with their families during this time of the year, and that's precisely why Harry picked this restaurant. He wanted to be out somewhere with Draco, but not in a place that was too crowded.

"Shall I suggest a bottle of wine to start?" the server says a moment after he approaches their table and hands them a menu.

Harry eyes Draco, who looks uncomfortable. He turns to the server and speaks before Draco can say anything. "I'm not drinking tonight. I'll have a café au lait, if you wouldn't mind." He looks at Draco who nods in the affirmative. "Make that two, please."

"Very well, Messieurs. I'll be right back."

"Still not much of a drinker, then?" Harry asks casually as he peruses the appetizer list. He saw Draco with that bottle of Firewhisky the night of the party, maybe he just likes the hard stuff.

"Not with dinner, not usually. I'm afraid I had a bit too much to drink late into the evening on Wednesday, and I'd rather not make it a habit."

"The Firewhisky. That can be an expensive habit."

"Undoubtedly. Especially if you let Pansy near that stuff."

"So if you're not getting drunk alone on the veranda at a party, when do you usually drink?"

Draco shrugs. "I tend to have a glass of wine when I settle in with a good book."

Harry nodded. "Yeah. Me too. Except, I don't know anything about wines. I just grab whatever Remus has in the cellar."

"Professor Lupin?" Draco asks, with an eyebrow raised.

"Yeah, he and Sirius have been together for I don't know something like twenty years. I still stay at home with Sirius, since Remus is usually gone for most of the school year, and I've got my own private flat in the attic."

Draco looks thoughtful. "Must be nice to be near family."

"Where are your parents?" Harry focuses on showing concern in his voice. He wants Draco to know that he really does care.

"In France, mostly. Father doesn't approve of me working for the DMLE. He thinks I should have joined the family business. I have other opinions about that..."

"Yeah, I think Sirius was disappointed I didn't want to work in the shop with him, but I think he's happy with me being next door." They are quiet for a while, and Harry struggles to find things to say. He has stuff to say, he just isn't sure if that kind of stuff should be said right now.

"You should come by and say hello to Sirius."

Draco looks up at him, seemingly slightly confused.

"I mean, you're cousins, right? I know there's some family falling out – I don't really know all the details, but yeah – I'm sure Sirius would love to see you."

"Right," Draco says, hesitantly.

"I didn't mean tonight. I meant—just some time. They're not even in the country. You know, because you're not coming over to my place tonight...I mean, unless you want to. Or not. I'm not trying to—"

"Ready to order?" The server steps in at precisely the right time, and Harry is relieved beyond all reason. He'd not been this nervous on a date with anyone since—well since Draco. And here they are.

It's too quiet at the table again. The appetizer has come and gone and the main course is being served. Harry orders a lamb dish while Draco opts for the vegetarian quinoa and squash dish.

"I was in love with you, you know," Harry says, finally, when the silence has been lingering for too long, and he knows if he doesn't just say it now—if he would never say it.

Draco drops his fork into his dish and looks up at Harry, visibly annoyed.

"Just thought you should know. The thing with Alan—what you heard—it wasn't true."

Draco opens his mouth to say something when they are interrupted by someone. Someone Harry hadn't expected.

"Harry?" He hears, recognising the French accent in an instant. Jérôme’s soft voice brings memories to Harry’s mind.

He hadn't thought about Jérôme, not really, ever since they'd broken up over nine months ago, and he really hadn't thought Jérôme would still be in London.

Harry stands up off his chair in haste and nearly tips his water glass over. "Jérôme!" Harry also dropped his serviette on the floor and he bends down to pick it up hurriedly. "What—what are you doing here?" When Jérôme raises an eyebrow at him, he adds, "I thought you'd be with your family for Christmas."

"I had some work to finish up," Jérôme says, drawling. "I leave tomorrow via..." He looks around at the Muggles that surround them. "Well, you know how."

"Right," Harry says; he can still feel his face flushing. Jérôme turns to look at Draco and Harry's gaze follows Jérôme's to find Draco looking at the both of them with intense interest.

Harry shakes his head and relaxes slightly. "Jérôme, this is my friend, Draco Malfoy. Draco, this is Jérôme."

"Jérôme Barnet," Draco says; Harry can tell it isn’t a question. He gracefully stands up from his seat and offers his hand to Jérôme. "I'm a fan of your work."

"Oh," Jérôme says; now his face slightly flushing. "I didn't realise— Of course, you're not Muggle." His gaze went up and down Draco, taking in Draco's clothing, and maybe more. Harry watches them interact with faint discomfort.

Draco chuckles. "Hardly. Harry and I are friends from school."

"Ah, how could I forget," Jérôme says, as if he's just had a sudden realisation about something. "You wrote all those Transfiguration books and that memoir of yours Harry loves so much." He rolls his eyes when he looks at Harry, clearly seeing Harry's embarrassment.

"Oh, come on, Harry. It's hardly a secret. In the middle of the night, I'd wake up and see Harry with one of your books in his lap and a glass of wine in hand. I should have known then," Jérôme says.

"Known what?" Draco asks; his face is either intrigue or annoyance, Harry can't tell.

"The one that got away," Jérôme says casually. He turns to look at someone a few tables over. "Well, I must be off. Sorry to disturb your dinner. Have a nice Christmas, gentlemen." He tips his head slightly and then walks off, leaving Harry and Draco standing by their table, staring at each other.

They take their seats once again, and Harry wishes he had something stronger to drink than just water. He motions over to the server and asks for two Scotch whiskies.

"So, an ex-boyfriend, I take it," Draco says with a hint of amusement Harry didn't know he'd missed until he took a note of it this time. He gave Harry a smirk, as if he were thinking of a million different jokes about Harry having dated a Wizard Fashion Stylist, not to mention makeup artist for the Weird Sisters.

Harry shrugs. "I like 'em pretty," he says in a joking tone and then giving a nervious chuckle.

"I'm sure," Draco says casually. "Apparate much, did you?"

Harry coughs with surprise. "For eight months, until—"

The server stopped by their table to drop off the whiskies.

"Until?" Draco asks.

"Until March. Right around Ron's birthday."

"That's not what you were going to say."

"We were planning on going to Nice for a Spring festival with his family. It was all fine until I overheard him discussing wedding plans, and I..." Harry shrugs. "I was never one to settle down so quickly."

"Right," Draco says, thoughtfully. He sips on his whiskey as Harry finishes his in one gulp.

"I suppose I'm still looking for someone who can give me the freedom to be."

Draco scrutinises him with his sharp gaze. His grey eyes seem to be pinning Harry in the chair. "That's a title of one of my chapters."

"I know," Harry says with a smile. He is too nervous for this, but tries not to show it. He'd wanted to impress Draco, show him he'd changed. To tell him he used to love him, and then Jérôme showed up out of nowhere, and Draco didn’t really bat an eyelash about it.

"Do you want to get dessert or another cup of coffee?" Harry asks after their table has been cleared away.

"No. I'm fine, thank you," Draco replies and Harry summons for the bill. When Harry is getting ready to pay, Draco stops him for a moment. "Are you sure? I have Muggle—"

"It's all right, Draco. I asked you to dinner, remember?"

Draco nods and Harry almost says Draco can pay next time, but he doesn't want to push his luck.

After grabbing their coats from the host, they walk in silence. Harry purposely leads Draco away from the Apparition point. He's not sure if Draco knows or has just chosen to not say anything. They're walking more into the centre of the city and it's freezing. He didn't get a chance to cast a warming spell on them, but Draco isn't complaining. In fact, Draco isn't saying anything at all.

"About what I said earlier..." Harry says quietly. "Before Jérôme stopped by the table."

Draco stops and turns to look at Harry. It's as if he's expecting an apology or an excuse; maybe he's waiting for Harry to take it back. Harry has no idea what Draco thinks of him. Does he still hate him?

Draco's hand is in his right pocket and he's fidgeting with something. He reaches down to take Draco's hand in his. Draco easily releases whatever he's holding onto in his pocket and his fingers entwine with Harry's. It's almost as if the six years haven't passed and they are back to where they'd started from.

"Alan was a wanker," Harry whispers, looking into Draco's eyes.

"I don't really want to talk about Alan right now," Draco says.

Harry gives him a huge smile and Draco's eyes flash over to Harry's lips before he catches Harry's gaze again. Harry can't help himself and does the same, licking his lips at the same time. Shite. What he wouldn't give to taste those lips right now.

Every kiss Harry's ever had since Hogwarts, he'd wondered if they'd taste as good as Draco.

"You still have the pocket watch," Harry says. He suspects the thing in Draco’s pocket is the watch itself.

"Yes. It's proved to be useful," Draco says, before biting his lower lip.

Something has clearly changed between them. Harry now knows that Draco doesn't hate him. But all this back and forth is driving him mad.

If Harry's honest with himself, he's getting frustrated. Honestly, this has gone on for far too long. "You never gave me my Christmas present," he says. "I mean, it's only fair since you still use mine."

Draco steps closer and Harry's arms instinctively wrap around Draco's waist. "This doesn't mean I forgive you," Draco says.

"This doesn't mean I forgive you," Harry says.

Draco nods curtly. "Fair enough."

Harry caresses Draco's cheek with the back of his hand and Draco leans into the touch. His lower lip is trembling, and Harry wonders if it's from need or from the cold. Maybe just a little bit of both.

"Drac—"

Draco's lips are on Harry's before he can even finish saying his name. His first impression is of the chilliness of Draco's lips, with the warmth of his mouth. He tastes like the whiskey they'd had with a hint of squash and coffee. Harry takes in a deep breath and sucks on Draco's lower lip with desperation. Draco's hands tighten around Harry's waist, and Harry never ever wants him to let go.

The kiss is everything. Everything Harry's ever wanted. Until Draco slightly probes Harry's mouth with his tongue and Harry parts his lips to give Draco the permission to enter. Now, it's everything he never knew he needed.

Harry doesn't know when his hands found themselves inside Draco's coat, but he's got a tight hold on Draco – pulling him closer – pressing their hips together. Draco moans in his mouth, and if that isn't the sexiest thing Harry’s ever heard.

It's nearly Christmas. It's Christmas six years later, and he finally has what he'd always wanted. He finally has Draco back in his arms.

A group of girls walk by them and they giggle, finally making Harry realise where he is. They break apart panting, only their lips though, as Harry's arms are still tight around Draco.

"Do you want to Apparate with me?" It's the only thing that comes to Harry's mind, and he curses himself for being ridiculous.

"I—"

"Not tonight. Maybe some other evening, you can come over to my flat and maybe I can make you dinner..." Harry gives him a soft smile. He hopes he hasn't offended Draco or crossed the line.

Harry tries to look at Draco, watching for his reaction, and trying to imagine what he's thinking. But he can’t help himself and his gaze constantly flickers to Draco’s lips. He leans down and kisses Draco again, pulling him tighter this time. He pushes his tongue into Draco's mouth and allows Draco to suck on it. He needs Draco to show Harry how much Draco wants it too.

Draco doesn't seem to mind. He's willingly kissing Harry back—sucking and moaning while his fingers pull on Harry's coat.

"Right..." Harry says as they break for breath again. "I was saying..."

"Yeah, you were," Draco says before he's kissing Harry again. Harry has no idea when they'd started to move, but he's now pressed against a wall and Draco is settled between his legs. He's biting Harry's lower lip and Harry's glasses are so fogged up, he can't see anything. He lets go of his hold on Draco just to remove his glasses and they fall on the ground. Harry doesn't give a damn. He doesn't give a damn about anything but Draco Malfoy. Kissing Draco Malfoy. Having Draco Malfoy kiss him back.

This time, when they break apart, Harry rests his forehead against Draco's. He marvels at the fact that it took him so long to share a kiss with Draco, and it now seems like the stupidest thing in the world. The fact that he didn't do it years and years ago makes him feel like it's the only regret in his life.

How many men did Draco kiss in all those years? How many men did Harry waste time kissing, when he could have been kissing Draco instead?

Draco's eyes are closed, but Harry's eyes rest on Draco's lips again. They're red, full, and slightly bruised, and Harry mentally kicks himself for being turned on by that. Still, he wants to do more damage. He wants to make Draco, beg, and moan, and whimper and all sorts of things two people do when they're so passionate about each other.

These few minutes with Draco are so much more in comparison to the eight months he'd spent with Jérôme or any other man for that matter.

It couldn't be right, could it? Is this just the heat of the moment talking or is Harry still – in love with Draco?

Harry's hands around Draco's waist become bolder as he gently starts to massage him under his coat. He drops a few small kisses on Draco's chin and jaw, before settling on Draco's lips again.

Draco presses his body against Harry's. Now when they grind their hips together, Harry can feel how hard they both are. How desperate Harry is for Draco and well, if his erection is anything to go by, how Draco wants him just as badly.

"If I'd known you kiss like this," Harry says softly. He doesn't want to break the moment between them.

"I never would have passed any of my classes," Draco says.

Harry laughs against Draco's lips before he gently kisses him again. "So you're saying you kept me waiting, because..."

"I was afraid the physical relationship would hinder me from my goals," Draco says, kissing Harry back; small kisses in between his words.

"You did have a lot of expectations laid upon your shoulders," Harry says, thoughtfully.

"Watching you..." Draco pauses for a moment, "in your room. That was—that had to suffice for some time." It comes out like a confession and Harry can tell that Draco means it that way.

"I knew you were there," Harry says, almost triumphantly. "In the beginning, at least."

"You used to say my name."

"I still do."

Draco's eyes widen at the implication of Harry's statement. "Potter—"

"Harry," Harry says as he brushes his thumb over Draco's lower lip.

"Fuck me."

"What?" Harry's hand stills on Draco's jaw and his eyes are on Draco's again.

"I was in love with you too," Draco says, gasping for breath as he ruts against Harry with his hands in Harry's hair, tugging on his locks, and he pulls Harry in for a deep kiss again. "I've been a fool. Focusing on school, and then my career, thinking I could forget about you. I don't want to wait another six years for—"

"Okay," Harry says and he wants to stop. He wants to stop, and take a step back before he's ready to take Draco home; but they're standing in a dark corner of the street and it's so cold out that there aren't any Muggles around. It's like they're the same horny teenagers, but now, Harry's allowed to touch Draco in places he couldn't before. He's allowed to show Draco how much he wants him. His hand travels down to cup Draco's balls before he rubs Draco's erection with his palm, and then unzips Draco's trousers.

Draco's eyes are closed; he looks like he's doing his best to keep his composure – and failing miserably. His cock is hot in Harry's hand and, fuck, it's nice and firm. Harry starts to stroke it gently at first, but it isn't long until he's really tugging on it. Draco bites his lip and he thrusts his hips slightly, fucking Harry's hand. Harry is sure this isn't what Draco meant, but he's right—they've waited six years.

After this, Harry is going to take Draco home. And they'll do it nice and proper in Harry's bed or maybe in the shower. But, he knows this isn't the end, it's just the beginning.

Harry sees the hesitation on Draco's face. He leans in and kisses Draco again. All he wants to do is kiss Draco all the time. "Do it," he whispers against Draco's lips. "Come for me, Draco."

Draco opens his mouth and releases a small groan before he lets go, and he's spilling in Harry's hand, still pumping in and out until he's good and done for—until the last drop.

"Bugger," Draco says looking down at Harry's clothes. He's made quite a mess, but Harry doesn't mind; doesn't care, because Draco is there and they are together.

Harry reaches into his coat and pulls out his wand to spell himself clean as Draco quickly tucks his prick inside his trousers.

Draco starts to say something, "I don't know what—"

"It's okay. I wanted this."

"You wanted this?" Draco says, half laughing.

"Okay, maybe not exactly this...in a dark street corner, but you know, this." He motions between the two of them before he pulls Draco closer. "Come home with me tonight."

"If you insist," Draco says with a straight face, but Harry can see the desire in Draco's eyes. There's no doubt about it, Draco wants to go home with him.

"I insist," Harry says. He shifts sideways to pick up his glasses off the ground. Thankfully, they aren't broken. When he looks at Draco again, he smiles, "Just hold onto me." A moment later, he Apparates them into his flat.

*

His flat isn't anything monumental. Since he shares the house with Sirius and Remus, Harry spends most of his time downstairs. But his place has the privacy he needs: a small kitchen, a sitting room for when his friends visit, and a private bath. It also has its own Floo network and a private entrance.

"It's not much," he says to Draco.

Draco shrugs as he looks around. "It has a bed."

Harry grins at the comment. "That it does." He takes one step closer to Draco, removing the distance between them since they'd Apparated into the flat. "Draco—"

"Potter, I want to—"

"Harry."

"Harry." Draco rolls his eyes, but his hold on Harry remains tight. "I want to apologise for the way I treated you." Harry's slightly confused by the statement, but he doesn't say anything. He lets Draco talk. "When we were at Hogwarts...I was in love with you and kept you at an arm's length, because I was afraid you'd break my heart. Instead, I acted like an arsehole. I was irrational. I practically stalked you and then I pulled away. I don't deserve—"

Harry kisses Draco before he has a chance to finish. He's heard enough.

"Maybe we're both at fault," Harry says, "but it was a very long time ago. I just—I haven't been able to forget about you, and I don't want to dwell in the past. I just want this. Now."

Draco gives him half a smile. Harry kisses him again, and this time, deepens the kiss. Gods, he's really loving kissing Draco so much and can't imagine how he survived for so long without it.

He starts pushing Draco so he can start walking backwards, and they kiss and walk until the back of Draco's legs hit Harry's bed and then Harry's on top of him. They remove their coats in haste, then gently, he's pressing down at Draco's body and is amazed at how much Draco is allowing him to do everything.

Eventually, Harry pulls back and looks down at Draco. "You said it's been a while, but you have—"

Draco nods, looking slightly embarrassed. "Initially, I wanted you to be my first but—"

"But we broke up and you moved on."

Draco nods again, looking guilty. He looks away from Harry, seemingly not wanting Harry to judge his decision harshly.

"Sorry I never kissed you."

Then his gaze is back on Harry and Draco smiles, bites his lower lip, and props his head up to lay a quick kiss on Harry's lips. "You're making up for it now," he says and Harry smiles.

"How did you want me?" Draco asks after they've been kissing for a while. They're still fully dressed, except for the winter coats, and Harry hasn't had the time or the desire to do anything else at the moment. Sure, he wants Draco. He wants to be deep inside him, show him how much he loves him. How good he can make it for Draco, but just having this is enough for now.

"What?" Harry asks, confused.

"When you thought of me, while you were in your bed… you called my name. So how did you want me?"

"I wanted...I wanted..." Harry is panting as Draco is sucking on a spot on his neck. His hands are unbuttoning Harry's shirt. "On your knees, open you up with my tongue..."

Draco arches up as Harry presses down, grinding their groins together. Harry removes his sweater and throws it on the floor, and Draco's hands keep moving all over Harry's body, untucking the shirt, unbuckling the belt. They writhe against each other, unable to stop.

It's a struggle to get their clothes off completely. There are hands everywhere, mouths wanting to touch, lick, kiss, taste everything.

Finally, Harry's settled between Draco's legs. Their erections are rubbing together. Harry's been hard since the first moment his lips were pressed against Draco's, and now finally Draco is touching him. He's afraid he's going to come right then and there, just from Draco's rough strokes. It feels amazing and he knows he needs to pace himself.

He's about to say something to Draco when Draco's other hand rakes through Harry's hair. "I want you to do that."

"Do what?" Harry asks, softly.

Draco bites his lower lip as if he’s become shy all of a sudden. Harry smiles down at him, understanding what it is that Draco wants him to do, then removes his glasses to place them on the bedside table. He pulls back away and gives Draco's body a long hard look before his eyes are land on Draco's face again. "Turn around."

Draco sits up and follows Harry's request. He's on his knees, his face buried in the pillows as Harry reaches down and kisses the back of Draco's neck. Draco shivers slightly as if he hadn't been expecting that. What had he been expecting? Harry wonders. He starts to leave a trail of kisses all the way down Draco’s spine, until he reaches Draco's arse, and squeezes it. He licks at Draco's hole tentatively that results in a small whimper from Draco.

Harry does it again, and again, until he's really plunging in and out with vigour. Draco's moans only get louder. His cries of pleasure are ready to send Harry over the edge. God, like this, he won't survive inside Draco for even a minute. But it'll be worth it.

"Harry. Please."

It takes every effort to tear himself away from Draco's arse, but he knows he wants to do everything in his power to make this good for Draco.

He reaches over to the table again, to rummage in the drawer for some lube. Grabbing it, Harry whispers in Draco's ear. "I'm going to place a Prophylactic Charm."

"Yeah. Okay," Draco huffs out. Harry watches as Draco's right hand curls around his own cock, and Harry's cock twitches at the sight—it's been ignored long enough. He murmurs the safety spell. It's been a long while since he's done it. With Jérôme, it'd been a few times until they had been decided to be monogamous. He doesn't exactly have the time to discuss previous lovers with Draco at the moment, nor does he want to think about that right now. The idea of another man being with Draco like this would only drive him mad.

Two lube-slicked fingers enter Draco, and he tightens around Harry's touch. "Fuck, you're so tight," Harry says as he starts to push in and out of Draco, getting him more stretched and ready.

"I'll make it so good for you, Draco."

"Promises, Potter," Draco teases, pushing back on Harry's fingers. "Put your cock where your mouth's been." The last words are strained in between pants and moans, and Harry knows he needs to take Draco now. He really cannot wait any longer.

"Let me see you," Harry says, pushing Draco on his side so he can eventually turn on his back. When Draco follows Harry's nudge, he spreads his legs before he pulls them all the way back to his chest.

"Like this?" he asks, sounding nervous.

"Yeah. Exactly like this."

Harry lines his cock to Draco's entrance and pushes in. Draco hisses slightly, but his eyes are wide open and he's looking right at Harry. It's intoxicating.

"I love you, you know," Harry says, grabbing Draco's hips and pushing in deeper before pulling out and doing it again. He's struggling to take his time, because all he wants to do is drive himself in, and be hard and fast; he's never been this patient. But he needs to take his time.

"Yeah?" Draco says with a smile. "Good. More." He lets go of his legs so he can wrap them around Harry's waist. "Don't be gentle with me."

"Draco—"

"No. Please. Harder. Please." He arches up so he can match Harry's thrusts and push down on Harry's cock. "Please, Harry."

That's all the motivation Harry needs, and he starts pounding into Draco with abandon. He gives it his all three, four, five times, before he pulls out and does it again. Eventually, changing his angle to get in deeper, to make Draco moan louder.

He's surprised at how long he's already lasted, but when Draco starts tugging on his cock, matching Harry's thrusts, Harry can't help himself. They come nearly in unison. Harry grabs the back of Draco's legs and places them on his shoulders, so he can thrust into him a few more times before emptying himself completely.

He all but crashes on top of Draco, their chests sweaty and their foreheads damp. Still, Harry starts kissing Draco again. First his neck, then his jawline, until he reaches Draco's lips, and their mouths are inseparable.

If he never gets to have sex with Draco again, it'll be okay, but he doesn't know if he can ever live without kissing Draco. It's all he needs.

"Will you stay?" Harry says, after he's placed a half-hearted cleansing spell. He knows they both will need a shower anyway.

Draco laughs. "I couldn't go anywhere even if I wanted to." He's still out of breath and Harry likes knowing he's the reason for it.

"Good," Harry says before he wraps his arm around Draco and falls asleep.

*

Harry is in the house kitchen, flipping pancakes in nothing but his boxers, and Draco is sitting in Harry's dressing gown at the chair on the kitchen island. Sirius and Remus are gone until the new year, so he might as well use their fully stocked kitchen rather than scrounge for things in his own pathetic one.

After he places a pancake on Draco's plate, he leans in and kisses Draco again. Draco wraps his leg around Harry's waist and pulls him closer. There's a crackling noise, and Harry thinks it's the bacon that's simmering, but of course, he's wrong.

"Don't you have your own flat for these kind of things?" Sirius's voice is stern and it gives Harry a start. Draco's face is just turning red when Harry pulls away from him, and Draco turns away towards the wall, covering his eyes with his hands.

"You were not supposed to be back for another ten days," Harry says in an accusing tone, although he has no right, since Sirius is technically right.

"Erm... Surprise?" Remus says, looking amused and embarrassed at the same time.

Harry looks back at Sirius, who looks angry for just about two more seconds before he starts laughing hysterically. Harry scowls at Sirius, but he looks perplexed now. "Where did he go?"

Harry turns to look where he knows Draco to have sat, finding out that he’s vanished. He couldn't have Apparated, Harry knows. Then he turns to look towards the window and he finds a butterfly sitting on a small vase of tulips. Harry chuckles before he approaches it and the butterfly flies on top of Harry's index finger.

"I think you're being rather silly," Harry says to the butterfly and both Sirius and Remus look at him in confusion. "Come on, now."

Then the butterfly flaps its wings a few times in the air before Draco Transfigures back. "Sorry," he says, shrugging. "Defence mechanism, I suppose."

"Oh," Sirius says and at the same time Remus mutters, "Mr Malfoy."

They haven't been around to know the latest in Harry's life. Of course, Harry didn't get a chance to tell them he'd seen Draco again or that he'd asked him out to dinner. The shock of Draco being there is rather evident on their faces, but Sirius schools his expression quickly while Remus is still gaping.

"Hi," Draco says, looking painfully uncomfortable. At least he's wearing a dressing gown. Harry's only in his boxers.

"Not exactly how I imagined meeting my cousin," Sirius says, and Harry can tell he's trying really hard not to laugh.

"Merlin," Draco mumbles and hides his face behind his hand again.

"Breakfast?" Harry offers cheerfully. "Why don't you two get settled and we'll go and get dressed, so we can have breakfast together."

"Sounds good. Let's go, Sirius," Remus says and starts pulling on Sirius's arm.

"But I—"

"No, Sirius."

They're out of the kitchen and Harry looks at Draco, whose face is burning up, and is looking conflicted. "What's wrong?" Harry asks, worried.

"I don't have any other clothes than that Muggle suit I wore," Draco says wearily.

"You can borrow something of mine," Harry says, feeling relieved. He'd thought it was something more serious. He wraps his arm around Draco's waist and Apparates them to his flat.

"This is so embarrassing," Draco says, sitting on the bed. "This is not how I pictured meeting your family."

"Hey, you're part of the family now too," Harry says, throwing a t-shirt and jeans towards Draco. "This is very normal for us."

"Oh," is all Draco says in return.

Harry stops getting dressed mid-way and looks at Draco. "I mean, you want to be, don't you?" God, how could he just throw something like that at Draco? Again Harry jumped and made assumptions, without asking Draco the question properly.

"Yes. Of course. I just—"

"Draco?"

"Yes."

"Do you want to be my boyfriend?" He asks and before Draco can answer he adds, "I wanted to ask you when we'd got back to Hogwarts after Christmas hols. But, I never got the chance. So I'm asking you now, before it's too late. I told you last night: I love you."

"You mean, you loved me."

"No, Draco," Harry says, shaking his head. "I still love you."

Draco's expression is unreadable for a few moments before he smiles so wide it makes Harry's heart melt. "Yes."

"Yes?"

"I want to be your boyfriend."

"Good," Harry says, pulling Draco in for a kiss.

"...And I still love you, too."

Harry has heard love declarations from many others before, but they never filled him with the warmth and excitement the way they do when coming from Draco. He smiles against Draco's lips. "You know this doesn't mean I'm going to sell my brooms to the Ministry for a discount price..."

"We'll see," Draco says, shrugging. "I'm sure Percy will have thoughts on the matter."


Draco Malfoy knows a great many things. Sadly, the only thing he didn't know was how much Harry Potter loved him.

But now he does, and now he'll make sure never to disappear from him again.

FIN