And then Harry gets into my head.
I’ve been ignoring his owls. It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve seen him last and he’s owled me twice since. I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing with him. It’s taking too much from me.
I’m meeting Justin tonight for drinks in a gay bar in some Muggle district he’s familiar with. We Apparate together behind a phone booth and in an alleyway with a dumpster that smells like piss. We’re both a little tipsy from having drinks at his place while I helped him figure out what to wear. I swear the git has the worst fashion sense of any man I’ve ever met, and that includes Harry.
It’s cold. I pull my coat close against my neck, and Justin and I walk arm in arm to the huge bouncer at the door.
The bouncer glances at us briefly and then steps aside to let us through, and Justin smacks me on the arse as we walk through the thin, beer smelling hallway to the bar and says, ‘I knew it was good idea bringing you here!’
I give him a look, ‘What are you on about?’
Justin grins as we stop by the coat check and hand in our scarves and coats.
‘If you think I’ve ever gotten inside this bar without standing in line for at least half an hour, you’d be wrong.’
‘It’s the truth.’
I push him along and we find an empty pair of stools next to the bar and we both sit.
‘Well if that’s the truth,’ I say. ‘It’s only because you’ve never known how to dress yourself.’
He flips two fingers at me and waves at the bartender.
‘Whatever’s on the tap for me, and a whiskey for my mate.’
I look around the bar; it’s full of young men like me and Justin. They’re probably all here looking for a quick shag. I’m starting to wonder if that’s why I’m here, too.
When the bartender brings our drinks, I knock back almost half and drop my glass onto the table top.
‘Easy,’ Justin says, taking a swig of his bitter.
I glance at him. ‘Sorry.’
‘Do you want to talk about it?’
I look away. The dance floor is starting to fill up with young twinks with their shirts unbuttoned, ready to pull it off at the slightest sign of sweat. Or interest. There’s one or three or four who look just like Harry to me. It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic.
‘No,’ I say.
It’s utterly ridiculous that I could be here with someone else, someone who wants me, and I’m thinking of Harry. He’s been a bastard to me for almost three years, and I keep going back and I don’t know why. Maybe I’m some sort of masochist.
I look down and Justin’s hand is on my thigh.
‘What is it?’
I put my hand on his, and suddenly I feel like dancing with him. I want to be one of those twinks on the dance floor. I don’t want to give a fuck anymore. I get up and pull him off his stool.
‘Dance with me,’ I say, pulling his hand forward and making his body lurch into mine.
He looks at me warily, but his face is flushed. ‘You’re pissed.’
He reaches for his drink, knocks it back quickly and drops it on the counter. It teeters slightly before righting itself.
‘Come on then,’ he says.
And then we’re both on the dance floor surrounded by sweating bodies and strobe lights and the music that matches my heartbeat thump-by-thump; and his hands are on my back and mine are gripping his arse, and we keep dancing until the song is over; and the next song; and the one after that.
It’s after four when we stumble into my flat, pressed up against each other, our coats a bundled mess between our bodies. Justin presses me up against the wall and he tries to straighten himself out. We both lurch to the right and he stretches his arms out on either side of my head, pushing himself off my body, putting us both upright. I let my head drop back against the wall and close my eyes. The room is spinning. I have no idea how we’re both not splinched to pieces.
‘Draco,’ Justin says softly. ‘I know I said I could be friends with you, but sometimes like now, when I’m pissed. It’s really, really hard.’
I lift my head up and open my eyes. His face is only inches away from mine. His lashes are blond. I didn’t notice that before.
I sigh and pull away. ‘And when I tease you, it’s worse. I’m sorry.’
He stops me with a hand on my forearm.
‘You weren’t teasing me,’ he says. ‘You were thinking about Harry.’
‘I was, and it’s not fair to you.’
‘We’re friends. You can think about whoever you want.’
‘I said I could be friends with you, Draco.’
I lean forward and press my lips against his, and he groans and presses out bodies together, pushing me against the wall. He nips on my lower lip and I gasp and pull back, knocking my head into the wall behind me.
‘Now you’re teasing me,’ he says, his voice rough with lust.
He looks me in the eye for a long moment and then rests his forehead against mine.
‘You’re not happy with him,’ he says.
‘Sometimes I am.’
He sighs. ‘Draco. Is he really─’
But whatever he’s about to say gets lost in the echoing tap of an owl’s beak against my window. It’s Lily. I pull away from him, drop my coat onto the floor and open the window to let her in.
She looks furious with me and she nips my finger harshly before dropping an envelope in my palm.
It says the same thing he always says. I set the letter to flames with my wand and tell Lily, ‘No response.’
She gives me one last reproachful look, makes a nuisance of herself by fluttering around my head, and then sets off. I douse the flames with a charm.
It doesn’t take long for Justin’s arms to wrap around my waist, or for my head to fall back onto his shoulder. I put my hands over his and I think about what it means to be held like this. That I haven’t been held this way in too long.
I hesitate. ‘Justin─’
He drops his hands and sighs.
‘I’ll make us some coffee.’
Fifteen minutes later, we’re both staring sleepily into our mugs and Lily taps at my window again. I wave my wand, opening the window and she flies in, dropping a piece of parchment onto the table top. I open it with shaking fingers.
The two words stand starkly out against the off-white parchment, like an exclamation point straight into my heart. I clench the parchment between my fingers and set fire to this one too, which Justin quickly tapers with his wand.
‘Draco, maybe you should─’
‘No,’ I say. ‘I know what he wants.’
Justin watches me for a moment and then he stands and takes both our cups away, banishing them to the sink with a wave of his wand. Then he takes my hand and pulls me up off the chair into his arms and holds me close. I don’t think about it when I kiss him this time. I don’t think about Harry when he kisses me back.
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