“I hate coffee.”
Draco Malfoy frowns at the offensive cup of dark liquid sitting on his desk, mumbling under his breath about it’s abhorrent qualities, when he hears someone clear their throat.
Harry Potter steps into the modest cubicle sporting an amused smile and holding two mugs of steaming tea.
“Two teas coming right up.”
“Dare I ask what’s inside—“
“No worries! Only lemon in yours, no sugar. I saved the last sugar packets in the break room for myself,” Harry dismisses Draco’s concerns as he places the mugs down on the desk.
“Are you sure there was enough sugar in the whole building for you? I can smell the sweetness from over here.”
“Well, ’tis the season…” Harry shoots back while gesturing at the gaudy Christmas decorations all about the office.
“It must always be a holiday with the amount of sweets you eat,” Draco teases while taking an appreciative sip from his cup.
Harry smiles into his cup of tea and Draco feels his heart turn over. He quickly does his best to look away and stop staring at his friend. The task is made no easier when the hot steam from the tea fogs up Harry’s glasses causing him to remove them and wipe them off on his jumper. How is it possible for one man to be so adorable and sexy all at the same time?
Draco sighs to himself and picks up a memo to distract himself.
“Tell me again, Potter, how is it I always get stuck with Gobstones while you get to oversee Quidditch drafting?”
“It must pay to be the saviour of the wizarding world,” Harry smirks in reply.
Draco balls up the Gobstone memo and throws it at Harry’s head as he gleefully retreats from the cubicle. He can’t help but watch Harry as he walks away and reflect on how great his ass looks in those jeans. Bollocks, Draco thinks to himself—he’s fucked.
Becoming friends after the war was not an easy road. In the immediate aftermath of the war, the trials followed. No one was more surprised than Draco when Harry Potter came and spoke on behalf of the Malfoys the day of their hearing. Harry spoke up for his mother, informing the Wizengamot of how she saved his life and was crucial to the demise of the Dark Lord. He also spoke for Draco, revealing that he lowered his wand when faced with killing Dumbledore and how he chose not to identify Harry at the manor so many months before. However, he basically condemned his father to a lifetime sentence in Azkaban.
Draco was furious and confronted him immediately after the trails in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic. Harry called him ungrateful and they nearly got into blows but Hermione jumped in and pulled Harry away all the while asserting that Malfoy wasn’t worth it. The words were like a bucket of ice water on his fury and his pride diminished even further at the idea that he was not even worth Harry Potter’s precious time. His mother dragged him away, all the while sporting a frustrated scowl.
When they arrived back at the manor his mother gave him a severe talking to and Draco came to realize, over time, that he had been a prat. The first few weeks after the trials Draco stayed shut in, hardly ever leaving the manor for fear of how he would be received by the public. He was nearly becoming content with his new life as a recluse, until Pansy came for tea one day. They were only halfway through the pot when she jumped up and said she had to run, as she was late to meet Hannah Abbot for lunch. Draco sneered and confronted her for being friends with a Hufflepuff but Pansy just patted his knee and told him they weren’t at Hogwarts anymore and things were changing.
After that Draco started to go out more and even applied for an entry job at the Ministry’s Sports Department. One night while at the Leaky Cauldron he spotted the golden trio and sent them a round of butterbeers in hopes of trying to smooth things over. Ron looked suspicious, Hermione looked somewhat impressed and Harry looked guarded but still raised his bottle across the bar and towards Draco before he took a swig.
Draco thought that would be the end of that but when he went in for his first day at the Ministry he saw that Harry was also there for the Sports Department’s orientation. Things were a bit awkward and tense, seeing as they had not spoken or seen each other since, what Draco had been referring to as, their “beer truce.” The first few weeks were spent with formal greetings and generally avoiding each other in the break room. One day, however, Draco was complaining to himself about how there was always a burnt pot of coffee and little else to drink in the office when Harry, who was sitting at the break room table, agreed and offered to share his hidden stash of tea. They sat together, drank tea, and chatted about how boring the job was at the entry level. Draco felt warm all day as he thought to himself: so this is what it’s like to be friends with Harry Potter.
Three days until the ball.
“I don’t see why I have to go,” Ron grumbles, his mouth full of food as he reaches for another pastry off the tray.
Hermione sighs and shakes her head at the display but affectionately pats his hand.
“You work for the Ministry, you’re basically obligated to go. Besides, I’m sure it will be fun! I’ve always wanted to go to the Ministry Holiday Ball.”
“Yeah so you can reach all the department heads in one place and hand out your flyers,” Harry laughs.
“Please Hermione, don’t turn this into a political thing,” Ron pleads while looking rather concerned.
She appears ruffled but does not confirm nor deny her intentions. Harry and Ron both reach for the last treacle tart at the same time; they look at each other for a moment before coming to a silent agreement and breaking it in half. The two young men happily munch on their half of the pastry as Hermione rolls her eyes.
“Honestly, with the way you two eat I’m surprised your teeth haven’t rotted out yet.”
Ron waves off her concerns but Harry looks mildly abashed.
“You sound just like Draco. He was giving me a hard time the other day about my sweets consumption,” Harry replies while smiling to himself at the memory.
“Oh did he?” Hermione asks coyly.
Harry blushes slightly and looks away.
“So, do you have a date yet for the ball?”
“Do I really have to go?”
“Yes Harry! It’s an important event and I think it’ll be fun. You should really bring a date. It’s been nearly a year since you publicly came out and yet you’ve never had a boyfriend.”
“I’ve been busy!”
“That’s neither here nor there. I think it would be a good for closeted wizards to see the hero of the wizarding world out with a man at such a public event.”
“‘Mione and her political statements…” Ron rolls his eyes as he pokes dejectedly at the now empty pastry platter.
“I’m not sure… I don’t really have anyone I could bring…”
“Well, I could help you find someone! I know a few guys from my non-profit who would be interested. Do you have a type?”
Harry dreamily recalls soft grey eyes, white blond hair, slender fingers, pale skin and a prickly disposition.
Harry flushes and clears his throat.
“Uh, I don’t really have a type.”
Hermione gives him a knowing look but lets it go.
Two days until the ball.
Draco frowns as he watches his mother add yet another heap of sugar into her tea, all the while chatting mindlessly about the latest gossip she overheard at Gringotts the other day. The amount of sugar his mother enjoys could only rival one Harry Potter; sweet-toothed, ridiculous, gorgeous Harry Potter.
“…don’t you agree, Darling?”
“Hmm?” Draco starts realizing he hasn’t heard a single word for the last few minutes.
“Something distracting you today Draco?”
“No one… nothing! Just a bit tired I suppose,” Draco flushes and looks into his tea cup.
“I do hope they aren’t overworking you over at the Ministry.”
“Really, Mother, I’m fine. The job is perfectly satisfactory, if not a bit boring at times.”
“Well, you do have the Ministry Ball coming up to look forward to, no?”
“I’m not sure I want to go to that…”
“You have to go! In fact I was thinking of who might be suitable to bring as a date for you.”
“If I must go I think I’d rather go alone.”
“Nonsense,” Narcissa insists, “there must be some eligible young man who would love to go with you.”
Draco chokes on his tea and turns bright red but Narcissa only looks amused.
“Now, now Draco. I am your mother and not a complete fool. I’ve suspected for some time. You shouldn’t feel a need to hide it from me.”
“Your father is no longer around, and all that rubbish he has always spouted about the importance of an heir, well, it’s all just nonsense.”
Draco smiles in gratitude but doesn’t trust himself to speak just yet.
“So, do you have anyone in mind?”
Draco thinks of Harry: his dark hair, bright eyes, easy going personality, goofy humour and pride. He can hardly even recall the moment when the blossoming friendship turned to admiration and then to adoration. How long had he been lusting over Harry now? It would never work; despite Draco’s repentance, the former Gryffindor was and always would be too good for him.
“No,” Draco shakes his head to clear his thoughts, “I don’t really have anyone in mind.”
One day until the ball.
Draco heads towards the break room, slowing his swift pace as he hears the loud voice of the ever loquacious Alicia Spinnet. He debates turning back to his cubicle when he also hears Harry’s voice through the hall and decides to forge ahead. There is a rustling at the door and Draco barges into the room having just come in from outside. Harry stares, mouth open, for a moment as he takes in the Draco’s cheeks and nose, flushed pink from the cold, and the remainder of snowflakes clinging to his pale lashes. Draco flashes Harry a quick smile and notes that Harry looks even more pink-faced than himself, despite having been inside this whole time.
Alicia follows Harry’s gaze and gives him a knowing smile before leaving the room.
“Spinnet,” Draco nods a greeting as she moves through the doorway and then turns his attention to Harry, “Here, take this.”
Draco skillfully removes his scarf from his neck while handing Harry a takeaway box, the smell of spicy curry filling the break room.
“I’m impressed Draco, did you really go out in that blizzard to get me some takeaway?” Harry asks smugly while opening the container and breathing in the rich, fragrant spices.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Potter, it’s just my leftovers,” Draco smirks in reply.
“Git,” Potter bites back fondly.
“So, what was Alicia chatting about so loudly?”
“Just the stupid Ministry Ball,” Harry scowls into his curry.
“Not her too,” Draco scoffs as he grabs some paperwork from his bag, “My mother was giving me a right time about it yesterday, harassing me to bring a date.”
“Yeah, Hermione was nagging me about bringing a date as well. Maybe we should just go together to shut everyone up,” Harry jokes, assumingly, but his face is quite serious.
There is a muted clatter as Draco drops all the files he was holding and frantically grabs them off the floor.
“Of course, I’m just joking! I meant as friends anyway, I mean, I know you’re not gay…” Harry trails off looking flushed.
Draco gazes up from the floor and into the earnest look in Harry’s eyes and his resolve weakens for a moment. Maybe he could confide in Harry about his orientation, if not the feelings he has been hiding from him. There doesn’t seem to be a better opening than now.
“Well, actually Harry, to the honest, the truth is—“
“It could be fun to go as friends,” Harry cuts him off, looking embarrassed, “It’s not like I even think of you that way, even if you were gay, which I know you’re not…”
Draco feels like an icy knife has gone straight through his heart. He manages to pick up the last of the fallen files and forces a fake smile.
“I have a lot of work to do…” he gestures towards the files and quickly heads off to his cubicle.
The day of the ball.
The Ministry had really outdone itself this year; fairy lights glittered throughout the room, fountains of sparkling wine filled every corner, and all the tables were overspread with opulent ornaments.
Harry sipped on a flute of champagne as Hannah chatted animatedly at his side.
“I still can’t believe I convinced Neville to come! Now I’ll just have to see if I can get him to dance as well. He’s so dreadfully shy, but it’s what I adore about him most,” Hannah blushes happily.
Harry smiles in response but is distracted by one Draco Malfoy entering the room. He is wearing tailored dress robes in white and dusty blue and the vibrant colours bring out his eyes beautifully. His hair is styled softly and locks of pale blond hair fall in front on his face whenever he looks down. Harry is sure that he is the most gorgeous thing he has even seen. Hannah follows his gaze and smiles.
“He sure does clean up nicely, doesn’t he?”
Harry feels a note of jealousy creep into his belly but reminds himself she came here with Neville, the man she is clearly enamoured with.
“I suppose so.”
“Seems he came to the ball stag just like you. I’m surprised, really. Pansy had found quite a few suitable blokes to set him up with.”
“Yeah… wait, blokes!?”
“Well, of course. Draco might not be as out as you are but it’s not like he’d bring a female date just for show.”
“Of course,” Hannah replies nonchalantly, a moment too late realization dawning on her face, “Oh no, you didn’t know! Please don’t say anything! Pansy told me in complete confidence and she would kill me if she knew I spilled the beans. I just assumed you knew seeing how close you two are.”
“Yeah, um, of course… Don’t worry Hannah, my lips are sealed.”
Hannah nods in relief and is quickly whisked away as Neville appears at the bar and pulls her to their table. Harry can feel his heart pounding beneath his robes and his hopes start to soar. Draco Malfoy, his good friend and object of his desires, is gay; has been gay this entire time. The possibilities flash before Harry’s eyes but slowly fade away as the truth creeps in. Draco knows Harry is gay, everyone knows, and yet he has never made a move on him. Harry even hinted the other day that they could go together but Draco seemed shocked by the suggestion. Harry had assumed it was due to the difference in their sexuality and had to clumsily turn the offer into a joke but evidently that wasn’t the case. If Draco were interested he clearly would have said or done something by now. The disappointment is crushing and Harry grabs another flute of champagne from a floating tray and takes it down in one go. He watches Draco across the ballroom with hooded eyes and settles into his woe.
The night is half over and Draco Malfoy has still not found the courage to approach Harry. He had wallowed in his misery all morning after Harry’s declaration of platonic feelings, and only showed up as a result of his mother's persistence. However, he now has a few drinks in his system and, though still quite despondent, has become reasonable as well. Draco knew all along that he wasn’t good enough for Harry, thus why he kept his sexuality and feelings to himself. Though it hurts now, the disappointment is not a shock, and he refuses to let it affect their friendship which has come to mean so much to him. He takes a breath, gathers a bit of Malfoy courage, and marches across the room to where Harry is spread out at the bar.
“Happy Holidays Harry,” Draco pulls up a seat next to him.
“Yeah, yeah,” Harry mutters back looking surly and decidedly drunk.
“Is everything alright?”
“Oh, of course! Why wouldn’t it be?”
“I get the feeling you’re lying to me Potter,” Draco frowns suspiciously.
“Oh! That’s rich, for you to come here and accuse me of dishonesty,” Harry declares waving his empty glass around.
Draco begins to get frustrated and even more so when he realizes they are causing a small scene.
“I really don’t know what you’re on about,” Draco hisses back under his breath.
“I know! I know you’re gay, even though you never thought to confide it to me!”
Draco is shocked, even more so when he realizes how loud Harry is being and the speculative whispers that begin to grow around them.
“Come with me,” Draco commands and he painfully digs his fingers into Harry’s arm and drags him out the main room and into the loo.
They both remain silent for a moment, staring at the other, anger and frustrating warring with each other. Finally Harry breaks the silence.
“I thought we were friends, really good friends. You should have told me! I should have known.”
Draco instantly feels the same painful rejection again at being called “just a friend” again.
“Yeah, well maybe that’s the problem!”
“Maybe I don’t want to be friends! Maybe I want to be more!”
Harry stares, a shocked expression on his face, and Draco takes the opportunity to grab and kiss him. His lips fit perfectly against Harry’s and for a moment Draco knows true bliss. He quickly realizes Harry has yet to respond and comes to his senses, pulling away quickly.
“Shit, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have—“
Harry interrupts him by grabbing Draco by the arms and pulling him back into the embrace. Draco sighs against his mouth and once again all is right in the world. Harry’s tongue teases Draco’s lips and he readily opens his mouth to Harry’s demands. The first touching of tongues goes straight to Harry’s groin and he moans in response to Malfoy’s careful ministrations. He nips at Malfoy’s lips, muttering between kisses about how long he has wanted the blond, and how good it feels to finally have him. Draco chuckles against his mouth, murmuring similar words and sliding his hands down Harry’s back.
The door opens with a bang and the two men jump apart, startled at the interruption.
Ron Weasley stands in the doorway of the loo looking surprised but not overly shocked. He sighs and shakes his head as he turns around to leave the two in peace, muttering on his way out.
“Why does Hermione have to be right about everything?”