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Unhook the Stars

Chapter Text

 

your mouth waters
stretched out on my bed
your fingers are trembling
your heart is heavy and red
and your head is bent back
and your back is arched
my hand is under there
holding you up

.:...:...:.

* I *

 

It's not as if Draco actually needs the gold.

The fines and attorney fees the Ministry laid on his family after the war may have cleaned out half the gold in his Gringotts vault, but if you take half the Galleons from a multi-millionaire, they're still millionaires. He might've given up the hope of buying that Quidditch team he always wanted, but he was doing all right for himself. It's not as if he has to work, or anything. He really could just sit around everyday drinking champagne and hosting soirees for his wealthy friends, or tagging along with Pansy to the shops.

No, Draco Malfoy doesn't need to work. He just happens to enjoy it.

Very few people can afford him, and he prefers it that way; he isn't always in the mood. Astoria was livid when she found out — he doesn't really care about that, either, because the woman got what she wanted (a generous alimony) and gave him what he needed (an heir). He can just go to the Prophet now, if he wants to. It would be worth it, just for the amusement value. The downside being, the story would be huge. He'd be outing himself.

Still, it might be worth it — even if it ruined his record of confidentiality forever. He'd never work in this field again.

But it isn't as if he needs the gold.

So Draco Malfoy has no idea why he shows up alone on the doorstep of number twelve, Grimmauld Place just before midnight. Incredulity, disbelief, amusement — just plain morbid curiosity, perhaps. He can't honestly tell.

When the door opens, the figure behind it gives him a swift once over, shrugs, turns away and retreats down the long hall.

Draco narrows his eyes. Something twelve years forgotten stirs in his chest, causing his breath to quicken and his hackles to rise. Draco Malfoy is not shrugged at, thank you very much. Draco Malfoy costs more an hour than this entire place is worth. Draco Malfoy can leave, right now, and charge his rate anyway for time wasted.

Draco sighs and goes inside, morbid curiosity winning out over indignation every time.

The house looks nothing like he remembers, but he only saw it once, and he'd been about seven at the time. It's brighter, cleaner; the portraits and the ugly house-elf heads are gone, as is the musty smell that tends to cling to these old family houses. There's also an old motorbike parked just inside the door. The chrome looks polished and the leather upholstery well-tended. It sputters to life as Draco passes it and makes a quiet vroom vroom at his back.

He finds Potter in the basement kitchen, elbow-deep in a cabinet. The light in the room is low, due only to a solitary candle hovering by the sink. Draco directs the large trunk following him to set itself down on the table with a heavy thunk. Potter glances back at the noise, then finishes taking out two glasses. Draco wonders why he doesn't just summon them.

"Scotch all right?"

Draco seats himself on the table, elbows balanced on the trunk, resting his chin on his hands. "I don't drink."

Potter does look at him then, brows raised. "Really."

Draco shrugs; he doesn't tell Potter the reason he doesn't drink is because he doesn't trust himself to stop.

He takes the time to give post-war Potter a thorough look. It isn't as if Draco hasn't seen him since Hogwarts, but it's mostly been in passing, or from a photo in the papers, or those few times Potter almost arrested him. His hair is a bit longer and all over the place, which is nothing new, and the scar stands out as clear as day beneath his fringe, though he's letting the sideburns get a little longer. He's not all that different than Draco remembers, really; a bit taller, perhaps, but still possessing the leaner build that made him prime Seeker material. He isn't wearing his glasses, which is new and suits him. His jeans sit low on his hips — they're old, faded things, tight around his arse and thighs. The shirt he wears actually fits, which surprises Draco, because in school — with the exception of his robes — Potter always wore clothes that were several sizes too big. The thin fabric hugs his chest in all the right places; six years out of Hogwarts, Potter's still in excellent shape.

He looks a little rough around the edges, though, like he hasn't slept properly in days or been eating as much as he should. But that much makes sense; Draco isn't often hired by people who are well-adjusted.

His ring finger is also empty, but Draco knew about that already. The entire wizarding world had followed the story in the Prophet for months. At the time, Draco felt he had a pretty good idea why the Chosen One's marriage had fallen apart only six months after the honeymoon weeks. Now, he isn't so sure; though the obsession with Diggory and Sirius Black is starting to make a whole lot more sense.

Potter is leaning back against the bench, one hand braced on the edge, the other swirling the amber liquid in his glass while he watches Draco; Draco realises he's been staring.

"What?" Potter says.

Draco can't help but ask. "Why?"

Potter finishes his drink, exposing his throat as he tosses the shot back, then shrugs again. "Why not?"

"But you — "

"I'm not paying you to play twenty questions," Potter interrupts.

"I could have just gone to the Prophet," Draco points out.

"You could have," Potter agrees, putting the glass on the counter and standing. "And yet, here you are."

"I — " Draco stops himself. Potter's right; questions aren't exactly part of the package. Still. "Do you want me to leave?"

"Do you want to leave?" Potter challenges.

Draco's been thinking about it, but damned if he's going to let Potter intimidate him. He opens the chest and pulls out a slip of parchment; he levitates it over to Potter with a quill.

"What's this?"

"Let's call it legal security."

Potter snorts. He doesn't even glance at the paper, just takes the quill and scrawls a signature along the bottom of the page; it rolls itself up and dissolves.

"Not going to read it?"

Potter shrugs again, and refills his drink. "If you were going to sell me out, you would have done it already."

"Maybe I'm just waiting for the full scoop." Draco isn't, though. If Potter had actually read the document, he'd have seen that the confidentiality clause was magically binding. Draco can't go to the papers now if he wants to. Draco unclasps his cloak and tosses it across a chair after digging a pack of cigarettes out of the pocket. He pops one in his mouth and says, "You mind?"

Potter raises his brows again. "You don't drink, but you smoke?"

Draco lights the cigarette and takes a long drag. It helps. A large part of him still can't believe he's about to do this with Harry fucking Potter. "I have a couple of rules," he says eventually. "You already signed away any right to negotiate, but you should be aware I don't condone the use of Unforgivables."

Potter rolls his eyes. "As if you could even cast them."

It shouldn't sting, but it does. Draco files the annoyance away for later. "You're not allowed a wand."

"Fine." Potter does look at him then, tossing his wand behind him on the counter, and smirks. "I don't need one."

Hm. Well, not much can be done about that. "I'm not a babysitter; I don't spend the night. And if you want a safeword — "

"I don't."

That doesn't really surprise Draco. Potter always did play recklessly. "What exactly is it you're looking for, here? You weren't very specific."

"I'm sure you'll think of something."

"You really want to leave this up to my discretion?"

"I can handle anything you can dish out, Malfoy."

Draco raises an eyebrow in disbelief. "Anything goes?"

Potter smirks. "Bring it on."

Oh, this is going to be all sorts of fun. "If you insist... oh, you're not allergic to anything, are you?"

"What?"

"You would not believe some of the asinine things people are allergic to," Draco says, pulling on the cigarette again. The smoke wafts its way over to Potter, who doesn't so much as wrinkle his nose. "It can really kill the mood when a client goes into anaphylactic shock."

"Not that I'm aware of." Potter finishes the rest of his second scotch before placing the glass back on the counter. He starts forward, jamming his hands in his pockets. "Is that it? No dark magic, no sleepovers, and no wand? Because — "

Draco is pleased at the look of surprise when Potter's knees hit the floor. The magic curls around Potter's wrists, pulling them out of his jeans and locking them behind his back. Draco slides off the table, twirling his wand between his fingers. "Who said anything about no dark magic?"

Potter just glares at him, green eyes dark behind his messy fringe. Draco draws his wand under his chin, forcing his head up. "Any questions?"

Potter jerks his chin away, turning his glare to some far-off point past Draco's hip. Oh, this is going to be one of those nights. Still, he shouldn't have expected anything less. Potter isn't really the type to give in easily. Draco turns away, waving his wand at the trunk. A few items come zooming out, attaching themselves to Potter under the direction of his wand. Potter doesn't flinch when the cuffs encircle his wrists, permanently securing them at his back; he does blink, however, when he feels the leather slither around his throat and glances up at Draco.

Draco gives the lead attached to the collar an experimental tug, perhaps a little harder than necessary. Potter's head jerks under the pressure. "Too tight? Here, let me," he says, and gives his wand a little wave; the leather tightens a notch, and he's pleased to hear Potter choke. "Better?"

Draco takes a look around the kitchen. He doesn't know if Potter planned to have their little engagement in here, but it doesn't really matter what Potter wants. Not giving Potter what he wants is sort of the point, it seems, but that doesn't really surprise Draco either. Sex and desire are weird in that way: generally, what people are like in everyday life is the exact opposite of what they prefer in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Or, in this case, kitchens.

The kitchen is useful, though; there's easy access to water, plenty of space, and not so much as one cushioned surface in the entire room. It's also in the basement, which saves Draco the necessity of casting soundproofing charms. It'll do.

"I'm curious," Draco says, stepping around behind Potter. He tangles his hand in Potter's hair at the base of his neck, almost tenderly. "When you made the appointment, did you know it was me?"

Potter is quiet. Draco's hand tightens, twisting a little. Potter lets out a short breath and says: "Yes."

Interesting. "And yet you still sent the Owl. Either you're insane, or really fucking desperate." Potter has always been a little crazy, but not like this. Draco knows better than to think Potter is scared of him. "I'm going to go with desperate."

"Maybe I've just got a hardcore thing for blondes," Potter says cheekily.

Draco jerks his head back, just enough that Potter can see him look down. "Did I give you permission to talk?"

Potter hisses through his teeth, but shuts up. Draco releases his head and steps away.

He really does want a drink. He takes another drag on the cigarette instead, before flicking it away into the sink. When he turns back to Potter, the man's head is bent towards the floor, mouth half-open and panting slightly. The shirt is pulled tight across his shoulders, riding up around his waist and revealing a line of sun-kissed skin.

Draco gives the lead a tug. "Get up."

Potter breathes out hard through his nose before complying. Draco is impressed at how he manages to stand without being awkward, even lacking control of his hands; he throws his weight back on his heels, pressing up with the balls of his feet and standing in a fluid motion. The movement makes the muscles in his thighs flex attractively.

Draco is usually pretty selective with his clients, because very many of them that can afford him he could never possibly be attracted to. Even with the aid of Polyjuice, the thought of it makes him shudder. Sure, they aren't all looking for sex necessarily, but Draco has some standards. He didn't really think about being attracted to Potter because he didn't honestly think Potter would go through with this when he found Draco Malfoy standing on his doorstep.

So much for that.

Even if there weren't any physical attraction, the idea of fucking the Chosen One still holds a certain appeal. The fact that (sans the stupid specs and in clothes that actually fit) Harry Potter is actually rather tolerable on the eyes — if you like them fit, disheveled and mind-blowing — is just a bonus, really.

Draco's pleased when Potter merely stands, but doesn't come forward, because Draco hasn't told him to yet. Instead he remains still, quiet and eyes ever-defiant. Draco makes him wait a little longer, just to see if it gets a reaction. But Potter just stands there, silent and obedient. It's ridiculous, how he looks: fully dressed and glaring with his arms tied behind his back, thick leather collar around his neck.

It's also kind of a huge turn-on.

Draco seats himself on the edge of the table, legs spread casually, and crooks a finger. Potter hesitates only a second before stepping forward. Draco stops him with a hand to his chest when Potter's between his legs — just close enough to feel the heat of his body, but not close enough to touch. Draco tucks his wand into the waistband of Potter's jeans, point down, and slowly begins unbuttoning Potter's shirt.

Potter's breath hitches when Draco's finger brushes his navel. There's a dark trail of hair there, disappearing into his jeans. Draco traces the line with an idle finger before taking his wand back, drawing the tip back up Potter's chest. He has to work out, really, because there's no way being an Auror keeps anybody this well-toned. Most of the job involves sitting at a desk filling out paperwork, from what Draco's seen.

The Chosen One's chest is less hairy than Draco imagined, and has a lot more scars than he thought, too. Some of them are fresher than others; a new burn slashes right next to a wine-coloured nipple, the mark rippled and red and angry. It's hot to the touch, and Draco hears another hiss as he lets his wand trace the scar. "Where'd you get this one?"

"Sutton."

Sutton had made the papers, too; banshees didn't often plague residential areas, but when they did, it was hard to miss it. Draco clicks his tongue disapprovingly. "You always were careless."

"You're one to talk."

Draco's on his feet so quickly Potter stumbles back, then forward again when Draco yanks on the lead, curling the chain in his fist. "I never got anyone killed."

Potter meets his gaze. "Not for lack of trying," he spits out.

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Draco can hurt him right now — really hurt him — and really sort of wants to. But Potter has to know this, and he's pushing him anyway. Something flickers in those green eyes, eyes that Draco has never seen unsure, not even in the face of death itself.

Maybe Potter wants Draco to hurt him.

There's a very faint line between pain and pleasure; Draco knows this better than most. He also knows that it's easy to get carried away, and the dangers of doing so. No matter how badly someone wanted it, needed it, you had to recognise their limits. When to say no. In this situation, saying no is Draco's responsibility. It hasn't ever been a problem before; he knows where to draw the line.

That doesn't mean it's easy.

Draco loosens his grip on the chain. He really wants another cigarette; he flicks his wand, and lights it when the fag floats up to his lips. He exhales the smoke in Potter's face and says, "On your knees."

Potter narrows his eyes. "Make me."

Draco smirks a little at the grunt of pain Potter makes when his knees hit the floor, and it grows at the look on Potter's face when he registers the bar pushing his legs apart, secured at the ankles. His head is perfectly level with Draco's crotch, only inches away. Draco undoes the clasp of his trousers almost lazily. "You talk too much. I think it's time we put that mouth of yours to better use."

Potter looks up at him, still defiant, and Draco feels every ounce of moisture in his mouth evaporate. Potter hasn't looked at him like that since... well, in a long, long time. Draco fights the urge to shiver.

"Fuck you," Potter snaps, and Draco feels his cock twitch.

Under that gaze, Draco's sure he'll give Potter anything he wants. Anything. He'd just have to say the word. Potter has to be using his Auror interrogation tricks on Draco, or some sort of wandless form of Legilimency. It's the only explanation; surely, looking at someone like that is against the law (but when did Potter ever follow rules?).

"I plan to," Draco returns, drawing in a shuddering breath he hopes isn't too obvious. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?"

Potter's gaze is still unnerving, but there's an easy fix for that. Another quick wave of Draco's wand secures the blindfold around his head, hiding those piercing eyes. Draco's been hard since Potter signed the damn parchment, and his cock springs out of his trousers enthusiastically when he loosens the clasp.

The irony of this entire situation is not lost on Draco, but he can't think about that right now because Potter's mouth is already half-open. He's panting, though from shame or excitement or because the collar is too tight around his throat, Draco isn't sure. Maybe a little of all three. It doesn't matter, because Potter's breath is hot and uneven and, Merlin, Draco doesn't even have to order him to open up, to use that wet tongue and give a slow, leisurely lick.

It takes all of Draco's self control not to groan at the contact, not to tug on the lead in his hand or to run his hand through Potter's hair. He takes another drag of the cigarette, forcing himself to relax. "Well?" he says, when Potter just licks his lips, spreading the precome to the corner of his mouth. Fuck. "I haven't got all bloody night."

Potter sits up a little straighter on his knees. The bar between his ankles scrapes across the hardwood, but the sound is lost to Draco as Potter opens his righteous mouth and takes the head of Draco's cock inside. Draco tilts his head back, exhaling smoke towards the ceiling in a long, slow rush. He can feel Potter's tongue swirl around the glans, probing the rapidly retracting foreskin, wet and sloppy and fucking driving Draco crazy. Draco can't help the hiss he makes when Potter hollows his cheeks and presses forward, sliding smoothly down Draco's cock all the way to the base, like he hasn't ever heard of a gag reflex.

The blindfold seems to have had the desired effect; Potter's not even trying to be defiant now, just sucking away at Draco's cock like there's no fucking tomorrow, moaning like it's all he's ever wanted, all he's living for, all maddening, mind-numbing suction and sweet heat. It makes Draco want to move, to twist his fingers in Potter's hair and whisper encouragements and beg and plead if he has to, but he can't. That's not why he's here, it's not what he's paid for. Draco Malfoy isn't paid to be sweet; he's paid to be a bastard.

The smoking helps. It helps a lot. Draco drags on the cigarette as Potter sucks down his length, exhaling in time to the bob of his head. Then Potter starts doing something evil and wonderful with his tongue and Draco's eyes roll back into his head and he completely forgets to smoke at all.

He remembers very acutely as the cigarette burns down to the filter and leaves a red welt by his knuckle. Potter hums in answer to his curse, and Draco takes him by the hair and thrusts forward to shut him up.

It works. Potter gags, throat flexing deliciously around his cock. Draco allows him a moment to recover before pushing forward again, hips snapping against Potter's jaw; Potter doesn't gag this time, just takes his cock, tongue curling around the head as Draco pulls away.

"Merlin, your mouth," Draco murmurs, fingers trailing along Potter's jaw. Potter groans around the head and Draco really, really wants to take off the blindfold, to see Potter looking up at him with his lips stretched wide around his cock, but Draco doesn't know if he can trust himself under that gaze. "Who knew you were such a cockslut, Potter."

Potter just continues to swirl that maddening tongue, moans humming up and down Draco's length; Draco does fist his hand in that copse of black hair now to keep Potter still while he thrusts his hips forward, slowly at first, then speeding up just carefully enough to establish a rhythm. Potter just sits there and takes it, lips red and bruised and pornographic and sealed tight around Draco's cock, and Draco can't help the murmured incentives from pouring out of his mouth.

"Oh, fuck, yes, just — take it, just take it, just like that — fuck — "

Draco's hands tighten, desperate for something to hold on to, twisting so hard Potter cries out around his cock and then Draco releases into his mouth, the orgasm hitting him so hard it actually hurts. He winces as he pulls out, cock hypersensitive against the hot velvet of Potter's mouth... Harry Potter's mouth, full of Draco's come, leaking out of those bruised lips and sticking to his chin and dripping onto his chest.

Draco steps back, resting his arse on the table, casting a nonverbal cleaning charm, and calmly tucks himself back into his trousers, thankful for the blindfold so Potter can't see the tremor in his hands. Potter licks the stray come off his chin, pulling it into his mouth, and swallows thickly. Fucking hell.

Draco gives the lead a tug, pulling the man to his feet; Potter does stumble this time, awkward now because of the bar bracing his ankles apart. "Not bad, Potter," Draco says, drawing him in closer. He runs his finger along Potter's chest, catching the last bit of mess there, and brings it to Potter's mouth. Potter parts his lips, takes the digit inside and sucks, tongue swirling over Draco's knuckle. "Just how much cock were you sucking at school, anyway?"

In answer, Potter bites down on his finger, not hard, before sucking it in further. Draco lets him, before pulling his hand away and smacking that red mouth, so hard Potter's head whips to the side and it leaves Draco's palm stinging.

"When I ask you a question, I expect you to answer it."

Potter heaves out a heavy breath before licking his lips, turning his head back towards Draco. Still blindfolded, he seems to focus on Draco's voice, on the heat of his breath, to find his target; he leans in as if to kiss, voice low: "I didn't suck any cock-" somehow, the word sounds filthier coming out of his noble mouth, "-until after school. I was a little preoccupied, in case you hadn't noticed."

"Too busy saving the world to give a couple of blowjobs?" Draco muses, letting his lips brush again Potter's as he speaks. "And to think, you probably could have offered to suck off the Dark Lord and spared us all a lot of trouble."

"Probably," Potter bit back. "My mistake; I thought that's what he had you for."

Draco yanks the lead down in the same motion in which he brings his knee up, right into Potter's stomach. Potter drops to his knees again, coughing and cursing; Draco steps away, stalking over to the sink and running the water, splashing the coldness across his face, unsure if he's more furious with Potter or himself. Malfoys pride themselves over all else at remaining in control. The blank looks, the snarky retorts, the disinterested drawl — they are all tools employed by generations of Purebloods that made a career out of controlling people. It's why Draco is so good at this, or was until he decided to do this with Potter, who is perhaps the only person who has ever managed to make Draco lose control.

By the time Draco shakes the excess water off his face and turns around, Potter's mostly recovered from the sudden assault. He's sitting on his bar-spread heels, head bent and breathing heavily through his half-open mouth. His shirt is still undone, falling off his shoulders, chest and shoulders heaving with every breath. Draco pauses, noticing for the first time the dark circle on his back, high between his shoulderblades, just beneath the collar.

Draco casts a silent drying charm on his face and hands before moving back towards him, slowly, analysing the image as he goes. It looks sort of like a triskele, but not quite — the outer rim black, and the inner a light grey, almost silver colour, branching inward into three arms that seem to rotate counter-clockwise. Inside the arms, the three taijitu fields are also black — and in the middle of each is another small circle, tan like the rest of Potter's skin, unmarked by the ink. The entire tattoo is only about the size the bottom of a mug, but Draco doesn't recognise the symbol. Must be something Muggle.

Draco seizes the back of the shirt, twisting it, bunching it between Potter's bound wrists and yanking him to his feet. Potter stumbles and grunts when Draco shoves his waist into the table, knocking the trunk to the floor with a wave of his wand, replacing it with Potter's chest. Potter's turned his face sharply to the side, cheek flush against the surface, and curses.

"Shut your whore mouth." Another wave of Draco's wand removes the belt Potter has fastened around his jeans; Draco has plenty of other props for this, but he honestly can't be fucked with them right now. The belt is thin, soft leather, and will do just fine. "You have a lot of fucking nerve."

Draco tucks the wand away in his pocket and reaches around Potter's bent waist, fingers jerking the button of his jeans loose. Draco runs his hand lower, pausing over the hardness there; how long has Potter been hard? He squeezes, too hard, and hears a gratifying whine in response.

"You think you know what it was like — you think you know everything — well, I've got news for you, Potter. You don't know the half of it; you don't know shit."

With the bar spreading Potter's ankles apart, Draco can only tug his jeans down so far — to the top of his thighs, just enough to expose his buttocks. It's enough. Draco runs his hand down the small of Potter's back, over the cleft of his arse and between his legs; Potter's cock is heavy and hot to the touch. Draco cups his balls, squeezing gentler this time, because even he isn't that cruel — Potter flexes into the touch, hips pressing towards him. Draco runs his index finger back and up, pausing at the hole hidden between Potter's cheeks, relishing in the sharp intake of breath it causes.

Potter curses again when Draco, after applying just a taste of dry pressure, pulls his hand away. "Language, Potter."

The first blow seems to surprise Potter; the belt lands against his backside with a thwack that reverberates through the room, leaving a thick red line in its wake. Potter's hips jerk at the touch, slamming into the table. "Fuck."

Draco hits him again, harder this time. "I said to watch that filthy mouth."

Potter makes a low, garbled sound deep in this throat but doesn't speak. Not such a slow learner, after all.

Draco runs the lax strip of leather over his arse almost lovingly, sliding smoothly over the fading red marks. "You knew it was me," Draco drawls, retracing the marks with the belt. "And yet, here we are. Why?"

Potter inhales deeply before answering. "Who gives a fuck?"

Thwack. Potter's arse jumps at the contact, making the table shudder. "Humour me."

When Potter doesn't answer, Draco hits him again. And again. And again, and again. The fifth blow barely lands when Potter snaps. "Fuck! I don't know!"

"Bullshit you don't." Thwack!

Potter's arse is a fantastic shade of red, now. Draco cups a cheek in his hand, relishing in the heat, running his palm around in gentle circles, stopping occasionally to squeeze. Potter really does have a lovely arse, all rounded edges that dimple whenever he jerks under Draco's touch. Draco hits him again, with his hand this time, just for good measure.

"I — " Potter chokes on the rest, a heavy shudder running through his body.

Why isn't actually all that important — Draco is curious, but suspects Potter's just a step more fucked up than the rest of them — so much as Potter admitting why. It's all part of the job — find out what makes the client tick, and exploit it. Potter obviously doesn't want to talk about it, so it's Draco's job to make him.

Draco steps to the side, so he can lean down close to Potter's ear. "I can do this all night, Potter," he says, voice sweet, fingers curling a promise around the swell of his arse. "Can you?"

Potter grits his teeth and sets his jaw. Well, then.

Maybe he's going about this wrong — if anything, Potter's always had a high pain tolerance. Draco tosses the belt on the table; Potter winces as the buckle clunks down beside his head. Draco pulls out his wand, and after a whispered spell, the trunk opens again and spits out a few items that zip helpfully into Draco's hands. He can see Potter's shoulders tighten at the sound; the show of apprehension sends a little thrill down Draco's spine. He's already half-hard again. Merlin's pants, it hasn't even been ten minutes yet.

Normally, Draco would warm the lube, but Potter isn't exactly cooperating, so fuck it. He runs his wand down Potter's spine, casting the spell nonverbally; Potter's sudden intake of breath and clench of his arse are enough tell that the cleansing charm has had the desired effect. Draco tucks the wand away again, spreading the lube thickly over two fingers.

"I think Chang and the Weaselette are evidence enough that blondes aren't really your thing," Draco says, spreading Potter's cheeks with his left hand. "Though, I did wonder about Smith. Were you thinking of him while fucking your wife?"

Draco doesn't mention Diggory because his mother didn't raise him to be an idiot.

"Bite me," Potter says.

Draco does. Hard. Potter thrashes against the table, the hole in his arse clenching. Draco runs a slick finger over it, circling the tight ring of muscle. "Did you do this while you wanked, wishing he was fucking you?"

Whatever Potter tries to say next is cut off with a groan when Draco swiftly presses a finger inside, all the way to the knuckle. It's unbelievably snug, even against Draco's thin finger; tight, slick velvety heat.

"Sorry, didn't catch that," Draco says, crooking his finger, rotating it slowly, stretching, taking his time looking for that magic spot that will have Potter telling him whatever he wants to know. "Not Smith, then? Well then, I guess you can't play the blonde card. So, what was it, Potter?"

Potter shifts, turning his head to rest his forehead against the table. His hands are curling in their restraints, fingers flexing in time with the heave of his shoulders. When Draco withdraws his finger, Potter's hips try to follow it — Draco holds him still with his other hand, nails digging into flesh.

"God damn it," Potter mutters into the tabletop, arse pressing against Draco's hand.

Draco shoves in with two fingers this time, pressing against his hand and Potter's arse with his hips. His cock twitches at the contact, begging release. Potter moans under him, pressing back into the touch. Draco gives his fingers a vicious twist, making the moan go uneven. "You still haven't answered my question, Potter."

Draco leans back, breaking the contact of their hips, and scissors his fingers lazily while Potter collects himself. He's so tight it sort of hurts, and Draco runs his other hand along the curve of Potter's hip, dragging his nails along his skin.

"I — fuck." Potter shakes his head against the table, stubborn as ever. Draco spreads him open a little further, and lets his index finger brush that special spot inside. There's a loud thunk as Potter's forehead hits the table. "Malfoy — "

Draco pulls his fingers out just to thrust in again, hitting that spot harder. "You know my name. Use it."

"Christ."

"Close." Draco slides his free hand between Potter's legs, wrapping around the sorely neglected cock there and squeezing. "Try again."

"You complete bastard. Come on."

"Not that one, either," Draco says, pulling on Potter's cock, his grip slow and loose, like he has all night. "You want me to fuck you, Potter? You want my cock in this tight little cunt of yours?"

"God, you — " Draco inserts a third finger and cuts him short. Potter groans. "I fucking hate you."

"Could've fooled me," Draco says, because he is a complete bastard. "Look at you: you're nothing but a needy little slut."

Draco's pretty sure Potter just let out a sob into the table; getting closer. "Why me, Potter? There's plenty of sick fucks who'd love to have their wand up your arse. Yet you chose me: why?"

Potter's arse tightens around his fingers; Draco pulls back before slowing pressing in again, rotating slowly, three fingers buried deep inside and still not nearly loose enough. "I can't," is all Potter says.

"Sure you can," Draco says, almost soothing. His fingers mirror his voice, stroking and sliding almost lovingly inside, curling at just the right place. Potter arches into the touch, a tremor running through his legs. Draco tightens his grip around Potter's cock, twisting at the head.

"Is it because you know how I'm going to fuck you so hard you can't walk straight in the morning?" Draco drawls, feigning disinterest. "That I'm going to shove my cock in this filthy, wet little hole until you're screaming my name? That you're never going to be able to get fucked again without thinking of my cock inside you?"

Potter cries out sharply, twisting in Draco's grip. He isn't going to last much longer like this, whether he gives in and Draco fucks him or not. Draco presses his hips against Potter's arse again, stilling his rutting. "Oh, oh, no you don't — you don't get to come until I say so, do you hear me?"

Potter's shoulders sag a little, his hands loosening the fists they've twisted into. Draco leans forward, licking the sweat beading at the small of his back. He really can do this all night, if he wants to, though he isn't sure it'll get them anywhere. He should've realised Potter wouldn't break easy.

"Do you work tomorrow, Potter?"

"I — what?" Draco twists his fingers again, driving them in further. Potter lets out another cry into the table, arse tightening around Draco's fingers. "God — I — yes, why — "

"Mm," Draco hums, scissoring his fingers again. Potter's still unbelievably tight, sorely tempting Draco to forego this game and just fucking him wide open right here and now. But Draco steels himself, knowing it'll be worth the wait.

When Draco pulls out and replaces his fingers with the tip of something larger, Potter lets out a moan that has Draco questioning himself all over again. Maybe he should just fuck him now, and then — Draco takes a deep breath, shaking his head to clear it. He presses the plug forward, noting at once the hitch in Potter's breath as he realises something is off; the plug resists the tight hole for a moment before slipping in, getting snug and secure as Potter's arsehole tightens around the base.

"The fuck, Malfoy — "

Draco presses against the plug, angling it upwards, hitting that spot inside that makes Potter thrash against the table. "You really need to learn when to shut that mouth," Draco admonishes, giving a final twist before pulling away. Potter just lies there against the table, breaths coming ragged as Draco spells his hands clean before directing the various props back into the trunk: the shackles, the blindfold, the spreader-bar, the lead, the lube — but leaves the collar in place, still too-tight around Potter's neck. Draco tugs Potter's jeans up with his hands, though, giving a lingering squeeze against his arse as he tucks the belt back through the loops.

"Your hour's up," Draco informs Potter in his professional voice. "I'll just Owl you the bill, shall I?"

Potter doesn't move, head and hands braced on the table, eyes tightly closed and still breathing hard. It's one of the hardest things Draco's ever done, just leaving him there, wondering if he's taken Potter too far to just leave it at that. Draco's fairly sure he hasn't — not far enough to do any real damage, anyway. If Draco's sure of anything, it's that Potter's tough enough to pull through on his own from this.

If he's wrong, Draco supposes the worst case scenario is that he isn't going to be paid.

But it's not as if he actually needs the gold...

*

The first time Draco had a conversation with Harry Potter after the war was about a month after the Battle of Hogwarts.

Draco was sitting on the edge of the Ministry fountain, one leg dangling over a knee. He had his sleeves rolled up on purpose, the Dark Mark black as coal against his skin, just daring anyone to comment. He'd got a lot of dirty looks, but no one had been stupid enough to say anything.

Except for Potter.

"Are you looking for a fight?"

Draco glanced up at him only briefly before turning away, focussing on the masses of witches and wizards streaming past the fountain. The Ministry wanted the trials over quickly, so the world could move on to more important things, like celebrating and being happy or whatever the hell it was they had been fighting for. Draco did not imagine his father would be at his mother's side when she finally came up the lift. He didn't really care; so long as his mother was returned to him.

As far as Draco was concerned, the rest of the world could go fuck itself.

Draco hadn't had a trial, which surprised him. When the Aurors Dawlish and Robards had shown up at the Manor, Draco had expected to be led out in chains, but they had only come for his parents — his father, specifically. When Draco demanded to know why — didn't they remember, how could they forget what he'd done, what he'd almost — Robards had taken him aside and told him, slipping the official letter into his hands. There was a long message from the Minister, and mention of a testimony by one Harry James Potter, signed by both with the official Ministry seal affixed to the bottom.

Draco had torn the pardon to shreds. He didn't want any fucking favours.

When Potter took a seat behind him, Draco bristled. "What do you want, Potter?"

"To return this."

Draco blinked and turned around; Potter was sitting there in his Auror robes, looking exhausted and far too young to be licenced to kill. Behind him, leaning against a pillar, Draco could see the youngest Weasley watching them with her arms folded over her chest.

In Potter's outstretched hand was Draco's old wand.

Draco narrowed his eyes. "What makes you think I want that?"

Potter shrugged. "It's yours. I thought you'd want it back."

"It's just a wand. I'll get another."

"It isn't just a wand," Potter said quietly, still holding the hawthorn wood carefully. "It saved my life."

"Pity; if I'd have known, I would have snapped it myself years ago."

Potter scowled, hand tightening on the wand. Draco turned away, bringing his knees up to his chest and resting his chin on them. He heard Potter sigh and, after a moment, leave.

It wasn't until he heard his mother's voice that Draco turned around, and noticed Potter hadn't left his wand — maybe he'd tossed it away, broken it in half and thrown it into the fountain. Whatever. Draco didn't care. He could keep the stupid thing, for all Draco cared.

What Potter had actually said — about the wand saving his life — didn't hit Draco until much later that evening. That his wand hadn't just saved Potter's life, but had been the wand he'd used to defeat the Dark Lord. The wand that saved them all.

Draco went out the next day and bought a new wand.

*

The next afternoon Draco goes out for a late breakfast (or early lunch, depending on your point of view — he didn't exactly get a lot of sleep); Pansy is trying to get him to go along shopping, but Draco has other plans. When he tells her this, she says: "But it'll only take a couple of hours."

Draco knows from experience that, in female-speak, 'a couple of hours' is code for 'all sodding day'. He shrugs. "Can't. I have a client."

Pansy rolls her eyes. "You need a boyfriend. This dominatrix-for-hire thing is really base."

"Base and yet so much fun. Take Blaise shopping."

"Oi," Blaise says, across the table. "Leave me out of this."

"She's your wife."

"And the fact that she's shopping with the contents of my vault means I get a free pass."

"Besides, he's got horrendous taste," Pansy says.

"I'm pretty sure Astoria is free," Draco offers.

"She isn't talking to me because I'm still talking to you," Pansy returns, trying her hand at guilt. When Draco just shrugs again, she continues: "What's the point of having a gay boyfriend if you won't even come shopping with me?"

"You've others. Take Smith."

Pansy looks shocked. "You did not just suggest I take a Hufflepuff shopping."

Draco attempts to appeal to Blaise. "You realise you've married a fag hag?"

"Must be why she gives such great head."

"Thanks, darling," Pansy drawls with a side of ice, before turning back to Draco. "You promised you'd come with."

Draco sighs and lights another cigarette. "Maybe another time."

"Who's so special they're more important than taking me to the shops, anyway?"

Draco allows himself a smirk. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

Pansy immediately looks interested; her lids drop a little lower over her green eyes, and she leans in. "Try me."

"Sorry, darling," Draco drawls. "Confidentiality's a bitch."

"Oh, please. You were more than happy to brag about that night you spent with Brevis Birch."

Draco remembers the evening rather fondly. The captain of the Tutshill Tornados had given him a rather generous tip. "Well," Draco admits, "let's just say this one has a... slightly higher profile."

"Higher than an international Quidditch star?" Pansy looks really interested now; even Blaise, pretending to be preoccupied with the dessert menu, flicks his eyes up. "Oh, come on, Draco. Spill."

"Oh, is that the time? I really must be getting along." He stands and drops a kiss on Pansy's head. "Be a doll and buy something sexy for your husband."

Draco stops at his flat — mostly used for meeting clients who prefer not to play at home — only briefly to gather what he needs. It's far too early to expect Potter to be off work, but that's all right. He really should have read the agreement before signing it; until Potter's officially called an end to their arrangement, Draco has open access to his home. Magic is really wonderfully tricky that way.

With a few hours to spare, Draco has time to snoop. He sends the trunk up the stairs to the master bedroom before rubbing his hands together, trying to decide where to start. The motorbike inside the door putt putts at him as he passes. He runs a finger along the handlebar; the machine purrs, rumbling happily, and proceeds to follow at his heels as Draco starts his exploration in the den.

The house has a rather cosy feel to it, which surprises Draco. The hearth roars to life as he enters, filling the space with a warm, orange glow. There are a lot of pictures on the mantlepiece: Potter's love-struck duo and their brand-new squalling brat between them; a recent photo of Teddy — he's got to be what, seven, now? — who is changing his hair colour from teal to purple to orange and back again; a very old photo full of witches and wizards Draco recognises as the original Order of the Phoenix; another similar, more recent photo depicting the group Dumbledore's Army; a man Draco recognises instantly as Sirius Black, grinning like the devil and straddling the very motorbike puttering behind Draco; and several pictures of a young couple Draco can only assume are Potter's parents, if the messy-haired, bespectacled man is anything to go by.

Draco stares at the photo, a little bothered by how extraordinary the resemblance is between Lily Potter and Potter's own former wife. How many complexes does the poor bastard have?

Above the fireplace is a large, medieval sword mounted on two hooks. It gleams in the firelight, inlaid with rubies the size of chicken eggs that sparkle smartly. The name Godric Gryffindor is engraved just below the hilt.

Typical, Draco thinks.

There's not much else on the walls aside from a lonely portrait, in which the sleeping form of Phineas Nigellus snores on, oblivious to the intruder. A comfortable-looking sofa and a squashy armchair are arranged around a small coffee table in front of the fire. Growing bored, Draco wanders back into the hall and starts up the stairs.

The motorbike sputters unhappily as it's left downstairs, or at least Draco thinks so — until he reaches the landing and realises with a start it's still following him, floating a foot off the ground a few paces behind him. Draco shakes his head, resigned to the machine following him like an attention-starved puppy. The loo is fairly standard, though the mirror does exclaim rather happily when it sees Draco, apparently pleased that someone in the house knows how to brush their hair. Draco digs around in the medicine cabinet, rather disappointed to find there isn't anything present more racy than a rather large jar of lube.

The master bedroom is nearly as large as the den, though worse-lit; a few lonely candles sputter to life as he enters, casting the room in deep shadows. A massive four-poster occupies the wall opposite the window, which offers a rather good view of London if you're willing to ignore the filthy, Muggle street below. The trunk Draco levitated up earlier sits beside a large wardrobe, which is woefully underused — a few horrible jumpers divide spare robes, most in the deep shade of maroon standard for Aurors. Draco rolls his eyes at Potter's hopeless array of clothes, thinking that a day at the shops with Pansy would do him some good.

Flopping back on the bed, Draco has to admit it is rather more comfortable than he imagined. The bedside table holds a book — Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration, on closer inspection; huh, perhaps Potter was looking into Animagus training? — and Potter's old glasses. Draco plays with them for a while, trying them on and wincing — Potter really did have terrible eyesight, the unfortunate git. It's a good thing he finally saw sense and retired the ridiculous things, because with eyes like his, hiding them behind specs has to be some sort of crime.

Draco takes a moment to wonder what the hell Potter does with his spare time. There isn't so much as a board game or a wireless anywhere in sight; there is a desk in the corner, but it is completely devoid of anything Draco can snoop through. Where do people usually hide things they don't want anyone to find?

Draco rolls onto his stomach and peers under the bed. Bingo.

The trunk is small and dusty but rather heavy. Draco heaves it onto the bed and, after several minutes of some rather tricky spellwork (involving some rather Dark magic — tsk, Potter), manages to get it open. He's rather disappointed with the contents on first glance — surely everyone with the sort of sexual appetite he supplies has a stash of toys or at least a few dirty magazines hidden under the bed? But the trunk is devoid of anything even remotely kinky; there's a small box sporting an ancient ring, a blank diary that's seen better days, a large, folded piece of apparently blank parchment, an old snitch that flutters weakly when Draco palms it, and...

Oh.

The cup is his first clue. Draco's so surprised he drops it back into the trunk, and it takes a few minutes before he can make himself pick it back up. The embossed emblem of Hufflepuff glints in the candlelight. Upon further digging, Draco uncovers the others; the melted remains of Ravenclaw's diadem, and a heavy locket with a massive gash on the inside. Turning the diary over, Draco can see the puncture on the back and, looking closer, the stone in the old ring sports a large crack.

Tucked into a corner of the trunk is another locket, less ornate than the one with the wound. Draco opens it carefully, and blinks when a tightly folded bit of parchment, yellow with age, falls out. He unfolds it, lighting the tip of his wand to read the writing there:

 

 

To the Dark Lord
I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match you will be mortal once more.
R.A.B.

Draco replaces the note and the old artifacts with trembling hands. He kicks the trunk back under the bed with slightly more force than is necessary.

Fuck. Why can't Potter be like every other tormented, sexual deviant and just have a small mountain of pornography under his bed?

Still, Draco doubts Potter spends every evening rummaging through old relics, if the dust is anything to go by, so what the hell does he do? Half of what Draco does depends on his ability to read his clients, to find out what makes them tick, and from that, how to take them apart. But Potter isn't exactly giving him a lot to go on. You'd think the papers would be more helpful, what with reporters dogging Potter's heels every other day. But aside from the marriage that fell apart, Potter doesn't appear to be seeing anyone and hasn't adopted any drug habits anyone's aware of.

Not for the first time, Draco wonders if this is a bad idea. Maybe he's in over his head — he can leave now, and is pretty sure Potter won't have the gall to call on him again. Even if he does, Draco can just ignore him.

It's not like Draco needs the gold.

The motorbike seems to sense his apprehension and rumbles over to the bed, nudging his knee with its wheel. He pets it absently, which seems to mollify the machine. Maybe Potter spent all night stroking his pet motorbike instead of engaging in normal-person things, like having friends over for tea or wanking off to some decent porn.

It's actually all rather sad, and Draco rolls his eyes at himself, because feeling sorry for the Chosen One is perhaps the last thing he needs right now.

It's not as if they didn't all suffer through some sort of fucked-up transition after the war. Weasley went on a bender after his brother's death and flunked out of Auror training. Granger spent what little gold she had starting about a dozen non-profit organisations (half of which ended up bankrupting her). Pansy slept her way through half their year at Hogwarts, as if whoring herself out would undo the right berk she made of herself during the final battle, before Blaise had taken her on a long holiday in Paris and sorted her out. Goyle moved to the States, and later got deported for trafficking illegal potions ingredients. Draco's mother started (and still continues) hosting charities to help the families who had lost loved-ones in the war, which is so unlike her Draco actually considered checking her into St Mungo's. Longbottom started so many fights in pubs that Potter actually had to arrest him at one point, nearly landing him in Azkaban (the publicity on that one helped; apparently Neville had punched a Pureblood who made some remark about the Dark Lord's death being a tragedy). Dean Thomas got addicted to a Muggle drug and had spent a month in St Mungo's recovering when he'd accidentally overdosed. Luna Lovegood seemed to be the only one of their classmates to come out of the war with any sense of self, turning the Quibbler into a rather popular (if still ridiculous) paper.

And Draco Malfoy sold himself to the highest bidder.

Draco's aware that he isn't exactly well-adjusted. If he takes Pansy's advice and just finds himself a boyfriend, he can do all the filthy things he likes doing without having to put a price tag on it. Problem is, Draco hasn't exactly figured out how to go about doing that. He'd tried dating, once. The first night Draco woke up screaming, the bloke had left and never Flooed him again.

So, yeah, they were all a little fucked up, but a few years down the line everything had started to mellow out. The nightmares came less, Weasley stopped drinking, Granger got herself an actual job, Pansy married Blaise, Goyle found honest work as a bodyguard for the Weird Sisters, Narcissa stopped crying every time her husband's name was mentioned, Longbottom got himself a girlfriend, Thomas made it through rehab, Luna still published her rag, and Draco still sold himself out like a common (though expensive) whore.

Potter hasn't gone on any benders that the Prophet managed to pick up on, nor has he been sleeping his way through half of Britain (for surely someone would have spoken up by now). As far as Draco can tell, Potter spends most of his time at work, probably tracking down Death Eaters still on the run, or writing people up for exploding toilets or whatever it was that Aurors do all day. Potter did get a rather fantastic tattoo, Draco supposes, but he isn't exactly sure what to make of that.

Draco busies himself with setting up the room. His trunk is magically altered in that it can hold a lot more than it appears, and he directs the props from the bed with lazy waves of his wand. By the time he's finished, the room looks like an advertisement for a dungeon catering to sexual deviants.

He must have fallen asleep; when Draco opens his eyes, the sunlight outside the window has been replaced with that of a streetlamp. The noise that pulled him from sleep was the sudden start of an engine, and he looks up just in time to see the motorbike rumble out the door and into the hall. Draco allows himself one long, fluid stretch before rolling to his feet. Potter obviously realises something is up, because Draco's barely beside the door before Potter Apparates into the dark room with a crack, wand drawn.

Draco doesn't try to disarm him; he knows he can't, even if he's got the jump on Potter. Instead, he reclines against the wall behind Potter, taking a moment to light himself a cigarette, noting with a certain amount of satisfaction and a large amount of turned on out of his mind that Potter's still wearing the collar.

"Miss me?" Draco says sweetly.

Potter doesn't even turn around; the line of his shoulders relax, though, and he turns his head to slant his eyes over at Draco. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Redecorating," Draco says, taking a drag and waving an idle hand at the room. "What d'you think?"

Only then does Potter take a good look at the room, eyes lingering on a few of the larger additions. Then he turns around, Auror robes sweeping around his feet. "It looks like you were hosting a black sheet party while I was out," he says. Draco is deeply impressed with his knowledge of the terminology, even if he has no idea where Potter is learning any of these things. "I'm not paying you for elaborate setups."

"Setup is included with the deposit," Draco drawls, leaning back against the wall. "Did you want to shower first?"

"Why bother?" Potter undoes a couple of buttons and pulls his robes over his head in one motion; he's wearing jeans underneath, and a shirt that rides up when he lifts his arms over his head. Draco catches his bottom lip in his teeth. "You seem to prefer me filthy."

"I just like to give my clients what they want," Draco says, pushing off the wall. Potter tosses his robes away, head tilted sharply to one side. Up close, he isn't that much taller than Draco remembers; the bridge of his nose is about even with Draco's mouth. Draco stops just short of touching him, leaning in to let his lips brush Potter's ear as he runs an idle finger along the collar still encircling Potter's neck. "Did you wear this all day?"

When Potter doesn't answer, Draco leans back, and sees he's closed his eyes. Might be Draco needs to pull that blindfold out again. Draco hooks a solitary finger into the ring at the front and gives it a gentle tug. "I asked you a question, Potter."

It's not as if the collar is particularly extravagant, or anything. Just a strip of unmarked leather, about an inch wide, plain aside from the metal link at the throat. Still, it'd be bound to attract some attention — if not questions — if Potter was strolling around with it on all day.

Potter does look at him then, naked eyes intense. "Yes."

There is going to be a media fair tomorrow. "And this?"

Potter's breath hitches and his eyes flutter closed as Draco runs a hand over and around his arse, the flat of his palm searching for the hardness that still rests between Potter's buttocks. Merlin, this is going to be the end of him. Draco turns his face against Potter's, cheek to cheek, teeth nipping almost absentmindedly at his jaw. He presses against the the plug briefly, relishing in the grunt Potter lets out by his ear. "Yes."

It is so, so painfully hard not to just throw him down on the bed and take him right now.

Gathering a truly enormous amount of self control, Draco takes a step back and remembers to breathe. Potter's eyes are still closed; at his sides, his hands are bunched into fists. One of them is still holding his wand. Draco gives it a tap with his own, and Potter quickly drops it. Draco then threads two fingers into the loop of his collar, pulling Potter back towards the doorway. Halfway there, Draco gets impatient, whirling around and throwing Potter's back into the wall. Potter's eyes shoot open and closed again as his head slams into the plaster, and before he can recover Draco is on him, all over him, body pressed flush up against him, teeth dragging sharply over the curve of Potter's neck, nipping the flesh just above the collar, fingers jerking at the buttons of his shirt.

Potter sinks against the wall, hands clawing at the wooden trim behind his hips, desperate for anything to hold onto. Draco doesn't have to say the incantation, doesn't even have to think it, just wants and the magic answers; Potter's hands are no longer at his side but suspended above his head, locked in thick leather cuffs that embed themselves in the wall. Draco shreds what's left of Potter's shirt right off his shoulders, letting his hands drop lower to start undoing the clasp of his belt while his mouth leaves a wet trail along Potter's jaw, stubble biting into his lips. Potter gasps, mouth open under Draco's and Draco swipes in with his tongue, just once, teasing; Potter moves to follow just as Draco whispers the incantation into his open mouth.

The rubber bit gag secures itself in Potter's mouth, tightening behind his head as Draco twirls his wand. The look on his face is priceless. Draco snags Potter's bottom lip between his teeth while his hand slides into the open front of Potter's jeans, gripping the hardening cock there. "Such an eager little slut," Draco says, pulling back and licking his lips. "Be a good pet and stay."

It's not like Potter can argue, but Draco is willing to bet he wouldn't if he could as Draco sinks to his knees, pausing only briefly to scrape his teeth over a hard nipple. Potter's body flexes under the rough touch, outlining every single glorious angle of his abdomen. Draco grabs the sides of his jeans and tugs, pulling them down, briefs and all, to pool around his ankles.

Draco hadn't got a good look at his cock the night before, but takes a moment to study it now, half-hard and flushed inside a maddening array of dark, curly hair. It's a beautiful thing, Potter's cock, thick and flushed a lovely dark red. Draco can't find a single fault with it — just wide enough to fill a willing mouth, just long enough to choke on. It seems to fit perfectly in his hand, growing harder as he pulls.

Above him, unable to speak, Potter lets out a long, low hiss.

The sound sends a shiver running down Draco's spine. He glances up; Potter is looking down at him, chest rising and falling with each breath, lids low over his eyes. Draco licks his lips and squeezes. "Sorry, what was that?" he says. He ducks his head, running his teeth lightly over the ridge under Potter's cock, tongue licking at the head as he pulls away; Potter's fully hard now, flesh hot and heavy against his tongue. "I don't speak snake."

Potter groans, hands pulling in vain at the restraints.

Draco gives another leisurely lick, smirking as Potter's thighs tremble under his hand. "Hey, Potter," he says conversationally. "What's Parseltongue for 'please'?"

The hiss this time is short, almost a whisper, and definitely pleading. "Mm. Well, since you asked so nicely."

He hears the same hiss again as he takes the head of Potter's cock in his mouth, tongue swirling, hands cupping Potter's balls tenderly as he works. Potter twists against the wall, chin dropping to his chest as he gasps. Draco takes his time, because Potter's had a plug up his arse all fucking day and waiting to come since last night and the longer he waits the easier he'll be to break.

Draco has to pause in his sucking to cast another spell, conjuring straps to hold Potter's hips to the wall. "Such a needy slut," Draco says again, mouthing the side of his cock. "Do you friends know what a depraved little bitch you are?"

Whatever answer Potter is going to make is lost when Draco swallows down his cock again, with purpose this time, breathing hard through his nose and taking all of Potter in his mouth. He sucks his way down and presses his tongue against the bottom of Potter's cock as he pulls away, head bobbing as he does it again and again until Potter's hips are trying to thrust with him, fighting the bonds holding him in place.

Draco pauses to reach between Potter's legs, finding the base of the plug still lodged in his arse. Draco tugs on it, causing Potter to seize up onto the balls of his feet, and pushes in again, in time to sucking Potter's cock back down to its base.

There's an explosion of power around Draco as magic twists around them both, encircling their limbs and he can hear the bonds break, can feel Potter's hands tangling in his hair. To his left, the gag clatters to the ground, and Potter's grip tightens and his thrusts become erratic as he breaks over the edge with a curse, spilling salty and bitter into Draco's mouth.

Draco pushes Potter's hips back into the wall, hard, standing in one fluid motion and shoves the still-hot come back into Potter's mouth with a filthy kiss. Potter goes rigid against him before he kisses Draco back, swallowing his own come and Draco's saliva, and then he is moving, hands — still with thick leather cuffs around his wrists — gripping Draco's hips and pulling him in.

Draco can't remember the last time he kissed like this, bodies flush together, limbs musty and tangled up against the wall, snogging like a couple of randy teenagers. It's thrilling and filthy and dear Circe, where did Potter learn to kiss like this? He kisses like he does everything else, with the kind of intensity that leaves people dazed and terrified and willing to follow him into Hell if that's what it takes, just to feel it again. It's unprofessional, a stubborn part of Draco tries to point out, unprofessional and dangerous and bordering on stupidity because he's being paid for this, this isn't for him to enjoy, not like this. He wouldn't do this if he didn't get off on it, but he doesn't — he can't feel like this, because Potter is a client and Draco is a professional whore and neither of those things allow room for any sort of consummation.

Shoving away, Draco backhands him with enough force to slam Potter back up against the wall. Potter winces as his head cracks against the doorway, glaring at Draco as if he doesn't understand what is wrong with any of this. "I didn't give you permission to move," Draco tells him. "Now get on the bed."

Potter rests his weight against the wall momentarily, eyes closed and breathing hard. Then he kicks off the mangled remains of his clothes before complying, sliding arse-first onto the bed; his eyes flutter closed and his back arches a little when he rests his weight there, arse clenching around the plug still filling him. Draco advances like an army, furious and furiously turned on and practically vibrating. Potter looks up at him, and inhales sharply as Draco grabs him by the throat and throws him back over the bed, shoving Potter's arse back with his knees. Chains rattle against wood as Draco flicks his wand, the restraints threading themselves through the loops secured to the four-poster.

When he's finished, Draco stops to admire his handiwork. Potter's head and shoulders are still on the bed, arms bent sharply upward and locked to the headboard. Straps encircle his thighs and ankles, thickly padded strips of leather that are attached to the chains, suspending his arse in mid-air. Draco finishes casting protection and cleaning charms before sliding off the bed and starting to undress.

Potter turns his head to watch him, eyes following Draco as he paces back and forth, methodically removing his clothes. Draco ignores him, carefully spelling each item into a neat little pile. Being insecure doesn't really suit people in his line of work; Draco may not have the fuck-me eyes and rugged sex appeal Potter possesses, but his mother is a Black and the genes gave him plenty to work with. Aside from a few scars that couldn't be avoided, his skin never harboured any of the banal imperfections a lot of his classmates had. And, aside from hosting soirees and going to the shops with Pansy, Draco spends a lot of time playing Quidditch.

It shows.

Naked as the day he was born, Draco slides onto the bed between Potter's outstretched legs. He looks, frankly, obscene, spread high and wide, arse clenching tight around the black base of the plug and raven-wing hair fanning out around his head. Draco feels his mouth go dry. Fuck.

Draco collects himself and uses his wand to summon the lube he left ready on the bedside table; Potter tenses when he sees Draco dip his fingers in the jar, pulling out a thick dollop of grease.

"Look at you: Harry fucking Potter." Draco places the jar on the bed just below Potter's hips. "Saviour of the wizarding world in all his glory, spread out like some cheap whore. Do you think your co-workers have any idea how sick you are?" Draco eases the plug out with his lube-free hand, purposefully slow, pushing back in every time Potter clenches because the idiot needs to relax before he hurts himself. "Do your friends know you were plugged up all day, keeping this cunt of yours nice and stretched for Death Eater cock when you got home?"

Potter jerks under him, his eyes immediately flicking to the Dark Mark. It's still as clear as it was seven years ago, scorched black against Draco's pale skin. It never burns anymore, but it will never fade, never let Draco forget.

"Fuck," Potter grits out; his body goes slack under Draco, relaxing. "I didn't — "

"Is that why?" Draco demands, pulling the plug out with a twist. Potter grunts, writhing against his bonds. "Was it the Mark? Did you wank yourself off thinking about getting fucked by a Pureblood cock?"

"Fuck," Potter says again. "God. I just — "

"You're a stupid fucking slut," Draco snarls, shoving a finger inside Potter's red hole, swollen and still too tight and sweet and hot, so hot. Draco drags his teeth along the inside of Potter's thigh, biting down sharply as he adds a second finger. "Be glad they never got to you, Potter. They would have torn you apart." Potter isn't trying to talk anymore, just thrashing against the restraints, making the chains clank and shudder. "I am going to tear you apart."

He groans when Draco pulls his fingers out, and the sound breaks when Draco replaces them with his tongue. Even with the plug, Potter's still too tight, so tight that Draco wonders how often he does this, if at all. Potter's arse is wet and filthy and lovely and he's jerking against the chains, muttering curses and clenching down on Draco's tongue. Draco fucks him with his mouth, fingers spreading him apart and clawing, fingernails leaving red marks in his cheeks.

"Motherfucker," Potter says as Draco pulls away, because it's either that or suffocate.

Draco replaces two fingers, sliding in a third. Potter's already hard again, cock twitching as Draco lays his face against the inside of Potter's sweaty thigh, watching the slick hole swallow his fingers. "Merlin, you're wet."

"God. Yes." Potter arches into his fingers, pressing forward with his shoulders. "Please."

"I'm going to fuck you," Draco informs him. "I'm going to stick my Pureblood, Death Eater cock into your wet little cunt and fuck you until you scream."

"God." Potter can't seem to get out more than one or two syllables at a time, breath stuttering every time Draco's fingers go deep. "I didn't. Fuck. I just — wanted — "

"Is that what you want, Potter? Is that why you wanted me? My soiled cock filling up your righteous arse?"'

"I — " Potter keens as Draco leans in, running his tongue around the rim of his hole, still being fucked by Draco's fingers. "Yes. God, yes. Yes yes yes — "

Potter's voice cuts short as Draco removes his fingers and positions himself. His eyes are open, green nearly obscured by pupils blown-wide and watching unabashed, and a rather petty part of Draco wants to remind him what they used to be — how did it come to this? — Potter always strutting around the fucking castle with his stupid friends, popular for no other reason than his parents' murders, smiles for everybody except for Draco and his lot. Nothing but sneers and contempt and hatred for six long years, and after that — worse — pity, and then — worse yet — forgiveness, as if those first six years had never happened.

The first thrust is brutally hard; Potter's eyes snap shut and his mouth hangs open, gasping, and Draco has to close his own eyes to collect himself, tight heat banishing the ugly memories. He wants to draw this out, wants Potter to beg and plead but he can't, he thought he could but he can't, because when he starts to move and opens his eyes again Potter is squeezing and throwing his head back against the mattress and moaning in between every connection of their hips like it's the only thing he's ever wanted —

"God, please, you're, yes, so fucking — fuck — good — "

Draco silences him with another hard thrust, turning whatever Potter was going to say next into a grunt. Draco's grip on his hips has become slippery with sweat and the heat makes it hard to get air into his lungs. "Do you have any idea how fucking tight you are?" Draco whispers against a slick thigh. "Do you have any fucking idea — " How long has it been? Draco wants to ask, but doesn't, because it isn't any of his business, but the thought of someone else fucking Potter makes something angry and wicked flare up in his chest. "You're so — "

"Yes," Potter hisses, clenching and twist. "Oh, God. Move. Please. I want — I need — "

Draco pulls out, earning an aggrieved noise from Potter that he studiously ignores while he reaches for the lube with trembling hands. When he pushes in again it's a little easier, his cock sliding smoothly inside, enveloped in velvet heat. Even with the plug in all day, even with Draco fucking him until his fingers were numb, Potter's still so tight it's ridiculous. No amount of magic or self control is going to let Draco drag this out.

Before he moves again, Draco reaches for his wand and whispers the spell, Potter going rigid and then cursing beneath him. The charm secures a small band, pure silver, around the head of Potter's aching cock, using a combination of magic and pressure to curb any orgasm Potter may have been anticipating.

"I fucking hate you," Potter snarls as Draco thrusts in again, balls-deep and groaning. "Hate you hate you hate you oh God yes fucking hate you you fucking bastard — "

"Yes," Draco says, moving as slowly as he can, hips rocking up slowly. "I know you do. I am a bastard. I'm the bastard with his cock in your tight little cunt, the bastard who is going to fuck you wide open and fill you with my filthy bastard come."

"God, do it. Just — harder, please, fuck, fill me up." Potter twists under him, head thrashing to one side, eyes screwed shut. "Harder. Please."

"Look at me," Draco snarls, magic reacting without thought, and another chain attaches itself to the collar. Draco yanks on it, hard. "Look at me, you piece of shit, and I'll fuck you harder. I'll fuck you so hard you won't sit for a week without thinking of me."

Potter opens his eyes and looks at him; Draco's hips snap forward, again and again, somehow holding his gaze even though his own eyes are stinging with the effort. He suddenly wants to hurt Potter again, even though he's compliant now, mouth parted, half-formed words spilling out between the gasps and moans. But then Draco shifts and his cock hits just the right angle and Potter jerks underneath him, pushing his hips up with his shoulders. Draco does it again, and Potter's eyes roll back as his head snaps into the mattress, every line of his body drawn taut and shining, the orange glow from the streetlamp outside glancing off the sheen of sweat on his chest.

"Fuck fuck fuck," Potter snarls, each word an answer to a thrust of Draco's hips. "Fuck me fuck me Draco please — "

Draco bites down on the inside of one of Potter's upraised knees as he thrusts in a final time, Potter's entire body seizes up as Draco lets go, stops trying to hold onto any shred of his sanity, and comes.

Draco sits back heavily, naked arse balanced on his heels. He's still holding onto Potter's ankle, too hard, because without the connection he won't be able to remain upright. He can hear Potter breathing, the underside of his back shuddering with the effort, his fucked-raw arse red and clenching and leaking Draco's come and somehow, Draco finds the energy to move. He knocks the jar of lube aside, uncaring as it topples off the bed, hand grasping for his wand, lost in the twisted sheets. Draco runs a hand along the slick curve of Potter's lower back, easing him down as the magic disintegrates the bonds holding him up. He leaves the chain attached to the collar and Potter's hands locked to the headboard, though, as he slides between Potter's legs, running his hand between his cheeks, teasing, fingers lightly playing with the mess there. Draco runs his other along the inside of Potter's thigh, kneading the trembling muscle under sweat-coated skin.

Potter makes a strangled noise deep in his throat as Draco's fingers probe his swollen hole, pressing into the sticky mess of lube and come. Potter twists under him, legs twisting around him and heels digging into Draco's back. Draco kisses the inside of his thigh, right where it joins his hip, adding another finger before leaning up and running his tongue up the underside of Potter's engorged cock. It has to be torture, what Potter's feeling, so close to the edge and unable to find release, completely at Draco's mercy. The thought of leaving him like this is tempting, however dangerous.

Draco retracts his fingers momentarily; the image of his fingers pressing back into that tight hole, filthy with his own come, pushing it back inside Potter, makes Draco's cock stir again. Merlin's balls in a bloody handbasket, Draco can't remember the last time he was this fucking turned on.

Potter is lifting his hips and pressing back against the touch as much as he can with his hands still secured, and is saying something Draco can't quite make out over the wet sounds of his come-slick fingers slowly fucking his arse. "Sorry," Draco murmurs, voice low and sweet, "what was that?"

Potter shudders against him, one of his legs trembling so hard against Draco's side it makes Draco sit up on his elbow so he can see him. Potter is watching him, but isn't — his eyes have that distant, glazed-over sort of look that Draco never (not really) thought he'd achieve.

"You," Potter says, trying and failing to focus on Draco. Draco places another kiss on his thigh, then takes one of Potter's balls almost absent-mindedly into his mouth. "I — you. I just want you."

You'd take anyone at this point, Draco wants to point out, but doesn't, because Potter wouldn't register it anyway. He'll take anyone and anything Draco puts in him right now, anything at all, tell him anything Draco wants to know if it only means Draco will give him this, let him crest the top of the ridge he's teetering on. Draco's only taken a few clients this far, clients too desperate or too stupid to want a failsafe, to want some sort of control over the situation. It's not usually dangerous, but most of Draco's clients are not Harry Potter, a man — a mere boy — that took on and defeated the most powerful dark wizard the world's seen since Salazar himself. Most of Draco's clients don't spend their days with a wand in hand and a licence to kill. Most of Draco's clients don't have twelve years of grudges and contempt with him. Most of Draco's clients don't trust him enough to go this far, to give him this kind of power over them, trust him to bring them back down.

Most of Draco's clients Draco hadn't sort of fallen for, eight years ago. Most of Draco's clients don't realise how much he hates them for it.

But Draco doesn't hate Harry Potter, not really, and sort of hates him a lot more because he can't. Most of Draco's clients play it safe because even if Harry Potter gave Draco Malfoy a public pardon for the war, Draco still can (might) hurt them.

Harry Potter isn't playing safe because he knows Draco can't (won't) hurt him. Not really, not even if he really sort of wants to.

"Please," is all Potter says, the word a whisper of breath over his lips, the heel of his foot pressing into the small of Draco's back. A wave of heat rolls down Draco's chest, his cock is swelling between his legs, his previous orgasm completely forgotten.

Draco hasn't quite appreciated how much trouble he's in until right now.

Draco is on him so quickly it leaves him feeling light-headed, because every ounce of blood in his body is flooding back to his cock as he pushes Potter's legs up, sandwiching them between their chests, bending the man nearly in half. Potter's body arches under him, arms pulling against the bonds, heels clutching at Draco's arse. Draco guides his cock into that abused hole again, his head thrashing slightly at — still! — how tight it feels, like Draco hadn't just fucked him within an inch of insanity. Potter gasps hotly against his cheek, hips rising to meet him, legs locked around Draco's thighs, urging him on. Draco props himself up with one hand beside his chest, and reaches between them with the other, curling around Potter's sorely neglected cock.

The ring at the head dissipates when Draco curls his hand around it; Potter jerks under him, twisting into him, forehead butting into Draco's collarbone. Draco fucks him as hard as he can, too far gone to even care about anything else, anything but the maddening heat around his cock and in his hand, too lost in the sensation to even feel Potter start to come, hot and thick over his fingers.

He hears him though, when Potter's head jerks, back arching again; he cries out, loud and sharp, right into Draco's ear, the sweetest fucking sound Draco's ever heard. It's enough. Draco leans in and captures it in his mouth, the sound rippling through him in a wave of ecstasy so strong Draco thinks for a moment he might actually be dying.

Potter lets out a sob into his mouth as Draco comes (again, Merlin), sweat-soaked body curling beneath Draco with a prolonged shudder. Draco follows him back down into the sheets, tongue silencing him, coaxing him back. Potter flinches and tries to pull away but Draco holds on, mouth sliding and tongue twisting, gentle but demanding: stay with me.

Even though he's kissing Draco back, it feels like autopilot. Potter's shivering against him, even in the heat they've created, and Draco twists his hand in the chain lead still attached to the collar and reels Potter in as they sink further into the sheets. It's only then that Draco realises Potter's hands are still locked to the headboard and, after a moment fumbling for his wand and failing to find it, uses what little focus he has left to wandlessly release the bonds. Potter shudders and curls into him now, hands unsteady but responsive, his tongue gaining a little more weight. Draco deepens the kiss, pulling him by the neck, even though they can't possibly get any closer without being Splinched together.

When Potter comes up for air it's with a loud gasp, back flopping onto the mattress and chest heaving. Draco presses tight against his side, sweat-soaked limbs tangling, letting the kiss wander to Potter's neck, ear, shoulder — Potter's eyes are closed but he isn't trying to pull away any longer, just lies there and lets Draco feather him with kisses, fist still tightly wound in the lead.

As Potter's breath mellows out, Draco plants a last kiss on his shoulder before rolling to his side, searching for his wand — Potter's hand shoots out and locks around Draco's wrist, fingers so tight it makes Draco wince. Draco immediately rolls back in, hand on the lead pulling, curling Potter closer to him.

"Hey," Draco says, and kisses him again, lingering on Potter's lips. "Hey. Shh. I'm not going anywhere. Just relax; I've got you." He kisses him again, tongue swiping between Potter's parted lips before pulling back a little. "It's okay."

Bleakly, eyes still closed, Potter nods. Draco lingers in a little longer, just so he's sure, before rolling over again and locating his wand as quickly as he can in the mess they've made of the sheets. The sweat making their limbs slick is already evaporating, causing goosebumps along any flesh that isn't pressed against Potter's warmth. Draco spells them both clean and dry before summoning the discarded duvet over them; the fabric feels frigid after the heat of the sex, so Draco adds a warming charm to it as it settles.

Besides him, he can hear Potter sigh into the sudden softness. He wriggles closer, hand curling around the one Draco still has tangled in the lead.

"Hey," Draco says, voice soft. He runs a finger along the collar, still around Potter's throat — not hard enough to choke him, but tight enough that it can't be very comfortable. "Let me take this off."

Potter buries into the cavity created by the duvet and Draco's body, shaking his head and mumbling, voice raw, barely there. "Leave it."

A warmth that has nothing to do with magic or Potter curled against him spreads through Draco's chest. His throat feels tight all of a sudden, and all Draco can think is about how completely and utterly fucked he truly is.

Potter shifts beside him, tossing under the bedcovers, rolling until his back is pressed firmly against Draco's front. The lead rattles a little as he settles; Draco's grip on it tightens. Even with the cleaning charms, Potter still smells strongly of sex and his hair tickles Draco's face as he leans down, kissing the nape of his neck. Draco starts and then nuzzles in further when Potter's hand reaches around, finding his, curling around the lead before clasping his fingers around Draco's wrist.

Draco doesn't remember falling asleep; he remembers Potter's breathing becoming soft and even, his ribcage rising and falling gently against their joined hands — even in sleep, Potter's grip hadn't loosened at all. Draco remembers thinking that he should leave, that Potter had come down hard but whole, and would be fine in the morning. After all, he'd told Potter he didn't stay, that he wasn't — but Draco also dimly remembers not giving a flying fuck at the time, because Potter was warm and wound so tightly against him he couldn't possibly bring himself to break away.

Draco regrets remembering any of these things upon blinking awake into the dimly-lit room, still cast in shadow because the window faces west. The low-light doesn't matter anyway, because Draco's view is entirely obscured by a wild tangle of inky hair that still smells of sex. Potter's naked body is hot against his own and Draco starts, pulling back a little.

The next thing Draco notices is Potter's hand is still tightly locked around his wrist. Oh, shit.

When Draco shifts, Potter stirs at the loss of warmth. Draco goes rigid as Potter rolls into the space he vacated, head falling back against the mattress and blinking sleepily at him. "Hey."

What Draco wants to do is lean in and kiss him until he's incoherent, to roll over him and slide down his chest and suck out all that morning heat with his mouth, and fuck him so hard he's forced to take a personal day. What Draco wants to do is extremely apparent, pressed hot and hard against Potter's hip.

What Draco does is raise an eyebrow and say, "This still counts as on the clock."

He immediately regrets it when Potter's soft, sleepy features harden and he lets go of Draco's wrist. "Whatever."

When Potter rolls away and stalks out of the room — to the loo, Draco assumes, or maybe just because now that the heat of the moment is over, he can't stand to look at him — Draco inhales sharply before summoning his robes. He doesn't even bother to dress before Apparating home.

*

The day after Lucius Malfoy was executed for war crimes, Draco came out.

Pansy talked him down from hosting a party or having a parade about it, but Draco made enough of a statement by snogging Zacharias Smith right in front of the Ministry fountain. The media had a field day.

He left poor Smith alone and quite dazed as the flashing bulbs descended, and set off into the world to destroy what little was left of his father's (stupid fucking useless) reputation by purchasing a Muggle car that looked like a rocket ship (a Biscotti Ray-gun, or something; Draco lovingly referred to it as 'Biscuit') and could outstrip a Firebolt when you put your foot down. He then accidentally crashed Biscuit into a broomshed full of priceless prototypes that caused quite an impressive fireball. Draco mourned the loss of his beloved for a whole five minutes before replacing it with another supercar (with a much more tolerable name: Diablo. Bright yellow with black racing stripes, it was perhaps the only thing in the world more obnoxious than Zacharias Smith; Draco called it his Honey Badger) and proceeded to run rings around Charing Cross Road until Magical Law Enforcement showed up.

When Draco spotted Potter in the street, he gunned the engine and charged.

Potter didn't even bother arresting him. He just sighed and transfigured the Honey Badger into a smoking, rumbling yellow kettle (complete with racing stripes) and sent Draco on his way. Eight months pregnant with his progeny, Astoria showed up the following day and served Draco with divorce papers.

All and all, it had been a very exciting week.

*

Draco is taking the longest shower of his life.

When he finally steps out of the bathroom, towel around his neck, the day's well on its way to noon. The sunlight streams through his bedroom window, warm and comforting as he tousels his hair idly.

"Draco Malfoy!"

Draco starts, dropping the towel in front of him like a chastity belt. Pansy can really hit an impressive pitch when she wants to. All that vocal coaching Blaise is paying for is not helping Draco's fragile state of mind.

"Do you mind?"

"Oh, please," Pansy says, waving a dismissive hand at his nudity. "Nothing I haven't seen before."

Draco takes refuge behind the privacy screen in the corner, spelling the rest of his body dry before summoning over clean robes. Pansy's voice follows him around the divider with: "Have you seen the Prophet this morning?"

The only thing Draco has seen this morning aside from the inside of his shower is Potter, spread against his side, liquid and soft. Draco allows himself a moment to reminisce before stepping back into the room, fully dressed. "What now? Did someone elect another Hufflepuff into office?"

Pansy shoves the paper in his face, too close to see clearly. He snatches it out of her hand and smoothes it out.

Oh.

"Slightly higher profile, huh?" Pansy demands.

Draco just stares at the paper; it had seemed innocent enough at the time, but at the time he'd mostly been focussed on getting laid, so perhaps he hadn't been thinking very clearly.

A large picture of Potter from the day before is dominating the front page — media fair, indeed — laughing at something someone off-camera has said. He's wearing his stupid glasses again and looks, idiotically, genuinely happy. The collar around his neck is clear as day, obviously the source of all the fuss, but not for quite the reason Draco imagined.

 


The Daily Prophet
HARRY POTTER STARTS ALARMING NEW FAD
AMONG TEENAGERS

 

 

The Boy Who Lived, as captured yesterday by Prophet photographer Dennis Creevey, while on-duty for Magical Law Enforcement's elite squad of Aurors. Young teens and adults alike immediately flooded less-than-reputable shops in Knockturn Alley searching for their own "Potter-collars", and even Hogwarts has seen a sudden surge of students sporting the items with their school uniforms. When asked to comment on his sudden alteration in attire, Mr Potter merely told reporters "[He doesn't] see what all the fuss is about." A poll is being conducted by concerned parents on the example Mr Potter is setting for today's youth... (pg. 4)

"Oh, dear Salazar," Draco says, rolling his eyes and tossing the paper away.

"Oh yes," Pansy says, hands on her hips. "Top of fashion now, wearing slave collars; if Harry Potter is doing it, it must be cool. Are you out of your mind?"

"Don't you have somewhere else to be?" Draco asks, stepping past her out onto the landing. "Like bankrupting your husband?"

"Don't even think about changing the subject," Pansy snaps, right on his heels. "Are you listening to me? What in Merlin's bloody name are you thinking?"

"That I'm being paid an exorbitant amount of gold to roger the Chosen One?" Draco returns, sliding down the twisting banister in an effort to outrun her, but Pansy doubles her pace and catches him before he can get out the door.

"Draco," she says, latching on to his elbow. "This is a terrible idea. Was a terrible idea. How long have you been — "

Draco twists out of her grip. "What does it matter? It's just a job, Pans."

"The hell it's just a job! It's not even a job, it's a — very unhealthy hobby and you know I don't like to judge, but now you're doing this with Potter — "

"So what? He's just as fucked up as anybody else."

"Pot calling the cauldron black?"

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Draco, listen to me. You think you're slick but you're not, you never were, and I don't have any idea why Potter's doing this — "

"He's a sick bastard; we've finally got something in common."

" — all I know is that you are doing this for the wrong reasons," Pansy says over him. "I just don't want you to get hurt again, Draco."

"He's just a client."

Pansy crosses her arms over her chest. "So the fact that you were crushing on him all through Fifth Year has nothing to do with this, then?"

"I wasn't — "

"Practically drooling," Pansy continues. "It was kind of disgusting, actually. Now I'd say it was kind of adorable except for the fact that this is Potter and even if he's just doing this because he's a bit off in the head, I know you better than that. And if not, then, well, you've got a lot more to worry about — tell me, did you stop and think for a second that you were about to do this with an Auror?"

Draco exhales sharply through his nose. "I'm not doing anything illegal," he says. It's true. Prostitution is a grey area in the law, always has been; as long as nobody is being hurt or used without consent, it's technically legal. The fact that Draco's... practices can be a little on the extreme side sometimes complicate things, but that's why Draco gets signed consent forms.

"Do you really think legality will matter much when it's his word against yours?"

"I think if he was going to arrest me, he would have done it by now. He's had plenty of opportunities."

"Draco — "

She's cut short when Narcissa enters the foyer, a small bundle cradled lovingly in her arms. Pansy instantly deflates, ovaries overriding her disapprovement. She takes the infant from Narcissa, making ridiculous little cooing noises.

The baby spits up on her; she sighs adoringly at him. Honestly, women.

"Were you going out, Draco?" his mother enquires, adjusting his robes absently. "Astoria will be here shortly. I thought we might — "

"And that's my cue to leave," Draco says, planting a kiss on his mother's forehead.

Narcissa sighs, ever-determined to mend the marriage that was doomed from the start. Draco doesn't know what the big deal is: she wanted a grandchild, he provided one. But his mother seems to have it in her head that this 'homoerotic nonsense' her son is embracing is just some sort of rebellious phase — that, given time, he'll come around and find a nice girl. Or something.

"Darling, really, you should join us for lunch. You hardly see him enough as it is."

Draco glances at the baby — his son, it still seems weird when he thinks about it — which is gurgling nonsense at Pansy and generally making a mess. "We'll have more in common when he learns to talk," Draco assures her. "Tell Astoria I said to fuck off for me, will you?"

Narcissa winces at his vulgarity but lets him go, and Draco escapes out the door before Pansy gets over her hormonal intervention and continues to berate him.

He doesn't hear from Potter for nearly a week. He keeps a tab on the Prophet, though, rolling his eyes every day as, without fail, someone's managed to get another picture of Potter wearing the collar. Potter always manages to look innocently surprised, like he can't see what all the fuss is about. Whenever a reporter gets close enough to ask Potter about it, he just laughs them off. Draco honestly doesn't know what to make of it.

On Friday, he finally lets Pansy drag him along to the shops, and while he may complain, he honestly doesn't mind. Pansy's good company, always has been, because she is probably the only person he feels he can tell anything without being judged.

Well, mostly anything.

"So," Pansy says, hooking her elbow in his and dragging him into another shop. "I see Potter's still wearing your dog collar."

Draco groans. "I am not talking about this with you."

"Why not? Oh, Scorpius would look adorable in this." She holds up an emerald green onesie. It's silk, with silver trim, which he simply must have of course because obviously the newest Malfoy scion won't be seeing enough of those colours when he hits school age.

Draco looks at the price tag and chokes. "He'll just throw up on it."

"You're a terrible father," Pansy says, tossing the onesie aside and dragging him deeper into the maternal department. "That boy is going to grow up with a complex."

"As opposed to being a well-adjusted individual like ourselves."

"When he starts piercing his eyebrows and dying his hair obnoxious colours, you just remember this."

"That I didn't buy my six-month-old bastard a silk onesie?"

"Draco." Pansy whirls on him, cornering him between two aisles of female underthings. "Tell me you're not still seeing Potter."

"He's a client, not a boyfriend."

Pansy archs an elegant eyebrow. "I just wonder if you're actually making that distinction."

"I'm pretty sure I said I wasn't talking about this with you," Draco points out, slipping past her. "Anyway, he hasn't Owled, so I assume that's that."

"He's still wearing your collar."

"You read the Prophet. Potter's just making a fashion statement."

Pansy holds a delicate hand to her brow, looking faint. "I'm sorry," she says, "did I just hear you use 'Potter' and 'fashion statement' in the same sentence? Who are you, and what have you done with Draco Malfoy?"

They're at dinner when Draco gets the Owl. Blaise has joined them, along with Zacharias and Adrian Pucey, who've apparently started dating (which is somehow Draco's fault for accidentally introducing them). Blaise is looking rather alarmed at the amount of homosexuality surrounding him on all sides and is ordering more wine when the bird glides over, taking perch on the back of Draco's chair and pecking him on the ear.

Draco can feel Pansy's eyes on him as he reads the message. He tucks it away into his pocket and studiously ignores her gaze as he rises to his feet. "I'm going to have to call it an early night."

"Draco." Pansy is looking very much like she wants to make a scene. Draco knows she will, if she feels it necessary.

"I'll Floo you tomorrow," he says, and flees.

The front door's unlocked and unwarded. Potter isn't in the den; Draco finds him in the bedroom, which looks the same as it did a week ago. Potter is seated at the desk in the corner, looking strangely out of place inside the makeshift dungeon Draco's made out of the room.

"What the hell is the big emergency?"

Potter pauses, then finishes writing whatever it is he's fiddling with before standing and facing Draco.

"I didn't hire you because you were a Death Eater."

"What?"

Potter sighs heavily; it's only then Draco realises he's wearing his glasses. Potter takes them off and pinches the bridge of his nose briefly before tossing them on the desk. "You asked me why I hired you, even when I knew it was you. And you kept asking and I — I didn't hire you because of what you were."

Draco just stares at him. "Is this the part where you tell me what the fuck this is about?"

"Why don't you tell me?" Potter says, coming towards him. "Why did you even show up, when you knew it was me?" Draco opens his mouth, and quickly closes it. Potter raises his eyebrows. "Right."

"This isn't about me. You get what you pay for, Potter, and you paid for sex. You paid for filthy, fucked-up sex with a — with me." Draco snarls the word. "You don't get to ask questions."

"Don't I? Because from what I recall, the only rules were no Unforgivables, no wand, and no staying the night — oh, wait."

Draco wants to throttle him. "I stayed because — you can't just — you think this is just a game? Just because you pay me to do it doesn't mean I don't — "

"I know why you stayed," Potter interrupts. He hesitates, which is strange enough that Draco doesn't say anything, just waits for him to finish. Potter sets his jaw and plows on: "And I — I'm not going to break, Malfoy. I don't need — I can take care of myself."

"Can you," Draco says, voice cold.

"Look — "

"Fuck you." Draco knew this was a bad idea, but he really shouldn't be surprised; he doesn't have the best track record when it comes to having good ones. "Just — fuck you, Potter. I'm done."

"Malfoy, wait."

Draco nearly Disapparates, but Potter wasn't the youngest Seeker in a century for no reason; the bastard is quick. Draco feels the Anti-Apparation charm settle around him and whirls around, wand already drawn.

Potter raises his hands quickly — not defensively, but just to show he's unarmed, like it even matters. "Will you please just listen?"

"That depends," Draco snarls. "Am I on the clock?"

Potter rolls his eyes. "Sure, why not? Just — "

Whatever he wants to say is cut short when Draco's spell hits, slamming him into the closest wall. "Lovely."

It's nothing like the first time.

It's like all the anger, all the hate, all the frustration over everything Potter has ever done — indirectly or not, at fault or merely as an unfortunate catalyst — to cause Draco pain over the past twelve years comes pouring out of him, and he channels it all into Potter.

To Potter's credit, he takes it all. Even when Draco spells off his clothes, lashes him into the large cross occupying the wall across from the bed, transfigures his wand into a crop and takes it out of his hide, Potter just grits his teeth, hangs his head low and accepts the harsh treatment. Even when his skin is pink from his knees to his stupid tattoo, even when Draco's blows start to cross and tear through his skin, he doesn't put a stop to it. Draco knows he can, if he really wants to, knows that Potter has so much power inside of him — has seen it — that he can break the bonds and defend himself, even hurt Draco if he wants to, but he doesn't. It actually serves to infuriate Draco more, fueling his fury, making him push harder and harder, until Potter can't just grunt through the pain any more and actually cries out, sagging heavy in his restraints.

"Come on, Potter!" Draco snarls, abandoning the idea of the crop — it's a moot point, now, so much of Potter's skin is covered in angry red marks, some of them bleeding. "This isn't what you want?" Draco uses his wand instead, his Stinging Hex far more effective when aimed at fresh wounds. "This isn't why you wanted me?"

Potter curses, the muscles in his back tightening as the hex hits, spreading through the irate flesh and probably burning like hell. Draco grabs a fistful of his hair, twisting his fingers in and yanking his head backward. "Enlighten me, then: are you just a masochistic cunt? Do you need this to get off? To get beaten like some cheap slut until you're hard? Is that what does it for you?"

"That's rich," Potter manages to grind out, "since I'm not the one being bought, whore."

Whatever control Draco is clinging to is gone, just like that; he slams Potter's head forward so hard it smacks into the wall.

On reflection, Draco isn't actually as rough as he thinks he is. He feels like he's hurting Potter (and he is, he really is), but while the other man is crying out, it's not always in pain. Draco has him by the hips, by the neck, by the hair — has Potter pushed face-down over the side of the bed, curling over him, hand twisting, yanking his head back — the hot, abused skin of Potter's back against his chest, red and angry, just like Draco feels. Draco doesn't even bother preparing him the traditional way — the spell is more lubricating than stretching, but it's enough, just enough to force himself inside, just enough to make Potter arch his body beneath Draco and scream as Draco plunges in and claws down the irritated flesh between his shoulders and getting blood under his nails. Draco pulls back just enough to twist him, lying Potter sideways, leg thrown over his hip and out of the way. Draco takes him by the throat as he fucks him, brutally hard, slow and deep — and then faster and deeper, thrusting until Potter's spilling over without Draco having even touched his cock.

Draco tightens his hold on Potter's throat and comes with a grunt.

He shoves off Potter, leaving him twisted on the bed, skin raw and sore, spelling himself dry and dressing with shaking hands. When he's finished, he sees Potter lying on his back, forearm thrown over his eyes, chest rising and falling unevenly. A kinder part of Draco urges him to stay, to go over to the bed and lie Potter out, roll him over and lick the wounds clean, to kiss the rage away.

But a larger, angrier part of Draco sneers, turns on his heel, and leaves him there.

*

Draco doesn't sleep that night. He tries, and ends up abandoning the warm interior of the Manor for the cold night air, keys jangling as he pulls them out of his pocket. The yellow monstrosity of a car rumbles to life and Draco lays into the accelerator, the engine roaring behind him, enveloping him in numbing vibrations as he breaks every speed limit in Wiltshire. By the time the sun is peeking over the horizon, enveloping the world in a haze of fog, the Honey Badger is growling its way through the tight channels of London, bullying through the early-morning Muggle traffic. People glare at him as the car snarls past, like it's a personal insult to them — for being lavish, for being so loud, so garish — and Draco ignores them, follows the interlocking streets until he pulls up outside a derelict line of houses.

He sits in the car for a long time, smoking an entire pack of cigarettes while watching the sun crest the tops of buildings, blurry through a layer of smog. He leaves the engine running while he waits, revving it whenever a Muggle passing by gets too close, ogling or curious or trying to tell him off. Draco's left leg is bouncing convulsively on the ball of his foot despite a conscious effort to stop it.

After all, it's not like it's Potter's fault. He doesn't even know. It probably never crossed his mind; how could he say those things, if he knew? He wouldn't have, Draco knows, has to believe, because of all the things Potter is (selfish, oblivious, stubborn, reckless, thoughtless; kind, caring, fearless, uncompromising, powerful), he isn't cruel.

"Nice wheels, man," some Muggle says, when Draco finally slips the door up and open. Draco climbs out, closes the door, and gives the Muggle an elegant finger before crossing the street out of view.

It looks like Potter hasn't slept, either. He's in the den, back to Draco and seated on the sofa, forehead in his hands. He has to know Draco's here, because it's not this easy to sneak up on him, but either he really has no idea or just doesn't care. He doesn't look up once as Draco approaches the back of the sofa, doesn't so much as start as Draco slides a hand tenderly up the curve of his neck into his hair. Draco leans in, burying his nose in it, inhaling the still-present scent of sex and pain.

"I'm sorry," Draco says, voice low.

Potter lets out a long breath, leaning back a bit, head tilting into the touch. "Don't be."

I have to be, Draco wants to tell him. He was sorry every damn day.

Potter's clad himself in a loose flannel dressing gown and Draco eases it off his shoulders, exposing the hours-old marks decorating his back. The wounds aren't fresh any more, but still angry and red, some fainter than others. Potter leans forward, letting Draco pull the gown down further, exposing the tattoo — three parallel trails cut straight through it, a memory of fingernails clawing down his back. Draco touches one gingerly; Potter hisses quietly, but doesn't flinch. The mark is warm to the touch and Draco winces.

"Lie down," Draco says.

"You don't have to — "

"Down," Draco says again, his other hand tightening — just a little — in Potter's hair. Potter sighs, shrugs off the robe (still nude underneath, apart from the collar), and lies down on his stomach.

Draco circles around the sofa, pulling his wand out of his robes as he goes. Potter's arms are folded under his head, his eyes open and watching as Draco summons the trunk from upstairs down into the den. Draco digs through it for a few moments to gather what he needs before shrugging off his cloak and kneeling down beside the sofa. Draco takes his time, coating his fingers in the salve and applying it to each abrasion individually — he could do it all with magic, bring relief faster, but he wants to take the time, needs to put in the effort. Potter doesn't comment, just closes his eyes as Draco starts with the worst (a long cut across his lower back, just above the curve of his arse), using two fingers and the gentlest amount of pressure. The salve is specially made for this, fast-acting; the marks fade quickly under his touch.

When Draco finally reaches for the trails across the tattoo, the three marks he made with his own hands, Potter flinches and says, "Leave them."

Draco traces the edge of the longest mark in the centre. "No. They'll scar."

"So what?" Potter says. "I have plenty of others."

"I don't understand you," Draco says, but leaves the marks. He runs his fingertips along them, tracing them from start to finish. "Why do you let me do this to you?"

Potter sighs at the touch. "I guess it's like you said: I'm a sick fuck."

Draco pulls his fingers away.

"No," Potter says, "that's not what I — "

"It is," Draco says, piling the salve back into the trunk. "It's fine. I'm a sick fuck, too."

Potter starts to speak again but by then Draco is on him, hands tracking the freshly-healed contours of his back, the expanse of his shoulders, the dip of his tailbone, the swell of his arse. He smells like the salve, now, strong — like peppermint — and sharp. Potter inhales sharply at the touch, then tries to talk again, but Draco applies more pressure and Potter cuts off with a groan as Draco kneads his shoulders, fingertips searching for the bundles of tension and easing them out.

"Quiet," Draco admonishes when Potter keeps trying to talk, keeps trying to bite out half-formed words in between Draco's hands working out the knots. "Just — let me."

Potter doesn't try to speak again, just sighs heavily into the sofa cushions and lets Draco continue his work. After running his hands along the expanse of Potter's shoulders, back, easing over his arse and down his thighs to make sure the wounds are healed (except those three, those three Potter wants to keep because — well, because — Draco gives up), Draco summons another item from the trunk. It's a small phial, clear liquid without scent, and Draco upsets half of it into his palm before putting his hands back to work. Potter lets out a long, low groan of appreciation as the oil seeps into his skin under Draco's kneading fingers, working it into every angle of his back, slipping over and under his shoulder blades, down the curve of his spine, over the bumps of his ribs and the softer skin of his waist.

Draco works slowly, methodically — he hasn't, technically, done this before. Usually, he doesn't see a client more than once or twice; they get their fix and move on, preferring variety, or more often, Draco prefers variety, because when you keep going back that's when things get dangerous. You get attached. You start to care. Draco hasn't ever been in danger of caring, but has had clients get too clingy, too dependant, and he doesn't know how to tell them he can't — that's not why he does this. He's not looking for someone else to care about. He's not looking for anything, he's — as Potter pointed out — just a whore.

But then again, Draco's never agreed to do this with anyone he knew before, never agreed to do this with someone who had any idea why he was doing this, never — never was stupid enough to do this with someone he fantasized about in school.

By the time Draco reaches the small of his back, Potter's turned to liquid against his hands, boneless and lax and making soft sounds into the cushions. Draco slides his hands lower over the dry flesh of his buttocks, just rubbing soft circles into the skin, and Potter groans again and raises his hips into the touch. Draco clicks his tongue. "Relax," he says. "Not now."

Potter mutters intelligibly, words lost into the cushions. When Draco briefly removes his hands to apply more oil, he actually whines. "Oh, come on."

Draco slaps his arse — gently, teasing — in reprimand. "No." He slides his re-slicked fingers under the curve of flesh, working the apex where legs meet his hips, fingers exploring the tender inside of his thighs all the way down to his knees. Potter's hairier here, dark strands adding friction to the movement. Draco's still taking his time, palms flat and fingers squeezing occasionally, just hard enough to work the coils of muscle beneath the skin. Draco runs both hands up his thighs together, sliding over his cheeks and squeezing the flesh there — Merlin, he really did have a spectacular arse, smooth and firm with just enough give, and dimpling pleasantly whenever Potter tenses. When Draco ceases kneading his arse in favour of curling inward, running a hand between the cleft, Potter moans and lifts his hips again.

"So needy," Draco chides, having (about three seconds ago) given up on restraining himself. How can he, when Potter's so soluble and dulcet under his hands, writhing whenever a finger brushes deeper, groaning when Draco squeezes a little harder. "Do you work today?"

"Not anymore," Potter mutters into the cushions.

Draco smirks at that, running one solitary finger into that hot intimate valley of flesh, teasing the tight ring of muscle hidden inside. Potter tenses sharply and then seems to force himself to relax, exhaling in another long, low rush; he must be sore still, has to be, really. Draco wasn't exactly gentle with him before.

So instead Draco uses his hands to spread the flesh apart; beneath him, Potter groans in anticipation and makes space for Draco to kneel between his thighs. The cleansing charms from the night before won't have worn off yet, saving him the need to dig around for his wand, allowing him to just lean in and slide his mouth over the smooth, curving flesh. Potter immediately reacts, scooting one leg off the side of the couch and offering himself up, hands curling behind his buttocks to spread himself open wider.

The oil Draco uses is partially to blame for how willing Potter's being. Even with the salve to heal his wounds, the internal damage from the strikes (much less from the pounding his arse took) still lingers. The oil is special, however, because of the ground-up Billywig stinger used to make it. Not enough for it to be illegal for sale, though — not enough to coerce someone into a shag if they're unwilling, but it seems Potter is anything but unwilling.

It'll also help with the sting, because no amount of salve is going to help with the sore, tender flesh Draco washes with his tongue. It's hot to the touch, even against his mouth, and Draco does his best to go easy on him. Gentle isn't something that comes naturally but he tries anyway, and Potter is making soft, uneven sounds into the cushions so he must be doing something right. Draco spreads more oil on his fingers before pressing one inside, slow and carefully, gently gyrating his wrist to work Potter open again. It doesn't take long, and Potter is writhing against his fingers now, the oil doing (Draco knows) wonderful things inside of him.

"More," Potter groans. The sound penetrates Draco, like a pulse of lightning straight to his prick.

"Shh," Draco tells him. "It'll sting."

"I don't care. Put in another — " Draco does. "Oh — oh, God."

"I told you. You have to wait when it's like this," Draco says, gently twisting his fingers. "I don't want to hurt you."

"Hurt me," Potter says, his voice hoarse, and something inside Draco shatters. "Please. God damn it, Malfoy, hurt me."

Draco unbalances a little as what little blood remains in his head surges immediately down to his groin.

Draco doesn't even remove his robes; he can't be bothered to take the time, not when Potter's spread out beneath him like this, arse in the air and keening. Draco has never had this much sex this often and even if a small part of him is screaming that this is wrong, that he's going to regret it, that it's all going to blow up in his face, he pulls his cock out anyway. If Potter's squirming hadn't already made him hard, the sound Potter makes when Draco pulls his fingers away would; his drawn-out moan breaks off with a deep, guttural sound packed tight and hard with years of want.

"Please," Potter says again, the word rolling over his lips like a hiss.

"I won't hurt you." Because he won't. He can't. "No, don't," Draco says, when Potter tries to push himself up. "Just lie there, pet; I'll make it good for you. So good. You'll see; you're so loose and wet. Don't move. Don't do a thing."

Draco has no idea why he's saying these things. He says a lot of crazy shit during sex with clients, but never like this. It's always just sex, just a job, a filthy pastime under the excuse of useless gold. It's never like this, never this raw or soft or anything to do with feelings outside of the purely physical.

It's never like making love.

Potter still hisses when Draco lines up and presses forward, but he opens up easily, his oil-slick hole snug but willing against Draco's cock. Potter's knuckles are white with effort as he holds himself open for Draco, shoulders tight and contorted as his head thrashes against the couch. Draco runs a hand over his back, follows the line of his spine all the way to his tattoo as he fills him up, palm brushing against the three raised marks he's left on Potter. They cut into the lines of the ink, breaking the circle, still red and irate. Potter shudders as Draco tangles his hand in Potter's hair and pulls.

Potter clenches his arse around Draco's cock, and Draco's grip tightens. "Fuck me," Potter says.

"Such a filthy cunt," Draco says, straightening up as he pulls back, nice and slow. "Perfect Harry Potter is a dirty little cockslut."

"Yes." Potter whines at the pace; Draco slides back in, molten velvet swallowing his cock a centimeter at a time, until his balls rest against Potter's arse; going this slow is the hardest thing he's ever done. "Hell, Malfoy."

"Tell me me how much you want this," Draco says, losing himself in that heat. "How much you want my cock."

"I want it," Potter parrots mindlessly. "God, I want it."

"Merlin, look at you. You want it. You need it."

"I need it. I want — you."

"Merlin," Draco says again, control slipping and snapping his hips forward. He can't understand why Potter says these things, even if this is just a game they're playing. "I want to fill you up with my come."

"Please," Potter says again, arching his back. Draco puts a hand between his shoulders, and shoves him back down as he moves, pacing himself. "Jesus, Malfoy. Like that. Yes. Just like that. Just — "

Draco can barely hear him over the ringing in his ears, and doesn't care. He doesn't care that Potter is begging him — faster, harder, fuck me like you want this — because it doesn't mean anything; none of it means anything. Can't mean anything. And Potter is moaning over the words, miles of flexing muscle under Draco's hands, twisting and shifting against his hold.

"Harder," Potter begs. "I want it. I want you. Hurt me, I don't care."

Draco leans over him, bringing his mouth to the shell of Potter's ear. "I can't," he says, even as his hips slam harder into Potter's, causing him to cry out. "I'll hold you down and fuck you until you scream, if that's what you want, but I won't hurt you."

With what has to be a herculean effort, Potter twists his head so he can look at Draco with one eye over his shoulder.

"I know," he says, and Draco comes.

Potter makes a high, off-key sound into the cushions as Draco pulls back, cock slipping out. Draco twists Potter's hips, flipping him over, and sinks beneath his spread legs to the floor. His cock is engorged, painfully red and purple. Draco takes the bottle of oil of out his robes and pours the remainder into his palm before slicking Potter's cock with it, his grip loose and fingers dancing light over the hot muscle. Draco has it in his head that he's going to give Potter the handjob of a lifetime, using all the little tricks he's taught himself over the years, but he doesn't get the chance. The moment he tightens his hand around Potter's cock in a fist and pumps once, only once, Potter's entire body jerks and he spills hot and thick over Draco's hand.

"God damn it," Potter hisses, sinking back into the couch. "God damn you."

Draco doesn't wait for him to recover; he stands, but barely starts to move when Potter's hand shoots out and grabs his wrist, tugging him down. Off balance and off-guard, Draco tumbles over him, catching himself on his hands. Potter wraps his hands around his waist, and holds him there.

"Stay," Potter says.

"No," Draco says, sharper than he means to. It isn't Potter's fault, after all; he doesn't know how hard it was to come back — how hard it was to leave in the first place, how sick it made Draco feel. "This isn't — "

"I know," Potter says, but doesn't let go. "I know. It's — it's fine. I want you to stay."

"I told you, I'm not a babysitter."

"It's not nighttime," Potter points out, like it matters. "Just stay for a while." When Draco doesn't answer, Potter tightens his grip and adds: "I'll buy you dinner."

Draco hesitates. His lower half is begging him to listen — what could it hurt, to stay a spell? Just an hour or two, just until noon, just until tea... after all, it won't be the first time he'd spent half a day working over a client. He's done it before, and it never meant anything. His brain rallies uselessly against the rest of him as Draco says, "It's a little early for dinner."

"Breakfast, then."

"You're going to put me into overtime."

"You can have the key to my vault, if you want it," Potter says.

"Fine," Draco says, raking his eyes over Potter's naked form. "Are you going to stay like this?"

"If you'd like me to," Potter says, and smirks.

Draco bites his lip. He digs for his wand, and summons a thin chain from his trunk, relishing in the apprehensive look Potter gives it when it settles in Draco's hand. Draco doesn't give him the chance to argue; he leans down, sucking wetly on a nipple, rolling his tongue over it, teasing it with his teeth. Potter hisses and grips him tighter, groaning when Draco shifts to stimulate the other. Draco affixes the clasp on one end of the chain to the first nipple while he sucks on the other, before pulling back and affixing the second end of the chain.

"Yes," he says, smirking and running a hand over Potter's flushed chest. "I think I would."

*

Every time the clock on the wall tells Draco another section of the day has run its course, he promises himself just one more hour. But the hours never seem to end, each taking an age, and he's amazed at how the time simultaneously passes so quickly and, yet, so slowly.

Potter does buy him breakfast, but it's nothing Draco's ever had before. Some Muggle thing called pizza, apparently available at any time of day and delivered right to your door (Potter orders the food with a Muggle Telly-Fone, batting Draco away as he tries to listen in). It's not exactly breakfast food ("It's anytime food," Potter tells him in exasperation.) and is so greasy that after eating Draco's pretty sure he could fuck Potter right there on the coffee table without having to dig around for lube.

After breakfast (brunch?), Potter drags him upstairs to shower. The shower ends up taking quite a bit longer than usual because — well — because shower sex. They don't even bother to towel themselves dry, just stumble blindly across the hall, wet limbs twisting together, and somehow make it into Potter's room. Draco spends the majority of the afternoon educating Potter on the merits of proper furniture; the stocks, in particular, seem to work wonders on him. Draco leaves him there for an hour (ball-gagged and with a metal hook planted firmly in his arse, the base secured to his collar, forcing his head up), while Draco goes downstairs and takes a nap to recover before starting in on him all over again.

He can't decide if he likes fucking Potter's mouth or arse more, and he's pretty sure Potter doesn't know, either. Aggravated and unable to do both at once, Draco ends up spelling a dildo into fucking his arse while Draco abuses his mouth.

It's not until the light outside is fading that Draco realises how long he's been there. Potter's on his stomach, sprawled across Draco on the bed, limp with exhaustion. Potter's only half-awake, eyelids heavy, his cheek damp against Draco's chest.

He's tracing the lines of the scar along Draco's navel with two fingers when he says, "Is this — " Draco shrugs, or tries to — Potter feels the movement and frowns. "I'm sorry."

"It doesn't matter," Draco says, too tired to bother being properly indignant. "I'm pretty sure we're even."

"Still," Potter says, tracing the scar higher. His fingers skate across Draco's ribs, dipping and rising and soft. "I didn't know what it would do," he says eventually. "The spell. You've no idea, do you, how scared I was, I thought I'd — "

"It doesn't matter," Draco says again, because it doesn't. "Snape got there in time."

Potter's quiet a while, hand resting over where the scar splits in two, right over Draco's heart. "I'm still sorry," he says eventually. "Did it hurt?"

Draco honestly doesn't even remember the pain, if there was any. He remembers falling, and remembers waking up wet and stained in his own blood, he remembers Snape hovering over him and barking orders for dittany at Madam Pomfrey, but nothing else. "It was my fault," Draco tells him. "Now shut up about it; I'm tired."

"Sorry," Potter says again. Draco isn't sure if he's sorry for not shutting up or for nearly killing him, but it doesn't really matter. Potter does shut up, though, apparently too spent to bother arguing about it, which suits Draco just fine. He isn't feeling much up to moving, even if he knows he's overstayed and should get the hell out while he can. He gets an excuse when an owl starts pecking at the bedroom window half an hour later, pulling him from a state of half-sleep; somehow, he manages to roll to his feet and make it to the sill, fumbling with the latch to let it inside.

The Owl isn't for Potter, though. The bird flutters onto his arm and ruffles its feathers as Draco takes the letter, only to see Pansy's elegantly scrawled Where the fuck are you?

Shit. Draco glances at the bed, and sees Potter has rolled onto his side and is watching him.

"I have to go," Draco says, as the owl takes off.

"Why?" Potter says, voice thick with sleep.

Draco doesn't answer, because Potter knows why. He starts summoning his clothes, dressing quickly even as Potter struggles to his feet.

"Hey," Potter says, catching Draco's wrist as he tries to fasten his cloak. "You don't have to."

"Yes, I do," Draco snaps, pulling away. "Fucking you isn't the only obligation I have, you know."

"I know. I meant," Potter stops and sighs, letting his hand fall. "Will you come back?"

"I'm not a solicitor; you can't put me on retainer."

"That's not what — "

"I make it a point not to get familiar with clients," Draco interrupts, utilizing his professional voice.

"A little late for that," Potter says, giving him a look. "We were already familiar, long before this."

No shit, Draco wants to say, but doesn't, because he never should have done this in the first place but, as Potter pointed out, it's a bit late for that. "I can give you a couple referrals, if you like."

Something changes in Potter's expression; it's so subtle, Draco wouldn't have noticed if he didn't know Potter as well as he does. "I don't want a fucking referral."

"Then I wish you luck in all your kinky endeavors."

"I don't — what is your problem, Malfoy?"

"What's my problem?" Draco snarls, whirling on him. "What the hell do you think this is? I'm a whore, Potter, not your fucking boyfriend."

"Yeah, and whose fault is that?" Potter snaps back. "You're the one putting yourself up for sale! You think I wanted to — to do this? To hire you?"

"Then why the fuck am I here?"

"You know what," Potter says, apparently giving up, "I have no idea. Get out."

"Gladly." Draco spits the word, and doesn't even bother gathering the rest of his things. He can always get more, and he'll never be able to use them again anyway without thinking about this. He Apparates right out of the bedroom, leaving the trunk and the collar and every other item that he's used on Potter.

It's a shame he can't leave behind his own skin.

*

The day Draco Malfoy became a father, he was so high he was practically in orbit.

Goyle was on a break, having just followed the Weird Sisters around for four months on their latest tour. Apparently one of the upsides of tailing Britain's most famous rock band around the European Union (aside from getting to shag half the groupies) was an unlimited supply of illicit substances. Goyle wouldn't give Draco anything with Billywig in it (apparently he offered to suck Greg off once, and Greg had taken offence), but two joints later and Draco had forgotten to be pissy about it.

"I think I have Gillyweed up my nose," Draco said.

"You're cross-eyed," Greg pointed out. "Here, try this." He passed Draco the slab he'd been using to roll the joints; a thin line of white power is laid out beside a thin tube.

"What is it?"

"I've no idea. Some Muggle shit."

Draco raised an eyebrow and sneers at him. "Hi, I'm Draco Malfoy."

"Oh, get that wand out of your arse," Greg said, rolling his eyes. "It's good. Trust me."

Draco remembered, at first, he couldn't see what the big deal was. The powder didn't have any smell and not much of a taste, but he also remembered half an hour later laughing so hard he fell out of his chair, smacking his head against the floor — and laughing about that, too, because what wasn't funny about concussions?

When the Owl arrived, Draco used the bird for target practice. By the time Greg managed to lasso it, its feathers were bright pink and had a beak like a toucan. "You're going to kill the poor thing," Greg accused, far more composed because apparently he'd built up a resistance to filthy Muggle drugs. Draco laughed at that, too, because what wasn't funny about a pink owl with a bright orange beak the size of a cock?

He didn't realise he'd said that last part out loud until Greg grimaced.

"Actually, keep the rest. Happy early birthday," Greg said, tossing Draco the rest of the mysterious — lovely, amazing, his best friend in the world — white powder. "Take a hit next time you're due for a shag."

"I'm always due for a shag," Draco said solemnly, and cackled.

Greg rolled his eyes and opened the letter (the owl, freed, took off in a rush before Draco could inflict any more harm) while Draco investigated the merits of Greg's office furniture — the chairs had wheels! What a grand idea, giving chairs wheels. Why didn't wizards think of that? It saved the necessity of ever getting up, really, provided you weren't on carpet, and even then you could -

"Whee," Draco exclaimed, spinning so fast the room blurred. "Ahaha, seriously, Greg, I want one of these for my birthday — whoa — "

Draco blinked as the chair abruptly stopped spinning. Greg was holding onto the arm with one hand, the letter in the other. "It's from your mum."

"I love my mother," Draco informed him. "She has pretty hair."

"Draco. Focus." Greg snatched the bag of magical powder out of his hands before he could try to stick his entire face inside it and inhale. "Astoria's gone into labour."

Draco laughed. "Astoria? Labour? That's hilarious. The first time she breaks a nail — "

"Oh my God, you're high. Draco! She is pushing your child out of her vagina."

"I — what?" Draco said, flummoxed. "How?"

Sighing and resigned to re-explaining the theory of female reproductive organs, Greg shoved Draco his cloak and dragged him out the door.

"Poor kid," Draco said as Greg ushered him into St Mungo's. "It'll be scarred for life."

"What are you even talking about?" Greg said, pushing the lift button with unnecessary force.

"Coming out of that vagina." Draco shuddered. "I think she has teeth in there."

"That would certainly explain the divorce," Greg said, steering Draco into the lift and pushing the appropriate button; Draco, presented with multiple buttons, immediately started pressing the rest. "Knock it off!"

"We're divorced because she's a cunt. And has a cunt. You sort of glazed over the whole part where I like to suck cock." Greg grimaced again, pinching the bridge of his nose, something he did, Draco noticed, whenever he was trying to banish the unbidden images of gay sex from his mind. Draco reclined in the corner and pouted while the lift made four additional stops before hitting their destination. A thought suddenly occurred to him. "I don't have to... watch, do I?"

"What?" Greg said, looking distracted. He was squinting at the sign on the wall, like the letters were trying to trick him. Maybe not that much of a resistance to those drugs, after all.

"I just don't see what the big deal is."

"Draco, she's having your child."

"I didn't want it," Draco pointed out, truthfully. When Greg looked back at him he winced. "What?"

"Just do yourself a favour and please stop talking," Greg said, and shoved him into the room.

Thankfully, Draco didn't have to watch. One of the finest traits of the Greengrass line, his father had said, was their large hips. In addition to the much-coveted (if you were into that sort of thing; preferring cocks himself, Draco couldn't see what the big deal was) hourglass shape, the women in the family had a long history of being fertile and having short, uncomplicated births. Because that's what was important, after all (because if you married on beauty alone, or Merlin forbid, because you actually liked your partner, they might end up being like his mother — beautiful, Pureblood, and so slim and sickly as a child that she'd only managed to carry a fetus to term once).

The infant wasn't even in the room when he stumbled in. Lying limply in a freshly made bed, Astoria was too tired to even scowl at Draco when she saw him. "His name is Scorpius," she told him.

Draco burst out laughing.

Narcissa, hovering by the bedside, frowned her disapproval, but Draco was too stoned out of his mind to care. "Why don't we just call him Pegasus?" Draco suggested. "Or Uranus? I mean, if you want to torture him with a stupid name, you may as well go all-out."

"Draco," his mother said, with warning. She looked over at Astoria and said, "I'm sorry, ignore my son. It's a lovely name."

Astoria sniffed and held her chin a little higher. "If he's keeping your surname, I get to choose his given name," she said, because even at twenty-one she had the mentality of a thirteen-year-old.

"Can his middle name be Uranus? Scorpius Uranus Malfoy. It has a nice ring to it."

"His name is Scorpius Hyperion," Astoria snapped, a deep flush creeping over her features. She was very beautiful, Draco had to admit — for a completely shallow bitch, anyway. "Why are you even here?"

"You know what," Draco admitted before his mother could intervene, "I have no idea. Cheerio!"

Narcissa was unhappy that he left and more unhappy at his general state when he had bothered to show. She didn't say it, but didn't need to, and after Draco had come down off the drugs the guilt set in and he moped around the Manor until she came around. As it turned out, the only important part of the conversation he'd missed were the terms of custody. Astoria didn't want to raise a child out of wedlock, so as soon as the infant was weaned (Astoria wanted it over within six months, Narcissa wanted two years, so they'd compromised on a year) it would be taking up residence in the Manor. Draco appealed to his mother in horror, pointing out he had no idea what to do with an infant, even if he had distantly been involved in its creation.

"I'll help you," Narcissa assured him. "And we'll get a nanny."

"Oh, well, in that case. By all means," Draco said.

*

Pansy watches the owl flutter down, drop a scrap of parchment on the table and take off again. Draco incinerates the message before she can snatch it off the table.

"How many is that, now?"

Draco shrugs. "Who cares?"

"Draco."

"Still not talking about this with you," Draco reminds her. "Are you going to eat that?"

Pansy snatches her salmon nigirizushi out of reach of his chopsticks. "Get your own."

They're sitting in a tiny window booth; outside, the rain slams against the window, reminding them that summer is well over despite the oddly warm September that passed them by. Draco hasn't spoken to Potter in almost a month, and has been studiously ignoring every Owl (sometimes several a day) that comes his way, whether it be from Potter or not. He wishes his subconscious would follow suit, because his dreams have been less haunted by dark scenes best forgotten and more frequented by the memory of defiant green eyes and raven hair.

By the time Blaise joins them, Draco is working his way through a third helping of coffee daifuku, something Pansy's unhappy about because apparently the combination of caffeine and sugar makes him unbearable to be around. The rain isn't letting up and Draco is reaching for his fourth caffeinated mochi bomb when a voice behind Draco says, "Malfoy. We need to talk."

"Sweet Merlin, it's Harry Potter," Blaise says.

Pansy turns in her seat; Draco slants a glance over his shoulder, and sure enough, it is Harry Potter standing there amidst the tables behind them, ignoring the surprised glances and whispers from the clientel.

Potter ignores Blaise; arms folded over his chest, he's still dressed in his Auror robes. He's also still wearing the collar.

Draco turns around to scowl at him. "Am I under arrest this time?" he drawls.

"Would you like to be?"

Other tables in the restaurant are starting to notice the scene. Draco can hear some of the whispers (Is that Harry Potter?, Did he just say he's arresting him?) and sighs heavily. "We have nothing to talk about, Potter."

"Draco," Pansy says.

"We either talk here or somewhere more private," Potter goes on, purposefully loud. The entire restaurant is silent now, all eyes on him. Somewhere behind the bar, Draco can see the reflected green light of a Floo being activated.

"I feel like I'm missing something important here," Blaise says, eyes flickering between the two of them. "But fortunately, I do not give a damn." Blaise fixes his gaze on Draco. "I would really like to eat in peace. Do you mind?"

Draco looks desperately to Pansy for support, but she just gives him a look and makes a 'shoo' motion with her hands. "Some friends you are," Draco mutters darkly.

"Dinner's on me," Blaise tells him cheerfully. He glances at Potter, and says: "If you end up killing him, however, do know that I'll be sending Pansy your way whenever she's in the mood to spend outrageous amounts of my gold."

"Your concern is so touching," Draco says, standing.

Potter dogs his heels all the way out into the rain. Before Draco can turn around and demand what the hell this is all about, Potter seizes him by the elbow and Draco barely has time to prepare as he's yanked Side-Along. He doesn't get a second to recover before the familiar, uncomfortably prickly sensation of an Anti-Apparation charm settles over him.

It's still raining, wherever they are. It's also a lot colder, and the wind whips furiously through the trees, billowing their cloaks. They're on a scraggly hilltop somewhere, inside a ragged copse of trees that have seen better days. The grass is tall and wet, soaking the fabric of their trousers; the trees don't provide much shelter from the rain.

"Where the hell are we?" Draco says, voice nearly lost in the rain.

Potter casts a quick spell, enveloping them in an invisible bubble about six feet wide, blocking out the rain and the noise of the storm. "Somewhere safe," is all Potter says. "I didn't want anyone listening in."

Draco turns to him them, eyebrow raised. "Or a convenient place to a hide a body. Did you really need to make a scene?"

Potter sighs, tucking his wand away quickly. "You didn't leave me a lot of choice."

"I wasn't giving you a choice. That was sort of the point."

"Running away isn't going to solve anything."

"There isn't anything to solve!" Draco snaps, sick of the games, sick of whatever the hell this is. "I don't do repeat business. Get over it."

"That's been," Potter says, and stops. He looks to the side, eyes staring blankly at the storm before turning back to Draco. He licks his lips. "Surprisingly difficult."

"Life's full of difficulties, as you well know. I suggest you deal with it, and leave me the hell alone."

"Draco — "

But Draco is done, tired of this shit — who does he think he is, practically kidnapping Draco and dragging him off to Circe-knew-where? It shouldn't surprise Draco; Potter always has been a bully, and a Nundu never changed its spots.

When Draco steps out of the protective spell-bubble, he's hit with a gust of air that nearly bowls him over. The wind is ruthless, causing the trees to shake and sway. The rain is cold and hard, coming down in heavy sheets; if it gets any colder, it will turn to snow.

Draco pulls up his collar, shrinking further into the hood of his cloak. It's the kind of rain that ignores the feeble charms his clothes hold, soaks right through, seeping into the cracks and causing him to shiver. Overhead, thunder rumbles in warning.

Potter catches him up halfway down the hill before Draco can get out of range of his stupid kidnapping charms. He hasn't even bothered to pull up his hood; his hair is plastered against his head, and Draco idly muses that it's the only time he's ever seen it lie flat. Even breaking through the black surface of the lake during the Triwizard Tournament, the bodies of Weasley and Gabrielle Delacour in his arms, his hair had sprung wild out of the water, defiant as ever. Draco remembers it clearly — it was the first time he'd ever seen Potter in anything less than school robes or his baggy Muggle clothes, the first time Draco can ever remember looking at Potter and feeling his mouth go dry.

Though, fighting off that Horntail had been pretty rousing, too, but at the time Draco attributed it to the sheer excitement of the crowd (and Potter on his Firebolt, moving through the air like he had wings of his own, outflying a fucking dragon).

None of these memories help ease his temper as Potter approaches, coming dangerously into his personal space. Those infuriating things about him, Draco thinks, the thoughtless (extraordinary), reckless (breathtaking) fearlessness Potter possesses, like nothing in the world can touch him. It's even more infuriating (staggering; overwhelming) that Draco's pretty sure nothing can.

"I just want to talk," Potter says when he sees the look on Draco's face.

"They have therapists for that," Draco spits at him. "Piss off."

"They'd probably charge less," Potter reasons, and winces when Draco bares his teeth. "Sorry. God, talking to you shouldn't — can we possibly not fight for two minutes? Please?"

The last time Potter said please to him, Draco was between his legs, mouth full and bitter and sweet with the taste of him. He bristles. "No," he says and turns away.

Potter catches his shoulder and Draco jerks away; Potter's hand falls to his side as Draco whirls on him. "Do you ever think we fight for a reason, Potter? Like maybe the fact that I want nothing to do with you? That I hate your fucking guts?"

Potter frowns, but doesn't back down. "I didn't hire you because you were a Death Eater."

Draco wants to hit him. Really, really wants to hit him. He throws up his hands instead, rolling his eyes. "That again? That's — that's just great. Whatever. Here's a newsflash for you: I don't give a fuck why you hired me, okay? I couldn't care less why you hired me."

"Funny how you keep asking, then."

"You want to know why?" Draco snarls, advancing. Potter holds his ground, eyebrows raised expectantly as Draco jabs him in the chest with his index finger. "You hired a whore because you're a sick, twisted fuck who apparently can't have off unless someone's beating it out of you, and the only person you could find sick enough — more fucked up than you was me. Well, I have news for you, Potter: you're not better than me, I don't give a shit what you think. If anything, you're more fucked up."

Potter catches his forearm — gently, just holding it there, his hand cold against the Dark Mark. "I don't think that I'm better than you," he says, thumb sliding over the snake curling out of the skull's mouth, "but I don't think that I'm worse."

Draco tries to pull away; Potter tightens his grip. "Let me go."

Potter meets his gaze. "Make me."

"No." Draco isn't playing this game anymore. Potter can go fuck himself. "Let me go!"

"I didn't hire you because of this," Potter snaps, twisting his arm so Draco can see the Mark, as if he hasn't seen it enough, as if he won't see it for the rest of his life. "God, Draco, how can you — "

"Malfoy, Potter!" Draco snarls.

" — think that's what this was about?" Potter continues over him.

Potter lets him go and Draco pulls his arm back, cradling it like it's injured, but it isn't; Potter didn't hurt him, because unlike Draco, he has some semblance of self control. "What else could it be about?" Draco shouts, tired of this stupid game and Potter's stupid, stupid hair and those stupidly intense eyes, all fifty shades of green startlingly clear even in the blurry grey of the storm.

"I just," Potter says, and stops, and Draco is going to cast his first successful Killing Curse if Potter doesn't continue in the next three fucking seconds. "I just — hey, hold on, I'm trying," Potter grinds out when he sees the murderous glare Draco is giving him. "I'm trying, okay? Just — there's a lot of shit that happened and I'm still working it all out, but, I mean," Potter closes his eyes briefly before glancing back at Draco, looking a bit sheepish. "I always thought you were rather fit."

Draco's vision goes red. Before he even realises he's moved, pain blossoms through his hand and down his arm, all the way to the elbow.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Draco screams at him, fist already raised again. Potter staggers back against a tree, wide-eyed in shock; lightning flashes nearby, thunder cracking directly overhead. "You're telling me this now? Now? Do you — you really are a stupid, selfish — you have no idea! I could fucking kill you!"

Potter catches his next punch like a Snitch, fast as a snake bite and right out from under Draco's nose. But Draco threw his weight into the blow, and still manages to knock him back against the tree again. "You've got some nerve — you don't think you're worse than me? Fuck you! If you'd only — how could you — I had no one!" Draco screams, voice breaking as he throws his forearm into Potter's neck, pinning him. "You always had someone — everyone — even Snape!"

He wants to choke Potter, to hurt him, but whatever anger fueled the assault is quickly leaching out of Draco and being quickly replaced by the numbing cold of the rain. Potter catches Draco before he stumbles, dizzy with frustration and the general injustice of the universe, laughing a little hysterically.

Harry Potter always thought Draco Malfoy was rather fit? It'd be funny — hilarious, even — only it isn't. It isn't funny at all.

Dimly, Draco's aware he's crying; he isn't sure when he started and actively trying to stop only makes it worse so he doesn't, and instead puts his energy into trying to twist away from Potter. But Potter's grip is firm and just holds him, half-fallen against the rough bark if the tree, shielding Draco from the rain and cold and all the stupid, stupid bullshit that could have been avoided if Potter had only — if Draco had only — if only -

If only someone had told them then, you're just kids. You're going to fuck it up, one way or another, because you have no idea what you're doing. Even the adults will fuck it up, but it'll be worse for you, because on top of everything else you're a teenager, a tornado of terrifying, wild emotions that you haven't had a chance to figure out yet. It's unfair, but that's life. And what's worse, is life doesn't give a shit — it moves on, with or without you, whether you like it or not, whether it's leaving you broken and fucked up beyond repair — it doesn't care. If only someone had told them, told them how they weren't nearly as important as they all thought, told them how fucking insignificant they all were in the grand scheme of things, and how the mistakes they made then — unlike the normal mistakes any normal teenager would make — they would be stuck with for the rest of their lives.

All of them, except for Harry Potter — but even then Draco can't hate him for that, because it isn't his fault he's important any more than it's Draco's fault that he's fucking worthless.

So Draco just lets go, stops caring that he's twenty-three and crying like he's four, stops caring even that Potter's holding him up, blocking out the cold, because it's not like Potter's never seen him like this before. Draco laughs again at the memory, wishing like anything that this was then — how did we fuck it up so badly? — and choking because his throat can't breathe and sob and laugh at the same time. Potter grips him harder and just holds on.

"I hate you," Draco tells him, and means it. "I fucking hate you. I hate you so much."

"It's okay," Potter says, but doesn't sound like he understands how much Draco means it now, so Draco tells him again. Again and again and again and Potter just says 'it's okay' every time, his hold on Draco never wavering. Draco tells Potter how much he hates him until his voice is raw and dry, tells him until the hot tears stop mingling with the cold rain.

"You know why it didn't work out with Ginny," Potter says, once Draco has quieted; Draco wants to tell him he doesn't care, but either he's too exhausted to bother or he really does want to know. Potter plunges on anyway, uncaring or oblivious to Draco burying his face deeper into his robes. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved her — I still love her, just not in the way she deserves, not in the way everyone expected me to. It's stupid, but I think I just — I got so used to just, to being this person everyone expected me to be, trying to live up to an ideal they all dreamed up. Like if I was the one to kill Vol — to kill him, that I also had to be the one who got the girl, who married into the perfect family I never had, to have my own kids and — that if I was their hero I couldn't think about fucking another bloke, that I couldn't want — what I want, without the rest of it falling apart. But — Dumbledore, one of the first things he ever told me was, it's pointless to dwell on dreams if you forget to live, and it took me a long time to realise what he meant. I mean, I didn't figure a lot of it out until afterward, I was a bit preoccupied, but I — we were just fucking kids. How the hell was I supposed to know — how could I be the Chosen One, and also have a wank while thinking about the son of a Death Eater?"

Yes, because that's all Draco was and all he'll ever be, all anyone will ever remember: the son of a Death Eater. A man with the Dark Mark.

"And then Snape died," Potter continues, babbling now. "I hated him. I hated him more than I ever hated you, almost as much as I hated Voldemort, and it's mostly his own fault, but I didn't know — I never had a chance to understand why, until it was too late, and now I can't — it's too late. I can't change what happened, I can't — it's pointless to be sorry about it, even if I am. I didn't even go to his funeral, you know, because I couldn't — it was all too much. After the battle, once everything wound down and we all had time to breathe and I finally had time to think — I couldn't deal with it. It was too much. I was just a kid. We were all just kids."

Draco has no idea what Potter's talking about concerning their late Potions master; he knows Snape protected Potter, just the same as he knows Snape hated Potter — but Snape wasn't a kid any more. He'd already made those mistakes, made the mistake Draco had made, all those years ago. But Snape had Dumbledore, had a chance to try and fix it — and he did, and it killed him.

"I thought," Potter goes on, "I thought now, for years now, I finally understood it. I thought I got it, you know? Everything — once I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't, after Ginny and everything else, I thought I figured it all out and I was — I was doing okay. But then, you kept doing all those — and I realised, I wasn't. None of us were. I was still being an idiot, and that's why. That's why I Owled you. Because I didn't — I didn't want to fuck it up again, because this," Potter says, pausing, "this isn't pointless."

"You hired me as a whore to feel better about yourself," Draco says, voice still uneven and nearly drowned out by a roll of thunder. "That's — that's fantastic. Really. Thanks."

"Stop being a prick for five minutes and actually listen to what I'm saying," Potter says, but without any conviction. "I didn't want to hire you, you idiot, I just didn't — I tried to talk to you and you just — so I thought — it was a stupid idea, but it's too late to — I just wanted to try and fix things."

Bang up job, Draco thinks. He doesn't realise he's said it out loud until he hears Potter laugh, the sound cut short and painful. "I want a cigarette," Draco says.

"You smoke too much," Potter says, gathering him up. "C'mon, let's get you home."

Draco doesn't argue. He's too tired, too spent to even tell Potter he wants to go to his home, wants to crawl into his mother's lap and never move again, but he doesn't have to. By the time the squeezing sensation of the Side-Along Apparation passes and Draco looks up, he sees they're on the steps of the Manor. The rain hasn't let up any here, but that doesn't matter either as Potter leads Draco — still clinging to him, for lack of anything else — to the door, which opens to admit them.

There's a house-elf inside, as if waiting for them — but the moment it sees Draco it disappears with a snap. Potter has barely dragged him towards the wide staircase to the upstairs when Pansy appears at the top (the house-elf hiding behind her legs); when she sees Potter, her eyes widen.

"Parkinson," Potter says, sounding surprised. "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same," Pansy says. Her tone doesn't mirror her words; her voice sounds small, scared even. Draco doesn't know if she's ever been able to look Potter in the eye after the incident in the Great Hall. Draco knows she feels guilty, but he thinks it's stupid, really — the way McGonagall condemned her and the other Slytherins for wanting to hand Potter over.

Pansy was just a kid at the time, too.

Pansy looks like she wants to run to Draco, but Potter's presence has thrown her off a bit. Instead, she says, "I'll get Narcissa."

"Thank you," Potter says. Then, to Draco, who is still not looking at him, "Where's your room?"

Draco doesn't remember the journey up the stairs or into his room, but he does remember his mother coming in through the door, taking one look at him and immediately coming to relieve Potter of being a human crutch. Draco curls into her gratefully.

"Thank you, Mr Potter," he hears her say, her voice soft.

Potter just melts away. Draco doesn't remember hearing the door close, doesn't remembering lying down. All he knows is his mother is sitting upright on the bed, his head in her lap, her fingers smoothing his hair away from his face. She doesn't speak, because she doesn't need to and she knows as well he does that there isn't anything to say.

He must have fallen asleep at some point. When he wakes he is alone on the bed; his mother is asleep on the chaise on the other side of the room. Draco pulls the quilt she's wrapped around her legs up to her shoulders before slinking off into his bathroom.

The shower helps. He feels a little refreshed when he leaves his room, clad in fresh robes made of warm wool. The rain is still falling, gentler now — it's still evening, or early morning. Draco doesn't know if Pansy's still here, but after calling for a house-elf, he discovers she's in the nursery room down the hall, watching over his son while his mother was watching over her own.

When he enters, she's curled up on an armchair with a book. She puts it aside when she sees him, rising to meet him. Draco lets her hug him, because Pansy doesn't hug very often and he appreciates the effort.

"I'm sorry," Pansy says, and before Draco can ask why, she continues: "I couldn't get him to stop crying; I think he wanted your mum, and then Potter — "

He follows her eyes over to the far corner of the room. Potter's asleep, still in his robes with long legs stretched out over the couch. Curled up happily and fast asleep on his chest, wedged between him and the sofa, is the tiny bundle that is Draco's son.

"He quieted down right away," Pansy explains, pulling away when Draco goes rigid. "It was uncanny. I told him he didn't have to stay, but..."

"It's fine," Draco says eventually. "You should probably get home."

Pansy looks like she wants to argue and bites her lip. "I can stay."

"It's fine," Draco says again, and plants a kiss atop her head. Then, at the look she gives him: "I'm fine. Blaise is probably wondering where you are."

"You are a terrible liar, Draco Malfoy," Pansy says, before going back to the armchair to collect her cloak. "And you know," Pansy says, looking briefly over at Potter before turning back to him, "we had a bit of a chat." Draco immediately bristles. "Not about that, I meant — he's not so bad," Pansy says, her expression a bit pained, like she's pulling needles through her cheeks just thinking the words. "I just, I think he's worried about you."

"It's none of his business."

"Not a lot of people are worried about you," Pansy points out. "Even if they should be. They don't know you well enough."

Draco scoffs. "You think he knows me?"

"Better than you might think. Look, I know I told you this was a bad idea, but I — maybe I was wrong. Just... I know we promised not to talk about this anymore," Pansy continues, reading his expression. "And I know I didn't have it like you did, nobody did, but I think he might be the one person in the world that has any idea what you went through."

"I don't need his sympathy," Draco says, rather sharply. "Or yours."

"There's a fine line between sympathy and empathy," Pansy points out. "I think it'd do you some good to learn the difference."

"Weren't you leaving?"

Pansy sighs. "Floo me?"

"Sure," he promises, and watches her go.

Draco takes up residence on the armchair and waits.

He must have dozed off again, because when he opens his eyes the room is filled with sunlight. The rain has stopped, and the late-morning light is shining through the windows. Draco winces, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

He hears a gurgle from the other end of the room. Draco doesn't know where Potter got the bottle; a house-elf, perhaps. The baby sputters happily in his embrace, arms waving, tiny hands slapping at the bottle — movements a little stiff, like it isn't quite sure what to be doing with them, but trying anyway. Potter smiles like an idiot, not saying anything, but the baby responds to the expression and lets out a squeal, slapping even more excitedly.

Draco doesn't know how he does it. The few times he's held the child, he mostly felt helpless, and kind of terrified. He felt like he might break it. Potter looks like he does this for a living, which is stupid, because he doesn't have any kids. Legitimate ones, anyway, but Draco's pretty sure if Potter had fathered any bastard children there would have been a mention of it in the papers by now.

When Draco stands, Potter looks up, but the baby makes a high-pitched noise at the loss of attention and he quickly turns his gaze back to it. Draco goes around the back of the sofa, arms dangling over the veneer. "Don't you have to job to get to?"

"I can be late," Potter says, shrugging. His voice is different; softer, almost sweet, probably because of the baby. It's strange. "He looks like you."

Draco looks at the baby, over Potter's shoulder. "He looks like an infant."

"He has your eyes," Potter insists. "And your smile."

When the hell has Potter seen him smile, Draco wants to know, but doesn't ask. He's saved making a response when the door opens and Narcissa comes through, the quilt pulled tight across her shoulders. She looks very tired, but blinks in surprise when she sees them — specifically Potter with her grandson cradled in his arms. Potter stands up as she approaches and hands the child over; the baby exclaims when it sees her, arms waving all over again. She says something in a low voice Draco can't hear; Potter laughs softly and shakes his head, one hand rubbing the back of his neck. Narcissa actually smiles at him, which boggles Draco, before her eyes find her son. I'm fine, he tries to convey with a look. Narcissa purses her lips but sighs, turning her attention back to the infant before thanking Potter again and leaving them alone in the room.

"Are you all right?" is the first thing Potter asks him.

Draco scowls and straightens up, stretching. "Go to work, Potter."

Potter jams his hands in his pockets. "Can we talk about this?"

"No."

"Draco — "

"What part of 'no' is hard for you to understand?" Draco snaps, ignoring Potter's sudden switch in his moniker. "This is none of your business. I am none of your business."

"Funny, I thought this was all business," Potter says, raising his brows.

"What I spend my time doing is also none of your fucking business," Draco points out. "Unless you're paying for it, which, may I remind you, you haven't."

Potter snorts. "You were supposed to Owl me the bill."

"How about you just fuck off, and we'll call it even?"

Potter sighs and glances at the ceiling, as if it might offer some assistance, before looking back at him. "Why are you being so difficult about this? I mean, after everything — even Parkinson thinks — "

"I don't care what any of you think," Draco snarls, turning towards the window and folding his arms, squinting against the molten light. "Everyone thinks they know what it was like, but you don't. Pansy doesn't have a fucking clue either."

He hears Potter step up beside him, just inside his peripheral vision. "What did they do to you?"

What didn't they do? The first time one of them had slipped him a potion, he hadn't really known what was going on... and after a while, they stopped bothering with them altogether. Draco later found out that his father hadn't only been aware, but turned a blind eye to it all, which had made it that much worse; Lucius had kept Narcissa to himself, and thrown his son to the wolves.

Draco shudders. The light is so bright it makes his eyes sting. Despite the shower he took that morning, he feels filthy, even though he knows no amount of spells or scrubbing will ever make him feel clean again.

Potter's still standing by his shoulder, watching him, waiting. Draco flinches away from him, even though he hasn't moved. "Get out of my house."

"Draco — "

Draco whirls on him, wand drawn. "Out!"

Potter doesn't even flinch. He just looks at Draco for a long moment and sighs. "I'm not going to let this go, you know."

"I don't care. You have five seconds to get out of my sight before you find out just how well I can cast an Unforgivable."

"You can threaten me all you want, I'm not going any — "

Draco's almost forgotten who he's threatening at wandpoint, until he lets the curse loose and Potter moves, blindingly fast — like he's on a broom, ducking and rolling on reflex more than anything. The vanity cabinet by the door behind him explodes. Potter's behind him before he can turn, but doesn't touch him, just raises his hands — so Draco can see the wand in his right — before flinging it away, like that would make a difference.

"Go on, then," Potter says.

"This isn't about sex!" Draco snaps, turning to face him.

"I know."

"I want you to leave."

"No." Potter tilts his head. "I think you just want me to think you want me to leave."

Draco just stares at him; he's saved answering then as the door opens, and his mother — probably drawn by the noise — spies the charred remains of the furniture on the floor. She doesn't ask if everything is okay, because Narcissa isn't an idiot, either.

She still has the baby in her arms. "Draco."

Draco heaves a sigh, shooting Potter a contemptuous look before lowering his wand. "Potter was just leaving, Mother."

Potter glares at him, but doesn't argue, and instead goes to retrieve his wand. He nods at Narcissa before slipping past her, pausing just briefly to smile down at the bundle in her arms when the infant wibbles excitedly.

"Draco," Narcissa says after a moment, having watched Potter go, "why is Harry Potter using your old wand?"

Draco, pinching the bridge of his nose, doesn't register what she says for a moment. Then he blinks and looks up. "What?"

*

Chapter Text

* II *

The third time Draco had a conversation with Harry Potter after the war, he was dressed in tight dragonhide trousers and covered in glitter.

Goyle always got them whatever tickets they wanted, complete with backstage passes. Draco didn't care much for the Weird Sisters (they were too tame, really; he preferred his music raw and angry), but they attracted a fair number of homosexuals considering their lead guitarist's well-publicised preferences. It was as good as any place to find some poor willing sod to drag home when business was slow.

Pansy went with him because she actually liked the music. She sang along with the crowd, attempting to get Draco to join in, but Draco was more preoccupied with the dark-haired vagrant currently using the excuse of a crowd to press a little closer. Thirty minutes later, Draco got bored (the bloke was far too skinny; Draco felt he might break him in half) and turned back to Pansy, who was whispering with some skirt ahead of them. When Pansy turned around, beaming, Draco lit up in anticipation. Popping the pills in her mouth, Pansy leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him.

Blaise probably wouldn't have approved, but it wasn't like they hadn't ever snogged before. Anyway, Draco cared less about her tongue and more about the tablets of pure essence of Billywig in her mouth.

Every nerve ending in his body was alive and throbbing as he trailed along behind Pansy after the concert, where a lot of groupies were bouncing around hoping to sneak into the aftershow, passes or no passes. Goyle rolled his eyes as he waved the pair of them through, but not before pulling Draco aside to mutter, "Duke's not your type."

"Right now," Draco informed him, running a hand seductively down Greg's expansive chest, "everybody is my type."

"Don't think I won't kick your skinny arse!" Greg yelled at his back as Draco slipped inside.

Everything that happened after that was kind of a blur — the good kind, one Draco would remember fondly, even if Pansy threatened to remove his reproductive organs if he blabbed (she snogged Heathcote Barbary for about twenty minutes before her sense of propriety overran her sense of Billywig-induced lust). In fact, Draco was quite content to spend the evening flirting his way into bed with Kirley Duke (the man seemed rather taken with Draco's antics, sparkly as he was); that was, until somehow Graves' cello got set on fire and, being the responsible, half- drunk, half-drugged group of rock 'n roll junkies they were, everybody panicked.

By the time Magical Law Enforcement showed up, half the building was in ruins. Draco was sitting on the kerb outside, disappointed that his chances at shagging a rockstar were out the proverbial window, but still too dazed to be unhappy and far too high to Apparate properly. A distinctly fuzzy sort of sensation was fluttering around his stomach, making him feel rather light-headed. Pansy got lost in the fray — Draco's pretty sure Goyle took her home after running damage control, and would be along shortly to collect him. Until then, he was content to watch as the maroon-robed officials interrogated the building manager and a couple of groupies still hovering, hoping to get lucky.

Goyle had yet to appear and retrieve Draco when a shadow loomed over him. Most of the excitement died down and people were either being sent home or, more often, detained for being under the influence. Draco sighed; he really didn't fancy Flooing his mother in the morning for gold to make bail. Then he looked up, and laughed. "Here to arrest me, Potter?"

"You're giving me plenty of reasons," Potter said, but he was smiling for some absurd reason. "Can you stand up?"

Draco considered it. "Probably not," he concluded. Mostly due to the Billywig, but the fuzzy feeling centering around his navel certainly wasn't helping matters. "If you want to lock me up, you're going to have to carry me."

"Perish the thought," Potter said. But he reached down and hauled Draco up by his armpits anyway, pulling Draco flush against his side for support; his body was hot and firm, even under the layers of Auror robes, and Draco's fuzzy feeling immediately surged down to his balls and made him dizzy.

Draco tried to pull away; he lost his balance and would have fallen, but Potter was too quick and caught him. Draco scowled at him. "Do the words 'excessive force' mean anything to you?"

Potter feined thinking about it. "Not really. How about 'resisting arrest'?"

Draco's fuzzy feeling was extremely intrigued by that idea. "I thought I wasn't under arrest?"

"I never said that." But Potter was still smiling indulgently, which was confusing enough without the stupid fuzzy feeling and the magical drugs still pinging happily around in Draco's bloodstream, causing the streetlights to dance in his vision. Potter slung Draco's arm over his shoulder, taking most of his weight. "Stop struggling; I'm just taking you home."

"Noooo," Draco moaned, shaking his head. "Mum'll kill me. Take me to my flat. It's — "

But they were already Apparating, or rather Potter was Apparating and dragging Draco along with him. When the doorman scuttled over to hold open the door so Potter could half-lead, half-drag Draco inside, Draco blinked. "How did you know where my flat was?"

Potter raised his eyebrows as he hit the button for the lift. "You have the Dark Mark," he said eventually, the smile faltering.

"Ah," Draco said, allowing himself to be supported as the lift shot skyward, the combined sensation of Potter's side against his own and the rushing elevation causing the fuzziness to spread from Draco's groin all the way to his toes. "Spying on me again, are you?" That idea, too, made the fuzzy feeling perk up in interest.

Potter didn't answer, just led Draco out of the lift and down the hall to the penthouse at the end. Draco had a lot of wards on the place (because it was where he kept records and receipts for his — as Pansy liked to call it — unhealthy hobby) but they didn't seem to deter Potter, who disarmed them all with a few quick waves of his wand. Thankfully, anything that could have convinced Potter to go on ahead and arrest him was hidden safely away. Potter deposited Draco on the soft cushions of his thousand-Galleon sofa before standing up; Draco could hear what sounded like awkward shuffling.

"Where's your loo?"

Draco, face planted snugly in between the sofa cushions, waved a hand indirectly towards the hall. He managed to raise his head a little and shout at Potter's retreating footsteps, "Anything illegal you find in the cabinets doesn't belong to me!"

"Duly noted," came the cool reply, and then Draco heard the door click closed.

Draco was sure he didn't have anything illegal in the cabinets. Mostly. Unless... and why was Potter in his loo, anyway? The fuzzy feeling was rapidly becoming prickly, and urged Draco to get up and go find out. Or rather more precisely, to go and distract Potter from searching his cabinets by finding out if the Chosen One could be persuaded to fly his way. Draco told it to shut the fuck up and groaned into the cushions.

There was the muffled sound of water running for a few minutes, and then Potter was by the couch again. "Your mirror was very impolite," he told Draco.

"Why are you so loud?" Draco groaned again, pulling a pillow over his head. His prick, having been neglected all night, was desperately trying to gain some friction against the tight hold of his trousers and the soft cushions. Draco had not sunk as low to let Potter witness him dry-humping his sofa. Yet. "More importantly, why are you still here?"

"Because if I leave you here to choke on your own sick after overdosing, there'll be a lot of paperwork, and I hate paperwork. What did you take, anyway?" Draco may have whimpered a little when Potter tugged him upright, and shoved a glass of what smelled like Pepper-Up in his hand. "Drink."

"I'm not — you can't overdose on Billywig, you idiot," Draco said, glaring at the glass before taking a sip. It helped with the dry throat and the accursedly bright lights, but did nothing for his poor erection, which even with his legs folded over one another was glaringly obvious beneath the tight dragonhide; if Potter noticed, he did a good job of pretending not to. "Not that I'm admitting to taking Billywig. Or anything else, for that matter."

"Sure you didn't," Potter said indulgently, watching as Draco tilted his head back and drained the glass. "And perhaps not, but you can take enough to do something really stupid."

"Like get arrested?"

"Like attempting to drift in figure-eights on a public street."

"That wasn't stupid. I'm a trained professional. The Muggle at the dealership gave me a tutorial." Draco tossed the glass aside, watching it hit the hardwood floor with a solid dink! and roll away towards the kitchen. Then he looked at Potter, who seemed like he was going to say something, but didn't. Draco sighed. "Can I go to sleep now? Or was this all a clever ruse to gain entry so you could find probable cause in my cabinets?"

"Is there probable cause in your cabinets?"

"You didn't look?"

"No," Potter said, shrugging. "Should I?"

Not unless you want to be scarred for life, Draco thought. When Potter raised his eyebrows, Draco realised he'd actually said that out loud. "Oh, sorry," Draco amended, eyes darting to Potter's forehead. "Too late for that."

Potter rolled his eyes, heading towards the door, apparently giving up. "You can't be that high if you're still being a prick."

Draco's prick was begging him to convince Potter to stay. Draco mused idly on how Potter would react, if he just stood up and started stripping off his clothes. He might actually arrest Draco, which would be kind of kinky in its own way.

Draco twisted around and draped his hands over the back of the sofa. "Hey," he called, letting the drugs get the better of him before his brain could catch up, "d'you have time for a shag?"

"I — what?" Potter said at the door. His mouth remained hanging open.

"The Billywig I most definitely did not take thinks it would be a good idea," Draco told him, shrugging. "I understand if I'm not your type, having a cock and all, but it's only gay if you take it up the arse, right?"

Potter's mouth worked wordlessly.

"And I assure you, my mouth works as well as any skirt's," the Billywig controlling Draco's tongue went on mindlessly. He was pleased to notice Potter was blushing like a schoolgirl. "I've got a blindfold somewhere, if that would help."

"I'm going to leave now," Potter said carefully, raising his eyes to the ceiling as if it contained an explanation, "and pretend this conversation never happened."

Draco slumped against the sofa and pouted. "Aw, c'mon, Potter. It'll be fun. For old times' sake."

"You're really gagging for that arrest, aren't you?" Potter said, closing his eyes and shaking his head.

Draco's cock twitched at the thought, but he bit down on his lower lip and kept his eyes on the floor. "You're the one who decided to drag me home. I was fine," he pointed out. "I don't need any help. Least of all from you."

He heard the door open before Potter said, "Yeah, I can see that."

When the door closed, Draco collapsed back onto the couch, one arm flopped over his eyes and wrestling his trousers open with the other. It barely took three brutally hard tugs and he was coming, teeth biting into his lip so hard he tasted blood.

*

The following day (according to the Auror affiliations report, Potter tells him later) the London Police receive about four hundred complaints regarding a "yellow monstrosity" that is "wreaking havoc" downtown.

He finally finds Potter just outside the Muggle entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. He's not alone; Granger, Weasley and Potter's ex-harlot are with him, along with Dean Thomas (his arm slung possessively around Ginny) and Longbottom, rolling their eyes at something Weasley's said. Ginny leans up to hook her finger in the metal ring of the collar Potter is still wearing, gives it a little tug, and laughs.

Draco swings the Honey Badger up to the kerb with a roar of overzealous engine, drawing the entire group's attention. A quick wave of his wand makes the passenger side door pop open, swinging upward with a flourish. Draco ignores the dubious stares of the others; his eyes find Potter's and he says, curtly, "Get in."

Everyone looks at Potter — some quizzical, some worried — but Potter just smirks, shakes his head at the questioning looks, and climbs into the car. Draco doesn't even wait for the door to close before he puts his foot down, jumping back into traffic and nearly demolishing a small coupé. The angry Muggle inside makes a rude hand gesture that Draco ignores, bullying his way through the downtown traffic. Potter doesn't say anything, but after Draco runs them through a busy junction (he surges past a red light, causing a small blue Corsa to screech to a halt and sound an angry litany of honks), he does fasten his seatbelt.

By the time Draco's made it onto the M4, the silence (proverbial; the noise of the twelve cylinders in the boot can drown out almost anything) is deafening. Potter is lying back in his seat, legs spread casually, eyes turned to watch the traffic fall behind in the wake of the Honey Badger's outrageous acceleration. Potter isn't in his Auror robes this time; he's wearing jeans again (dark blue; they look new, and are tight in all the right places) and fitted black, blazer-styled robes over a white shirt with a dipping v-neck. He isn't wearing his glasses again, either — and something about the eyes calls his attention (if Draco didn't know better, he'd suspect Potter of using a glamour spell to darken the lines of his eyelids). Altogether with the leather collar around his neck he looks, in a word, downright fuckable. Draco wonders if Pansy made a point to drag Potter to the shops without telling him about it.

Draco inhales deeply, casts a quick silencing charm on the interior of the car, and says, "They already know, then."

Potter doesn't answer for a moment. He looks out the window for about ten more seconds before nodding. "Of course they know. They're my friends." When Draco says nothing, Potter continues with, "Don't your friends know?"

Pansy knows, but Potter knows that already — though it isn't as if Draco has that many friends to go and tell. Draco keeps his eyes on the road. "No."

"Well, it's up to you," Potter says. "I mean, they don't know about the — they know we're sleeping together, anyway."

"It's not 'sleeping together' if you pay for it."

"I haven't paid for it," Potter points out. "Or rather, you haven't charged me for it."

"Saving-the-world discount," Draco returns. "First shag's on the house."

"And the second?"

Draco lets out a heavy breath. "I'm not looking for a boyfriend."

In the corner of his peripheral vision, he sees Potter raise his eyebrows. "I'd settle for a fuck- buddy."

"No, you wouldn't."

"No," Potter says, sighing. "I suppose I wouldn't. But I'd like to try, y'know, the other thing."

"I said I'm not — "

" — looking for a boyfriend," Potter finishes, mouth making a funny shape around the word. "I don't blame you. It's a stupid word. So... don't use it? We can — you know, without it. It doesn't need to have a label."

"Doesn't it? The papers will be labelling it."

"Are you planning on making an announcement?"

Draco rolls his eyes. "They're going to find out."

"So what? Fuck 'em." Potter shrugs when Draco glances at him, a little incredulous. "I realised a long time ago that they can only be a pain in my arse if I let them. Getting pissed off just encourages them; if you just laugh it off and ignore them, they eventually get bored and go away."

Draco doesn't answer. They drive in silence for a few minutes before Potter's head turns to follow a road sign that blurs past. He looks over at Draco. "Where are we going?"

Draco shrugs. He didn't exactly plan this out that far — which is ridiculous, because Draco never did anything without some kind of a plan. He just knew he needed to find Potter and tell him what-for, maybe shout at him a bit, and then — well.

"Did you want to go back to my — " Potter begins.

"Why are you still using my old wand?" Draco interrupts.

Potter frowns, but pulls the wand out of his pocket. He looks at it a moment before turning to Draco. "Now you want to talk?"

"I want to talk about this."

"I tried to give it back."

"I recall," Draco says, shrugging. "So, what, is this just another thing to throw in my face? I don't care, Potter. It's just a fucking wand."

"It's not just a wand." Potter turns it over in his hands, almost lovingly. "You have no idea, do you? What any of it meant? Do you even know why Voldemort-" Draco hisses at the name, even now, "-killed Snape?"

"Because he was a turncloak, I expect," Draco says. "What does it even matter anymore? They're all dead."

"Dumbledore had the Elder Wand," Potter goes on. Draco doesn't know why Potter is telling him this; Draco read the reports, the same as everyone else. They were vague, nothing more than rumours, but anyone who had been there could pick out the bits of truth from the speculation; anyone who had paid the least bit of attention knew the Deathly Hallows weren't just a legend. "Vol- he thought, since Snape killed Dumbledore, that Snape had mastery of it. But he didn't. You did."

"What?" Draco snaps, taking his eyes off the road. "What are you talking about? I didn't — "

"You did," Potter says again. "Snape killed Dumbledore, but you disarmed him."

Draco realises he's gaping, and quickly shuts his mouth. "How do you — "

"I was there," Potter tells him, and Draco may or may not be gaping again. "I saw the whole thing. I was under the cloak; Dumbledore cast a Full Body-Bind on me before you came up. I couldn't do anything, but I saw it all. I heard it all."

"You — "

A blaring horn cuts through his weak silencing charm; Draco swerves just in time to avoid being absorbed under the enormous wheels of a lorry in the adjacent lane.

"Christ," Potter says, once their hearts resume beating. "Maybe we should talk about this at less than ninety kilometers an hour?"

Draco takes a deep breath, hands gripping the wheel a bit too tightly. He wants to demand what the hell Potter is playing at, telling him these things now, years too late — but Potter's also right. Draco eases off the accelerator, cuts across several lanes of traffic (quickly, but much more carefully) and gets off at the first exit they come to. Apparently, they're in Chiswick, and Draco follows the road off the motorway blindly until they come to what looks like a large, wooded park — this late in the day, its empty of Muggles doing whatever it is that Muggles do here. Draco guides the Honey Badger to a far corner of the parking lot, under the dark shadow of a large tree.

Killing the engine, he turns to Potter. "There. We're stationary. You wanted to talk, so talk."

Potter looks like talking is the last thing he wants to do now, but Draco just waits. Potter sighs heavily. "I didn't want to talk about the war," he says finally, looking at the wand in his hands. "I wanted to talk about you. About — whatever is going on, here."

"Seems like the war has a lot to do with whatever the fuck this is," Draco points out.

"Maybe. I don't know. I guess you could say the war — what happened, made this — you wouldn't take it back. I used to think my old wand was the key, before I found out about the Elder Wand. My wand — the core had a feather from the same phoenix as — as his. The first time I dueled him it — anyway, I thought I needed it to kill him, but then it got broken and I thought — and then I got your wand and..." Potter sighs again, and looks at Draco. "I only used the Elder Wand once," he admits. "After he died. I fixed my old wand. And then I — I got rid of it."

Draco's pretty sure he would have noticed the Elder Wand in Potter's little box of horrors. "You snapped the Elder Wand?"

"Of course not," Potter says. "Maybe I should have. That's not the point. After I fixed my old wand, I thought it'd — but it didn't feel right. It didn't work like it used to."

"Because you still had mine."

"Right. So I thought if I gave it back — "

"It doesn't work like that." You idiot, Draco almost adds. "Magic isn't that simple."

Potter just shrugs. "I figured I should try. If you hadn't let me take it — "

"I did not let you," Draco interrupts. Because he hadn't. "Is that why you're doing this? You think I submitted my wand to you willingly? You think I was trying to redeem myself? Trying to do the right thing? I would have killed you given half the chance, Potter."

"You didn't put up much of a fight." Because, Draco wants to point out, at that point all the fight had gone out of him. But Potter plunges on: "And no, you wouldn't have, otherwise you would have told them it was me."

"Maybe I didn't recognise you."

"Oh, bullshit, Malfoy," Potter says, giving him a look. "We both know you knew it was me the moment you saw me."

Draco turns his gaze to the darkening woods outside the windshield. "What does that have to do with — whatever the fuck this is?"

"I don't know. Maybe nothing? I thought it might help, to just level with you."

Draco drums his fingers along the steering wheel. "Right. You're still using my old wand, I didn't give you away to my psychotic Death Eater family, so — what? We're even, is that what you're trying to say? This isn't a fucking Quidditch game, Potter."

"No, if it were that easy, I'd have won already," Potter remarks. He must see Draco bristle and adds, "I know it's not — what do you want me to say? After your father was — you kept doing all this stupid shit and you were going to end up in Azkaban or killing yourself."

"So, what, you're trying to save me?" Draco snaps, looking back at him. "Wasn't once enough to rub it in?"

"Dammit, Malfoy — no, this is why I didn't want to talk about the war. Fuck the war. It's done. I'm over it, I'm over it all. I don't want to fight anymore. I'm tired of fighting."

"Funny line of work you're in, then."

"It's what I'm good at. I don't mind the work, it's not the same as — will you stop trying to change the subject? You're going to self-destruct if you keep this up. And if that's what you want, I won't stop you. But I'm done being angry and I'm tired of fighting and when I found out what you were doing I thought, fuck it. If you wouldn't talk to me... at least I could have that."

Potter's eyes have a distant sort of look, and Draco wonders if he even realises he's speaking out loud. "If you just wanted a fuck," Draco says, "all you had to do was ask."

"Yeah, I can just imagine how that would have went," Potter says, rolling his eyes.

"I did offer you a shag that one time," Draco points out.

"You were higher than a kite," Potter counters. "Believe me, I was more than a little tempted."

It is supremely annoying that this one little admittance is all it takes to make Draco's prick perk up hopefully. "So rather than swindle my honour by fucking me while I was wasted, you decided to hire me as a whore?"

"I'm not saying it was the best idea I've ever had. But I don't regret it." Potter bites his lip briefly; Draco feels his trousers grow tighter. "Do you?"

Draco looks back out the window. If he doesn't regret it now (he doesn't), he thinks he's going to later. "I don't know." He smirks a little, eyes still on the shadows the tree branches cast across the hood. "Was I worth the gold?"

"That I haven't paid?" Potter counters. When Draco glances at him, he sees Potter is smirking, too. "Every Knut."

Draco lets go of the steering wheel and digs around in his robes; finding the pack of menthols, he uses his wand to roll down the window and light one, reclining against the seat. "All right," he says. "You really want to give this — whatever the fuck it is — a shot? Fine." Potter raises his eyebrows and opens his mouth, but Draco cuts him off. "No. You had your rant, now shut up. There are a few things I want to know."

Potter shrugs. "Shoot."

Draco takes a moment to think about it. There is, admittedly, a lot of questions he wants the answer to — some of them have to do with the war, but Potter was right: talking about the war, even about school, is just going to start a row.

Finally, he says, "Your tattoo."

Potter gives him a look. "You want to know about my tattoo?"

"For starters."

"Oh, my God," Potter says. Draco is intrigued; Potter's blushing. "There's — I may have been a bit drunk."

Draco raises an eyebrow. "Oh, this should be good."

Apparently, Potter was a lot busier than the papers realised after his marriage came to an end. Four months post-divorce Potter had hooked up with Lee Jordan for a while; Jordan had taken his school-days occupation as Quidditch announcer to the professional level and, after one wild World Cup, Potter had reconnected with Viktor Krum — who had introduced him to Dorin Dimitrov, one of the team's Chasers. Dimitrov had apparently been Potter's gateway shag into more deviant tastes (go figure Potter would end up shagging international Quidditch stars, too; even unintentionally, he was trying to one-up Draco).

"He was the only bloke who ever really gave me what I wanted," Potter says, shrugging. "I only saw him a few times. I tried to — do you have any idea how hard it is to date, being who I am?" Draco thinks he has an idea, but for an entirely different reason. "To date blokes, even? Much less ask for — I mean, I had to Obliviate one guy, he freaked out so badly." Potter shakes his head. "Anyway, I started spending a lot of time in Muggle clubs; they don't know who I am, and the tattoo, it's — it was basically an easy way of letting them know the sort of thing I was looking for."

"They didn't flinch or stare at me like I was mental when they realised I didn't want to — when I wanted to be the one on the collar end of the lead," Potter continues, smiling a bit wryly. "But sleeping with Muggles — it sucks, you know? Because you can't — you can't get attached to anyone, it's worse than sleeping with someone who's just fucking me because I'm Harry Potter. They don't know who I am, but they don't know what I am, either. I got tired of one-offs, got tired of lying all the time. I just — and when you — well, I figured if there was one person I could rely on to kick my arse given half a chance, it'd be you."

"You wanted to fuck me because you knew I'd have no problem beating you to a pulp?" Draco says. "Gee, thanks."

"Well, it's true, isn't it?" Potter says. "I mean, I thought if you were a complete pillock about it, then — but you weren't."

"So I'm last choice, is that it?"

"Sod off, I already told you I thought you were fit. I just never thought you'd — I didn't even know you were bent until you went and snogged Smith — which, by the way — Smith? Really?"

"I was making a point; I didn't shag the git."

Potter looks oddly mollified by this admission. "Well, anyway, that's why I got the tattoo. Besides the fact that I may or may not have been drunk off my arse at the time."

"All right. Next question," Draco says. "The sex." Potter gives him a look, so Draco clarifies: "I never really imagined you the type to — " he shoots Potter a sidelong glance, " — enjoy being on the collar end of the lead."

"Really?" Potter says. Draco's a little bewildered to see Potter actually looks surprised, and a massive amount of turned on out of his mind that Potter's blushing. "I don't — I mean, it's hard to explain. I just... enjoy it? Dorin had a theory, said it was probably because I always take control in every other aspect of my life, but I didn't really think about it that way. I just..." Potter bites his lip, and the blush on his cheek deepens. "Do you have any idea how hot it is, when someone — "

"Has the bollocks to kick your arse?" Draco supplies, raising an eyebrow.

" — well... yes, actually." Potter's grinning now, but still blushing. Draco has to forcibly resist the urge to jump him. "When you came 'round and just — God, it was sexy as hell."

Potter must see the way Draco is looking at him (he's about three seconds short of bending Potter over the hood of his car), and quickly adds: "Anything else?"

Draco thinks about it. Potter pretty much answered any questions he had about — well, about the sex as well as the tattoo. Still. "What the hell do you do? Besides work," he adds, before Potter can say it. "I mean, you're never — you're not seeing anyone and you're never just around. What the hell do you do when you're not vanquishing evil?"

"I only vanquished evil the one time," Potter points out, then shrugs. "Ron and Hermione are usually busy with Rose, and it's not like the rest of my friends don't have their own lives. I spend a lot of time with Teddy, I guess."

"He's seven; he doesn't count."

"Well, like you said, I'm not seeing anyone. Not for lack of trying," he adds, with a meaningful look.

Draco lights another cigarette and takes a slow drag. "This isn't going to be easy," he says eventually.

"Dating Draco Malfoy isn't going to be easy?" Potter says. "Colour me surprised."

"We're not dating. We're fucking."

"Fine. We're not dating. But we're not just fucking, either."

"You were the one who said it didn't need a label."

"It doesn't. But I want to be very clear about one thing." Draco raises an expectant eyebrow, and Potter meets his gaze, sliding a hand over the top of Draco's thigh. "I don't share."

Draco inhales deeply on his cigarette, trying not to shift into the touch. "What about my clients?"

Potter's hand moves in further, fingers tracing the outline of Draco's ever-stiffening cock; Draco's eyes flutter closed and he does shift this time, pressing into his hand. Potter leans over, so his mouth is right by Draco's ear. "Fuck your clients."

"Are you sure? I could probably arrange a threesome with Dimitrov," Draco says, opening his eyes. Potter's hand is stroking in earnest now, fingers drifting lower. "If you're keen."

"Dorin went and got himself a French underwear model," Potter says. "And I have everything I want right here."

"Well," Draco says, letting his legs fall further apart. A little flick of his wand sends the seat back as far as the cramped interior of the car will allow. Potter's thumb traces the head of his cock through his trousers and Draco has had enough; he grabs Potter's wrist with his free hand. "Get on with it, already."

Potter doesn't need to be told twice. He licks his lips as he shifts, crawling half-over the center console, sliding one of his legs between Draco's. It's awkward, but this doesn't seem to bother Potter as he shoves the folds of Draco's robes out of his way, quickly thumbing open the buttons of his trousers. Draco tilts his head back, one arm dangling out the window holding onto his cigarette, the other carding its way through the messy black hair in his lap as Potter gets his cock out.

It's the shortest fuck they've had so far; Potter goes right for it, deepthroating Draco's cock in his sinfully hot mouth, like it wasn't ever meant for anything else. Forgotten, the cigarette falls out of his hand onto the parking lot and Draco grips the windowsill for dear life, his other hand tightening in Potter's hair. Potter gives him a taste of teeth in retaliation and Draco curses, twisting his hand tighter.

Potter gets the hint; he lets his teeth scrape a little as he pulls back, soothing with his tongue as he goes back down and Draco's trying to thrust up into his mouth but the fucking steering wheel is in the way so he just twists in his seat. He runs the hand on the windowsill into Potter's hair so he can trace the line of his back with the other, nails curling into the crisp fabric of his robes and clawing back up his spine.

One of Potter's hands cups his tightening balls, still trapped inside his trousers. Draco hisses and shoves him down, holding him there; he hears Potter choke, throat flexing deliciously around the head of his cock. "If you get any on my car," Draco threatens through grit teeth, "you're going to lick it off."

Potter groans around his cock and the vibration sends Draco over the edge, hips wrenching up as far as the stupid steering wheel will allow. Draco barely gives him time to recover before jerking Potter up by the hair and kissing him violently on the mouth. Potter lets him in, lets him share the taste in his mouth, before pulling back and swallowing thickly.

"Fuck," he says, panting. "I do need to breathe, occasionally."

"Could've fooled me," Draco murmurs, licking his lips. Looking at Potter this close, there's no doubt about the glamour charm he's used on his eyes — nothing fancy, just a hint of black tracing the insides of his eyelids. Pansy definitely had something to do with his attire; she is the only person in the entire world that knows what effect those eyes have on him.

Draco is going to kill her.

He leans in again, gentler this time, coaxing Potter's mouth open, and feels Potter smile into the kiss. He tucks Draco's spent prick back inside his trousers through the kiss, before letting his hands explore a little further — he runs his hands over Draco's hips, ribs, chest, shoulders — and Draco realises it's the first time he's ever had the chance, because usually, well, usually Draco has him strung up six ways from Sunday when they do this.

Speaking of which... "So," Draco says, pulling back. "Your place or mine?"

*

They get several dubious looks from passer-by Muggles as the Honey Badger swings up along the trash- ridden kerb outside of No. 12.

"Someone's going to nick your Hufflepuff-mobile," Potter says, swinging the door down and closed. "This isn't the best neighborhood."

"Harry Potter living in a slum," Draco sneers. "How quaint. And no one will hurt my love. She bites."

"I don't even want to know," Potter says, following him to the door. "I should transfigure it back into a kettle. It's a menace to society."

"Says the boy who single-handedly started a war while he was an infant," Draco says, letting Potter disarm the wards because, well, he isn't sure if the magic of the contract technically applies anymore. It's confusing and kind of terrifying so Draco is dealing with it like a responsible adult by studiously avoiding thinking about it.

Potter snorts a little at the jibe, and goes inside. Draco takes a deep breath before following, and is immediately assaulted by a rumbling mass of chrome.

"I think your Muggle contraption has the hots for me," Draco remarks, looking down at the motorbike. It purrs at him.

"He likes you."

"He?"

"It? I don't know; it was Sirius's."

"I deduced as much," Draco says, sighing as the machine putts happily along behind him. "Why does it act like a lovesick puppy?"

"I think it's because of the dog thing, you know. With Sirius."

"What?"

Potter blinks at him, then furrows his brow. "I thought you — didn't you? I mean, in Fifth Year, you — Sirius was an Animagus."

"What?"

Potter gives him a funny look, then just shrugs. "They all were, I mean, my dad — and Wormtail. They learned how to do it in their fourth year so they could keep Lupin company during full moons."

"They what?" Draco says again, for lack of anything else. "Their fourth year?"

"Yeah. Hence the nick-names... right, you don't know about that, either. Um, here, just — wait a sec, let me grab — "

He disappears upstairs, leaving Draco standing in the den with the puppy-bike rumbling contently at his side. Draco leans his weight on it, letting out a snort of laughter when the engine revves in apparent glee. When Potter returns, he's holding the small trunk Draco found under the bed.

Draco stiffens, but Potter only pulls out the blank, folded parchment and closes the lid, leaving the rest locked safely inside. He comes over to Draco, spreading the parchment out across the handlebars and points his wand at it before saying: "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

For a heartbeat, nothing happens; before Draco can ask Potter just how much he's had to drink that afternoon, words slowly seep into the paper in a deep red ink:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present The Marauder's Map

The parchment begins to unfurl.

Every inch of Hogwarts is covered, down to the secret passages, everything — Draco stares at it, transfixed, watching the little labeled footsteps wandering the halls... teachers, students, even Mrs Norris!

"You slimy little Slytherin cunt!" Draco says, staring up at Potter. "How long have you had this?"

"Third Year," Potter admits, and flushes a little. "But what I was saying — "

"Third Year! You — how is this — you slimy little cunt!" he says again, because Potter is a slimy little cunt, Merlin's tits, no wonder he was always in places at the worst of times, popping up whenever Draco had to — "You had this Sixth Year!"

"Well, yeah," Potter says. "But the Map doesn't show the Room of Requirement, so when I was following you around you always just disappeared. I thought you were sneaking off the grounds."

"Cunt!" Draco says again, but anger is slowly ebbing into curiosity. He takes the Map and turns it around, flips it over, prods it with his wand. "How is this — you didn't make this," Draco says, hoping it's true, because if Potter could make this in his third year of school there is absolutely no excuse for his mere 'E' on his Charms OWL. "Where the hell did you get it?"

"That's what I was trying to explain," Potter says, rolling his eyes and reaching for the Map; Draco pulls back, straddling the bike, head still buried in the parchment. According to the Map, McGonagall is pacing in the Headmaster's Office, likely lecturing brains out of poor Euan Abercrombie, whoever he is. "The message at the beginning — that was their nicknames."

"Whose?" Draco says, still distracted. His mother often comments on his 'ooh, shiny!' syndrome and how it can come off as a bit rude, but Draco honestly doesn't give a fuck because — well, shiny.

"Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs."

"Hm?" Draco says, still in shiny! mode. Then the second name makes him blink. "Wormtail made this?"

"I don't know how much he helped," Potter admits. "But — well, Padfoot, that was Sirius, and Prongs was my dad, and Moony was — "

"Lupin," Draco finishes, catching on. "Wait. Are you telling me that they were — "

"A werewolf, a rat, a dog and a stag?" Potter interrupts. "Yeah. Pretty clever, eh?"

"Bastards," Draco mutters, eyes still scanning the Map. "Slimy little bastard cunts, the lot of you."

"Anyway," Potter says, leaning back against the doorframe, accepting that Draco isn't relinquishing his new toy any time soon, "that's why I think the bike's... well, kind of like a puppy. Sirius enchanted it, after all. It changes in other ways, too — when Hagrid had it, it nearly doubled in size to accommodate him, and when I got it it shrunk back to normal. I dunno." Over the top of the Map, Draco sees Potter give a half-hearted shrug. "Arthur's Ford Anglia had a bit of a personality, too, but it was more like an angry badger than a dog."

"Hey," Draco says, eyes snapping up to him, "do not insult my Honey Badger by comparing it to that plebeian excuse for an automobile."

"Your what?"

"My car," Draco explains. "The one you just sucked me off in, if you recall."

"Your 'Honey Badger'?" Potter says, looking like he can't decide if to laugh or commit Draco to St Mungo's. "You actually named your Lambo after the Hufflepuff mascot?"

"My what now?"

"Oh my God," Potter says, rolling his eyes again. "Your car. It's a — nevermind, it doesn't matter. Can I have the Map back?"

"No."

Potter snatches it out of his hands, ignoring Draco's squawk of protest. "Mischief managed," Potter says, and the Map folds itself up and the lines vanish.

"So unfair," Draco says, crossing his arms. "So let's see — you had an Invisibility Cloak, a magical map of the entire school with real-time trackers on everyone inside, not to mention two gifted brooms that gave you unfair advantages in Quidditch — any other toys I don't know about?"

"We had a Time-Turner briefly, Third Year," Potter admits, kneeling to lock the Map back into the trunk. He looks up and sees Draco staring at him in disbelief. "What? McGonagall lent it to Hermione so she could take extra courses."

"I cannot believe you," Draco says, standing. The bike lets out a mechanical little whine of despair at the loss of contact. "Cheating, slimy little — "

Draco is shut up quite effectively when Potter steps in and kisses him — Draco goes rigid, limbs locking joints, inhaling so sharply it actually stabs pain through his diaphragm. It's a fairly chaste kiss, mostly just Potter leaning in until his lips are against Draco's, but Draco was mid-rant and his mouth is half-open and Potter swipes his tongue inside, just the once.

When Potter pulls back, Draco remembers to breathe. "Are you finished?"

Draco can't recall what he was ranting about, so, yes, he supposes he is. He licks his lips and glares at Potter.

"Good. C'mere," Potter says, oblivious to Draco's discomfort. "I want to show you something."

He leads Draco further into the den before stopping in front of the fireplace. "You wanted to know what I spent my time doing," he says, and Draco is curious, so he just listens. "I mean, I do spend a lot of time at work, and then there's Teddy, but — I spent a lot of the summer up at Hogwarts."

Draco raises an eyebrow and Potter plunges on: "Nobody else knows — I mean, okay, McGonagall obviously knows, and Ron and Hermione know, but they don't really count. Here, just — close your eyes."

Draco makes a point of rolling his eyes before complying, whatever fantasy he briefly enjoyed of Potter dressing up in a schoolgirl's uniform banished with the knowledge that the Headmistress, Weasley and his tart are all aware of it. He feels Potter's breath against his face, his lips — he plants a lingering kiss on Draco's mouth and Draco leans in unconsciously before catching himself. But then Potter pulls away, and there's the sound of a small shuffle, a rustling of clothes and the clang of a belt buckle hitting the floor.

When Potter doesn't say anything for several long moments, Draco cracks open one eye; the space in front of him is empty. Frowning and opening both eyes, Draco blinks. And looks down.

There's a large, black German Shepherd sitting on the ground in front of him amidst a pile of clothes. It tilts its head, eyes dark but unmistakably green over a long snout; a familiar jagged scar slashes down across its forehead, parting the wild black fur there.

Around its neck is Draco's collar.

The dog whines at him, and then lets out a sharp bark.

"Merlin's balls," Draco says, and then cracks up laughing.

The dog seems pleased — its tail wags, anyway, and Draco can't stop laughing, because it's too ridiculous. "You're a dog," Draco points out unnecessarily, and laughs some more. "Oh, Merlin — I've actually gone and made Harry Potter my bitch."

The dog — Potter, it really is Potter, good lord — lets out a wet snort and barks again. His tail is still wagging, which doesn't help Draco breathe at all. It's too ridiculous. "You have a tail," Draco says, still giggling.

Draco sits down heavily on the sofa behind him, eyes stinging with the effort his lungs are making it to inhale. The dog stands up, and Draco is able to appreciate how enormous it is as the animal pads over to him, ears perked and tongue lolling between long, white teeth. It lays its head in his lap and looks up at him, tail waving slowly back and forth. Draco rolls his eyes again, giving in, and pats it awkwardly on the head. "Well," he says eventually, "I guess we're going to have to get you a tag for that collar, just in case I misplace you."

The dog lets out a playful growl and climbs gangly onto the sofa beside him before curling up, head still resting in Draco's lap. Draco reclines against the couch, letting his fingers smooth out the black fur behind the dog's ears; it's kind of hilarious that Potter's Animagus form actually has better-behaved hair. "This is insane, you know," he tells the dog. "Whatever the fuck this is. It's only going to end in disaster."

There's a disturbingly organic series of squelching noises and suddenly it's Potter's head in his lap, the rest of his naked body laid out against the couch on his side. "I dunno," he says, shifting so he's on his back, looking up at Draco. "I used to think the same thing about the war, and everything seems to have worked out all right."

Draco continues playing with his (much less cooperative) hair and glances at Potter's nakedness. He's half-hard already; remnants from the blowjob in the car or a reaction to Draco playing with his hair, Draco doesn't know. Draco gives his hair a tug, and smirks when Potter's cock gives a small twitch. "You call sleeping with your worst enemy 'all right'?"

"You weren't my worst enemy," Potter says, rolling his eyes. "Worst pain in my arse, maybe."

"Speaking of being a pain in your arse," Draco says, smirking. He pulls out his wand, and aims it at Potter's coffee table; the wood blurs, and rearranges itself into a stockade. Potter glances at it, then back up at Draco. "Wish, command."

*

It's all going to end in disaster.

Draco spends the entire first month pushing every button he can find (and discovering a few new ones) because, well, because Draco sort of can't believe Potter wants this — wants him, and everything that comes with it (the vulgarity, the snipes, the fighting, the fact that he has the attention-span of a toddler, even the sex) — but Potter has the patience of stone, taking the abuse in stride or, more often, coercing Draco into shagging him senseless (the man has no shame, and Draco can't get enough of it) until he gets over it.

They spend most — well, all — of their time together at Potter's, learning each other, testing limits (Potter doesn't seem to have any, or else Draco isn't brave enough to find them), and... well, it's strange, spending so much time with someone that isn't a friend or family, listening to him pad off to the loo in the morning, having meals that aren't prepared by house-elves, snuggling up on a couch together. Draco steals Potter's toothbrush and leaves his dishes in Potter's sink, uses Potter's towel after showers and tosses his laundry in Potter's bin.

He starts learning the little things, too, little things you're only privy to after spending countless hours crammed in the same space as another person. Like the fact that Potter's actually pretty quiet most of the time, happy to bury himself in a book and let Draco do the same; the fact that he'll go through an entire box of treacle tart if Draco doesn't hide it; that he prefers the same Quidditch team that Draco does (the Falmouth Falcons) despite Weasley's disapproval; that most of the music he owns is Muggle jazz and rock 'n roll (old relics left over from Sirius and Remus both), which gives Draco plenty to do while he's at work; that he's terrible at chess but flattens Draco at Exploding Snap; that he wakes up early so he can fly to work because he hates the Floo, and only Apparates when there's an emergency; that he does practically everything by hand, even cooking, because he was raised a Muggle and likes to take the time (Draco asked him about his upbringing only the once, and Potter woodenly told him about the Dursleys, and the cupboard); that he flushes prettily whenever Draco makes a spontaneously vulgar remark; that he's ticklish, especially around the ribs; that the fastest way to stop an argument/turn him on is to tangle your hand in his hair and pull; that he snores softly in his sleep, not enough to keep Draco awake — just enough to remind him he's not alone.

Sleeping in the same bed as another person was an adventure all on its own; having spent his whole life sleeping alone, Draco is surprised how quickly it becomes second-nature, even if it isn't exactly comfortable. Potter sometimes hisses in his sleep, which often sends Draco flying awake in a panic, and they both have an annoying habit of hogging the sheets, which ends up tangling them into a knotted horror of limbs and bedclothes come morning. Draco isn't exactly a perfect bedfellow, himself; he apparently kicks whenever Potter shifts in his sleep, and unless the sleep was preceded by mind-melting sex, Draco recoils whenever he tries to cuddle.

And Draco, unlike Potter, also still has nightmares. The first night he wakes up screaming, Potter reels him in and just holds on, whispering reassurances in his ear until Draco stops struggling and relapses into an exhausted stupor. Potter doesn't mention it the next morning, and Draco follows his lead; it won't be the last time it happens, but in spite of the occasional subconscious torture (if Draco's going to be honest about it), the past few weeks worth of sleepovers have been the best-rested he's had in almost a decade. Whenever they're not having sex or fighting (or both) or sleeping, they tend to lapse into a mutual amiable silence, doing asinine things like reading or napping or listening to the Wireless or eating breakfast.

Draco finds himself spending five days out of every week at Grimmauld Place (a fact his mother is less than happy about — not, Draco suspects, because he's finally gone and got himself a boyfriend, but because she's lonely), and it's mostly okay. Mostly. It's kind of annoying that Kreacher had to go and pass on, leaving Potter woefully without house help; Draco discovers that Potter's a bit of a slob, constantly leaving things all over the place, causing Draco to sigh in exasperation while spelling them back into place. Potter can cook, though, which is good, because Draco can't as he's only ever eaten things prepared by house-elves or people who cook professionally.

He learns the rest of Potter's scars to memory, every single one of them. Sometimes he wakes up to find himself retracing them even while he sleeps. He makes Potter tell him where he got them all, especially that one — I will not tell lies — and Potter does, tells him it all, and starts to shake when Draco brings Potter's knuckles to his lips and wipes the words clean with his tongue.

It's not until some odd morning three months into — whatever the fuck this is — that Draco starts to panic. He's brushing his teeth, ignoring the flattery from the ancient mirror in the loo, and Potter pads in sleepily and takes a piss while Draco spits into the basin. It's insane, Draco thinks — if they've got to the point that Draco can rinse his mouth out while Potter's flushing the toilet and nudging him aside to wash his hands, something has gone horribly wrong. He's sharing a bed — a loo — a life — with Harry fucking Potter. The same boy he used to tease and bully, the same boy who punched him bloody during a Quidditch game, the same boy his aunt tortured in Draco's own home, the same boy who killed the Dark Lord with his old wand -

"So," Potter says casually, drying his hands idly with a small towel, "I don't need to be at work until eleven. Did you want to get breakfast?"

There's something telling in the way he asks the question — as opposed to just "having" breakfast — and that Potter isn't meeting his gaze. "By 'get' do you mean 'eat out'?"

"Apparently it's a thing people can do together," Potter says, finally looking at him. "They have cafes for it and everything."

Draco suspects what Potter is so eloquently trying to avoid saying is that, in three months of talking, fucking, fighting, and everything that comes in between, the two of them have yet to be seen in public together since what Potter likes to refer to as 'the Honey Badger abduction'. Draco shrugs him off. "I'm not really hungry."

"It's not like I'm asking you to marry me," Potter says, following him out of the loo. "It's just breakfast, Malfoy."

Three months of fucking, talking and fighting hasn't changed the fact that they — almost — exclusively refer to one another purely by surname, either. Potter tends to slip if he's incoherently slipping off into subspace, or making an active effort to be sweet — something he does spontaneously, Draco's noticed, because it always catches Draco off-guard and he still can't decide if he likes it or not. Draco retreats back to the bedroom and reaches for the tea he left on the sill. "I said I wasn't hungry."

Potter intercepts the tea. "Fine; don't eat, then. You can have a cuppa in a cafe."

"I don't want to go out."

It's not that Draco actually objects to the idea of going out for breakfast, or even going out for breakfast with Potter. There's at least seven different places off the top of his head that he hasn't eaten at in weeks due to — whatever the fuck this is. But wherever Potter goes the press is sure to follow, and when they find him they will find him with Draco and then Draco might actually have to face up to the reality that he's dating — or at least fucking — Harry Potter on a semi-regular basis. And whenever the inevitable happens and whatever this madness is comes to an end, the entire Wizarding world will know about it and Draco won't be able to just pretend it never happened in the first place.

Potter sighs and shrugs. "All right, but you're going to have to feed yourself, then. I told Pansy I'd meet her whether you came with or not."

"I — what?" Draco says.

Potter raises his eyebrows, feigning innocence. "Pansy says she hasn't seen you in weeks and Owled me wondering where I'd buried your body."

"This," Draco says, "whatever you two are — you're not allowed to be friends with my friends!"

"I wouldn't say we're friends," Potter says. "And why not?"

"Because they're mine! Do you see me trying to take Weasley out for lunch?"

"She invited me. And you. And if you tried to take Ron out for lunch, he'd have you committed."

"Exactly!" Draco says, and Potter just rolls his eyes. "No, Potter, this — no!"

"What makes you think this is up for debate?" Potter asks him, shrugging on a cloak over his shoulders. "I'm meeting her for breakfast; you can come with if you like, or you can stay here and learn to cook."

Draco wonders, not for the first time since all of this — whatever it is — started, if Potter had been properly Sorted. Then again, Pansy probably conspired with him on this; it had probably been her idea all along, evil, conniving little cunt that she is. Draco folds his arms and raises his chin. "Fine. But you're buying."

Potter just laughs; when Draco raises an eyebrow, he says, "Pansy said the same thing."

Breakfast isn't so bad. The shop is decorated for Christmas, sprigs of mistletoe dangling over every table (they all purposely avoid it, because nothing in this world is more frighteningly insistent than magical mistletoe) and snow falling gently outside the windows. Pansy has crepes and Draco orders the most expensive thing on the menu and doesn't eat half of it, though he does go through several kettles' worth of tea. Everything seems to be going all right (well, Pansy seems rather taken with Potter, which is annoying, because Pansy is his friend and Potter has his own, who does he think he is, to just go around nicking other people's best mates?) until the next day, when the delivery owl drops off the morning edition of the Prophet and Draco spits his tea all over it.

"Apparently, you and Parkinson are having an affair," Draco tells Potter when he descends from upstairs.

Potter snorts and just shrugs. "Couldn't keep it a secret forever, I suppose." He takes the paper and leafs through it, shaking his head, then gets to the third page and frowns. "Oh, God."

"What?"

"Just remember: she's your friend, not mine."

"What?" Draco says again, and snatches the paper back.

Evil, conniving little cunt.


"Potter and I? Oh, please," Mrs Zabini tells reporters outside the Perky Plimpy. "What planet are you from? Potter wasn't there with me; he was with Draco."

According to Mrs Zabini, the two men have been harbouring a secretive romance from the Wizarding world for years ("You should have seen them in school, it was ridiculous; always following each other around, picking fights as an excuse to touch one another..."). Both Mr Potter and Mr Malfoy were unavailable for comment on the matter, having departed the cafe shortly after Prophet reporters responded to an anonymous tip...

Anonymous tip, his arse. "You're the Auror," Draco says conversationally, tossing the paper away. "Tell me: how does one go about getting away with murder?"

Potter smirks a little. "I do have a Hit Wizard who owes me a favour."

Over breakfast they both try to read the article more carefully while pretending not to, Draco peeking over Potter's shoulder and Potter subtling shifting the pages closer and to a better angle. Eventually Draco gets frustrated (because Potter's bowed head is in his way) and just snatches it up and spreads it out, and they end up pouring over it shoulder-to-shoulder.

Potter seems genuinely surprised that it mainly consists of the scandle involving the two of them for being who they are ("...these disturbing rumours about The Boy Who Lived fraternizing with a known Death Eater...") rather than the fact that they're both blokes.

"Why would they give a fuck about that?" Draco asks, because it makes no sense.

"I figured they'd be just as scandalised to realise we were both bent as well as shagging each other." Draco gives him a funny look, and Potter tilts his head. "Dorin mentioned wizards don't really care about that sort of thing, but I guess I just didn't believe it until now."

"Some wizards care," Draco points out. "Mostly Purebloods, due to the fact that being bent generally doesn't help carry on the bloodline, which is also part of the reason why we to have more than one heir whenever possible." Before Potter can ask, Draco supplies: "Apparently I was very hard on my mother coming into the world. There were a lot of complications; the Healers advised my parents not to try again."

"Sorry," Potter says automatically. "Though, to be honest, I can't imagine you with younger siblings. You'd have terrorised them. Or made them your slaves."

"As much as I love being an only child, having minions would have been interesting."

"You had them anyway, in school."

"They were actually my friends, not my minions," Draco says, completely honest. "Anyway, some people are still idiots about it, but they're usually Muggleborns."

"Yeah, well, that makes sense. I mean, I don't think most Muggles actually care, but publicly speaking most of them can be shirty about it. And some of them can be real arses."

"Do mine ears deceive me? Harry Potter admitting that Muggles are narrow-minded and judgemental?"

"I said some of them," Potter points out. "You of all people can hardly label anyone judgemental. Anyway, Hermione doesn't care."

"She also thinks house-elves should get wages and holidays."

"Well, maybe they should. If they want them," Potter adds, before Draco can go on a tangant. There's a faraway look in his eyes, a masked sort of sadness that Draco hasn't seen often, obviously remembering the Malfoy's old house-elf that saved his life in the war. "I guess it could be worse; now we just have to deal with the fact that I'm me and you're — well, you."

"Oh, in that case, it'll be as easy as hexing toads in a cauldron."

Potter gives him a rather withering look, but before he can respond, an owl flutters in (neither of them are morning people, so they've taken to leaving the window in the drawing room cracked for Prophet deliveries) and drops a thin envelope in front of Draco. Draco opens it without thinking (it's not his mother's owl, but the Zabini estate houses an entire Owlry, and Pansy rarely uses the same bird twice) and blinks when a slip of paper comes tumbling out, bearing a tiny but furious script, so passionately scrawled it is nearly intelligible.


Mr Malfoy,

How dare you? Imagine my shock at finding out you were not only spared any sort of penance for your heinous crimes, but now to discover this? SHAME ON YOU. Was it not enough to freely flaunt your ugly face and that sick sygil on your arm, but now you've gone and desecrated our Chosen Saviour? I do hope the Ministry launches a full investigation, since it is quite obvious to anyone of intelligence that someone like Harry Potter wouldn't waste his time on you (much less spare the effort to piss on you if you were on fire); did you really think we would believe such a scam? Whatever Dark enchantments you've used to seduce Mr Potter I hope will be more than enough to grant you the Kiss, for the world will be a better place without scum like you wandering about. I can't even believe the Ministry permitted you to procreate without due process; as if someone like you can be considered suitable parental material.

Do us all a favour and release Mr Potter immediately before throwing yourself inside the nearest dragon's den. I assure you it will be kinder than the fate that awaits you once the truth of this fiasco comes to light.

Frankly Disgusted,

Mrs Prunella Popplewell, III
Cornwall

The morning just goes to pants from there; the Owls keep coming, mostly for Draco (most of them threatening), though a few show up for Potter. Potter just tosses them towards the fireplace but Draco snags one when he isn't looking and tugs it open; it's from an elderly witch asking Potter what his mother would think, being seen with a man like that, and what he really needs to do was find a nice girl (like that ginger you had, wusshername) and settle down — that he could "do better".

Most of Draco's letters get tossed into the fire, too, but the first Howler eventually finds its way into the den and shouts at Draco for half an hour until Potter manages to incinerate it. Then, to Draco's utter horror, Potter Floos the Prophet's hub (right there in the den, where the shocked receptionist can see Draco sitting transfixed in the background) and, smiling sweetly the entire time, promises them a full exclusive if they put out an immediate notice that the next person to send either of them an unfriendly letter will find out for themselves exactly what happened to the Dark Lord.

The Owls stop coming shortly after that.

Draco's furious with Pansy and annoyed at Potter and generally angry at the universe in general, but is also oddly contented with the way Potter just threatened to commit mass murder to protect his well-being, even if Potter really doesn't mean it. To top off the complete crap day Draco is having, Granger stops by after tea to "see how they're doing" (carefully avoiding speaking directly to Draco, but shooting enquiring glances his way the entire time), and leaves looking worried despite Potter's assurances that everything is fine.

"Everything is not fine," Draco says the moment she's out the door. "I told you this would happen."

"And I told you it's useless to get angry about it," Potter reminds him. "I don't care what people think; neither should you."

That's not the point, Draco wants to say, but is really just too tired to argue. "Well, now that we're out of the broomshed, there's — I need to be at home. More, I mean, what with my mother and all. And, you know, that tiny human being I'm apparently responsible for."

Potter looks up at this, a little surprised. "Okay," he says eventually. "That's — I've sort of been neglecting Teddy, anyway."

"I meant — " Draco says, and stops, because he realises what he's about to suggest is preposterous. He's thought about it before, because he does miss his mother (and misses their house-elves almost as much), but always shied away from the idea because — well, because it's preposterous, thinking Potter would be comfortable with it, considering what had happened to him and his friends there. "Never mind. I'll Floo you, yeah?"

"Draco — " Potter starts, but the rest is lost because Draco's already gone.

*

Potter doesn't come knocking down the door to the Manor in the next ten minutes like Draco suspects he might. In fact, six days later, when Potter is yet to come looking for him, Draco's beginning to wonder if that's that. All right, he may not have Floo'd like he said he would, but Potter hasn't Floo'd either, and according to the exclusive he gave the Prophet "whatever is going on between me and Malfoy is really none of anyone's business" and nothing more. Narcissa is happy to have her son home, though she's picking up on his black mood and suggests on the following afternoon that perhaps he should "invite Harry over for tea".

"Stop calling him that," Draco snaps irritably. "And he's not coming 'round for tea."

His mother sighs and fixes him with a look that sees right through him, making Draco wince. "What's happened?"

"Nothing." Draco has never been good at lying to his mother, but it's technically the truth.

Narcissa, however, isn't fooled. She takes a seat across from him and folds her hands in her lap. "Oh, out with it. What's worrying you?"

Draco just shrugs, because he doesn't exactly know.

"Is it the papers?"

"No. Yes. I don't know."

"Oh, well, that's helpful," Narcissa says, raising an elegant eyebrow.

Draco shrugs again, but Narcissa has had twenty-three-odd years experience dealing with his inability to communicate like a normal person, and just waits. Draco curls further into his chair. "I don't know what the hell I'm doing," he says eventually.

"People your age frequently don't," Narcissa says.

"Oh, well, that's helpful," Draco shoots back, and immediately regrets it when his mother glares at him.

"What I meant," Narcissa continues despite his jibe, "is that you have to figure it out as you go along. I can't tell you how to do this, because it's always different, Draco. There's so much going on here I'm not privy to, and-" she holds up a hand when Draco opens his mouth to interject "-much of it is none of my business, nor do I particularly want to know. Perhaps you should consider that you're not the only one feeling this way."

"Is this where you tell me we need to talk about our feelings?" Draco says, instantly recoiling. "Because — "

"This is where I'm going to tell you to remember a young boy who walked into that forest to die," Narcissa says, and Draco stiffens. His mother never talks about that, not since — "And ask you, do you really think he had any idea what he was doing? Did any of you? Fear can only cripple you if you let it. It's all right to be scared, Draco, but you can't let it control your life like this."

"I'm not — " and Draco stops, because Narcissa is looking at him in a way that says she knows he's lying before the words are out of his mouth. "There's just too much — I don't even know why he's — it's just not that simple."

"The best things in life rarely are," Narcissa says, giving him a pointed look. "I love you, darling, but I won't always be here to look after you."

"I am perfectly capable of looking after myself."

"And Scorpius?" Draco winces. "As I said, I won't always be here, and while I'm sure Pansy would love to adopt you, I doubt her husband would tolerate your habits."

"Blaise just has a wand up his arse," Draco grumbles bitterly. It's a shame, really, that Pansy had been born without a cock; she would have been the one, otherwise, and saved Draco from all of this nonsense (he can always twist something to be her fault if he tries hard enough). Maybe that's Potter's appeal — come to think of it, it's kind of frightening to realise how similar the two of them are. Draco sighs again and says, "I don't know what to do."

"Do you love him?"

"I don't know."

"Do you at least like him?"

"I like fucking him."

"Draco."

"Sorry," Draco mutters. "I don't know, all right?"

"All right," Narcissa concedes, and stands. "But I suggest you quit moping around the house like a lost Crup and wash up for dinner." She pauses by his chair, resting a light hand on his shoulder. When Draco looks up at her, she brushes the hair back from his forehead. "Just remember, sweetheart, that love isn't something that just happens to people; it's something they have to work for, together. It's only possible to live happily ever after one day at a time."

When Potter does inevitably shows up on the doorstep half an hour later, Draco begins to wonder if every female ally he has is plotting against him. Potter's dressed in that odd (downright fuckable) way again, having traded the jeans for fitted trousers this time and a button-up shirt under simple but elegant robes that match his eyes, which are sporting the same glamour charm that Potter used when Draco abducted him off a street corner. Draco no longer has to wonder if Pansy is responsible for the sudden change in his wardrobe, and makes a mental note to send her a Howler.

Draco apologises to his mother that they're going to be late for dinner, and drags Potter upstairs, shoving him inside Draco's room and slamming the door closed. "What the hell are you doing here?"

Potter blinks. "Having tea. Or so I was led to believe."

"You want to have tea here? Here?" Draco says, because surely even Potter isn't this dense. "You can't just — "

"Why the fuck not?" Potter snaps, and Draco shuts up, because Potter actually looks rather angry all of a sudden. "Jesus, Malfoy, I told you, this isn't — easy for either of us, all right? You think I like the fact that half my friends think I'm mental? That I've got reporters asking me if I've guilted you into being a fucktoy? Christ. And I know it's not — it's worse for you, I know that, because whatever I do, they'll always make you out to be the bad guy and I'm going to Crucio the next pillock that asks me which one of us takes it up the arse. It's none of their fucking business but until they find something else to gossip about we're just going to have to deal with it."

"That's not — I don't give a shit about the papers!"

"Then what — "

"You want to have dinner here? You want to have a sleepover, Potter? Here? You do realise that room you're looking forward to eating in is the same room Bellatrix carved a hole into your best friend's neck?"

Potter takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. "We said we wouldn't talk about the war."

"Oh, well, fine, let's just go eat then!"

"Draco," Potter says, taking Draco by the shoulders; it helps, and Draco sags against the touch. "I told you, I don't — your stupid house didn't torture anyone. It's just a house. It's also your home. I didn't just... you don't — I didn't just jump into this without thinking about it, okay? It's all right."

"It's not — "

"It is," Potter repeats, shifting his hands so they're cupping the back of Draco's head, forcing him to look Potter in the eye. "Is that why you've been practically living at my place? When I said I wanted to give — whatever this is — a shot, I meant it. Which means both of us have to make compromises. And I really don't mind."

Draco sighs. "How can you just... not mind?"

"I told you; it's just a house," Potter says. Then he smirks and adds: "An opulent, unnecessarily large house with obnoxious peacocks, but just a house."

"They're not obnoxious," Draco says, even though it's a lie. "Anyway, mother likes them."

Potter gives him a look, one Draco can't possibly read, but if he is going to try and describe it — concerned? Annoyed? Resigned? All three? Or maybe he's looking at Draco like that because he's insane. Then Potter leans in and flattens him with a kiss that hits like a fist, flinging any rational thought in Draco's mind face-first into a brick wall. Draco ends up with his back slamming into the door and two fistfuls of Potter's hair.

Maybe they're both insane.

When Potter nudges a knee between Draco's legs, Draco pulls back. "We're going to miss dinner."

Potter trying to talk after snogging is probably the sexiest fucking thing Draco has ever heard. Ever. And that includes Potter moaning his name when Draco's buried deep inside of him, or even Potter begging in Parseltongue when Draco has him gagged. He's trying to get out words despite the fact that he's breathing like he just pulled out of a Wronski Feint, because Potter never does anything halfway — even kissing. He kisses like he does everything else, as brutally and honestly as he can.

It's thrilling even though all Potter says is, "I'm sure it can wait ten minutes."

"Ten minutes?" Draco hooks two fingers into the metal loop of the collar and pulls him in. "What do you take me for?"

"An impulsive, neurotic control freak?" Potter says, in a tone that suggests these traits of Draco's are something to be fond of. He tugs Draco's other hand down, slipping it inside the waistband of his trousers. Draco lets him, sliding his hand inside, figuring Potter's gone commando as usual because, honestly, Draco thinks the man would walk around nude if it were legal (and if he wouldn't get assaulted on every street corner), what with his spending most of his time at home only half-dressed. Or maybe he just does that because he knows Draco gets easily frustrated by unnecessary layers of clothes when he's horny (which is pretty much constantly with Potter strutting around half-clad and willing).

When Draco slips his hand further down and his fingers brush over the delicate, silky netting underneath, his brain shuts down entirely.

Distantly, Draco's aware something else is different, but currently his mouth is dry and any form of coherent thought is overridden by the realisation that Potter's wearing what Draco can only imagine to be a pair of women's knickers under his fitted trousers. Upon further investigation, Draco indeed comes to the conclusion that Potter is not only wearing female underwear, but specifically sheer mesh underwear.

Harry Potter showed up at Malfoy Manor to have tea with Draco and his mother wearing lingerie.

"You're going to be the death of me," Draco tells him, and wastes no time in shoving Potter backwards until he's sprawled inelegantly across his bed.

Potter just grins that sneaky half-smile he gets whenever he knows he's managed to surprise Draco, the corner of his mouth quirking upwards with a sharp twist, which actually happens quite often. Fond memories include: that time Draco was drowning his ice cream with whipped cream and getting it all over his fingers, and Potter licking it off and getting it on his face, and then Draco in turn licking that off, and then somehow Draco was licking whipped cream off every other surface of his body; or when Draco came out of the shower to find the loo empty of clean towels, and then Draco went in pursuit of some and Potter dropped to his knees right there in the hallway and spent half an hour replacing the water clinging to Draco's legs with his saliva; or that time Potter dared Draco to get him off without actually touching him — during which Draco happily discovered Potter was highly susceptible to both breathplay and voyeurism.

Sex isn't the only way Potter surprises him (although, if this continues, Draco's going to need to make a spreadsheet). Over their (admittedly short) relationship (or whatever), Draco's starting to consider the possibility that Potter might actually be a serial killer and that whole saving-the-world thing was just a foolproof way of getting away with murder.

Draco suspects this for a few reasons, primarily that Potter has a habit of spontaneously saying or doing things with such soulful integrity that it can't possibly be considered normal-person behaviour. Like the first time he told Draco he thought he was beautiful (when Draco was sick with a cold and spent an evening with his head in the toilet, and looked like a Blast-Ended Skrewt), or when Draco was suffering from one of his week-long bouts of insomnia-induced neurosis and Potter sent an Owl to his mother, resulting in the delivery of a large box of homemade sweets that sent Draco into a hyperglycemic fit (eventually exhausting him into a twenty-six hour nap), or whenever Draco went on a rant about one thing or another while Potter listened indulgently with his chin propped up on his hand and — without any warning whatsoever — interrupted Draco with a snog (which effectively ended the rant for the foreseeable future), or when Potter went down on him in the showers they sometimes shared and told Draco how much he loved his body, every inch of it (despite the obvious flaws; really, was he blind?), how he loved when Draco let him touch him like this, because he could do it all day, every day —

The fact that Potter is reclining on his bed, trousers half-open to reveal a hint of sheer material where any normal man would be wearing briefs, serves only to convince Draco that Potter is actively trying to kill him. Right now, Draco doesn't care. Right now, Draco will gladly die bloodily a thousand times over, provided he can get Potter's trousers off first.

Growing up privileged has left Draco used to instant gratification. He isn't very patient under the best of circumstances, which is why he wastes no time in just spelling Potter's clothes off (aside from the collar and undergarment) and away to some desolate corner of the room before sinking to his knees beside the bed, between Potter's spread legs, running his hands up and over Potter's thighs. Potter's stomach contracts at the touch, but Draco hardly notices. His eyes focus on the prize, Potter's fully erect cock flat against his hip, trapped beneath a tight layer of the transparent black material. The knickers are simple, just sheer black nylon with silk outlining and trimmed in emerald lace. They look too tight, stretched across his hips, barely containing his cock and putting it on clear display. There's even a little emerald bow at the top, wrapping up Potter's cock like a present, just for him.

Draco pauses to look up at Potter, who is propped up on his elbows and has his bottom lip trapped between his teeth, watching him.

"Potter," he says, trying to keep his voice level, "are these Pansy's?"

Potter smirks. "Maybe."

Definitely a serial killer.

Draco runs his hands over Potter's hips (ignoring his cock for the time being), closing his eyes and just feeling, the micro-texture of the nylon sending little shocks of pleasure from his fingertips all the way to his groin. Draco has never been a cross-dressing enthusiast (though he was sometimes paid to be) and doesn't think this will change, but that also doesn't change the fact that the material feels unbelievably good against Potter's bare skin.

Opening his eyes, Draco realises what else is different. He finally lets his fingers trail over Potter's cock, following the thick vein all the way down to his balls, and honestly can't decide what's more of a turn on: the fact that Potter's wearing a pair of (Pansy's!) skimpy underwear, or the fact that he's gone completely bare cock and balls.

Draco isn't a fan of feminised queens, either; he enjoys fucking men because they're — well, they're men. They have body hair and masculine smells and sharp lines and he'll take the taste of cock over cunt any day of the week. And Potter hasn't gone bare everywhere, just anywhere in the near vicinity to his groin, allowing Draco to feel the smooth skin beneath the threads and, frankly, Draco thinks ten minutes was being generous because he's already on the edge of an orgasm and he hasn't even taken his cock out yet.

On that note, Draco drops one hand to his own trousers and hastily tugs them open. The other he runs over Potter's cock, straining against the sheer fabric, and Potter's head flops back and exposes the line of his throat as he raises his hips into the touch. Draco leans in, running his tongue along Potter's cock, leaving a trail of glistening saliva between the threads of nylon; he swirls his tongue around the head, suckling at the salty taste of the slit before ducking lower, doing his best to suck at his sac against the tight material, rough over velvety, bare flesh.

His own cock also in hand, Draco doesn't bother with the rest of his clothes; he climbs over Potter, bringing their hips together, and when Potter raises his head Draco nips at his jaw and the tender flesh over his jugular before biting down hard on his collarbone. That's another thing that drives Potter up the wall — not just the biting but the marking, too, because he never lets Draco heal the bruises, even when Draco leaves one too high to be hidden beneath the collar of his robes. Potter falls back against the bed as Draco grinds into him, slipping a hand between them, lifting the hem of the underwear and coaxing Draco's cock inside to rest against his own. Draco captures his mouth and growls into it, rutting almost frantically against him, one hand in Potter's hair and the other curling beneath him to squeeze at his sheer-coated buttocks. It doesn't take long; Potter comes with him, groaning into his mouth and slicking the inside of the knickers with both their mess.

When Draco finally finds the willpower to move and pushes himself up, Potter's splayed out wantonly beneath him, eyes slightly glazed and hair everywhere. Draco's already good for another round, but is also distantly aware his mother is waiting downstairs (he hopes she's waiting downstairs, anyway, because he didn't even bother to cast a silencing charm) for them to come to dinner. Draco manages to sit up, straddling Potter's hips, and digs around for his wand before spelling them both clean. Potter groans (albeit a different sort of groan) when Draco slides off him and attempts to tug his limp form upright.

"You started it," Draco says, changing tactics; poking seems to a more successful method on reviving post-coital Potter when Draco's in a hurry, and it works. Potter sighs and rolls into a sitting position as Draco summons his discarded clothes.

"I don't understand how you," Potter says, and makes some vague motions with his hands, "just, God."

"You're not making any sort of sense," Draco points out. "Are you going to get dressed? I'm all for dining in the nude, but Mother will probably take offence."

Potter rolls his eyes and moves to remove the knickers, but Draco catches his wrist. Potter blinks up at him, and Draco grins. "Hang on," he says sweetly, tossing the trousers at Potter's head. "Pansy's not getting those back."

Dinner is almost a painfully boring affair. Almost. Draco quickly discovers his mother and Potter have absolutely nothing in common — except for Draco, so the awkward conversation quickly shifts topics to him and suddenly, the only person left feeling awkward is Draco. It's not embarrassing, necessarily; Narcissa has too much class to summon a house-elf to fetch old family photo albums with pictures of Draco as an infant to the table, but after a while Draco feels like the two of them have forgotten he's at the same table at all.

They're not eating in the hall, like Draco assumed they would. In inviting Potter around for tea, Narcissa had the good manners to prepare one of the larger drawing rooms for use, so instead of sitting at a table made for twenty, they're crammed comfortably around a table for six. Narcissa sits at the head because Draco refuses to, and anyway he likes being directly across from Potter; it makes it easy to flick peas at him whenever his mother isn't looking.

"If you ever need anything, Harry, do not hesitate to ask," Narcissa tells Potter, who still seems perplexed as to how he should go about eating his branzino. "I am aware my son can be... somewhat high-maintenance."

"Thank you, mother," Draco says politely, at the same time Potter says, "I've noticed."

"Generally, if you find him in a bit of a stitch," Narcissa goes on, turning her head and waving at a house-elf to refill the wine, "I find that a large helping of dark chocolate will work wonders on his mood."

"Duly noted," Potter says, ducking the pea Draco catapults at his head.

When Potter gives him a look, Draco mouths 'large helpings of sex work, too.'

Narcissa looks alarmed when Potter snorts rather loudly, and offers him a handkerchief.

"And you'll be spending the holiday, of course," Narcissa says, in a tone that brooks no argument.

Potter actually surprises them both with a blinding smile. "I'd like that."

By the time the lemon panna cotta is served (slathered in blackberry sauce; one of Draco's favourites, because his mother spoils him rotten), Narcissa is chatting away about her son's compulsive tendencies while Potter mostly bobs his head in mute agreement, because three months of sharing a bed with Draco has given him all the education he needs. But he's being polite, and Narcissa seems happy enough, although by the time Draco's finished dessert he's growing rather bored. The wine keeps flowing between the two of them and his mother keeps talking (pleased, he assumes, to have someone other than her son to talk to), so Draco slumps a little in his chair and toes off one of his shoes.

At first, Potter ignores him, which is never a good idea because he knows Draco hates being ignored. Determined, Draco slides his foot up along Potter's calf under the table while taking a sip of his tea, smirking into the china when Potter gives him a badly-aimed kick, and ends up stubbing his foot on the leg of Draco's chair. Draco grins maniacally as Potter grits his teeth and tries to smile at Narcissa at the same time, and slowly begins tracing circles over Potter's knee with his toes.

For a while, Potter indulges him, sitting back in his chair and spreading his knees; he extends the leg Draco is currently molesting, letting Draco run his foot from Potter's ankle to mid-thigh while Narcissa is describing the necessity of keeping excessive amounts of sugar out of her son's reach whenever possible. Draco slowly slides the arch of his foot along the inside of Potter's thigh, slowly edging higher, marvelling at the hitch in Potter's breath with each stroke; Draco slides a little lower in his seat to gain more reach, and is pleased when Potter inhales sharply while also trying to swallow a mouthful of panna cotta, and nearly ends up choking.

"My goodness, are you all right?" Narcissa inquires as Potter splutters.

"Potter just has terrible table manners," Draco assures her. "It's not his fault; he was raised in a cupboard."

"Oh, you poor thing," Narcissa says, patting Potter's hand consolingly. Potter smiles a little obstinately, but his mother doesn't seem to notice, and begins asking Potter if he's had any luck in getting Draco to give up that 'filthy Muggle habit' of smoking.

"Working on it," Potter says, voice a little tight. It may have something to do with the fact that Draco's slunk low enough in his seat that he can reach Potter's crotch, and is sliding up and down the length of his hardening cock with his foot. Potter inhales deeply, eyes turning to Draco as he adds, "Your son can be extremely stubborn."

"Tu quoque," Draco shoots back, taking a disinterested sip of his tea.

"Oh, you have no idea," Narcissa says, her voice light. "When he was a child — "

Draco suddenly increases the pressure, and Potter starts, upsetting his wine and using the excuse to push his chair back, taking his crotch out of Draco's reach. Narcissa is too far gone on wine to be as alarmed as she normally would be as such behaviour, and simply shakes her head indulgently and calls for a house-elf to see to the mess.

"I suppose it is getting rather late," Narcissa says, once the mess is seen to and Potter is free of wine stains. "Will you be staying the night? I'll have a room made up for you; you can't possibly travel after so much drink, oh no, it's no trouble — "

"Mother," Draco says, before Potter has to try and find an excuse. "I love you. I truly do. Which is why I am going to say this as plainly as I possibly can: I am sleeping with the man. He does not require his own room."

"Draco, I am not a simpleton," Narcissa says, sniffing rather proudly. "I just thought he might enjoy having his own space."

"It's fine," Potter says, before Draco can respond. "I really don't mind."

"You're so terribly polite," Narcissa tells him. "Draco always made you out to be such a ruffian."

"Mother — "

"Still, I'll have Dolly prepare the guest room in case you want — "

"I don't," Potter says, with such finality that it manages to shut her up. But then he leans over, his mouth hidden from Draco's view by the curtain of her hair, and says something quietly so Draco can't quite hear it before pulling back, smiling at her look of surprise. "Really."

Narcissa looks at him for a moment, then to her son and back to Potter again. "Truly?" she says finally.

"Excuse me," Draco says, because he does not like what is happening here.

"Truly," Potter says, pushing his chair back and standing. He moves away from the table, thanking Narcissa for the lovely meal, and then looks at Draco. "You coming?"

No, Draco is not going anywhere, because Draco is going to stay here and interrogate his mother (all night if he has to), but Narcissa seems to sense the incoming trap and stands. "You are most welcome, Harry," she says, before stopping by Draco to drop a kiss on his head. "Goodnight, dear."

"But — " Draco starts, and stops when he sees the look in her eyes. It's the same sort of look she used to give him when the Dark Lord invaded their home, the sort of look when Draco was about to give up and she was determined to convince him there were still some things worth living for.

"Don't fret so, darling," Narcissa says. She kisses him again, on the cheek this time, and whispers: "He loves you."

Draco wants to say what? and, more importantly, did he say that?, but by the time he recovers, Narcissa's halfway out of the room and Potter is behind his chair, fingers tousling the hair at the nape of Draco's neck. "You coming?" he asks again.

Draco glares up at him. "Not until you tell me what you said to my mother."

"And five minutes ago you seemed in such an awful rush," Potter says, letting his hand fall. "I'll see you upstairs."

Draco lets him go, not even bothering to look back as Potter reaches the door and slips into the hall. Draco sits quietly at the empty table for a while, and eyes the half-empty bottle of wine. The bottle just sits there, tauntingly.

He is extremely relieved when a house-elf appears to vanish the leftovers on the table, wine bottle included, and leaves Draco sitting at an empty table.

By the time he gets upstairs, Potter's undressed, completely naked except for the collar and knickers again. He must have been waiting for Draco, because Draco barely closes the door and Potter's on him, trying to kiss him, but Draco shoves him away. "Knock it off," Draco says, when Potter leans back in anyway; it's his own fault Potter's this randy, but he doesn't care. When Potter narrows his eyes, Draco says, "I wasn't kidding."

Potter rolls his eyes and presses Draco's back against the door again, hands over his biceps, ignoring the snarl forming on Draco's lips. "You really want to know?" he asks, and Draco just glares at him, and Potter rolls his eyes again and leans in, lips ghosting over Draco's as he speaks. "I told her that I can't remember the last time I actually looked forward to having free time," he says, his hands sliding up to cup Draco's head again; his thumb brushes over Draco's jugular, tracing the faint beginning of the scar there. "I told her I finally understand what people mean when they say how nice it is, having someone to come home to." His hands converge on Draco's chest, deftly undoing the buttons of his robes, pushing the fabric aside. "I told her, that for the first time in a long time, I'm not just content — I'm happy," he says, in a rush. His hands caress Draco's naked chest, fingertips grazing a sensitive nipple; Draco unwilling archs into the touch and Potter kisses him swiftly before continuing, lower, "You make me happy. Even though you're narcissistic and raving and higher-maintenance than a Hungarian Horntail, I think about you all the time," his fingers trail lower, following the line of the near-invisible mark, scraping over Draco's navel, "that against all sense I love listening to you rant, and watching your stupid impressions." Potter pauses to re-trace the scar, marvelling over the one mark he's ever left on Draco. "The fact that you're fit as fuck and willing to take me down so hard I can't see straight is just a bonus, really."

Draco shuts his mouth when he realises its hanging open rather unsightly. He just looks at Potter for a moment, annoyed at the fact that, well, he's no longer annoyed. "You can't have said all that," he says eventually.

"I gave her the abridged version," Potter says, dropping slowly to his knees, hands sliding down over Draco's hips. "I didn't tell her how much I can't get enough of the way you feel inside me," he continues, planting a slow kiss against Draco's thigh. "How fucking good it feels, when you fill me up," he murmuers as he kisses higher, lips trailing along the soft frabric of Draco's trousers over his rock-hard cock. "Or how hot it is when you call me a slut, make me beg for it. God, you — you really have no idea, do you, that you — the way you talk during sex, bossy and a complete control freak and — Jesus, can I suck you off, or are you going to make me beg?"

Draco is seriously considering it; but he likes to reward Potter when he behaves, and Potter is trying awfully hard. It also allows him time to try and absorb all of what he's just said, because — because Draco has no idea what to say in response. But Draco knows what to do, so Draco reclines back against the door and jerks his head, wordlessly telling Potter to get on with it.

He watches in fascination as Potter undoes his trousers, the novelty of having his cock in the mouth of the saviour of the wizarding world having yet to wear off. Draco doesn't think it ever truly will. The feel of it certainly won't, not when Potter curls his tongue like that, or takes Draco so deep into his throat Draco feels like he's being swallowed whole. Draco runs his hands through that unruly hair, twisting whenever Potter swallows around the head of his cock; Potter's hands are stroking his balls and Draco bites down hard on his lip, trying to curb his orgasm, and finally has to shove Potter away.

There's an obscene thread of saliva and precome stretching from the head of his cock to Potter's mouth. Draco takes a deep breath. "Bed," he commands.

Potter licks his lip and complies, rising slowly to his feet and causing his own cock to bounce lightly against the tight hold of the knickers; when he turns to walk to the bed, Draco follows, but not too closely — the view of Potter's arse contained in the sheer fabric is far too good to ignore. Before Potter can try and turn around, Draco pulls out his wand and says "Incarcerus," smirking as silken ropes slither around Potter's forearms, pulling them behind him and securing them behind his back. Draco shoves him forward onto the bed, face-down, on his knees and arse in the air. Draco finishes disrobing and casting the necessary cleansing charms before climbing up behind him.

Draco runs his hand along Potter's spine and Potter arches into the touch, raising his arse higher and turning his head to the side so he can watch as Draco fondles his arse through the fabric. There are so, so many things Draco wants to do to him right now that he's having trouble deciding, but when he runs a finger down the crease of Potter's arse and brushes his hole through the fabric and Potter moans, he quickly makes up his mind. Potter always went a little crazy whenever Draco rimmed him, but any time before pales in comparison to what Potter sounds like now. Draco spreads him apart and leans down, running his tongue over the tight ring of muscle and Potter's entire body shudders. The material is rough and smooth at the same time against Draco's tongue, and the salty taste of Potter's flesh makes him groan, drowning out the muffled whimper Potter makes into the sheets.

The knickers don't have a lot of give but Draco tries anyway, circling with the tip of his tongue before pressing inside and is delighted to hear Potter moan and feebly try to press back against him. Draco uses his fingers to scrunch the knickers together, allowing his tongue more freedom to press deeper inside and Potter clenches around his tongue and the fabric, cursing incoherently. When Draco runs one hand down and under him, sliding around Potter's cock still trapped inside the sheer material, Potter grinds out: "Jesus, Malfoy," into the mattress and vainly tries to fuck himself on Draco's tongue and rut into his hand at the same time.

Draco desperately wants to fuck him. Well, Draco always desperately wants to fuck him, but Draco also wants to keep him like this (forever) because — well — damn. He briefly entertains the thought of trying to fuck Potter through the knickers, even though he knows they'd just end up ripping (and he really doesn't want to rip them because — well — damn). Instead, Draco pulls away (earning an aggrieved moan from Potter and hooks a finger under the knickers, tugging them aside — just enough to expose Potter's saliva- slick and swollen hole. Draco grips his own balls tightly with his other hand, rubbing the head of his cock against the red skin, pressing just slightly, so only the tip dips in.

Potter's looking over his shoulder at him, eyes narrow and dark, mouth half-open and panting. Draco runs a soothing hand over his arse, letting the knickers snap against his half-buried cock. The lace is cool against his prick, and rubs against his skin with delicious friction as he presses his hips forward. The hole stretches out to accommodate him, spreading in a slow, hot slide that is slowly driving Draco insane.

"Merlin," Draco breathes. "You look like a whore."

Potter lets out a long, low groan as Draco bottoms out, balls resting heavy against his arse. "God, yes," he murmurs, pressing against his hips. "I am a whore. Please, Draco — "

His pleas are cut short as Draco, finding his wand in the sheets and gives it a little flick — a chain slithers into the collar around his neck, effectively turning it into a choke-chain; the rest of the lead drapes across his back and Draco gives it a sharp tug. "That's right, Potter; you're nothing but a needy whore. My whore."

Potter's head jerks up at the pull, inhaling sharply; forced to rest his weight on his chest, his back is bent in what can only be an incredibly uncomfortable angle. Draco pulls out only to thrust forward again, yanking on the lead every time their hips connect. Each tug causes Potter to clamp down mind-shatteringly hard on his cock, every moan cut short with a choke. Draco knows he's got the angle right when Potter screams into the covers and Draco fists the lead in his hand, yanking his head backward and cutting it short — after all, he sort of forgot to cast that silencing charm again — and his nails leave red-hot lines against Potter's bare hip as Draco's thrusts become erratic, spilling hot inside of him to Potter's chants of, "Yes, your whore, only yours."

Draco hisses as he pulls out, cock still half-hard and too sensitive now against the rough feel of the lace. He smoothes the knickers out against Potter's arse, pulling them back into place; Draco slaps his arse because he can't help himself, and grins when Potter jumps a little before sinking back into the mattress when Draco lets go of the chain.

Potter is still hard, and when Draco reaches under him to palm his cock Potter sinks a little lower, pressing into the touch. When he shifts, Draco can see his own come leaking out of Potter's abused hole and — fuck, Draco thinks, Potter really is trying to kill him.

"Oh, for fuck's sake," Potter moans, shuddering against Draco's tongue. Draco laps at the come dribbling down his arse, smearing it over the sheer material, before placing his lips over Potter's hole and sucking the rest of it out of him. "Fuck," Potter groans. "Oh, God, Draco — I'm going to — "

Draco slides his hand over Potter's cock at the words, squeezing him through the tight material, swirling his finger over the head of his cock; the knickers are soaked with Potter's precome and Draco tightens his hold. He doesn't want Potter coming, not yet. Draco sucks hard on his arse, drawing his own come out, getting what he can through the knickers (no amount of spells will ever make them clean again, he thinks distantly) before pulling away, taking Potter by the hips and flipping him onto his back. Draco's sure his face must be a mess; Potter takes one look at him and hisses, teeth cutting into his lip as Draco spreads his legs and yanks the knickers down, freeing his cock so Draco can take him into his mouth. Potter barely has time to thrust up once before he's coming, leaving Draco's mouth feeling impossibly full. Draco doesn't swallow, just sucks up and off the length of his cock before crawling over him, seizing Potter's mouth in a kiss.

Potter groans into Draco's mouth, tongue twirling as he sucks the mixture of their mess into his own mouth. Draco doesn't let him swallow, not just yet, just continues to kiss him until it becomes a battle of who can hold their breath the longest. Draco knows, without a doubt, Potter will win, but he tries anyway, sucking on Potter's tongue even as his lungs scream in panic; the air he's trying to take in through his nose isn't nearly enough and, finally, Draco pulls back, panting, opening his eyes just in time to see Potter lick his swollen lips and swallow deeply.

"You're a serial killer," Draco says, breathless, "aren't you?"

Potter just looks at him, a little bemused and still deliciously flushed. Potter's arms are still tied under him, but he doesn't seem too bothered about it. "I love it when you talk dirty to me, baby."

Draco's mouth twitches, but he's really too tired to get into it. He rolls off Potter and collapses beside him, closing his eyes, trying to cool down enough to even consider getting under the covers.

Beside him, sounding more than a little amused, Potter says, "You have a mirror above your bed."

Draco smirks. "Some day," he says, blindly running a hand over Potter's sweat-coated navel, "I'll show you why."

*

It's a far cry from happily ever after, whatever his mother thinks.

About six months into it, when Scorpius has his first birthday and takes up full-time residence in the Manor, Draco suffers a rather early mid-life crisis and Potter stops going back to Grimmauld Place altogether (Narcissa won't let the motorbike inside for a fortnight, until it breaks down the front door. Now house-elves trail it wherever it goes, cleaning tire marks off the marble floors). And what with the press dogging their heels, staking out the Manor and even harassing Potter at work (Potter finds it amusing; it is driving his boss to an early retirement) — and the fights, Merlin, the fights, they never seem to end — they are, inexplicably, still living together and fucking one another anyway.

Things get a little complicated for Draco when his son suddenly realises what his arms and legs are for, and starts crawling around on things. It's a little annoying (he has a penchant for grabbing things he shouldn't) and a little adorable (the smile on his face when he manages to go from one side of the room to the other is blinding) but Draco doesn't think much about it at first (because Scorpius only does it when someone is around to take him out of his crib).

Until one day a few weeks after his birthday party, and the little bastard starts to pull himself upright.

"What are you doing?" Potter says when he gets home and finds Draco standing atop the ottoman, tracing the edges of the small chandelier in the nursery with his wand.

"Do you realise how many sharp objects are in this place?" Draco snaps. Potter raises his eyebrows at Draco's tone, but Draco doesn't care. He knows he looks frazzled, because he spent the entire day alternating from charming a shield around any edge that could be even remotely considered sharp, and dashing to and fro to snatch the toddler off the floor whenever Scorpius tried stand up. "Here, you finish this up, I still need to do the cabinets and tie-backs on the curtains and I haven't even started the washroom and — "

"I don't think he can reach the chandelier just yet," Potter says, and gently pulls Draco's wand out of his hands. "You look like you could use a nap."

"I can't nap until he naps," Draco points out, snatching his wand back. As if to confirm the arrangement, Scorpius pulls himself upright in the crib and starts gibbering excitedly when he sees Potter. Draco sighs and hops down from the ottoman, blowing wayward strands of hair out of his face. "He keeps trying to walk, but he's going to fall and crack his head open on the damned marble floors. I told Mother to Owl the textiles shop in Hogsmeade; I want them to come 'round tomorrow and — ”

Draco stops talking abruptly as Potter places his hands on Draco's shoulders and leans in to kiss him.

“Take a breath,” Potter reminds him as he pulls back. Draco inhales deeply without thinking. Potter gives him a squeeze before letting go, and talks over his shoulder as he goes to pick Scorpius out of his crib; Scorpius breaks out in an huge smile and flails. “I don't think you need to cover the place in wall-to-wall carpeting just because he's learning to walk.”

“But — ”

“Kip,” Potter instructs. Scorpius is cradled snugly in one arm, grabby hands immediately finding the loop of Potter's collar and latching on to it. Potter's head jerks a little when the toddler tugs; quick learner, that one. “I'll look after him.”

It's tempting. Draco is exhausted, and their bed is very warm and comfy and just next door. But... “The cabinets have really pointy edges.”

“I'll take care of the cabinets, too.”

“But you just got home. And he needs his bath. Mother'll be out until after tea so I've got to feed him. And — ”

“Draco.”

“What?”

“Go to sleep.”

“I always do his baths,” Draco insists. “And do you even — ”

“Andromeda got Dragon Pox when Teddy started walking,” Potter informs him. “Trust me.”

“But I — ” Draco sighs at the look Potter gives him. “I'm his father,” Draco tries to explain, eyes darting to his son.

“That doesn't mean you have to do everything,” Potter counters. Scorpius is still tugging enthusiastically on the collar ring at Potter's throat. Draco understands; it is very shiny. “Go on. I'll wake you for tea.”

“Fine,” Draco says, but holds out his arms stubbornly. “After he's had his bath.”

Potter looks like he wants to roll his eyes, but just smiles instead and hands the toddler over. “All right. Then sleep.”

Draco gives Scorpius his bath. It's easily his favourite part of this whole being-a-father nonsense. One simple buoying charm is all that's necessary to make sure Scorpius doesn't actually drown when he inevitably flings soapy water into his father's eyes, and Scorpius seems to look forward to bath time as much as his father does. He likes the bubbles and loves turning on the different taps, squeeing excitedly every time like he's not done this half a hundred times already, and Draco doesn't mind. It's oddly cathartic, watching one's infant flail around happily in a bubble bath.

He isn't sure when the transition happened; his mother insists he was distancing himself out of fear, mostly due to the fact that Scorpius spent the majority of his first year with Astoria. Scorpius seemed to miss her at first; he wailed non-stop the first two weeks, even cradeled in Narcissa's arms constantly. It wasn't until, out of exhaustion and frustration both, Narcissa had shoved the child into Draco's bewildered arms one evening and stormed off to take a two-day nap. Scorpius had quieted immediately, staring up at his father with too-wide silver eyes. Draco had spent the first six hours in a terrified stupor until Potter had come home from work, at which point Draco immediately tried to hand the infant off — after all, he'd quieted with Potter before — but Scorpius had started fussing again almost instantly and Draco was forced to take him back.

It was easier with Potter there, though; he showed Draco how to hold the child properly in a way that didn't cramp his arms, and even how to shift to a one-handed hold so he could manage a wand with the other. The moment Scorpius started to stink, though, Draco implored Potter who, after rolling his eyes several times, showed Draco an easy charm to do away with the mess.

In what felt like months but was only a matter of days, Draco slowly began to feel less terrified and more — well, not fond, exactly, but definitely more sure of himself. Scorpius was not nearly as fragile as he appeared, and proved it by continuously grabbing things he shouldn't and immediately trying to stuff them into his mouth.

"I think my offspring has an oral fixation," Draco had told Potter one evening after Scorpius tried to eat Potter's glasses.

Potter had looked up from spelling the specs clean, eyebrows raised. "I think it's a little early to be worried about that."

Even though words that made any sort of sense were still at a loss for the child, Draco discovered communicating with him wasn't actually all that hard. Scorpius had a wide variety of exclamations and expressions at his disposal and Draco found he could usually decipher whatever it was his son desired based on the pitch of his wail and the sublte arrangement of features on his face (when he was hungry, he was ulta-loud with pinched eyes; when he just wanted attention he tended to be sweet at first, merely gibbering excitedly and waving his arms, but would grow obstinate if ignored). Since Draco didn't exactly have a job anymore, mostly Scorpius just sat contentedly on his hip, staring at his father and his surroundings with wide eyes and a half-smile, like he was drinking in every visual even if they spent most of their time in his nursery. He seemed to love to watch his father talk, and was beginning to parrot syllabels that left Narcissa smiling fondly at the pair of them every time.

After his bath, Draco wraps Scorpius up in the fluffiest blanket he can find and curls up on the armchair in the nursery. Potter was good to his word, at least; every surface of the room has a blurry sheen to it, a side-effect of long-term cushioning charms lingering over any edge that could be considered in the least bit sharp. Content, Draco lets Scorpius burrow into the cavity between his knees and his chest and finally allows himself his desperately needed nap.

Potter lets him sleep through dinner, though when Draco wakes he sees someone has covered them both in a thick quilt. Draco doesn't know if Potter even tried to wake him, only that it's dark outside when he becomes aware of someone (carefully) removing his son from his arms. Draco's eyes fly open but it's only his mother, who gently tells him off for sleeping upright and sends him off to his bed.

“I'm too knackered for sex,” Draco informs Potter as he falls face-first into the mattress.

“Too tired for sex? You?” Potter's sitting up in bed beside him with a book in his lap. “Who are you, and what have you done with Draco Malfoy?”

Draco rolls over to scowl at him. “You really need to stop hanging out with Pansy.”

Potter dog-ears his book and sets it aside. “I actually quite like Pansy.”

“She's mine. Get your own fag hag.”

Potter just smirks and asks: “How's Score?”

“I wish you would stop calling him that.”

“You say that now; just wait until he joins his House team.”

“Oh, Salazar,” Draco says. “Don't talk about that.”

“You don't want him to play Quidditch?”

“I don't want him to go to that place,” Draco says, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands. “I'm going to teach him at home. He can take his exams via Owl.”

Potter shifts a little lower, bringing his head even with Draco's and curling an arm around him. “Don't be stupid. Of course he's going to go to Hogwarts.”

“The hell he is,” Draco says, glaring at him. “Can you imagine what it'll be like for him, going there after all the — ”

“No one is going to hold anything you did against your son,” Potter says, in a tone that makes it hard not to believe him. The arm over Draco's chest tightens, pulling him in. “Or you. And if they try, they'll have to answer to me.”

“Well,” Draco says, letting himself be pulled in. “Even still, what if — ”

“He's only one,” Potter points out, and gently kisses his temple. “Stop worrying about it.”

“I can't,” Draco says, completely honest. “I just — I can't. I worry about him all the time.”

For some reason, Potter is smiling at him again. “That's because you love him.”

“Mother says it's because I'm just wired to be in a perpetual state of anxiety.”

“There's also that.”

Draco hits him with a pillow. “Don't you worry about Teddy?”

“Not nearly as much as I worry about you,” Potter says, and kisses him. “Sleep; I've got an early shift.”

Draco doesn't realise what exactly Potter said (well, at least implied) until much later, when Potter is softly snoring and Draco is (really) trying to fall back asleep.

It's annoying because it's comforting. It's worrying. While Draco knows that Potter means everything he says, he also knows that it's only true while this — whatever it is — is going on, and Draco has no idea how long that will be.

This does not help him sleep much, so Draco rolls unsteadily to his feet and sets about child- proofing their bedroom; after all, once Scorpius learns to walk on his own, it'll only be a matter of time before he finds his way in here. Which means Draco really should set to applying a proper locking charm to his trunk of sex props and do something about disguising that mirror, because as innocent as it may be to a one-year-old, Draco isn't all that sure and doesn't want his son growing up with a complex.

He finally collapses back into bed when the grey light of pre-dawn settles over the room. He doesn't hear Potter stir, but is gently awoken when firm hands slide down his sides and rest heavily on his hips. Eyes still closed, Draco unconsciously hooks his fingers into the loop of Potter's collar and drags him back down to bed.

“Good morning,” Potter says, sounding sleepy but amused, early-morning breath ghosting over Draco's face. "It would seem someone attached my glasses to the nightstand with a Permanant Sticking charm. Anyone you know?"

Draco kisses him anyway, because he really doesn't even notice anymore. "Choking hazard," he mumbles.

"You're kind of adorable when you're being insane," Potter tells him; Draco cracks open an eye and scowls at him, but is too tired to argue about stupid endearments. Potter looks at him properly now, and frowns. “Did you sleep at all?”

“Nngh,” Draco grumbles, and holds on tighter. “I don't want you to go.”

“That makes two of us; but I'm due in front of the Wizengamot in an hour, so I really must insist.”

Draco silently curses the members of the Wizengamot and all of their descendants before opening his eyes fully. “Can we have sex first?”

“You said you were too knackered for sex.”

“Lies. And that was last night.”

“I can't be late.”

“Well,” Draco says, sitting up, “then you better behave.”

Draco really doesn't want to rush; he wants to savour this, because he knows it can't last. But Potter is compliant and Draco is very, very horny, so it's only twenty minutes later that Potter's twisted under him, skin slick and hot against Draco's mouth as he comes. Draco uses his mouth to finish off, because as much as he loves Potter's arse it's not nearly as obscene and lovely as his mouth and always manages to get him off quicker.

Potter lingers in bed after, even though Draco knows he needs to go and shower before running off to defeat evil or whatever it is he does all day. Anyway, Scorpius will be up and wailing soon, and then Draco gets to spend the day trailing after him with a cushioning charm at the ready to make sure he doesn't split his skull open on the floor.

“You don't need to worry about me,” Draco says finally, when Potter's got about twenty minutes to get clean and off to the Ministry.

“I do, though,” Potter says, and ignores Draco's sharp look. “I want to.”

Draco suddenly feels nauseous. It's not that he can't say the words; Circe knows he wants to. He says it to his mother all the time, and he's more than happy to admit it as far as Scorpius is concerned. The problem (if it's a problem; Draco isn't sure) is that what's going on here is far too complex to be expressed in any words he knows.

Love doesn't even begin to cover it.

“Go to work,” Draco says. “Take your own advice for once and stop worrying.”

Potter sighs, but rolls to his feet. “I will when you do.”

Fat chance of that, Draco thinks as he watches Potter pad off to the loo.

*

It all goes to pants later a few weeks later when, for the first time in months, Draco gets an Owl requesting 'his services' around midnight and Potter has a conniption fit.

"What the hell is your problem?" Draco snaps, crumpling the parchment in his fist.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Potter snarls, rounding on him. "What's my problem? Jesus, Malfoy!"

"Pardon me for being popular," Draco says, rolling his eyes. "This isn't the first time this has happened since we've been, you know, whatever."

The stillness that comes over Potter is terrifying. "Not the first time?" he says, in apparent disbelief.

"Hi, have you forgotten who you're sleeping with?"

"I thought I was sleeping with you," Potter retorts, "not a whore."

Draco's mind reels as his teeth grind together. "I am not your fucking property. I can do what I want."

"Yeah, it's all you seem to be good at."

"You know what," Draco says, standing. "I don't have to put up with this."

"What d'you mean, you don't — "

"I'll be back in the morning," Draco says, curtly. "Do me a huge favour and piss off by then."

Potter doesn't follow him out. Draco tells himself he doesn't give a damn, and revves up the Honey Badger, tearing out of the drive so fast it leaves a cloud of dust swirling in the air like a gravelly tornado.

The drive to Liverpool doesn't take very long at this time of night, mostly because Draco has no regard whatsoever for Muggle speed regulations. The imposing walls of the mansion barely open in time to admit him before he becomes a yellow splotch on the ornately carved stone; this place put the Manor to shame, really. Pansy did all right for herself.

A house-elf answers his impatient kick at the door; Draco doesn't wait for it to fetch its master, just lets himself in and heads straight for the parlour. He's barely tipped the scotch into the glass when Pansy enters the room (looking harassed in a skimpy nightie), sees what he's about to do, and draws her wand. "Accio!"

The glass whips from his hand into hers, sloshing expensive liquor everywhere. Draco doesn't even blink before reaching for another.

"Draco," Pansy says, coming up beside him and catching his wrist. Very carefully, she takes the bottle of scotch and places it on the bench. "All right, I've got the message; you're upset. Now, what the hell happened?"

"Nothing," Draco says, worming out of her grip. "Would you — "

"If you really wanted me to let you drink, you would've just gone to a pub," Pansy says, and Draco wonders why he didn't think of that. "Come on, let's have a smoke, and I'll have Tessy bring us some tea."

Pansy only ever smokes when she's drunk or high or, in this case, keeping Draco company. Blaise doesn't approve so she hauls him outside onto the balcony, overlooking the massive grounds of the Zabini estate. A pool the size of a small lake shimmers below them, casting the side of the mansion in blue neon light. Draco sucks on half a pack of cloves (it's all Pansy has, and he hasn't had a fag in weeks) and tells her about Potter moving in, the Owl, the fight, kicking Potter out —

He feels slightly hurt when, having finished and expecting his best friend to rally to his aid and declare Potter a worthless pig who doesn't deserve him anyway, Pansy just throws back her head and laughs.

"I'm so glad my misery amuses you," Draco says, taking a vengeful drag off his sixth cigarette.

"Oh, darling," Pansy says, still hiccuping. "You're an idiot."

"You're right," Draco says, tossing the cigarette over the rail into the pool despite Pansy's indignant squeak. "I'm going to a pub."

"Oh, stop being so melodramatic," Pansy says, catching his arm. "You're both being idiots. Maybe you should hang up the shagging for a while and actually try having a conversation."

"We talk all the time!"

"Talking and having a conversation are two completely different things," Pansy tells him, then folds her arms and gives Draco a look. "Have you been seeing anyone else?"

"What?"

"Since you and Harry started 'not dating'," Pansy clarifies, rolling her eyes.

"What?" Draco says again, because the thought had never even entered his mind. "Of course I haven't — and stop calling him that!"

"By his name?" Pansy says, raising an eyebrow. "And — well, good. But have you told him that?"

Draco's hands ball into fists. "I shouldn't have to!"

"I'm not saying you're wrong," Pansy says, "but I'm not saying he's wrong for getting upset, either."

"I didn't do anything wrong!" Draco is really, really sick of everyone — his own friends, even — sticking up for Potter. "He was just being a possessive prick!"

"Draco," Pansy says, "he's jealous. Of course he got angry, if he thought you were still — "

"Then he's the idiot!"

"You didn't exactly make it clear," Pansy says, still sticking up for Potter because — because — because Draco, admittedly, might be overreacting, but — but Potter overreacted first. "You really need to work on your intimacy issues."

Draco jerks out of her grip but before he can snap, a deeper voice says, "And deprive us of these spontaneous three a.m. visits? We might actually get a full-night's rest."

Blaise is leaning against the doorframe, clad in a thick dressing gown. "Malfoy, please stop using my pool as an ashtray. Pans, would you give us a moment?"

Pansy looks at her husband, then at Draco, who has fled to the far side of the railing, out of her reach. She shivers a little as she goes to Blaise, and stands on tiptoe to peck him on the cheek before disappearing inside.

Draco ignores the glare from him as he lights another cigarette. "You going to defend him, too?"

Blaise sighs and pushes off the door, but doesn't come any closer. They've never exactly been close, but they got on well enough and Pansy's all they really need in common, anyway. Blaise may have been a git to him in school, but once he had figured out Draco wanted nothing to do with her breasts, he'd warmed up considerably. Well, warmed up as much in as a Zabini could, anyway — Pansy insists he's a big Pygmy Puff deep down inside, but Draco thinks perhaps you needed a cunt to find it.

During the war, they didn't see each other much, mostly because Blaise had made himself scarce. He also hadn't jumped at the chance to take the Mark, because unlike Draco, he isn't an idiot. But Draco had seen the man Blaise's mother was wooing at the time more than he ever cared to.

Blaise has to know, has to at least have a good idea, but he's never said anything — more importantly, never said anything to Pansy — and Draco appreciates it. How that makes them friends, he has no clue, but Draco has so few of them he can't afford to be picky.

"Look," Blaise says, "I don't know what the hell is going on, and I don't care. But you're welcome to the guest room as long as you need it."

Draco nods, taking care to stub out his cigarette in the ashtray Pansy conjured and left hovering by the railing.

"But first," and Blaise says, shattering the moment, "please park your meretricious Muggle contraption somewhere out of sight. Like at the bottom of a ravine. Its Hufflepuffness offends me. And the world."

"You're an excellent host," Draco says. "Has anyone ever told you that?"

Draco really doesn't need to stay; whatever doubts he had about Potter actually moving out are dashed later that morning when he gets an Owl from his mother, asking where he was, what happened, and did he need his sweets? Draco sighs and sends as vague a response as he can manage, and lets his mother know he'll be staying with Pansy for a few days and to please make sure Scorpius doesn't suffer any head trauma while he's gone.

Blaise really must know, because even after a week of moping around his mansion and constantly dragging Pansy off to smoke (there is also the time Draco accidentally interrupts something, but how is he supposed to know they are not, in fact, swimming, but having sex? He is never going in that pool again.) he hasn't told Draco to go home yet.

Draco knows he hasn't been a model house-guest, what with noisily pacing in the parlour late into the night, littering the grounds with cigarette butts, and hogging ninety-percent of Pansy's attention span. He wants to be, because the last thing he wants to do is go home (not really; the missing weight on his left hip is so tangible at times it's painful) to a confused infant and a cold bed. The much more tangible weight missing from beside him in his guest- room mattress is just as painful, and Draco spends most of his time forcibly not imaging what it will be like to return to his son and realise the other half of that life isn't going to be home by tea. It's cruel to Scorpius, he knows, but Draco has made a career out of not dealing with things and doesn't intend to start now.

Being at Pansy's helps with that; she gives him a piercing look everyday as, without fail, he gets an Owl from his mother telling him how much Scorpius is pining for him, and when is he going to come 'round and "make up" with Potter, but never says anything because as much of a sneaky bitch Pansy is, she's a true friend when it counts. However detached, Blaise is tolerant and mostly good-humoured because he's never had to worry about anything in his life outside of Pansy's horrific spending habits, and the word "sympathy" isn't even in his vocabulary.

Mostly, Draco knows it's his own fault. Potter's always been ineloquent, but it seems he's almost as incapable as Draco when it comes to trying to communicate. Draco fights the itch to go and set Potter straight (or worse, apologise), but it isn't easy — that is, until Pansy calls him down to breakfast the eigth morning of his stay, and when an owl drops off the morning Prophet, she takes one look at it and immediately tries to stash it out of his reach.

Draco Accios it from her and looks at the front page. The main article is about the upcoming World Cup between Greece and Britain, and the fact that Greece is trying to import a Chimaera as their mascot. The image shows the angry beast snarling at a team of Aurors, Potter in the lead beside the dragon-taming Weasley, who is brandishing a whip laced with Fiendfyre.

Potter isn't wearing the collar.

Draco tosses the paper aside. "Pass the salt, would you?"

*

Chapter Text

* III *

They're playing poker in the den that evening (Draco is pleased; he's going to be richer than Blaise if his luck holds) when the incoming Floo starts blinging away in the fireplace. Pansy, already having folded, answers the call.

"Is Malfoy there?" Draco hears the fireplace say, but the voice isn't Potter's.

"What do you want, Weasley?"

Draco turns around in his chair to see not Ron, but Charlie Weasley's head in the fireplace. "I need to talk to-" he sees Draco, and redirects, "-why the hell aren't you at home? I've been trying to find you for over an hour. Listen — "

"What — " Draco starts, but stops when Charlie moves aside, and is replaced with an older wizard Draco doesn't recognise with a thick Austrian accent and a serious expression.

"Mr Malfoy?" the man says, straightening his glasses and peering at the clipboard in his hands. "Please don't be alarmed, but this isn't a social call. I'm Healer Wilhalm-" Draco feels his blood run cold, "-and I regret to inform you there's been an accident concerning your — "

" — partner," the Healer finishes, as Draco appears in front of him with a snap. "As I said, there's no need to be alarmed — "

"Where is he?"

" — Mr Potter has been stabilised. I do need to ask you to fill out some forms, however, and then we can — "

"Weasley!" Draco snaps, rounding on Charlie, who looks infuriatingly fine.

"First floor," Charlie says. "Room 126."

Draco doesn't even bother walking, just Apparates directly into the room. When the dizziness fades, he sees Potter there, lying on the bed, the blanket pulled down to his waist with bandages all around the mop of his hair and chest.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Potter says, then grimaces.

"You're an idiot," Draco tells him, coming up to the bedside. "What the hell did you do, wrestle with the damn thing?"

"It's none of your damn business, what I do," Potter snaps. "I can do what I want, too."

"You're an idiot," Draco says again, just in case Potter didn't hear him the first time. "I sold the flat months ago."

"I'm not an — what?"

"Some people can't take a hint," Draco says, resisting the urge to smack him around his big fat bandaged head. "I haven't — I always decline," Draco says, sighing. "I send them referrals. That's it."

"Anyway," Draco continues when Potter doesn't say anything, just looks at him. "You seem to be more or less whole, so — "

Potter catches his wrist before he can get out of reach. "I'm sorry," he says.

"Whatever," Draco says, pulling his wrist free. "I'm sure there's about fifty people waiting to see that you're not in pieces and I — "

"I was being a cunt," Potter interrupts, and Draco blinks. It's the first time he's ever heard the word come out of Potter's generally — at least compared to Draco's — polite mouth. "We never talked about it. Which was both our faults, and anyway, it doesn't matter, because you didn't. And even if you did — we never exactly said we were exclusive."

"I figured that much was implied, Mr I-don't-share," Draco says, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, well, like you said," Potter says. "You're not my property." When Draco doesn't say anything, he adds: "I miss you; Score, too."

Draco narrows his eyes despite the sudden ache lancing across his chest, gaze snapping to Potter's bare neck. "Really."

"I took it off because I had to," Potter says, rolling his eyes. "Chimaeras are sentient. Charlie wanted me on the team because I'm a Parselmouth, so I could talk to the snake-end, but he said it wouldn't listen to-" Potter grins a little wryly, "-'an animal with a collar around its neck', so I took it off for the job."

"Obviously," Draco says, feeling a little better, "you made quite the impression."

"It was being a stubborn little bastard."

"Sounds like someone I know." Draco comes back to the bedside, inspecting the large bandage over his chest. "Well, I guess the bright side is, once these heal, no one will notice them amongst the rest of your battle scars."

"It's not actually that bad," Potter says, because apparently being nearly disembowelled is nothing to be worried about. "The snake-end did most of the damage," he says, showing Draco his other arm, where a smaller bandage wraps around his forearm. "The venom hurt like hell."

"How are you not dead?" Draco says in exasperation.

Potter frowns at him, but then Healer Wilhalm comes in with Charlie trailing behind him, the latter looking immensely guilty. Draco fills out the stupid forms and hides in the corner of the room when the rest of Potter's Dream Team come in to make sure the beast didn't eat anything important.

When Weasley is assured his best mate is for the most part whole, his eyes find Draco skulking in the corner and immediately scowls. "What the hell is he doing here?"

Draco realises that while Potter does not divulge every sordid detail of his life with his friends, Weasley and Granger tend to be privy to everythng (and even if not, Granger is annoyingly observant and meddling on her own) and he must have told them about the row, but in how much detail, Draco doesn't know. He narrows his eyes and grips the quill in his hands like a wand.

"Ron," Granger says warningly, which surprises Draco, even if she looks just as displeased to see Draco in attendance.

"It's all right," Potter says. "We — "

"Nothing about him is 'all right'," Weasley snaps, turning back to Potter. "What the hell were you thinking?"

Potter's gaze grows dark; before Draco can say anything in his own defence (which he can't), Potter heads him off: "We're not having this conversation again."

"What conversation?"

All three of them look at Draco and Potter immediately looks guilty. Weasley, on the other hand, obviously sees an opportunity to humiliate Draco, and goes: "Oh, didn't he tell you? When he found out what you were doing, and how he got it into his head that hiring you was a jolly good idea? I told him he was mad; for months, I told him, and then you went and proved me right. I told him you were a waste of his fucking time."

"Ron." It's Potter this time, but like Weasley, Draco ignores him.

"Then he shows up on our doorstep a week ago and I can't tell you how hard it was, not to tell him 'I told you so'. Like it was any surprise that you're nothing but a — "

" — whore?" Draco finishes for him, standing; his right hand is in the pocket of his robes, curled tightly around his wand.

"Gentlemen," Healer Wilhalm says, quickly stepping between them. "Perhaps we should concentrate on the fact that Mr Potter is on the mend and save this conversation for another time."

"Perhaps," Draco says, eyes snapping to Potter, who isn't looking at him.

He's looking at Weasley, who seems calmer (smuger) now that he's said his piece, and Draco doesn't know how Weasley can stand there under that gaze like it doesn't phase him.

"You two can behave like gits if you want," Potter says, eyes flickering only briefly to Draco, "but I'm not going to choose between the two of you, so I suggest you get over it."

"I think the Healer is right," Granger says, when Weasley opens his mouth to respond. "This is not the time."

"Or any of your fucking business," Draco reminds them both.

"Harry is our business," Granger shoots back. "Whether you like it or not. So I suggest you both listen to him, and grow up already."

Healer Wilhalm looks immensely relieved that someone managed to stop the fight before it could get out of hand. Draco slinks back to his corner while Potter spends the rest of the hour telling his (stupid, nosy) friends he's fine despite the fact that he apparently can't feel anything on his left side (the effects should wear off in a few days, according to the Healer), eyes darting to Draco the entire time. Draco pretends to be the adult he isn't and ignores him.

When they finally depart, Potter starts talking before Draco can get a word out. "I tell them everything," Potter says in explanation. "I always have. You think it was easy, to send that Owl? I didn't want to have to, I just — I didn't know what else to do. I wasn't trying to — look, I already told you; you wouldn't talk to me, and I thought that — "

" — at least you could get a fuck?"

"I was sort of hoping for more than just sex," Potter says, giving him a look. "I just didn't know if you'd — but you did, and we were doing pretty good, until — "

"You remembered I used to be a whore?"

"Until I had any reason to doubt you were taking this seriously," Potter corrects. "I was a complete pillock. I'm sorry."

The pain stabs at Draco's chest again, making his expression pinch. "Yeah, me too."

"I need to go home," he adds quickly, before Potter can ask for clarification. "I haven't seen Scorpius since — I'll Floo you."

Potter tries to sigh, then winces. "Okay. Hey," he says, catching Draco's wrist again. "Are we okay?"

"I don't know," Draco says. "Sometimes, I think none of this is okay."

It's hard to leave him there when (Draco feels) they both know that there's a lot of things still left unsaid that will come back to haunt them. That trying to do this just leaves them both feeling worse, because trying to talk about whatever delicate threads are holding them together is like a game of trying to listen to the words they're not saying. That Draco feels utterly powerless when he's around Potter, even when they're having sex, and it's terrifying mostly because Draco can no longer remember how he got through a single day without him; because it's like no matter how hard Draco pulls away, Potter just holds on tighter, and while Draco (truly) adores him for it, it only serves to make the ache in his chest knot tighter.

Surely, someday, Potter's going to have had enough.

Draco does not go back to St Mungo's, and he never Floos. He doesn't protest, though, when Potter's discharged a week later, once again wearing the collar like he never took it off, and moves back into the Manor.

*

Potter doesn't protest when Draco starts slipping out of the bedroom after sex to go sleep on the armchair in the nursery, either.

It's only been about a week, but Draco can't sleep while in the same bed with him. Just being around Potter is a constant reminder of what he almost lost — what he can still lose — and Draco can't stand it. He doesn't so much as sleep as he passes out from pure exhaustion after pacing the nursery night after night, alternating between holding Scorpius while he sleeps and re-applying the cushioning charms in the room.

For a while Potter just lets him be, until Draco has another nightmare and (after quieting Scorpius and Draco both) Potter drags Draco back to bed.

Pansy says he's being paranoid, but Draco knows better. He's lost everything else he cares about — why the hell would this be any different?

After the Chimaera incident, the fights mostly happen when one of them (usually Draco) forgets the unspoken rule they have not to talk about the war. Despite Potter's admittance that Draco may have been judged a bit too harshly, Draco's reluctance to admit he did anything selflessly (he didn't; not on purpose, anyway) causes them to fight about the details. Every time, Draco's waiting for Potter to tell him to go fuck himself and storm out the door.

It only happens once, and it's (unsurprisingly) because Draco fucks up. Again. He doesn't mean it, but he's got a bad history of not thinking before opening his mouth when he's angry or, more often, when he's afraid. Potter hasn't given him any reason to be afraid and this, inexplicably, scares Draco even more. So when Potter tries to get Draco to come along to a pub with him and "a couple friends", Draco naturally panics.

"No thanks," Draco says curtly, curling further into the sette.

He buries himself behind his book, but Potter circles around behind the sofa. "Ron won't be there."

"I don't care."

"It's just Neville and Hermione," Potter continues, as if this somehow makes it appealing. "Come on, it isn't like you don't know them."

"Are you being thick on purpose?" Draco asks, slamming the book closed and glaring at him, because he's noticed Potter is often stupid on purpose; Auror interrogation techniques aside, Draco knows him too well to believe the act. "What in Salazar's name makes you think I want to ruin a perfectly good evening hanging out with Longbottom and your filthy fucking Mudblood?"

The look Potter gives him makes Draco cringe. The last time Potter looked at him like that, he was running across the school grounds, Snape shoving him forward and intercepting Potter before he could get to him. Potter doesn't say anything; he just turns around and leaves, slamming the door on his way out.

While Draco is above all things proud, he isn't an idiot. He checks No. 12 first, even though he knows Potter won't be there, but Potter isn't at the Leaky, either; Draco eventually finds him in a small wizarding pub just outside Brighton with Granger and Longbottom, who look as surprised to see him as Draco feels to be there. He doesn't even need to apologise (maybe showing up was enough?); Potter pulls him in, right there at the bar, and kisses him.

When he finally pulls away, Draco can see Granger blushing and Longbottom, surprisingly, just shakes his head and orders them another round of drinks. He looks a little surprised, though, when Draco tells the barman to make his cocktail virgin.

"You don't drink?" Longbottom says, sliding the drink over.

"I used to," Draco says without thinking, distracted by the warm hand on the small of his back. He apparently doesn't need to elaborate, though; Longbottom nods, clinks Draco's glass with his own, and knocks back his scotch.

Potter's looking at him funny, but doesn't press him. Draco thinks this will be awkward as hell, but Longbottom, like Potter, seems to have somehow forgotten or just chooses to ignore the six years of torment Draco put him through. Granger is a little more reserved, but warms up quickly after a third round of Firewhisky. It makes Draco wish he could join them, to drown himself in liquid courage — but he can't, so he just focusses on the arm at his back and leans the warm, solid wall Potter makes against his left side.

Neither Granger nor Longbottom know anything about Quidditch so, naturally, the only thing they can talk about besides the war is sex, work and politics. Draco doesn't work (anymore), but listens to them prattle on about their various careers for a while, until Potter makes a few biting comments about a certain Hufflepuff (specifically, how in the hell Smith got to be Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports at twenty-four) and Draco, on automatic, makes a rather obscene gesture implicating giving a lot of head; Longbottom actually laughs, and Granger chokes on her drink.

"You know it's true," Draco says.

Potter smirks. "I wouldn't put it past him."

"Maybe you should hit up Robards; it's far past time he retired, anyway."

"Have you seen my boss? Something is seriously wrong with your brain."

"Don't look at me like that; you could borrow the blindfold! It's all the same when — "

"Sweet Merlin," Longbottom says loudly. "Too much information."

Draco feels a little scandalised when Granger slaps the back of Longbottom's head and says, "Shut up and let the boys talk."

He feels a little pleased that Potter's blushing, though; Granger notices and rolls her eyes. "Oh, please, Harry, as if that thing 'round your neck doesn't — "

"Way too much information," Longbottom interrupts again. "Can we talk about something else? Like, I don't know, the weather?"

"Y'know, there was a cloud I saw on the way in, looked just like a — " Draco begins.

"Or lesbians?" Longbottom says desperately. "Everybody likes lesbians."

"You should Owl Goyle, sometime," Draco tells him, rolling his eyes. Longbottom blinks at him. "You'd get on like two fags in a broomshed."

Longbottom tries to appeal to Potter. "Does he have a button somewhere you can press to make him stop talking?"

Potter grins. "Yeah, but I don't think you want to know where."

"Make it a double!" Longbottom shouts at the barman while Granger dissolves into sniggers.

It's not nearly as painful as Draco imagined it would be, but then again, Potter didn't pick these two randomly out of a hat. Of all his friends, they have (Draco must grudgingly admit) the most sense of his inner circle and therefore some semblance of tolerance when it comes to Draco. Still, there's only so much they can talk about before they edge towards dangerous waters (or Longbottom starts getting uncomfortable while Granger, very reminiscent of Pansy, perks up; what the women's fascination with the two of them having sex, Draco has no idea) and anyway, Potter's had far too much by the second hour and is hinting rather strongly about taking an extended trip to the loo.

"I've always wanted to do the whole gloryhole thing," Potter says a bit too loudly, and Longbottom chokes.

"I am going to go home and have sex with my girlfriend now," Longbottom says, coughing as he stands. He does pause to look Draco up and down, though, before offering his hand. Draco, bewildered, takes it. "I wish you'd been more gay in school and less of a prick."

"Me, too," Potter says, and knocks back the remainder of his scotch.

"I'll do my best to be more gay for you from now on," Draco promises, smirking when Longbottom shudders and flees.

"I should get home before Ron comes looking for me anyway," Granger says, yawning widely. Potter nods and tries to kiss the top of her head when she hugs him and misses by about a foot. Granger giggles and ruffles his hair, telling him to go easy on the drink.

When she turns to Draco, he slams down the instinct to recoil, but Granger's too smart even when pissed to attempt to touch him. "Make sure he gets home without Splinching himself, will you?" she asks. She lowers her voice and adds, "I don't know what it is, but whatever you're doing, keep it up. I haven't ever seen him this happy."

She leaves him there feeling, if possible, worse than he had earlier that evening when Potter had slammed the door on him.

"So," Potter says, sliding the hand on Draco's hip a little lower and tucking his nose into the crevice of Draco's neck, "about that loo."

"You're filthy," Draco tells him.

"You love it."

Well, there's really no point in denying it. "You're also pissed."

"Then I should be very, very easy to subdue," Potter purrs into his neck. Oh, Merlin. "Come on, Malfoy. Don't you want me to get on my knees in a dirty loo and suck you off through a hole in the wall?" and, with that, Draco forgets about anything else entirely.

*

The first time Draco lets Potter fuck him, he tells Draco he loves him.

By the time his son becomes fully bipedal, Narcissa finally invites Andromeda to live at the Manor full-time, which is fine with Draco (they have more than enough room, and it gives his mother something to do) and seems to please Potter; it allows him to see Teddy everyday instead of several times a week. It also saves them the trouble of hiring a nanny, and gives Scorpius someone to play with, which makes Draco feel marginally better because he was still adjusting to the idea of having a miniature version of himself about the place. No longer needing his 'unhealthy hobby' and what with Pansy being preoccupied with upcoming spawn of her own, Draco, at twenty-four going on seventeen, finds himself rather suddenly having to deal with being a father.

He must have been doing something right, though; the second word his son learned and used with meaning was 'da-da!' (even if he used it interchangeably between both of them).

It still sort of boggles Draco, even now, that Potter's still around.

Pansy frequently drags them both to the shops now, although Draco's only there for company. She seems to have adopted Potter's helpless wardrobe as her pet project and loves spending his gold almost as much as she loves spending her husband's. Even six months pregnant, she manages to be the epitome of high-fashion, her bulging stomach swathed in designer robes; she walks between them, an arm hooked in Draco's as she drags them shop to shop, with constant stops for snacks in between.

"Extra pickles!" Pansy shouts at the man behind the counter, who is looking rather harassed.

"You hate pickles," Draco points out.

"Not anymore," Pansy says, with feeling. "Also, where is Harry with my ice cream?"

"Ice cream and extra pickles," Draco says, then grimaces. "That is, truly, disgusting."

"Is not," Pansy says, lifting her chin. "I can have ice cream and pickles — together, if I want. You don't get to be judgemental; no uterus, no opinion!"

"Draco, judgemental? You shock me," Potter says, sliding up beside her. Pansy immediately brightens and takes the enormous sundae from his hands as they continue to wait for her burger (with extra pickles!) to be finished.

Pansy's expression falls as she inspects her ice cream. "You forgot the sprinkles," she says accusingly.

"I didn't forget; you cleaned them out," Potter says, smiling. "Florean says that can happen when you dump half the cannister on the first two you get."

"Humph," Pansy says, but eats her sundae enthusiastically anyway; Potter was generous with the caramel, Draco notes, and is kind of terrified to realise Potter's getting to know Pansy alarmingly well. Draco curls an arm around her protectively. Potter just watches her eat with ill-contained horror.

When Pansy finishes the ice cream and her pickle-heavy burger, she continues to lead them down Diagon Alley, determined to stop by Slug & Jiggers for some sort of maternal potion that is beyond both their understanding. She has to forcibly drag them both away from the display window of Quality Quidditch Supplies (where the newest Supernova model glitters at them) and past no. 93, and Draco realises too late they should have crossed to the other side of the alley.

So far, aside from the the incident with the Chimaera and the other day in the pub, he's managed to avoid all direct contact with most of Potter's inner circle. Some of them overlap (though Smith is more of a mutual annoyance to both of them) or, in Lovegood's case, are at least tolerable. But Draco has no intention of getting chummy with any one of Potter's friends sporting bright-red hair, and now he's somehow found himself surrounded by them.

Well, to be fair, there's only two of them: Weasley himself and the sole-surviving twin, who still looks a little ragged without his other half, but is at least able to smile again. Weasley sees Potter first and immediately grins; when his gaze shifts over to Pansy, the smile falters, and when his eyes meet Draco's, turns into a scowl.

Potter sees the fight before it starts and rolls his eyes. "Oh, for Christ's sake, will you both get over yourselves?"

Draco opens his mouth first and Potter cuts him off with, "No, don't even start," he snaps, before turning back to Weasley, who has also opened his mouth, but Potter talks right over him. "We already talked about this. I'm not going to choose between the two of you, so you can both shut your mouths and at least pretend to be civil."

"I can see the appeal," Pansy whispers in Draco's ear. "He's awful fetching when he's cheesed off."

When Potter looks at the twin, George raises his hands defensively. "No worries, mate. Bugger whoever you like; Merlin knows you've earned it. I am a judgement-free zone."

"I wasn't — " Weasley starts, and holds up a finger when Potter turns back to him, "Will you calm down? I told you, I don't care. I'm over it. But," he says, eyes finding Draco again, "don't think I won't kick your scrawny little arse if I find out you're just fucking with Harry."

"Touching," Draco says, managing a sneer and ignoring Potter's look of warning. It's almost too easy, to revert back into his snivelling teenage self. "Though, I have to say I do spend a fair amount of time fucking — "

"Weasley!" Pansy snaps, interrupting Draco before he can get going (but not before Potter turns the approximate shade of a tomato and elbows Draco rather hard in the ribs). She surges forward, leaning up on her tiptoes to glare at the redhead; she only comes up to his chest, so it looks rather ridiculous, but Weasley looks alarmed all the same. "Do you have crackers?"

"I — what?" Weasley splutters.

"I'm hungry," Pansy explains. "And I would just about Crucio someone right now in exchange for crackers."

"Er."

Weasley looks at Potter for help, who just shrugs and says, "I don't think she's kidding, mate."

Weasley mumbles something about abusive pregnant women and flees back inside the shop with Pansy dogging his heels, on a quest for crackers before she starts casting Unforgivables on his customers. The lone twin watches them go and shakes his head. "Hermione was worse," he says eventually. "If you can believe that." George looks at Potter for a moment, then at Draco and back to Potter again. "So you two are really... serious, then?"

Draco's a little horrified when Potter shifts, bringing their sides together, slides his hand into Draco's and laces their fingers together. "As hard as that may be to believe," he says, shooting Draco a look. "Yeah."

"Blimey," George says. "Well, you can't blame Ron for — what?" he says, when Potter glares at him. George looks at Draco, like he can't decide if he's really there or not. "He used to be such a pointy little twerp."

"Still a bit of a twerp," Potter admits, and squeezes Draco's hand.

"You're the one wearing my collar," Draco points out, and smirks viciously when Potter flushes again.

"I don't even want to know," George says, and looks immensely relieved when Pansy re-emerges, stuffing crackers into her mouth.

"Weasley says he's not coming out until you 'take your snakes' elsewhere," Pansy informs Potter, looking pleased with herself. "I think I gave him a bit of a fright when I told him last time I went to the Healers little Zabini junior here had a — "

All three men immediately make noises of alarm that drown out the rest of her words and George, giving them both looks of pity, dashes back inside the safety of his shop before Pansy can start prattling on about the merits of breast-feeding. Pansy smirks triumphantly. "I win," she sing-songs, and threads her hand around Draco's free arm. "Now, who's buying me tea?"

By the time Pansy's had tea (twice) and they're both waiting outside the apothecary, the sun's already disappeared over the horizon, and it's beginning to rain. They're just inside the small alley next to the shop because Draco wants a cigarette and Pansy won't let him smoke around her while she's pregnant, and Potter really doesn't care to know what her mysterious potion is for.

"You've been awfully quiet," Potter says, pulling the hood of his cloak up. Draco hasn't bothered, so Potter does it for him, tucking his hair out of his face; it's these little things, Draco thinks, that he's never going to get used to. "You all right?"

Draco shrugs, and pulls hard on his cigarette.

"Hey," Potter says, when Draco ashes the cigarette; Potter tugs it from his hand, tossing it away, hand curling around Draco's. Draco watches their fingers thread together in fascination — he doesn't even have to think about it, it just happens, like it's the most natural thing in the world, like they've done this every day for the past nine and some months, like this isn't the first time Potter has ever even tried to hold his hand.

Potter pushes his chin up with his free hand, making Draco look at him. "Do you need chocolate?"

Draco actually laughs, smoke spilling out of his mouth and engulfing them both. Potter smiles and leans in anyway, capturing Draco's open mouth and slipping his tongue between Draco's lips. The rain is cold but Potter's mouth is hot and Draco groans a little at the wet slide of their mouths, pressing back, darting his tongue out and back in, teasing Potter, daring him to deepen the kiss. Potter doesn't need any encouragement; he dives in, teeth grazing Draco's bottom lip, tongue twisting around his own. Draco takes him by the hips and Potter slides his hands into Draco's hood, grasping at the loose strands of his hair. Cool droplets of rain slide down Draco's face, getting in their mouths and it's truly a rather fantastic snog and Draco silently hopes Pansy isn't finished inside the shop anytime soon —

A blinding flash illuminates the pair in the alley; Draco goes rigid and Potter pulls back, blinking away the rain in his eyes. Pansy, apparently, is done with her shopping and is watching them unabashedly from the mouth of the alley. Behind her, the wayward paparazzo is angling his camera for another shot.

"Oh, please," Pansy says, fanning herself dramatically. "Don't mind us. Do carry on."

"Pardon me, Miss! Free press, coming through!" the weedy figure wielding a camera says, edging past Pansy and ignoring the warning looks on both their faces. They've been followed by the press before but, at Potter's insistence, always ignored them. This one isn't really giving them that option; freelancers are too desperate for that perfect shot. "If you gentleman wouldn't mind, a shot for the front page? Give the public a treat? In fact — Mr Malfoy, would you be willing to roll back your — "

Draco actually has to catch Potter to stop him from punching the man in the face; it doesn't happen often, Potter losing his temper, but when it does, it's terrifying. Especially if you're the person he's angry at.

Draco would know.

"Oi!" The idiot with the camera retreats a step before swelling up in what Draco can only imagine is suicidal bravery. "I know my rights! You can't just — "

"All that was left of Voldemort's soul was a mangled, bloody corpse," Potter snarls, twisting his elbow in Draco's hand, and Draco redoubles his grip. It isn't easy; Potter's pretty fucking strong when he wants to be. "You wanna try and tell me what I can't do?"

Whatever temporary insanity gripped the man seems to find better things to do; his eyes grow wide and, mumbling a jumbled apology, he flees past Pansy and into the throng of curious onlookers peering in the mouth of the alley.

"They certainly know how to kill the mood," Pansy says, watching the paparazzo go. When she sees the inquisitive looks of the idling passersby, she puts her hands on her hips. "Don't you people have homes to go to?"

Draco lets her deal with the public and turns back to Potter, who still looks angry but less homicidal. He quickly lets go of Potter's elbow. "Thank you," Potter says, smoothing his cloak. He looks at Draco briefly and says, lower, "Sorry."

Draco just stares at him. Potter apologises for the strangest things. Half the time, it isn't even his fault, but he's always genuinely apologetic anyway. "You're the one who said we should ignore them," Draco points out.

"Yeah, well," Potter says, shoving his hands in his pockets. "He was being a cunt."

Draco doesn't remind Potter how often he's (not-so-) subtlety hinted that Draco needs to use that particular term less (to the point Draco rarely uses it at all these days outside of sex, where it's encouraged), because it saves Draco having to say it.

It's well after dark by the time they return to the Manor. Narcissa and her sister must be elsewhere, because it's Teddy who welcomes them home, jumping up and down and excitedly telling Potter all about his exciting afternoon on the model broom he got for Christmas.

"I got this all by myself!" He displays the injured arm proudly, a heavy bruise still forming around the stitches. "Grandmum wanted me to go to St Mungo's," he adds a little bitterly. "But I told her I'm a big kid now, so I don't need to." He looks imploringly at Potter. "Right?"

"Er," Potter says, because he, like Draco, has learned that arguing with the older women about proper childcare never ends well. "Tell you what; if the swelling goes down by tomorrow, we'll skip the trip to the hospital."

"Deal!" Teddy, apparently having got what he wants from them, dashes back up the stairs towards his newly-acquired room.

Potter chuckles as he leads the way upstairs. They are still using Draco's room, despite Narcissa's insistence they should take over the master (Draco is never going into that room again. Ever.). It is a bit cramped for two people with two completely different wardrobes, but Potter doesn't seem to mind. Then again, Potter grew up in a cupboard and Draco's room is twice the size of his own at Grimmauld Place, so his standards are pretty low to begin with. Draco starts spelling away the clothes Pansy insisted Potter purchase while Potter pads off into the adjoining loo; when Draco hears the shower run, he quickly finishes what he's doing and goes to join him.

He doesn't enter the shower right away. He takes his time disrobing, watching Potter in the shower; it's enormous and enclosed in clear glass panels and marble, giving him a spectacular view of Potter lathering himself up. Potter notices him watching and raises his brow in question.

Draco, still dressed in trousers and a shirt, folds his arms and leans back against the sink, looking at the floor. "I'm not just fucking with you," he says eventually. He wonders if Potter can hear him over the shower; when he looks up, Potter is frowning. "You know that, right?"

Potter sighs and pokes his head out of the shower. "Ron was being a git," he says. "He'll get over it."

"Get over this, you mean?" Draco says, waving a hand between the two of them. "Whatever the fuck it is?"

"I think we've passed the point of obscurity, here," Potter says. "We're dating. We're in a relationship. A fairly serious one," he adds, and gives Draco a look. "Wouldn't you agree?"

Draco exhales deeply and doesn't answer. Because it's a stupid fucking question. But Potter seems to have this need to be so — upfront about things. It's not that Draco particularly minds the fact that they're — well, dating, or whatever — but that doesn't mean he's ready to talk about it, with Weasley of all people.

He feels a little guilty after fleeing into the bedroom. The things he used to do, before — trust had never really come into it. A little bit, perhaps, but mostly that's why Draco had confidentiality agreements and his clients had safewords. But Potter had rolled his eyes at the agreement and never wanted a safeword — he just trusts Draco not to hurt him, and Draco can't for the life of him understand why.

Draco's been thinking about it for a while (months), actually, he just hasn't felt the need to — well, to prove that he's serious about this until Weasley had to open his big fucking gob of a mouth.

Draco's never been particularly good under pressure. His father liked to think he was, but after Voldemort showed up at the Manor with his band of sociopaths in tow, that charade had ended rather quickly. Narcissa was always the strong arm of the family; when everything else was falling apart, she managed to keep her poise and hold them all together. She still does. But Draco can't exactly go running to his mother now (actually, he probably can, he just — can't), not about this, because Draco was twenty-four last month and if he can't tell his own — fuck it — boyfriend that he trusts him (implicitly, really, and Draco feels a bit of a fool for never trusting him before) then he's probably doomed to be a slag forever.

By the time Draco hears the shower water switch off, he's made up his mind. He might be sweating and pacing and his hands might be shaking a bit, but he's nothing if not determined. He is never good at talking this sort of thing out, so there's nothing else for it. It's not as if he hasn't thought about it; every time he fucks Potter he thinks about it, wants it, but hasn't figured out how to ask for it because what if Potter refused? Draco hasn't ever told anyone about — about that, but Draco's pretty sure Potter's figured it out, because he isn't as clueless and oblivious as he lets people think he is. And even if he didn't figure it out on his own, he's an Auror, which means he's got access to more than enough avenues to investigate.

When Potter comes out of the shower, nude save for the collar and towelling his hair dry, Draco's sitting on the edge of the bed. Potter looks at him, taking in Draco's folded arms and tense shoulders, and frowns.

"I don't want to fight about this," Potter says.

"We're not fighting about this," Draco agrees, and begins to unbutton his shirt.

"We're not going to have sex about this, either," Potter says, as Draco shrugs his shirt off. His prick disagrees with him; already it begins to swell, unbidden, twitching when Draco ignores Potter and begins to undo his trousers. "God, Ron really hit a nerve, didn't he? Look — "

"I am not fucking with you," Draco says again, tossing his belt to the floor. "I don't know what else you want me to say. Are we in a 'serious' relationship? What the fuck does that even mean?" Draco shucks off his shoes and socks, and kicks his trousers away. Potter's eyes rake over his body, looking surprised every time, surprised and horny as hell. "Are you saying the first time we fucked wasn't serious?"

"The first time we fucked I had to hire you," Potter points out.

"Don't be an arse," Draco says, because now Potter's being an idiot on purpose. He only does that when he's trying to manipulate someone or lighten the mood and, while it usually works, he's also made it clear they need to talk about this. So they're going to fucking talk about it. "So, how many fucks did it take before we were taking this seriously?"

"You know that isn't what I meant." Potter drops the towel and pinches the bridge of his nose, not even registering when a house-elf appears in a flash to collect the item and vanish almost immediately. The first time that happened when they were naked, Potter acted all flustered and embarrassed (to be fair, he'd been bound and gagged at the time), as if house-elves gave a flying Flobberworm what sort of sordid things wizards did behind closed doors; now, he doesn't even blink. It's both comforting and alarming. "Don't you?" he asks, when Draco just looks at him; he sighs. "I'd say we've been serious long before we started fucking, wouldn't you?"

If the barely-there memory of a scar on Draco's chest is anything to go by, then he supposes Potter has a point. "Okay," he says, feeling considerably better. Potter's sincere about anything even marginally important, and Draco knows by now he can take him for his word. "Good." Draco points to the end of the bed, opposite of the headboard. "Now we're going to have sex about this."

Potter gives him a look, but Draco returns it evenly. "Hop to, Potter. Or would you like me to make you?"

Potter rolls his eyes but obeys; he still plays the brat more often than not — and really, Draco loves it — but not tonight. Potter seems to pick up on the fact that Draco's still tense, and Draco's never tense about sex. He stands at the foot of the bed, and waits while Draco climbs on to it, lying back against the mountain of pillows. "I did promise to show you what the mirror was for," he says, and grins when Potter's cock perks up a little. It's not as if the mirror hasn't come in handy before — Draco often caught Potter watching their reflections (if his position allowed it) while Draco fucked him — but it isn't why Draco charmed the ceiling that way in the first place. He has a lot of fond memories of that mirror, from long before Potter came along.

He waves his wand, and a long, thick chain descends from the ceiling, just long enough to reach the collar around Potter's neck. Potter looks at the chain and the clasp on the end, then at Draco, rolling his eyes again (but smirking a little) before attaching it to the ring of his collar.

"You could just tell me to stay," Potter points out.

"You wouldn't," Draco says, and waves his wand again; two leather cuffs snake around Potter's wrists, and Draco's rather pleased he doesn't even need to tell Potter to raise his arms. The cuffs attach themselves to the chain over his head, spreading his arms in an inverted akimbo, just enough Potter won't be able to unhook himself without Draco's aid. As a final touch, Draco adds the bit gag (he knows Potter prefers it to the ball; he likes to have something to bite down on). "Now shut up and watch."

He doesn't have to tell Potter twice, debauched voyeur that he is. Draco wordlessly casts the necessary charms on himself (trying not to wince at the sensation) and summons the small bottle on the nightstand before tossing the wand aside. They've used this oil before, but not nearly as often as Draco would like (even for his vault, the potion is expensive and isn't exactly easy to come by), because fucking Potter under the influence of Billywig is like trying to tame an estrous Peruvian Vipertooth: scorching hot and dangerous. Potter eyes the bottle hungrily, still clueless about what Draco is up to. Well, mostly up to. He seems to have a pretty good idea he's at least getting a show as Draco generously applies the oil to his hand before capping it and placing it nearby on the bed.

Draco takes his eyes off Potter and lies back, focussing on the mirror. Without anyone to play with (working didn't really count), Draco mostly had to amuse himself whenever a quick wank wouldn't sate him. The oil is cool on his hand and icy on his cock, but warms up quickly; he could have warmed it ahead of time, but actually enjoys the bite of cold before the heat of his skin and friction of his moving hand makes the oil sizzle against flesh. He wraps one hand around the base of his cock, starting with long, fluid strokes from bottom to tip, his other hand curling underneath to tug gently at his bollocks.

Somewhere below him, he hears Potter groan around his gag.

It's a good thing Draco eventually set up permanent silencing charms on his room, what with his mother and aunt and children about the place, because Potter can never seem to do this quietly, even when he's gagged. Draco ignores him, watching himself in the mirror. He often wonders what Potter sees in him; he's far too pale and, even though he's fit, he still remains unsightly skinny despite the fact that he eats more calories than can be considered healthy. And whatever aristocratic features his so-called good breeding graced him with is ruined by the rather pointed, pinched features handed on down from Malfoy to Malfoy (like it's something to be proud of). Still, he's seen and shagged worse, and at least he isn't covered in freckles — Draco shudders and immediately banishes the image from his mind, because this is the opposite of helpful when trying to have one off.

Draco swirls his hand around the head of his cock and gives his bollocks a firm squeeze with the other before dropping further, bringing his knees up further and letting his legs fall open. In the mirror, he looks obscene, his hair splayed out like a fan against the pillows and his left hand slowly teasing the end of his cock. Potter's looking up, too, getting the full view, eyes hungry and teeth grit hard around the rubber-lined metal bar in his mouth. When Potter follows Draco's hand snaking around his raised thigh, he finally looks down and jerks against the chain's hold.

Draco may not have been taking it up the arse, but he's still done this plenty (always alone) and it's always unyieldingly tight. The oil makes it easier, washing away most of the burn with ripples of pleasure as he slides a slick finger inside, twisting his wrist so he can fit it in up the knuckle. Draco can only see the top of Potter's head in the mirror, but he's being uncharacteristically quiet. Draco pumps his cock slowly as he arches his body, bringing his legs up further, and moves a second finger inside. He fucks himself in time with the hand moving over his cock, in and out, up and down; he squeezes the tip of his cock and bites down on his lower lip as he scissors his fingers.

Potter makes a completely undignified noise that Draco is definitely going to tease him about later.

Draco keeps his eyes on himself in the mirror and focusses on his cock while mindlessly fucking himself with his fingers, pressing and stretching his reluctant hole. He slides his fingers loosely up his prick, pulling back on the foreskin and teasing the tip with his fingertips, spreading the precome down around the slick flesh, shuddering every time he spreads the fingers of the hand fucking his arse. The oil slathered over his cock increases the sensation, so even light touches leave his skin tingling; it works inside, too, sending shocks of pleasure up his spine and making him twist against his own ministrations.

Draco struggles to add a third finger, curling them, and throws his head back against the pillows and moans when he finds his prostate, throwing his hips down onto his fingers. When he opens his eyes, gasping, Potter's looking up at the mirror again — pleading — hissing and shaking against his restraints, unable to beg with the gag stretched tightly across his mouth.

Draco slides his fingers free, and spends a few moments tightening both his fists over his cock and thrusting into them, watching in mild fascination as his own mouth falls open. Potter lets out something between a growl and a hiss and Draco, pausing to catch his breath, lets his hands fall to his sides before pushing himself up onto his knees.

The first thing he sees is Potter's cock, at full attention and already weeping in anticipation. When Draco looks at his eyes, he's surprised to see Potter look — well, worried. That, or nervous, but Potter's never gets nervous, especially not about sex. Does he? Draco slides off the end of the bed, bringing their bodies together. He gathers their cocks together in one hand, trailing the other along Potter's chest, lightly pinching a nipple. Potter groans, rising onto the balls of his feet and drops his head, leaning their foreheads together; Draco can feel the jagged line of his scar against his brow. Draco sucks on his bottom lip before reaching up with his free hand to manually tug the gag free of his mouth.

Freed, Potter immediately says, "What — "

Draco kisses him swiftly, effectively silencing him. Potter moans into the kiss as Draco strokes their cocks in his fist, tangling his other hand in Potter's hair. The rest of the restraints soon follow the gag; first Potter's hands fall free, and immediately drape over Draco's shoulders, fingers stroking his neck and then his chest. When Draco, still kissing him, unhooks the clasp from his collar, the chain curls upwards and disappears. Potter leans in, pressing them back towards the bed and Draco lets him, hand still curled around their cocks.

"I am," Draco says, pulling out of the kiss, "I am serious about this."

"I know," Potter murmurs against his lips. "I know."

He tries to kiss Draco again but Draco pulls back, shaking his head. "Promise me you won't argue."

"Do I ever?" Potter says, grinning and running his hands over Draco's chest, his hips, anywhere he can reach. "I love it when you let me do this," he says, leaning in to nuzzle the side of Draco's neck, teeth nipping at his earlobe. "I love it when you let me touch you; I — you just — "

"Promise me," Draco interrupts, tightening his grip on Potter's hair.

"Whatever you want," Potter says. "Anything. You know that."

Draco takes a deep breath and tries to focus; Potter nibbling on his ear like that is terribly distracting. "I want you to fuck me."

Potter stills against him, teeth still latched onto his earlobe. He pulls back, but it's a moment before he says, "Now?"

"No, Thursday," Draco says, rolling his eyes. It's far from his wittiest retort, but to be fair, he's not exactly thinking clearly. The oil is still sending flashes along his skin, inside of him, driving him insane, and Potter hot and hard up against him isn't helping. "Yes, now."

Draco can tell at once he's going to argue, even though he promised he wouldn't. Draco no longer has to wonder if Potter's figured it out, but Draco doesn't care, because this isn't (just) about that. This is about them, whatever the fuck they are, whatever anyone wanted to call them, whatever the papers labelled them. Before Potter can start, Draco hooks two fingers into the collar ring and gives it a little tug. "Do you trust me?"

"What kind of question is that?" Potter says, brow knitting together.

"A fairly simple one, I think."

"Draco," Potter breathes in a sigh. "Don't be an prat. Of course I do."

"Then don't argue." Draco releases him and shuffles back onto the bed, legs splayed invitingly. "And get up here and fuck me."

Potter's breath hisses out through his teeth, all arguments apparently forgotten when presented with a willing arse. Draco shifts back as Potter crawls over him, hands everywhere, mouth everywhere, the cool metal link in his collar dragging across his chest as Potter suckles on a nipple. Draco reclines back against the bed and lets him take his time and explore, raising his eyes to the mirrored ceiling and carding a hand through Potter's hair encouragingly. Potter follows the line of his chest down, pausing only briefly by his cock to give it a long, slow lick with the flat of his tongue before settling between Draco's legs.

He's got his bottom lip trapped between his teeth, and looks a little sheepishly up at Draco. "Can I... ?"

Draco's entire body shudders in anticipation; he barely manages to nod and then Potter's lifting his legs, tilting them back and Draco grabs the back of his knees so Potter can concentrate on more important things.

The view in the mirror is fucking spectacular, really, but has nothing on the sensation of Potter's first few, tentative licks. He's got to have done this before, Draco assumes — he has no idea, really — but any doubt in his mind is washed away when Potter, confident Draco's going to let him do this, uses his hands to spread him and closes his mouth over Draco's hole.

"Sweet Veles," Draco hisses, fingernails digging into the soft skin behind his knees.

Maybe Draco should have mentioned to Potter that he's never done this before, not this part, that he — did it always feel like this? Is that even possible? How do people not go completely Doxy-shit insane? How does anyone get anything done, ever? Why aren't people around the world perpetually licking each others arses? They could take turns, it would never have to end —

No wonder Potter goes balmy whenever Draco does this to him.

Draco makes a deeply pained noise when Potter pulls away, mouth all red and swollen, licking his lips. "Is this — are you — "

"Potter, if you don't put your tongue back into my arse this instant, I will make you."

His sudden smile is bright and completely out of place; Draco would think about it more but Potter ducks his head and curls his tongue against the rim of his hole and, for a few blissful moments, Draco completely forgets about anything else.

Draco thought this would be harder. He thought he'd be focussing on banishing unwanted images from his mind, that he'd have to — need to — see this, to keep a handle on reality and not think about the past.

Draco realises he's been an idiot.

He's actually kind of annoyed with himself, wondering how many years — months of this he's been missing out on, Potter's tongue doing delightful little flicks, pressing in and slipping out again, fingers creeping ever closer. Draco knows he stretched himself pretty well, but it has been a long time and there's really no reason to rush things, but Potter is being entirely too tender about the entire ordeal and, while Draco appreciates the effort, he really can't stand it.

Draco lets his knees go, sliding his legs over Potter's shoulders and grabbing fistfuls of his hair, pulling him forward; he hears — feels — Potter grunt against him, and Potter gets the message. His tongue grows bolder, stiffening against Draco's puckered hole and pressing inside. Draco digs his heels into Potter's back and arches his body, trying desperately to impale his hips on Potter's face. When Potter slides a finger underneath his tongue and inside beside it, Draco curses and twists, thighs clamping down on his head.

"Jesus," Potter says, pulling his head back and panting. Draco can't even be bothered to be angry about the loss; Potter's finger is still inside of him, sliding slowly in and out. He lines up a second, and looks at Draco. Draco bares his teeth, and Potter quickly presses it inside, tilting his head to watch as he fucks Draco with his fingers, still at that infuriatingly slow pace. He seems transfixed by the sight, unable to look away. "Fuck, Malfoy, you're so — "

"Less talk, more cock," Draco manages to grind out, clamping down as hard as he can around those damned fingers.

"Son of a bitch," Potter says, and ignores him. Instead he pulls his fingers back and lines up a third, and presses all three inside in a fast, sure push, lifting Draco's hips with his other hand, holding him up to get the angle just right and Draco positively keens, eyes clenching shut as his head snaps back against the bed, throwing pillows everywhere.

"Merlin and Morgana both," Draco says. "Are you going to fuck me or not?"

"Yes," Potter says, with a finality that makes Draco's entire body dither. "Yeah, I'm gonna fuck you."

He doesn't, though, he just keeps pressing into Draco with his fingers, curling in just the right way every time, driving Draco mad with it. "Are you?" Draco snaps. "Or are you just going to watch?"

Potter pulls his fingers out, leaving Draco feeling empty. Draco lets his legs fall, thighs draping over Potter's hips as Potter grabs the bottle of oil, pouring far more than is necessary into his palm. Draco doesn't even care, can't be bothered, because Potter's slicking his cock with the stuff, the cock he's going to put into Draco, and Draco wishes he would hurry the fuck up about it.

"Actually," Draco says, when Potter (finally) lines himself up. Potter looks like he would like to murder Draco for making him stop now, and Draco can empathise. He scoots back just far enough to roll himself over, holding himself on his hands and knees, arse held invitingly high. "I want you to fuck me like this."

"Damn," Potter breathes, running a hand over Draco's hips. "Are you sure?"

"Potter — " Draco growls, and forgets what else he was going to say when Potter slides a newly-oiled finger back inside of him.

"I could do this all day," Potter tells him. He's talking to himself, has to be, because Draco can't think about anything except how woefully unfilling his solitary finger is. "God damn you."

Draco's forehead drops against what remains of the pillows as he feels Potter position himself, and slowly start to press inside. Even with both of them stretching him, even with the oil and the Billywig, it still burns because Draco hasn't had this in so long. But Draco doesn't think about that, Draco just feels, the impossible largeness of Potter's cock spreading him open, deeper and deeper and so very very full. Potter shudders as his hips come to rest against Draco's arse, the motion running through Draco; Draco moans, can't help it, and bites down hard on a pillow.

"Oh, fuck," Potter says, running a slick hand along Draco's spine to his neck, sliding into his hair. Draco raises his head, letting Potter tangle his fingers, tugging gently. "Draco."

He pulls back, painfully slow, just a tad, and presses forward again. Draco hisses: "Move."

"God, Draco," Potter says, but obeys, pulling back so far just the head of his cock is still inside. The slide is easier this time, less burning and more delightful little shocks of pleasure as Draco's body learns to accommodate this new addition. "You're so fucking tight."

"You're so fucking slow," Draco growls, tightening around his cock. "Fuck me like you mean it, Potter."

"I will. I will. I just — look at yourself," Potter says, and Draco does, turning his head to the side so he can peek at the mirror above them. They're both shiny with sweat in the candlelight, and Draco's body is one entire blush; Potter isn't even that tan, but against Draco he looks like he spent four months under the tropical sun. Potter pulls out again, still too fucking slow, and rocks his hips forward. Draco watches Potter's cock disappear inside him, red and thick against his pink arse. "Look at that."

Draco looks, then slants his gaze at Potter over his shoulder. "I look like a whore."

Potter stills. "No, you don't."

"Yes," Draco says, rocking forward and thrusting back quickly; Potter grunts. "I do. I am a whore, Potter. Even if I never do it again, I'm still a whore. I'll always be a whore."

"Fuck," Potter says, when Draco rocks again. "How can you — you're not — "

"I am," Draco says, continuing to impale himself on Potter's cock, because Potter is just holding onto his hips, unwilling or unable to move. Draco just wants Potter to fuck him; how hard can it be? Draco's been doing it to him for months. "I like being a whore. You think I'm like this because — because of the war?" Draco arches his back and twists up a little, forcing Potter deeper insider. Potter's fingers curl on his hips, nails digging into his skin. "I've always been like this, Potter. I've always wanted this. Wanted you. I just never thought you'd — will you just fuck me, already?"

Potter slams into him, so hard Draco might actually have seen stars; he cries out, sharp and a little high-pitched. "I didn't mean you — there isn't anything wrong with it," Potter says, and thrusts into him again. "God, Malfoy. There is nothing wrong with this."

Draco believes him. Of course, right now, Draco would be willing to believe the world is flat and is carried around the universe on the back of giant tortoise so long as Potter keeps fucking him like this, but that isn't really the point. He feels, stupidly, that they should have had this conversation a long time ago. They should have had a lot of conversations a long time ago. They should have been doing this a long time ago — but they're doing it now, and that's all that matters. This is all that matters. This is —

Potter drags his nails lightly down Draco's back and Draco groans into the bedclothes, pillows long lost to his useless writhing. "Merlin, like that," Draco says. "Merlin, Potter — harder, fuck me harder, you incompetent slut; harder — "

"I will. I'm going to. Don't worry, I will, I — Jesus." Potter slides his hands from Draco's hips to his chest and heaves him up, bringing Draco's back against his chest, and thrusts up just as gravity starts to drag Draco back down, and Draco cries out again, his head falling back against Potter's shoulder. When Draco opens his eyes he can see the reflection of them pressed together, Potter's mouth kissing his jaw, Draco's hair damp and sticking to his shoulder and face. He fucks Draco harder like Draco wants, even though the angle is impossible and maybe Potter's using magic but Draco doesn't care, doesn't care about anything else, anything except for Potter's teeth on his neck and his arm curled over Draco's shoulder and across his collarbone, slamming him down in time with Potter's own thrusts upwards. When Potter's other hand curls around his cock and twists around the head, Draco clamps down around Potter's cock like a vice.

"I love you," Potter says, and Draco comes.

"Fuck," Draco says, slumping forward and taking Potter with him. Potter isn't far behind, and slams into Draco three more times, brutally hard, before biting down on his shoulder and spilling inside of him. "Merlin, Harry."

Potter doesn't answer, just slips out and off of Draco like a dead fish into the mussed bedclothes. Draco grunts a little at the sudden feeling of emptiness, wincing when the cool air in the room assaults his bare back — where the hell is his wand? Too tired to bother, Draco slides over Potter's prone form, because even though they're sticky, Potter's warm and always takes a little while to come back down. Cuddling is any and all aftercare he ever requires, and though at first Draco felt awkward, he doesn't even have to think about it these days.

Potter rolls onto his back, automatically tilting his head when Draco straddles him, hips over his navel, and kisses him. Draco settles into the kiss as it goes long and deep, dragging Potter's still-cuffed wrists over his head and just holding him there; Potter doesn't struggle, just lets himself be held and surrenders to Draco's onslaught, lets Draco try and say all the words he can't with the slide of his tongue. Potter tastes like salt and sweat and there's a little hint of rubber in there, somewhere, but Draco cleans his mouth with his own, dragging his teeth over Potter's bottom lip and down his jaw. He finds that special spot where Potter's jaw meets his ear, right above the collar, and marks him there; Potter's wrists strain against his hold, arching his body up to meet Draco's.

Pulling back, Draco runs a finger along the collar, tracing the well-worn texture of the leather. "We need to get rid of this," he says thoughtfully.

Potter goes rigid under him.

Draco rolls his eyes. "I didn't mean," he starts, and sighs. "Do you know how many people I've put this on?" he says instead, hooking two fingers in the ring and giving it a little tug. "It's kind of disgusting, really."

"I don't care," Potter says, ever stubborn. His hand joins Draco's at the collar, latching onto his wrist. "I like this one."

"You've no idea where it's been," Draco tells him. "I just meant I could get you your own."

"I like this one," Potter says again, his grip tightening. "It doesn't matter who — where it's been. What matters is, is — I want this one, all right? I want all of it. I won't pretend it never happened, because even if some of it sucks, it's still important. This," Potter says, running his hand over Draco's to the collar, "is important."

Draco just watches him for a moment, then shakes his head. "You're fucked up."

"So you keep reminding me."

"I think I've got you beat, though. For once."

"Everybody's a little fucked up," Potter says, expression softening. "They're just jealous we're willing to admit it."

When Draco rolls off him, Potter scoots a little closer and Draco lets him, shifting until their bodies align, and wonders how everything has spiralled down to this, whatever it is. He hesitates to call it love because Draco isn't sure what love is, isn't sure he ever will. He knows he loves his mother, loves Pansy, but those aren't the same; this is too complicated, too tangled, too fucked up — whatever he feels for Potter, he knows it isn't that simple. He doesn't know if it's love or desperation or want or some fucked up combination of the three.

He only knows that, whatever it is, he's as sure of it as the sun rising in the morning.

The problem is, Potter isn't fucked up. He's the least fucked up person Draco knows and, considering what happened to him, considering who he is (Harry Potter, master of the Elder Wand if he so chose it, The Boy Who Should Have Died — twice!), it's frankly ridiculous that of all people to leave the war well-adjusted, Harry Potter seems to be managing pretty well. A far cry from perfect, perhaps (he's more stubborn than a Sphinx, and still loses his temper too easily and tries to hit things occasionally), but he's not nearly as fucked up as Draco originally thought he was. He has a twisted sense of humor and enough compassion to feed a small country and is a completely depraved slut in the sack, but he's more compos mentis than he has any right to be. At first, Draco was angry at him about it (even though he knew it was unfair) but now he's just disconcerted. It's not fair that he feels that way, just like it isn't fair that Potter's the only person he knows that doesn't have nightmares anymore.

Draco's still lying awake when the first rays of sunlight filter in through the window. Potter's comatose and content against him, and Draco watches his chest rise and fall, eyes tracing the graffiti he's drawn on his body over time; the marks will eventually fade, but never be erased entirely. Draco runs his hand over Potter's chest, retracing the story of their lives, and finally lets sleep take him.

He never has a nightmare again.

Chapter Text

* epilogue *

Trying to tell Potter he’s sort of desperately in love with him is about as easy for Draco as unhooking the stars.

Just short of three years after Draco first darkened the doorstep of Grimmauld Place, the Prophet stops printing weekly updates about him and Potter, apparently growing bored and moving on to more interesting things (there had been a running poll on how long the ‘fling’ would last, and since only Luna Lovegood had been mad enough to guess over two years, she got to claim the 1,000 Galleon prize). Weasley eventually stops threatening to cart Potter off to St Mungo’s, and this week Granger had gone and actually invited Draco to her brat’s birthday party (Draco doesn’t go, even with the promise of unlimited access to cake; baby steps, Potter says).

When Potter finally gets home (with both kids, because there is no way in hell Scorpius is letting Teddy go to a birthday party without him), Draco is ravenous (for Potter) and on edge. Even his mother had gone, leaving him to entertain himself for the evening; Draco’s never liked being alone and being shut up in the Manor by himself (even if by choice) has left him impatient and irate. Teddy’s hair is a shocking orange when he bursts through the Floo, and has something pink and stringy tangled in it (“Silly String,” Potter explains. “It’s a Muggle thing.”) and immediately sets about showing Draco his party favours (he got a Chocolate Frog card with Uncle Ron on it, how cool is that? ) while Potter hands off the yawning Scorpius to Narcissa.

When Draco finally manages to detangle himself from Teddy, he seizes Potter by the collar and hauls him upstairs.

Potter doesn't protest; he knows better these days that when Draco is acting wild and on-edge it's best to just go with the flow and lets him, as Potter likes to say, "get it out of your system". Draco never acts on impulse outside of sex, and he hasn't even decided what he wants when he drags Potter into his bedroom and flings him on the bed, spelling their clothes off so fast Potter's nude before his arse hits the mattress.

The blindfold slips over Potter's eyes as his arms get stretched above his head under Draco's wand, the chains tightening and pulling him back before he can resist (he rarely does, and only then when it's part of the fun) and Draco climbs over him, straddling his thighs. He jerks his hands against the bonds, though, when Draco slides an oil-slick hand around his cock.

"Shh," Draco says, sliding his other hand flat against Potter's hip, just so the base of Potter's cock rests between his index and middle finger. He increases the pressure when Potter tries to raise his hips and clicks his tongue. "Down, pet. Just lie still."

Potter groans softly but settles, trying to relax but still twitching each time Draco's fingers dance lightly around the crown of his cock. Happy to reward good behavouir, Draco circles his cock with both hands, pressing his thumbs against the underside before stroking up, slow and hard, and doesn't even chastise Potter as he rises into the touch.

Over the years, he's discovered many different ways of teasing Potter to the brink of tears, but handjobs seem to work the best, particularly when Potter is in no way able to do anything about the slow pace. It helps, too, when Draco brings his mouth close (as he does now), never touching, just close enough Potter can feel the heat of his breath; or when Draco holds him down and slides a thumb over the head, spreading the oil over his shaft; or when Draco runs the flat of his palm along his balls, pulling and stroking, fingertips brushing lower but never sliding home; or when Draco twists his hand around the tip of his cock just so, making Potter buck and a thick pulse of precome suddenly wets Draco's hand. Draco spreads the mess over his cock, hand giving never enough pressure, and Potter is biting down so hard on his lip it's starting to bleed.

"Damn you," Potter hisses when Draco tugs lightly on his balls, in no hurry. They've only been at this-(Draco glances at the standing clock in the corner)-half an hour. "Fuck, Malfoy, will you just — " Draco lets out a long, heavy, hot breath down the length of his cock. " — oh, God — "

Draco tightens his grip, earning an off-key whine, because Potter's close and Draco isn't done. Draco leans over him, one hand stroking (too slowly) and uses the other to take Potter by the throat, gripping the tight skin just below his collar. Above the collar, Draco would be choking him, and while that has its time and place, it's never a good idea to do that sort of thing when Draco's so strung he's practically vibrating.

"You forgot to say 'please'," Draco reminds him. He lets go of Potter's cock to grab his own, and holds Potter down by his neck while he brings himself off, spilling hot and thick over Potter's aching cock after only a few short tugs; Potter groans under him, twisting, raising his hips up in hope of finding some friction.

But Draco is far from finished with him.

By the time Potter's stopped being petualant and Draco has him just begging shamelessly (please, oh God, just like that, fuck me fuck me please just fucking fuck me, baby) Draco's hard all over again. Potter's eyes are heavy-lidded, glazed and lovely; Draco seizes Potter's mouth in a fierce kiss as he wraps his hand around both their cocks, groaning into Potter's pleading mouth as they crash and burn together, his mouth hot and metallic with the blood from Potter's stillbleeding lip.

Christ ,” Potter says, afterwards.

“Mm,” Draco hums. “I do love it when you commit blasphemy in my name.”

Potter lets out a long breath and just lies still for a while. Draco looks at the clock and smirks; new record, that. He’s got better at taking his time with this, drawing it out and making Potter beg for release. This time, Potter actually broke and nearly started sobbing before Draco gave in.

Draco curls an arm around him and reels him in and Potter lets him, still limp and soaked in sweat, but otherwise looking content. “You should have come,” he says eventually. “It was fun.”

“So I heard,” Draco says. He thinks he might still have some Silly String stuck in his hair. “Maybe next year.”

Potter rolls his eyes, because Draco said the same thing last year and will likely say it the next. “Like it or not, they’re my family. You’re going to have to put up with them eventually.”

“Eventually,” Draco agrees. He likes the word; it doesn’t give him a deadline. Right now (forever), Draco’s content on keeping Potter to himself. He’s grown to love Teddy, and Andromeda is sweet, and even if Draco occasionally relents to a night out with Granger and Longbottom and other non-ginger Gryffindors, he’s not quite at the point of hanging out at the Burrow. Teddy’s eleventh birthday party (which Draco wouldn’t have missed no matter how many Weasleys were in attendance) wasn’t far gone enough that Draco can stomach any more of Potter’s ‘family’ for a while.

Draco summons a glass of water off the nightstand and pushes it into Potter’s hand. “Drink.”

Potter sits up a bit to drain the glass before flopping back into the covers; Potter taken care of, Draco drinks his own fill before pulling the duvet over them, and lets Potter get his snuggling in before sleep eventually overtakes them both.

When he awakes, it’s still dark. A year of not-sleeping in the master bedroom at seventeen has given Draco the unnerving ability to awaken to the slightest disruption, but the familiar sensation of panic no longer grips him like it used to; he rolls over to look up, blinking into the gloom.

At the foot of the bed, a tiny blonde head is peering frightfully at him. “There’s a Boggart in my closet,” Scorpius says.

Draco flops backward and pokes Potter in the vague area of his kidney. “Oi, Boggart duty. You’re up.”

Potter groans and curls deeper under the blankets. “Isn’t it your turn?”

“It’s your godson that’s gone and filled his head with this nonsense.”

“Yeah, well, some of us have to work in the morning.”

“Technically, it’s already morning.”

Dad ,” Scorpius says, gripping the edge of the bed in urgency.

“Sounds like he wants you, dad ,” Potter mutters, and rolls back over.

This isn’t technically true, as learning to talk with the two of them around has led Scorpius to apply the term indiscriminately to them both. Still, Draco doesn’t exactly have a job. “You owe me head in the morning,” Draco grumbles, rolling off the bed.

Potter grunts some mangled form of (Draco  hopes) agreement, and burrows his head under a pillow.

Draco summons a dressing gown and lets his toddler lead him down the hall to the next room, and points inside the door, indicating that Draco needs to go first (obviously, in case the Boggart gets him, so then he still has Potter as a failsafe). Draco sighs and goes inside, yawning widely and lighting the candles with a lazy wave of his wand before yanking open the wardrobe. It’s empty.

“See?” Draco says. “No Boggarts. Now get back to bed.”

“But,” Scorpius says, and points under the bed. “Teddy said -- ”

“Teddy is grounded for the rest of his life ,” Draco mutters, lighting the tip of his wand and shining it under the bed. “Look, completely Boggart-free. Satisfied?”

Scorpius folds his arm and looks at Draco suspiciously. “I wanna sleep with you.”

Draco normally wouldn’t mind that, but he really was looking forward to his morning fix before Potter went off to work. This is one of those annoying details parents always neglected to mention to their children when they started talking about having their own; no more sex in the mornings because your toddler thinks there’s monsters under the bed. “Why don’t you kip with Teddy, since he’s the one who -- ”

Something in the dresser rattles, and Draco goes still. Scorpius is suddenly attached to his leg. “ Told you!

Draco raises his wand and leans down to pat the child on top of his head. “Congratulations, kid, you got your very first Boggart.”

He doesn’t really think about it when he spells the drawer open, what form the Boggart might take. After all, it isn’t real; the last time Draco came face-to-face with one (Third Year), his worst fear was tie between Buckbeak and his father (which, when combined, was pretty hilarious).

But that was before the war.

It doesn’t even have a face, just the anonymous mask all the Death Eaters wore, clad entirely in black robes and completely un-funny in any way Draco can imagine.

It looks at Draco, cocks its head, and laughs.

Draco’s wand tip falters.

He doesn’t hear the door open, but hears Potter say, “What’s taking so -- oh, shit.”

The Boggart refocuses, and blurs; now it’s worse, still robed in black but faceless and hissing, skeletal hands outstretched. A wave of ice washes over them, and Scorpius is clinging to his father’s leg so hard it hurts.

Draco doesn’t even blink. He raises his wand, mind focussed entirely on the tiny hands digging into his calf, and casts the Patronus Charm for the first time in his life.

A massive, spectral shepherd surges out his wand and leaps for the Dementor-Boggart, teeth bared in a ghostly snarl, and takes the thing by the throat. The Boggart shrieks, twisting in on itself and lost in silver mist. Before it has a chance to take another form, Potter shouts, “ Riddikulus !” and the Boggart vanishes.

Draco isn’t aware he’s shaking until, after prying Scorpius off his leg and gathering him up in one arm, Potter gathers Draco up in the other and pulls him close. Draco lets out a long breath.

“You killed it!” Scorpius squeals in apparent glee. “Hah! Stupid monster.”

Draco lets out a sound halfway between a sob and a laugh.

“Hey,” Potter says, close to his ear. “You okay?”

Draco isn’t sure, but nods anyway. Scorpius is okay and Potter’s okay -- and really, that’s all it takes for him to be okay, too.

“I didn’t know you could cast a corporeal Patronus.”

“Me either,” Draco admits.

He opens his eyes to see Scorpius smiling and -- literally -- glowing in Potter’s one-armed grip close to his chest. Looking past them, Draco sees his Patronus is still in the room, sitting back on it’s haunches and watching his son like a sentinel.

“Come on,” Potter says, “you can sleep with us tonight.”

“Aww,” Scorpius whines. “Do I hafta ?”

“But you just -- ” Draco begins.

“I don’t need to sleep in your room,” Scorpius says, adopting a drawl that is so like Draco’s it’s uncanny. “I’m not a baby .”

“What if there’s more Boggarts?” Draco says, because he suddenly wants nothing to do with Scorpius being out of his sight. “There could be loads of them, hiding in the rest of your drawers, just waiting to pounce.”

“Pfft,” Scorpius thbbts , as if he hadn’t dragged them both out of bed at stupid o’clock in the morning over one not twenty minutes ago. “Who cares? I have Ghost .”

He points at Draco’s Patronus, which has curled up on the foot of his bed, and regards them blankly.

“Ghost?”

“That’s his name ,” Scorpius tells his father, as if anything couldn’t be more obvious. “Ghost eats monsters.”

“Yeah,” Potter agrees, “but what if there’s a Boggart in our room?” Scorpius’s eyes grow wide as he considers this. “How about we all sleep here for the night, and tomorrow we’ll take... Ghost, and go Boggart-hunting?”

Scorpius appears pleased by this plan. “Okay!” He wriggles out of Potter’s grip and slides to the floor before hauling himself up on the bed (like a ‘big kid’) and gives the Patronus a poke. It licks him. Scorpius giggles. “That tickles!”

“Well, that was -- ” Draco starts to say, but is cut off when Potter, now hands-free, pulls him around and snogs him wildly.

“...exciting,” Draco finishes a few moments later, breathless. “Are you sure you don’t want to sleep in our room?”

“Sure,” Potter says, and kisses him again, so hard Draco’s actually tilting back in his arms a bit. His hands hold tight on Draco’s hips and Draco automatically hooks two fingers into the loop of his collar and pulls him down, mouth open and hot and slick. Potter’s hands slide further around him, converging on the small of his back and slipping lower; Draco makes a small noise into his mouth.

Grossssss ,” Scorpius says, reminding them they have an audience.

“What the hell has gotten into you?” Draco says, bemused, when Potter pulls back and tugs him towards the bed. Scorpius waits until they’re both lying down before wriggling between them, covers pulled up to his chin and bathed in the blueish light of the spectral dog still watching him from the foot of the bed. It’s radiating a gentle heat, just enough that Draco can feel it in the tips of his toes.

Potter looks at the Patronus, then at Draco. He curls one arm over Scorpius, fingertips skating along Draco’s temple and brushing the hair back from his face. “You’re an idiot,” Potter tells him, in the same tone he uses when he says: I love you .

Potter effectively puts an end to any further conversation by immediately falling asleep. Despite the excitement and his new friend ‘Ghost’, Scorpius’s eyes flutter only twice before he follows suit. Draco looks at them both, bathed in the blue-white light of his Patronus, and wonders of all the things that have come and gone, out of everything that’s happened, how the hell he’s ended up here.

It is stupid o’clock in the morning, though, and Draco is tired. It’s strange; years of not having any obligations aside from his ex-hobby, Draco got used to keeping whatever hours suited him. Two years of sharing a bed with someone who has a career and sharing a life (and sometimes, a bed) with small children that, aside from the occasional mid-day nap (or stupid o’clock Boggart duty), sleep a solid six-to-eight hours a night, Draco quickly adjusted to rising about the same time as the sun every morning. Potter used to work a lot of random shifts when they started out, but once he moved into the Manor (aside from the occasional midnight/weekend emergency), he leaves in the morning and comes home around tea.

It’s actually kind of... nice. Strange, but nice.

Draco isn’t used to nice. He isn’t used to things working out; every remotely high point in his young life has come to an abrupt and unpleasant end thus far, and the trouble is, when -- whatever this is -- stops, Draco doesn’t know if he will be able to handle it.

Actually, that’s a lie. He knows he won’t be able to handle it.

This perhaps isn’t the best train of thought to drift off to, but Draco is very tired and Potter is already snoring. He still has one arm draped over Scorpius, latched onto Draco’s wrist; he does this every night, Draco knows, because sometimes he holds on too tight and leaves Draco’s wrist aching. Draco never says anything, because he doesn’t mind; the twinge is oddly comforting.

Draco awakes with a start when something heavy lands on his back. “Wake up!” Teddy yells unnecessarily.

Draco groans and burrows further under the sheets. What is it with children, and being so damned cheerful in the morning?

“Teddy,” Draco hears Potter say, his voice low and a much more pleasant decibel this time of the morning. Potter’s no longer in bed; neither is Scorpius, and the Patronus looks to have finally disappated. Cracking open an eye further, Draco can see the blurry half-forms of them across the room. “Here, help Score with his laces. You know the charm, right?”

Content that Scorpius is fine and Potter hasn’t magically disappeared (and Teddy is, obviously, up and kicking), Draco drifts back off for a bit.

He  awakens too short a time later to his own high, indignant whine.

“Why do I always hafta be Lord Mouldy Warts?” Scorpius demands.

“It’s Lord Vol-der-morke ,” Teddy corrects. “And duh , because he was in Slytherin just like you’ll be.”

“I’m not gonna be in Slytherin! I’m gonna be a Gryffindor like my dads!”

Draco’s eyes fly open just as Potter goes: “Er -- ”

Your dad was in Slytherin,” Teddy says. “ Harry was in Gryffindor.”

“Was not!”

“Was so!”

“Was not!”

“Was so! Harry, tell him -- ”

Was not!

“All right,” Potter says, and while all Draco can see is the folds in the pillowcase, he doesn’t need to look at Potter to see the no-nonsense expression on his face. “Listen. It doesn’t matter what House you’re in, okay? It doesn’t mean anything; just what colour your tie is going to be.”

“But Uncle Ron said -- ”

“Sometimes, your Uncle Ron can be a big fat idiot,” Potter says curtly. “You wanna know a secret?”

Rapt silence follows his words; Draco imagines both boys nodding simultaneously. Potter lowers his voice conspiratorially. “I was almost in Slytherin.”

What? ” both boys chorus, before Draco can even get the word out.

“Yup. But I listened to your Uncle Ron, and I told the Sorting Hat no -- I thought I couldn’t be in Slytherin, because that’s where all the bad guys went. And you know what? Your Uncle Ron was wrong; I was wrong. No less than three Slytherins have saved my life before.”

“Wow,” Scorpius breathes the same time Teddy says, still skeptical, “But Uncle Ron -- ”

“I don’t care what Ron says. He’s a good guy, and my best mate, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In fact, the bravest man I ever knew was in Slytherin.”

“Who?” asks Teddy.

“I’ll tell you about him when you’re older,” Potter promises. “Point is, what House you’re in doesn’t matter. Now get dressed, and go have some breakfast; I hear you’re going to buy your first wand today.”

“Oh, yeah!” Teddy exclaims, argument already forgotten as he sprints from the room in a thunderous storm of footsteps.

“Can I get a wand, too?”

“Someday; but for now, you can borrow mine.”

Cool ,” Scorpius says, and his footsteps follow Teddy’s out the room and into the hall.

Draco hears Potter get up and walk to the door; the door closes, latch setting firmly. Then suddenly there’s a weight on the edge of the bed, pulling the mattress down by Draco’s hip. A warm hand runs up his thigh and, sighing into the touch, Draco rolls over.

“Hey,” Potter says, his other hand curling around Draco’s wrist. Draco doesn’t think he actually realises he does it, it just -- happens, on automatic. “Wake up. I have to go soon.”

“Mmph,” Draco says, keeping his eyes closed and settling stubbornly into the bed. It’s warm, and Potter’s hands are warm, and Draco’s still tired.

For a while Potter just continues to touch him, even though it’s not like it was in the beginning; Draco’s given him plenty of opportunities, but Potter still seems to crave this, these times when Draco’s feeling content or generous enough to let him touch him everywhere. He only explores with the one hand, though; the other stays firmly attached to Draco’s wrist. The touches are quickly pulling him back towards sleep, so Draco doesn’t even notice that Potter’s pulled the covers away until he feels the heat of his mouth.

Draco inhales sharply through his teeth, fingers curling in the bedclothes as Potter’s mouth descends on his cock. The first time Potter lulled him from a deep sleep with a blowjob, Draco decided sleeping with Potter was the best decision he ever made. He really can’t think of a better way to wake up in the morning.

It must be later in the morning than Draco thinks it is, though, because it’s apparent very quickly that Potter’s in a hurry. He loves giving head almost as much as Draco loves getting it ( such a cockslut), but he skips all the usual foreplay and just swallows Draco’s morning wood straight down to the base, teeth dragging and tongue swirling, and Draco bucks into his mouth. The hand on Draco’s wrist shifts, holding the base of his cock while Potter’s other hand slides lower, and... oh .

“Are you sure you need to go in today?” Draco manages, eyes still closed. Potter’s finger isn’t nearly slick enough, and it burns a little going in. Draco hisses. “Because I could really do with a good fuck.”

Potter pulls back long enough to say, “Sorry; I’ve got a meeting,” his breath brushing against Draco’s cock. Draco shivers, and twists a little as Potter’s finger slips in up to the knuckle. “I’ve already taken more than my fair share of personal days to have sex with you.”

Draco doesn’t protest because, well, Potter’s slipping in a second finger, rotating at just the right place as he takes Draco in his mouth again. And it’s true; if he was anyone else, Draco’s pretty sure disciplinary action would have happened by now. Not that those personal days were full of nothing but disciplinary action... “ Oh ,” Draco says, without meaning to, when Potter bites down a little; Draco snaps his hips up, twisting his hands in Potter’s hair. “Meeting day? Sounds terribly... boring, really. I think you’d have a lot more fun -- oh, Merlin, like that.”

“Mm,” Potter hums around his cock, pulling off with an obscene popping noise. Draco opens his eyes to see his mouth open over his cock, a thin thread of saliva connecting the two. “One of the downsides of having a job; apparently I have to show up if I expect to get paid. I’ve complained, but, you know.”

“It’s not like you need the gold,” Draco points out, groaning as Potter hollows his cheek and sets back to sucking Draco’s brain out of his cock. “I mean, what with the Black fortune and your trust fund, not to mention -- sweet Salazar, Harry -- ”

Using his name does the trick; Potter thrusts hard with his fingers as he pulls his mouth up, his teeth lightly teasing the head of Draco’s cock, swirling his tongue before pressing it into the slit. Draco pulls hard on his hair as he comes, jerking Potter’s head up just enough to land most of the mess on his face. As much as he loves coming in that mouth, he’s discovered a new love of pulling out just in time to paint Potter with it instead, because, really -- he’s never seen anything more debauched than Perfect Harry Potter with come all over his face.

Potter doesn’t seem to mind this new kink of his, which is thrilling enough in itself. Draco holds him there by his hair and just looks as Potter licks his lips, pulling some of into his mouth. Draco is still very, very hard.

“I’m going to shower,” Potter says, when Draco loosens his grip in favour of carding his fingers in his hair, teasing out the knots he’s made. “Join me?”

“Not if you want to make your meeting,” Draco says, truthfully.

Potter smirks, crawls up Draco’s body and kisses him briefly. “I’ll take a long lunch,” he says, before rolling off the bed.

Draco watches him go, fighting the urge to dash after him; after all, lunch isn’t that far away.

Then Draco realises they’ve just sort of defiled his young son’s bed, and immediately summons a house-elf to change the sheets.

There isn’t any excuse for the tightness in his chest as he dresses and makes his way downstairs in search of breakfast. It’s not like today is different than any other day. He’d often thought, years ago, that it was better the way he’d been, because surely this sort of day-to-day monogamy nonsense would eventually get boring. Draco’s still waiting for that day to roll around, but it’s been years and, well, aside from the occasional hiccup, everything is still... working out.

For some strange reason, this makes the knot of tightness in his chest constrict.

It’s stupid, he knows -- they don’t fight any more often than usual (and they fight plenty), the sex is still fantastic (and filthy; Potter’s a kinkier bastard than Draco is, and that’s saying something), and every person in Draco’s inner circle (few as they are) call him ‘Harry’ now, even though Draco still doesn’t (usually -- it slips out sometimes). Anyway, Potter still calls him Malfoy unless he’s making a conscience effort. Old habits die hard.

He just doesn’t understand how they got here -- to this weird place where Potter comes home to Malfoy Manor at the end of every workday, Draco has a regular sex life, Draco’s son calls them both ‘Daddy’, and Potter is still wearing the damn collar Draco put on him some odd two years ago. Where Draco can just expect him to be there everyday, ready to entertain the kids after Draco’s had it up to his eyebrows with the look at me look at me! all day, even if Potter’s exhausted from work. Or how they’ve had to remove anything even remotely kinky from the bedroom (which is fine, because the Manor has plenty of secret rooms) because they might be assaulted at any time of day or night by the small children that they’re apparently responsible for raising. Or how his mother keeps a scrapbook now with pictures of all of them, even Potter, because apparently he’s part of the family now.

Potter must realise something’s wrong, because he takes one look at Draco when he sits down at the breakfast table, still fresh from the shower, and his brow furrows. “Do we need to talk?”

Whenever they ‘talk’, they almost always end up fighting. Draco really doesn’t want to fight right now. “No.” Potter just looks at him, and Draco sighs. “I don’t know. Do we?”

“Maybe.” Potter slides his seat a little closer; Draco leans in unconsciously. “You look like you’re having another crisis.”

Draco is having another crisis. How Potter knows this, he has no idea. “What the hell are we doing?”

“Having breakfast?” Potter suggests, smiling when Draco rolls his eyes. “I can go dog, if you like.”

Potter figured that trick out by month two, after a spectacular fit in response to the Prophet’s interview with Astoria concerning her ex-husband’s ‘deviant lifestyle’.

“No,” Draco says eventually. “I just -- you’re still here .” Potter raises his brows. “And I can’t figure out why . All we do is fight, and fuck and talk and fight again.”

Potter gives him a look, a little fond and a little exasperated. “I hate to be the one to break it to you,” he says, “but that’s sort of what couples do .”

Draco grimaces at the word ‘couple’. “It’s stupid. It doesn’t make any sense. How do people do this and not go insane?”

“Hi, have you met Ron and Hermione?” When Draco recoils, Potter laughs. “Okay, let me ask you this: are you unhappy?”

“I’m -- ” Draco sighs, and tries valiantly to find the words. “Not... as such, no.” Potter just gives him a look, and Draco feels his nose scrunch up. “I’m not... not happy.”

Whatever time they’ve spent together seems to help with the communication, because Potter suddenly smiles. “Then stop worrying about it. People can love each other, and still fight like the blazes. Arthur and Molly are at each other’s throats all the time, and they’ve been together, what, almost thirty years?”

Thirty years. Thirty years . “How can people possibly stand each other that long?”

“Stop worrying about it,” Potter says again, because he knows most of Draco’s panic attacks are a result of his annoying habit to overthink everything . “Anyway, part of it seems to be a morbid curiosity to see what the other person is like when they’re old and senile.”

“Oh, really? Malfoys age well; old and senile should suit me.”

“Yeah, I think it’ll be a smooth transition...”

Draco smacks him playfully on the back of the head and Potter retaliates by shoving him sideways and they’re about five seconds from breaking something when Teddy interrupts the chaos, storming into the room on a mission. He slaps both his hands on the table and narrows his eyes at them.

Potter immediately tries to look like an adult and shoves some toast into his mouth. Draco smacks him one more time, just for good measure, before sorting out his hair.

“You guys,” Teddy says, tone accusing as his eyes dart between the both of them, “have sex for no reason .”

“Good morning to you, too,” Draco replies without pause, raising an eyebrow as Potter chokes on his toast. “I told you to keep him away from that horrible Muggle internet.”

“We don’t -- ” Potter says, stopping and clearing his throat. He flushes a little under Teddy’s enquiring gaze -- which is kind of adorable, really. “What are you talking about?”

“You can’t make a baby ,” Teddy says, rolling his eyes as if to say: duh . “When I asked, you said people have sex to make babies! But you can’t make babies, and you still have sex!”

“Er,” says Potter.

“Sounds like you left out some important information,” Draco adds helpfully.

“You want to take it from here?” Potter says, a little sharply.

“Sure,” Draco says. “Teddy, you want to see what I keep in the trunk upstairs?”

“Oh, my God,” Potter says, rolling his eyes as Teddy looks intrigued. “Fine. Pansy’s right: you are a terrible father.”

“Just because I refuse to lie to them?”

“There’s a difference between lying to them and handing out way too much information.”

“Teddy,” Draco says, ignoring Potter’s look of warning, “do you really want to know why we have sex?” Teddy hesitates briefly before nodding. “We have sex for the same reason everybody does: so we can live together without killing one another.”

Teddy appears to think this over. “Oh,” he says, shrugging. “Okay.”

Potter watches him go dubiously. “I can’t believe that worked.”

“Told you,” Draco says. “The truth is the way to go.”

“It’s not exactly the truth. I don’t just have sex with you just so I don’t kill you,” Potter points out, once his godson is out of the room. Draco raises an eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned, oh, I don’t know, at least couple of times now that -- despite the fact that you’re obviously deranged -- I sort of love you.”

“That’s because you grew up in a cupboard and don’t know any better; and stop using words I don’t understand.”

“You seem to understand them pretty well when I’ve got your dick in my mouth,” Potter says coolly.

Draco does his best to cover up the sudden tightness in his throat with sarcasm. “He’s only eleven. You can explain the novelty of a blowjob to him when he starts asking what girls are for.”

“Of course,” Potter says, rolling his eyes as he stands and stretches. There’s something distinctly telling about the pinch in his expression as his back arches. “What else would they be for?”

Draco wonders when Potter put the plug in; it would have to have been after his shower that morning. Sneaky little bastard . “Why do you think I’ve tolerated you for so long?”

Potter leans over, lips brushing his earlobe. “Aside from the sex? I have my suspicions.”

Draco shudders as teeth scrape his neck. “I hate you.”

“I love you, too, sweetheart,” Potter murmurs against his skin, and pulls away. “Wait up for me.”

Draco grabs him by the collar before he can stand back up. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I told you; I have a meeting. Some of us actually have jobs.”

“And some of us are independently wealthy,” Draco insists.

“I’m pretty sure my vault can take your vault. I like my job.”

“Only because you’re an adrenaline junkie.”

“Luckily for you. Anyway, I’m already late, so,” Potter leans in and kisses him, hard and swift, leaving Draco feeling light-headed and, somehow, worse. “I’ll see you tonight.”

By the time Draco recovers, the green flames of the Floo are already fading. Bastard .

Out in the hallway, unbeknownst to Draco, another conversation is taking place.

“Your dad says they do it so they don’t kill each other,” Teddy tells his companion.

Scorpius scrunches up his face. “I don’t get it.”

“That’s because you’re three ,” Teddy says knowledgeably, and ruffles his hair. “You don’t even know what sex is .”

“Three and a half . And neither do you!”

“Do so ,” Teddy insists, huffing. “Uncle Ron told me. It’s like kissing, only in private.”

“Grandma says only people who get married do it.”

Teddy thinks about this, then shrugs. “Well, maybe they will. I asked Harry the other day, and he said he was thinking about it.”

*

Exactly three years to the date from when Draco showed up at Grimmauld Place, Potter tells Draco that he’s going to marry him.

Potter gets promoted to head of his department when Robards retires, and Pansy drags Potter along to the shops to celebrate. He can’t go to his promotion party wearing last year’s fashion, after all, because all the Gryffindors and Huffepuffs are bound to notice. Draco really can’t get out of going to the event (unless he miraculously manages to contract Dragon Pox or get kidnapped in the next hour) and sighs when Pansy (finally) ushers Potter out of the bedroom onto the landing, displaying him like a work of art she just completed.

To her credit, he looks -- well, drop dead fucking gorgeous. Which is almost as annoying as it is a turn-on, for some reason. “About time,” Draco says. “You’re going to be late for your own party.”

“Pansy said it’s fashionable to turn up late.”

“No, I said we would arrive fashionably late ,” Pansy corrects him in irritation, looking at Draco for sympathy. “Honestly, it’s like he was raised in a cave.”

Potter catches his eye and they both grin involuntarily. “Probably,” Draco concedes. “Can we go?”

“He wouldn’t take off your dog collar, either,” Pansy huffs, fussing with his robes. “It completely ruins the neckline -- ”

“I don’t care about my neckline,” Potter says, batting her hands away. Draco doesn’t know what she means; he thinks the collar works pretty well with whatever Potter’s wearing. Especially when he isn’t wearing anything.

“Are you even sure you’re gay?” Pansy continues, following Potter down the stairs. “You have worse fashion sense than a Hufflepuff.”

“Pretty sure, yeah,” Potter says.

“You owe me ,” Pansy says to Draco, handing Potter over. “His hair took an hour on its own.”

Potter’s hair doesn’t really look any different; it’s still all over the place, but Pansy tried to make it look like it’s happening on purpose rather than just being a national tragedy on accident.

“Hey,” Potter says, catching his wrist. “It’ll be okay. Ron promised to not to be a git.”

“He better not,” Pansy cuts in, bringing them their cloaks. “You better behave, too,” Pansy tells Draco, not fooled. “Or you’ll both be on babysitting duty for twins, and let me tell you, they may be wee little things, but they will kick both your sorry arses.”

The party isn’t actually that bad. Draco and Weasley, by unspoken agreement, keep to opposite ends of the room whenever possible. The food is excellent, and when Luna Lovegood corners him and starts interrogating him about Nargles, Potter comes and rescues him. Then Draco gets to stand awkwardly at his side while he mingles, various people coming along to congratulate him. A few of them give Draco dirty looks, but only when Potter isn’t looking.

“I’m going to have a smoke,” Draco says after a rather icy encounter with Dawlish. Potter looks like he wants to stop him, but is intercepted by the imposing figure of the Minister. Kingsley starts talking about all the good work he’s done for the department and how it’s going to be a great year; Draco takes his chance and flees.

The party is being hosted at the Minister’s own estate rather than the stuffy basement of the Ministry, so Draco finds himself an empty balcony fairly easily. It’s dark and cold and lonely; he hates these adult engagements even more than he hates the family gatherings, because at least there he has Scorpius and Teddy to keep him company. Sure, he’s got Potter, but Potter’s always the center of attention and while Draco usually covets this position at a party, not when everyone present would rather he wasn’t.

Still, it’s quite dark, and rather than hold up his wand while trying to smoke, he casts the charm to keep him company instead. The ghostly shepherd spills out of his wand and looks around before curling up at his feet, enveloping the balcony in a blueish light. Draco leans over the railing and exhales; he doesn’t realise quite how long he’s been gone until warm arms encircle him from behind and Potter pulls him back against his chest.

Draco sags into the warmth. “Can we go home yet?”

Potter chuckles by his ear. “They just brought out the cake,” he says, and Draco perks up, because -- well, because cake . “It’s all dark chocolate,” he adds, because he’s a bastard. “Lots and lots of chocolate inside even more chocolate. It’s like a heart attack waiting to happen.”

Draco groans. “I hate you.”

Potter’s eyes flicker to the Patronus (still curled at Draco’s feet) only briefly before he buries his nose in Draco’s hair. “You love me.”

“I still hate you,” Draco says, because there’s no point in denying the other bit. “Can we leave after cake?”

“If you like,” Potter says, turning him around. “Probably a good idea, what with you and sugar.”

“I’ll have you know that incident with the pixie was not my fault. I was set up.”

“Sure you were.” Potter leans in and kisses him, just briefly, lips catching Draco’s with the sort of practice that takes years. Merlin, has it really been that long? “You’re just lucky the goblin didn’t want to press charges.”

Draco follows him as he pulls away, unwilling to let go just yet, even with the promise of cake. “Lucky I had a copper who owed me a favour, you mean.”

“Anyone I know?” Potter says, smiling against his mouth. “Can’t be having bent coppers on my force.”

“‘Fraid you’re buggered, there,” Draco says, hooking two fingers in the ring of his collar and pulling him in.

Three years of kissing Potter has done nothing to diminish the thrill of it, even though he does it every day. The Patronus glows blindingly bright as Potter sucks a promise on his tongue and Draco yanks on the collar, clacking their teeth together and angling Potter towards the nearest wall.

Then someone to their left ruins it by loudly clearing his throat.

Weasley’s at the door, looking less disgusted than he would have a year ago; now, his expression is more of a resigned sort of despair. Draco’s Patronus disappears with a small fwuff . “Kingsley’s looking for you.”

“All right,” Potter tells him, and Weasley flees. Potter looks at Draco and licks his lips. “So... cake?”

“Yes. No. Wait,” Draco says, still holding him by the collar. “Stop trying to distract me with sugar.”

“Don’t know what you mean.”

“Harry,” Draco says, and Potter stops grinning. “I can’t keep doing this.”

“Really? We’re having this conversation again? Now? ” Potter says, rolling his eyes. “Can we possibly have one night out without you having a -- no, I’m sorry, look. I told you, I don’t care what they think. Most of them don’t even care . Half of them were there , they don’t -- ”

“That’s not what I meant,” Draco interrupts. “I meant I can’t keep doing this ,” Draco tries to explain, waving a hand between them. Potter looks like he wants to throw up, and Draco realises -- once again -- he’s fucking this up. “Not this , you imbecile,” he clarifies, and now Potter just looks like he wants to hit him. “The rest of it. I’m tired of -- pretending that I like these people. Just as I’m sure they’re tired of having to whisper behind your back so you don’t threaten to murder them.”

“They’re not -- ”

“They are ,” Draco snaps, because they are . “And it’s fine. You were right: fuck them. But I’m tired of it, having to -- just so we can -- this isn’t me ; I’m a fucking bastard, Potter, and I’m tired of playing nice all the time.”

“Nobody is asking you to.”

“No, you’re all just assuming I will.”

“I’m not,” Potter says, taking him by the shoulders. “Nobody who actually knows you is.”

“Nobody in there who knows me actually likes me,” Draco points out. “Except you, but you’re insane.”

“I’m pretty sure Pansy does,” Potter says, then rolls his eyes when Draco glares at him. “Luna likes you.”

“Also insane; doesn’t count.”

“Neville likes you.”

“Only because he hero-worships you.”

“Hermione’s warming up.”

“Temporary insanity. It’ll pass.”

“They’re going to have to get used to it,” Potter says, giving up and dragging him towards the door. “What with the upcoming wedding and all.”

Draco pulls up short. “I beg your pardon?”

“Look, there’s cake,” Potter says, tugging him inside.

People are all around them almost instantly, but Draco doesn’t even notice who, doesn’t care, because Potter surely didn’t just say what Draco thinks he did.

Potter ,” he hisses, but is immediately drowned out by Kingsley’s booming voice. Potter gives the Minister his undivided attention so he can ignore Draco’s murderous glare, but Draco doesn’t care. They’ve gotten better about talking things out, but sex still seems to be the most failsafe form of communication between them (Potter still insists there isn’t anything wrong with it), though Draco will be damned if they’re not going to talk about this.

Draco grudgingly eats, eyes never leaving Potter, not even when Pansy brings him a second slice.

“Uh-oh,” Pansy says when she looks at him properly; Draco is watching Potter like a hawk, shaking Kingsley’s hand and blushing at whatever the praise the Minister’s drowning him in now. “Who pissed in your cauldron?”

Draco hands her back his cake and stalks over to Potter, oblivious to the looks of shock and general disapproval as he interrupts the Minister of Magic. “It’s just decided like that, is it? You presumptuous little snot, you haven’t even asked !”

“Do I need to?” Potter says, and it’s a little infuriating that he’s right; Draco sort of wants to tell him to go fuck himself, just to prove him wrong. Potter heads him off by pulling him in, right there in the center of the room, and for a horrible moment Draco thinks he’s going to do something stupidly Gryffindor like get down on one knee and then Draco’s going to Disapparate the hell out of here and then Potter will never speak to him again.

But Potter just laces their fingers together and cups the side of Draco’s face with his other hand and leans their foreheads together, effectively shutting out every other distraction. They could be anywhere -- up on Potter’s secret hilltop, back at the Manor, or on the pitch in the middle of the World Cup. It doesn’t matter; this close, Draco can see every oversaturated hue of green in his eyes, and as far as he’s concerned, nothing else exists.

“Consider this my official proposal, then,” Potter says. “Draco Malfoy, would you do me the honour?”

And then, just as suddenly, the world rights itself; there’s people watching them, all around them -- everywhere! -- and Draco realises with no little amount of panic that they’re all looking at him , waiting for him to answer this idiot who wants to marry him. This idiot who sleeps in his bed every night, who comes home at the end of every day to help Draco raise his son, this idiot who is the only man Draco has ever ( will ever) willingly submit to. This idiot who is often stupid on purpose and knows exactly what he’s doing, because now -- now Draco has to make a decision: in or out.

Gathering as much dignity that he can, Draco sniffs. “Fine,” he says, re-hooking his fingers in the ring of the collar. “But you’re wearing the dress.”

“And you call me kinky,” Potter says, but he’s smiling like an idiot, and, really, it’s kind of contagious.

From somewhere in the crowd, Pansy yells: “ About bloody time! ” and effectively ruins the moment.

A few people laugh, but most of them are clapping politely or, in Weasley’s case, chugging an entire bottle of champagne while Granger just laughs and laughs.

“Exhibitionist,” Draco accuses, turning his attention back to Potter. “Can we leave now?

Potter leans in the rest of the distance and kisses him -- quick and chaste, but someone wolf-whistles anyway, and Draco knows that somewhere there’s got to be a camera and the papers are suddenly going to be very interested in them again come the morning.

“You didn’t even buy me a ring,” Draco continues, because babbling helps block out the fact that every single eye in the room is on them. “Bit arrogant, that.”

“Oh, I bought you a ring,” Potter says, voice low and smirking like a devil. “I’m already wearing mine; you just can’t see it, yet.”

Dear Merlin.

“Harry,” he says, and the word is almost lost in the buzz of conversation enveloping them. “You know I’m-” Draco’s throat tightens, because even now, even after it all, Draco still hasn’t quite figured out how to unhook the stars, “-that I -- ”

Potter -- Harry -- kisses him again, deeper and harder, so thoroughly that Draco doesn’t even care that Pansy (he is going to murder that wench) catcalls in the background. Draco tightens his fingers in the loop of the collar and lets him, because even if he can’t get the words out, he can do this .

When Harry finally pulls back, he lingers just long enough to whisper into Draco’s open mouth: “I know.”

Perhaps for the first time in his life, Draco thinks, he doesn’t really need to worry about it.




*
fin
*