Harry was drunk. Not so completely trolleyed that he was hanging on to his chair for fear of falling off, just pleasantly drunk enough to be confused for a long moment as to why Neville was kneeling down in the middle of the Leaky’s dusty floor.
“Yeah Neville!” Ron yelled in Harry’s ear, banging his tankard on the table in front of them. Butterbeer sloshed over the side to join the wine-firewhisky-gillywater mix already floating across the scrubbed wooden surface.
Harry peered blearily at the scene before him as the rest of their group yelled and whooped and clapped and cheered: Neville, on his knees and looking up with a besotted grin on his face, and Hannah staring back down at him, her cheeks flushed a pretty pink and her hands shaking. And then Harry got it.
“That’s five weddings now,” Ron whisper-yelled to Harry. His shoulder bumped into Harry’s, nearly toppling them both off the bench. “You’re gonna be the only single one left soon.”
“And that’s a problem why?” Harry downed the last mouthful of his firewhisky, relishing the burn down his throat. “What’s wrong with having a little fun?”
Hermione leaned in close from his other side. “You don’t have to be single to have fun, Harry. Don’t you think it’s time you settle down?”
“Nope,” Harry said cheerfully, and waved his empty glass. “Gotta go get a refill; be back in a sec.”
He squeezed his way out from behind the table and staggered up to the bar. Tom gave him a nod from the other end and Harry rested his hip against the polished wood, settling in to wait his turn.
“I see your friend finally worked up his courage,” a smooth voice commented from behind him, and Harry smiled.
“It wasn’t courage Neville lacked, just the opportunity,” he replied, turning so his back was to the bar. Draco Malfoy stood in front of him, the other patrons at the bar shoving them in close together. His white shirt lay untucked over dark jeans, the sleeves rolled to the elbows. His blond hair fell over his forehead in fluffy tufts. All the signs of a hard day at work.
“And being in the middle of a group of drunks was what he was waiting for?” Draco raised an elegant eyebrow, his tone mocking.
“What’s wrong with that? He wanted their mates around to witness the moment.” Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I think it’s sweet.”
Draco snorted, bringing his goblet up to his lips. “Sure you weren’t actually a Hufflepuff?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Just because you Slytherins wouldn’t notice romance if it spun you around in a slow waltz, doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t appreciate it.”
“I know romance when I see it,” Draco countered. “I just don’t think that the middle of a crowded and sticky bar constitutes as such.”
“You’re still using big words, you obviously need another drink.” Harry craned his neck back to see how much longer Tom was going to be.
“Actually, I was thinking about heading home.” Draco leaned in, reaching over Harry to place his empty glass on the bar. “How about you?” he whispered into Harry’s ear.
Harry shuddered and arched away, looking over Draco’s shoulder to where his friends had occupied the entire back wall. Neville was now twirling Hannah around in the air, her feet skimming the tables and threatening to knock over the precariously perched glasses. Ron had a furiously blushing Hermione in his lap, and Dean and Seamus were yelling out the lyrics to some Muggle song about nice days and white weddings. And absolutely no one seemed to notice that Harry had left the group.
“Yeah,” Harry said slowly, pushing away from the bar, further into Draco’s space. “I think that sounds like a brilliant idea.”
Draco smiled, teeth gleaming wickedly, and he put one hand on the small of Harry’s back. “Your place, or mine?”
“I think I’d better stick to the whisky, thanks,” Harry replied. He shrugged off his cloak and threw it over the back of the nearest chair, knowing it would piss his friend off. Draco muttered under his breath and flicked his wand, and Harry smiled as the red fabric flew across the room to hang neatly from the coatrack. He sat down in the corner of the plush velvet sofa and accepted the tumbler Draco held out to him.
“So,” Draco said, settling into the other corner, one knee resting primly on the other. “How many weddings does that make now?”
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Harry said, pulling a face.
“Five, I think?”
“You’d better watch out,” Draco said, kicking Harry’s knee with the tip of his shoe. “Once people get married, they start turning their matchmaking skills on their single friends.”
Harry laughed. “You’re too slow; Hermione’s already started in on that. So, obviously, Ron has started too, and that means Ginny and the rest of the Weasleys.”
Draco smirked. “And how have you been handling that so far?”
“Mostly by avoidance,” Harry admitted, swallowing a mouthful of sweetly burning whisky. “I love my job, I love my friends, and I love not having any more responsibility than that.” Harry shrugged, swirled the amber liquid around his glass.
“I’m sure they just want to see you happy,” Draco murmured. He tipped his goblet up and Harry watched the long line of his pale throat as he swallowed. “They want you to have what they have.”
“Except that I finally do have that. No destiny, no fate, no prophecies. Just me and my own choices, for the first time in my life. I don’t think they really understand that.” Harry swallowed the last of his drink and looked at Draco. “You get it though, don’t you?”
Draco scoffed; a quiet, sad sound. “Oh yes, I understand the allure of a responsibility free life.”
“And all the fun that comes with it.” Harry scooted closer to Draco, raised one knee and straddled his lap. “And speaking of fun…”
Draco hummed, hips rolling minutely upwards, and plucked the empty glass from Harry’s hand. “I could be persuaded.”
Harry grinned, and slid off his lap, kneeling on the floor. Draco’s knees parted easily when he pushed and ran a hand up the inside of his jean clad thigh, thumbnail following the seam. Harry slipped his hands up under the loose shirt tails, revealing smooth pale skin, a faint sprinkling of blond hair shining against the dark denim. He undid the belt buckle, pulled down the zip, and reached a hand inside.
Draco’s cock was hot against his fingers, already hard and leaking. Harry pulled the material of his boxers down enough to be able to see it, the long smooth line of it, just like the rest of him. He bent down and licked across the head, catching the pearly drop on his tongue, sucking lightly at the slit for a further taste. Above him, Draco groaned behind his teeth, and Harry flicked a hot look up at him.
“Don’t come,” he said, voice rough from the firewhisky and the thought of what was to come. “I’m feeling lazy tonight.”
Draco groaned again, head tipping back to rest on the cushions, knees spreading wider. Harry grinned and opened his mouth, took in the head and sucked hard. Draco’s hips jerked and he let out a quiet oath. One long fingered hand curled into Harry’s hair and Harry let up on the suction, sliding further down. Spit and precome mixed together, easing the glide of Harry’s lips and soaking into the waistband stretched around the base of Draco’s cock. Harry let his mouth slide down to meet it, silky head tickling the back of his throat. Draco groaned again, hips twitching, and Harry did it again and again, until his lips tingled and his own cock throbbed against the fly of his jeans and Draco’s hand tightened in his hair, dragging him up and off.
His pupils were blown wide, black almost swallowing the grey, cheeks flushed a bright pink. His bottom lip was red where he’d been biting down, and Harry smiled, liking that he’d done that to him. Draco surged forward, licking into Harry’s mouth, deep and hard until the taste of himself had disappeared, and then he yanked Harry’s head roughly away.
“Bedroom,” Draco said, shoving Harry back so he could stand up. His hand slipped from Harry’s hair down to his upper arm, and his fingers dug in sharply as he pulled him to his feet.
“What’s wrong with right here?”
Draco kissed him again, a sharp nip of teeth, insistent. “I want you to ride me, long and slow, and that sofa is hell on my back.”
“I said I was feeling lazy,” Harry complained, not resisting as he was pulled forcefully down the hallway. “That sounds an awful lot like me doing the work.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll do my share,” Draco promised, and stripped Harry quickly and efficiently. “Get on the bed, hands on the headboard,” he instructed, pulling his jeans the rest of the way off and removing the rest of his clothes. “I want to watch while I open you up.”
Harry scrambled to comply, knees sliding on the silk sheets. Draco fumbled around in the drawer in the bedside cabinet, then knelt behind him. A second later, and Harry felt warm oil pooling in the hollow at the base of his spine, trickling with maddening slowness down toward his crack. Cool fingers caressed the nape of his neck, sliding down between his shoulder blades, spreading the slickness of the liquid as they followed the length of his spine. Harry moaned and let his head hang down, eyes closing as he waited for that firm press against his hole.
“I love doing this to you,” Draco said in a low voice, hand trailing over Harry’s arse cheeks, down to the crease of his thighs and back up, searching inwards. “You make the filthiest noises.”
“And you don’t?” Harry replied, his soft snort turning into a moan as Draco’s finger skated over his hole.
“Maybe,” Draco conceded, and then pushed, finger sinking inside.
Harry clenched against that first intruding pressure, then pushed back, bearing down into the wave of arousal that followed. Draco pulled out, then in, spreading the oil, the pad of his finger teasing the edge of Harry’s prostate with every inward thrust.
“More,” Harry said on a pleasured sigh, dropping his hips and spreading his knees further apart.
“Anything for you,” Draco whispered, sliding a second finger in alongside the first, scissoring them apart on the outward draw.
Harry snorted a laugh into his arm at that and was rewarded with a light, barely there kiss to his left hip and a third finger pushed roughly in without warning. “Fuck!”
“Yes, I think so,” Draco replied, pulling his fingers out with one last forceful twist. He tapped Harry’s hip and laid down on his back. “Long and slow, remember.”
“Fuck you,” Harry said lightly, swinging a leg over Draco’s hips, shuffling downwards on his knees to get into position.
“Next time,” Draco murmured. His hands came up to hold Harry’s hips and Harry reached behind him, sliding the head of Draco’s cock against his hole, teasing them both. They both moaned as Harry sank down, the burn and stretch exquisitely riding the knife edge between pain and pleasure. “Merlin, you feel good.”
“Mmm,” Harry agreed, swiveling his hips in a light circle, getting used to the feeling of being filled. “We should do this more often.”
“I would definitely make myself available for this,” Draco said, teeth gritted against the urge to move. “Oh, yes, all the time, in fact. Who needs to go to work?”
“Certainly not you,” Harry laughed, raising himself up and easing back down. Merlin, Draco felt perfect inside him, hard and hot and insistent.
“Depends on your point of view,” Draco muttered, and Harry felt his knees coming up behind him, feet planting on the bed for leverage.
They stopped talking then, the both of them concentrating on the hot slide of their bodies, hands clutching for balance and control. The air grew heavy around them, thick with the scent of sex and their labored breathing, stoking the slow burn of arousal higher. At some point Draco lifted a hand from Harry’s hip to wrap around his cock, pumping him with the same slow rhythm as his cock sliding in and out of Harry’s body, and Harry came with a low moan, eyes closed and head thrown back, muscles tightening and then going lax with release. A moment later Draco’s head pressed back into the pillow, neck arched and tendons straining, as he spilled himself deep inside Harry. He pulled Harry’s shoulders down for a sleepy, relaxed kiss, cock still half hard and teasing the edge of Harry’s prostate. Harry moaned with oversensitivity into the kiss, and Draco lowered his knees and let himself slide all the way out.
“That was…” Harry trailed off, stretching his legs out slowly, until he was resting half on top of Draco. He sighed contentedly, resting his temple against Draco’s shoulder.
“Mmhmm,” Draco agreed, fingers tickling through the sweat gathered on Harry’s back, a soothing, sleep-inducing touch.
He should get up, Harry knew, gather his clothes and Floo back home to his own flat, make sure he had his uniform ready for tomorrow. And he would do that, just as soon as he’d convinced his eyes to open again.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked, voice sleepy and tinged with irritation, as Harry slowly maneuvered himself towards the edge of the bed.
“I’ve got to go,” Harry mumbled back, sliding out of bed and wobbling slightly as he stood up. He squinted around the room before spying his glasses sitting on the bedside table. Draco must have gotten annoyed with them digging into his shoulder and removed them after Harry had passed out. “I’ve got an early start in the morning.”
“So do I,” Draco muttered.
“All the more reason for me to let you get some sleep.” Harry grinned down at Draco and snatched his clothes from the floor.
Draco stared at him for a moment, looking sleepy and confused, and something else that Harry couldn’t quite put his finger on. Then he turned his back to Harry, shoving a pillow under his chin and muttering something Harry didn’t catch.
Harry threw on his jeans and bundled everything else up under his arm. He looked down at Draco, wondering if a kiss goodbye or a quick see you later would be more appropriate. He decided on neither, and made his way back to the living room and the pot of Floo powder waiting on the mantelshelf.
His flat was cold when he arrived in his kitchen, leftover remains of breakfast still spread along the worktop. He ignored the mess and hopped across the freezing tile floor towards his bedroom, where he flopped on top of the unmade bed. Lifting his pounding head with a groan, he noted the time and winced. Three in the morning, great. He had another three hours before he needed to be up for work and yet another boring interdepartmental meeting. He probably would have been better rested if he’d spent the rest of the night at Draco’s.
Except that wasn’t what they did.
It had started, coincidentally enough, the night after Ron and Hermione had gotten engaged. There hadn’t been any fanfare, just a quiet night in for the two of them, with Hermione showing up at work the following morning with a ring on her finger and a scowl on her face because she’d lost the galleon toss over who would get to ask Harry to be best man. Harry had taken them both to the Leaky that night for a congratulatory drink, friends trickling in to take part in the celebration until the place had been packed wall to wall with well-wishers and drunk singing.
Draco had been there, along with his Slytherin friends and the colleagues he worked with at St Mungo’s, completing the mix of houses and year groups that had separated them all at Hogwarts. Any animosity leftover from the war had already come and gone in the near decade since, and Harry had found himself pleasantly drunk and leaning against Draco’s shoulder, and marveling at how nice it felt.
“You have nice shoulders,” he’d told Draco, with all the earnestness of the very inebriated.
Draco, just as sloshed as everyone else that evening, had murmured back, “Thank you. I like your chin,” which had sparked an enthusiastic conversation on pointiness versus square jaws and how stubble felt against lips during kissing, and Harry found that Draco’s mouth was also nice to lean into.
A half hour later had found them back in Harry’s flat, Draco bent over the back of the sofa as Harry thrust into him from behind, and then they’d fallen into a drunken heap on the patch of rug between the coffee table and the telly. When Harry had woken up the following morning, he’d found a steaming cup of coffee waiting for him and a note pinned underneath that said, thanks for the stubble burn. :)
It hadn’t become a regular thing. There was no exchange of Floo addresses or owls sent to make a date for the next time. Harry hadn’t done anything but smiled and raised a hand in greeting when he saw Draco holding hands with Bradley Tribbet at a Quidditch match a few weeks later. Harry went on a few friendly dates and hung out with his friends, and it wasn’t until two months later that he caught Draco’s eye across the crowded dancefloor at the Golden Gryphon. That time they’d ended up at Draco’s flat, Harry getting rug burn on his knees and stubble burn on his arse cheeks as Draco rimmed him until he screamed and came all over the green and blue Persian carpet.
After that, a kind of unspoken agreement had sprung up between them. Whenever they happened across each other, they’d go home together, going their separate ways afterwards until the next time it happened. It was never planned, never organized, and they were never anything but friendly with each other while in the company of their friends, because this wasn’t a relationship; it was fun, pure and simple.
Conversation had become a part of their time together the night Blaise had proposed to Ginny, during a huge gathering at a restaurant in Hogsmeade. Harry and Draco had Apparated back to Harry’s flat, and Draco had held his hand a moment longer, giving it a squeeze and saying in a low voice. “I’m sorry. I know that can’t have been easy for you to watch.”
Harry had shook his head with a slow smile. “Not really. I’m happy for her, for them both.”
“But, I always assumed,” Draco said haltingly. “I thought the split between you and Ginevra was only temporary. That you’d get back with her eventually, have a family together.”
Harry had snorted lightly, squeezing Draco’s hand back once before letting it go. “It’s been eight years, and she’s been with Blaise for two of them. We both decided to move on.” He shook his head again, conjured two bottles of butterbeer and handing one to Draco. “Now Molly finally gets to plan that wedding she’s been waiting for.”
“I would have thought she was already planning Ron and Hermione’s,” Draco said, settling down onto the sofa, a small, pleased smile on his face.
“Hah, no. Hermione is insisting that she wants something small and intimate, and that really isn’t Molly’s style,” Harry replied, and joined him.
The rest of the night had been spent discussing friends and family and work, Harry’s Auror cases and the weird things Draco had had to deal with as a Healer, sharing funny stories until they were both sniggering into their drinks, struggling to catch their breath. The sex that night had been quiet and unhurried, Draco straddling Harry’s thighs and gripping the back of the sofa as he moved his hips in continuous rolls, never separating his lips from Harry’s.
It was the perfect relationship, as far as Harry was concerned, because it wasn’t one. Just two friends who had fun with each other, neither of them expecting or wanting anything more. And no matter what his friends said or did, Harry wasn’t ready to look for anything serious.
Harry kicked off his jeans and pulled the quilt up around his shoulders, mind replaying the way Draco had felt moving inside him and a smile on his face.
“Where did you run off to last night?” Ron asked, draining his coffee mug and grimacing at the taste.
Harry gathered up his files into a messy bunch and stood up, ready to get back to their desk and head out. A good tussle with some potions smugglers would be just the tonic for his headache. “Just home,” Harry replied vaguely, wondering why Ron was asking.
“Hermione said she saw you leaving with Malfoy.”
There was no longer any suspicion in Ron’s voice whenever the subject turned to one pale Slytherin, but Harry could detect a healthy dose of curiosity. “Oh, yeah,” Harry said mildly, hoping to head off at the pass whatever this line of questioning was. “He was explaining the potions process at the hospital.”
It wasn’t that Ron and Hermione didn’t know that Harry and Draco were friends – they were friendly enough with him themselves whenever their friend groups mixed together. They just didn’t know quite how close Harry and Draco were. He wasn’t ashamed of the fact that he sometimes spent time with Draco, it was just that Harry felt a bit uncomfortable telling his best friends about it. After all, they mostly just had sex; Ron and Hermione didn’t need or want to hear about that.
Ron strode down the corridor towards their office, his longer legs making Harry struggle to keep up. “Oh, brilliant, did he have anything useful?”
Since we didn’t actually talk about any such thing, not so much, Harry thought to himself. Out loud he answered, “I don’t think so. I was a bit drunk, so I probably didn’t ask the right questions.”
Ron grinned. “Yeah, it was a great night last night, wasn’t it? Can you believe Neville and Hannah are getting hitched?”
“Seeing as they’ve been together for eight years, I reckon I can.” Like everyone else, he added silently.
“Oh, before I forget, Hermione wants us to meet up for lunch today,” Ron said breezily, but his eyes slid away shiftily.
“Any particular reason?” Harry asked cautiously.
“Not that I know of,” Ron replied, still not looking at Harry. “Think she just wants to have a bit of a catch up. We all got a bit derailed last night before we could have a proper chat.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Harry dropped his pile of parchment on his desk, headache worsening along with the creeping feeling of foreboding. “We’d better get to work then, see if we can’t find where these bastards are hiding out.”
Especially because the rest of their group at lunch kept looking at Hermione as though waiting for their cue.
“So, Harry,” Hermione said, putting her fork down onto her plate and dabbing her lips with a napkin, and oh, here we go, Harry thought. “We’ve all been thinking-” Dean elbowed her in the ribs. “Oh alright, I’ve been thinking,” she carried on with a glare around the table, “That maybe what you need is a little help.”
“With finishing my sandwich?” Harry asked, desperately hopeful.
Hermione turned the glare onto him. “Be serious, Harry, we’re talking about your future here.”
“We really don’t have to, I’m sure there are much more interesting subjects,” Harry said, thinking quickly. “Hey, how about that Wasps v Tornadoes match, huh? Who’d have thought Wilkes would miss the Snitch like that?”
Seamus opened his mouth, either to agree or argue, but before Harry could latch onto him Hermione smacked his shoulder. “It’s because of your notoriety, isn’t it?”
Harry stared at her, nonplussed. “What?”
“Why you don’t want to get serious with anyone? You’re worried they just want to be with you because you’re Harry Potter, Chosen One and all of that, aren’t you?”
“No!” Harry protested, embarrassed and annoyed that his friends had chosen to do this in a public setting, all of them staring at him as though he was something to be pitied. “I’m not worried about that at all. I’m just not ready yet, that’s all. Why can’t that be enough?” He asked, exasperated.
“I’m sorry, Harry, but I don’t believe that.” Hermione leaned towards him, her face earnest. “I know you, sometimes I think I know you better than you know yourself, and I think that if you think about it, you can’t tell me that having a family isn’t the one thing you want most of all.” Her gaze was soft, pleading with him to understand.
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose and gritted his teeth, because it wasn’t as though she was wrong. He did want a family, had always seen himself, during those hard to find quiet moments growing up, married with two or three kids, a house and a crup and a garden for everyone to play in. But when he’d let himself imagine his future, that not so certain time during which he’d grow old, it had always been Ginny that he’d seen standing beside him, waving their children onto the Hogwarts Express.
But they hadn’t worked together, and they’d both known it. Ginny admitted, a few months after picking up where they’d left off, that the shine had rubbed off him somewhat since their time together before the war. She’d wanted him for so long that it had taken her a while to realise that the reality was something quite different, and that she wanted something else entirely. Harry had known it wasn’t right between them, and after moping about for a few months after the split, Molly fussing over him and Arthur proudly showing him his new Muggle collectibles, he’d realized why. He’d seen Ginny and their relationship as an extension of his place in the Weasley family, not realising that it wasn’t needed, had never been, not from the moment Ron and the twins had come to pick him up in a flying car.
But while he’d easily gotten over the split, enough to be proud of Ginny when she was offered a place on the Harpies and give her a celebratory hug without a single wince of regret, enough to be genuinely happy for her when she brought Blaise home to meet the family for the first time, he’d never really moved past the image of a family with her. It was as though the thought had settled into his mind, unbidden, that if he couldn’t have that with her, then it wouldn’t happen.
And he did want that, he just… couldn’t see it. So while that was the case, he saw no problem with being free and single, and happy with the status quo.
“It’s not because I’m worried about the Chosen One bollocks,” he repeated wearily, and heard Hermione give a sigh of relief that he was finally talking about it. “I’m just… I’m happy with how things are at the moment, and I don’t see a reason to push for something else yet, that’s all.”
“That’s just because you haven’t met the right person yet,” Dean said. “And that’s where we come in.”
“And the bet,” Seamus added, and Harry’s head shot up.
“There’s no bet,” Hermione said, her tone suggesting this was an argument that had been had before. Which was really kind of depressing, when Harry thought about it, because that meant that his friends really had been sitting around talking about his sad little loner status behind his back. “We’ve come up with an idea to help you find someone, that’s all.”
“And the winner gets fifty Galleons out of it.”
“Seamus!” Hermione glared at him, and he shrank back into the curve of Dean’s shoulder.
“No,” Harry said firmly. “Whatever it is, my answer is no.”
“Just hear us out,” Hermione pleaded. “You do this for us, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll never mention it again.”
Harry chewed on the inside of his cheek, assessing his best friend. “Never?”
Harry sighed, pulled a face, fidgeted in his chair, until finally, with great reluctance, he said, “Fine,” rather mulishly.
Hermione’s satisfied expression did nothing to ease his misgivings.
“Can you tell me what happened again?” Asked a voice, and it was not the same Healer that had been in a few minutes ago. Harry walked around the edge of the curtain and saw Draco standing next to the bed, chart in hand as he read through the previous Healer’s case notes. He looked up through his fringe, offered Harry a small smile, then focused back on Ron. “Just to make sure I get the next dose right.”
“Well,” Ron said loudly, and Harry and Hermione shared an amused look. Pain potions always had strange effects on Ron. “We decided that Harry should stop being such a sadsack, so we arranged him dates for all our weddings!”
“I beg your pardon?” Draco asked, sending a startled look at all three of them. Harry groaned and sank down into a chair.
“He means what happened with your leg, Ronald,” Hermione said, long-suffering.
“Oh.” Ron frowned down at the limb in question, then shook his head dismissively. “Wanker threw a shoving hex at me and I went over a wall. But the fun part about it is, we all get to pick Harry’s date for our own wedding, and whoever he chooses to go out with again at the end of it, wins fifty Galleons!”
“I’m going to murder Seamus,” Hermione muttered to herself.
“We haven’t picked anyone yet, though,” Ron went on. Draco blinked down at him.
“Yes I have,” Hermione said. “I just haven’t told you, because you’re hopeless at keeping things from Harry.” She didn’t look up from her parchment. “I haven’t asked the person in question yet either, but I’ve a feeling they won’t say no.”
“We’re going to win, though, obviously,” Ron said obliviously. “Because we’re his best friends, and because it’s Hermione.” He leaned towards Draco, a conspiratorial look on his face. Draco bent down automatically, a bemused look on his face. “Hermione always wins. It’s why I’m marrying her.”
“Charming,” Hermione sniffed.
“I see,” Draco said slowly, looking at Harry. Harry raised his eyebrows back helplessly. A strange expression crossed Draco’s face, but before Harry could work out what it meant, Draco looked away, features turning professionally blank. “Well, another half an hour in here to be certain the spell has taken, and then I’ll give you a lighter pain potion to take home with you. Rest for tonight, and light duties only for the next two days.”
“Yes sir, Healer Malfoy, sir!” Ron beamed up at him, nearly poking his own eye out in his sloppy attempt at a salute.
“A much lighter pain potion,” Draco muttered, then left the room with a nod to Harry and Hermione.
“How many people has he told?” Harry asked Hermione mournfully.
“Healer Fayed, three nurses, and the tea trolley lady who went past a few minutes ago.” She winced. “He yelled it rather loudly to her, so it’s possible a few more people down the hall overheard.”
“Bloody wonderful,” Harry slumped down further into his seat, viciously contemplating breaking Ron’s other leg for him.
“It’ll be fine,” Hermione said soothingly. “There’ll be a small article in the Prophet and then it’ll blow over once you go shopping for lemons.”
“Why would I go shopping for lemons?”
“That’ll be the headline, probably.”
Harry snorted, uncapping his coffee and taking a sip. “Ugh, this is worse than the stuff they serve at the Ministry.”
“It’s to encourage people to go home sooner.”
Harry pushed the cup away and leaned his chin on his hand. Over in the bed, Ron let out a loud snore. “Hermione, I’m really not sure about this plan of yours. Do they have to be blind dates? And why do they have to be at the weddings? Won’t that just make it uncomfortable for everybody?”
“Of course not, it’s the perfect place for a first date,” Hermione countered, dropping her parchment to look properly at Harry. “You get to talk a little, dance a little, and be around other people all having fun together in a group. You get to see each other at your best, all dressed up nicely, and if conversation dries up you’ll both be surrounded by friends. Plus, weddings are romantic; maybe you’ll be more receptive to any spark that happens.”
“I swear you never used to be this sappy,” Harry said suspiciously.
“I’m not being sappy.” Hermione sniffed and picked up her parchment again. “I just happen to think this is going to work. The only thing I’m worried about is Luna and Susan’s choice, because knowing Luna it’ll be someone who likes to go searching for imaginary creatures, but at least you’ll be getting that one out of the way first.”
“Oh God.” Harry let his head fall down onto the table. “I hate you,” he said, the words muffled by his sleeve. “I hate you all.”
“You’ll be thanking us by the end, Harry,” Hermione said, sounding supremely confident.
Harry wondered if he could somehow contract spattergroit by this time next week. But even if he managed it, Hermione would probably make him go anyway.
“I can’t believe she seriously thought we’d all get naked and jump into the lake,” Harry moaned for the fourth time, covering his face with his hands against the horrific memory. He slumped down into the cushions of Draco’s plush sofa.
Draco snorted into his goblet. “I really never thought I’d end up feeling sorry for a Hufflepuff,” he said, laughter in his voice, “But oh dear, poor Susan, having to put up with that for the rest of her life. What on earth was she thinking?”
“Ah, they love each other,” Harry said, letting the memory of the look in Susan’s eyes as she’d made her vows chase away the weirder aspects of the day. “She got in, didn’t she?”
“Yes, after she’d made her father conjure up a screen.” Draco laughed again, then leaned forward to top up Harry’s glass. “They suit each other though, don’t you think?” He asked, slightly more soberly. “All of Susan’s quiet and calm quality seems to counteract my cousin’s freakishness rather nicely. Balances them both out, I think.”
“Yeah, it does,” Harry agreed. “It was sort of a sweet idea, really, swimming in the buff after the ceremony. Probably would have been better if Luna hadn’t asked us all to join them, though.” He shuddered lightly. “Trust Luna to find the one other person on the planet to think that a good idea, and set me up on a date with her.”
“Ah yes, the lovely Sabrina,” Draco said, slumping down further into the sofa, shoulder knocking against Harry’s. “How did you leave things with her?”
“With a firm handshake and an unspoken agreement to never lay eyes on each other ever again,” Harry said, shuddering again. “At least, that’s what I agreed, Merlin knows what she was thinking.”
Draco turned, resting his arm across the cushion behind Harry’s head, one knee pressing into Harry’s thigh. “I don’t know, she seemed alright to me. Maybe you should give her another chance.”
“Are you bloody kidding me?” Harry glared at him. “She was twice my height, and kept making me dance with her hair!” Harry almost wanted to cry, just remembering it. “And she wouldn’t keep her hands to her bloody self all evening.”
“Oh, I know,” Draco said. His voice was tight, and he coughed, reaching for his goblet and draining it quickly. “She’d likely have mauled you in that lake if she’d managed to get you in there.”
“Oh God, I don’t even want to think about it,” Harry moaned.
“Well, it’s over now,” Draco said, patting Harry’s shoulder soothingly. “And at least we all got pleasantly pissed while my cousin and her wife had sex in the lake.” He stared down into his empty goblet. “I wonder if lake sex is as kinky as they get?”
“Oh my God, I really don’t want to think about that!”
“What about you?”
“I just told you, I don’t.”
“You get even more oblivious when you’re drunk,” Draco muttered, and tapped Harry firmly on his cheek. Harry smacked his hand away, knocking his glasses in the process. “No, I mean, do you ever think about getting kinky?”
“Never really thought about it,” Harry replied, which was a dirty, filthy lie. “Kink usually comes out in long-term relationships, doesn’t it? I’ve only ever had one of those, and we were basically teenagers at the time.”
“True. I guess I’m the same.” Draco snatched Harry’s glass from his hand and drained it. “But after all those lake shenanigans, I’m feeling in a contrary mood.”
Harry snorted. “You’re always in a contrary mood.”
Draco leaned over him, smile full of teeth. “Perhaps you should punish me for it then, hmm?”
Harry’s cock sprang to attention so quickly it hurt. “Fuck, yes,” he breathed out. “Bedroom. Now.”
He chased Draco down the hall, catching up to him just inside the bedroom door. He yanked his lean frame hard against his chest, grinning as he felt Draco’s breath hitch. He ground his erection into the crease of Draco’s trousers, one hand gripping his hip, the other sliding up his chest to circle loosely around his neck. “Get on the bed,” he whispered roughly into Draco’s ear.
“Don’t want to,” Draco gasped, even as he pushed his hips back against Harry, and Harry’s smile turned feral.
“Tough,” he replied, and let Draco go only to give him a firm shove between his shoulder blades.
Draco let out a yelp as he toppled onto the bed, and tried to crawl off the other side, but Harry was on him, hand wrapped firmly around his ankle, pulling him back. He used the opportunity to strip Draco of both his shoes and socks, and then pinned him to the bed. “I’m going to fuck you so hard and deep that you’ll come without so much as a touch to your cock,” he whispered, into the back of Draco’s neck. “But not before I have you begging for it.”
Draco moaned and pushed back against his weight for a second, and then flipped over, scrabbling half-heartedly for the door. And the game began, all around the room; Harry pinning Draco to the wall by his fancily carved dresser, attacking his pale neck with lips and teeth; pressing him down onto the bed and taking his cock into his mouth, all the way down to the root; shoving a knee between his legs and sucking a bruise into the top of his thigh. And with every piece of clothing he managed to wrestle off of them both, every time Draco let out a moan as he not-really tried to get away, Harry felt as though he’d won something, something amazing, wonderful, beautiful.
The wrestling only stopped when Harry pulled his fingers out of Draco’s hole, rubbing the conjured lube around with a wet, filthy sound. He pressed his cock against the pink, fluttering muscle, and paused, one hand firm on Draco’s lower back. “Tell me,” he said, voice rough with wanting, his cock aching it was so hard. “Tell me what you want.”
“Fuck… you…” Draco gasped out, thighs spread wide and trembling.
Harry let go of his cock and brought his hand down sharply onto Draco’s left arse cheek. The stinging crack echoed round the room, the pale skin turning a delicious pink. “Tell me.”
Draco made a high pitched moaning sound, his body flinching away before immediately pressing back again, searching for more. “Fuck. Please, fuck me, Harry please, oh fuck, please, please fuck me.”
The relief when Harry finally, finally sank into the silky heat of Draco, was almost better than any orgasm he’d ever experienced. He closed his eyes on a pleasured sigh, sinking all the way in and pausing, giving Draco time to get used to him filling him up. Then he curled his hands around Draco’s shoulders and dragged him up from the pillows, sitting back until he was straddling Harry’s thighs. One of Harry’s hands again found Draco’s neck, the other arm wrapped tight around his chest, keeping his arms locked down by his sides.
“Remember what I said,” Harry muttered, as he began a punishing rhythm that had Draco moaning with every inward thrust, “If you want to come, it’s got to be without anything touching your cock.”
Draco let out a whimper at that, head falling back onto Harry’s shoulder, all the fight leaving his body in one final, rolling shudder. It was such a rush, such a powerful gift, that someone like Draco, so haughty and intelligent, so smooth and controlling at any other time, would give himself up like this to Harry, let himself be seen like this, trusting that Harry would get them both where they needed to go. A wave of arousal swept over him at the thought, wild and untamed, and Harry clenched his teeth in an effort to stave off his impending orgasm.
His thighs burned and sweat dampened every inch of his skin, but Harry didn’t let up the deep, hard pace, angling himself to hit Draco’s prostate in random patterns. Draco let out a high-pitched keen every time it happened, struggled to brace himself for the next one but couldn’t and so gave up, only to wriggle again the next time. It felt exquisite; the weight of Draco’s sweaty thighs spread open against his own; the press of his fingers against Harry’s hips as he tried and failed to get a grip; the thunderous pulse of his heartbeat against Harry’s fingers where they held on above his collarbones. The air in the room gathered them in sultry waves of sex, the sounds they made shuddering over them.
As hard as he tried, Harry couldn’t stave off his orgasm forever; it gathered in the base of his spine, throbbing harder and harder with every press forwards, building to an impossible pitch. Harry raised his hips up a little, pushing deeper inside Draco, determined to send him crashing over the edge first. He tightened his grip, fingers digging into the hollows of Draco’s neck. He pulled Draco back harder against his chest and rolled his hips, barely withdrawing, just rubbing the head of his cock over Draco’s prostate with insistence, again and again.
Draco let out an almost pained sound, a split second before wet warmth splattered over Harry’s arm, dripped down to land on Draco’s stomach, their thighs, the bedspread. Harry’s orgasm, held off for so long, was almost painful, running from his head to his toes, muscles going taut with the force of his release. He held Draco tight to him as they both shuddered through the aftershocks. And then, in one slow lean, Draco slumped them both sideways across the bed in a boneless heap, Harry still half hard and twitching inside him.
“Are you sure you’ve never thought about kinky sex?” Draco asked in a scratchy voice, once he had gotten his breath back.
“Maybe once or twice,” Harry said, eyes already sliding closed. “I might start thinking about it a bit more now, though.”
“Make sure you tell me when you do,” Draco mumbled, hips shifting just enough so that Harry slid out of him. He settled back into the curve of Harry’s body, then froze, lifting his head from Harry’s arm. “You’ll be leaving in a few minutes, I presume?”
Harry’s eyes shot open. He hadn’t been thinking, his brain shorted out from the best sex of his life, and had been more than halfway towards sleep. Stupid of him, to forget that they didn’t do this, didn’t fall asleep wrapped up in each other’s arms. “Er, yeah. I should go now, actually, unless I want to get a lecture from Hermione about better time keeping tomorrow.”
Draco rolled over onto his stomach, allowing Harry to claim his arm back. “Yes, Sunday brunch with the Weasleys. Can’t miss that.”
Harry scowled down at him. “Don’t be a bitch. It might not be the fancy fare that you’re used to, but Molly’s a bloody good cook. Her sausages are to die for.”
“You do like a good sausage, this is true.”
Harry pulled up his trousers and leaned down to bite Draco’s plump arse cheek. It still bore a faint pink mark in the shape of his hand. “I like yours. See you later?”
“Mmhmm,” Draco replied, crawling around on the bed to get under the sheets.
“You’re like a cat, the way you curl up so only the top of your head is out of the covers,” Harry mused, and winked at the baleful glare he got in return. “Did you see what happened to my suit jacket?”
“Try under the bed,” Draco mumbled, eyes firmly closed.
But Harry didn’t bother looking; he needed to get out before the urge to crawl back under the covers with Draco became too much. He sighed and made his way out to the fireplace. He needed to be more careful; he wasn’t ready for this to end yet, and he was certain that Draco would if he thought Harry was looking for more.
The wedding that had been planned between Molly and Blaise’s mother was saturated in everything frivolous, and so not what Ginny would have chosen for herself, Harry knew. At brunch the weekend before, Ginny had admitted to Harry in a whisper that she was a little bit nervous as to how it would all look, but that she’d given both her mum and Mrs Zabini carte blanche to what they wanted. She was their only daughter, after all, and Blaise was an only child.
“Let them go nuts,” she’d said, shrugging, although the rawness of her bottom lip betrayed her relaxed behavior for the pretense it was. “It’s only one day, and it’s not like the wedding has any effect on what our marriage will be like.”
“Did you get to choose anything?” Harry asked.
“The dress,” Ginny answered immediately. “Can you imagine the meringue they’d put me in otherwise?” She shuddered. “No thank you.”
“I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous,” Harry had soothed, and he’d been right… in a way.
Everything was white, from the floating candles above their heads to the doves and rose petals that shot out of a cannon the moment they took their first kiss. Even the grass they walked on had been turned white, Merlin knew why. The huge, open air canopy fluttered lightly in the evening breeze, billowing folds of white fabric that were heavy enough to knock someone out should they break free of their moorings. Every guest – and there were a lot of them – had been forced to wear a white flower pinned to their button hole or wrapped around their wrist, and the giant mirror ball floating up by the ceiling reflected everything back a million fold. The whole event was gorgeous and… really fucking bright. Migraines were in everybody’s near future.
“But I think my very favourite was the time you almost swallowed the Snitch,” said the woman next to him, and oh right, there was the other reason Harry’s head was throbbing. “I didn’t see it, of course, but my cousin told me all about it. He said you’d done it by mistake, but I calculated your stats and so I think-”
“Sorry, would you excuse me for a minute?” Harry interrupted. Sally-Ann blinked at him, then smiled and nodded, and Harry almost felt bad for a second until she spoke again.
“Of course, and when you get back you can tell me about the decisions you made when you were Captain?”
“Yeah, sure,” Harry replied vaguely, and escaped from the table, chasing the elusive figure he’d just spied ducking round the back of the canopy.
“I wondered if you’d noticed me,” Draco said, when Harry finally found him. He was leaning against a tree trunk, just out of reach of the glowing and glittering lights that bathed the celebration. He was still wearing his best man suit, a light, silver grey that made his eyes seem almost blue, tailored close enough that Harry could map out the long lean lines of him as easily as if he were standing naked. “You and your date seemed to have hit it off rather well.”
“Are you joking?” Harry reached out and snagged the glass of champagne held precariously between two of Draco’s fingers and downed the fizzy liquid in two gulps. “If I have to listen to her any more I’m going to hex myself unconscious.” He pouted at the empty glass in his hand. “Not that that would stop her from yammering on about bloody Quidditch.” He looked around desperately for another drink, not that the four firewhiskys he’d downed had stopped her yammering either. But maybe the champagne would get the job done.
“You love talking about Quidditch,” Draco pointed out.
Which was exactly what Ginny had said, when Harry had begged her for a clue as to who his date was going to be.
“She’s really nice, Harry,” Ginny had promised him. “She’s just started as the assistant PR manager for the Harpies, and she’s brilliant with statistics and things like that. She must have a photographic memory or something, because even I don’t remember that much about my own past games, and she knows everybody’s. Even yours, I think.”
Which is all Sally-Ann had wanted to discuss with Harry; his time on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. She’d grilled him on everything from Oliver Wood’s training schedules to how many points Katie Bell had scored overall, non-stop from the moment they’d met, right before sitting down to wait for Ginny to walk down the aisle.
“I love talking about the game,” Harry said now. “Like who’s likely to win the National Cup, and who’s going to fail at trying the Wronski Feint next. I do not like talking about whether or not Wood’s lucky jockstrap was what helped us win the game against Hufflepuff in our third year.”
“Wood had a lucky jockstrap?” Draco asked. His expression was so serious, as though he wished he could go back in time and use the information in one of his schemes, and Harry couldn’t stop himself from laughing.
“I’ll never tell,” Harry said, mock-seriously. “A bond between teammates is for life, Malfoy.”
“You haven’t called me that in a while.”
“I haven’t called you ‘ferrety git’ in a while either,” Harry replied, throwing a glance behind him. He could see Sally-Ann hovering on the edge of the dancefloor, squinting into the darkness as she looked for him. “But I might start again if you don’t help me get away from this Quidditch related nightmare.”
“As a threat it’s fairly weak,” Draco mused, prolonging Harry’s torture for a moment longer before letting a slow smile creep into his voice. “But I suppose I can help you out. For a price, of course.”
“Anything you want,” Harry said fervently.
“Really?” Teeth multiplied in Draco’s smile, and Harry would have regretted making such a rash promise if he hadn’t known what the rest of his evening would entail otherwise. “I’ll remember that. Go back to your date; I’ll be along shortly.”
Harry blew out a relieved breath, and jogged around to the other side of the canopy, slipping back under the bright white lights and tapping Sally-Ann on the shoulder. “Would you like to dance?” He asked, before she could start interrogating him again.
Not that that stopped her, of course, as she managed both dancing and nattering on with barely a slip in either activity for three entire songs. Harry, still no closer to losing his two left feet than he’d been at the Yule Ball all those fateful years before, found he couldn’t muster up the energy to care when he stepped on her foot for the third time in as many minutes.
“Excuse me, would you mind if I borrowed your date?” Draco asked from behind Harry’s shoulder. Harry gratefully stopped dancing and turned to look at him. Draco smiled charmingly at Sally-Ann, his expression sheepish. “I have a best man emergency, and could do with Harry’s help in the matter.”
“Oh, well of course,” Sally-Ann said, and with a sinking heart Harry recognized the gleam in her eye as she gazed at Draco. “Will it take long?”
“I’m afraid it might,” Draco said, leaning in conspiratorially. “There’s been a mix-up with the honeymoon, and I promised Blaise I’d get it sorted, but I’m at a bit of a loss, to be honest.”
Harry hoped the smile he gave Sally-Ann looked more disappointed than relieved, and made his excuses before she could try to extract a promise of a Floo-call in the near future. He gripped Draco’s arm tightly and almost ran towards the Apparition point, not even asking before whisking them both back to Draco’s flat.
“What the hell took you so long?” He complained, pulling off his far too formal for comfort robe and throwing it in the general direction of the coatrack. “Three songs, Draco. I had to listen to her prattling on for three whole songs!”
“It was barely ten minutes, stop whining.” Draco glared at the robe and then at Harry, before hanging it up with a flick of his wand. “And I got you out of there, didn’t I?”
Harry pouted, only half-joking when he said, “Would it have killed you to have thrown a small hex her way before you came to save the day?”
“I don’t do that anymore; I took an oath.”
Harry sighed dramatically. “You used to be so much more fun.”
“Oh I’m still fun,” Draco said lowly, stalking towards Harry. “I just put it towards different pursuits these days.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” Harry didn’t bother to suppress his shiver, reveling in the feel of Draco standing a hair’s breadth away, in the promise darkening his grey eyes.
“How about I show you?” Draco offered, and with a hand on his chest, pushed Harry backwards into the bedroom.
He stripped Harry, quickly and efficiently as he always did, cool fingers skimming over the skin he bared, eyes bent to his task with the utmost concentration. Harry had never paid much attention before, too busy anticipating the next part, Draco revealing himself and the sex that would follow. But his head was dizzy with too much champagne, and he was too grateful to be away from the excruciating brightness of that wedding, and he couldn’t stop himself from watching.
It was a heady experience, being the focus of Draco’s attention. The intensity of his gaze, the determination of his movements: Draco had a plan, and it centered on Harry, and the knowledge of that made his breath catch in his throat.
“Lie down,” Draco instructed, with another gentle push in the centre of Harry’s chest. His thumb brushed a nipple, a light, barely-there touch, and Harry felt the room tilt beneath him. He climbed backwards onto the bed on slightly shaky legs, and watched as Draco removed his own clothes with more haste and less care than he’d removed Harry’s.
Harry was far drunker than he’d realised, obviously, because his fuzzy brain was trying to make connections where there couldn’t be any.
Draco crawled naked onto the bed, pushing at Harry until he had him arranged to his liking; head cushioned on the pillows, thighs open and hooked gently over Draco’s bent knees. Draco stopped for a moment, eyes traveling the length of Harry’s body from shoulder to hip, settling on the hard and leaking curve of his cock.
“I’m going to suck you,” Draco said quietly, determinedly. He leaned over and pressed a kiss to Harry’s sternum. “I’m going to suck you so long and so perfectly that by the end of it you’ll be screaming.” His soft words caressed the jumping muscles of Harry’s stomach as he slid inexorably downwards. “And when you’re done, it’ll be my turn.”
Harry’s breath left him in a rush at the first touch of Draco’s tongue against the head of his cock, knees opening wider in unconscious invitation. He was so hard that even on his back, his dick pulled away from his stomach, standing aching and ready for the first hot slide of Draco’s mouth. Draco sucked him down to the root, nose just touching his pubic hair. He swallowed around the head once, then pulled back, tongue dancing along the thick vein on the underside. And again and again, lips hot and tight around him, tongue swirling over the head and dipping into his slit, down and back again, until Harry’s orgasm was rushing in like the tide. And Draco stopped, loosened his lips to reduce the suction, until Harry’s pleasure simmered back down under the surface, a tightly rolling current just waiting for the next push.
“Bastard,” Harry whispered, throat hoarse and fingers itching to bury themselves in fine silky hair.
“I did warn you,” Draco replied, and Harry could feel the smirk on his lips as they whispered down the side of his cock. Harry watched through bleary eyes as Draco leaned up and to the side, snatching the oil from the bedside table before settling back into position. “We’ve only just started.”
And it began again, wet, tight heat surrounding Harry’s dick, tongue and the hint of teeth, all working to pull Harry’s arousal tighter, higher. A wet, slick finger trailed over his balls, questing further down until it found what it was looking for, circling with the lightest pressure. Harry’s back arched, heels digging into the mattress for leverage, pushing himself down onto the hint of pressure. And again, Draco stopped; lips going lax, fingers smoothing wider and lighter circles. Harry’s orgasm shuddered on the precipice and then slipped back, banking itself with a wave of frustration.
“Draco! Fuck, please… just…”
“Not yet,” Draco muttered, one hand sliding down Harry’s flank as though soothing a nervous animal. “I told you I was fun.”
“This isn’t fun,” Harry managed to gasp out, before sliding back under the pleasure Draco was wringing out of him with his hand and mouth. A thin, stupid lie, because it was fun, of the torturous, frustrating kind, and Harry felt pinned to the bed with the force of it, the promise of release more binding than any Incarcerous spell.
This time, when Draco folded down over Harry’s cock, he accompanied it with more pressure from his slowly circling finger. He pushed just the tip inside, still with the same circling rhythm, thumb pressing and rubbing gently against the sensitive skin beneath Harry’s balls. Harry pushed down into the feeling, barely withholding a cry of triumph as Draco’s finger breached him fully, sliding with ease right to the edge of his prostate. Harry flushed with the sudden pleasure, skin prickling as the wave began to sweep over him… and Draco pulled away again, and Harry couldn’t contain his desperate cry.
“No, please!” The words slipped over his tongue like the tears from his eyes, forced out with frustration and the all-encompassing need to come. “I need to… Please let me… I just need…”
Draco hushed the fragmented sounds with a brush of his hand, up over Harry’s hip to his chest, fingers tangling and pulling at the hairs there, just shy of painful. Warm air flowed over the tip of his dick before suction began again, and Harry couldn’t tell if it was pain or pleasure that swept over and engulfed him. A second finger joined the first inside him, pumping in and out in time with the slide of Draco’s mouth, the hand on his chest seeking out his nipple. Harry sighed in relief, because he knew, could feel it in the way he moved, that this time, Draco would let him come.
The pressure inside him, having been denied for so long, was like a tidal wave when it finally hit. Harry was blinded by the force of it, all feeling reduced down to the points where Draco was touching him, muscles clenched and shaking as he emptied himself into Draco’s willing mouth until there was nothing left of him.
Draco pushed up Harry’s still shaking thighs, scissored his fingers as he pulled them out. The tip of his cock slid inside Harry easily, and Harry felt himself being filled as almost an afterthought, until the moment Draco touched his prostate. Then he was caught on the knife-edge of sensitivity, taking away all sense except touch and the feeling of Draco moving within him. It felt like only moments had passed before Draco was shaking above him, hips snapping forward with a curse as he emptied and stilled. He hovered over Harry until his elbows collapsed slowly down, forehead resting against Harry’s collarbone. They stayed like that as they caught their breath, sweat cooling on their skin and come slowly soaking into the bed sheets beneath them.
“Mmm,” Draco murmured finally, shifting their hips enough so that he lay spread out, half on top of Harry, his nose pressed to Harry’s neck. “Go to sleep.”
It was tempting. Harry’s body was already ahead of him, relaxing into the mattress beneath him, molding to the warm body covering him. But they didn’t do this.
“I should probably-”
“You should go to sleep,” Draco mumbled, interrupting. “For two reasons.”
“One, and the most important, I’m comfortable and tired, and I really don’t want to have to move.”
Harry couldn’t refute that; he was already half asleep himself. “And two?”
A sigh gusted over Harry’s collarbone, and Draco’s fingers tightened briefly around his ribs. “You owe me, remember? Consider this your price.”
Harry’s eyes were already slipping closed, his body arm and comfortable and sated. Before he let sleep claim him, he spared a brief moment to curse the blasted champagne, still flitting through his bloodstream and making connections that weren’t there.
“You know,” he said, not looking up from his book, “you can come straight in, you don’t need to call first.”
“Maybe not,” Harry replied, wincing at the hard brick beneath his already bruised knees. “But I do need a shower.”
Draco did look up then, and Harry narrowed his eyes. Draco stared at him, eyes wide for a second before blinking rapidly, lips pressed tightly together. “Ah, I take it your date didn’t go all that well, then?” He asked. His voice shook, and Harry just knew the bastard was laughing at him.
Not that Harry blamed him; he already knew he looked ridiculous. “Shut up and get over here and make me food. I’m starving.”
“So you’re saying that absolutely none of what you’re currently wearing made it into your mouth?” Draco gave up the pretense and let the huge grin take over his face.
Harry ignored him. “I’m getting in the shower now. Are you coming over?”
“As if I would miss hearing this story,” Draco replied.
Harry pulled his head out of the fire and got up, grimacing at the mess his clothes had left behind on the floor. He picked his way gingerly through his flat, hearing the whoosh of Draco’s arrival as he made it into the bathroom.
“You’ll like this one, they said,” Harry muttered to himself, stripping out of his sodden clothes and dropping them in a messy pile on the floor. “It’ll be fun, they said.” He turned on the shower and waited for the water to heat, scowling at his reflection in the mirror. “All of your friends are arseholes,” he told himself.
“Have you been shopping at all in the last month?” Draco’s voice floated through the closed door. “There’s absolutely nothing in your cupboards.”
“There’s beans,” Harry called back, testing the water on his hand. Hot enough to scald his skin. Perfect. “And some bread, somewhere.”
“Please, who do you take me for?” Draco sniffed haughtily, then sighed. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Footsteps died away, then came back. “Oh, and do give your hair a good scrub. I think I saw a prawn in your fringe.”
Harry stepped under the spray and briefly considered drowning himself in it.
Honestly, leave it to Dean and Seamus to have a sport-themed wedding. And it should have been fun, probably would have been had it not been for the idiot he’d been partnered with – who also happened to be Harry’s date.
“I promise, once you get to know him, you’ll like him,” Dean had said, during their lunch break. Ron and Harry’s illegal potions case had suddenly gotten a lot bigger, thanks to the death of an innocent buyer, and Dean and his partner, Sophie Crannock, had joined them to help try and solve the issue. It had given Dean a lot more time to convince Harry to continue on with the deal, and he’d spent a week talking up his and Seamus’s pick for their wedding. “He works in Magical Games and Sports with Seamus, so you’ve got stuff in common.”
“Does he quote statistics at you?” Harry had asked, still not quite over Ginny’s disastrous choice.
Dean laughed. “Nah, he’s nowhere near that bad. He’s hot, which kind of made me want to punch him, at first, but he’s a good guy once you get to know him.” Harry eyed him suspiciously, and Dean laughed again. “Seriously, once you get to know him, I think you’ll really like him.”
“Once you get to know him,” Harry mimicked to himself, pouring half a bottle of shampoo into his hand and slapping it viciously onto his head. “Merlin, I am so stupid.”
He scrubbed his hair violently, trying to get rid of the smell of prawns and the sludgy mushroom cream that had glued itself into his sideburns. Rubbing around his ear, a clump of lumpy slime plopped into the bath between his feet, and Harry’s stomach turned over. He’d been covered, absolutely covered in food, and it had been all Brian you’ll-like-him-once-you-get-to-know-him Stanley’s fault.
Also Dean and Seamus’s fault. Hermione too, now that Harry was thinking about it. They deserved a week of Stinging Hexes, the whole bloody lot of them.
Dean hadn’t been lying when he’d described Brian Stanley as hot, though. He was tall and lean, golden brown hair flopping over his forehead in gleaming waves, sparkling hazel eyes rimmed with thick lashes. His teeth were white when he flashed them in a shy smile, and his hand warm against Harry’s when they’d been introduced. For the first time since making the deal with his friends, Harry had sat down for the ceremony feeling as though the evening wouldn’t be too bad.
But then the celebration had begun, and Harry quickly learned that Brian had a laugh like a hyena on helium. Harry jumped every single time the high pitched sound exploded next to him, his eardrum throbbing. But the guy had an unfortunate sounding laugh, so what? Harry could put up with that; it wasn’t Brian’s fault, after all. So Harry had sucked it up, wincing through the laughter that threatened to deafen him and determined not to let one little thing spoil the rest of the party.
And then the games started, and Harry found himself a hundred feet in the air, sharing a broom with someone who was, apparently, deathly afraid of heights.
The shrieking laughter turned into genuine shrieks of terror, and Harry had had to steer the two-man broom all by himself, while grappling with a screaming Brian sitting behind him. As Harry had tried to bring the broom back down to the ground, Brian and his flailing limbs had crashed into Harry, unseating him entirely. Seamus and Dean, both on the ground staring up with almost impressed expressions on their faces, had guided Brian and the runaway broom gently to the ground.
Harry, however, had fallen the last ten feet, straight into the buffet table, his stomach smooshing the wedding cake and his head landing in the vol-au-vents. By the time he’d managed to scramble to his feet, the food was ruined and he was covered, head to toe. He had prawn mayonnaise in his hair, chocolate sponge and icing down his shirt, and jelly in his underpants.
“Who even has jelly at a fucking wedding?” Harry grumbled out loud, drying himself off and wrapping a towel around his waist. He cleaned his glasses in the sink, picking mushroom gloop out of the hinges, then exited the bathroom to find some clothes. A heavenly smell was coming from the living room, and Harry hurried into his bedroom, threw on some tracksuit bottoms, and followed the spicy aroma towards the sofa.
Draco was sitting there, still in his black pjs, a brown paper carrier bag leaking oil sitting on the coffee table in front of him. He held out a plate as Harry sat down, and began pulling cartons from the bag, arranging them to his liking across the table.
“You got me Indian,” Harry said quietly. He was so touched he kind of wanted to cry.
“Yes, well,” Draco said, piling three-colour rice onto his plate before handing Harry the carton. “It seemed to be the only thing you weren’t wearing, so I figured it a safe bet.”
Harry moaned around a huge mouthful of Chicken Tikka. “I wuff oo,” he said, mouth held open to expel some of the heat.
“You’re disgusting,” Draco replied, his cheeks pink. “Try not to cover yourself in our dinner, too.”
Harry rolled his eyes and concentrated on stuffing his mouth for a while, crossing his legs beneath him and balancing his plate on his knee. “So how come you weren’t at the wedding? Dean and Seamus said they’d invited you.”
“I was on a late shift,” Draco said. He teased a mix of chopped onion and chutney onto a poppadum, then bit into it delicately. “We had another victim from those potions in tonight.”
“Oh shit.” Harry wiped his mouth on a napkin Draco had put in front of him. “What happened?”
“He died. Nothing we could do for him by the time he was found.”
“Fuck.” Harry chewed his mouthful, the taste like ash in his mouth after the news. He put his plate on the table and leaned back. “That’s two deaths now. I need to catch these fucking bastards.”
“You will,” Draco said, and the confidence in his tone filled Harry’s chest with warmth.
“We’ve been after them for two months now,” Harry said, rubbing the bridge of his nose underneath his glasses. “We just can’t seem to pick up a trail. Every time we think we’re getting close, we hit another dead end.”
Draco pushed his plate aside and wiped his mouth. “I know what you mean. Two people have died, and we haven’t found a cure quickly enough to save them. Merlin knows how many more will suffer before we do.”
Harry put a hand on Draco’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “It’s not your fault. We know you and the rest at St Mungo’s are doing everything you can.”
“Same goes for you,” Draco said, a small smirk pulling at his lips. “You and your team will get there eventually, as will me and mine.”
“Then we’ll string them up by their bollocks.”
“Yes, we will.” Draco’s smile turned genuine, and he slowly eased a leg over Harry, straddling his thighs. “And until then, we’ll have to think of something else to celebrate.”
Harry smoothed his hands up Draco’s thighs, thumbs pressing into the hollow of his hips. “Such as?”
“How about the fact that despite all these terrible dates you’ve been having, you still manage to have fabulous sex at the end of them?” He rolled his hips as though to prove his point, and leaned in for a kiss.
“You taste like onions,” Harry muttered when they pulled apart.
“You still smell like shellfish,” Draco said back, fingers sliding beneath Harry’s waistband.
Harry laughed and then groaned, as a cool hand wrapped around him, thumb pressing just under the head as blood rushed rapidly south. He was tired and bruised, and Draco’s hands on him were like a balm, washing over him and soothing from the tips of his toes to the roots of his hair. Harry uncrossed his legs, helping Draco divest them both of clothes, until Draco was sitting astride him, nothing between them except desire and a promise of fulfillment.
Draco’s long fingers wrapped around them both, gathering the precome with a thumb swiping across the tips. It wasn’t quite enough slick, but neither Harry or Draco bothered to Summon the oil from the bedroom, choosing instead a slow, loose grip, hips rolling together in a rhythm that synced perfectly with the deep kiss. Harry slid his hands around Draco’s arse, fingers digging gently into the muscle as he thrust his tongue inside his mouth, tasting onions and spices and beneath, that fresh, minty taste that Harry had long ago come to associate only with Draco.
They moved together without the usual rush, enjoying the journey as much as anticipating the finish line. Mouths barely separating, tongues caressing, skin growing slick with a fine sheen of sweat. The fire in the hearth crackled, throwing heat over them and wreathing Draco in a golden glow, hair shining white-gold whenever Harry opened his eyes to look at him. Draco pressed his forehead to Harry’s, fingers tightening slightly and hips moving faster. His smile was smug but his eyes were serious, and Harry watched his pupils dilate and lose focus as splashes of come landed on his stomach, coated his dick. Draco lifted his hand away, brought the wet tips of his fingers to Harry’s mouth. His eyelashes fluttered down, golden and beautiful, and Harry came with Draco’s name on his lips and his taste in his mouth.
They sank into the sofa cushions, Draco’s head pillowed on Harry’s chest, one hand wrapped firmly around his ribs, and Harry sighed happily, the horrors of the evening forgotten in the glow of the fire and the heat of Draco over him. “Are you staying the night?” He asked, sleepily.
“If you think I’m going to get up now, I clearly need to reintroduce myself,” Draco muttered.
Harry grinned, pulled the blanket from the back of the sofa, and fell easily asleep.
After the last three disastrous dates, Harry had quizzed Neville over and over about the person he and Hannah had picked for his date to their wedding. But either Neville had suddenly become uncannily good at evasion, or he really didn’t see anyone other than Hannah, because all Harry had been able to find out was that Verity was apparently an absolute genius at keeping the Fainting Flaxweed calm when it came time for harvesting. Which was a notable skill, Harry supposed, not that he’d gotten any more proficient at Herbology in the intervening years, but not really the kind of information he’d been after.
He’d remained suspicious even after their introduction, muscles tensed in preparation for the arrival of the crazy or weird that would turn the day into a circus for Harry, except… absolutely nothing came. Verity was sweet, and kind, and interesting to talk to, and very lovely to look at. Slightly shorter than Harry, with big breasts and a curvy stomach that looked soft and inviting. Almost as inviting as the plump shape of her lips, and the flash of white, even teeth whenever she smiled, which was often. Her eyes were periwinkle blue, twinkling behind square-shaped wire rimmed glasses, perched over her delicate nose, and her hair was long and dark and curly, strands catching the setting sun in a mixture of gold, copper, brown and blonde. Her laugh was like a softly chiming bell, and her voice held a melodious lilt, as though she were always a breath away from breaking into quiet, lulling song.
In short, she was absolutely fucking gorgeous in every way, and yet Harry didn’t feel a thing.
And he felt terrible about it, because the longer he stayed in her company, the more obvious it became. She wasn’t the problem, Harry was. It brought him up short, made him think back to the other dates and wonder. Had Sabrina really tried to make him dance with her hair? Maybe she’d just been a little drunk, and had regretted her actions the following day. Maybe Sally-Ann had just been nervous, and had spouted statistics just to fill the void of Harry’s lack of attention? Perhaps Brian’s laugh really hadn’t been so bad. Perhaps Harry should have looked closer at him before guiding the broom into the air, should have seen the look of apprehension and acted accordingly?
It had to be something, and the common denominator had to be him, because there Harry was, sitting next to a gorgeous woman who kept trying to engage him in interesting conversation, and he couldn’t wait to get away from her. He couldn’t wait for the night to end, so that he could Floo over to Draco’s and make him laugh with a story of yet another horrendous date and then…
Well, fuck. Harry sighed to himself, staring over the dancefloor where Neville and Hannah were engaged in their first dance as husband and wife. At least he now knew who to blame.
He waited it out another hour, dancing with Verity and wishing he felt something when her small hands rested against his waist, because she really was perfect. Not argumentative or smug, or prone to laughing at him. She looked like just the type to enjoy an occasional plate of beans on toast. She wouldn’t get annoyed when he dropped his cloak over the back of a chair instead of hanging it up on a coatrack, Harry could tell. She probably wouldn’t sleep half on top of him like he was her own personal pillow, either.
She was perfect, and absolutely wrong for Harry because of it.
Fucking fuckity fuck.
“I have to go,” Harry murmured to her, as their fifth consecutive dance came to an end. “I’m sorry.”
She looked up at him, her smile knowing. “You’re not going to call, are you?” Harry shook his head, feeling like an utter git. She patted his arm, squeezing lightly. “It’s okay. I could tell you weren’t really here.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry repeated. “You are so lovely.”
Her eyes twinkled, smile growing wide enough for another flash of perfect teeth. “So are you.” She squeezed his arm again. “Hopefully whoever’s on your mind thinks so too.”
Harry’s stomach dropped, both from the realization that he’d been so obvious, and with the knowledge that Draco Malfoy certainly wouldn’t think him lovely.
He gave Verity a kiss on the cheek and left the party, Apparating straight into his own flat. He stared at the fireplace for a long moment, biting the inside of his cheek, then threw the glittering powder into the flames.
Draco was in the kitchen when he arrived; Harry could hear the sounds of a kettle whistling and the tinkle of a spoon against china. Harry followed the sound, leaning against the doorjamb as he watched Draco move around the immaculately kept space. He was wearing black trousers and a white shirt, open at the neck with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow. The top of his hair stood up in vertical tufts from fingers sliding through repeatedly. His feet were bare, sounding out quiet little taps on the tiled floor as he walked from the kettle to the sink and back to the fridge. His shoulders were slumped slightly, his movements slow and methodical. He’d had another long day at work, and something in Harry’s chest tightened painfully over the fact that he could tell just by looking.
When had this happened?
Draco turned then, cup of tea in his hand, and he stopped short at the sight of Harry. Something like surprise flitted across his face, before it settled back into the familiar lines of a faint smirk. “You’re here early,” he said, placing the cup down on the counter behind him. “Date not go well, I take it?”
Harry wanted to find some hidden inflection in the words, but all he could hear was the slight derogatory tone over the word date. Probably because blind dates were a stupid concept for him. People like Draco didn’t need their friends to set them up. He likely had a queue of men just waiting for a chance to take him out.
Maybe something showed on Harry’s face, because Draco’s own expression slipped, a frown marring the skin between his pale brows. “Harry? Are you okay?”
Instead of answering, Harry walked over to him, reaching a hand up to slide two fingers in through the open collar of Draco’s shirt. “Have you eaten yet?” He asked quietly.
“I… yes,” Draco replied, frown turning into a look of confusion. “I grabbed something in the café at work on my way out.”
Harry nodded. “Good.” His fingers hooked around the shirt and he pulled experimentally, walking backwards when Draco followed. He walked out of the kitchen and down the hall, until he was standing beside Draco’s pristinely made bed. He flipped open the button beneath his fingers, then the next, and the next, until Draco’s hand came up to circle his wrist, stilling his movements.
“Was tonight particularly awful, then?”
Harry nodded, shook his head, then shrugged. “No. It was fine. She was nice. Perfect, even.”
Draco’s expression was a perfect blank, only his grey eyes glittering with an emotion that Harry couldn’t place. “Then, why are you here?”
Because I belong here. The thought came unbidden, startling Harry with its ferocity, but he couldn’t say it. Instead, he tightened his hold on Draco’s shirt, pulled the last two buttons free and said, “Because I want to fuck you.”
He didn’t give Draco time to reply, already tilting his chin up to cover Draco’s open mouth with his own. He licked inside, tasted the moan trembling on Draco’s tongue. He shoved the shirt from Draco’s shoulders with force, as though it’s offended him somehow, then moved to his trousers, opening them up and pulling them down with quick, efficient flicks of his wrist. He wondered vaguely if he picked that up from Draco; that economy of movement, the intensity of his concentration. It’s all he could think about, getting Draco naked and wet and ready for him, sliding inside that tight, hot space that obliterates all thoughts from his head. Draco’s body was like nirvana to Harry, salvation and destruction all in one.
He lost himself in the mechanics of it all: stripping Draco down before ripping off his own clothes, pushing Draco down onto the bed and crawling over him, shoving his thighs wide. He used a silent lubrication charm because the oil was too far away, sitting innocently on the bedside table, and he was three fingers in knuckle deep before he came back to himself.
Draco stared up at him, eyes wide and dark, thighs shaking and fingers clenching in the bedsheets, and he wasn’t lovely, not like Verity would undoubtedly be. He was hard lean lines and a smirking mouth, flat stomach and chest. Angles instead of curves, down to the V of his hips, chin still pointy even a decade past childhood.
Not lovely at all, and so very fucking perfect.
Harry slid his fingers out and slicked his cock, shoving all the way inside Draco in one smooth glide. He opened his own thighs wide, knees bracketing Draco’s arse cheeks, and leaned down, covering Draco’s body and pulling his mouth open for a rough, filthy kiss. He began a punishing rhythm, angry at himself and Draco and the world, wishing he could fuck those stupid feelings out of himself. Draco’s legs lifted higher, wrapped around his waist, cock rubbing against Harry’s stomach with every inward thrust, and Harry kissed him harder, deeper. He reached up with both hands and found Draco’s, threaded their fingers together and pressed them into the pillow either side of Draco’s head, used them for leverage to keep up the pounding rhythm. And Draco matched him thrust for thrust, traded sloppy tongues and sharp teeth, bit his nails into the backs of Harry’s hands and squeezed his legs tighter around Harry’s waist, until the moment he wrenched his head back with a curse on his lips and wet warmth spreading across their bellies.
Harry’s hips stuttered, faltered, and he shoved in deep, muscles clenching almost painfully tight as he spilled inside Draco. His orgasm raced from the roots of his hair to the tips of his curled toes, obliterating everything but Draco, the taste, the touch, the smell of him. His breaths were short, warm gusts of air over Harry’s neck, and Harry didn’t ever want to move. He pressed his nose into the dip of Draco’s collarbone and breathed deep.
They stayed like that for what felt like hours, before Draco’s fingers began to flex lightly against Harry’s hold, testing. Harry fought against the impulse to clench down harder and let go, sliding out of Draco and falling onto his side. Draco curled into him, pushed at his shoulder until Harry was on his back, cushioned his head against his chest. One knee pushed its way between Harry’s, and Draco was in his usual position once more. Harry wrapped an arm around him and stared up at the ceiling, unblinking.
He’d have to speak to Hermione, call off the deal they’d made. He couldn’t go on another date, it wasn’t fair to them, or to him. And once that was done, he’d have to finish this thing with Draco, because feelings had never been a part of the deal.
He just hoped he wasn’t in too deep already.
“Harry?” Ron’s voice called from somewhere to his left, and Harry struggled not to look for him. He somehow knew that moving would be bad, very bad. “Merlin, fuck- !”
“Ron, don’t touch him!” Dean shouted, from somewhere close by. “He’s covered in it; you’ll be no good to him if you get it all over yourself, too.”
“Right, right.” Ron muttered to himself, curses and pleas spilling into each other, before his voice got stronger, more assured. “Okay, Dean, secure the perimeter, make sure none of those fuckers even thinks about making a run for it. Sophie, find me something we can make into a Portkey and set it for St Mungo’s. Harry? I’m really sorry, mate. Petrificus Totalus!”
It was a welcome relief, despite the pain, being forced into immobility. Every muscle in his body had been tensed against movement, feeling his skin tightening anyway and fighting the urge to get up and run, away from the pain, from the knowledge of what was happening to him. Ron’s charm had taken the ability away from him, and Harry was grateful for it, even as he instinctively tried to break the spell.
“I need to touch him if I’m going to get him to St Mungo’s,” Ron was saying above him. Far off in the corners of the warehouse, Harry could hear scuffling, the occasional muffled shout; the potions smugglers fighting to get away. “Anyone got any dragonhide gloves on them?”
“Here, use mine,” Sophie said. “They’ll be a bit small, but you only need to make sure he keeps his hand on the portkey. Speaking of which, I’ve timed it to go in thirty seconds, so you need to get moving.”
“Right, good. Is everyone else accounted for?”
“Everyone else is fine. Me and Dean have got this, Ron, you go and take care of Harry.”
“Okay.” Harry felt something cold and hard being pushed under his flaming fingers, and a scaly covered hand pressing down over his knuckles. “Mobilicorpus!” The cold, wet floor beneath him vanished, and the warehouse ceiling grew closer. “Can someone send a Patronus to Hermione for me?”
“Pretty sure Dean’s already done it, but I’ll check. Get ready now, three, two, one…”
Harry whimpered as he was squeezed tighter and spun around until he was dizzy, the unpleasant yet familiar hook behind his navel barely a thought, lost in the waves of pain spreading over him.
“Help!” Ron yelled out above him, the second they arrived in the hospital reception. “Auror down! We need help!”
“What happened?” An unfamiliar voice asked, at the same time as someone else exclaimed, “Oh my God, what’s happening to him?” Harry thought it a bit unfair that other people got to be hysterical, while he couldn’t so much as blink.
“An unstable potion exploded all over him,” Ron was explaining, Harry’s immobilized body being guided down a hallway away from the screaming public. “It’s some kind of hardening potion, and it’s… Fuck, it’s all over him.”
“Yes, I can see that,” the unfamiliar voice replied. Then, “Someone send Healer Malfoy an emergency Floo-call!”
“Malfoy?” Ron asked, although he didn’t sound too surprised.
“This is related to the recent potions smuggling, yes?” The voice asked. “Healer Malfoy has been lead on all of the medical cases so far, and he and his team have been working on the potion compositions. Hopefully they’ll be able to come up with something in time to save him.”
The hallway echoed the words around him, but Harry didn’t have time to process before he was being gently lowered onto a bed. The potion had splashed all the way up his front, so apart from the abrasions collected in the fall to the bare concrete floor back in the warehouse, Harry’s back was one of the few areas left unaffected. Not for long though, he could tell. He could feel the stretching and tightening of the skin over his ribs, pulling and creeping round under his arms. His hands, still caught in Ron’s immobilizing charm, felt hot and thick, and Harry could only imagine what they looked like: skin thickened and turning black, cracking open to expose the flesh within as all the moisture was sucked out.
His skin was slowly turning into stone, he could feel it.
“Alright, I’m here, what’s the- Harry?”
Draco’s voice, usually so calm and collected, smooth and carefully modulated, cracked and wobbled. A wave of regret washed over Harry, and Ron’s immobilizing charm splintered and fell.
“No, no, don’t move, Harry. You need to be as still as possible to limit the damage and give us time.” Draco’s hand skimmed over Harry’s cheek, thumb brushing along his cheekbone in a caress that Harry could barely feel through his rapidly hardening skin. “I need to remove your glasses before they’re welded to your skin, okay?”
The ceiling and the half-profile of Draco’s blank and professional expression became fuzzy and indistinct; the last thing Harry saw clearly was the storm swirling in Draco’s grey eyes.
His heartbeat tripped, a terrible feeling of loneliness creeping through him as the people filled room descended into chaos around him. Then fingers were in his hair, pulling gently, nails scratching over his scalp in a soothing gesture.
“I’ve got you,” Draco whispered, words carried through the melee surrounding them. “Go to sleep, it’s going to be fine.”
Harry wanted to protest, but the sleeping charm was already dragging him down, medicinal flavor coating the back of his tongue. His eyelids creaked shut, and Harry drifted into the darkness to the feel of Draco’s hand in his hair.
“You’re okay,” Hermione whispered. “Draco’s team worked out the composition of the potion in time, and you’re going to be fine.” She put her hand in his hair, stroking it back from his face. It hurt, a sharp needle pain of something immovable being pulled on. “You just need to lie still and let the antidote do its job.”
Harry tried to lick his lips, but his tongue was dry and stiff. His mouth felt swollen and hard. “D… Dr…”
“Don’t try speaking yet,” Hermione interrupted him, saving him from the effort. “Your clothes helped slow down the potion on the rest of you, but your hands and face were completely bare. They’ll be the last to be fixed.” Her hand left his hair to slide comfortingly over his shoulder, and Harry detected a smile on her blurry face. “Draco went home to rest, once I convinced him that I could watch your vitals better than he could in his exhausted state.” She leaned closer, whispering into his ear despite the otherwise emptiness of the room. “You wouldn’t believe all the promises I had to make.”
Harry wanted to ask what she meant, but the pain was heavy and thick, and his face still felt as though it would crack in half if he tried to move.
“Go back to sleep, Harry,” Hermione whispered, hand still moving gently across his shoulder. “My wedding’s next week, remember? You have to be looking your best for your date.”
Harry wanted to interrupt her – there was something he wanted to tell her, something he needed to say… But the pain and the soporific effects of the antidote was pushing him down into the mattress. Sleep pulled him back under to the sound of Hermione’s soft voice.
“Your glasses are on the bedside table,” Hermione’s voice said.
Harry slowly turned his head, still wary that the pain might come back, and blinked at the fuzzy form sitting in the chair next to him. “You’re still here.”
“Of course I am, you were hurt.” She sighed and stood up, and the next second his glasses were perched on his nose. “Where else would I be?”
“What time is it?” Harry asked, shifting in the bed so that he could sit up a little.
“Almost four in the morning. The antidote finished its work a couple of hours ago. I’ve been waiting for you to finally wake up.” Her nose wrinkled slightly. “I’d forgotten that you talk in your sleep.”
“No I don’t.”
Hermione laughed. “Well, at least I know you’re feeling better, which is fantastic, not least because I think Molly would murder me if I postponed the wedding a sixth time.”
“We’re still on for the weekend, then?” Harry asked. Hermione had pushed the date back numerous times over the past few months, each time insisting that work was more important than a party in the Weasleys’ back garden.
“Yes, and so are you,” Hermione replied, her brown eyes twinkling. “Are you excited for your last date?”
“About that,” Harry began, then stopped, not knowing how to say what he needed to say. Somewhere between the beginning of this stupid bet and getting doused in illegal potions, Harry had learned some startling revelations about himself. “Hermione, I’ve been…” Harry took a deep breath, then forced it out. “I’ve sort of been seeing Draco.”
Harry’s head jerked up, shocked. “Wait. You knew?”
Hermione gave him her most pitying smile. “I’m your best friend, Harry, of course I knew. You haven’t exactly been sneaky about it, either. Every time you both turned up at a drink or a party, you left together. It didn’t take a genius to work it out.”
“It’s not anything serious,” Harry said, feeling relief spread through him at finally being able to talk about it. Of course, looking back, he’d always been able to talk about it; he just hadn’t known what he’d wanted to say. “Or at least it wasn’t.”
“And when did that change?”
“Somewhere between the third and fourth wedding dates from hell,” Harry admitted, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at the smug look on Hermione’s face.
She saw him noticing though, and struggling to make her expression blankly innocent. “Well then, this deal of ours has worked, hasn’t it?”
“No, because it doesn’t change anything,” Harry said morosely. “As soon as Draco finds out, he’ll end it. What we’ve been doing was only about fun, he won’t want anything serious.”
“You need to talk to Draco.”
Harry knew that, but still he winced. “I know. I just need to work out how to say it.” He leant his head back on the pillows and stared blankly up at the ceiling. “I think we should call off this deal, Hermione. It’s not fair, not to me or my dates.”
Hermione laid her hand on his arm, squeezing gently. “Just this last one, Harry. Please, for me,” she added, when Harry tried to interrupt. “You said you needed time to work out what to say to Draco. By the end of your date on Saturday, you’ll know exactly what to say, I promise.”
Harry looked at her, wanting to refuse, knowing it wouldn’t do anyone any good. But Hermione stared back at him unwaveringly, and the earnest confidence of her expression made him pause. She was his best friend, and he trusted her with his life. He could trust her with this, too.
“Alright, Hermione, you win. One last wedding date.”
He was also no closer to working out what to say to Draco.
He hadn’t even seen Draco since his discharge from St Mungo’s; a quick, searching look and a brief smile across a crowded hospital room, and then Ron had Apparated Harry back to his flat, beginning the stream of friends and family popping in and out, feeding him, talking to him, reassuring themselves that Harry was fine once again. And absolutely none of them the one person Harry most wanted to see, even if he was still struggling to find the words he knew he needed to say.
Which was why he was a little surprised to hear the familiar chime of the Floo engaging and the sound of Draco’s voice floating through from the kitchen.
“There you are,” Draco said, coming into view and leaning against the living room door frame. “I wondered if I’d miss you, I know the wedding will be happening today.”
Harry gazed up at him, taking in the messy strands of gold-blond hair, the tired circles under his eyes, marring the smooth, pale skin. “You work too much,” he observed mildly, surprised when Draco tried to cover a wince.
“Yes, about that. I should have come to see you before now, but the Ministry was insistent that I give them a thorough breakdown of my process with the illegal potion. I’ve been practically chained to a desk for four days, which was not what I signed up for when I became a Healer.” He crossed the room and sank to his knees next to the sofa, looking up at Harry. “How are you feeling?”
Harry swallowed, knowing he meant it only in the medical sense. “Pretty much back to normal. I’ve been kind of compulsively moisturizing my hands and face, though.” He smiled, rolling his eyes at himself. “I’ve gone through about three bottles of the stuff the past two days.”
“Psychosomatic,” Draco said, reaching out and lifting one of Harry’s hands, pulling it towards him. He ran the tips of his fingers lightly over the back, tracing the path of veins up to the wrist, examining the skin. Harry shuddered. “You’ll stop soon enough.” His hand tightened around Harry’s, and he lifted his gaze. “I’m really glad you’re okay,” he said, quietly, seriously.
There were things Harry knew he needed to say, but the words still wouldn’t come, sticking in his throat like poisoned barbs. Instead, he raised his eyebrows and smirked, asking, “How glad?”
Draco grinned back, hand dropping immediately to the button of Harry’s jeans. “How about I show you?”
Draco’s mouth on him was a slow, heavenly torture. He knew, had always known, right from their very first time together, exactly what buttons to press to have Harry soaring higher than anyone else had ever managed. His slim, strong fingers holding onto Harry’s hip, thumb rubbing the crease of his groin. His other hand tucked under Harry’s balls, pulling gently and stroking the sensitive stretch of skin just behind. Lips providing perfect suction on the slide down, tongue flickering over the pulsing vein on the underside, curling round the foreskin and dipping teasingly into the slit before gliding back down again. The low moan vibrating around him as Harry lifted a hand to place it on the back of Draco’s head, fingers cradling the back of his skull. It was ecstasy like nothing Harry had ever experienced until Draco had come along, the force of it rolling through him and making his chest ache. He stared down, eyes fixed on the smooth rhythm of Draco’s red lips and his hot, wet mouth, saliva glistening on the wiry hairs surrounding the base of his dick. He didn’t want it to ever end, but his orgasm surged up and flowed over as inexorably as the tide, and he watched Draco’s eyelids flutter as he swallowed the salty, bitter liquid.
Draco withdrew his hands, sliding them up Harry’s flanks as he let Harry’s softening cock slip from his mouth, kissing the sweat dampened skin of his lower stomach. “Was that demonstrative enough?” He asked, breath hot as it slipped over Harry’s navel.
“Come up here,” Harry replied, trying to slide further onto the sofa cushions. “Your turn.”
“You’re still convalescing.”
“I’m sitting at home, bored out of my mind,” Harry corrected. “And I want your dick in my mouth.”
“No,” Draco replied, and pushed Harry’s thighs together, lifting himself up and straddling his hips. “You need to lie still.” He shoved Harry’s t shirt up under his armpits, fingertips leaving trails of warmth in their wake.
“I really don’t,” Harry said distractedly, eyes on Draco’s hand as he undid his trousers, pushing them down over his hips. His cock stood up hard and proud, leaking at the tip. Harry’s mouth watered.
“Healer’s orders,” Draco said in a strained sing-song, and wrapped a hand around himself.
Harry watched avidly as Draco stripped himself, hips twitching with every upward stroke. His eyes were fixed on Harry’s mouth, as though imagining it was there that his cock was plunging, Harry’s lips wrapped around him instead of his own fingers. Harry flicked his tongue out, slowly, teasingly, and Draco groaned, fingers clenching tight a second before coming, pearly white streaks landing on Harry’s stomach, his chest, his still half-hard cock.
Draco held himself up with a hand on the back of the sofa, harsh breaths slowly returning back to normal. His eyes raked over Harry splayed out beneath him, and his lips pulled up in an evil smirk. Harry realised what he was going to do a split second too late to stop him, and Draco dragged Harry’s t shirt back down to cover the mess.
“You’re disgusting,” Harry complained, curling his arms around Draco’s back as he slumped down over him.
“No, I’m practical,” Draco corrected, pressing a light kiss to the side of Harry’s jaw. “This is a silk shirt I’m wearing.” He shifted, pushing Harry into the position he wanted, and settled his head on Harry’s chest. “Besides, you have to go and get ready for the wedding in a minute.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Harry moaned, turning so that his nose was buried in soft blond hair.
“Ah, yes, the date,” Draco said. “Will you be coming back to mine to complain afterwards?”
According to Hermione, Harry would know what to say by that point. Harry took a deep breath, memorizing the smell of Draco, the weight of his body, the feel of his hair against his face, his knee pressed between Harry’s.
“Yeah. I’ll be there.”
Almost everyone already invited to the wedding was already there, including Mr and Mrs Granger, standing huddled together by the back door, watching the proceedings with expressions torn between amazement and trepidation. Harry waved greetings at everyone and stepped inside the house, dodging Molly as she whipped up yet more food and drinks, stopping only long enough to place a fleeting kiss on his cheek.
“Ron’s upstairs in his old room,” she informed him, flicking her wand and sending an armada of sausage rolls through the window. Harry heard George’s curse and looked up to see him covered in flakes of pastry. “Hermione’s getting ready in Ginny’s room, if you wanted to pop in and see her before we start.”
Harry nodded his thanks and made his way to the stairs, climbing up until he came to Ginny’s room. He knocked and waited for Hermione to invite him in, then stepped inside. Hermione stood by the window, looking down on the garden absently. A hair grip stuck out from between her lips.
“Oh good, you’re here,” she said, turning to Harry with a smile. “Would you zip me up? I’d ask mum, but I think she’s a bit afraid to come inside the house.”
Harry walked over to her and pulled the zip up the back of her dress. Like Ginny, Hermione had gone for the simple style; tight and strapless, the skirt just skimming the floor around her. Pale pink roses curled around her hips, falling petals stitched delicately down the length of the skirt. Her hair was smooth and pulled up into a whirlpool shaped bun, similar to the way she wore it for the Yule Ball.
“You are so beautiful,” Harry said, and his eyes widened as Hermione promptly burst into tears.
“Oh, Harry,” she scolded him through her tears, even as he searched frantically for a tissue through the mess of makeup and jewelry scattered across the vanity unit. “If you’ve made my mascara run I’ll kill you.”
“Sorry, sorry,” he mumbled, shoving a wet wipe into her hands and backing away. “I was just trying to-”
“Don’t be sorry, I’m just being silly,” Hermione interrupted, wiping at the gloopy black mess that had smeared beneath her eyes. “It’s ridiculous, it’s only a family party, really, and yet I can’t seem to stop crying.”
“It’s a lot more than that,” Harry said seriously, and when Hermione looked at him, bottom lip trembling, he grinned. “It’s also my last blind date.”
Hermione laughed, and Harry was thankful to see the shimmer in her eyes receding, leaving twinkling mischief behind. “Oh yes, saving the best for last.”
“If you say so,” Harry muttered, rolling his eyes. “Listen, I’ve got to go and make sure Ron isn’t throwing up into the waste bin in a second, so tell me, who is it?”
“Oh, you’ll know them when you see them, trust me,” Hermione said airily, leaning towards the mirror. She stretched her face in a comical expression and applied more black gloop to her lashes. “They won’t arrive until after the ceremony though, so keep an eye out, okay?”
“You just love torturing me, don’t you?”
Hermione caught his eye in the mirror and smiled. “You deserve it. Now go and see to Ron, he’s probably strangling himself trying to get into his robes.”
“I hate you,” Harry said as he backed out of the room.
“You love me!”
Harry stood next to Ron and watched as Mr Granger walked Hermione down the aisle between the scattering of chairs, filled only with the rest of the Weasley family. It had grown quite a bit in the last ten years, and Harry saw what he had been refusing to see before. Everyone had grown up, found someone special, except for him. Not everyone was married – Charlie’s only love remained firmly with his dragons – and not everyone was chomping at the bit to start a family, but they’d all moved on from the kids Harry had met and fallen in love with, turning into adults before his eyes and leaving him behind somewhere along the way.
He saw now what Hermione had been trying to tell him with this stupid deal of hers; this was what he wanted, in a form unique to himself. He wanted to be able to look as Ron did, awed and disbelieving and excited, without an ounce of fear over showing it as he watched Hermione walking towards him. He wanted to be like Hermione, her smile wide, confident in her knowledge that she was loved.
And as Hermione’s gaze lifted to his for a brief moment, Harry knew exactly what he had to say to Draco later. He could only hope it wouldn’t hurt too much to hear the answer.
The ceremony went without a hitch, everybody clapping and cheering when the youngest male Weasley finally kissed his bride. Harry clapped along with them, heart soaring for his two best friends. He patted Ron on the shoulder and grabbed Hermione hard, giving her a tight hug. “Congratulations,” he whispered into her hair, and she laughed and hugged him back just as tight.
“Same to you,” she said, failing to keep the laughter out of her voice. “Your date’s just arrived.”
Harry whipped his head around, searching through the suddenly endless crowd of redheads. And there, at the back, leaning against one of the tent posts, was Draco.
“I…” Harry stared at Hermione, as realization dawned. “This whole thing was on purpose, wasn’t it? All those terrible dates, they were terrible on purpose.”
Hermione nodded brightly. “Of course. Well, except for Verity. But you know what Neville and Hannah are like,” she shrugged, smoothed back her hair with a hand. “Can’t stand the idea of being mean, even if it’s necessary.” She patted him on the shoulder and smiled. “Now, off you go. It’s rude to keep your date waiting, you know.”
“I’m going to kill you,” Harry promised, even as he felt the pull to go to Draco, to find out why he was here.
“Pretty sure you’ll be too busy,” Hermione replied, and stuck her tongue out at him a second before she was engulfed by her new official family members.
Draco was still leaning against the post when Harry reached him, looking stunningly gorgeous in his wedding clothes. He offered a small smile and straightened, hands fluttering in the air between them before they were shoved into his trouser pockets. “Hi,” he said quietly.
“So, you’re Hermione’s pick,” Harry said. Draco nodded. “Why did you agree?”
Draco’s eyes flicked away, as though searching for something to say, and then he sighed. “Because I thought it might be the easiest way to find out.”
“Find out what?”
Draco looked back at him, his grey eyes serious. “If you wanted something more serious. Between us, I mean.”
“Because that’s not what you want,” Harry said, nodding slowly. His chest ached and his stomach felt as though it was full of lead.
And then Draco raised his hand and cupped Harry’s cheek. “Harry, it’s all I want,” he said hoarsely. He leaned closer, breath hot against Harry’s lips. “Ever since the beginning.”
Harry's heart swelled and his breath stuttered in his throat. He grabbed for him, fingers finding purchase in the soft silk robes and he pulled Draco closer. Their lips met with surprising gentleness, as Harry floated in the revelation that he could have this. He could have it all, just as his friends had promised, with just the right person. He opened his mouth, swallowed the moan Draco let out and deepened the kiss, not pulling away until they were both breathless.
Feeling light headed, Harry rested his temple against Draco’s reveling in the feel of being in his arms. “At some point,” he said mildly, “I’m going to seek out all of my arsehole friends and murder them quietly in their beds. Including you,” he insisted, with a pinch to Draco’s waist, “Because you knew earlier and you didn’t say anything.”
“Hermione convinced me not to. She really can be quite terrifyingly devious.”
“But for now,” Harry said, ignoring him. “Take me home?”
“Yours? Or mine?”
Harry pulled back and smiled at Draco. “Doesn’t matter, as long as you’re there.”