It isn't easy being Draco Malfoy, not in the days following the war.
Humility has never been one of his strengths. His fortune and assets were seized by the Ministry of Magic and are being held for a ten-year period as part of his sentence for war crimes. If Harry Potter, the bloody hero, hadn't stepped up and spoken for Draco, it would have been ten times worse. He would be rotting in Azkaban along with his father and the rest, instead of being allowed to finish his education using Hogwarts' newly offered Owl Post Correspondence Course.
Draco's mother retired to one of the Black family estates in France, but Draco decided to stay in England and attempt to find his way in the world despite the blows against him. Finding work as a marked Death Eater is proving to be a nearly impossible task however, and Draco is nearly ready to admit defeat. But the thought of giving up the remaining pride he has is unbearable. He's even toying with the idea of selling his body if that's what it takes to survive on his own.
Draco makes his way to the Hog's Head Inn. He's exhausted after the full moon a few nights back and he's dressed in fine robes, having spent the better part of the morning looking for work. He's been staying at the Inn for a few months, and his money is nearly gone. He needs to find a job quickly if he doesn't want to end up on the street.
He sits at the bar, as the bar stools are the only seats high up enough he doesn't have to worry about having his robes trod upon. Aberforth Dumbledore, the aged barman, pours him a glass of Firewhisky and passes him the key for his room without comment.
That is the other bright side of staying here. He may not be treated to the best in customer service, but at least he doesn't have to put up with more degrading remarks about deserving Azkaban.
He sips his drink, staring ahead at the rings stained into the wood of the bar, lost in his own thoughts. He doesn't even notice when somebody takes the bar stool beside him and orders a drink, doesn't notice until the person rudely brings him out of his introspection with a smack to the back of his hand.
"Malfoy," Potter says. He waves his hand in front of Draco's face when Draco finally looks over.
Draco scowls. "Potter," he says grudgingly, and takes another sip from his drink. He's tempted to just finish the whole thing off and order another but, considering he needs to watch his sickles, he doesn't.
"What are you doing in the Hog's Head?" Potter asks, sounding as if he considers Draco an old friend and is intent on catching up.
Draco looks at Potter, taking in his haphazard outfit of dress robes with the buttons fastened out of sync and his mess of black hair looking even more untidy than it had done in school. He's got a small gash on his cheek that looks like it's a few days old. Draco wonders if he even realises it's there. He hides his smirk, secretly pleased to at least look better put together than the boy hero.
"I'm having a drink," Draco answers bluntly. "What about you? You look like you've just been out for a joyride on a Hippogriff."
Potter grins and lifts his glass in a mock toast. "I just got back from a rally for the War Orphans League. You know, I guess it's part of moving on and such." He downs his entire shot and bangs the glass on the counter for another one.
The barman refills his glass and Potter quirks an eyebrow at Draco, as he pays the man.
"What did you do to your face — poorly aimed Shaving Charm?" Draco asks, taking a much more dignified sip of his Firewhisky.
Potter moves his hand up to touch the gash. "Nah, I was play-fighting a bit with my godson. His teeth are coming in sharp and we crashed heads the other day." He takes another drink, this time a reasonable amount. "You're looking good though; getting on all right?"
Draco scowls again. Damn Potter and his short-sightedness. Of course he would think the world would just fall back into place and be sunshine and rainbows now that he has saved it.
"Not quite. I've been looking for work and there's not much out there." He takes another sip of whisky, wondering why he just told Potter that much. "I'm staying here."
Potter looks at him with an expression that Draco can read as nothing short of pity. It makes his blood burn. "Really? It doesn't suit you."
Draco scoffs with a dry chuckle. "Bugger off and leave me to my misery, would you? I don't need you staring at me like that."
"Like what?" Potter asks, confused.
Draco downs the rest of his Firewhisky, determined to go to his room and decontaminate it before trying to sleep. "Never mind."
"Wait," Potter says, his hand shooting out to grab Draco's arm when Draco tries to stand up. "Let me buy you another drink. Please. I… I could use the chat."
Draco sits back on the stool, looking down at where Potter is still holding his arm. His hand grips through the fabric right where the bite is, above Draco's Dark Mark. The bite aches and Draco pulls his arm away, resting it on the bar out of Potter's reach.
"I would think you've got plenty of friends who would love to have a chat with you, Potter," he says, tired and worn out. "But I'll accept a drink if you promise not to annoy me."
Potter grins. He flags down the barman and buys another round.
After the drinks are set before them, Draco takes a mouthful of the Firewhisky and swallows it, closing his eyes in relief as the alcohol floods his senses.
"So," Potter starts talking again, though Draco tries not to listen to him too closely. He accepted the drink because Potter owed it to him, not because he wants to become chummy with his former nemesis. "Yeah, you're right. I do look like a mess. Hermione is telling me I need to hire a valet or something. She wants me to hire a house-elf for pay, but, you know, I don't like the way they hang on my every word all the time. I would look elsewhere too, but honestly, I'm not so bad, am I? I mean I stopped Voldemort exactly the way I am, I shouldn't have to change for everybody else now just to conform to their idea of who I should be."
"Potter," Draco interrupts finally. "You are being annoying now."
"Sorry," Potter says shrugging, not sorry at all.
Draco closes his eyes, praying for patience and takes another drink. He opens his eyes again when he feels Potter's eyes focussed on him and the silence has grown.
"What?" he asks at last, turning to Potter and snapping a bit. "Why are you staring at me?"
"You know what? You could do it," Potter says, making absolutely no sense at all.
Draco folds his arms on the bar and breathes loudly through his nose, biting his immediate retort back. "Do what exactly?" he asks in a carefully measured voice.
"You look great. You're always put together. You don't worship me either. You've never tried to change me," Potter says with a snort. "You could be my valet."
Draco is sure his temper reflects in his face based on the expression Potter wears after that.
"Er, that is —" Potter stammers. "If you were serious about being down on your luck. I don't mean like I want you to be my servant or anything. I… I was just trying to help."
Draco bites his tongue, his mind racing. It is true. Potter would benefit greatly from Draco's expertise in how to dress and take care of himself, but could he possibly be entertaining the idea? It's ludicrous. But then again, Draco is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to job opportunities. He doesn't want to sink so low as to have to do manual labour or something equally undignified, but that seems to be the only job people are willing to offer him.
"How much would you pay me?" Draco asks. He takes another drink of his Firewhisky. "It won't be easy, you know. I mean. You being you and all. But I think I may be able to help."
"I hadn't thought about it. Well, um, how does a hundred Galleons a week sound? Would that be enough? I'd need you to stay at my house too, because a lot of the functions I have to go to are either in the early morning or late at night. Is that okay?"
Draco nearly chokes on his drink. One hundred Galleons a week is more than generous. It's just plain stupid. But if Potter is stupid enough to pay a valet a fortune, Draco isn't stupid enough to turn it down.
"I accept," Draco says and finishes his drink. He sets the empty glass back on the bar and holds out his hand to shake with Potter.
Potter grins again, his face looking suddenly sheepish. Draco isn't sure if Potter is about to burst out that he'd been joking and Draco is a fool to have fallen for it, but then Potter shifts on his barstool and Draco is aware they are still holding hands. That's not on. He draws his hand back.
"Um. If you want, you can come over tonight and start right away. I mean. I don't think you really fancy staying here, right?"
Draco smirks and raises an eyebrow. "That is very generous of you, Potter. When shall I call?"
"Um, let's see." Potter picks up a serviette and taps it with his wand, then passes it to Draco. "Read that and memorise it," he says.
Draco looks down at the paper.
As he finishes reading the last word, it bursts into flame and he drops it on the bar. "What was that all about?"
Harry Potter resides at 12 Grimmauld Place, London.
"Sorry, but it's under the Fidelius Charm. I had to strengthen security after this bloke started stalking me. It's not easy… well, I won't bore you with that right now. I'll go and prepare a room. Feel free to come by anytime after five."
Potter gets down from his stool and makes a half-arsed attempt at brushing the wrinkles from his robes.
"I'll see you tonight then, yeah?"
Draco nods. He has no words.
But the thought of his alternative — joining his mother in France and seeing her carefully concealed disappointment staring him in the face as she welcomes him with open arms — isn't one that he wants to accept.
Potter answers the door a moment later. Prat must have been waiting just on the other side, while Draco made a fool of himself standing on the stairs.
"Malfoy, come on in!" Potter says cheerfully.
Draco steps into the bleak hallway. It's lit with dim oil lamps and the walls are adorned with the stuffed heads of house-elves. How can Potter of all people live in a house that looks like it is devoted to the Dark Arts?
The grey silk on the walls is peeling and stained; with what, Draco does not want to know.
"Potter," Draco says. "It looks like I have my work cut out for me."
"What do you mean?" Potter asks.
Draco gives the troll's leg umbrella stand a nudge with his foot and then points up at the elf heads. "Your body will reflect what you surround it with. Do you want to come across as infested with weird?"
Potter shrugs sheepishly, looking around his decaying house. "I guess I never really thought about it. It's just a place to sleep, you know."
Draco clears his throat and glances up the staircase into the gloom above. "Well, why don't you give me the tour and let me get my bearings?"
"Right," Potter says. "Yeah, follow me. I'll show you the room where you can stay, or if you want, you can choose a different one."
Potter refuses to call him as anything other than his first name, which, in a strange way, makes it easier for Draco to serve him. He has staunchly refused to call Potter by his first name, as requested initially, but Potter doesn't seem to mind. In fact, Potter seems to enjoy Draco's company.
At first, Draco thought Potter must be spending most of his time at home to make sure Draco wasn't going to cause him any problems, but after watching Potter turn down social invitations during Floo calls, he can sense the apprehension of Potter's friends, as if Potter wasn't normally a homebody. The only person he sees on a regular basis is his godson, and after visits with him, Potter is always in a good mood.
They fall into an easy routine. In the mornings, Draco wakes Potter for breakfast and they eat together while he outlines Potter's schedule for the day. Potter is required to put in a great number of public appearances, and although Draco always thought Potter loved being in the spotlight, life with him proves he hates it. After seeing Potter is dressed appropriately for whatever event he needs to attend, Potter leaves and Draco spends the time alone casting cleaning charms and improving the general aura of the house, so that it no longer appears to belong to a coven of dark wizards. When Potter returns from his events, Draco takes care of his robes and Potter will either join in to help with whatever project Draco is working on, or they will have a quiet dinner and talk over a drink or two in the drawing room.
And the pay isn't bad either. Draco has done some calculations, and if he continues with Potter for a few years, he should be able to save up enough gold to comfortably look into starting his own business venture.
Draco doesn't look up from what he's doing. He traces the wrinkles on Potter's robes, giving them a final once-over. "You need to be there, Potter," Draco rattles off, sounding ever-so-much like he's reciting a memorised speech… "because as the Hero of the wizarding world, it offers people hope to see you lend them your heroic glow. They want to bask in your light and hope that your good nature and promise of peace will rub off on them, or some such rot." He steps away from Potter, lifting his wand and looks the dress robes over again from top to bottom. "And… I think you're finally presentable."
Potter turns to look in the mirror and Draco catches sight of his back, where he's ruined the press of his robes by clutching them in his hand.
"Oh for heaven's sake," Draco mutters. "Stay put a moment." He begins the charm again on Harry's backside. "And stop fidgeting. Why are you so nervous, anyway?"
"I'm not feeling well," Potter says, making Draco look up.
He narrows his eyes at Potter's reflection in the mirror. Potter does look a bit peaky, though Draco is certain it's just Potter getting himself tied up with nerves per usual.
"You'll be fine," Draco says, willing it to be true. He needs to get going himself. The full moon is due to be up in a couple of hours. "Your speech is in your front pocket, and when you return, there will be a sobriety potion waiting beside your bed. I want you to hang your robes up as soon as you get home on the hanger in your wardrobe. I'll tend to them on Monday when I return, but I'd really rather you not make more work for me by tossing them into the centre of the floor and trampling on them for days."
Potter goes rigid, a look of horror on his face. "What?" he says, turning to Draco, his face paling. "Where are you going to be until Monday?"
Draco takes a deep breath, reminding himself that this is Potter he's dealing with, Potter with a memory like a sieve, and the man who writes the cheques Draco needs to live.
"It's been written in your schedule for a fortnight, Potter," Draco says dryly. "I require three days and nights off a month. You agreed to my terms when I agreed to work for you."
"Oh," Potter says. "Right. Sorry. I must have forgotten."
Draco feels like a bit of a hypocrite as he is drawn to Potter again, brushing non-existent wrinkles from his robes. He figures it's the moon that is doing it, that is making the attraction to Potter so much more intense. But then, he wonders how much of it is really him wanting to capture Potter's attention and hold onto it, just like the rest of the wizarding world he's put down for wanting the same thing.
"Right," Draco says at last, forcing himself to step away. "I will see you on Monday then." He crosses the room, keeping his eyes focussed forwards.
"Malfoy," Potter says, making Draco pause in the doorway.
He closes his eyes, fighting the instinct to turn back and latch on.
"Thanks for all you've done for me," Potter says. "I don't know how I got by without you."
"You're welcome," Draco answers quietly. He deliberately steps across the threshold and closes the door behind him. He needs to get out of here now.
The change that happens on a monthly basis isn't nearly as bad as it would have been, had Draco been bitten when Greyback was transformed. Still, it's bad enough. Draco holes up on the night of the full moon and for two nights afterwards, doped up on Wolfsbane to keep the change minimal. He doesn't physically change into a wolf during these times, but the instinct to mate and form a pack hits him hard. He settles in for an unpleasant few days.
He spends ten minutes picking up pieces of clothing and papers strewn all over the drawing room and the front hallway, and is about ready to banish the pile of dirty clothes to the laundry, when he hears a low groan coming from the bathroom at the top of the stairs.
He hadn't expected Potter to be home, and he's not happy about the state of things. He stamps up the stairs, ready to give Potter a piece of his mind, but stops dead at the sight that meets him when he rounds the corner at the top of the landing.
The bathroom door is opened wide and, inside, water seeps from the base of the serpentine bathtub out into the hallway, soaking the carpet. His feet splash through the puddle as he enters the bathroom and points his wand at the oil lamp, lighting it. Potter is there, entirely naked in the bathtub, sprawled unceremoniously with one leg draped over the edge. He's passed out cold, or rather just coming to, and the chill in the room seeps into Draco's bones.
"Potter! Are you daft? You've got to be freezing."
He touches Potter's cheeks, and pulls up his eyelids, looking for a sign that Potter has heard him.
Potter shivers, and his eye tracks until it lights upon Draco.
"Y… you're h… here," Potter says, teeth chattering. His lips are white.
Draco drops all pretence of maintaining a professional distance and banishes the bath water with a flick of his wand. He helps Potter out of the tub and wraps him in a towel, throwing a Warming and Drying charm at him in the meantime.
Potter drapes his arm around Draco's shoulders and allows Draco to lead him to his bedroom, though it's clear that Potter is pushing his limits trying to remain upright.
By the time they get to Potter's bedroom door, Draco is carrying most of his weight and Potter is practically hanging off his neck.
Potter's bedroom is in a worse state than the rest of the house. Draco has a time of getting his dead weight across the floor littered with rubbish and clothing, including Potter's dress robes Draco had explicitly given instructions regarding. He wrestles Potter into bed, and pulls the sheets and duvet up to cover his nudity. Potter's eyes drift shut immediately.
"Thank you," Potter says, breathing heavily. "I think I'm ill."
Draco thinks that has to be the understatement of the century, but as Potter's breathing evens out into sleep, he says nothing, and gets down to work cleaning up the mess. He banishes several vegetables, including a carrot that has had an Engorgement Charm set upon it, not wanting to think about what Potter was doing with it in here.
It's late in the evening when Draco finally finishes putting the house to rights.
He's in the basement kitchen finishing pressing Potter's dress robes with a Charm when the fire roars to life and Ron Weasley's head appears in the grate.
"Harry!" Weasley calls, but stops when he sees Draco. His eyes darken. "What are you doing there, Malfoy? Where's Harry?"
Draco straightens up, not at all impressed by Weasley's tone, but he remembers his position and smooths his face into a poised calm. "Potter is ill. I can take a message."
Weasley doesn't seem to believe him and Draco can see his internal battle in his freckle-infested face. Finally Weasley seems to settle down. "All right. I would come through to make sure you haven't murdered him in his sleep, but I'm alone with Teddy right now and can't leave. Tell Harry that we've been trying to contact him all weekend. Teddy isn't well and Andromeda is fetching a Healer from St Mungo's to come and see him."
Draco's calm breaks at the news. "What's the matter with him?" he asks despite himself. It is his cousin after all, even if he's never met the child.
Weasley raises an eyebrow. "Nothing to concern you, Malfoy," Weasley says dismissively. "He's had these episodes for a while and they seem to be getting worse."
"He's the pup, right?" Draco says, recalling Teddy's father was the werewolf Lupin.
Weasley scowls from the hearth. "He's a child, Malfoy, not a dog. I'll remind you to remember that, or Harry will sack you in an instant."
"That's not what I meant, Weasley," he says shrewdly. "I mean, the full moon has just passed and Teddy is the son of a werewolf. He's what, one or two years old now?"
"He's eighteen months. So what? It shouldn't matter who his father was. It's nothing to do with you."
"Weasley. The full moon can have an effect on people who have been tainted by werewolves, even if not during transformations. I mean to say, is the child receiving Wolfsbane treatments during the full moon's cycle? It will probably do him a world of good. Take care to mention that to the Healer when he arrives."
Weasley doesn't answer immediately. He appears to be chewing on his tongue. He clears his throat. "Yeah, I'll do that," he says, sounding a smidge more humble. "Just tell Harry I popped in, would you? We'll need his help when he's well enough."
"Of course," Draco says, and sighs with relief when Weasley's head disappears with a pop.
It's idiots like Weasley that are so blinded by their feelings towards the human side of magical creatures, that they fail to recognise that those with afflictions like lycanthropy or vampirism actually do pose a danger to those who are not tainted. He has never held such illusions himself, and he feels justified in his reasoning.
Now to tend to Potter. Draco points his wand at the tray of food he has prepared and levitates it, carrying the dress robes on their hanger and directing the tray to precede him up the stairs to Potter's room, glad the house-elf heads are no longer witnessing his progress. He wonders how Potter has managed to get by on his own as long as he has, especially as he seems to have fallen apart at the seams with Draco gone for a mere two and a half days.
"How are you feeling?" Draco asks. He puts the dress robes in Potter's wardrobe and directs the tray to the bedside table.
"Starving," Potter says, sitting up.
Draco rounds the bed to fluff Potter's pillows so he can rest comfortably against them while he takes his supper.
"I trust a diet of vegetables wasn't satisfying?" Draco says, his eyebrow raised.
Potter just looks at him confused. "Vegetables? What do you mean?"
Draco isn't sure who Potter is kidding. How far gone was he in his delirium?
"I put you to bed and banished about a dozen vegetables from your room, Potter. I don't think I want to know why you felt the need to bring them up here, or what you were doing with them."
He's jesting but, by the flush forming on Potter's face, realises he may not have been far off the mark. He clears his throat, intent on changing the subject. Sex and Harry Potter are two subjects he does not want to mix. Especially as long as the latter is his employer.
"I took a message for you from Weasley," Draco says, as Potter dips a chunk of bread into his lentil soup.
Potter looks up expectantly.
"Teddy Lupin is ill, apparently, and they've summoned a Healer to his house."
Potter drops his bread and shoves the tray back on the bedside table, intent on getting up.
"Potter," Draco says. "You're not dressed and you're not well yourself. Get back into bed and finish your supper."
Potter looks as if he's about to protest, but Draco doesn't give him the chance. He pushes Potter's shoulders back against his pillows, allowing the glare thrown at him.
"If Teddy needs me…"
"And you can't stand up, then I'm sure you'll be a ton of help to him, Potter. The Healers will be tending to your arse, rather than the little boy they were called for."
"I'm not that bad."
"Potter," Draco says, exasperated. "I came back from being gone for not even a full three days to find you passed out and nearly dead from hypothermia in your bathtub, the house was in a state of chaos, and I practically had to carry you to your bedroom. You are quite bad enough. Now eat your supper before it gets cold, and we'll have a civil conversation about Teddy."
Potter seems to think over Draco's words a few moments, and then settles back, still not compliant, but at least not combative. "Fine," he says and picks up his tray again. "What did he say about Teddy?"
"I mentioned that he would probably benefit from Wolfsbane therapy and told Weasley to tell the Healers that when they examined him. Weasley says his episodes have been getting worse, and the full moon has just passed. I'm surprised nobody has put two and two together before now."
"But," Potter says, chewing his bread with his mouth open. "Teddy isn't a werewolf."
"Would it kill you to chew and swallow before you speak?"
He's been trying to get Potter to adopt proper manners since beginning as a valet for him, and thought they'd moved past this. "He's the son of a werewolf, and that means that there could still be some contamination. The Wolfsbane will help if that is the case and if it's not, it won't harm him. It's better to be safe than sorry and looking at the entire health history of the child is something that his guardian should have done from the start."
Potter swallows his bite, still grumbling, but he is at least listening for once. "Well, yeah. I suppose you're right," he says.
Draco's not sure whether to be pleased or not by Potter's admission that he's right. Perhaps he's still suffering from whatever illness he'd taken.
"What happened to you, Potter?" Draco says, looking over Potter's wan complexion in concern. "When did you take ill?"
Potter finishes his soup, drinking it directly from the bowl and ignoring Draco's frown at the lack of manners. "I think I must have had too much to drink, or maybe there was something in the punch at the gala. I'm not sure. I remember Flooing home because my stomach was tied up in knots. I was able to give my speech first, thankfully. But when I got here, I was burning up." He pauses, forehead wrinkling. "I really don't remember much after that. Must have been delirious."
Draco silently agrees.
It gives Draco time to review Potter's schedule for the week and to make corrections to the speech he's prepared for a Ministry fundraiser happening the following night. All in all, Draco figures that things seem to be working out well.
He writes a letter to his mother while Potter is out and manages to find time to lose himself in a simpering romance novel.
"I know you don't," Draco mutters absently. This conversation has become a routine. Draco considers it his job to give Potter a pep talk before he leaves to make his necessary public appearances. Another thing Draco has come to realise is that distractions seem to help Potter relax as well. "How's Teddy doing? Did you see him today?"
Potter does seem to relax with the change of subject. It's obvious to anybody that meets Potter that his godson is the light of his whole world.
"Yes, they said you were probably right about the Wolfsbane therapy. The Healers will bring a batch over to the house next month so we can start him on it as a trial. They say that we need to begin with the lowest dose and increase it depending on his reaction, as he's so young and small. It's a pity they can't sweeten it though. Andromeda is not looking forward to forcing it down his throat if that's what it comes to."
Draco finishes re-applying the styling charm to Potter's hair and has him turn in a circle.
"Am I presentable?" Potter asks, his lips quirking up at the sides.
"Passable," Draco says offhandedly, though he's lying. Potter is drop dead gorgeous and if he were in any position other than Potter's valet, he would probably drop his trousers and offer himself up in an instant were Potter that way inclined. "Your speech is in your pocket. I'll have a sobriety potion ready for when you return."
"Will you still be up?" Potter asks.
Draco realises how close Potter is standing right then, practically close enough to be breathing the same air, and Draco takes a step back, covering his nervousness by directing the grooming supplies to put themselves away with his wand. He's not sure if it's just the fact he hasn't had sex in ages, that he's picking up an attraction to Potter, or if Potter is aware of the signals he's putting off. Regardless of the reason, however, Draco reminds himself of how important it is that he remain employed.
"It's possible. Depends, of course, on what time you return. I don't want you running out early though. You need to mingle and talk with the people who have come to hear you speak. They are there to see you, and the donations they'll make will benefit the children, so remind yourself you're doing it for them, yes?"
Potter nods, encouraged. "You're absolutely right," he says. "I don't know what I'd do without you. Thanks, Malfoy. Really, for everything."
Draco feels his mask begin to slip into a smile, but stops before he makes a fool of himself. "I'm only doing my job. Have a good night."
He leaves the room, feeling outside himself.
The sound of Potter Disapparating sends a flood of relief through his body. Now, at least, he can relax. Perhaps he'll have a bath, read more of his book, and just maybe indulge in a glass of brandy. Putting up with Potter has earned it for him, he tells himself, though truth be told, he really does enjoy working for Potter.
Draco's had a shower and shave and is dressed in his silk pyjamas and dressing gown, relaxed from the couple of glasses of brandy he'd indulged in earlier. He looks up, meeting Potter's pissed and goofy smile.
"Well, you look like you've had a good time," Draco says, putting his book down and getting to his feet. He crosses the room to where Potter is standing, and Potter drapes his arm around Draco's shoulders. "Come on. Let's get you to bed. I want you out of those robes before I need to do them over from the start."
Potter giggles and allows Draco to guide him up the stairs, pausing at the landing as if he's going to fall over.
"Steady," Draco says, trying to push aside the lovely feeling of Potter's warm and pliant body heavy against his own.
"Mmm," Potter murmurs, his face in Draco's neck. "You smell really good."
Draco hums under his breath. "All right. You really need that sobriety potion. Let's go."
"Don't want it," Potter says petulantly, stumbling along as Draco leads him down the hallway to his room.
They get through the door without any further trouble and Draco manages to prop Potter up against the wall and slips out from under his weight.
"Robes off," Draco says, and helps as Potter starts shrugging his robes over the top of his head, not even bothering to unbutton them.
He sweeps the robes out of Potter's hands the moment they're off and crosses the room to put them back on their hanger in the wardrobe. He has it charmed to clean and press the robes so long as they aren't soiled.
When he turns back to assist Potter to bed, Potter has somehow managed to cross the room on his own and looms close to Draco, pressing him back against the wardrobe, wearing only his briefs.
"Potter," Draco says, huffing an irritated breath as Potter nuzzles his face drunkenly into the crook of Draco's neck. "You are drunk," Draco says, though his protest comes out a lot more breathy and entirely turned on than he intends.
"Mm-hmm," Potter murmurs, pressing his cold nose even further into Draco's neck and sniffing him. "What is it about you? You smell so fucking good, I can't keep my hands off you."
And as if to prove his point, Potter presses his barely-clad-by-his-underwear erection into Draco's hip and begins rubbing against the silk of his pyjama bottoms.
Draco isn't stupid. He can't let Potter keep that up. His own body is already reacting to the stimulation. It's been so long since he's felt a hard cock that isn't his own and it's hard to keep his own senses straight with Potter feeling him up and sniffing him.
"Potter, stop," he says, deciding to put an end to it, a little later than he probably should have.
Potter groans his protest, but does stop. He pulls away, his eyes looking into Draco's, pools of pure want.
"I'll take the potion," Potter says, "but afterwards, if I prove I still want this, will you kiss me?"
Draco is so torn. On the one hand — YES, his body screams at him to take advantage of the hot willing body before him — but on the other, this is his employer and Harry Potter to boot. It will make things weird and Draco needs this job.
"Potter, take the potion and I promise to talk about it, no more than that."
Potter seems to take that as a maybe, though Draco's intentions are to wait until he's sober, and then rip Potter a new one for putting him on the spot when he's in a servile position, and threaten to tell his precious Hermione Granger that Harry Potter needs a lesson in workplace sexual harassment.
Potter crosses the room to his bedside table where the potion sits waiting for him, and downs it in one go.
Draco takes a tentative step towards the centre of the room. He's not putting himself in any position where Potter can back him up against a surface and prevent him from escaping. But it seems like escape may not be necessary. He watches as the potion takes effect. Potter shudders and slumps on the edge of his bed, resting for a moment while his eyes return to focus. And then he looks up. At Draco. Right at Draco. There is a hungry gleam in his eye that Draco has to admit, if only to himself, that he is perfectly all right with being focussed on him.
Potter stands up. His erection is popping out the top of his underwear, and Draco's mouth fills at the sight of the wet spot it's left on the cotton. He swallows.
"I want to kiss you, Draco. I want whatever I can get from you. Do you even know how hard it is for me to not touch you right now?"
Draco's arguments about why this whole idea is a bad one fly out of his brain under Potter's heated gaze. He stares at Potter's cock, eyes moving up the tight stomach to his chest. How Potter keeps up his muscle definition, Draco has no idea. He's not seen him exercise. Potter's nipples are brown and hard, standing up straight, as if they're pointing right at Draco, finding him like a dowsing rod finds water.
And Draco realises Potter is now standing right in front of him. He's losing track of time staring. He meets Potter's face, losing himself in the impossible want in his eyes, and then Potter's lips claim his. His hands slip down to settle on Potter's sharp hipbones, their erections bumping together, releasing jolts of fuckyesrightthere through Draco's body.
Draco is so far gone in the crush of Potter's lips against his own, he wonders how it is that he's even remaining upright.
When Potter breaks the kiss and drops to his knees, nuzzling his face against Draco's cock and balls through his silk pants, Draco finally comes back to himself enough to remember where he is.
"Potter…" he says, his hand in Potter's hair, combing the surprisingly soft black locks with his fingers.
Potter's breath is hot against his bits, and he's breathing Draco's musk as if it's oxygen.
Draco grips Potter's hair tighter, forcing him to look up. This has to stop, but he really really doesn't want it to stop… ever.
Potter's eyes meet his, sharp and intent. Draco feels his resolve crumble around his feet.
"I'll do this, if you promise me something."
Potter's face brightens with excitement. "Yes, anything, everything. I want you."
The words hit Draco's gut hard, making his blood pound even more fiercely through his veins. He is so fucked. There is no way he can put the brakes on his lust right now.
"I'll give you everything tonight, if you promise to Obliviate me afterwards."
Potter's happy expression falters, his lips turning down at the corners, forehead creasing. "But why?"
Draco rakes his fingers through Potter's hair again, massaging the scalp. "I can't do my job properly if we do this, Potter. I want it, more than anything I've ever wanted, it's so hard to not give in, but I need my job. I need it to survive."
"I'm not going to fire you for fucking me," Potter says, really not understanding anything Draco is saying.
Draco closes his eyes, groaning as Potter's hand works his cock through his pants. But he has to make his terms clear, or he will end this now and satisfy himself with a dildo and hot shower.
He puts it as bluntly and easy to understand as he can, sure that it's going to have to be to the point to make it through Potter's lust-addled brain.
"You agree to my terms, or it's not going to happen."
Potter groans, but Draco can tell he's won. The way Potter is palming himself and Draco at the same time lets him know that Potter is beyond the stopping point.
"All right," he says at last. "I don't understand, but I'll do it."
That's all the encouragement Draco needs. He lets his boundaries fall entirely and gives himself over to the intense need that's been brimming under his skin practically since Potter arrived home.
Draco rips Potter's stupid glasses right off his face and drops them, then gives Potter a quick shove, knocking him onto his back on the floor.
Potter looks like he's about ready to object, but Draco doesn't give him a chance. He's on top of Potter a second later, straddling his hips, and rips his dressing gown and pyjama top off himself. He moves his palms over Potter's chest, grinding his arse down on top of Potter's cock, earning a choked sob from below.
"I'll give you the ride of your life, Potter," Draco says with another deliberate grind downwards.
"Harry," Potter gasps, his hands rising to touch Draco's bare chest, fingers tracing the ridges of muscle with an undisguised hunger. "Call me Harry, just for tonight."
The name rolls off his tongue like a sigh, like a breath.
He's not sure who made the first move, but a moment later they are kissing again, and it's the most brilliant thing ever. Draco could drink from Potter's lips and live happily for the rest of his life, he's certain.
He's not taken a lover since the bite, and that happened well over a year ago, nearly two. But the way Harry's tongue invades his mouth feels like Harry has every intention of fucking him so hard he'll forget he asked to be Obliviated.
Potter flips him over a moment later and all the stupid thoughts are knocked right out of his brain when the back of his head hits the floor. But Potter doesn't seem to notice he's going to give Draco a concussion. He's ripping Draco's pyjamas off and squirming out of his own briefs, and Draco is absolutely fine with this change.
His focus narrows to Potter's hot mouth, now wrapped around his cock and the rather talented tongue, teasing his head and coaxing all his cares to fly out of his body through his prick.
Draco closes his eyes, lost in the wet heat and suction. He scarcely notices that Potter has lubed up his fingers and is working Draco's arse open until Potter hits his prostate and his eyes fly open with a surprised flash. He backs his hips against Potter's hand, searching for that touch again, his body waking up to chase that pleasure to its finish.
Draco writhes under Potter's hand and mouth, grinding and desperate.
"Harry!" he cries out, holding onto the back of Potter's head, clinging to his hair for dear life.
Potter is infuriating, as he seems to get off on Draco's desperation, deep throating him now, and Draco can feel him groan from the back of his throat as his nose pushes hard into Draco's pubis. Does Potter even have a gag reflex?
Potter works his cock with his throat until Draco's nearly coming and then pulls off at the last second, leaving Draco panting and sweating, not at all in control of the situation. He's not used to this, to giving up control, and he's not sure he likes it.
So far, everything in his life has been out of his hands, beyond his control, and now, too, Potter is taking charge in the bedroom. Sure, Draco has laid down an agreement and forced Potter to accept it, but beyond that, he wants Potter to fall apart at his touch to the same extent Potter is taking him apart. Enough of this. Draco's made his decision.
He sits up and the gleam in Potter's eye, that of the predator feasting on its prey, needs to be knocked down a peg. Draco is not going to go down alone. He pushes Potter onto his back and straddles him again, holding him down with his palms on his chest. It's been ages since he's had a cock up his arse, but he's not going to let Potter get away with making him his bitch that easily.
He may be a bitch for Potter, but only if he can be the bitchiest bitch possible.
He holds Potter down until he stops struggling, stops trying to take control. Draco sees the confusion flit through Potter's eyes but trains him with a no-nonsense stare. "I will ride you."
Potter relaxes, and Draco moves one hand behind himself, lining Potter's cock up with his opening.
He sinks down on top of Potter, heady in the sense of power that fills his head watching Potter's eyes grow wide beneath him, as if he can't believe what he's feeling. It makes the pain of the breach entirely worth it. Draco forces himself to take Potter in all the way, sinking down on him until he can feel the press of his balls against Potter's body.
Potter's hands rest on Draco's hips, and Draco waits a moment, allowing himself a chance to adjust. He uses his thighs to rise up again, and slams back down against Potter's legs.
His body trembles with the effort, but the pleasure that blossoms from the initial pain is right there, and as Potter cants his hips upwards to meet Draco's downstroke, they find a rhythm that is mutual and all-consuming.
His cock leaks as he rocks, losing himself entirely in the here and now. Potter's cock is his anchor to this plane of existence, his driving force.
"Look at me," Potter pants, and Draco opens his eyes, meeting Potter's. There's so much there. So much hunger, trust, desire, want… and Potter takes his cock in his fist. He's used a wandless lube spell again and it's too brilliant. Draco fucks Potter's hand as he rides Potter's cock. He's in total control now, calling all the shots in their game, and while it feels fantastic to not be under another's power, there's something rather lonely about it too.
Potter's watching him. He's on display. He looks down to see his cock leaking thick drops of milky fluid from his slit, while Potter squeezes just right, adding a twist to the head that sends Draco spiraling.
"Let me help," Potter whispers, and Draco drops. He presses his hands against Potter's chest, looking down face to face.
He rocks backwards, his eyes closed, breathy moans puffing between his lips until Potter grabs his arms, and pulls him down.
Their mouths meet in a crazy clash of lips and teeth and tongues and then Potter begins fucking him from underneath, hips snapping with such force it's all Draco can do to hold onto his hair. But it's just right. Now this is more like it. Potter's hitting him dead on, touching the sweet spot inside him with each battering thrust, and Draco gasps into Potter's mouth, feeling his orgasm crash over him.
Potter's hips stutter as Draco drops his face into the crook of Potter's neck, his orgasm on the brink of his vision and the thought of MINE filling his brain. His teeth clamp down on Potter's skin, while his cock spills out between them.
"Fuck… Fuck…" Potter gasps, their bodies slippery with a sheen of cooling sweat.
Draco releases his bite, embarrassed at losing control enough to mark Potter, but also satiated in a way he hasn't been in far too long. He listens to the pounding of Potter’s heartbeat beneath him, his scent tantalising and masculine and so powerfully there, Draco feels as if he can bathe in it.
They lie still for several moments. Draco can feel his arse throbbing around Potter’s still-hard cock inside him, though Potter makes no move to continue thrusting. Draco’s all right with that; he likes the feeling of fullness and, even more than he cares to admit, loves it when Potter’s arms circle his back and run up and down his spine, holding Draco in a cherished embrace. And then Potter smacks Draco softly on his buttocks.
"Hmm?" Draco murmurs, pulling his head up heavily, to meet Potter’s eyes.
"Bed," Potter says. "I’m not finished with you yet."
The shiver that runs down Draco’s spine at those words has to be one of the most fantastic sensations Draco has ever had. It’s a feeling Draco hesitates to put a label on. He will not let this go too far, can’t allow it, but Potter hasn’t come yet; it would be bad form to stop now. The entire experience will be wiped from his memory in short order anyway. It can’t hurt to take it to the bed, can it?
"Yes," Draco says, breathing out his response and following it up with a kiss to Potter’s jaw line.
And before he's got his bearings, Potter grips Draco's hips hard in his hands, his cock still firmly in place, and Apparates them.
Draco is so disorientated from the surprise side-along Apparition that he simply holds on to Potter's shoulders for dear life and lets Potter flip him over onto his back.
"You are brilliant," Potter says, a moment later, turning his head to look at Draco. There's no lie in his voice or any other form of deception. Draco can read the absolute conviction in Potter's expression. He's gone positively doe-eyed. He lifts his hand and caresses Draco's cheek with it, boneless with exhaustion.
Draco can't help but smirk at that. But the thought of what needs to happen next steals his contentment. "I should get dressed," Draco says quietly. "I'll need to go back to the drawing room and have you perform the spell."
Potter frowns at him, his arm dropping to his chest. "I had hoped you'd change your mind. Why do you want me to Obliviate you? I still don't understand what the problem is."
Draco pulls himself off Potter, and sits up, though their legs are still touching.
"The problem is that I'm not a whore," Draco answers bluntly. "I know you know that," he says, keeping Potter from interrupting. "But you see, I am an employee, Potter. If we start fucking, it puts me in a position where my willingness will affect my performance. I don't want to start to feel that I have to agree to sex any time you may be in the mood for fear of losing my place… It's not fair to either of us. You have to see that."
Potter's frown grows deeper. It's even showing in the heavy crease of his forehead beneath his fringe. "But I… I don't think of you as a servant or an employee. Hell, if you'd agree to it, I'd just have you be my boyfriend. You wouldn't need to worry about money, I'd give it to you, and you could feel free to do anything you'd like. I see you as an equal, Draco."
Of course Potter can say that. The boy hero that can do no wrong in the world is so filled up on his ideals about equality, but can't see how, plain as day, an arrangement like they have is not conducive to beginning a relationship. Does he not see how he's putting Draco on the spot right now?
"Potter," Draco says. He pulls his legs away from Potter's and sits on the edge of the bed, Summoning his pyjamas using Potter's wand. "You're not hearing me. I am an employee. If you insist on me keeping this memory and then ask me to be your boyfriend, how am I supposed to answer? If I say no, then you'll be put out and sack me in a week, finding some other reason as to why I'm not suitable. If I say yes, then what? I become your lap dog? I stay here and what, pursue whatever it is that catches my fancy while you go on with your events and everything else, but when you return, we go on with a 'relationship'? Do you not see what I'm getting at?"
Draco pulls his pyjamas on and stands up, searching for his own wand. He finds it on the floor at the base of Potter's bed, next to the place they fucked. He forces himself to look back at Potter.
"I wouldn't ever treat you like that," Potter says at last. He flings his sheets off and stands up, then pulls on his dressing gown from where it's hanging in the wardrobe. "Let's get on with it, shall we? If you don't know me well enough to realise that I wouldn't act like that, then I suppose you're right. I'm just being stupid, mistaking the chemistry of sex for something more than it is."
Draco doesn't like the way Potter's voice sounds. He sounds defensive and contrary. But there's nothing Draco can do, short of giving in and cowing to Potter, to make things better. He's not going to be roped into something he's not sure of. Besides, Potter doesn't know his whole story. How would he take to the news that Draco is afflicted by lycanthropy albeit, not fully, and has to dope himself every month to prevent himself from fucking everything with a hole he can find?
He doesn't respond to Potter at all. It won't make any difference in a few short minutes anyway. Potter can Obliviate Draco's memory, and things will all go back to normal. He casts cleaning spells on himself and his pyjamas, and leaves Potter's room headed back to the drawing room.
Potter joins him a minute later.
Draco is scarcely seated when the spell hits him.
His brain feels fuzzy, as if he's just awakened and has lost track of where he'd fallen asleep. Though as he looks around at the empty room, spotting the darkness outside through the window, he figures that's exactly what has happened.
He stands up, his arse twinging a bit, but he figures sleeping sitting up in the same position for as long as he has, is probably what caused it.
Draco heads up the dark staircase, casting a Nox at the oil lamps in the hall. There's a light shining from beneath Potter's closed bedroom door as he passes. At least Potter made it in all right.
Draco puts an omelette on a plate and places it on the table under a warming charm, then peels an orange and arranges the slices beside it. He pours Potter a glass of pumpkin juice and takes off his apron, smoothing the wrinkles from his trousers.
He knocks on Potter's door and enters when he hears Potter call back.
Potter is fastening his robes when Draco enters, and has already made his bed.
Draco crosses the room to fetch Potter's pyjamas from the hamper, but Potter stops him.
"I've already taken them to the laundry," he says, his voice flat and without a hint of warmth.
"Thank you," Draco answers, lifting an eyebrow. "Your breakfast is waiting for you in the kitchen along with your schedule for today."
Potter nods, not looking directly at Draco, but aiming his nod at his reflection in the wardrobe mirror.
"Is there anything else you need of me?" Draco asks, not quite sure what to make of Potter acting put together and aloof.
"Take the day off," Potter says. "I'm sure I'll be able to manage."
Draco frowns, narrowing his eyebrows. "Is something troubling you?"
Potter aims his wand at his hair and performs the styling charm that Draco usually does for him. "Not at all," he says. Then he turns on his heel and leaves the room, brushing past Draco as if he's part of the furniture.
Draco is tempted to hit Potter with a tripping jinx while his back is turned, but decides to just go along with his moodiness. After all, Potter is only human. Everybody deserves to have a bad mood on occasion.
Potter is out for an early evening function and Draco decides that what they really need is a good sit down, to talk things out. He's preparing dinner for himself and plans to ask Potter to join him when he gets back in.
It's nearly nine o'clock when the Floo activates and Potter comes spinning out of it in a burst of ashes.
Draco looks up from the sofa and prepares to stand, but another spray of ashes follows as somebody else Floos into the room.
Potter is drunk again. He turns to the new person and starts dusting ashes off him all over the rug, laughing and hanging onto the bloke's robes.
Draco freezes in place as he watches Potter lean into the other man's shoulder and rub his face against his neck, murmuring though Draco can still hear him.
"Want you so bad," he croons while he slides one leg between the man's thighs and rubs the front of his trousers with his palm. "Say you'll come upstairs."
The other man chuckles, kissing Potter's face, then stiffens as he notices Draco. "Um, I will, but we're not alone here."
"Hrm?" Potter says, lifting his head and glancing over to where Draco is glaring daggers at him. "Oh, that's just my valet." He pulls away from the bloke, but grabs his hand, leading him to the hallway. "Don't worry, Malfoy; I promise I'll put my robes on the hanger straight away."
And that's that.
Draco can hear them stumbling up the staircase and then Potter's door shuts with a slam, probably after one of them shoved the other up against it.
It makes no sense whatsoever, this burning feeling in his chest. Draco sits quietly for a few moments, his hands gripping his knees until his knuckles are white.
He still can't quite come to terms with his feelings. He and Potter have had some chemistry in the past month and a half, but nothing that would be considered untoward or unprofessional. The only explanation is that he's let himself develop a crush on Potter without realising it and now it's turning around and biting him in the arse. When he saw Potter clinging to another man the night before, he felt as though his breath had left him. And then rage, anger, pure jealousy followed. He wanted nothing more than to jump up and rip the other man away, shouting at the top of his lungs MINE!
It has to be part of the lycanthropy. He may not be a full werewolf, but he does have enough contamination that the wolf inside him wakes up on occasion to make itself known. It hasn't ever happened when not the full moon though, and this worries him. Hell, he's never even undergone a full moon without the help of Wolfsbane potion, so he really doesn't know how bad it would be. When he first received the bite as a punishment, Severus met with his parents in their confinement and set up a regimen of Wolfsbane treatments for him to follow. It only took a few months before they found the dosage that worked best for him and minimised his suffering and danger to others. Not everybody who's received bites like his is as fortunate. Draco is well aware of the ward St Mungo's has developed specifically to deal with patients who have no access to Wolfsbane or a safe location during their moon cycles. He's just been lucky enough to have not made their list. Adding lycanthropic contamination to his record would undoubtedly make existing nearly impossible for him if it were public knowledge.
Draco can feel Potter approaching before he can hear him. He can sense it. It makes the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
Potter enters the room, his slippered feet shuffling along the stone floor, even though Draco has told him countless times that he's wearing his shoes out ten times faster than if he'd just pick his feet up like a normal person when he walks.
Potter hums as he opens the pantry doors, and Draco looks over at him.
Damn. It would be so much easier to get over this stupid crush if Potter didn't look like that. He's dressed in a pair of cotton pyjama bottoms. They cling to his arse just right and show off the swell of his arse. So fucking perfect. He isn't wearing a shirt, and his back is a range of beautifully toned muscle, not too big, but definitely defined. He turns, resting his bum on the edge of the counter, facing Draco and absently scratching the scant dusting of black hair on his chest. He's half-hard and his cock can't hide in those bottoms, but worst of all — it's right there at Draco's eye level.
Draco purses his lips and looks back down at the schedules, not commenting on Potter's state of dress and arousal or the fact that he probably still has the bloke he shagged in his room.
"Morning, Draco," Potter says with a yawn. "Have you already had breakfast?"
Draco nods, and underlines a date in his schedule book.
"Oh, okay," Potter says, now rubbing absently at his elbow.
Draco can't stop himself from looking. The way Potter is holding his arms makes his chest look divine, his brown nipples standing erect in the cool of the kitchen. Further up, Draco spots a bite mark on Potter's shoulder. He feels the anger course through him again, pumping hot with every beat of his heart.
"Would you like me to make you some breakfast, sir?" he asks, carefully composing his voice.
Potter furrows his eyebrows.
Draco stands up and smoothes the wrinkles from his robes. He squashes all his feelings down where they can't reach the surface and meets Potter's eyes coolly.
"Why are you calling me sir?" Potter asks, blinking stupidly.
Draco raises an eyebrow. "I am just your valet, Potter. I know my place. Would you like some eggs and bacon for breakfast?"
Potter's forehead creases. "Oh. Are you upset about my bringing Roger home last night? He's just a friend, I promise."
The heat in Draco's gut curls like a flame. "It doesn't concern me. You may do what you wish with whomever you choose."
"Draco," Potter starts, but stops when Draco levels him with a glare. He takes a step closer.
Draco can feel his pulse quicken as Potter's scent rises before him. He's putting off strong pheromones and Draco's finding it hard to not bend Potter over the table and stake his claim. His eyes jump up to the bite mark on Potter's shoulder. He simmers.
"Don't!" Draco says, picking up the schedule books and clutching them to his chest, as if the flimsy bindings will provide a barrier between them.
"He's not here," Potter says, voice low. "He left as soon as he took a hangover potion when we got to my room."
"I don't care," Draco says, realising that the way his voice sounds, higher-pitched than normal, betrays how much he really does care. "I have your schedule for the week and mine. I've arranged things so we won't have to deal with any awkwardness."
Potter runs a hand through his already messy hair. "Fuck, I'm bollocksing it all up. This isn't how I meant things to turn out."
Draco doesn't want to hear Potter's excuses, tells himself he doesn't care. He shouldn't care anyway.
He puts Potter's schedule book on the table. "If you don't require me to make your breakfast, I will leave your schedule for you here and return to my duties."
He turns to leave.
Draco pauses on the threshold of the kitchen. He closes his eyes briefly, then opens them. "What?" he asks, without turning around.
"I just… I hate that you don't… fuck. Why are you acting like this? Why can't we just be ourselves around each other?"
Draco turns his head. He's listening. He's not sure how to answer that question, but decides it is probably best to just shut Potter down all the way. "I think you should exercise more caution when 'being yourself' in public, Potter. The way you and that man were clinging to each other last night will probably not be the best thing for your public image."
"For fuck's sake! I told you we were just friends. I wasn't doing that in public. It was… I mean… I wanted to make you jealous," Potter says lamely.
Draco turns around the rest of the way, his arms folded across his front, fury burning in his eyes, but he manages to maintain his cool. "I don't see why you thought that display would make me jealous. However, that ridiculous bite mark on your shoulder will provide the press with a field day. I will heal it for you, if you can't manage it on your own."
Potter's hand reaches up to cover the bite. "That's… That's the only thing I have to hold onto from the best night of my life. It stays."
Draco's eyes widen a fraction. He knew it. Potter just messed up whatever cockamamie story he had brewing. "If that was the best night of your life, then you are lying to me about being only friends with that bloke. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. You can do what you like with your life and I will with mine as well. We'll just have to figure out how to do it without fighting."
He whips back around and stalks up the stairs, images of Snape's robes billowing in his mind's eye as his own mimic his former mentor.
For the most part Draco is satisfied with the arrangement, but he's been growing more and more uneasy the past couple of days counting down to the full moon. He's pressing shirts in the laundry and mentally calculating how much Wolfsbane he has left on hand in his bunker. He tries to brew enough for a few months at a time, but lately, his mind has been scattered and he can't recall when was the last time he had concocted it.
Draco looks up as Potter knocks on the open door, a sort of sheepish look about him. He takes a deep breath and releases it. The moon must be strong this month, as he feels affected by it a day earlier than he should.
"Yes?" he says, shaking out the last shirt and directing it to a hanger with his wand to join the others on their rack.
"I'm feeling peaky," Potter says, and Draco takes a moment to really give Potter a good look for the first time in what feels like forever. He doesn't look ill; rather, flushed and a bit sweaty as if he's been working in the sun. And then Potter moves and Draco catches his scent and has to hold onto the edge of the wash table to prevent himself from doing something stupid.
"Maybe you should have a shower," Draco suggests, thinking to himself that a cold shower sounds about right for him as well. The full moon isn't until the following night, but he seems to be having an increase in symptoms lately. He makes a mental note to start a new batch of Wolfsbane as soon as Potter leaves for the day.
Potter seems to be struggling with something else. He looks like he has something to say, but can't make his mouth form the words.
"Yeah," Potter says at last. He wipes his brow with his hand, then looks at his fingers, smearing the sweat between them. "I'll do that. Can you pack my trunk for me? I need to go and stay with Teddy tonight. We're starting his Wolfsbane therapy this evening."
Draco feels his blood run cold. "But the full moon isn't until tomorrow," he says, pushing the hunger building inside him down, stamping it into place.
Potter quirks his head to the side. "No, it's tonight. I know you have your days off scheduled starting tomorrow, but since I'm leaving this evening, you can feel free to take off after I've gone."
Potter doesn't wait for a response. He leaves Draco standing there.
Draco's own shirt is now plastered to his skin. How could he have made such an enormous error? He rushes to his own bedroom, relieved to hear the water running through the pipes letting him know Potter is having his shower. He pulls open his trunk, and searches the secret compartment in its bottom, withdrawing three bottles.
There's only one dose of Wolfsbane left; the rest is at his bunker. He pours himself half a dose and dilutes it with a calming draught, hoping that he can make it stretch until he can safely isolate himself.
He runs to Potter's rooms, and throws three pairs of jeans and T-shirts into Potter's trunk. He fetches a few pairs of Potter's underwear, grimacing at the Gryffindor colours, and, unable to stop himself, buries his nose in them. They're freshly laundered, but still have Potter's smell on them and Draco can feel his control slipping. He shakes himself, and finishes packing, but shoves a pair of briefs into his pocket at the last minute before doing the latch on the trunk.
Done. He steps back, taking shaky breaths, feeling his hands tremble at his sides. He has to leave now. He turns and finds himself face to face with a naked Harry Potter, dripping with water, and wrapped in a towel.
His mouth fills with saliva, and he forces himself to swallow.
"All done?" Potter asks.
Draco nods, afraid he's going to start panting in a second. Thankfully Potter moves out of the doorway and crosses the room. Draco's out the door in an instant.
He grabs his trunk and Disapparates a moment later.
But there's something very wrong when he materialises at the edge of the Manor's boundaries. The bunker he uses for his isolation is not there. In its place is a freshly-constructed foundation for a new house.
He has no time to dwell on what this means. He'll have to contact his solicitors after the moon wanes. There's no other option; he can't go anywhere where there will be people, he has to return to Grimmauld Place.
Draco lands on the front step and bursts through the door moments later. He slams it shut and falls back against it, trying to slow his breathing. His heart feels like it's ready to explode in his chest it's pumping so hard, and his skin is hot under his clothes.
Potter's scent is thick on the air, infusing everything around him with it and making his mouth water with need.
No! He won't jeopardise the only job he's found by wolfing out on his boss. He won't!
He races up the stairs, pausing beside Potter's open bedroom door, but there is no sign of life in the house. He continues to his own room, pulling Potter's underwear out of his pocket on the way. He lifts his arm to toss them onto the bed, but falters, unable to stop himself from bringing them to his face and inhaling deeply.
He can't stand it any longer. His skin itches beneath his clothes and he has to find some sort of relief before he goes mad. He sheds them a moment later and falls onto his bed, wrapping his hand still clutching Potter's pants around his cock, and begins stroking himself desperately.
The scent of Potter that infuses the house seems to grow even stronger. He bucks his hips upwards, fucking the rough cotton even though it chafes, and squeezes his eyes shut tight. He's close, so close. If he can only come quickly, he'll be able to take another diluted dose of Wolfsbane and chase it down with a sleeping draught.
He freezes as somebody begins pounding on his bedroom door. "Oi, Malfoy, you in there?"
"Arrrrghhh!" he shouts, sounding more like a growl than an exclamation. "Keep your pants on, I'll be right there!"
His body is slick with perspiration and the cleaning spell he sends at it leaves him tingling all over, as if he's been doused in surgical spirit. He slips on his pyjama bottoms, throws his dressing gown over himself and strides to the door, taking deep breaths in an attempt to regain his composure.
He opens the door a crack and peers out. It's Weasley.
"What do you want?"
Weasley's face is flushed red and he's panting.
"Harry — He's not well. I need to get back to Andromeda to help with Teddy. Can you look in on him and get him to St Mungo's if he worsens?"
Draco wants to slam the door in Weasley's face and tell him to piss off, but he catches a waft of Potter's scent, stronger than ever, and has to wipe a trickle of sweat off his brow.
"Why do you have Harry's pants?" Weasley asks, looking at Draco with confusion.
Draco looks at the red and gold coloured underwear he's still clutching in his hand, not having realised he'd not put them down.
He draws himself up as best he can. "I happen to work for Potter, Weasley. Part of my job is doing the wash. I promise you I wouldn't touch Potter's pants for any nefarious purposes."
When Weasley cocks his eyebrow, Draco is finished. "Go on, get. I'll look after him, don't worry."
"Thanks, Malfoy," Weasley says, now grinning. "I was wrong about you; you're all right."
Before Draco can respond, Weasley Disapparates and Draco feels sick to his stomach.
He closes the door, and tosses Potter's pants on the pile of his own discarded clothes. He spots the bottle of Sleeping Draught and grabs it, figuring it will be easiest to just drug Potter to sleep and then to come back and take his own doses.
Taking a deep breath, he knocks on the door.
Potter calls out unintelligibly. He sounds like he's in pain.
Draco pushes the door open, hoping that that is not the case. He has only enough pain potion left for himself.
The scent hits him like a blow to the head, and Draco drops the potion as the door is still swinging open. He can feel his senses change, becoming more alert, poised and ready to pounce, but the human in him fights it, though the diluted Wolfsbane has to have worn off by now.
Potter stands half-undressed and struggling to get his trousers off. It would be rather amusing to see — as Potter balances on one leg, nearly falling over as he rips the fabric from his skin — if Draco's senses weren't focused entirely on the one thing he means to avoid.
"Bugger fucking shit!" Potter swears and tears his underwear off, looking up as Draco feels the last vestiges of his control slip away. "Draco?" Potter asks, his voice tentative. "Are you all right?"
Draco can't answer that; his eyes are on the trail of slickness that seeps down Potter's thighs. The scent is everywhere, permeating every inch of Draco's body, calling out for him to take what is his. Potter bears his scent. Potter is an omega in heat. The scent ensnares him, filling him up to the brim with trembling need. He takes a ragged breath, fighting it.
It takes all of his energy to turn around, to put his hand on the doorknob and leave, but Potter stops him. Potter grips his shoulder and squeezes it, his scent bewitching Draco even more still as he speaks softly in Draco's ear, only a few inches of space separating them.
"What's wrong?" Potter asks, as if he hasn't just been peeling his clothes off as fast as he could, as if he wasn't now standing starkers behind Draco.
Draco's cock is rock-hard and tenting his pyjama bottoms. The silk makes his trapped erection burn. Gathering his wits about him, he prepares to tell Potter off. Potter obviously doesn't realise he's in heat; if he did, he'd be aware of the precarious position they are in. He reminds himself he needs his job. He has to resist.
He turns around. Potter is right there, his eyes boring holes into Draco's, pupils dilated. Draco's words dry up in his mouth.
Potter looks down, focussing on the obvious bulge in Draco's pants. "You changed your mind?" he asks, looking back up coyly, a foolish smile playing on his lips.
Draco has no idea what Potter is talking about, but it doesn't matter; a moment later he has Potter pinned against the door, his face to the wood. He can't remember grabbing him or turning him around; he has Potter where he needs him and that is all that matters. He can feel his pulse pounding in his eyeballs, in his chest, in his temples, but nothing will take from him what he's come for.
"Wh—what?" Potter gasps as Draco slips a finger inside his arse, feeling it slide so easily in, wrapping the digit like a glove. He finds Potter's prostate with a simple crook and prods it, pushing his chest against Potter's back and rocking his silk-clad erection against the swell of Potter's arse, thrusting with each stroke of his finger.
He presses his nose into the crook of Potter's neck, inhaling deep. "Mine," he says, licking the bite mark on Potter's shoulder, before sinking his teeth into it, marking it over with his own bite.
Potter cries out, though from the way the scent filling Draco's nose thickens with increased arousal, he knows the cry isn't purely painful. "Yes! Yours! Fuck!"
That's all Draco needs to hear. He pushes his silk pyjama bottoms down to his thighs, wraps his arm tightly around Potter's chest and sinks his cock into Potter's wet and dripping hole, sheathing it entirely.
The feeling is exquisite. Pure instinct takes control of Draco's mind and he's lunging into Potter's body, their balls slapping obscenely, and Potter's hands scrabble at the door, while his face turns to the side, pressing against it.
"Fuck, harder," Potter calls out, his voice growling.
Draco increases his thrusts until Potter's practically lifted off the floor with each one, sliding up the door with groans and curses. Draco plasters his body to Potter's back, holding him up with one arm across his chest, the other wrapped around his hips so Potter's cock is fucking his fist. His thighs scream as he batters Potter's arse, but Draco is far too wound up to be stopped by pain.
He presses his cheek against Potter's sweating back, inhaling the thick musk rising between them and growls as the base of his cock thickens, swelling inside Potter's rim, tying them together. He has never had a knot in his cock before, but knows it happens when mating, having researched the effects of lycanthropic afflictions.
Potter, on the other hand, is caught entirely unawares.
"Fuck, Fuck," he pants. "Oh! What's that?"
Draco stills as he begins to ejaculate, now supporting Potter in a full bear hug, pulling him back onto his cock, supporting his weight between his thighs and the door.
Draco's mind reels. He's cresting, floating, hovering, and coming so hard he can't feel his toes, and reality crashes back over him as Potter releases a choked sob.
"Shhh," Draco croons, pulling Potter's head back so they are cheek to cheek. "It will go down soon. We're tied."
"I'm so full," Potter says, his voice a whisper.
Draco can feel his heart slowing, his pulse growing less erratic. He trails a hand down Potter's front and grips his still-hard cock, pumping it gently with a loose fist, pressing soothing kisses against Potter's hot and sweaty cheek.
It seems to be exactly what Potter needs. Draco can feel his body relaxing, his rim not so tight, no longer fighting the knot, but pushing back onto it, taking it in all the way.
Potter comes with a groan, his orgasm striping the door with thick white ropes, and Draco pants heavily beside his ear, drinking in Potter's shuddering gasps, the aroused taste of his mouth in the scent of his breathing.
Potter turns his face, his lips finding Draco's and his back contorting slightly as they meld together.
Draco's head spins with a dizzy joy. There is nothing in the world he'd rather be doing than being tied to Potter with his cock, covered in a sheen of sweat from sexual exertion, and having Potter respond to his kisses as if he needed them to live.
Potter's hand slips against the door, and he breaks the kiss to regain his balance, hesitating awkwardly as he adjusts his hips.
"Um— Draco? How long is it going to be er… stuck?"
Draco winces at the pull on his cock, but fortunately Potter stops trying to move away when he notices.
"I've never had this happen before," Draco says, feeling his cheeks grow hot. "Let's uh— try to lie down for a bit."
It takes some manoeuvring, but they manage to get to the floor without causing an injury and Draco spoons up behind Potter's body, pulling him close. He closes his eyes and breathes in the clean smell of Potter's now-sweaty hair, and the subtle perfume from his shampoo. The sensation of Potter's warm and pliant body beneath his hands, wrapped up in his embrace, is very relaxing. Draco can feel his heartbeat slow to match Potter's, and the knot in his cock throbs in small pulses along with his heart, still tightly locked to Potter.
"Draco," Potter says after a while, his voice slightly questioning. "I don't mean to be rude, but why do you have a knot in your cock?"
Draco's eyes fly open in surprise and his mouth spreads into a grin, before he realises that Potter is not joking.
His mind whirls. How is he supposed to answer this question without Potter freaking out and hurting his cock as he tries to get away?
"Um — What do you know about lycanthropy?"
He can feel Potter tense a moment underneath him, but relax again as Draco strokes his chest with his palm.
"You mean werewolves? I know about them a bit. Lupin was one, and he was a great person. The only other one I've ever met was Greyback, though so I guess not a lot."
"You know that your mate Weasley's older brother was attacked by Greyback though, not during a full moon, and how Teddy is having to start Wolfsbane treatment. Lycanthropy doesn't always mean a full contamination." He stops talking a moment, listening to Potter's breathing grow quiet, feeling his body still. "Greyback bit me after you and your friends escaped the manor," he says quietly. "It was a punishment for my parents. He wasn't transformed, so I'm not a full-fledged werewolf, but it was enough to cause some changes during the full moon. I think you were bit too."
Potter stiffens, and Draco can feel his mouth grow dry.
"Why would you say that?" Potter asks. His voice comes out in a shaky breath, the tension in his back increasing. Draco can feel his cock being squeezed by Potter's hole. He closes his eyes with the pain, biting his own lip.
"Try to relax a little," he says when he can talk again. "You're hurting my cock."
Potter immediately relaxes his muscles, not completely, but enough to allow relief of the pain.
Draco runs his hand over the fading mark on Potter's cheek that has never completely healed. "This mark. You said Teddy did it a couple of months ago. You started experiencing omega symptoms with the last full moon, right? You are a male omega, Potter. I can smell it on you. Your scent is like a drug to me."
Potter smacks Draco's hand away from his face. "Stupid me," he says. "Here I was thinking that your memories had returned, or that it might have been something more."
"What are you talking about?" Draco asks. "What memories?"
Potter grabs Draco's hand again and brings it up to feel the fresh bite mark on his neck. "You put this here nearly a month ago. We fucked and you told me to Obliviate you afterwards. I wasn't going to do it, but you made me promise." There's an edge to his voice, an accusation.
Draco's mind reels. Would he have ever willingly subjected himself to Obliviation? He supposes that if Potter wound him up to the point he was thinking with his cock and not his brain, that he might.
"I'm sorry I made you do that," Draco says quietly, pressing his lips to the back of Potter's neck. He can't help but do it; it feels right.
"Will you stop calling me Potter?" Potter asks as Draco moves to kiss the soft skin behind Potter's ear.
"I'll try," he says. "Harry." The name feels odd on his tongue, but it makes him smile to say it. He says it again. "Harry." And trails kisses down the side of Harry's neck. He tilts Harry's face to meet his lips with his hand.
There is a loud woosh, followed by the sounds of stamping feet.
Draco and Harry snap to look at the intruder.
Weasley has just flooed into the room, and now stands, his mouth gaping like a fish out of water.
Granger floos in behind him a moment later, clutching a blue-haired toddler to her chest with a blanket wrapped around him. "Ron, do you see… Oh my God!" she says, and draws the blanket over the toddler's face. The boy appears to be asleep.
"Teddy!" Harry shouts, and tries to stand up.
Draco grabs his hips and holds on tight, his eyes streaming with tears of pain. "Potter, stop!"
"Uh… er… I'll be in the hall," Weasley says. He averts his eyes and is out the door in a second.
"Potter, listen to me," Draco says. He's pulled Harry as close to his body as he can get and holds him in a bear hug. "We're still tied. You have to wait it out. Granger," he says, looking up to see her flush and look away.
"Yes, Teddy is fine, Harry," she says and rushes to the door. "We'll wait for you downstairs."
Draco holds on to Harry tightly, waiting until he stops struggling.
Harry is breathing hard, and Draco can feel his heart racing against his chest.
"I asked you to call me Harry," he says at last. His face is red and sweating.
"I was busy trying to keep my cock attached to my body, Harry."
Harry closes his eyes, pressing his fists against them. "I can't believe they saw us like this."
Draco leans in and breathes deeply, then whispers into Harry's ear. "What? I think we look pretty hot, all naked and sweaty with your arse full of my come." He gives his hips a tentative roll, feeling the knot slip slightly and a trickle of wet come slide between their thighs.
Harry shudders beneath him, and they lose track of time.
They find Weasley and Granger in the drawing room, while Teddy chases a small rubber ball Weasley tosses for him, clad only in his nappy.
As Harry steps over the threshold, Teddy stops playing and looks up stock still for an instant, and then bounds over to him and attaches himself to Harry's leg, holding on with his arms and legs. "Mine!"
"Hey there, Teddy Bear," Harry chuckles and pries Teddy off his leg, hoisting him onto his hip.
Teddy clings to Harry's shoulders, resting his head on his chest. "Mine," Teddy says again, and Draco wonders if he knows how to say any other words.
Harry holds onto Teddy and shuffles forward into the room as Granger and Weasley stand up and exchange a nervous glance.
"Hey, mate," Weasley says, his cheeks reddening. "Everything all right?"
Draco feels the tension in the room thicken, highlighting every word they say with an unspoken embarrassment.
"Everything is fine, Weasley," he answers in Harry's place, as Harry has looked to him, wearing a small frown. "I take it Granger has explained what's been happening? The pack dynamics that those with lycanthropy experience during the moon cycle?"
Weasley's face grows more red and he shuffles uncomfortably, but nods.
Granger takes his arm and pulls him towards the fire. "We'll just be on our way, Malfoy," she says, her voice trembling minutely. He can sense her fear of getting too close, and he's glad she has the sense not to interfere. "Harry, Andromeda has asked if you would be able to take on Teddy's care during the moon from now on. She says he's been crying for you and it would just be a lot easier on her."
Draco nods when Harry looks to him again, and he can see Harry's face relax when he tells Granger that it will be fine.
Granger and Weasley leave and take the uneasy air with them.
Draco releases a relieved breath and sits on the sofa, patting the cushion to invite Harry and Teddy to join him.
"What do you say, Teddy?" Harry asks, after they've settled. "You want to meet Draco?"
The little boy lifts his head, full of tufted blue locks, and smiles shyly at Draco, though Draco can tell he's being sized up. And then he's surprised, when Teddy's hair turns a pale blond to match his own and Teddy launches himself at Draco, arms fastening around his neck in a tight hug.
"Mine!" Teddy exclaims, and Harry laughs.
Draco can't stop himself smiling at the joy Teddy takes in claiming him. He ruffles the top of Teddy's hair and pulls him down onto his lap to get a better look at him.
"Can you say anything other than 'mine'?"
Teddy screws up his face a moment and scrunches his nose, looking down at Draco's lap. "Nappy," he says, and pats himself.
"Um, Harry —"
"I got it," Harry says. He picks Teddy up off Draco's lap to change him.
Even after all his best efforts to keep his condition from having an effect on others, and because of his secret fears of rejection, it seems Draco has come to form a pack anyway. It's not going to be an easy road, but he feels more at home right now than he ever has in his life. He's not giving this up for anything.