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Did I Say That Out Loud?

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Draco checked his watch as he turned the corner into Hyde Park, sweeping his blond hair out of his eyes and pulling his grey-knit scarf tighter around his pale neck. It was early, just gone nine am, so it wasn't as if he needed to take the shortcut but he liked to enjoy the scenic route, especially on days like this when the morning air was crisp and the weak winter sunlight seeped through the hazy clouds.

 

He knew Pansy would already be waiting for him with a hot, freshly brewed vanilla latte and all the gory details from the previous night, where she had been subjected to yet another ridiculously over the top dinner party thrown by her parents for no other reason than they wanted to. Pansy had tried to get Draco to go with her, but Draco preferred to hear about these things rather than experience them himself. He was sure it would offer some amusement to his otherwise bland Saturday morning.

 

He had just strode past the kid's play area, which was already teeming with shrieking children running all over the place, apparently not deterred by the brisk February breeze, when a familiar voice called his name. He turned and saw an older woman with greying hair pulled into a loose bun, wrapped against the cold in a dark green overcoat, wave at him.

 

He smiled in surprise and they met at the edge of the play-park where she folded his taller frame into a warm hug.

 

"I thought that was you." She said cheerfully, pulling back to gaze up at him.

 

"Auntie." He replied warmly. "How are you?"

 

Andromeda Tonks was a stately woman. Sharply dressed, with an air of respect that had you instantly standing straighter, she wasn't one to be trifled with.

 

"I am very well, thank you. Enjoying the sunny weather." She returned, smoothing back the wayward strands of hair that caught the gentle wind.

 

Draco smiled inward. Only in England could temperatures of four degrees and a slight glimpse of the sun be considered 'sunny'.

 

"How are your parents?" She asked.

 

"Mother is well." Draco responded carefully.

 

She raised an eyebrow. "And your father?" She continued gently.

 

Draco winced and glanced away, staring out over the dewy grass.

 

"He is much the same."

 

Andromeda patted his arm sympathetically but did not say anything, which Draco was grateful for. What does one say when one's father is in a terminal coma after being brutally attacked by unknown gang members for a business deal gone wrong.

 

Draco didn't like to linger on such thoughts and quickly cast about for a distraction, which arrived in the form of a small bundle of energy in a bright yellow anorak and an eye-wateringly turquoise bobble-hat jammed over his sandy hair. The little boy shouted out with glee and threw himself at Draco, almost knocking them both to the ground with the force of his enthusiasm.

 

"Teddy!" Andromeda scolded as Draco let out a surprised huff of air and instinctively threw out his arm to steady himself, grabbing hold of his aunt's shoulder.

 

"It's alright," Draco assured her, patting the top of the child's wool covered head. "No harm done."

 

Andromeda hummed, unconvinced as Teddy smiled sheepishly up at his grandmother,

but let the incident go.

 

"How are you Teddy?" Draco asked the exuberant child. He didn't feel especially comfortable around children, never knowing what to say to them, but with Teddy's eager personality and infectious grin it was hard not to like the bouncy six year old.

 

"I'm great!" He beamed, and held up his hand to show them the little green leaf, his words tumbling out fast in his excitement. "Look what I found! Harry says its a four-leafed collver! No, clover. They're lucky!"

 

But before either adult could respond, and with the mental dexterity only children possess, Teddy turned to his grandmother, his mind already on the next order of business.

 

"Nanny, can I have an ice-cream?" He asked hopefully, his honey-gold eyes wide and pleading. He pointed to an ice-cream truck parked on the other side of the play area, where a small crowd of children hovered nearby. "Harry said I could have one if I asked nicely and if you said I could. Please?"

 

A low chuckle sounded from behind them, and the voice that followed was warm and rich, sending a shiver of heat down Draco's spine.

 

"Shameless you are, Teddy-bear. I said it was too cold but he kept insisting, so I told him he had to ask you."

 

Draco turned and froze.

 

Because holy shit!

 

Surely this was a god amongst mortals?

 

Like Draco, the man was tall, lean and probably around the same age as Draco, but that's where the similarities ended. Where Draco was pale and delicate, this man was the exact opposite; vibrant colours and strong angles, with warm, golden bronzed skin, wide pine-green eyes framed with thick lashes, a jaw that could cut glass covered in the most sinful five o'clock shadow, and a shock of ebony hair that defied gravity. He was wearing a leather jacket and a pair of faded, dark blue jeans which hugged his thighs like a second skin.

 

Draco wasn't sure what expression was on his face in that moment, but it must have been just as slack-jawed as he felt because the man - Harry, the tiny part of his mind that wasn't completely blank supplied helpfully - met his wide-eyed gaze with his own amused grin, his eyes flitting appreciatively over Draco's form.

 

Draco shuddered, barely suppressing a whimper. Oh, fuck me.

 

Teddy giggled and clapped his hands over his ears, beside him Andromeda pressed her fingers to her mouth to hide her sudden smile, and Harry's eyes widened a touch before he grinned cheekily.

 

"Only if you let me buy you dinner first?" He said, tilting his head forward, his hair falling over his eyes.

 

Draco frowned, confused for a moment, before realisation dawned and horror seeped in. His eyes slid shut in mortification and he prayed to every deity or celestial being who might be listening to make the ground swallow him whole.

 

It didn't work.

 

"Please tell me I didn't say that out loud." He whispered, feeling a flush spread over his skin.

 

"Unfortunately, you did." His aunt replied, failing to hide the mirth from her voice.

 

Draco opened his eyes, wishing he could hide and never show his face ever again. Obviously, the lack of caffeine coupled with an insanely attractive man was enough to reduce him to a drooling simpleton.

 

"You said a bad word, Uncle." Teddy sniggered delightedly.

 

"Uncle?" Harry sounded confused, but Draco didn't dare meet the gaze he could feel burning a hole in his temple. "I didn't know Tonks had siblings."

 

Andromeda huffed at the use of her daughter's maiden surname name rather than her given, but answered Harry's implied question.

 

"She doesn't. Draco is my nephew, Narcissa's son." She smiled warmly at Draco.

 

Draco took strength from his aunts encouraging expression and turned to Harry. Drawing himself to his full height, he ignored the blush still staining his cheeks and held out his hand.

 

"Draco Malfoy. Pleased to make your acquaintance." Draco winced internally at the posh accent that coloured his voice when he was stressed or nervous.

 

Harry smirked at the overly polite tone and clasped Draco's outstretched hand, his palm warm and calloused.

 

"Harry Potter." He returned, then grinned brashly. "And the pleasure is all mine, I'm sure."

 

Draco felt his blush deepen and took a quick step back glancing at Andromeda. She was smiling, her expression so like her daughter's impish grin Draco did a double-take.

 

“Come Teddy, lets get you your ice-cream.”

 

Teddy whooped with joy and took off towards the van, ignoring Andromeda's call to wait and throwing a quick “Bye, Draco!” over his shoulder.

 

Andromeda sighed and shook her head.

 

“Well, I'll see you soon I expect, Draco dear.” She said, pulling Draco into a quick hug. She nodded to Harry and followed her exuberant grandchild.

 

“We'll be just over there.” She called to Harry as she walked away.

 

Draco watched her leave, and feeling Harry's gaze, he looked up, meeting his vibrant green eyes.

 

“That was subtle.” Harry chuckled, taking a step closer.

 

Draco swallowed, forcing himself not to step back. “I apologise for my earlier words. It was inappropriate.”

 

“That's a shame,” Harry murmured, talking yet another step closer. He was close enough now that Draco could smell his woodsy, cedar cologne. “I was actually sincere in my offer of dinner.”

 

At that, Draco stepped back in surprise. “You've only just met me.”

 

Harry smiled charmingly, his lips curving crookedly, a dimple winked at Draco.

 

“Then all the more reason.” He closed in, his hand reaching to curl gently around Draco's wrist. Draco started at the contact, his eyes darting down to where Harry's fingers were pressed against his skin. He blinked rapidly, wondering if Harry could feel his pulse racing.

 

Judging by Harry's smile, he could. “I would like to get to know you.”

 

Harry's gaze was intense. Draco had never been looked at like that, like he was the sole focus of another person. They were surrounded by over-excited children and everyday Londoners, but somehow Harry made him feel like they were the only two on the planet.

 

“Why?”

 

Harry straightened, tilting his head. “I'm intrigued.” He said simply.

 

Draco glanced away, his eyes resting on Teddy who was pointing at one of the pictures on the side of the truck. It wasn't that he was unaware that he was attractive, he was quite used to both male and female attention in that regard – although the latter wasn't always entirely welcome. It was just he had never been pursued so intently.

 

Draco could feel Harry's gaze on him, waiting for his answer. To say he was flattered by Harry's attention was an understatement, Harry was just his type; tall, dark and mysterious – as cliché as that was – and Draco couldn't deny his interest.

 

His gaze slid back to Harry, who was watching him, his expression so cautiously hopeful Draco had to bite his lip to stop his laughter from bubbling out. Harry's eyes flickered quickly to where his lip was caught between his teeth and Draco couldn't hold back his smile any longer.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Yeah?” Harry's voice was full of barely suppressed delight.

 

“Yeah.” Draco nodded, laughing slightly when Harry's face lit up at Draco's acceptance.

 

“Okay, Great!” He beamed, his hand reaching up to rub the back of his head, causing his hair to fluff up further. “Awesome! That's really, really awesome.”

 

Draco grinned and Harry coughed, a blush appearing on his face. “Or something, you know, a little less over-enthusiastic.”

 

Draco smirked at Harry's embarrassed demeanour. Gone was the suave, confident man who  had seemed so assured of himself, and in his place was a man who was just as nervous as he was. Draco was glad he wasn't the only one affected by the other's proximity.

 

“I'm okay with enthusiasm.” Draco smiled, lowering his lashes demurely. Harry licked his lips and Draco's eyes followed the movement, heat curl in his belly. Their eyes met and the air felt thick, only the sound of screaming children stopped Draco from pouncing on the darker man.

 

He took a step back and sucked in an unsteady breath, closing his eyes against the intensity of Harry's stare.

 

When he spoke, Harry's voice was rough. “Tonight? At eight?”

 

Draco's eyes slid open slowly and he nodded, noting that Harry had also moved back.

 

“Where?”

 

He didn't care if it sounded eager, in his opinion eight was too far away. But he supposed he should be grateful for the opportunity to take a breather and get his head back on straight.

 

Harry pulled out a sharpie from his pocket and a scrap bit of paper that looked like it had been torn from a notebook and quickly scribbled a name and address and handed it to Draco. His handwriting was fast and spiky, and leaned to the left suggesting quick thought and creativity. Draco didn't recognise the name of the pub, but the address was familiar and he knew he would be able to find it.

 

Draco looked back at Harry who snapped the lid back onto the pen with a sharp click and stuffed it inside his pocket.

 

“Is that okay?” He asked, nodding to the paper in Draco's long fingers. “Its a great place. The ambiance is nice and the food even better.”

 

“It sounds great.” Draco assure him, folding the piece of paper carefully into his pocket. “Shall I meet you there?”

 

“If you prefer.” Harry nodded.

 

It was something Draco usually insisted on for the first two or three dates. One never knew when a date could go sour and having a reliable getaway was a comfort. He seriously doubted, however, that he would need to with Harry, but it was always better to have a just in case.

 

Their conversation was broken by a child's voice calling out to Harry. They both turned to see Teddy waving impatiently at Harry.

 

“I'm being summoned.” Harry laughed. He was more relaxed, the cheeky smile back in place now he had Draco's confirmation. “I should probably go before his Highness gives himself an aneurysm.”

 

Draco nodded, smiling internally at the exasperated fondness in Harry's voice.

 

“Alright.” Draco's voice was amused without him giving it permission to be so. “I'll see you tonight.”

 

Harry nodded and took a step back, and then another, backing up slowly. He gave Draco a strange half wave and promptly turned around, his pace quickening. He'd only gone a few paces when he abruptly turned back around, a cocky smirk quirking his lips.

 

“That blue looks good on you.” He called, gesturing to Draco's powder blue jacket with one hand, the other running once more through his already dishevelled hair. He ignored the other parents and children around them, the corner of his eyes crinkling in a way that was far to adorable for a grown man, for God's sake. “It brings out your eyes.”

 

And with that he turned back around. Draco stared at his retreating form, not even bothering to pretend he wasn't watching Harry's arse in those snug jeans, feeling the side-ways looks he was getting and not caring one bit. He smiled as he watched Harry pick up a giggling Teddy, hoisting him up from under the shoulders and placing him on his own. Teddy shrieked with laughter, his fingers tangling themselves into Harry's wild mane for balance as Harry bounced playfully on the balls of his feet, gripping Teddy's ankles. Beside them Andromeda laughed, one hand instinctively reaching up to hover behind Teddy in case he fell.

 

Draco took in the happy scene for a moment, letting it fill him with a warmth that could not be touched by the February cold. Then, burrowing down into his scarf, he turned and pushed his fingers into his pocket, felling the edges of the paper crinkle against his skin.

 

 

_____---_____---_____

 

 

“For the last time Pans, I said no.”

 

Draco wove through the different exhibitions, making a note on his clipboard of what was already being showcased. They were going to have a new shipment over the weekend and he needed to make sure he was ready to deal with it come Monday morning.

 

Something that was becoming increasingly difficult to do with his so called best friend hounding him since he made the mistake of revealing why he had been late to work.

 

“Oh, spare me Draco.” She huffed, tucking her alarmingly razor-straight black hair behind one ear.

 

“What part of No do you not understand?” He questioned, his eyes on his clipboard. He didn't need to see her face to know she was rolling her eyes at him.

 

“You are going to say yes.” Pansy stated, tapping her immaculate fingernails on his clipboard to get him to look at her.

 

“I'm really not.” He dismissed, turning to walk back to his office.

 

He heard the click of her heels against the polished oak flooring as she followed him. She'd obviously realised she was getting nowhere with this and tried a different tactic.

 

“Please?”

 

He rolled his eyes, safe in the knowledge that she couldn't see him. “No.”

 

He dropped the clipboard onto his assistant's desk as he walked passed, tapping it meaningfully in a way that told her it was to be done immediately, and with meticulous care. She nodded quickly, her ponytail bobbing.

 

“Why not?” Pansy whined, sounding a lot like her teenage self rather than the successful young woman she had come to be. “You know you'll have more fun! Let me help.”

 

“Its just a dinner date. I'm not going to go through my entire wardrobe.” He didn't bother closing the door as he walked into his office, knowing it wouldn't slow her down in the slightest.

 

Pansy scoffed, crossing the threshold and muttered under her breath, “Because that would take months.”

 

Draco glared at her as he sank onto his high-backed leather office chair at his black monochrome and glass desk. She sniffed, unperturbed by his chilling expression, and settled onto the side of his desk, crossing one leg primly over the other.

 

“It's not just a dinner date though. I've never seen you like this. You've been distracted all morning, dropping things and forgetting stuff.” She peered down at him, concern and confused wonder in her eyes.

 

“He must be something else.” She murmured.

 

Draco blushed under her scrutiny and glanced away, his eyes falling on his assistant typing diligently at her computer. Pansy suddenly sat back abruptly, her expression of concern melting back into its usual upturned look.

 

“Please?”

 

Draco groaned, leaning back in his chair and throwing his arm over his eyes. “For God's sake, No!”

 

“Please!”

 

“No.”

 

“Please!”

 

“No!”

 

“I can do this all day, you know.” She threatened.

 

Draco ignored her, pinching the bridge of his nose with his long, slender fingers.

 

“Please, please, please, please, please, please, plea-”

 

“Okay!” Draco cried, giving in, sitting up and throwing his hands up to stop her mid-flow. “Okay, damn it! Fine!”

 

“Yay!” She squealed triumphantly, clapping her hands together. She leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek. “I'll be there when you get home.” She promised, hopping down from the desk and ignoring his half-hearted protest.

 

“Ciao, darling.” She called over her shoulder, grabbing her – fake, of course – fur-lined chocolate brown coat from the coat-rack as she passed. He heard her call out a chirpy farewell to his assistant, pleased to have gotten her way once more.

 

Draco collapsed back against his chair, barely suppressing a groan and wondering fervently if it was too early to break out the whiskey.

 

A stifled giggle broke through his contemplation. His assistant was standing by his door, a black folder in her hands and a badly concealed grin on her face.

 

“What is it, Myrtle?” He sighed, feeling a headache start to brew behind his eyes.

 

She managed to control her expression into a much more professional smile.

 

“Your two o'clock is here, sir.” she said, adjusting her glasses and hurrying forward to place the thick folder on his desk. He glanced down at the embossed script on the front of the folder and sighed again. He couldn't reschedule this one.

 

He stood and adjusted his waistcoat. “Alright,” he nodded, “Show them in.”

 

 

____---____---____

 

 

Draco peered out of the windscreen at the establishment across the street, Pansy sat in the driver's seat after insisting (and once again winning) to drive him over. Draco hadn't had the energy – or the mental concentration with every minute that slid by – to argue with her.

 

She was quiet for once, letting Draco gather his thoughts. His mind flitted back to that morning, wondering if Harry really was everything he remembered. Surely his caffeine deprived brain had exaggerated most of it. No-one could have eyes that green, right?

 

“If you're thinking about backing out, I will personally kick your skinny arse, Draco Malfoy.” Pansy stated, obviously getting tired of the silence.

 

“I'm not.” Draco muttered, running a hand through his silken tresses.

 

“You better not.” Pansy said darkly. “This guy sound far to good to be true.”

 

Draco tilted his head back against the headrest. “Exactly.”

 

He could feel Pansy's gaze boring into the side of his temple, but did not turn to meet it. That was until her hand shot out to slap him across the chest.

 

“Ow!” He yelped, sitting bolt upright and rubbing his torso. “What the Hell was that for?”

 

“Don't you dare start getting maudlin! Malfoys do not do insecurities. They do not mope or sulk, and they definitely do not let something great and potentially life changing pass them by!” She declared sharply.

 

He stared at her.

 

“You've been spending far to much time with Mother.” He muttered under his breath.

 

She smirked at him.

 

“Come on Drey, put on your big boy panties, march in there and knock that guy's socks off.”

 

“You know I hate it when you call me that.” He glared at her.

 

She raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at him before silently pointing at the pub, a wordless order to get the hell out.

 

He chuckled internally at her expression, but opened the door. She was right, he was being pathetic.

 

He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her soft cheek, watching her soften as he murmured a quiet, “Thank you, Pansy. Where would I be without you?”

 

“I shudder to think about it.” She giggled. “Now, go blow him away.” And waggling her eyebrows suggestively added, “And if you're lucky, actually blow him.”

 

Draco groaned, “That was awful, Pans. Truly.”

 

He climbed out, shivering slightly in the winter night. He heard the driver door open and glanced back to see Pansy's head pop up over the roof of the car, a mischievously coy expression on her features.

 

“I mean it, Draco. I better not see you in the morning. I will be most displeased.”

 

Draco shook his head in amusement.

 

“I'll keep that in mind.” He drawled.

 

He turned towards the pub as she slid back into the car, the door slamming and the engine humming to life. He glanced up and down the car-lined road before crossing to the other side, jogging slightly as he reached the door, his body craving the warmth that emanated from the pub.

 

Inside was cosy and rustic with exposed brickwork and low-hanging beams. The interior was furbished with browns, reds, and golds giving off a homely and welcoming feel. Draco spotted Harry almost immediately amongst the crowd, lounging carelessly against the bar chatting to a busty red-headed barmaid. Before he could make any conscious decision on how he felt about that, it was rendered moot as Harry straightened, a grin splitting his face wide as he noticed Draco walking towards him. Draco pushed away the fluttery feeling in his chest at the sight and couldn't help his own grin from curving his lips.

 

Apparently his memory was not only intact, but also woefully understated. If anything, Harry's eyes were somehow greener than he remembered. How on earth was that possible?

 

“You came!”

 

Draco shivered at the low baritone of Harry's voice. Could this guy get any fucking hotter? Like Draco he'd obviously changed clothes for the date. His leather jacket was folded over a nearby barstool, his legs clad in charcoal grey, thigh-hugging jeans, and a dark green button down with the sleeves rolled over his elbows was taunt across his broad shoulders.

 

“Of course.” Draco replied, shrugging off the coat Harry had complimented that morning. Pansy had insisted he wore it. “Why wouldn't I?”

 

Harry's eyes followed the movement; taking in the snug, white turtleneck and sharp, black slacks, before snapping back to meet Draco's. Draco smirked internally, vowing not to tell Pansy she had been right. She didn't need her ego fluffed any further.

 

“I had kind of convinced myself you were just humouring me.” He shrugged, his fingers curling around the neck of a beer bottle sat on the bar-top, his thumb circling the rim.

 

“But still you came?” Draco questioned curiously, pushing his own sleeves up to his elbows.

 

“Well, if there was a slight chance you might turn up, I would have kicked myself if I had missed you.” Harry chuckled quietly. His eyes slid once more down Draco's form, taking his time and evidently not caring if Draco caught him.

 

“What would you have done if I hadn't showed?” Draco asked, mimicking Harry's relaxed pose against the bar.

 

“Nursed a large glass of whiskey before heading home to brood.” Harry flashed him a smile and bringing his beer to his lips, “Speaking of which, what are you having?”

 

“Same as you is fine.” Draco nodded to the bottle in Harry's hand, noting the abrupt change of subject, but letting it slide.

 

Harry gestured to the woman he had been talking to earlier, who quickly pulled out another bottle, expertly popping the lid off and placing it in front of Draco. He nodded his thanks and she smiled at him flirtatiously, before turning to Harry.

 

“You want me to put that on your tab, Honey?” She asked, already typing up the addition.

 

“Thanks, Rosmerta.” Harry threw her a smile as she walked away to tend to other patrons.

 

“Come here often?” Draco queried teasingly, lifting his bottle to his lips.

 

“Sometimes,” Harry acquiesced, his gaze following the movement, “Two of my friends own this place.”

 

Before either of them could say any more, a dark-skinned girl approached them wearing a uniform of dark jeans, a plain black t-shirt, and a small apron. She smiled professionally and greeted them politely.

 

“Your table is ready now, Mr Potter.” She motioned for them to follow her.

 

Harry grabbed his jacket and his half-drunken beer and gestured for Draco to go first. Draco wondered if Harry was just being polite or if he was using the opportunity to check out his arse. He found he didn't really mind if that was the case.

 

The waitress led them out of the main room towards the back of the adjoining lounge where it was quieter. The lighting was dimmer, more intimate, the background music softer. She stopped at square booth in the corner and waited for them to get settled before asking if they wanted any more drinks.

 

Harry glanced to Draco who nodded. "Another beer, please." He smiled, "And a Coke for me, Romilda."

 

The girl quickly wrote down the order on her mini jotter, ducking her head slightly in an attempt to hide the blush that spread across her cheeks at Harry's use of her name. Draco shot Harry a look, who rolled his eyes slightly but showed no other sign that he had noticed.

 

Romilda lifted her head, her professional smile back in place, "Okay, I'll be right back with those and I'll take your order." She pulled out two menus from her apron pocket and handed them over before taking her leave.

 

"A coke?" Draco asked, watching Harry drain the last of his beer, his eyes lingering on the way Harry's lips curved around the rim of the bottle.

 

"I'm driving." Harry said by way of explanation. He set the bottle down and met Draco's gaze. Draco admired the way the soft lighting fell across Harry's cheekbones, feeling his throat go dry as he realised once more just how attractive Harry was.

 

Harry looked like he was having similar thoughts, if his expression was anything to go by and Draco took a hasty sip of his drink, willing himself not to blush.

 

“How did you get here?” Harry asked, leaning towards Draco across the table.

 

“A friend of mine drove me over.” He said, tracing the rim of the bottle with the tip of his pointer finger. “She was rather, uh... enthusiastic about this.” He admitted.

 

Harry chuckled softly. “Will she be driving you back?” There was no mistaking the question in Harry's eyes.

 

“Well, that depends.” He answered archly, smirking at Harry and laughing internally when his eyes widened as he understood what Draco was implying.

 

“Okay then.” Harry coughed, diverting his attention back to the menu. Draco smiled inwards, Harry was cute when he was flustered.

 

Draco took his cue from Harry and dropped his eyes to the menu, but he'd gotten no further than scanning past the starters when Romilda popped up beside them and set down their drinks. The both started, having been engrossed in the little bubble they had created, but Romilda gave no sign she had noticed.

 

“Are you ready to order?” She asked, pulling out her jotter and a pencil.

 

Draco gestured for Harry to go first, having not had enough time to pursue his choices.

 

Harry scanned the menu quickly before sighing ruefully.

 

“I'll just stick with my usual, I think.” He said, handing the menu back to Romilda, who tucked it under her arm and turned to Draco expectantly.

 

Draco glanced back down to his menu but nothing seemed to jump out at him.

 

“I'll have what he's having.” He said, holding the menu out.

 

“That's bold.” Harry said in surprise as Romilda headed back to the kitchen. “How do you know you'll like it?”

 

Draco shrugged, “I trust you.”

 

Harry's eyebrows rose but he smiled, pleased.

 

Draco leaned towards him, resting his arms on the table and cocking his head to one side. “So, how do you know my Aunt?”

 

“I'm Teddy's godfather.” Harry replied, his eyebrows pulling together in confusion as he too leaned across the table. “No-one told you?”

 

“I knew he had a godfather, I just didn't know it was you.” Draco explained. “You're younger than I expected.”

 

Harry chuckled, “I'm twenty-seven. That's not that young any more.”

 

Draco raised an eyebrow, ignoring that last comment. “Considering you were about twenty-one when Teddy was born, that's quite young to become someone's godfather.”

 

“That's true.” Harry laughed, taking a sip of his drink. “I was completely hopeless at first, I was so worried I was going to drop him. He was so small.” Harry smiled down at the table, his expression fond as he remembered. “Remus was very patient with me, Tonks just laughed at me.”

 

Draco chuckled, seeing it clearly in his head. “That sounds like Nym.”

 

He'd only seen photos of Teddy as a baby, having only met him when the child was four after his mother decided that she wanted to get back in touch with her older sister. Harry seemed to sense Draco's next question because he continued without needing any prompting.

 

“Remus was one of my dad's best friends, he's basically an uncle to me.”

 

Draco could hear the fondness in his voice, the obvious respect and affection that coloured his words as he spoke of the older man, but something about the way Harry held himself – or maybe the look in his eyes - told Draco that family was a sensitive subject. He couldn't explain how he knew, he just did.

 

“Well they obviously made a good choice, you're very good with him.” Draco stated, attempting to steer the conversation towards safer grounds and remembering the easy manner Harry had with the little boy. “He clearly adores you.”

 

Harry flushed at the praise. “Well, he's a brilliant kid. I don't have any siblings, but I imagine this is what having a nephew or a little brother is like.”

 

“I wouldn't know,” Draco responded, “I don't have either of those.”

 

“Teddy is technically like your nephew, in a manner of speaking. And he does call you uncle.” Harry pointed out.

 

“True.” Draco conceded with a nod. “But that could just be because 'Cousin Draco' sounds strange to a child.”

 

“There is that.” Harry nodded, smirking slightly.

 

Draco licked his lips, feeling something warm wash over him. He felt comfortable with Harry, they talked easily and the chemistry between them was obvious. He felt like he'd known Harry for years despite having only met the man that morning. It surprised him in a way that didn't surprise him at all.

 

Their conversation was halted by the arrival of their food – which turned out to be a deconstructed gourmet beef burger on top a bed of salad leaves, the buttered seeded buns propped on the side, and a basket of thickly cut, golden chips to share between them.

 

“Dean!” Harry cried, getting up to embrace the dark-skinned man who had brought over their food. “I thought you were still in Bristol?”

 

“I got back a few days ago.” The newcomer – Dean – said, pulling back from Harry and clapping him on the shoulder. “Everyone got sick so I came back before I could catch it.”

 

He glanced down at Draco, who was watching the exchange with interest, his eyes appraising.

 

“I let Romilda take her break.” He said, looking back at Harry, and his voice turned pointed. “I wanted to meet your friend.”

 

Harry laughed at the man's tone. “Dean, this is Draco,” he introduced them, “Draco, this is Dean, an old friend from school. He and his husband own the place.”

 

“Nice to meet you.” Draco held out his hand for Dean to shake.

 

“Likewise,” Dean grinned, “Harry hardly ever dates, I was curious to see who caught his eye.”

 

Draco raised an eyebrow, wondering if he was being tested.

 

“Don't be a prat, Dean.” Harry said good-naturedly, shoving his friend lightly on the shoulder.

 

“Sure thing, Saviour.” Dean replied, smirking when Harry groaned.

 

“Seriously? Will you please stop calling me that?” He sounded as if they'd had this conversation many times before. Draco shot him a quizzical look.

 

“Stupid high school nickname.” He muttered.

 

The name sounded vaguely familiar to Draco, and it took him a moment to place it.

 

“As in Godric's Saviour?” he questioned.

 

“How did you know that?” Harry asked, whilst Dean laughed in delight.

 

“Because I played for Salazar Academy. We had a game with you every year.” Draco responded, remembering the times he had played against Godric High, as well as Ravenclaw Institute and Hufflepuff Secondary school.

 

“Well this is an interesting turn of events.” Dean laughed. “I'll leave you two to it, I think.” He turned to Harry and punched him lightly on the shoulder. “Don't be a stranger, Mate.”

 

“Course.” Harry replied.

 

Dean smiled at Draco who nodded back.

 

“Oh, and Seamus said this is on the house,” Dean held up his hand, anticipating Harry's protest and waving it away. “We insist.”

 

Harry grumbled as Dean walked away and Draco couldn't help but laugh at his expression.

 

“My friends are idiots.” He huffed.

 

“Why?” Draco asked, picking up a fluffy chip and taking a delicate bite. He chewed it thoughtfully. It was good, lightly seasoned, crispy on the outside and softer than air on the inside. “For giving us free food?”

 

“It sounds reasonable when you put it like that.” Harry sighed, taking a bite of his own food. “So you played in High School?”

 

“Midfielder,” he nodded, “Then as Striker during Sixth Form.”

 

Harry frowned in thought. “I don't remember you.” he said apologetically.

 

“I didn't make the main team till year ten, and I was three years behind you.” Draco explained.

 

Harry's eyebrows shot up. “You're twenty-four?”

 

Draco smirked at Harry's surprise. “Yes.”

 

Harry sat back in his seat. “I thought you were older.”

 

Draco stilled.

 

“Does that change things?” he asked carefully.

 

“No.” Harry shook his head. “Unless it does for you?”

 

Draco relaxed. “Definitely not.”

 

The two men shared a smile as the unspoken words hung in the air. They returned to their food, their conversation flowing easily. They spoke further about their school days, Harry explaining (very reluctantly) where his nickname had come from. He had transferred to Godric High when he was fifteen and was recruited to the team when their captain saw him sprint to the bus one afternoon. He had been made striker immediately, and as well as being very fast, he was ruthless in his determination and attempted moves that others would not.

 

From school they moved on to friends. Draco was very careful not to pry into anything Harry seemed reluctant to talk about. It was only their first date after all, it wasn't as if they had to spill their entire life story in one go. Harry told Draco about Ron and Hermione, his best friends, who had gotten married the previous summer. Harry's love for his friends was obvious, and they were clearly very close. Draco felt an irrational flash of jealously flair up as Harry recounted stories of adventurer and drama.

 

In turn, Draco talked about Pansy, his very best friend, practically his sister, and how they had known each other since before they could walk. He talked about Blaise and Theo from school, and Luna whom he'd met at University. She was an artist and Draco explained how he had liked to study by the lake. One day, during the autumn term, he had sensed someone sitting next to him and looked up to find a pale, blonde girl wearing paint splattered, off-white overalls over a thick-knit pink and yellow stripped jumper, with odd matching socks and green wellington boots sat cross-legged across from him. She'd had a huge sketch book propped on her knees, a necklace made of corks and beer bottle caps and was drawing Draco in oil pastels, her fingers covered in different colours. Her hair had been in a messy bun, most of it falling down over her shoulders, with a paintbrush and a pencil stuck in it. She had seemed unconcerned at being caught by her muse, and Draco had been so shocked he had stared at her for a full minute before asking her what the hell she thought he was doing.

 

Harry had been in stitches over Draco's description of Luna and their bizarre friendship that still bemused him to that day. Talk of Luna had led to Draco mentioning his Art Gallery and their current showcase of local artists. He explained how he wanted to support the local art community and give new and unknown artists a chance to showcase – and perhaps sell - their work. He sometimes rented out unused space to the nearby Universities and schools who wanted to put on an 'end of year' show for their students.

 

Harry talked about his own students, boisterous, rambunctious six and seven year olds who were far too shrewd for their own good. He expressed amusement at Draco's surprise over his career choice.

 

“You don't think I'd make a good teacher?” He'd asked as Romilda took their plates away.

 

“It's not that, I just didn't image you as a teacher.” Draco replied. “I was thinking something more along the lines of law enforcement.”

 

Harry laughed loudly at that, causing the few nearby to turn their heads.

 

“It's funny you should say that.” He chortled, his eyes dancing in the low lighting. “That was my first choice.”

 

“Really?” Draco leaned towards Harry. “What happened?

 

Harry shrugged, “Turned out it wasn't really my thing.” He chuckled then, “Apparently, I'm not very good at taking orders. I left after a few months.”

 

“What happened then?”

 

“I floundered for about a year. I did odd jobs here and there, but nothing seemed right.” Harry gazed thoughtfully down at his fingers, which were intertwined on the table-top. “Then Remus got really sick and Tonks had to take time off work to take care of him. She was struggling with both him and a three year old Teddy, so I told her I'd take care of him when she needed a break. I took him to school and back, went grocery shopping with him when Tonks was to tired. I started helping out at the nursery that he went to and realised I love being around kids. I started looking into teaching, talked to Teddy's Headteacher about what I would have to do. I didn't tell anyone until Remus got better and Tonks went back to work. Everyone was really encouraging and three years later, here we are.”

 

“And you enjoy it?” Draco asked, although it wasn't really necessary as anyone with half a brain could see just how much Harry loved it.

 

Harry's answer was enthusiastic and he spent some time recounting some of the more wild shenanigans his students had gotten up to.

 

They talked well into the night, neither of them noticing just how much time was passing by, too caught up in each other. Draco couldn't believe how much they had in common, or just how easy it was to talk to Harry. It was so comfortable, like slipping into a hot bath at the end of a long day. And that was not to mention the underlining stream of delicious tension that fizzed and hummed every time their eyes met. Draco couldn't help but watch the way that Harry's lips moved with every word they formed, or the way his throat worked when he threw his head back and laughed. Draco couldn't ignore they way that Harry's voice made him feel, or the flair of heat in his stomach whenever Harry ran a hand through his unruly locks. He knew that Harry was watching him in the same way and the knowledge that Harry found him just as attractive, just as distracting, only made his desire burn hotter.

 

It was only when – hours later – a blond man with a lilting Irish accent threatened to kick them out, friend or not, that Harry suggested they make a move.

 

“So... have I earned you the right to drive you home?” He asked, his expression endearingly hopeful.

 

Draco hummed thoughtfully, dropping his eyes to the table top and running a finger over a knot in the wood.

 

“That depends,” he murmured, remembering Pansy's words as she kicked him out of the car. Slowly, he raised his eyes to gaze at Harry through his lashes. “How far away is your place?”

 

 

____---____---____

 

 

The interior of Harry's basement flat was open and welcoming, with a miss-match of old and modern furniture that somehow worked harmoniously together. The kitchen was along the side of the flat and along with the dining and living rooms was open plan. There were two doors at the back which Draco assumed lead to the bathroom and bedroom.

 

Harry walked into the kitchen calling out to Draco to make himself comfortable. Draco pulled of his coat and draped it across the back of one of the armchairs, looking about himself in interest. His eye caught on a wall absolutely covered in an array of framed photographs, canvas' and paintings. They were arranged in a fashion Draco couldn't make sense of but was somehow aesthetically pleasing.

 

He moved closer, taking in all the different colours and memories. His eyes lingered on a strip of photos, like the kind you get at a photo booth, depicting a younger Harry smiling widely  with a laughing red-headed man and a grinning dark-skinned girl who were obviously (from the description Harry had given him) Ron and Hermione. Draco smiled at the happy scene, the strong bond between them evident even in print. Draco searched for them in the other photos and found that they featured in most of them, along side a whole host of red-headed people that Draco understood to be the Weasleys, Ron's family, and a few other familiar faces that Draco recognised as Dean and Seamus, Remus, Tonks, and Teddy. There were a few Draco didn't recognise; a chubby teenager holding a frog, a blond boy with a camera, and a handsome, dark haired man leaning against a sleek black motorbike.

 

Draco felt Harry walk up behind him and turned, smiling as he accepted the glass of wine Harry held out.

 

“Thanks.” He murmured, turning back to the photo of the dark haired man. “Who's that?”

 

He had a feeling he knew who the person was, but wanted Harry to confirm it.

 

Harry smiled when he saw who Draco was referring to. “Sirius Black, my godfather.”

 

Draco nodded to himself. He recognised the name of course, and marvelled internally at just how interwound his and Harry's lives already were. How had they not met before then?

 

“He died, didn't he?” Draco didn't want to push, but he was curious.

 

Harry nodded, “When I was nineteen.”

 

Draco winced, “I'm sorry.” The words felt lame, but there wasn't much else he could say.

 

Harry was quiet for a moment, his index finger reaching out to brush the frame.

 

“He was my dad's best friend.” Harry said, pointing to another picture, this one faded, of four boys, around fifteen or so, grinning widely at the camera. Sirius had his arms around a much younger Remus and a boy who looked the spitting image of Harry. On the doppelganger's other side was a small mousey looking boy who looked awed and excited to be included.

 

Draco pointed to Harry's look-a-like, “Your dad?”

 

Harry nodded, “James Potter,” he pointed to another photo where an older James had his arm around a laughing red-headed girl with Harry's green eyes, “And my mum, Lily.”

 

“You have her eyes.” Draco remarked. “And her smile.”

 

Harry laughed, gazing at the photo of his parents. “Everyone says that. Usually its preceded by, Wow, you look so much like your dad!

 

“Well, people often go for the obvious in lieu of original thought.” Draco stated, feeling warm when Harry laughed.

 

“We should toast to that, I think.” Harry grinned, holding up his glass.

 

Draco chuckled in agreement, “To the obvious.”

“To the obvious.” Harry echoed, clinking his glass against Draco's.

 

They held each others eyes as they drank, and Draco felt a shiver of heat slide up his spine. Harry's gaze was liquid hot and Draco had no delusions about where this was headed. He took Harry's glass gently from his fingers and set it down on the coffee table with his own. Harry's eyes were fixed on him when Draco turned back around and they widened when he stepped closer, closing the distance between them. Their fingers slid together and twined and Draco's breath caught in his throat at the feeling something as simple as holding Harry's hand caused. Harry's eyes fluttered closed at the touch.

 

“Do you...” he murmured, opening his eyes lazily and licking his lips. “Do you want to see my snake?”

 

What?”

 

Draco took a step back, his eyes wide at Harry's words.

 

Harry's jaw went slack an he jumped forward. “Shit! Did I say that out loud?”

 

“Yes, you did.” Draco wasn't sure whether he should laugh at Harry's panicked expression or not. “And that was by far the most awful come-on I've ever heard.”

 

“Shit, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that, I swear!” Harry said vehemently. “You make my brain go mushy. I meant an actual snake. I have a pet snake.”

 

Draco softened slightly. “What's wrong with a cat? Or a dog?”

 

Harry looked relieved when Draco made no move to leave. “Where's the fun in that?”

 

“Where indeed.” Draco murmured, but gestured for Harry to lead the way.

 

When Harry opened the door to what was clearly his bedroom, Draco raised an eyebrow.

 

“Not exactly making a case for yourself, Potter.” He teased, following Harry into the room.

 

Harry grinned at Draco's tone and crossed the room to a large glass tank in the corner. He reached inside and after some soft coxing, lifted out a beautiful pale yellow snake about two foot long with faint white coils. Draco approached carefully as the snake curled its body around Harry's arm. Harry seemed to be talking quietly, but when Draco got close enough he could hear the soft hissing sounds Harry was making. The sibilant sounds sent shivers running over Draco's skin, and not in an unpleasant way.

 

As Draco approached, Harry turned to face him, “Draco, this is Kalia.” He said, his voice soft, but not whispering. “She's a California King snake.”

 

“She's beautiful.” Draco said, taking his cue from Harry and keeping his voice soft. He reached out to stroke her back, but hesitated, waiting for Harry's nod before touching her.

 

“She's not venomous or poisonous, but she does have a pretty powerful bite.” Harry explained, sound for all the world like he was talking about a normal pet.

 

“Would you like to hold her?

 

Draco's eyes widened and he shook his head forcefully.

 

Harry chuckled, “Scared, Malfoy?” he teased.

 

Draco's eyes hardened and he smirked. “You wish.”

 

Harry carefully lifted Kalia and set her on Draco's shoulders, demonstrating how to hold himself so Kalia could move freely. Draco tensed when he felt Harry's hand slide down his back in a soothing manner, coming to rest at the base of his spine.

 

He eyed Harry shrewdly, almost forgetting that there was a snake slowly winding her way down his arm.

 

“If this was just a ploy to grope me...” he trailed off, unsure how to finish that sentence because, lets be honest, he wouldn't be adverse to some groping... or any form of touching really.

 

“Do I need a reason to touch you.” Harry asked quietly, his eyes like two pools of liquid jade.

 

Draco shivered slightly at the intensity of Harry's gaze. Neither man was paying any attention to the snake any more, far too caught up in each other.

 

“Do you have any idea how hot you look right now?” Harry breathed.

 

Draco's eyes darkened. “You like me touching your snake, do you? He murmured. Harry smirked at the continuation of the awful pun.

 

Draco carefully stepped away from Harry and gently lowered Kalia back into her home. He slid the lid shut and flicked the latch to lock it before turning back to Harry.

 

“I'm sure there's much more fun things we can do with your other snake.” And with that he pulled Harry into a bruising, heat-filled kiss that left them both reeling, desperately craving more.

 

Harry groaned into the kiss, his hands flying to grip Draco's hips, tugging him closer. Their mouths moulded together and Harry's tongue traced Draco's lips, sliding past into the heat of his mouth when they parted.

 

Draco slid his fingers up over Harry's broad shoulders and into his unruly hair like he had been wanting to do since that morning. The strands were softer than Draco imagined and he tugged on them softly, needing to be closer to Harry than was physically possible.

 

Harry gasped into Draco's mouth, the sound hot and filthy. He twisted them around and shoved Draco forcefully into the wall, pressing the entire length of his body against Draco's in the most delicious way possible and sliding a knee between Draco's thighs. Draco moaned into Harry, arching, seeking more. Harry rocked their hips together, feeling their cloth covered arousals press together desperately.

 

Draco couldn't think, his mind filled with nothing but Harry, Harry, Harry!

 

He gasped out loud when Harry tore himself away from Draco's lips, tugging down the neck of the turtleneck he's still wearing for some inexplicable reason, and latched onto his pulse point, sucking hard.

 

Draco wasn't aware any more of the noises he was making. Harry made him feel like his skin was on fire, like there was something needy and wild inside him desperate to get out. No one has ever made him feel like this. No one has ever kissed him like this. Like he's the last breath on earth, the final ray of the sun.

 

When Harry tugged his earlobe into the wet heat of his mouth and whispered and husky, desperate, “Stay.” Draco pulled his lips back to his hungrily.

 

 

He had no intention of leaving.

 

 

____---____---____

 

 

Monday morning finds Pansy sat impatiently on top of the reception desk, her polished nails tapping a quick beat on the monochrome surface, ignoring the young girl behind her, quietly tapping away at the keyboard.

 

It was ten to ten and Draco has usually arrived by nine thirty at the latest. This coupled with the fact that she hasn't seen or heard from him for the entire weekend since she kicked him out of her car has her restless and eager for information.

 

Just then, a sleek black motorcycle pulls up outside the gallery, and through the floor to ceiling windows Pansy can see quite clearly as the tall man wearing a powdered blue coat disembarks from the bike, pulling off the helmet as the leather wearing driver does the same.

 

Pansy's jaw drops when Draco's admirer comes into view, because holy fuck! Draco has really stepped up his game.

 

The glass prevents Pansy from hearing what's being said, but it does nothing to stop her from watching the dark haired man throw his head back and laugh, before pulling Draco into a kiss so scorching it would have melted her brain had she been the one to receive it.

 

Hours later – or more precisely, a few minutes later – they break apart, smiling at each other in a way that tells Pansy the date went very well indeed, and that there will definitely be more dates – and kisses – in the future.

 

Pansy watches as Draco steps back and his lover bends low over the bike-handles, zooming off down the road. Draco turns around and enters the building, running a hand through his hair, the smile on his face one that Pansy will definitely be teasing him about mercilessly later.

 

He must sense her presence because his head snaps up, his eyes filling with horror as he watches Pansy hop down from the desk, cackling gleefully.

 

“Tell me everything!”