The door clicks shut behind Potter and Draco stares at the brass key in his good hand, holding it high above his face so that it looks sharply gold against the white ceiling. Potter isn't going to throw him out then, not that that surprises Draco. The Savior is, after all, The Savior for a reason.
Draco snorts in mild scorn of Potter but mostly in disgust at himself, wondering how pathetic Potter must think he is, what with needing to be rescued all the time. Not that he had needed any help back in Diagon Alley. Handling vengeful mobs had become something of a specialty of his. Yesterday's crowd was no different from the others: some miserable pillock recognizes him, cannot contain misplaced anger, and finally throws a hex. If he tries to defend himself then he's soon surrounded by unhappy faces and pointed wands, sneering at and training on his person.
Honestly not that bad. No need for Saint Potter to come to the rescue.
The hexed burn on his arm aches in disagreement as he shifts under the scratchy blanket that Potter had given him.
Why is it always Potter? Draco wonders bleakly with a deep sigh. He rolls the key between his fingers but it slips free and falls before he can regain his grip. He tries to jerk his face away but he is not fast enough, nor is Potter's couch wide enough, and the key lands heavily on his cheekbone, only just missing his eye.
"Ow! Goddammit!" Draco snarls, snatching the offensive chunk of metal and sitting up to fling it as hard as he can. It flies over the half-wall that bisects the room and lands with a clatter on the other side. He huffs a bit, his heart beating erratically at the sudden change from reclined half-asleep to upright fully awake.
"Well that was stupid," he mumbles after a moment and swings his legs to the floor, wincing as his arm throbs.
The key sits calmly on a laminate floor when Draco moves to stare down at it. Not that keys can sit calmly, but Draco doesn't doubt for a second that Potter's inanimate object has the capacity to mock him. He takes a moment to look around the smaller area sectioned off from the rest of the room, but it looks to be a storage space of some kind, with cabinets and drawers lining the floor and ceiling.
"There is food in the kitchen," Potter had said.
Draco frowns at the strange room, presuming it to be the kitchen.
I shouldn't be here.
The thought is unexpected, but he understands the truth of it as soon as it passes. What is he doing here? Why did Potter even let him stay? Give him a key? Sighing, Draco leans his head against the wall, eyes drifting back to the key on the floor. A key that represents so much more than simply a key.
Potter actually trusts me.
Spinning on his heel, Draco intends to find his clothes, raid Potter's kitchen for breakfast—why pass up a free meal?—and leave soon thereafter. There is no real reason for him to stick around.
The rumpled blanket on the couch catches his attention, however, and he pauses, a feeling of nostalgic longing coursing briefly through him as he remembers the neatly folded blankets the house-elves always left at the foot of his bed in the winter. It would be utterly impolite of him to leave the blanket as is, even if he believes that Potter, the uncouth fool, wouldn't notice or care.
He finds that folding a blanket properly is surprisingly difficult for such a simple task. The finished product looks horrendous, with edges sticking out at odd places and not lining up, along with a great lump in the center of the would-be square. Draco tries to blame the sloppiness on his bad arm but the truth is he has never had to fold a damn piece of laundry in his entire life; spells and house-elves took care of everything.
I am such a goddamn princess, he thinks in frustration. Unfolding the blanket again, he first lays it flat across the open space in front of the coffee table and couch and then begins to carefully pull the corners to meet one another, straightening and smoothing out the edges for each step. It is like a giant origami, except less fun.
"That took a lot more effort than necessary," Draco grumbles, ignoring both the fact that he is talking to himself, again, and also the sharp stab of sadness as he considers how easy the task would have been with his wand.
Why'd he have to go and do something stupid like snap it?
He gently places the now perfectly folded blanket and loaned lumpy pillow on the cushion of Potter's saggy gray couch. If he were truly lucky, this would be the last blanket he'd ever fold by hand, but he isn't wasting any hope that said luck will kick in anytime soon.
Okay, clothes. Having finished the obligation of a proper guest, he sullenly sets about finding where Potter had tossed his robes the previous evening. The robes, if they can even be called that, are hideously out of date and could do with a good washing, and Draco would love nothing more than to bin them or burn them or simply never ever think about them again, but he couldn't very well go waltzing around in public clad in only his underpants. His mother would—
Draco quickly shakes the thoughts away, feeling a shiver on his skin as another sharp pain flares in his arm to mimic the one in his chest. With a grimace, he changes his mind about finding clothing just yet—Potter won't be back for a while—and redirects his steps toward the bathroom. The warm shower of the night before had been more than refreshing because, god, how he had needed a thorough scrub and proper soak, but now the mere thought of hot water against his burnt skin makes him wince.
Perhaps, instead, a nice, cold bath was in order. Trelawney only knew when he would get another.
One more bath couldn't hurt.
He ends up falling asleep in the bathtub, the cool water soothing against the inflamed skin of his arm. His fingers and toes are wrinkled like an old man's. He'd slept long enough that sun streams happily through the sliding balcony door, making him squint against its brightness when he groggily trudges out of the bathroom with only a towel wrapped around his waist.
He glances around for a clock, but the rest of Potter's flat is, predictably, just as uninteresting as the man himself, and Draco is unsurprised to find that Potter's decorating sense is quite dull—dull in the way that the man did not decorate at all. Aside from the saggy gray couch, the coffee table, and a small table with three chairs in the dining nook there is no furniture, just a wide open space in the living area. Books and parchment are scattered on the table but that is it. No knick-knacks, no pictures or wall hangings, not even a throw pillow for the couch or curtains for the balcony door.
Dull, dull, dull.
With a scoff, Draco wanders toward Potter's bedroom—he still needs to find his clothes. He hesitates in the doorway to the room. Somehow, it feels like an invasion of privacy for him to enter Potter's bedroom, despite already being in the man's flat.
Stop being a fool, he tells himself and, after only a brief moment of further doubt, enters the room.
It's just as bare as the rest of the place. No curtains on the one window, only cheap-looking, yellowed blinds. No furniture, not even a desk for yet another stack of books that instead pile next to the bed, various sheets of parchment and quills crumpled on top. Even the bed has no proper frame, just a box spring and mattress resting on the floor. The blanket is thick and fluffy but has a simple white cover, the sheets a boring steel gray. A simple clock—with the time 12:45 in great big red numbers—sits next to a pillow that's as lumpy as the one Potter had loaned him.
Two mounds of laundry are against the wall opposite the bed and it is in one that Draco sees his crummy robes. Judging by the fresher appearance of the other pile, he assumes that the two represent clean and dirty and he wonders why Potter hadn't disciplined the house-elf for not folding the clean clothes. Then he wonders if Potter even has a house-elf.
Doubtful, the self-righteous wanker.
That self-righteous wanker gave you a place to sleep and offered food, his traitorous mind chastises.
Scowling, Draco shoves away from the door with the intent to poke around the rest of Potter's bedroom. There is another door but it merely opens to a small closet, a few of Potter's robes hanging along with some muggle clothes. A trunk sits against the back wall of the closet and a couple pairs of shoes are on the floor, but otherwise the closet is empty.
Clearly, the flat was a place that Potter ate and slept but did not live.
Leaving the bedroom, his feet take him back to the kitchen, but he stops where carpet meets laminate. Sparing a quick glare for the key that still mocks him from the floor, he curiously scans the rest of the kitchen. Were all kitchens this small?
He has a vague recollection from a young age of standing in the doorway to a large room, blurry in his memory. A house-elf had handed him freshly baked cupcakes over the threshold, the smell of sugar sweetness having filled the room and hallway. The house-elf had patted him on the head and said, "Young Master does not go in kitchen. Dobby brings Young Master the sweets."
Draco has to swallow several times to get the lump in his throat to go away, because his child-memory is quickly linked to his all-too-recent memories and suddenly all he hears is the screaming of a muggleborn witch, who he'd never really liked but never really hated either, the crash of a chandelier, the cackling of his mad aunt quickly silenced by the raspy but thunderous voice of an enraged Dark Lord, because how could you let the boy escape and no house-elf is powerful enough to defeat a wizard—
Crucio! Crucio! Crucio!
The air outside is hardly fresh, strange smells and noises wafting up from the muggles and their machines below, but Draco leans hard against the balcony railing and breathes it in deeply all the same. It takes several minutes of controlled breathing to relax his tensed body and then several more to recognize that he shouldn't be standing on Potter's balcony in only a loosely-tucked towel, and when did he flee the flat for the balcony anyway?
His stomach rolls threateningly.
Did I puke?
Draco peers over the railing carefully, but doesn't see any of the oddly-dressed muggles below squawking about raining vomit.
Still, there is the strange, acidic taste of bile in his mouth. It would be nice to give his teeth a good cleaning for once, rather than swishing soapy water.
He watches the muggles for a bit longer—bizarre creatures that they are—before going back inside the flat. The sounds and smells disappear instantly once the door slides closed (the work of Potter's wards, he assumes). His eyes are immediately drawn back to the kitchen and his stomach turns again, but he tries to focus instead on the memory of the sweet-smelling cupcakes.
How are cupcakes even made? he wonders with a sigh.
In the bathroom, there is only one toothbrush. He digs through all of the cabinets and drawers, but there is no spare. The only the toothbrush is in the cup by the sink—Potter's toothbrush. Draco scowls at it and first thinks, Fine, a toothpaste and water swish it is, but then runs his tongue over his teeth that feel filmy and slimy and haven't been brushed in ages and decides, Fuck it. Savior spit won't kill me.
Ten minutes and repeated brushings later and his mouth is back to feeling clean.
Thinking that it is probably time to leave, Draco wanders back into the bedroom where his tatty robes await him. His nose wrinkles as he eyes them and he glances at the clean pile with the mild hope that Potter won't miss anything he steals. His arm throbs again, and he winces and moves to sit on the edge of the bed to wait out the pain. When was the damn thing going to heal?
Feels a lot softer than the couch, Draco thinks, studying the untidy bed and giving it an appraising bounce.
Even though he only just woke, he already feels the pull of sleep again, most likely due to having tossed and turned all night on the narrow couch, unable to find a comfortable position with his injured arm. With a sigh, he gently scoots back and lies down on Potter's pillow. He should be leaving, he knows, but maybe he isn't as awake as he originally thought. Months' worth of exhaustion still hangs heavy on his eyelids and Potter's bed is surprisingly comfortable, the sheets cool when he shucks the damp towel and slides between them, the thick blanket a pleasant weight when he draws it over his body.
How long has it been since he had a proper bed to sleep in? Rolling onto his uninjured side, Draco presses his face into the Potter's firm pillow and closes his eyes.
Just for a moment, he thinks. Just a quick nap and then I'll go.
Already his mind drifts toward oblivion. He breathes in deeply through his nose.
Potter smells nice…
One more nap couldn't hurt.
Draco wakes to a rattling noise, a lessened throbbing in his arm, and a wet patch under his face. He sits up and drowsily glares down at the wet spot before realizing that it is his own drool. Grimacing, he first thinks, Ew, but then remembers where he is and whose pillow his saliva now covers—and feels mildly cheered.
Until the rattling noise sounds again, along with the clack of the lock turning in the front door echoing through the quiet flat, and then he panics, sitting up hastily and causing a wave of dizziness to hit him for the sharp movement. When it subsides, he kicks the blanket back and leaps out of the bed, stumbling as another dizzying wave of low blood pressure blurs his vision.
The front door is opening and Potter's voice calls, "Malfoy?"
How long was I asleep? Draco worries, seeing only the gray of dusk beyond the bedroom window. He falls out of the bed with a thump and this time the dizzy spell is accompanied by a growl from his stomach. He suddenly realizes how very hungry he is. Hadn't he planned to raid Potter's flat for food?
Fuck—hadn't he planned to be gone by the time Potter returned?
He scrambles over to the nearest clothes pile, clean or dirty, and grabs the first thing he sees—an Appleby Arrows pullover. Staggering to his feet, he rushes toward the bedroom door.
"Malfoy?" Potter calls again, voice much too close. "You still here?"
Potter comes around the corner just as he steps through the door and they nearly collide.
He hopes he doesn’t look as panicky as he feels. He was supposed to have already left! And now he has to make small talk with Potter! Again! Potter, who just stands there gaping at him with a weird expression, and god—did Potter know that Draco had been sleeping in his bed? Was it that obvious? Could Potter see the drool spot on the pillow even in the low light?
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
Draco's stomach gives another sudden growl. A loud, obnoxious growl.
Potter looks like he might laugh, the bastard.
"I'm making dinner," he says and turns on his heel, moving purposefully to the kitchen. He asks over his shoulder, "Are there any foods you don't like?"
Draco hesitates awkwardly in the bedroom doorway, Potter's casualness making him uneasy. Why would Potter insist on being so nice?
Before Potter can ask anything else, Draco flees into the bathroom, closing the door behind him and locking it. He places his forehead against it and takes a deep breath.
He should leave. He should not stay for dinner, but his traitorous stomach rumbles again, more insistent, and he glares at it angrily. But where was he going to find food? Potter had apparated them yesterday, leaving Draco with no idea where they were. And it had begun to get cold outside at night—did he really want to sleep on the street again? Surely an old couch was better than that…
He sighs in defeat and thinks, I can leave tomorrow…
One more night couldn't hurt.