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Harry Potter’s Office, Ministry of Magic // Present Day

Harry has no idea why Luna Lovegood has started to visit him at the Ministry armed with a selection of baked goods, but he’s also very much not complaining. Today’s treats are crumbly, sweet, delicate, and comfortably the best jam tarts he’s ever eaten in his life.

“These are brilliant.” Harry polishes off one of the tarts with gusto and wonders if it would be rude to eat the one that has a little flag in it with Ron’s name on.

“Aren’t they?” Luna’s half-way through a cupcake with an iced unicorn and glitter on the frosting. “Ginny thinks you’re not looking after yourself,” she adds around a mouthful of sponge.

“Ginny should mind her own business,” Harry replies without any bite. He knows Ginny worries about him but it’s faintly embarrassing that Luna and Ginny’s pillow talk seems to turn to the state of Harry’s mental wellbeing on a frequent basis. He’s fine. He nearly took out an advert in the Prophet marked single, horny and desperate for love before Hermione stopped him, but he’s fine. Dandy. He feels a little put out by the fact that being Harry Potter doesn’t make it any easier to get a shag, but he’s over it. Anyway, he’s busy being important at the Ministry and has an awful lot of paperwork to get through. He doesn’t even have time for a boyfriend. Or sex, apparently.

“When was the last time you went on a date?” Luna asks, with the kind of perception that makes Harry wonder she’s secretly a Legilimens. “I hear Draco Malfoy’s on the market again.”

“Oh good.” Harry rolls his eyes. “I’ll be sure to ask him out when he next comes over. Posh wanker with a penchant for velvet is just my type.”

He tries not to blush, because Luna would be all over that in a heartbeat. The last thing he wants is people delving too deeply into the question of Harry and Draco when he’s been trying not to think about it since that one weird night at the Manor years ago. As neither he or Draco have mentioned it since, Harry sometimes thinks it might have been a dream. His pesky feelings are even more confused by the fact Draco turns up at Grimmauld Place with alarming frequency these days. Harry doesn’t quite know what to do with himself when Draco looks so infuriatingly good all of the time.

“There’s nothing wrong with velvet.” Luna looks dreamy. “Red velvet, in particular, is delicious.”

Harry’s stomach growls and he slides the little Ron Weasley flag out of the second jam tart, taking a bite and ignoring Luna’s raised eyebrows. “Where are these from, anyway?”

“Haven’t I told you?” Luna looks surprised. “Gregory Goyle is a baker now.”

“He is?” The revelation makes the jam tart taste a little less good, and Harry pauses in his chewing. He takes out his wand and carries out a swift hex check and a complex sweep for curses, but the tart comes up clean. He pretends not to notice Luna’s disapproving look and takes another bite. “When did that happen?”

“A few months ago.” Luna finishes her cupcake and pushes a copy of the Quibbler across the table. “I wanted to talk to you about the naked photoshoot for the Pygmy Puffs.”

“The what?” Harry rubs at his temple which is starting to hurt. He vaguely remembers agreeing to something after a few pints and one too many B52s, but he’s fairly certain he wouldn’t have agreed to strip off for the press, even if the Quibbler is the good sort of press.

Luna sighs. “The S.O.F.A. campaign. Strip Off For Animals,” she adds, when Harry obviously looks none the wiser. “I thought you might like to strip off for the Pygmy Puffs."

“That’s about all I’m stripping off for at the minute,” Harry mutters. Not that he’s bitter about it.

“Cormac McLaggen is stripping off for the dragons.”

Harry huffs. Dragons sound a lot cooler than Pygmy Puffs. “How is putting my arse in the Quibbler going to help anything?”

Luna tuts. “It would be a bit more tasteful than that, Harry. It’s bound to help our sales and we’re going to give the profits from those editions to the relevant sanctuaries.” She chews on a Bakewell tart thoughtfully. “I was thinking maybe you could wear some of those faux dragon-hide boots of Charlie’s. Show people how it’s possible to be stylish and ethical.”

Harry pulls a face. “I’ll think about it.”

“Oh good.” Luna beams at Harry and leans forward conspiratorially. “Ginny and I think it might help you find a boyfriend.” She looks him over. “You’re very attractive, Harry. Objectively speaking.”

“I don’t want a boyfriend,” Harry lies. He would quite like a boyfriend, actually. At the very least he wouldn’t say no to a blow job.

“Of course you don’t.” Luna sounds like she doesn’t believe him. “Ginny thinks—”

“Can you tell Ginny to stop worrying about me?” Harry hopes that Ginny didn’t tell Luna about Harry’s distinct lack of sexual prowess when he was still convincing himself and literally nobody else that he was straight.

“We can’t help it.” Luna’s voice softens. “We both want you to be happy.”

Harry suspects that Ginny still feels guilty about finding herself—and Luna—shortly after they called off their engagement. He hopes she doesn’t. If anything, Harry should have been honest with Ginny and himself much sooner. He still remembers how miserable she looked when they were arguing over what napkins to have for their Wedding Breakfast. His stomach twists. Neither of them gave a fuck about napkins, it was all just going through the motions. Doing what people expected without stopping to think if it was what either of them wanted. Harry determines to take Ginny out for a pint or something just to make sure she knows that Harry loves her to death, just not in a until death do us part kind of way.

“I am happy,” Harry says, unconvincingly. “I’m perfectly okay on my own,” he adds, even more unconvincingly. He’s not not happy, but he does envy the way so many of his friends found people they clicked with so quickly. Kreacher makes Grimmauld Place feel a bit less dark and lonely, but he doesn’t really count. He put salt in Harry’s tea the other day. Harry’s evenings are largely spent catching up on paperwork, talking to an oil painting that was inexplicably bequeathed to him by Dumbledore, and arguing with Kreacher.

“I think you could be happier,” Luna offers, softly.

“Maybe.” Harry shrugs. He doesn’t like the thought that people might pity him. “I’m not sure what I want.” He really isn’t. There’s been a restless itch under his skin for a while now, but he’s not sure finding true love is going to help with that. Maybe that’s what his problem is. It’s hard to find something when you don’t even know what you’re looking for.

Luna stands and pulls on her coat. “I’ll be back next week. Will you come for dinner on Saturday? Ginny’s asking a friend.”

Harry rolls his eyes because he has a good idea that Ginny’s asking a friend is a euphemism for Ginny’s trying to set you up with someone.

“I’ll come for dinner as long as there’s no matchmaking.”

“As if we’d do that.” Luna waves her hand airily. “But you should probably wear something nice.”

“Brilliant.” Harry picks up the remaining selection of cakes and pastries to take them in the Auror kitchen. He looks at the carefully decorated items and a flicker of curiosity tugs at him. “Gregory Goyle, you said?”

“Yes.” Luna gives Harry a quick kiss on the cheek as she tightens her scarf around her neck. “His shop is just off Diagon Alley, if you go down the path just next to Eeylops. Draco often helps him out.”

“Malfoy?” Harry’s eyes widen. “What the fuck is Malfoy doing in a bakery?” He wonders why Draco never mentioned it when he’s had ample opportunity, and the deliberate evasiveness makes him even more suspicious.

“Baking, I imagine.”

“I should probably make sure he’s not up to anything,” Harry decides.

Luna turns her eyes heavenward. “You do that. Tell him and Greg I said hello and try to leave some jam tarts for the rest of us.”

Harry laughs and waves Luna off, already wondering whether he can skive off tomorrow afternoon to make a trip to Goyle’s new shop.

 

 

 

 

The Cupboard Under the Stairs // 1990

It’s dark, in the cupboard under the stairs.

Harry carefully opens the small square of kitchen towel he used to wrap up the broken jam tart he swiped when Aunt Petunia had her back turned. It’s not the sort of jam tart anyone would miss. Aunt Petunia said as much herself, cursing under her breath about the broken pastry and burned edges. She made another batch of perfect, glossy tarts to serve the guests visiting that afternoon and Harry managed to grab one from the unsuccessful batch before she threw them in the bin. Harry sometimes feels like those discarded jam tarts. The ones that nobody else wanted, not perfect enough to bring out in front of guests.

Harry pushes up the sleeves of his jumper. It’s too big for him, like all his clothes. The sleeves fall over the tips of his fingers and the frayed collar exposes too much of his neck. On Dudley the jumper had been luxurious and well-fitted. Harry doesn’t like the cast offs much, but he likes this one. The jumper is warm and it’s clean and freshly washed. The scent is comforting, and he likes to sleep in it on cold nights, burrowed inside the jumper for warmth.

He takes a careful bite of the jam tart, making sure not to drop a single crumb. It’s the nicest thing he’s eaten in ages. The jam is sweet, sticky and the pastry is still a little warm from the oven. Even the crumbly pastry is buttery and delicious, the burnt bits barely burned at all. The jam is tart and sweet all at once, a rich burst of raspberry that makes him salivate. He wishes he had pinched two now, and wonders if he could chance going back to retrieve a second. He decides against it, making the tasty morsels last as long as possible.

He closes his eyes and makes a wish, like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Dursley tell Dudley to make when he has four birthday cakes filled with candles. An unexpected light makes Harry open his eyes and his mouth drops open as he sees a tiny candle floating in the middle of the small space. He looks over his shoulder, watches the spider making a web above his head and holds his breath at the stomp, stomp of Uncle Vernon walking past the cupboard. He stuffs the last of the tart into his mouth and chews quickly, making sure to get rid of the evidence.

  

 

He leans towards the candle, closes his eyes and blows softly. When he opens his eyes, the candle and the light have disappeared and the small space is dark again.

“Happy Birthday,” Harry says. His stomach grumbles and he tugs the sleeves of his jumper over his hands and wraps his arms around his body. “Happy Birthday to me.

 

 

Grimmauld Place // Present Day

“Bad day, Potter?”

“Don’t start. I’m going to put my robes over you if you’re annoying.” Harry loosens his tie and strips out of his robes, unbuttoning the collar of his shirt. He sends his robes to hang up with a flick of his wand and opens a beer, catching the froth with his mouth before it can spill over the side of the can. “Did you hear Goyle has a bakery now?”

Snape arches a thoroughly unimpressed eyebrow at Harry from his position behind the frame. “How exactly would I have heard about that when I am stuck in this infernal portrait conversing with your ridiculous house-elf all day?” He sneers. “It may have escaped your notice, but I am dead, Potter. I’m hardly drinking ale at the Three Broomsticks, engaging in idle gossip about former students.”

“Remind me again why Dumbledore thought this was a good idea?” Harry gives Snape a look. He can still remember the carefully wrapped portrait arriving at Grimmauld Place a couple of years after the war. He has no idea why Dumbledore would bequeath him a portrait of Snape, or why it would have taken so long to get to Harry. It makes him slightly nervous about what else might turn up on his doorstep one of these days.

“I haven’t the foggiest.” Snape sniffs and contemplates his fingertips. “I imagine he thought it entertaining, saddling me with you for the rest of my life. Even in death, I have little respite.”

“You’re not saddled with anything.” Harry grits his teeth. “I’ve already said I can put you in the attic, if you want.” He’s not sure that’s strictly true. When he tried to hang Snape’s portrait somewhere less prominent than the living room, it kept falling down. He suspects Dumbledore charmed it, somehow, but he hasn’t worked out why or how to alter the magic without damaging the portrait. As annoying as Snape’s opinions are, Harry doesn’t want to ruin what seems to be the only existing portrait of him.

“At least it would give me some peace and quiet.” Snape huffs, but his oiled cheeks flush. “However, I suppose your company is marginally better than the company of rats.”

“Thanks ever so.” Harry rolls his eyes. “I don’t think I could move you even if I wanted to. I can still put my robes over you, though.” He grins at Snape. “Gryffindor ones.”

Snape glares at Harry. “In the meantime, I plan to study how to cast hexes as an oil painting.”

Harry laughs. “You do that.” He has a sip of his beer and puts his feet up on the sofa. “Goyle makes brilliant jam tarts.”

Snape narrows his eyes. “I can’t abide the things.”

“Well good job no one’s asking you to eat them, then.” Harry taps his finger to his lips, thinking. “Why on earth would he have a bakery? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Why doesn’t it make sense?”

“Because it’s Goyle. He’s a bully and a Death Eater.” Harry winces and gives Snape an apologetic glance. “No offence. I just can’t imagine him sitting around and putting rainbow frosting and iced unicorns on cupcakes.”

“Good lord.” Snape sounds horrified. “What a ghastly image.”

“Apparently Malfoy is involved, too. I think he’s up to something,” Harry says.

“No doubt you imagine people are incapable of reform.” Snape glares at Harry. “If Mr Goyle—for reasons I can’t begin to fathom—has found therapeutic benefit in,” Snape shudders, “icing, then perhaps you should try not to judge him. Would you prefer Draco to be ingratiating himself with Ministry superiors instead of supporting his friend’s business? I would have thought people attempting to better themselves should meet with your approval, because of that annoying sanctimonious streak of yours.”

“I still think it’s weird.” Harry frowns. “Didn’t Goyle’s family lose all of their cash during the war? How did he even get a shop on Diagon Alley in the first place?”

“He is sufficiently well connected, I am sure one or more of his friends would have offered their support.”

Malfoy.” Harry humphs and takes a sip of his beer. “I might have known he would be throwing his cash around.”

“You don’t actually know that he is.”

“It’s got Malfoy’s name written all over it,” Harry decides.

Snape’s eyebrows rise. “Rainbow icing and unicorns? Oh yes, Potter, that positively screams Draco Malfoy.”

“Maybe not those.” Harry pulls a face. “I bet he’s behind all of this, though. I’m going to investigate.”

“Oh, wonderful.” Snape rustles a piece of parchment and picks up a quill. “I look forward to another late-night story of woe about Draco Malfoy’s poor choice of paramour.”

Harry’s cheeks warm. “That was one time. I was very drunk.” The memory of the fancy party at Malfoy Manor and the heat of Draco’s searing kisses—and the rest—comes back to him in a flash and he swallows, pushing the thought back into the things I don’t think about box.

Snape gives Harry a gleeful smile. “They say the truth comes out when—”

“Stop!” Harry holds up his hand. “I don’t want to hear it. There was no story of woe, I just said Malfoy’s new boyfriend seemed like a dickhead. Looks like I was right, too. He’s single again now.”

“I really don’t care,” Snape replies. “I have cared more about frozen Flobberworms than I do about this ridiculous foreplay between you and Draco.”

Harry nearly spits out his lager. He stares at Snape who is pointedly not looking at Harry, his large nose buried in a dusty tome. “It’s not foreplay. Are you mad?”

“If I’m not already, I’m sure I will be after another few months of domestic bliss with you.” Snape looks up from his book, his dark eyes boring into Harry’s. “Your bluster and bombast when it comes to Mr Malfoy have all the hallmarks of a clumsy Gryffindor mating ritual. Surely this isn’t news to you?”

Harry hopes he isn’t blushing. “I suppose you think that’s funny?”

“I think it’s tiresome, Potter. Draco has been making his poor father’s ears bleed with tales about you for an appalling number of years. I expect it’s enough to make him long for Azkaban again if Draco witters on about you like he used to.”

“He’s welcome to go back there if he fancies leaving the South of France,” Harry mutters. “Anyway, there’s nothing poor about Lucius Malfoy.”

“No, that’s very true.” Snape’s lips twitch, almost as if he’s trying not to smile. It’s very disturbing. He puts down his quill, steeples his fingers and looks at Harry. “Draco Malfoy is something of a surprising fixture around here.”

“Hardly.” Harry shakes his head. “He comes to say hello to you, mostly.”

“Indeed.” Snape contemplates Harry. “Is that why he spends most of his time annoying you?”

“He is pretty annoying.” Harry can get on board with that, at least. The last time Draco came over he complained about everything from the Tesco’s Finest wine to the jumper Molly made for Harry last Christmas. In Harry’s defence, he wouldn’t usually wear a jumper with a turkey on it in June, but he also wasn’t expecting guests and the house was freezing. Harry suspects Kreacher sometimes uses cooling charms to make it feel like old times. “It’s Malfoy. He thinks I’m an idiot.”

“You are.” Snape makes an irritated sound in the back of his throat. “I suggest you spend a little less time showering, investigating things that don’t warrant any investigation and complaining about Draco Malfoy’s choices of suitor. Perhaps you might start paying a little more attention to the things that are happening directly under your nose.”

Harry stares at Snape, his cheeks hot. He needs new silencing charms. A few dozen of them. Really, really strong ones. He does not want Snape passing comment on Harry’s time in the shower and the things he may or may not get up to in there. Wanking things. Things that are definitely not any of Snape’s business.

“You can’t say stuff like that.”

“I can say whatever I please.” Snape returns to his book. “If you’re feeling aggravated you could always take another shower.” He snickers.

Harry glares at Snape and is about to make another retort when the Floo whooshes.

Draco Malfoy steps through and Snape and Harry groan in unison.

  

 

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry // 1992

Hogwarts at night is full of echoes and far-off sounds which suggest there is something in the shadows watching for students up late causing mischief. If Harry listens hard enough it’s almost as if he can hear the walls of the castle breathing, the low crackle and hum of sentient magic thrumming through his veins and raising goosebumps on his arms. The creaks and groans of the castle make Harry look over his shoulder whenever there’s the slightest scratch or eerie flicker of candlelight. The last thing he needs is for Snape to catch him out of bed on a quest for jam tarts.

He pulls his invisibility cloak tighter around himself and tries to make as little noise as possible. He’s fairly certain it should be easy enough to find out where the kitchens are. He's pretty sure they're somewhere by Hufflepuff so he makes his way in that direction, arriving eventually at the Great Hall. Although he knows he shouldn’t be in there out of hours, there’s an odd pull which urges him to peek inside. He tells himself he'll just take a quick look, before going back to his original plan of finding the kitchens. He pushes gently at the door which parts with a creak.

He hears something clatter in the corridors behind him and holds his breath, looking over his shoulder. Whatever it was doesn’t make any further noise and McGonagall doesn’t come marching into the corridor demanding why Gryffindors are out of bed and sneaking around past midnight. His heart races, and Harry slips inside to take a seat at the edge of the Gryffindor table. It’s so peculiar being in the vast dining space when nobody else is around. If he closes his eyes he can practically imagine the room—warm and full—busy with children, laughter, the chatter of staff and students alike and the delicious smell of the Welcome Feast. The room pulses with a strange magic, the candles winking and flickering in the darkness. Harry takes a breath and makes a wish.

When he opens his eyes, there’s a delicious jam tart in front of him on a plate of pristine white china with a highly polished fork and carefully folded napkin next to it. It has a pastry ‘H’ on the top as if it’s been made just for him. His eyes widening, Harry stares at the jam tart. It’s so much better than the ones he used to take from Aunt Petunia. It’s warm and it smells delicious and there’s no burnt pastry in sight. He unfurls his napkin and in haphazard script there’s a little note inside.

  

ThAnK You Harry PoTTer

 

With a grin, Harry thinks, not for the first time, that magic is bloody brilliant.

He picks up the fork and tucks in.

 

 

Grimmauld Place // Present Day

“I’m here to see Severus,” Draco announces, brushing some dust from the Floo off his clothes. “Hello, Potter. I brought wine, because your cheap plonk tastes like vinegar.”

“Excellent,” Snape comments, drily. “As an oil painting incapable of ingesting said wine, I appreciate the thoughtful gesture.”

“It’s for me. It makes Potter’s company more tolerable.” Draco glances at Harry. “I suppose you can have a glass.”

“Come in, Malfoy.” Harry speaks through gritted teeth, the familiar desire to punch Malfoy in the nose returning with force. “Make yourself at home.”

“I will, thank you.” Draco pours two generous glasses of wine and sits in Harry’s favourite armchair. He looks good. Sharp, angular and crisp to the point of well-ironed. It’s unfair, really, that Draco Malfoy in Muggle clothes should be quite so devastating. Even his hair is impeccable. It’s very annoying. “How have you been, Severus?”

“As well as one can be, when they’re dead and forced to converse with idiots and house-elves on a daily basis.” Severus gives Harry a disturbing smile. “We were actually just talking about you.”

“You were?” Draco looks pleased with himself. “Well, I can’t say I blame you.”

“Potter was telling me you have finally seen fit to get rid of that dreadful-sounding Quidditch player of yours.”

“He was?” Draco’s lips tilt into a smirk. “I didn’t know you cared, Potter.”

“I don’t.” Harry gives Snape the finger when Draco is distracted by giving his bookcase as snooty look. “Luna told me. For some reason she thinks I’m interested in your love life, when I’m more interested in what’s going on with Goyle’s bakery.”

“Oh, did Lovegood bring you some jam tarts?” Draco smiles. “They’re very good. I recommended them to her.” He clears his throat and rubs the back of his neck. “If I had known they were for you, I obviously would have sent her off with the flapjacks we burned.”

“I bet you would,” Harry mutters. He contemplates Draco, more suspicious than ever. “We? I didn’t know you could bake, Malfoy.”

“I can’t.” Draco waves a hand. “I’m a silent investor.”

Snape snorts as if he doesn’t believe the silent bit for a second. Harry is inclined to agree with him.

“Why would you invest in a bakery?” Harry narrows his eyes at Malfoy.

“Because it seems the ideal place to nurture my interest in the Dark Arts, obviously.” Draco mutters something rude about Harry under his breath. “Because there’s a lot of money in cupcakes. Excellent profit margins.”

“As if you need a lot of money.”

“It’s wise to diversify one’s investment portfolio. I have fingers in a lot of pies.” Draco beams proudly, clearly entertained by his joke. “Anyway, I don’t see what business it is of yours.”

“I’m Head Auror now, Malfoy.” Harry tries not to sound too pleased with himself. “I have to keep an eye on these things.”

“You’re a nosy pillock, more like.”

“What’s the bakery called?”

“Greg’s,” Draco replies with a wince.

Harry frowns. “Isn’t that the name of a Muggle bakery?”

“That’s Greggs with two ‘gs’. If you do decide to pay a visit for the love of Merlin, don’t mention it. It’s practically blasphemy. Greg has been furious ever since he discovered how good their iced buns are.”

Harry laughs under his breath. “They don’t have magic. I’m sure he can make a decent iced bun of his own if the jam tarts are anything to go by.”

Draco gives Harry an exasperated look. “Greg doesn’t use magic, you shouldn’t just assume. He does it all by hand. He’s worked bloody hard learning all the tricks of the trade. It’s not just waving his wand around and hey presto, delicious jam tarts, you know.”

Harry shakes his head. “I didn’t know.”

“The most Potter here can manage is burned cheese on toast,” Snape offers, not at all helpfully.

“Well, you’ll have to come and chat to Greg, then. Perhaps he can give you some pointers.” Draco gives Harry a critical look that implies he probably needs them. “I can tell you’re dying to check there’s no funny business going on, too. It must be a quiet week at the Ministry.”

“It’s actually very busy,” Harry says, even though it isn’t. “I couldn’t care less what you and Goyle get up to, as long as it’s not illegal.”

“There’s nothing illegal about it, you insufferable wanker.” Draco gives Harry another smirk, his eyes grazing over Harry’s body. “But if you’re worried I would be happy to show you the back room, just so you can investigate the situation thoroughly.”

Severus mutters something that sounds like get a room under his breath and Harry takes a gulp of his wine, resisting the urge to dwell too long the memory of champagne kisses and the heat of Draco's hands on his body on a cold winter’s night.

 

 

Grimmauld Place // 1996

There’s a hollow ache in Harry’s chest as he turns the small shard of broken mirror in his hands. He swears he can see a flash of blue eyes staring back at him, but it’s nothing more than ghosts and echoes. With a sigh, Harry puts the mirror under his bed in a shoebox full of trinkets.

He grabs the bottle of cherry brandy Sirius left behind. It’s just another piece of cold glass without the warmth of fingers wrapped around it, or the comfort of a set of eyes looking back. Alive. Everything is so cold. The house seems dustier and darker than before, the creaks and groans more oppressive than usual. The shadows rise high on the walls like monsters poised to swallow Harry whole.

He pulls the cork from the bottle with a pop and tips his head back, drinking deeply. The alcohol burns his throat and he nearly splutters it out, wiping his lips with the back of his hand and pulling a face. He takes a more measured sip. It’s not horrible. It’s just not good either. It has a sweet, syrupy kind of sweetness to it, that reminds Harry of jam, and that’s the bit he focuses on. He just wants to make it stop, just for one night. He wants to numb the sound of Sirius laughing, the jagged scream of Bellatrix’s spell. He wants to go to bed, without any dreams.

He climbs into the bed that used to belong to Sirius and blows out the candle, letting his eyes adjust slowly to the darkness. The shadow-monsters get larger still, their dark fingers stroking over Harry’s skin. With a shiver, he tugs the duvet up to his chin and has another swig of the sweet liquor.

He closes his eyes and makes the kind of wish that can never come true.

 

 

Greg’s Bakery // Present Day

“This place is brilliant.” Harry drinks in the warm hum of Greg’s. Everywhere he looks there are bright pops of colour and the air is filled with the delicious and comforting scent of baking. A tower of cupcakes and an ornate wedding cake in the window are nothing compared to the chocolate fountains, the exquisite looking fruit tarts and the thick, jagged slices of rocky road. Fruit cake, sponges, donuts of all different shapes and colours line the counter, their glaze shiny and enticing. Despite Draco indicating Goyle doesn’t use magic to bake, the whole shop is full of magical ornaments and decorations which twist and turn in the breeze as the door opens and closes. Stepping inside Greg’s reminds Harry of his first time in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes or his first visit to Honeydukes – every last corner filled with something new and exciting to look at.

“I expect you want a tour to check we’re not convincing people to revolt against the Ministry.” Draco straightens up, throwing the cloth he was using to wipe the table over his shoulder. “Come on, then.”

“If you like.” Harry continues to look around, his face breaking into a wide smile. “I didn’t expect it to be like this. It’s incredible.”

“Do you think so?” Draco sounds pleased, looking around the shop with a small smile on his face. “I helped.”

“Really?” Harry tries to keep the surprise from his voice. He can’t imagine Draco having a hand in the warm, inviting space, but then he couldn’t imagine him wiping down a table in a bakery before now, either. “What bits did you do?”

Draco shrugs. “Most of the magic.”

“Impressive.” Harry really means it, even if from Draco’s narrowed eyes he’s not sure it sounded sufficiently sincere. “I mean it.” Harry holds Draco’s gaze, his stomach giving a peculiar flip. “I like it. Very much.”

“Thank you.” Draco’s gaze drops to Harry’s lips and for a sudden, breathless moment, Harry is back there in the shadows of Malfoy Manor all those years ago. After a charged moment, Draco shakes himself and gestures towards the door marked kitchen. “Follow me.”

Harry takes in everything as they move through the bakery. As the door to the kitchen opens, there’s a hum of activity. A small number of witches and wizards are busy adding intricate details to cakes that look almost too good to eat, and Greg is in the far corner of the kitchen pummelling some dough. He looks different to the brutish Goyle Harry remembers from Hogwarts. Where his stocky frame once seemed designed to crack his knuckles into an unsuspecting younger student, it now makes him look warm and homely, his expression happy and relaxed. His apron proudly announces Head Chef with the bakery’s soft blue branding on the chest.

“Hullo Harry.” Greg gestures at the bread he’s kneading. “I’d shake your hand, but…”

“It’s fine.” Harry grins at Greg. “I’m just here for the tarts.”

“Oh?” Greg winks at Malfoy. “It’s not the first time someone’s called Malfoy here a tart, I’ll grant you that.”

Goyle,” Draco hisses. He glances at Harry, a dusky pink blooming in his cheeks. “Ignore him, he’s being stupid.”

“Okay.” Harry raises his eyebrows at Draco, trying to ignore the flush of pleasure he gets from thinking that maybe Draco has spoken to Goyle about him. He turns back to Greg. “I meant the jam tarts. They’re brilliant.”

“My mistake.” Greg laughs under his breath and wanders away to another part of the kitchen. He returns with a jam tart on a napkin and hands it to Harry. It smells mouth-watering and it’s still warm from the oven. “On the house.”

“Thanks.” Harry holds onto the tart carefully, suspecting it’s probably a bit rude to start eating it right away. “Luna’s been bringing me cakes for weeks. I didn’t realise they were yours.”

“Yeah.” Greg finishes kneading the bread and puts it in a drawer to prove, washing his hands. He has a streak of flour on his face and his cheeks are flushed with the exertion of kneading the dough. “She’s great, Luna is. I hear you’re stripping off for the Pygmy Puffs.”

Draco makes a strange sound in the back of his throat. “Desperate times, Potter?”

“Oh fuck off.” Harry flicks his middle finger up at Draco. “It’s for charity. Some campaign Luna’s running to raise money for animal sanctuaries. Cormac McLaggen’s doing it for dragons.”

“And you got Pygmy Puffs?” Draco crows with laughter. “Oh, Merlin. This is priceless.” He runs his tongue over his lips and gives Harry a heated look, his lips tilting into a smile. “When can I get my hands on your arse then, Potter?”

Harry bites back a groan at the thought of Draco’s hands anywhere near his arse but he refuses to be ruffled. Instead he holds his gaze and responds boldly. “Whenever you like, Malfoy. If you ask nicely,” he adds, winking for good measure.

Draco’s throat works. He frowns at Harry as if he’s trying to work something out. “I tend to avoid the Quibbler.”

“Your loss,” Harry says with a shrug. He turns back to Goyle. “How is it having Malfoy here as your silent partner?”

“Brilliant.” Greg’s expression sobers, and he puts his hand on Draco’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “There was a time I didn’t think I’d be anything at all. Right at the end of my tether I was. Draco here helped me get some training. I could never have afforded to do anything like this without him and…” Greg trails off. “It was bad, for a while.”

An unexpected sympathy worms through Harry and he tries not to look too surprised at the idea of Draco investing in something for reasons other than profit, as he had previously indicated. Draco murmurs something to Goyle, then taps his fingers against the face of an expensive looking watch.

“Time’s money, Potter. Let’s leave Greg in peace and get you somewhere you can eat that tart of yours.”

Harry waves goodbye to Greg and follows Draco out of the kitchen and into the cosy bakery.

  

 

Wizengamot // 1998

Harry wonders if he looks as if he’s aged twenty years like the Slytherins on the stand. Parkinson can hardly speak through her tears, Goyle looks lost and terrified, Blaise keeps his responses cool, but he looks exhausted and Malfoy’s eyes are red-rimmed and blotchy.

Just as he did for the rest of them, Harry takes to the stand and reads from a careful script that he isn’t sure he believes. He isn’t convinced that his conclusions about Malfoy’s character are right, and he has no bloody idea if Malfoy means to turn over a new leaf. Privately he can’t even say with any conviction that Malfoy deserves to be spared from a spell in Azkaban, but just as he always has, Harry relies on his gut instinct and clings to that as he makes his public testimony which suggests alternative measures to a prison sentence. When he finishes he exits the Wizengamot’s oppressive space without looking back and gets outside to find fresh air as quickly as possible.

The summer air is cloying and stagnant, the over-heated tarmac and tall buildings making the space outside the Ministry feel even hotter than it did indoors. Harry unbuttons his shirt collar and loosens his tie, taking his sunglasses out of his jacket pocket and swapping them with his usual glasses. He takes a seat on a nearby step and folds his blazer jacket, rolling up his shirt sleeves. He tips his head back, letting the sun warm his face and tries to chase away the images of the dead and the way most of the living look like ghosts.

The quiet is disturbed when someone sits beside him, the click of a lighter and the acrid scent of cigarette smoke filling the air.

“Smoke?”

“I don’t. Never have.” Harry turns to Malfoy and holds out his hand. “But now seems like a good time to start.”

“I don’t want to get the blame for your bad habits, Potter.” Malfoy pulls a face but hands Harry a cigarette, flicking the lighter and curling his hand around the flame as Harry leans towards the light. The first lungful of smoke makes Harry cough and he takes a second, softer pull on the cigarette when he finishes, this time not inhaling. The taste isn’t pleasant, but it feels like ticking a box, somehow. Like engaging in the sort of rite of passage he might have experienced if he was a normal teenager that didn’t have to defeat evil wizards or watch the people he loves die beneath flashes of green and Hogwarts’ dreaming spires.

“You won’t get the blame for me having a smoke, don’t be soft.” Harry shoots Malfoy a half-hearted grin. “Anyway, I think I’m giving up after this.”

“Good. Maybe I’ll join you.” Malfoy gives Harry a small smile, then slides his own sunglasses on, staring ahead. “I spent so much time thinking about going to prison, I have no idea what to do now I’m free.”

“No,” Harry says. “Me neither.” He laughs, the sound strangely hollow. “Get a job at the Ministry. Get married, I suppose. Have kids.”

“You’re eighteen, Potter.” Malfoy sounds like he’s rolling his eyes. “Get drunk, have some casual sex. Use that pot of cash in the Black vaults to go travelling. Fuck settling down.”

“I don’t know.” Harry takes another light puff on his cigarette. “Don’t you want to find a witch?”

Malfoy snorts. “Hardly. I’m gay.”

“What?” Harry slides his glasses up onto his head and stares at Malfoy. His glasses are mirrored, so all Harry can see as Malfoy turns to meet his gaze is his own face, blinking back at him. His throat gets suddenly dry and he swallows, thickly. “You’re…?”

Gay..” Malfoy’s voice is tight, his lips pressed into a thin line. “Do you have a problem with that?”

“No.” Harry shakes his head. “No, of course not. I just…didn’t know.”

“Well now you do.” Malfoy grinds the heel of his boot onto his cigarette butt to put it out and stands. “I actually thought at one point…”

Harry stares at Malfoy, his heart thrumming in his chest. “You thought wrong.” His voice cracks at the edges and he tries to steady it. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“No. I don’t.” Malfoy stares at Harry for a moment longer. “I hope you work out what to do with your…freedom.”

He shakes his head, turns on his heel and leaves. Harry wipes the perspiration from his forehead, slides his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose and tries to work out why his heart won’t stop racing as he pushes away the niggling questions that knife into his stomach and twist at his gut.

 

 

 

 

Ginny and Luna’s Flat // Present Day

Despite asking Ginny and Luna not to set him up with anyone, Harry is pretty sure they’re going to attempt it anyway, so he puts on something nice. He takes his time trying (unsuccessfully) to tame his hair and puts on some fitted dark jeans and black boots with a silver buckle. He refuses to examine the fact he chose them because they looked like the sort of shoe Malfoy might appreciate and focuses instead on his mysterious suitor. He leaves a few buttons open at the collar of his shirt and pulls a face at himself in the mirror, which gives him an appreciative wolf-whistle.

When he stumbles through the Floo to the Diagon Alley flat Ginny shares with Luna, it’s something of a surprise to find himself in Draco Malfoy’s arms.

“Steady.” Draco sounds amused, his hands cool through the thin material of Harry’s shirt. “Good evening, Potter. Do you always make this kind of entrance?”

“He never got used to Floos.” Ginny grins at Harry and gives him a kiss on the cheek. “Hello, Harry.”

Malfoy is the person you’re trying to set me up with?” Harry glares at Ginny whose cheeks get pink.

“We didn’t exactly invite him here on that basis, Harry.”

“I did wonder.” Draco sounds amused. “Does Potter need help from his ex-girlfriend to get a date?”

“No,” Harry says, even though he does. He takes a minute to properly look at Draco. He looks as good as ever. Expensive, tailored and like he’s made an effort too. “Did they tell you I was coming?”

Draco glances at Ginny and then shrugs. “Perhaps.” He has a sip of his wine and gives Harry a lazy smile. “I didn’t realise you were my date, though.”

Harry makes a strangled sound. “You’re not.”

“Pity.” Draco waits until Ginny is out of earshot and then leans in to whisper to Harry, his breath warm against the shell of Harry’s ear. “It makes the whole evening just a bit more exciting when it’s a date, don’t you think? Getting distracted wondering about later.”

Harry turns to Draco, his heart hammering. They’re standing so close together that Harry can breathe in the scent of Draco’s cologne, expensive and familiar. The warm room gets even hotter as he shifts nearer still. Draco’s breath is warm on Harry’s lips, the scent of it pepperminty and inviting. It’s been so long since Harry’s felt anything like this and the fact that he’s standing here contemplating kissing Draco Malfoy assaults his senses with a rush of unexpected desire. It’s Draco. Draco who comes over with his own bottle of wine and seems to get a ridiculous amount of pleasure out of taking the piss out of everything from Harry’s house to his taste in booze.

I like him, Harry realises. I really like him. Infuriating, impossible, Malfoy. Neatly pressed, with never a hair out of place. It makes Harry’s body thrum with desire as he wonders what Draco might look like if he was a bit dishevelled. He’s suddenly desperate to find out.

“Something on your mind, Potter?” Draco’s voice is a low, warm balm and it jolts Harry from his thoughts of Draco perspiring and gripping onto Harry’s body with sure fingers. He touches said fingers lightly on Harry’s arm, and it sends all sorts of thoughts of later racing through Harry’s mind.

“Maybe.” Harry’s voice cracks and he licks his lips, his gaze dropping to Draco’s. When he looks up there’s a heat in Draco’s gaze. Harry wants to push him up against a wall to taste his kisses again, and the rest. “Do you ever think about it?” he asks, his voice low and rough.

Draco runs his tongue over his lips and nods. “All the time,” he says, his voice as low as Harry’s. “Sometimes I wonder why we never did it again.” He laughs, without much humour. “I expect you found better offers.”

“No,” Harry says, honestly. “Not really.”

“There have been others, though?” Draco gives Harry a curious look, and Harry tries to fight back the heat in his cheeks.

“Some. It’s not brilliant though, is it?”

Draco raises an eyebrow at Harry. “Fucking?”

“Yeah. That.” Harry shrugs. “The clubs and saunas didn’t do much for me. I just didn’t bother going after a while.”

Draco licks his lips and seems to be choosing his words carefully. “But you must have had some good experiences.”

“One or two.” Harry tries not to look away under the scrutiny. “I suppose I just assumed I’d find someone, and we could work it out together.”

“But you didn’t?” Draco holds Harry’s gaze.

“I don’t know, yet.” Harry’s boldness returns and he takes one, reckless step. “Maybe I did. I just didn’t know it.”

“You are slow on the uptake.” Draco face breaks into a smile. “I’m very fond of Severus, but there are other reasons I visit Grimmauld Place.”

Harry laughs. “To make fun of my books and my wine?”

“Something like that.”

 

 

Ginny’s voice from the dining room breaks the electric mood and Harry slips into a seat next to Draco, trying to keep up with the conversation.

Draco’s arm brushes against his own and everything seems just a little bit warmer than before.

 

Malfoy Manor // 2001

The Manor is like something out of a fairy tale. Opulent magical decorations twist and spin, with huge champagne fountains and trays of delicious canapes bursting with flavour which are scattered around the decadent ballroom. Even though the event is an enormous fundraiser, Harry doesn’t miss the murmurs of dissatisfaction that the Malfoys continue to enjoy such financial success after the part in the war.

There’s no doubt the event is an exercise in extravagance, but Harry doesn’t miss the subtle changes that Malfoy has made to his family home. The memories of family members so embroiled in supporting Voldemort have been lifted from the walls and the dark, rich mahogany has been replaced with sharp edges and glossy, Muggle surfaces. The dark wood panelling has been given a lift of bright white and the room is more contemporary, a stylistic choice with its gaze firmly on the future instead of a celebration of the past. Even if the party has a certain grandiose flare to it, there’s something camp about the theme and the setting, an almost self-referential attempt to draw a bright line between Malfoys present and Malfoys past. Harry never likes the grand Ministry charity balls and this is another example of an event designed for networking, when he’d much rather be having a pint at the Leaky. However, he shows his face because part of him is intrigued about the kind of bash Malfoy might host, and he appreciates the money these things can raise, as much as he hates every second of dull conversation and the gossipy whispering that comes from groups huddled together, talking in posh, crisp tones.

After a chat with Dawlish about the Auror budget that makes him want to bang his face into a plate of canapes, Harry makes his way through the ballroom and up the stairs. He doesn’t mean to be nosy—he just wants to find a quiet space away from the various people lined up to speak to him about accounting. The rest of the Manor has also been redecorated, but the upstairs corridors have a stillness to them, and a single portrait of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy eyes Harry watchfully as he makes his way further into the depths of the house. Eventually he reaches a tall door, which is open just enough that he can see light flickering through it and murmured conversation and laughter filters through into the still corridor. Harry pulls off his mask and pushes open the door, muttering a curse when two shadowy figures break apart.

“Shit, sorry. I’ll go.”

“It’s fine.” Malfoy’s familiar voice dips into a low murmur and the person—the man—in the room with him slips on his mask and disappears, pushing past Harry and closing the door behind him.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”

“I said it’s fine.” Malfoy grabs a bottle from an ice bucket and tops up his glass. “Champagne?”

Harry shrugs. “I suppose.”

“It’s decent stuff.”

“I prefer beer.”

“You would.” Malfoy pours a glass for Harry and hands it to him. He looks good, dressed in an expensive tuxedo. Harry has looked at him more than once this evening, with his elegant green and silver mask, working the room. He’s slim and striking, all white-blond hair and sharp features. Even now, in the shadowy room, he looks breathtakingly handsome. It makes Harry’s palms clammy and he has to break eye contact, taking a generous gulp of his drink.

“Friend of yours?” Harry nods towards the closed door, trying not to sound jealous.

“More a casual acquaintance.” Malfoy sips his champagne, narrowing his eyes as he contemplates Harry. “No Ginevra this evening?”

“No. We’re not together anymore.” Despite the fact it’s getting easier to say why they’re no longer together, now, confronted with Malfoy, the reason gets stuck in Harry’s throat. He puts his glass on the desk Malfoy’s leaning against and runs a hand through his hair, taking in Malfoy’s untied bowtie and open collar. He grins at Malfoy, a peculiar, giddy recklessness taking him over. “Did I ruin your chance of getting a shag?”

Malfoy snorts. “You ruined my chances of getting something. It doesn’t matter, I’m sure I’ll find him again. Or someone else.”

“Confident, aren’t you?”

“Reasonably.” Malfoy smiles at Harry, his eyes flicking over Harry’s face. He lowers his voice, pushing off the desk so he’s eye-level with Harry. The mask he long since discarded sits on the desk and glistens and shimmers in the room’s candlelight. “Is there a reason you’re sharing a bottle of Bollinger with me in the shadows, instead of drinking that beer you like with your friends?”

“There’s no beer.” Harry’s voice is rougher than usual, and he moves closer to Malfoy. “You know why I’m single now, don’t you?”

“Because you’re very annoying, probably.” Malfoy laughs under his breath, but he strokes his elegant fingers over the buttons of Harry’s tuxedo shirt. “I can hazard a guess. Did she find you in flagrante with a Puddlemere United Beater or something?”

“That’s not really my style.” Harry rolls his eyes. “We had a conversation. It was relatively scandal free, sorry to disappoint.”

“Since then you’ve been frequenting Muggle bars, I imagine. I haven’t seen anything about it in the Prophet.”

“I haven’t been frequenting anywhere.” Harry can’t stop looking at Malfoy’s insolent smile, his voice slowing as he closes the distance between them. “I haven’t really put any of it into action. I’ve just been doing a lot of talking.”

“How very unlike you.” Malfoy’s voice sounds unsteady and he yanks Harry in. “Talking is dull.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

Harry pushes his hands into Malfoy’s hair and in a wild, dizzying, moment of pleasure, kisses him. It’s unexpected, the way kissing Malfoy sends a deep, overwhelming bolt of arousal through him. The hard angles of Malfoy’s body and the way he moans softly into the kiss sends Harry’s senses into overdrive. It’s as if the uncertainty and the months of tension and wanting unleash and he pushes Malfoy back against the desk, desperate to get his hands on him.

The kiss is just as Harry would expect from Malfoy. Fierce, biting and full of unexpected heat. It’s a filthy, open-mouthed, pressure that makes Harry harden as he takes the opportunity to press his body against Malfoy’s own. The kisses taste like the sharp citrus of Malfoy’s posh champagne and the heady scent of his cologne is rich and expensive against Harry’s skin. With a groan, Harry pushes Malfoy’s tuxedo jacket off his shoulders and yanks at his shirt, pushing his hand between them to feel the hot length of Malfoy’s cock through his trousers.

“So eager, Potter.” Malfoy sounds breathless, amused and pleased with himself as he bucks into Harry’s hand. He twists his hand in Harry’s hair and tugs him close for another heart-stopping kiss, muttering fuck against his lips before sliding his tongue into Harry’s mouth. He moves from Harry’s lips to the slant of his jaw and fixes his lips to a sensitive spot on Harry’s neck as he opens Harry’s trousers with assured fingers, working his hand inside. The angle is awkward and Harry helps him get better access by shoving down his pants and trousers, working open Malfoy’s belt and hoping to Merlin nobody comes in to see Harry’s bare arse as he grinds against Malfoy.

“Fuck. Fuck.” Harry wraps his hand around Malfoy—the first cock he’s touched other than his own—and he can’t help the thrill of pleasure that swoops through him when Malfoy hisses his approval. They kiss again, hard and searching, Malfoy’s hand getting cool and slick as he murmurs a spell against Harry’s lips.

“I like it…wet,” he says, his voice lacking its usual smooth enunciation.

“Wandless.” Harry pulls back with a laugh, his eyes meeting Malfoy’s. They are dark with arousal, his cheeks flushed and his usually impeccable hair deliciously rumpled. “Impressive.”

“Thank you,” Malfoy drawls. He gives Harry a sly smile and points his wand at the door, muttering a locking charm before dropping it on the desk. “Well?”

Harry picks up Malfoy’s wand and slides it through his fingers, the movement seeming to send a shiver of pleasure through Malfoy’s body. He whispers the spell that every teenage boy learns and it leaves his hand slick, Malfoy’s wand responding easily to him, the magic yielding to Harry’s command and mingling with his own. The sight of Harry casting a spell with his wand makes Malfoy’s eyes flare and he leans his head back with a groan.

“Suck me off or get me off with your hand, stop showing off.”

“Shut up, Malfoy.” Harry smiles against Malfoy’s lips and wraps a slick hand around his cock, leaving Malfoy’s wand discarded on the desk. A curious possessiveness comes over him and he wants to tell Malfoy to be careful—not to just leave himself unarmed when he’s chasing his orgasm. It’s not been that long since the war and the memories of the Malfoy family’s role in it are still fresh. He traces a line with his lips to Malfoy’s ear as he strokes him with a loose fist, not in a rush to push Malfoy to his climax just yet. “Be careful,” he whispers, for reasons he can’t explain. “With other people.”

Obviously.” Malfoy snorts and shoves Harry back in an inelegant stumble until they’re against the wall. He gets his hand on Harry’s prick and squeezes it, rubbing his thumb over the already wet slit, which is leaking pre-come. “I can trust you. Can’t I?”

“Yes,” Harry says. “Yes.” The thought that Malfoy might treat him differently to his handsome strangers sends Harry’s heart thrumming restlessly in his chest and he groans into the next, biting kiss. Even sex with Malfoy is like a fight—the sort that sends adrenaline through his veins and makes him feel as though he’s chasing the Snitch again. The good sort of fight. The sort that makes his whole body energised and leaves him breathless, panting and sated afterwards. The freedom of flying, the freedom of twisting through the clouds with reckless abandon, the freedom of kissing another man.

It overwhelms Harry and he bucks into Malfoy’s talented hand and fucks his aching prick into the slick circle of Malfoy’s fingers. He wraps his fingers around Malfoy and strokes him in earnest, all gentle, teasing touches long forgotten. They pull, push, twist and grapple at one another, their bodies chasing towards the same goal and a few broken words leave Harry’s mouth with a gasp as Malfoy twists his hand on the upstroke and yanks Harry into another forceful kiss. It’s better than anything Harry has ever experienced. It’s rough, primal and desperate but it’s everything. Malfoy kisses Harry through the climax that overtakes him in a sudden, urgent rush, and then grunts as he follows shortly after, leaving Harry’s hand damp and sticky.

Harry slides his hand slowly off Malfoy, after one last, long, stroke and grabs his wand, cleaning himself quickly. A little lost for words as the force of his climax ebbs and fades away, he pulls up his trousers and pants and tucks himself in, watching as Malfoy does the same.

“I should get back to the party.” Malfoy buckles his belt and gives Harry a kiss on the cheek, before putting on his mask. He checks himself in the mirror and straightens himself up, patting his hair into place. “You know where to find me if you get bored of talking again.”

“Thanks.” As the heat of the moment dissipates, Harry’s stomach already squirms with guilt, even though he knows he’s done nothing wrong. It’s Malfoy. They don’t even like one another, and yet Harry can’t help but wish all the people downstairs would fuck off so he could take Malfoy to bed and fuck him properly, without any rush or the need for a clandestine encounter in the shadows. His skin smells like Malfoy’s expensive cologne and the thud of his heart in his chest is almost deafening.

He watches Malfoy leave the room, downs the rest of his champagne and tries to ignore the strange ache which settles in his chest and stays there for the rest of the evening.

 

 

 

Ginny and Luna’s Flat // Present Day

The meal with Ginny and Luna is delicious as always. Harry is never quite sure how Luna makes vegetarian food taste so good, but everything she serves up always makes Harry’s mouth water. They share a bottle of sparkling wine with the starters, and the fizziness on Harry’s tongue reminds him of kissing Draco. He meets Draco’s eyes as he takes a sip of his drink, and he’s rewarded with a wink.

“I’ve been trying to get Draco to do something for S.O.F.A. I think he would make a wonderful addition to the group, don’t you, Harry?”

Harry grins at Draco. “I think so. I hear Flobberworms are almost extinct now.”

“Do fuck off, Potter.” Draco glares at Harry. “Lovegood actually suggested unicorns—or maybe Thestrals.”

“He gets Thestrals and I get Pygmy Puffs?” Harry frowns at Luna, who looks serene. “Do you hate me? I thought you wanted to help me find a boyfriend—not that I need any help,” he adds quickly, before Draco starts taking the piss (again).

“You could always do a couples shoot if you want to do Thestrals too,” Ginny suggests. She gives Harry a sly look and lifts her eyebrows up and down suggestively.

“I’m not sure why we would do that.” Harry ignores Draco’s snickering. “When we’re not a couple.”

“Just two friends together then,” Luna offers. “Naked. Straddling a couple of Thestrals.”

“It sounds very homoerotic.” Draco shifts next to Harry and nudges him with his shoulder. “Don’t you think, Harry?”

“Oh yeah. Sounds brilliant.” Harry points his fork at Luna. “No more naked photos, I’ll do the thing with the Pygmy Puffs then I’m going to keep my clothes on in the future.”

“How disappointing,” Draco murmurs.

Luna and Ginny exchange triumphant smiles and Harry kicks Draco under the table. 

  

 

 

*

Despite the earlier promise of the evening, Draco leaves before Harry does and he can’t help but wonder where Draco’s got to be that isn’t Ginny and Luna’s. He consoles himself with a delicious jam tart from Greg’s, courtesy of Luna and Ginny, but even that doesn’t quite do the trick as his brain fills with images of Draco in one of the sweaty Muggle clubs Harry used to go to back in the day. A flash of jealousy slices through him and he decides to take a walk before going home, hoping to dull the antsy, restless feeling that's been prickling beneath his skin ever since he fell through the Floo and landed in Draco's arms.

He makes his way through the streets of Diagon Alley, which are quiet after hours. Most of the pubs close at eleven, and there are no clubs to go to for a quick drink. All of the shops are dark and still, with one or two flickering lights highlighting exquisite window displays which stop Harry in his tracks. No matter how many times he walks through Diagon Alley, he can still recall the flush of excitement he felt when he discovered its cobbled streets for the first time.

After walking for half an hour, Harry finds himself outside Greg’s. He expects it to be locked up, but there’s a light on inside. Curious, he presses his nose to the window and tries to see who on earth is at the bakery at this time of night when the shops have long since closed. The door clicks, and he turns to see Draco lounging in the doorway, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his collar unbuttoned, a glass of red wine in hand.

“Once an Auror, always an Auror.”

“I just wondered who was here so late.” Harry shrugs, his suspicions over the bakery long since assuaged. He takes in Draco’s relaxed appearance, a tug of arousal deep in his belly. “I thought you might have gone clubbing.”

“Not really my scene nowadays. I was going to finish up here and Floo to Grimmauld Place on the off-chance Severus fancied a chat.”

Harry laughs and raises his eyebrows at Draco. “Severus, hmm?”

“Well. Severus, anyone else that happened to be around. I do like that house-elf of yours tremendously.”

Harry snorts. “You would. He likes you a lot more than he likes me.”

“He has good taste.” Draco steps to one side. “Fancy a nightcap?”

Harry swallows, and nods. “Okay.” He makes his way inside, letting the door close with a snick behind him. He turns to Draco, unable to resist the magnetic energy which pulls him closer. “Is this what you meant by later?”

“Do you want it to be?” Draco’s voice is low. He puts down his glass of wine and gestures for Harry to follow him, extracting his wand and flicking out the candles until just the light from the moon filters into the small shop. He stops when they’re comfortably out of sight of the shop front, the delicious scent of the day’s baking surrounding them. “I can’t say I had any particular preconceptions.” He gives Harry a lazy smile. “One or two ideas, perhaps.”

“Interesting.” Harry moves closer to Draco. “I have one or two of those myself.”

“Knowing your fondness for cakes, you probably want to do something kinky with the icing.”

Harry laughs and he shakes his head. “Not tonight. Unless that’s something you’re into.”

“It’s not something I’m opposed to, if that’s your question.” Draco closes the distance between them, his hand on Harry’s hip. “It’s not exactly a fetish of mine.”

“Do you have any of those?”

“Fetishes?” Draco frowns thoughtfully, his fingers working open Harry’s shirt with achingly slow motions. “I might have one or two things. Lately it’s been more of a fantasy.”

“Oh?” Harry slips his shirt off when it’s fully unbuttoned and he pulls Draco closer by his belt. “What kind of fantasy?”

“A boy hero on his knees. Getting you into bed. It’s all disappointingly vanilla.” Draco brushes his lips to Harry’s neck, his voice low. “I wouldn’t want to scare you off.”

“Fat chance of that,” Harry decides. He manoeuvres Draco back against the wall and slides to his knees, opening Draco’s trousers. He pulls off his glasses and puts them to one side, looking up at Draco. “Is this the sort of thing you had in mind?”

“Mmhm.” Draco pushes his hands into Harry’s hair and leans back against the wall, making a low, guttural sound, deep in the back of his throat. “Exactly this sort of thing.”

“You can tell me about the other things later. The non-vanilla things.” Harry grins and then gets Draco’s trousers open, pushing them down to his knees. He’s given blow jobs before and he’s had Draco’s cock in his hand, but this is the first time he’s been in this position with Draco. He plans to savour the moment.

He takes Draco’s cock slowly into his mouth, relishing the fact it’s not fully hard. He loves it when a man hardens in his mouth, the swell of him filling the space between his lips and the heat and weight of it on his tongue. He gets to work, employing the experience he has had to get Draco hard and panting. He knows hand jobs and blow jobs, and even if he might not be the most experienced when it comes to the rest of it, he knows he can make Draco come apart with his mouth. He wants to see Draco rumpled and his competitive streak flares through him. This. This bit he’s good at and he might as well play to his strengths. He spends his time getting Draco slick with saliva, moving his mouth over him as he hardens and listening to the gasps and puffs of breath as Draco twists a hand in Harry’s hair. He pulls back and wipes the back of his mouth, looking up at Draco.

“You can fuck my mouth if you want. I like that.”

“F-fuck.” Draco’s voice is almost a growl, his eyes dark as he looks down at Harry. After a minute he gives Harry’s hair a sharp tug. “Get your mouth back on me, Potter.”

With a grin, Harry does just that. He lets Draco push into his throat and guide his movements as he sucks him, messy and enthusiastic. Draco is hung—Harry knew that but he couldn’t help but wonder if he had maybe blown up Draco has a fairly average sized cock into Draco looks like one of those Muggles in my favourite porn mags for wanking purposes. He’s pleased to see his memory wasn’t an exaggerated one, and the thought of Draco fucking into other parts of Harry’s body makes his skin hot with pleasure. The push of Draco’s cock into his mouth stretches his lips wide and despite the early ache in his jaw, Harry grips Draco’s backside to pull him in deeper. He takes every thrust and push from Draco, even as the saliva moves from his lips to his chin and everything is hot, messy and wet. The salty heat of Draco, the hard, thick length of him and the way he uses Harry’s mouth for his own pleasure makes Harry’s head spin. The floor is hard beneath his knees but he doesn’t care. It’s just the right side of uncomfortable, and he finds himself relishing every moment.

He takes his time, sliding back and forth as Draco directs and finally letting Draco thrust into his mouth in hard, staccato rhythm. With a groan around Draco’s cock, Harry knows he’s close from the clench and pulse of his cock and the way it feels against his tongue. With another grunt, Draco shoves his hands into Harry’s hair and holds him in place as he comes down Harry’s throat. He mutters something Harry doesn’t quite catch, collapsing back against the wall and finally loosening his grip on Harry’s hair. Harry pulls slowly off Draco, swiping the back of his hand across his mouth and putting his hands on his knees as he tries to catch his breath.

“Say something.” Draco’s voice is rough. “Say anything.”

“Err.” Harry looks up at Draco, his voice ragged from having Draco deep in his throat. He catches the flare of arousal in Draco’s eye and the twitch of his cock and gets it. Draco wants to hear Harry’s voice after his mouth has been well-fucked. Kinky bastard. Harry licks his lips and gives Draco a slow smile, deciding cheek is definitely the way to go. “Thank you,” he says, his voice scratchy. “Thank you for fucking my mouth, Draco.”

“Fucking—hell.” Draco’s words are choppy and fragmented and he hauls Harry to his feet. He shoves him back against the wall and kisses him fiercely. His hands are everywhere, sliding over Harry’s chest and moving to his arse to grip onto it and pull Harry closer. It sends fire through Harry’s body, seeing Draco lose himself in Harry, and he groans as his hard cock makes contact with Draco’s body. He grinds into him, breathless and needy and finally breaks the kiss to bury his head in Draco’s neck.

“Can you go again?”

Draco sounds smug. “Of course.”

“Then take me home and fuck me, will you?”

Draco doesn’t need any more instructions, yanking up his trousers and throwing Harry’s clothes at him, locking up the bakery with a quick swipe of his wand and Apparating them both to Grimmauld Place.

 

 

 

Grimmauld Place // 2001

“Hello?”

Harry frowns at the Floo as Draco Malfoy steps through. He hasn’t spoken to Draco since the party at Malfoy Manor and he can’t help the flush of arousal that courses through him as he meets Draco’s eyes. He swallows it back, and keeps his expression closed off.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Lovely to see you too, Potter.” Draco rolls his eyes. “I received a note telling me there was something I might like to see at Grimmauld Place. I assumed it was from you.” Draco looks cross, pink spots blooming in his cheeks.

“Why on earth would it be from me?” Harry takes the note, Dumbledore’s spidery hand instantly familiar. He doesn’t know what Dumbledore’s playing at from beyond the grave, but he’s not sure he likes any of it. He jabs his finger at the huge canvas he has just (reluctantly) hung on the wall. “I think someone wants you to see this.”

“Is that…?” Draco swallows and he moves closer to the paining. “Severus?”

“The very same.” Snape glares down his nose at Draco. “Are you fraternising with Potter now?”

“Hardly.” Draco glances at Harry. “Potter’s a prat.”

Severus rolls his eyes. “Oh, wonderful. I see nothing has changed in my absence.”

“A lot has changed, actually. I’m an Auror now,” Harry points out.

“Something I’m quite sure we will never hear the end of.” Snape opens one of his books, coughing as oily dust billows around him. “I should have known Albus was up to something when he asked me to sit for a magical portrait not long before he asked me to kill him. He clearly knew I wasn’t going to survive the war, but I can’t imagine why he would have made you part of the plan.” Snape glares at Harry as if the vagaries of Dumbledore’s brain are somehow his fault.

“Don’t look at me.” Harry holds up his hands in a gesture of protest. “I’ve got no idea why you turned up on my doorstep. It’s not like the portrait came with an instruction manual.” The portrait had arrived with a card indicating that the item was part of Dumbledore's estate that had just finished being processed. Other than a strong recommendation that the portrait be hung in the living room and a cryptic quote—love is never late, nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to—there was no further information.

Snape scowls as he peers around the living area. “I assume this is one of the less frequented rooms in the house?”

“No.” Harry waves the piece of parchment that accompanied the portrait at Severus. “Dumbledore’s note said I had to put you in the living room. This is the main room. You’ve been here before, surely you know that?”

“I was rather hoping you may have changed the layout.” Snape gives an aggravated huff and opens another book. “I have little interest in socialising with earnest Gryffindors or—” he shudders “–people talking about Quidditch.”

Harry glares at Snape. “Don’t worry, I can put a curtain over you if you want. Anyway, go and bother another portrait if you don’t want to be here.”

“It will suffice for now.” Snape gives Draco a quick glance. He still looks bemused, watching Snape with his mouth half open. “Close your mouth, Draco, unless you want to catch flies.”

Draco presses his lips together and touches his fingers to the canvas. “I can’t believe you’re here.” His voice is thick and he clears his throat. “I…”

“Now, now.” Snape looks waspishly at Draco, his voice firm but not exactly unkind. “That’s enough of that. Let us leave the appalling displays of sentimentality to our resident Gryffindor, shall we?”

“Yes, sir.” Draco gives Snape a watery smile and Harry takes in the bright youthfulness in his face. It’s been so long since he thought of Draco as the snot-nosed brat from Hogwarts, but in this moment he looks as young as he ever has.

“Severus will suffice,” Snape replies, quietly. “I am nobody’s Professor any longer.”

Draco turns to Harry and a flicker of anger crosses his features. “You shouldn’t have this. It should belong to someone who cares. Someone who will treat him with respect!”

“I do care.” Harry glances at Snape, who pulls a face as if he doesn’t believe it for a minute. “There’s a reason Dumbledore gave this to me.”

“He was a senile old fool.”

“Fuck you, Malfoy.” Harry clenches his hands into fists. “You don’t get to speak about him like that.”

“You get everything don’t you?” Draco says with a snarl. “The house, the glory, the fancy office at the Ministry and now this. Something you don’t even want.”

“Yeah, Malfoy. That’s right. I’m so lucky.” Harry wants to shove Malfoy, or throttle him. He can’t quite decide. “I suppose you think having a nice office is great compensation for everything I lost.”

“I just—” Draco stops, his chest heaving. His features are sharp and mean, his expression cold and furious. After a minute his breathing steadies and he rubs his forehead. “It’s not fair,” he repeats, dull and defeated. “He meant nothing to you.”

“You don’t know that.” A strange compassion tempers Harry’s anger and he trails off with a sigh. “I couldn’t have won the war without him. Anyway, it’s not my choice. Even if I wanted you to have it, I don’t think I can give it to you. It’s got some weird magic on it that’s connected to Dumbledore’s last wishes. I couldn’t even hang it in the study.”

“I bet you wanted to shove it somewhere out of sight,” Draco says with a sneer. “Don’t worry, Severus. I’ll come here every day to make sure Potter here isn’t being his usual idiotic self.”

“Oh good,” Snape says drily. He opens a book with a sniff and starts making some notes. “I so look forward to seeing you and Potter clawing at one another like a couple of crups on heat.”

“You’re so stupid,” Draco hisses at Harry. “I can’t believe this.”

“You’re not coming round every day.” Harry stares at Draco, horrified. “I don’t want you round at all.”

“Well bad luck. I’m going to be here every night to make sure—”

“—Mister Malfoy!” Snape closes his book with a thud. “That’s quite enough of your histrionics. I hardly think Potter has it in him to be cruel, as loathe as I am to admit it,” Snape says. His voice quietens. “Do not wage another battle on my behalf.”

Draco’s shoulders sag. “Fine,” he mutters. He looks up at Harry, his expression young, lost and wretched. “Can I come and see him sometimes?”

Harry swallows around the lump in his throat and nods. “Yeah. Yeah, ‘course you can.” He looks up at Snape and catches him mid eye-roll. “Why do you think Dumbledore did this?”

“Because he’s a meddling old fool.” Snape holds up his hand before Harry can protest. “Something, I, Potter, am entitled to say, even if Draco here isn’t.”

“It’s stupid,” Draco says again. He looks cross, his arms folded across his chest. “Dumbledore’s a—”

“Do you want to come back here or don’t you?” Harry glares at Malfoy. “It’s a bit weird,” he relents. “But I’m sure he had his reasons.”

“I have no doubt he had several reasons and having read that infernal quote of his, I’d wager I know one of them,” Severus mutters.

Harry and Draco stare at Severus, but he clearly doesn’t see fit to elaborate, putting his large book in front of his nose and settling behind it with an aggravated humph.

 

 

Grimmauld Place // Present Day

“Where’s your bedroom?” Draco tugs Harry into a kiss as they land with a thud. He nips at Harry’s neck, his voice sexy enough to make Harry want to come in his pants. “I want to do such filthy things to you, Potter.”

“I want you to—”

“Ah-hem!” A familiar cough from the corner of the room makes Harry yank away from Draco, to find himself confronted with Snape’s disgruntled face.

“Well you don’t have to watch.”

“I can still hear,” Snape replies, plaintively. “Forgive my prudishness but I would sooner be doused in paint stripper than to hear you and Draco whispering sweet nothings to one another. It’s putting me off my whisky.”

“As if anything could put you off that,” Harry mutters.

“Good evening, Severus,” Draco says. He pats his hair and only the flush in his cheeks gives him away. “Potter and I were just—”

“I am not a blithering idiot, Malfoy.” Snape rolls his eyes. “I know precisely what you and Potter were doing. I’d thank you for sparing me the finer details.”

“We’re going to err…” Harry gestures towards the stairs. “Would you like anything before we go?”

“Earplugs, preferably. Something to demonstrate you are both capable of casting a silencing charm.” Snape sighs, giving Harry a look over his ample nose. “You are aware this is precisely what Albus had in mind? The old fool will be dancing around on his clouds feeling mightily pleased with himself, I have no doubt.”

“What?” Harry glances at Draco, who shrugs, also none the wiser. “You think Dumbledore wanted me and Malfoy to—” he tries to think of a polite term for fuck.

“Court, Potter,” Draco hisses. “Court will suffice.”

“We’re not in the eighteen-hundreds, you posh twat,” Harry says through the corner of his mouth. He turns back to Snape. “You think he wanted us to get off together?”

“I think Albus Dumbledore is a hopeless romantic who should know better than to make me a pawn in his tawdry bodice rippers. I hardly think it was a coincidence that Draco was alerted to my presence in your home on the same day my painting arrived on your doorstep.” Snape pours himself a generous whisky and waves his hand. “Bugger off, do what you have to do and for god’s sake don’t wake me up by shagging on the sofa.”

Harry coughs. “Night, then.”

“Goodnight, Potter.” Snape downs his whisky muttering a curse under his breath, and Harry grabs Draco’s hand, dragging him somewhere well out of earshot.

  

 

*

They undress and stretch out on the bed together, Draco propping himself up on his elbow and watching Harry.

“What do you like?”

“What we did before?” Harry tips his head to look at Draco. “I want you to fuck me. I haven’t liked that much in the past, but I want to try it with you.”

Why?” Draco frowns at Harry. “I don’t mind being fucked if you prefer things that way.”

“No.” Harry shakes his head. “It’s just been…rushed. Hurried. People I didn’t give a fuck about who didn’t give a fuck about me. It’s like when you left your wand out back in the Manor during the charity bash. You don’t do that with everyone.”

Draco snorts. “I know, but that’s because you’re Harry Potter. Of course I trust you.”

“Well.” Harry runs his tongue over his lips, holding Draco’s gaze. “I trust you too.” 

 

 

“Bloody idiot.” Draco sighs and leans in to kiss Harry slowly. He pulls back and gives him a filthy grin. “Do we need spells or do you have lube?”

“Top drawer.” Harry gestures to Draco’s side of the bed, trying very hard not to be embarrassed about the fact there’s a little less lube than he would want there to be, on account of the wanking he may or may not have been doing lately. “Don’t take the piss.”

“As if I would.” Draco sounds as if he very much would. “Come on, get on your hands and knees if you want.”

Harry shifts into position, biting back a groan as Draco parts the cheeks of his backside. The murmur of a cleaning charm leaves him tingling and he hisses and jerks forward on the bed. His cock is already filling and Draco hasn’t started yet. He puts it down to the fact it really has been a long time, and Draco’s already come once. He sucks in a sharp breath when the wet, insistent pressure of Draco’s tongue circles around his hole. With a cry, he clutches onto the sheets and pushes back as Draco begins to tongue him in earnest. With every suck of Draco’s lips around him and every slide and press of his tongue as he pushes it slowly inside Harry, it’s like all of his nerves have become more sensitive than usual.

It feels like an age before Draco slides a slick, well-lubed finger inside Harry’s body, the motion making him groan with pleasure. Images of Draco’s hands around his wine glass and the snooty way he would tap his fingers on the spine of some of Harry’s books flash before him. It turns out all of those fantasies about Draco’s fingers have some root in reality, because he knows exactly what to do with them. He curls them and applies pressure in all the right places, fingering Harry open with slow, maddening intent.

“You could come from this couldn’t you, darling?” Draco sounds as breathless as Harry feels, his fingers pushing inside Harry again. “Do you want to?”

“Not…not tonight.” Harry tries to speak through gritted teeth, the sensations almost unbearably good. “I’m ready, I just want you to fuck me. Come on, get on with it, will you?”

“So impatient.” Draco laughs under his breath, pressing a kiss to the sweaty part of Harry’s spine. He slicks himself and then presses against Harry, the blunt head of his cock nudging against him as he grips Harry’s hip with one hand and positions himself with the other.

The first stretch is as unpleasant as Harry remembers from all those years ago—an aching burn combined with the desire to be filled that makes him want to push back into it and pull away from it at the same time.

“Okay?” Draco nudges a little further into Harry, a bitten-off groan filling the room.

“Just do it,” Harry says. “Please.”

With a steady push, Draco slides the rest of the way into Harry, and Harry has never been more grateful for the copious amounts of lube Draco obviously used. After the initial breach the passage is easier and the dull ache becomes an urgent, primal need for Draco to move.

Fuck.”

“That’s the plan.” Draco sounds amused but far from unaffected, his voice jagged. He thrusts into Harry, using his hands on Harry’s hips to find the right angle. Eventually he gets it just right and the burn and stretch gives way to pure, desperate pleasure as Harry rocks back to meet every single one of Draco’s thrusts. It’s not gentle, but it’s not the hard, quick, fucks Harry has had in the past. The fingering and tonguing left him more relaxed than usual and the ache is less sharp, soon overtaken by the kind of pleasure that makes his head spin. He mutters a lubricating spell and wraps a slick hand around his own cock, fucking his fist with it as Draco pushes into him. The sight of Harry getting himself off obviously spurs Draco on, as he presses his fingers into Harry’s backside and takes him over and over, bringing Harry to a messy, sweaty climax.

Draco slips out of Harry and jerks himself off over Harry’s back, sliding his fingers back inside Harry when he finishes, making Harry hiss with pleasure and press back against his fingers. Eventually, Draco tumbles Harry back onto the bed and captures his lips in a fierce, searching kiss. He tastes like sweat and wine, his lips insistent and delicious against Harry’s.

“That was unexpected.” Harry pulls away from the kiss, his breathing steadying.

“Was it?” Draco sounds amused.

“No.” Harry grins and pulls Draco in for another hot, filthy kiss. “Maybe not.”

Much later that night as Harry drops off, somewhere between sleep and waking, he thinks he hears the familiar caw of a phoenix and slings his arm around Draco, his smile pressed against Draco’s warm back as he murmurs a quiet thank you to Dumbledore, wherever he may be.

  

 

Ginny Weasley’s Flat // 2001

“I think I’m gay.” Harry’s palms are sweating, and tears prick the back of his eyes, the words leaving him with a wrench. “I’m sorry, I’m so fucking sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Ginny gives Harry a soft smile. “I think I’ve known that for a while.”

Harry stares at Ginny. “How the fuck does everyone know apart from me?”

“I’m not sure they do, but most of them don’t spend as much time with you as I do.” Ginny’s cheeks flush. “I think maybe because I wondered about myself, too.”

“Oh?” Harry holds his breath and takes Ginny’s hand, squeezing it. “And?”

“Not gay.” Ginny looks up at Harry and squeezes his hand back. “But definitely not straight.”

“We’re a right pair.” Harry pulls Ginny into a tight hug, breathing in the warm, familiar scent of her. His voice is choked when he finally speaks. “I just want you to be happy. Whoever it is.”

“Me too. For me and you.” Ginny pulls back and gives Harry a soft, sweet kiss. She’s so lovely. So bloody beautiful, she still takes Harry’s breath away. “I love you, Harry Potter.”

“I love you too, Ginny Weasley.” Harry’s words get stuck in his throat and he buries his face in her hair, breathing in.

After a long goodbye, Harry leaves Ginny’s house with a bag full of his things, knowing that when he comes back again, it’s going to be as a guest, not as Ginny’s partner. There’s a lightness that comes with finally releasing the weight of his secret, but his heart aches for the things he might have had with Ginny. He could have been happy with her. Just not the kind of happy either of them deserve after all the battles they’ve fought over the years. He wonders if he’ll ever find that again, with anyone. He can’t imagine who would have the same understanding of the war and who would already be as close to Harry as the Weasley family. The idea of starting all over again is nerve-wracking.

With a sigh, Harry Apparates to Grimmauld Place. The house is unusually warm and there’s a pleasing scent from the kitchen.

“Oh. It’s you.” Kreacher glares at Harry, put he throws his dishcloth over his shoulder. “I didn’t want you annoying me by pacing around at night because you’re pining over your ex-lover.”

Harry winces. “Just Ginny’s fine, Kreacher.”

“I don’t particularly care, Master,” Kreacher says with as much scorn as he can muster. “I made jam tarts. With damson jam, because it’s my favourite.”

Damson is Harry’s least favourite and Kreacher knows it, but when it comes to jam tarts, Harry has rarely met one he doesn’t like. His stomach grumbles and his doldrums lift a little as he follows Kreacher into the kitchen.

“Brilliant! Thanks, Kreacher.”

Kreacher opens the oven and takes out the tarts, pointing at one reluctant, slightly battered looking one that’s a brighter red than the rest. “There was enough jam for one raspberry tart.”

“My favourite.” Harry grins and he nods his thanks to Kreacher, taking the tart. He has a tentative bite after blowing on it to cool it down and the jam is hot and sweet, the pastry crumbly and delicious.

The ache in his heart from leaving Ginny behind eases just a little, and Harry takes another delicious bite of Kreacher’s tart, a kernel of hope taking up residence in his chest. He holds onto it tightly and wishes for something, anything, that makes life feel as good as eating a raspberry jam tart.

 

 

Harry Potter’s Office, Ministry of Magic // Present Day

“I’m not sure how I feel about this.”

When Harry gets into his office, Draco is in his chair, his feet up on Harry’s desk and a copy of the Quibbler open in his lap. There’s a familiar box from Greg’s next to him, and the warm, familiar scent of jam tarts fills the room. Harry closes the door, his heart giving a pleasant kick at the sight of Draco, with his polished brogues and his crisp shirt open at the collar. He wonders if he’s always going to get this dizzy over Draco, or if it’s just the newness of everything that makes it impossible to see Draco and not want to touch him. His friends are already regretting finding Harry a boyfriend, after Ginny and Luna caught them snogging in the kitchen at a dinner party, one step away from sneaking off into a room for a quick blow job.

“Do you like it?” Harry perches on the desk plucking the magazine from Draco’s hand and pulling a face at the pictures. “They’re pretty tasteful.”

“Not tasteful enough.” Draco drops his feet to the floor and urges Harry into the space between his parted legs, sliding his hand over the front of Harry’s trousers. “And yet, they leave too much to the imagination. Perhaps you can give me some photographs of my own.”

“You don’t need photographs. You’ve got the real thing,” Harry says. He groans as Draco unbuckles his belt. “Here?”

“We’ve fucked pretty much everywhere else. Besides, I may have harboured a secret fantasy about sucking Head Auror Potter off in his office.” Draco gives Harry a smirk. “Fancy it?”

“Always.” Harry extracts his wand and casts a quick locking charm, leaning back on the desk as Draco lowers the zip on his trousers. “Make it quick though, I’ve got a meeting with Ron in fifteen minutes.”

“That’s…surprisingly arousing.” Draco slides a hand over Harry. “I’d rather have your naked body to myself, good causes aside.”

“Really?” Harry brushes an errant strand of hair from Draco’s forehead. “Is this you asking me to be your boyfriend, Malfoy?”

“I thought you were that already,” Draco huffs. “It’s me asking you to stop flashing your arse at all and sundry.”

“I’ve finished taking my clothes off for a while.” Harry groans when Draco mouths over the tip of his cock. “What about the Thestrals?”

“Fuck the Thestrals.” Draco slides his mouth over Harry and takes him deep into the back of his throat. Draco’s talented mouth—talented everything, really—was just another pleasing discovery. He knows exactly how to push Harry’s buttons in more ways than one, and he uses his tongue and lips with targeted precision. Harry bites back a groan when Draco slides a slick hand over his own cock and strokes it with urgency. He loves that Draco gets off on this. He should also probably stop thinking about the word love in case he ends up blurting it out in the heat of the moment. He’s not sure either of them are there yet, but he also gets this fierce, happy bundle of warmth in his chest when he’s with Draco that reminds him of eating one of Greg’s brilliant jam tarts. He shoves his hands into Draco’s hair and pushes up into his mouth, chasing away the sappy, romantic thoughts, shelving them for another time. For now, he just wants to enjoy Malfoy. Every flick of his tongue and slide of his brilliant mouth. Every stroke of his fingers and the hard, thick heat of him as he pushes into Harry. Every stupid, silly argument and the way Draco fills the cold side of Harry’s bed with his annoying opinions, quick wit and deliciously filthy ideas.

This is just another classic. Harry is really starting to like Draco’s fantasies. He closes his eyes and lets his pleasure take him over, as Draco brings him to the brink and Harry comes with a ragged groan.

 

 

“Efficient,” Harry says when he catches his breath.

“I aim to please.” Draco slides his hand from his trousers and cleans them both up with a flick of his wand, buttoning himself back up. He reaches for the box from Greg’s and opens it up. “Tart?”

“Rude.” Harry grins and selects one of his new favourites—blackberry and apple—and takes a bite. “I’ve been thinking.”

“Sounds ominous.” Draco picks out an apricot jam tart and has a bite, giving Harry a sated smile. “Don’t strain yourself, Potter.”

“Naff off.” Harry sits back on the desk. “Do you think Greg would want to cater the Ministry Yule Ball?”

“Really?” Draco arches an eyebrow at Harry. “I’m not sure people would be too happy about that.”

“Sod them,” Harry says. “I don’t think they’re going to be too fond of us showing up together either, but I don’t plan on taking anyone else.”

“Oh.” Draco’s eyes widen as he contemplates Harry. “You really think that’s a good idea?”

“It’s probably a terrible idea, but you’re the one that told me we had to make use of our freedom.”

“You remember that?”

“Of course I do. It was the Wizengamot Trials, the first time I had a cigarette and the first time I met anyone who just came right out and said they were gay.”

Draco frowns. “You’ve been thinking about it since then?”

“On and off.” Harry looks away, the heat of the summer sun and the strange fear welling within him coming back to him in a rush. “I was so frightened of it.”

“You’ve always been brave, Potter,” Draco says, quietly. “You were always going to get there in the end.”

“Too late, do you think?” Harry turns back to Draco. “I spent longer than I should have done making Ginny miserable.”

Draco snorts. “Ginny’s just fine. Her and Luna are quite nauseating.” He pauses. “I…I’m not sure I would have been ready for you, then. Things might have been very different.”

“Then maybe it was just as it should have been.” Harry can't help but think of Snape's portrait and Dumbledore's cryptic card about love arriving precisely when it means to, and his heart gives another, fond kick. He shrugs. “I’m not going to worry about what-ifs. They don’t do a lot for me.”

“I know that as well as anyone,” Draco says. His lips purse and he stares into the distance, deep in thought. When he speaks, his voice is rough. “I think Greg would be honoured to be asked to do something for the Ministry. He has a lot of regret, I'm not sure he would quite believe it. Whatever he was, he's a good man. He's a good man, now.”

“I know.” Harry swallows around the lump in his throat, the image of small, slender Draco and the nervous terror on Goyle’s face at the trials springing back into his mind. “You both are.”

“We’ll see.” Draco shrugs and stands, pressing his cool lips to Harry’s cheek. “Sometimes,” he says quietly enough that Harry has to strain to hear it, “I don’t think I deserve any of this.”

“Dumbledore obviously thought you did. If his opinion counts for anything.”

“It does.” Draco swallows, pulling back, staring at Harry. “There are other opinions that matter more.” He pulls a face. “As annoying as I find those opinions sometimes.”

Harry laughs and he pulls Draco into a warm, heated kiss. His lips are sweet and sticky with jam.

“Come over tonight. Let’s annoy Severus by snogging in front of him.”

“Kinky fucker,” Draco says with a smile. He kisses Harry again. “Tonight, then.”

“Yeah. Tonight.” Harry’s stomach does a swoop as he thinks about tonight. Malfoy’s definitely onto something with his ideas about the pleasure of anticipating later.

Ron’s voice breaks into Harry’s decidedly filthy thoughts as he jiggles the doorknob. “Harry? Why the bloody hell is your door locked?”

Harry mutters a curse under his breath and unlocks the door, using the mirror on the wall to make sure he doesn’t look as though he’s just been getting blown by Malfoy on his desk.

“Weasley.” Draco shakes Ron’s hand before leaving. “Make sure Potter gives you one of those jam tarts of his.”

“Thanks.” Ron shakes his head at Harry as Draco closes the door behind him. “Do I even want to know what you were doing?”

“Probably not,” Harry says, cheerfully. “Come on, then. What’s this thing about the Cursed Kneazle of Kensington?”

Ron starts explaining what sounds like a very fake complaint as Harry eats another jam tart and annoys Ron by mooning over Malfoy like a love-sick crup for the duration of their meeting.

All is well.

 

 

 

~Fin~