A muggle radio crackled from somewhere inside the closed book store. Ever since the war had been won, and Hermione Granger had become Minister of Magic, muggle technology seemed to be popping up everywhere. Draco tried not to think about it. He didn't like to think about much these days.
"...known fugitive. In other news; cold sweeps across Scotland as we've encountered an area of low pressure that's moving north. Heavy snow is known to be breaching the Highlands. A weather warning is being sent out to everyone around the Highland area.-"
Draco pulled his ear-muffed hat lower over his already dampened ears. He snarled at the radio before he started down the path.
Three inns had already turned him away and the snow was getting heavier. At this rate, the only place that would even consider letting him in their front door was the small inn above the Three Broomsticks and that was on the other side of Hogsmede. Not to mention he hadn't been there since before the war finished.
He gulped as ice struck his face. Time to start the long, treacherous trek through the fast swirling snowdrift.
Platinum hair dusted with frost, Draco concentrated on his gloveless hands. He cursed himself for losing them. He was never like this in school, he lamented as he trudged through the ever thickening blanket of white that was covering Hogsmede. It was almost beautiful if it weren't for the biting winds and the sudden chill that ran through him.
Draco glanced nervously at anyone who gave him a second look, pulling his hat further down his ears, hiding the shock of white hair as best he could.
He didn't feel as old as he was, ducking behind store-fronts and hiding from Aurors. It irked him, that he felt almost like he was trespassing.
Gulping at the uninviting entrance leading to Knockturn, Draco found himself standing stock still in the middle of the road, women and children hurrying past him as if he were an infection. He was actually considering it! Draco shook his head in disbelief as he started back towards the centre of Hogsmede, all the while muttering to himself about how idiotic he was being.
The black peacoat was almost white once he reached the Hog's Head, veering a sharp right, Draco dodged anyone who might know him by taking side streets and dingy alleyways until he was face to face with the wooden oppressor that was the Three Broomsticks.
Two large Christmas trees adorned with decor for the festive season protruded from the front garden. Draco didn't pay them enough mind though, which was evident when he found his hat covered in snow.
He grimaced and shook his head, letting the snow fall to the ground before bunching it up and putting it in his pocket. Under the shade of the tree he should have been safe from the snow fall, but of course he wasn't.
The deep walnut floorboards were already sprinkled with snow where the door had been left on the catch. The gap was wide enough for people to slip in and out of without bringing a snowdrift with them.
Draco shuddered at a particularly painful encounter with the aforementioned door, one that had ended in an abrupt trip to Madam Pomfrey's and three broken fingers. He paid extra mind to the small step at the entrance. Unconsciously, he pulled the sleeved of his coat further down, hiding any possible implication of the stain that was the Dark Mark on his arm.
Getting his nerves under control, Draco tried to embrace the presence of his father that still lurked in the dark, foreboding part of his mind. He was and would never be as menacing as the late Lucius Malfoy, but he could sure as hell try to be. (And hope no one else would point it out).
Tom moved some papers around on his desk before looking up. He swore under his breath. He couldn't tell how long Harry had been standing there, but it seemed to be long enough that Tom would be in trouble if he kept him waiting.
Who was he kidding, he was already in trouble, this was Harry Potter he was keeping waiting, not some businessman and his whore.
Harry looked up expectantly, fiddling with the buttons on his cuffs. Neither man had noticed Draco slip into the small lobby that cut off from the rest of the building. Not until he knocked over the small Ficus tree near the desk.
He mumbled his apologies (noticeably, he didn't attempt to right the plant) before picking his way toward the desk. He automatically slipped his coat off his shoulders to place over his arm(some traditions are never quite forgotten), although he took care to bunch the sleeves of his jumper in his fist.
"I need a room."
Tom visibly rolled his eyes. "I'm currently dealing with another customer."
Draco's gaze flickered over Harry temporarily. It wasn't like they never saw each other. They used to work together, once Draco's name was cleared. He hadn't particularly enjoyed his job, but he had enjoyed watching Harry on the field. Neither of them liked the office work. That was something Draco had noticed.
He took the man in as if it were the first time. In some ways it was.
Harry had rolled the sleeves of his oxford up his forearms, over one of which was a fawn serge coat. His black jeans softened the formal outfit but Draco wasn't going to admit it looked rather good... for something so tacky. He tried to focus on Tom, without much luck.
"All other rooms are full, I'm terribly sorry... sir." He definitly sounded more haughty and sure of himself than when Draco had last seen him, he'd have to commend him on that at least. He hadn't mentioned Draco's status, which had Draco feeling more relieved than he'd like to admit to himself.
Harry stepped forward. "Can I request Mr. Malfoy take the room, in that case."
What was he doing? Mocking him?
Draco's face turned stony.
"Always was the valiant hero, weren't you, Potter." A sneer had returned to his voice. It he'd the same contempt as it had in school, albeit icier.
"C'mon Malfoy, it'll be fine. I'm not letting you sleep out in the snow!"
Draco hated these walls he put up. But now it was automatic. "No."
He cursed himself. He was always either forcing words out or acting like a brat around Potter. And yet again, Harry didn't notice. Draco didn't know whether to be thankful or infuriated.
He was stubborn too. Draco had forgotten about that.
Sullenly, Draco toed the floor. He must look awful, purple bags growing like violets under his eyes, sunken jaw tilted toward the fading light outside the window. He was in a comfortable jumper, tattered and slightly wine-stained. Draco Malfoy didn't do comfortable. Well, the old Draco wouldn't have. But there were certain things you had to forgo when pushed into such circumstances as he had been.
After the war, he'd lost everything. The jumper had been his mothers. He was rarely seen without it. The past few years had been hell on him and this chance encounter was a glaring reminder of how low he'd stooped.
Draco glared at Harry and Tom in turn, before furrowing his brow, then digging in his pockets. He fished his last few silver coins. Dumping them on the counter, he stormed through the bar and up the side steps as quickly as possible. He wasn't going to let Harry pay for his night here and he definitly wasn't going to be seen going up to a bedroom with him.
Harry gaped after him before turning to Tom, who just shrugged. He'd neglected to mention the room had a single bed.
With that, Harry handed Tom his half of the deposit and awkwardly righted the Ficus plant before moving toward the bar.
Harry shifted around tables to the bar. There was some muttering and a lot of people stared, but he was used to that so it was half anticipated.
Placing an order for two butter beers he sat on the barstool nearest to the wall, the dark wood cold to the tips of his fingers as he traced unreadable patterns into the walnut bark.
"Two butter beers for a Mister Harry Potter." The waitress said in an annoyingly loud voice.
Harry rolled his eyes behind her back before thanking her and taking the frothy drinks.
Unfortunately, an elderly wizard, who went by the name of Aislin stopped him.
"Be careful going up there if I were you. Milling around with Dark Wizards makes you unpopular. Sharing a bed with them, even more so."
The guy was old and Harry assumed he was just disoriented. Although, if people had seen him with Draco in the lobby, the Prophet would surely have a field day by tomorrow morning.
He tried not to think about it.
He shook his head and wandered upstairs almost in a haze. It was getting late and a chill was starting to seep through his bones.
He pushed the door open with his elbow. Scanning the room, Harry spotted Draco. His knees were drawn against his chest and he paid Harry no mind. He was too busy staring at the swirling thickness of the snowstorm.
Turning slightly in the waning light of the window, Harry saw the sharpness of Draco's jawline, the way his body had become willowy and his mind absent. It sent a jolt through his body. A fleeting memory of staring at an off-white wall in hand me down clothes under the stairs of Number 4, Privet Drive, skin stretched taut over his ribcage.
Harry flinched, setting the butterbeers down as soon as he found the available space.
"Malfoy?" He almost whispered it, the sound carrying through the silent room. "Are you okay?"
It was a dumb question, but it was all he had to offer.
He couldn't believe he hadn't noticed it before. How frail Draco had become, the sure way he held himself faltering every time he took a breath.
He seemed to answer before being fully pulled out of his own thoughts. His barrier coming down a fraction, enough for Harry to take a glimpse at how fragile Draco really was.
In an effort to lighten the mood (and take the pressure off Draco) Harry offered him a butterbeer.
"I got you this." It was almost shy. As if Draco would bite or something.
He almost smiled at himself at that thought. He'd been a bratty kid - so it was entirely possible that Harry assumed he hadn't changed... most people didn't.
Harry noticed the flicker of a smile disappear and sighed. "So, what are we going to do about this then?" He gestured blandly around the room.
"About what, Potter? Clearly we're stuck sharing a room, there isn't much we can do about it." The walls he'd let dwindle were clearly back up.
Harry tried not to provoke any type of outburst as he withdrew his wand, settling a simple heating charm around the room.
"Much better." Draco mused, as if Harry was hired help and not currently the person who'd kept him off the streets.
Well. So much for being nice. "There's one bed." His voice was supposed to be deadpan but it came across as more irritated.
"Oh."Draco said dryly. "Yes."
Draco slipped into drowsiness, his head lolling back and forth fluidly until it fell backwards, hitting the headboard. He swore morosely before resigning himself to rubbing his head gingerly.
"Well?" Harry's voice rose an octave higher, his stance widened. (Probably to make up for the horrible, effeminate inflection in his tone when he got mad. Although he'd never admit to it). Apparently, Draco could still wind him up, even after all this time. He was momentarily glad he hadn't had to share a dorm room with him.
Draco's eyes opened wide, head snapping up at the noise.
"Well what? Just sleep on the floor."
Harry rubbed his temples, sighing audibly. "Unless you can transfigure our limited furniture into a bed, no." Harry felt like he was chastising a three year old.
"Sleep on the floor." Draco repeated. He'd curled up on the farthest side of the bed, covers tucked under his chin. His eyes were half-closed and he was rocking gently, flickering in and out of sleep.
Harry had almost forgotten how self-absorbed Draco was. He understood that he'd had a hard time throughout the war and was still adjusting to a life that wasn't under the rule of Voldemort. But so was everyone else. Voicing this, in hindsight, was probably not the best idea.
Draco was out of his near slumber in seconds. His wand was off the window ledge and at Harry's throat in mere seconds. Harry backed up, checking his steps while Malfoy's steely eyes bore through him with a deep intent, a loathing so potent it could kill.
Harry was backed up into a corner now, either side of him was dense wall. Up close it was musty and rancid, making him want to recoil because he couldn't breathe through his nose.
Malfoy kept the wand point at his throat, but made no effort to utilise his magical ability. Instead, he hissed, low and reverberating. Harry knew he wasn't speaking - rather gathering his coiled anger enough to speak coherently.
"-You tore my family apart." His voice started low and unwavering. Draco had been silently seething. Sitting on everything for far too long. His voice rose until he was shouting. "You almost killed me, did you know that? You left me scarred! There's only so much potions can do. I'm permanently disfigured because of you! You never even apologised, much less came to see if I was okay!" He carried on, the minutes ticking away until a small silence echoed.
The room itself was almost tense with anticipation.
For the first time in what must have been half an hour, Harry spoke.
"I testified for you in court, spending a better half of a month compiling evidence supporting you. I couldn't help your father. You know as well as I do he was guilty as sin itself and if not you'd better start to bloody realise it. And as for the Sectumsempura spell..." Draco noticeably flinched at the word, even though he was the one with all the power in this situation, even his height was an advantage - about an inch taller than Harry. "I didn't know what it did. We were just kids. You have to learn when to put things to bed."
As he ended his small, somber monologue, his voice was soft; heartfelt. "And for what it's worth, I'm apologising now."
Slowly, Harry took hold of Draco's wrist, knuckles white around his wand base, before gently lowering it.
With a small amount of grumbling, he allowed his wrist to be guided back to his side. He nodded mutely, staring at Harry's eyes - they reminded Draco of shining emeralds, then the thick trees in the forbidden forest, then finally, of home. Something once lost, finally returning.
"You called me Draco." He whispered sleepily before collapsing heavily on Harry's shoulders, allowing himself to be carried to the bed.
Harry got in beside him, a stupidly bright smile plastered all over his face. The one he got when he went flying, when he got his Apparition licence... when he looked at Draco.
Harry quirked a slight smile. "Did you really just call yourself permanently disfigured; Merlin Draco, I thought even your dramatics had limits."
The butterbeers were left untouched, a stark reminder of what had transpired the night before. Neither man wanted to touch them. Their mere existence seemed to overshadow the good mood Harry was trying for.
"Hey". He poked Draco with his wand.
Draco was distinctly not a morning person. He flung a pillow at Harry. "I hate you". He mumbled, moving nonetheless.
It took Draco a minute or two to discern that his legs were wrapped around a one, very ruffled Harry Potter. He pushed him with the force of a mosquito, which made Harry laugh.
Draco heaved his body upwards in an effort to sit up. When that didn't work, and Harry hadn't stopped laughing, he untangled his legs, ready to push Harry to the floor.
Harry swiftly climbed atop the disgruntled blonde, tongue lolling slightly out of the side of his mouth.
"Ew, you'll drool on me." Draco pushed halfheartedly at Harry's chest, absently noticing the sparse hairs running down to his naval.
Draco forced himself to look back up at Potter's face.
He pondered for a split-second "I'll sell it to the Daily Prophet how about that."
"Sure you would Malfoy." After that, everything seemed to go in slow motion. Harry's fingers caressing his cheek, forcing him to look into those piercing green eyes. The way his legs wound around Harry's back... a hand carding through his hair. It was all too much.
And then Harry kissed him.
Draco would call it indescribable. He wanted it to last much longer than it had done. Harry breathed in Draco's scent, lemon and pine. He pressed his lips softly to Draco as if his lips would crack at the contact.
When Draco kissed him back, he ventured further, experimentally swiping his tongue over Draco's bottom lip, begging for entrance. Almost as soon as it was granted Harry pulled back. His eyes were full of questions as Draco stared into them, drinking in his features like they were about to disappear.
"Do you... Can I..." Harry stuttered. His breathing was already slightly laboured and his cheeks had been tinged with pink. "Draco". The name seemed to be pulled from his mouth, urgent and needy.
Draco nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
And with that, he was upon him, exploring every crevice Draco's mouth had to offer. All Draco could do was whine into the warm, wet contact. He wanted to stay like this forever, kissing Harry, Harry kissing back. Wrapped in a duvet, on the edge of love.
They'd both somehow ended up upright, staring at a thin light coming over the horizon. Most of the snow had dissipated, the only telltale signs being huge puddles left over most of Hogsmede.
Harry smiled lopsidedly before leaping out of bed.
"What." Draco murmured. He wasn't tired anymore. He was relaxed and sleepy and wanted to stay in this bed forev- "Get your coat." Harry sounded like an excited child. "We're going puddle jumping!"