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When You and I Collide

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The story begins like this: The world was nothing once but lonely particles floating in space. The universe formed from their collisions, they were so desperate for contact. Earth had no focus and was chaotic, too hot to create life and too combustible to sustain it, until two motes of magic, small but powerful, were drawn to one another from across the furthest reaches of it though they hated each other. They clashed, and fought when they couldn’t get separate, so they tried to coalesce but couldn’t do that either.

Eras passed and the earth cooled. Life sprang up around them, creatures swam from the seas to grow legs and stand tall, and nature flourished, all because of the magic they had spilled over the lands in their anger. One day, a man plucked a stem from a tree to sculpt into an image from his dreams: the first wand.

Harry falls asleep before Ron finishes the children’s story he started when Hermione asked for one, all of them too hungry and cold and scared to rest, and that’s all Harry remembers — how the story begins.

He never thinks to ask how it ends.

* * *

If asked on his 18th birthday what he thought he’d be doing in three years, Harry never would have been able to predict that his answer would be “letting Draco Malfoy fuck me senseless over the sinks in the loo of a Muggle bar”.

Frankly, he’s a little unable to believe it’s happening even as he stares at Malfoy’s bent head in the mirror, a strand of distinctive hair falling over the front of Harry’s shoulder like it’s laying a claim there. Harry lets his own head fall forward, knocking against the image; he lets himself focus on the plunge of Malfoy’s long cock in and out of him, on the way Malfoy’s forearm presses too tight against Harry’s stomach to keep him in place.

As if Harry’s going anywhere.

Malfoy slides the hand clinging to the outside of Harry’s thigh up and around his hip, grips Harry’s bobbing cock in a sure fist. And, okay, that’s more believable. Harry’s knuckles whiten against the sink and when he rocks into Malfoy’s touch with a low gasp, Malfoy gives a breathy laugh and lifts his head. Hot and damp against the side of Harry’s neck, he says, “Taking it so sweet from me, Potter. What would the papers say if they knew all it took to get you to bend over for a Death Eater was a drink and a dance?”

“You think yours was the first drink I’ve had tonight?” Harry asks. He rises up on his toes, arse soft around Malfoy’s rigid, steadily-thrusting cock now, and it is sweet — and terrible, too, because fuck, it feels so good. Only, Malfoy’s still got that look on his face like he thinks he’s scored a point, so Harry covers Malfoy’s hand with his own and increases the pace of Malfoy’s strokes over his prick with a snarl. “Guess it never occurred to you that might be exactly what I was looking for.”

It wasn’t, of course. None of this was planned — how could it have been? The choice of bar was random, and he certainly hadn’t expected to be intrigued by Malfoy’s taunting little smile, to notice the way his eyes soaked in the light. By the time they got to the dance floor, Harry had been half-hard and Malfoy more than as they’d grinded against one another, gazes locked and hips pressed tight. He’d felt crashed into, razed, the shape of his own body unrecognisable to himself through Malfoy’s eyes. Harry almost wishes he could plead diabolical plotting or drunkenness or, hell, insanity, but the truth is, he was just exhilarated, enough to take what he wanted and damn the consequences.

Malfoy growls and bites down on the tendon of Harry’s shoulder too hard — and that’s believable too. But Malfoy soothes the bite with a lick when he pulls away, and he murmurs, “Better give you a good story to tell, then,” hand working fast and rough over Harry’s cock, his arm dropping from Harry’s midsection. He snaps his hips harder, jangling Harry’s belt buckle, loose around his knees, and jerks Harry back, bouncing Harry’s arse against his pelvis so hard Harry groans. The friction is incredible, Malfoy’s cock so deep, the crown maddeningly grazing Harry’s prostate. Then he pushes in and holds himself there, a stifled sound of pleasure falling from his lips as he shudders and comes, and Harry catches a glimpse of Malfoy’s face in the mirror, his head tossed back and eyes shut, his lips parted, beautiful abandon writ across his sharp features. Harry swallows, so close to his own orgasm he’s tempted to scream, but almost as soon as Malfoy’s distracted hand stops, it resumes, twisting skillfully over the shaft of Harry’s cock, fingers and thumb sweeping the leak of precome from the tip. He draws back and thrusts again, twice, three times, four, his cock not yet gone soft, and Harry curses and spills over Malfoy’s fist, back curling against Malfoy’s stomach and chest.

“That good enough?” Malfoy asks, panting. His forehead feels sweaty against Harry’s nape.

“Yeah,” Harry says, still trembling, “it should do.”

* * *

Harry watches the papers for weeks, drawing raised eyebrows from Ron and Hermione, but whenever he sees his face on the front page, it’s never accompanied by the headline, Shagged the Saviour! the way he more than half-expects, the reason why he usually Glamours when he goes out. No exclusives peppered with Malfoy’s biting commentary on how it felt, on how Harry looked, on how shameless he was. Harry chalks it up to the fact that they were both drunk and starts binning the papers again.

He tells himself it doesn’t matter — he’s sure to forget about it eventually.

Malfoy makes things difficult of course, the way he always has. On the periphery of Harry’s life for years until that night, Malfoy’s now like a wandering star Harry’s rotating around, always at the centre of whatever gathering Harry attends; already in the canteen at work when Harry wants lunch; stepping out of the lift Harry’s about to board. A gravitational attraction Harry can no longer avoid. And worse: one who doesn’t acknowledge him other than with too-brief, expressionless glances.

Harry never breaks eye contact first, but wonders if Malfoy’s managed to forget. He doesn’t see how that’s possible; even the sun has to notice the earth every day.

* * *

An owl holding a letter pecks on his window, and Harry knows even before prying the pane open who it’s from. It’s been two months since their assignation, but he feels the tremor of Malfoy’s magic from a distance, across the expanse of his room, through the rain-streaked glass. He breaks the wax seal, the Malfoy family crest, and shivers at the feeling that pulses out.

The news is boring lately. Did you want to give them a good story, or shall I? —D.M.

Harry’s cock jerks. He sits on the bed as Malfoy’s owl hops onto the guest perch, shaking water from its creamy-brown feathers before consuming the breaded grasshopper Harry gave it. He touches Malfoy’s strong, elegant lettering and shudders at the way it seems to stroke the pads of his fingers. He Summons his own parchment and quill and writes, What would you say? You might bollocks it up. —HJP, then folds it into thirds and gives it to Malfoy’s owl, who promptly flies back into the rain.

Ignoring the thundering of his heart, Harry thumps down the stairs to his kitchen and puts a kettle on. He makes tea, drinks it. Heads back upstairs and stares at the book he opens. Rain splatters in through his open window, staining his hardwood floors, but after awhile, a different owl flies in, this one speckled and horned, and lands on his bedside table holding a dripping missive. Harry opens it.

To Whom It May Concern:

On 31/07/2001, I spotted Harry Potter watching me from across the room of a Muggle establishment. In the interests of peace-keeping, as I am not unaware of Potter’s temper, I offered to buy him a drink, at which time he nearly dragged me to the dance floor and proceeded to assault me by casting some sort of lust spell over me, and rubbing his very hard cock against my innocent thigh. Appalled at his behaviour but having been raised with manners, I did not object verbally, though I excused myself to the loo as soon as the song was finished. Potter followed me, having taken some potion that made his arse delectable to anyone who looked at it, and refused to allow me to leave the bathroom until I applied my mouth to his arsehole,

Harry releases a sigh. He slides a hand into his faded pyjama bottoms, where his cock is pressing obscenely against the fabric, to find it’s already damp at the head. He swirls around the moisture gathering at his slit and thinks of Malfoy licking over his balls from behind as he’d bent shakily over the sink, one of Malfoy’s hands splayed over the small of Harry’s back, the other between Harry’s legs to wank him in an unhurried tease. He begins a smooth, fast jerk over his cock, aware it’s not going to take much even as he forces his fluttering eyes to stay open and on the page. He can practically hear Malfoy’s low, dirty voice in his head.

which I did. I got down on my knees and fucked my tongue into him as he moaned like a whore above me and ordered me to do it faster, to suck his arse, his legs shaking and his cock clearly Glamoured to be much thicker than one would conclude to be normal. At this point, his spells had affected me to the point of physical pain, and when he said, “Stick it in me, Malfoy, oh god do it, fuck you’re so hard, harder, yeah,” I found I had to comply for fear of deeper discomfort. I rammed my cock into him over and over and—

Harry arches, the letter falling out of his clasp as he fucks into the circle of his hand. He opens his thighs and traces his clenching rim, all of his muscles tight, and remembers Malfoy there, the round head of Malfoy’s prick teasing his hole each time he’d pulled back. His orgasm quakes through him with the force of a comet, his internal landscape shaken full of rising dust and decorated with new valleys as he gulps in breath after breath and tries to slow the pounding of his heart. It takes several seconds before he can lift the letter again.

—and even I must admit he took it very well, fucking back against me until I climaxed. Then he put my hand to his leaking cock and made me finish him off as I fucked my come into him.

At some point during these events, he expressed a demand for his highly inappropriate conduct to go on record. Unwilling, with my history, to be falsely accused of taking advantage of said Chosen One, I had no intention of obeying once he let me escape, nor of approaching him again. But unfortunately, the complete idiot keeps looking at me every time we cross paths, as though desiring a repeat performance; as though he doesn’t realise how badly I could hurt him if I wanted— which I must admit, I often do. Perhaps the publication of this letter will help him understand the implications of his actions.

Sincerely,
Draco L. Malfoy

—Initial at the bottom, Potter, and send it in to the Prophet at your leisure.

* * *

Harry only catches glimpses of Malfoy for the next two days, and those are of him striding away, as though Malfoy’s seen him first and decided not to address whatever’s happening between them. Harry’s okay with waiting, partly because good things are supposed to come to those who do, and partly because he’s not exactly sure what’s going on between them, either. It feels like forever ago since he was convinced he couldn’t care less about Malfoy, and even longer since he actively hated him.

On the third day, Harry’s heading to the lifts when he spots Malfoy stalking towards him from the opposite direction, open robes billowing behind him as if to flaunt the perfect crease in his black trousers against his long legs, the tight fit of his sheened, emerald waistcoat around his lanky torso. Malfoy glances up, falters mid-step, then resumes. They stand side by side and stare at the floor counter ticking, and over the sound of the tide in his ears, Harry hears Malfoy exhale quietly.

“If you’re not going to send it in, Owl it back to me,” Malfoy mutters. “I’ll have it published by morning.”

“Sorry, I’ve already had it framed.” Harry looks at him and swallows past the clog in his throat. “Besides, it was riddled with inaccuracies.”

“Yes, you said.”

“You got my return note, then?”

Malfoy makes a thoughtless gesture towards his pocket before catching himself. He glowers openly at Harry, apparently no longer content to ignore him, thank fuck. He says, “What inaccuracies?”

“Well,” Harry says, lowering his voice as people join the waiting queue, “for one thing, you started wanking me before you came. I remember how good it was.”

“You—!” Malfoy grips Harry’s elbow and steers them away from the lifts, back in the direction he came. Harry’s not had much reason to visit the filing clerks, but he looks around their tidy offices curiously and makes a bet with himself that Malfoy will be running the place in a year or two, before he transfers to something bigger. He lets Malfoy bustle him into a room at the end of the row, which contains a desk, a chair, copious amounts of files, and not much else. Malfoy shoves Harry away and shuts the door with a hard click. He leans against it, chest heaving. “What the hell are you playing at?”

“You asked,” Harry points out, shrugging.

“Did you not understand what—?” Malfoy breaks off. His Adam’s apple bobs and he shakes his head, a lock of his hair coming loose from its clip to rest against his jaw. There’s a ghost of fear on his face that Harry recognises from when they were younger, but Malfoy’s eyes are settled unflinchingly on him, molten as volcanic ash, and a new planet carves itself inside Harry’s heart.
“I got it.” Harry takes a step forward. “Did you not understand?”

Malfoy’s jaw flexes, somehow turning his face even pointier. Colour rests high in his cheekbones. “This is a bad fucking idea, Potter.” But he says it in warning, rather than refusal. His voice is hoarse. “Do you have any idea what you’re doing?”

“Seldom if ever,” Harry says, close enough to touch him. He keeps his hands at his sides. “I’m okay with being a cautionary tale, if it comes to that.”

“Well you won’t be mine,” Malfoy rasps, but Harry thinks he could be Malfoy’s something, if Malfoy wanted. Thinks there could be a way for both of them to share the space they’re slowly moving into. Harry lifts his hand to touch the satiny strand of hair that had rested on his shoulder that night and Malfoy catches his wrist, the bones grinding in his grip. They stare at each other.

And then Malfoy’s mouth is on Harry’s, and it’s everything Harry hadn’t realised was missing from the last time, storms of evolution pulsing through Harry as Malfoy’s tongue slides hot into his mouth. Malfoy wrenches out of the kiss and shoves Harry again so he stumbles into Malfoy’s desk, stacks of files like a clap of thunder when they hit the floor. But this time Malfoy comes with him, covers him, pressing him down so Harry’s bent impossibly back, his shoulders against the smooth wood, his toes barely grazing the floor. Malfoy gives him another kiss, a rough, biting thing that races shivers straight to Harry’s cock, and knocks his way between Harry’s dangling legs with one knee, the other coming up to rest outside Harry’s hip. “Oh god,” Harry gasps into his mouth. “Draco.”

Malfoy pulls away, eyes glittering, face as hard as his cock pressed against Harry’s pelvis. “I don’t even want you,” he says, before proving himself a liar by kissing Harry again with a deep, guttural moan. Harry threads his fingers through Malfoy’s hair, now tousled and coming undone from its clip. He makes a fist and Malfoy shudders, so much of what’s soft about him caught in Harry’s palm as he kisses Malfoy back, stunned by the intensity of his own desire. He squirms higher onto the desk, one leg coming up to hook around Malfoy’s arse.

“You do too, don’t be a dick about it,” Harry says on a long, dizzy inhale. Malfoy jerks his mouth to the side and sucks his way down Harry’s neck, teeth scraping hard as if to prove Harry wrong. Harry applies pressure to his calf and Malfoy grunts and starts to move with instinctive little swivels of his hips. He runs a hand down the front of Harry’s scarlet robes, which part for him obediently, and plasters himself against Harry from shoulder to groin. He finds the right angle fast, his prick rubbing over Harry’s through their trousers, his fingers curled into the fabric of Harry’s t-shirt at the collar. He cups Harry’s arse and pulls him to fit their hips together tighter.

“You don’t know anything, Potter,” Malfoy says, groaning. His cheek is hot against Harry’s jaw, and he won’t lift his head, so Harry twists to catch Malfoy’s earlobe between his teeth, to suck at it. Malfoy makes a small, needy sound and says, “This doesn’t mean anything,” but pushes harder against him all the same, frantic, juddering ruts as the tension of Harry’s own pleasure rises with small shocks that radiate from his cock to all of his extremities. Harry comes with a small, choked cry, hips and cock jerking helplessly, the already-damp inside of his pants growing wet and warm and sticky. Malfoy huffs, a humid blast of air hitting the spit-slick side of Harry’s neck, and digs his fingers into Harry’s arse. He follows Harry over the precipice, coming so hard Harry can feel the throbs of Malfoy’s cock through layers of cotton and wool. Harry holds him tighter; he forces Malfoy’s head back and kisses him, fucking up against him until Malfoy finally goes boneless. He feels good atop Harry, skin heated, body comfortably heavy for someone so skinny, all of it so good — right to the point where Malfoy pushes off the desk and pulls away.

Harry sits up. He straightens his glasses and watches Malfoy in silence as Malfoy hunts for his wand, as he flicks a cleaning charm over himself. Malfoy shoots Harry a wary glance, wiping the back of his wrist over lips that are swollen and pink from Harry’s kisses, then crouches to collect the files that fell from his desk. His skin is still flushed, his hair a mess. Harry struggles to catch his breath, looking at him.

“It means something,” Harry says. Malfoy’s mouth tightens and Harry continues, “It can mean whatever you like, but it doesn’t mean nothing.”

“You don’t even know me, Potter,” Malfoy says under his breath, which is at once true and the most sweeping untruth he could have said. You don’t hate someone for years, watch them and obsess over them, pity them and save them and fuck them without learning a lot more than most people ever bother to.

“I do, actually,” Harry says. Malfoy snorts and rises, arching a bored brow at Harry until Harry slides off his desk. Malfoy sets the files down and pauses, his back to Harry and shoulders stooped forward.

“It means…” Malfoy waves a hand around his office, still facing the desk, “...this. That’s all.”

“Still not nothing,” Harry says. He sees a folded slip of parchment edging out of the pocket of Malfoy’s rumpled trousers, his own returned note from days before, Just a few major inaccuracies, I’m impressed. Come see me when you need me to refresh your memory, as it’s obviously edging towards shit. Thanks for the wank.

Malfoy blows out a breath and turns around. He leans against his desk, arms folded, and looks at Harry for a beat. “It means whatever sex means between someone who doesn’t have a lot of options and someone who’s horny enough to take advantage of that fact, I guess.”

Each word is cool enough to ice over the boiling ocean between them, and in their wake Harry surprises them both by smiling. “Tell yourself that, Malfoy. I’m not the one who wrote you a dirty letter.”

A flash of guilt crosses Malfoy’s face. “That wasn’t what that was about,” he says, gaze swerving away. “That wasn’t what I meant.”

“I know what you meant.” Harry says. He heads for the door while he has the advantage. “I’ll see you around.”

“You will not,” he hears Malfoy snap behind him, outraged. Harry closes the door.

* * *

They do see each other though, both of them now rotating the other. Malfoy’s almost as eager as he is guarded and occasionally moreso. Harry learns how to sense Malfoy’s gaze on the back of his neck, separate from all the others, a scorching hot summons which snarls around his ankles like vines that shoot from the earth, directing the path of Harry’s footsteps until he’s locked in a broom cupboard at a party, in a cloakroom at a gala, in Malfoy’s office during lunch. Locked in Malfoy’s arms, every time.

Eras pass. Or so it feels.

Harry never knows how or what will happen, simply that Malfoy is the only constant. Malfoy will open Harry with slow, twisting fingers, or undo his own flies and order Harry to his knees to suck him off. It should feel lurid, empty perhaps, but it never does. Malfoy sees Harry in a way none of his other lovers have, nor even Harry’s friends. He understands that all of Harry’s lauded accomplishments have been edged with death, has first-hand knowledge of the darkness Harry harbours... he just doesn’t care.

They talk in code after sex, words passing back and forth like idle chatter: their schedules, the news, which Quidditch games they plan to attend. Everything is disguised as knowing when they can have one another again, but every complaint Malfoy offers is a piece of himself he gives to Harry: Working late so the new wizard in accounting can have duplicate files of everything. He’s going to be disappointed when he can’t find a flaw in my work, and The paper says that illegal artifacts trader attempted an Avada Kedavra at one of the Aurors, you’re not on that case, are you? I know you love stepping into the line of those, and, Give it a rest; you’ll never see me at a Cannons match. Not only are they incredibly sloppy, the manager almost got kicked out of school in seventh year for trying to slip my mother love potions when she was all of fourteen.

Occasionally, Malfoy will press a shivering kiss to Harry’s brow when Harry comes; occasionally he’ll graze the ticklish spot behind Harry’s thigh as they fuck, and chuckle when Harry wiggles away. In these moments, what passes between them grows sweet, temperate, something blooming that neither of them can name, and the cold silences Malfoy insists on in front of other people don’t exist; the blistering chemistry they share in private pales in comparison. In these moments, the world in Harry’s heart opens up and he sees boundless lands, filling themselves with living things.

He sends Malfoy letters, I wonder if you sleep well. When I go to sleep... and That tie you were wearing today looked so good on you I thought… and No one knows I’m allergic to shellfish because if they did…, half-finished thoughts that Malfoy never responds to, ones Harry’s never shared with anyone else. Harry entertains himself by imagining that Malfoy stares at them much longer than he needs to, trying to find some deeper meaning. His own amusement makes him ache, because everything is there on the page.

* * *

“I’m going to hurt you,” Malfoy tells him, pinning Harry to the wall, his fingers tensing around Harry’s hands. He pretends he’s asking permission, pretends he’s talking about sex, but he’s not. It’s a vulnerability to him, an aftershock from the letter he sent so many months ago, a question he doesn’t feel has been answered. What he really means is You’re going to hurt me, aren’t you? We’re going to hurt each other.

“No.” Harry arches his hips, bringing their cocks into contact. “But we can pretend, if you want.”

Malfoy’s eyes darken. His kiss is violently edged, hungry, and over too soon. He flips Harry around, palm against the side of Harry’s head to press his cheek to the wall as he lines up. He teases Harry by breaching him with just the head of his cock, in and out, again and again, before pushing in on a long, ruthless slide. “You’ve never had a single bloody ounce of self-preservation, have you?” he mutters breathlessly, the crisp curls of his pubic hair rasping against Harry’s arse cheeks. He eases back and then slams back in, his whimper muffled by how his lips press against Harry’s shoulder. He licks the side of Harry’s neck and says, “I could do so many things to you.”

Harry feels so full, stretched to breaking, burning for him. He slides his gaze sideways to meet Malfoy’s eyes.

“Do them, then,” Harry says.

* * *

It’s just after one in the morning when Harry’s wards skitter uneasily. He’s still awake, the champagne from Ron and Hermione’s New Year’s party having turned into sugar in his system. He waits on the wards, and when their alarm slides into a soft, warped chime that resembles underwater whalesong the way they do for the people he’s spelled them to admit, he slides out of bed and heads downstairs.

Draco stands by the Floo, looking more surprised to see Harry than Harry is at his presence. He’s got on a sooty black tuxedo, the bowtie loose around his collar, the first three buttons of his shirt undone. The cords of his throat stand out above his exposed collarbone, and his hair is tousled around his face.

Draco licks his lips. “What would the papers say if they knew you’d keyed someone with a Dark Mark into your wards?”

“I can’t wait to find out,” Harry says. They meet in the middle of the room like magnets, Harry tilting his head to the side as Draco devours his mouth, Draco's hands coming up to cup Harry’s jaw.

“You’re so stupid, Potter,” he murmurs wretchedly between kisses, voice constricted tight as a sob, as Harry runs his hands up and down Draco's back. “You’re so stupid, you have no common sense, there’s no way you—”

“Yes, there is,” Harry says, pulling him into another kiss. “I already do.”

“Don’t,” Draco says on a groan. He winds one arm around Harry’s waist and plunges his tongue into Harry’s mouth, hot and slick and sweet, a diversion from what he thinks he’s not strong enough to hear. Harry lets himself be distracted for long minutes, and when he feels Draco’s swollen prick against his hip, he pulls away.

“It’s too late,” he says. “I love you.”

Draco’s breath leaves him. He looks at Harry in silence, face twisting. There’s pain in his eyes as though he doesn’t know that the upheaval he feels is the kind that leaves everything clean, the kind that turns the earth so a whole forest can take root. Harry strokes down Draco’s lapels, grips them. He slides Draco's jacket off; he lets it drop to the ground.

“Stupid,” Draco says once more as Harry pulls the tails of his shirt from his trousers and starts on the buttons. He closes his eyes and sighs. “Both of us.”

But love has been a saving grace at least once for each of them, and when Draco opens his eyes, Harry can see that he knows it. Harry slips Draco’s braces from his shoulders, leaving them to dangle, and takes off his shirt. “Come on.”

Draco follows him upstairs, his hand in Harry’s. He sits at the edge of Harry’s bed and watches Harry disrobe, gaze never leaving Harry’s face, one hand moving light to Harry’s hair when Harry kneels to remove Draco’s shoes, his socks, his trousers. Harry stays on his knees and looks up at him as he takes Draco’s cock into his mouth, and Draco exhales with a shudder, his thighs falling open as Harry licks him, sucks him. He takes Harry’s hand on his hip and moves it between his legs, pressing two of Harry’s fingers to his hole, and breathes his name.

Harry pulls off. Stares at him, heart throbbing. He conjures slippery lube and opens Draco up with his fingers, with his tongue, and tells him he’s beautiful when Draco cries out and writhes, tells him he loves him, tells him that beyond that, the rest won't matter.

Then Harry mounts him, and works his cock into him. Every part of Harry’s body shakes with arousal but he takes it slow, bringing Draco to the brink again and again. Draco’s knees are pressed up to his chest, his hands are pressed into the mattress; his fingers are laced through Harry’s own. And when Draco finally comes in long spurts between them, body clamping tight around Harry, his eyes are glassy and they look like stars.

* * *

If asked on his eighteenth birthday what the future might bring, Draco never would have thought to predict his answer would be, “Harry Potter tangled around me under sheets that smell like us both”.

“Ron told me a story once,” Harry says. Apparently he gets talkative when he’s all shagged out, even on the verge of sleep. Draco’s never had cause to stick around and find out, sure that if he stayed too long, Harry would figure out sooner than later exactly why they shouldn’t be doing what they were. Harry props his chin on Draco’s shoulder and looks at him; Draco forces himself not to look away. It’s uncomfortable, this profound sense of peace, of… potential. He’s not sure he believes it enough for the risk he’s taken.

“Oh?” he asks belatedly. Harry blinks at him, slow and drowsy, green eyes pulling Draco in. He rolls to his side and drapes his leg over Harry’s hip, soft cocks nestling against each other. He runs his fingers along the slender curve of Harry’s bicep, fascinated that he’s permitted to touch him like this, then clears his throat, trying to get his bearings. “I imagine Weasley’s told you a lot of stories over the years. Wasn’t he the one who convinced you the Cannons were worth watching? It’s easy to ignore him with a little effort, honestly.”

Harry huffs a small laugh, unoffended on Weasley’s behalf, which is heartening; Draco doesn’t have plans to suddenly start liking the ginger dickhead just because he’s gone mad and fallen in love with his best mate. Harry says, “It was an old wizarding fable, when we were all in the Forest looking for Horcruxes. I’ll tell you about that another time if you like,” he says after a short pause.

“I would,” Draco says cautiously. Harry nods, resting his head against the pillow they share. Draco’s got no idea where the others went.

“Yeah,” Harry says. He drags his fingers through the trail of hair under Draco’s belly button, then splays them over Draco’s hip. “The story though. It was about… I suppose, how the world came to be.”

“Okay?”

“Well, he never finished it,” Harry says. “Or I fell asleep first. Have you heard it?”

Draco’s mouth twitches. Part of him wants to hate the helpless devotion he feels, but he can’t. Harry’s been impossible to resist since Draco looked over and saw him staring through the crowd of dancing bodies. In a lot of ways, since long before. Draco knows that much; he’s certainly tried.

“I doubt there’s a wizarding fable I haven’t cut my teeth on,” he says. He thinks for a moment and it comes to him. “The story of magic and creation?”

“Mm. That sounds right.” Harry’s hand is warm on him, and he squeezes Draco’s hip. “What happens?”

“Is this what you like?” Draco can’t resist asking, a little snidely. “Telling children’s stories in bed?”

Harry snorts. “Not all of us got them when we were kids.”

“That's horribly unfair of you.” And it really is, especially paired with the sad look Harry gives him — there’s not a wizard alive who doesn’t know the story of Potter’s upbringing, now. Harry half-ruins his bid for sympathy with a little snort at whatever expression is on Draco's face and Draco’s respect for him grows to even more appalling depths. He's always suspected Potter's capacity for underhandedness.

“Get used to it.”

The kernel of warmth in Draco’s chest blooms. He looks up to the bed hangings to collect himself. He clears his throat again and quietly says, “The story begins like this: Once, there were no worlds, no stars. Space was nothing but a void with random particles, each desperate to connect. Some found their mates and the universe was formed from their collisions, events that seemed violent for how explosive they were, but it was like this that the stars were born, the galaxies. Every comet and planet, every constellation and black hole, over the eons.”

“That’s the one,” Harry murmurs.

Draco takes a deep breath. “Our solar system developed, and the earth, which suffered the consequences of chaos for its newness. It had no protection from passing asteroids, its lakes overflowed with magma, and, circling the sun, storms of fire gusted over the crust — until two powerful motes of magic were carried in on the back of a comet. They were thrown asunder, each flung to opposite sides of the world, and the magic they put forth shook the lands, righted them, covered the earth with a shroud to keep it from burning too hot. At length, they made their way back to each other’s side, but it was too late. They had forgotten their love for each other, and they resented each other’s power. Having been meant for one another, they tried to solve the problem by coalescing once more, but couldn't. And yet neither could they escape from one another again, and hate bloomed between them.”

“This is sort of fucked up,” Harry says around a yawn, struggling to keep his eyes open. Draco glances at him, at the slow rise and fall of his chest, his beautiful golden skin and rumpled black hair. Something dark gets stripped away inside Draco, pared down clean.

“Just wait,” Draco says softly. “Eras passed and the earth cooled. Life sprang up around them, creatures swam from the seas to grow legs and stand tall, and nature flourished, their skirmishes carrying them over the earth and leaving dazzling energy in their wake. And after a time, tired from their long feud they rested in the new roots of an yew tree.

“One day, a man came along and plucked a stem from the yew to sculpt into an image from his dreams: the first wand,” Draco says. Harry breathes, his eyes shut, so beautiful it’s almost painful. “And at the touch of his hand, filled with the magic they’d used to cover the earth, they understood each other again. But so much had passed between them, they were terrified to join. They clung to the wood as the wizard whittled away its excess, as he scraped the bark smooth. And when the power flowed through the wand at his incantation, too strong for any one mote of magic to withstand, they knew they had a choice: trust one another or be obliterated by the very gift they’d brought to earth.”

Draco chances a kiss against Harry’s brow. “It’s a children’s story,” he whispers, though Harry is fast asleep. That's a message on its own, he thinks, like the letters Draco keeps in his trunk: I trust you, each of them says, in one way or another. “About how special magic is, how rare. About forgiveness, and faith, and…” Draco pauses, struck. He swallows. “About possibility.”

“How does it end?” Harry mumbles. His eyes flutter open and fall shut. He sighs.

“That’s the thing, Harry,” Draco says wonderingly, the world spinning out before him, alight with promise. “It never does.”