"Are you sure I can't just take a portkey?" Harry asked, eyeing the plane ticket and passport that Bulwharton had handed him.
"Quite sure. Trans-Atlantic portkey travel to the United States was banned after 2001." Bulwharton scrubbed his greying beard with one hand. "Aeroplane travel is quite safe, though, you know. Or so I'm told."
Harry took a last look around the Head Auror's office, as if some better idea might leap out at him. Like magic. But there appeared to be no help for it. "I'm there how long?"
"Seven days, my boy. Return ticket's been booked as well. Very important. They'll want to see that, help 'em know you're not trying to become a whatsit. Illegal immigrant. Now go on. You'll need to pack Muggle attire of course. And if I do say so myself, Potter, bring some glad rags with you, eh? You'll have your evenings free. Go out dancing, or drinking, or whatever Muggles in those parts do. If I do say so myself, you've done nothing but work in all the time I've known you. Think of this as a working vacation."
Seven days in Muggle Massachusetts didn't exactly sound like a vacation to Harry. After all, wasn't that the place they burned witches in the old days? But he really didn't have any choice. It was his own investigation into the disappearance of Nicodemos Spencer from the Department of Mysteries that had led them to the conclusion that Spencer had hidden a message somewhere in the archives of Harvard University. Naturally it was Harry who would be on the case.
"Yes, sir," Harry said with a nod. "See you in a week, sir."
Harry waited for Bulwharton's salute and then he turned on his heel and hurried to his own office. Harry had been a full fledged Auror for five years now, and Bulwharton was right about Harry and work. Ginny had left to join a professional Quidditch team right when Harry had been promoted and Harry had dived into his work.
Was that really five years ago? Harry paused to look at the photo tacked above his desk of Ginny in her Harpies uniform, waving from her broom, the wind whipping her hair back from her sun-freckled face. She was doing something she truly loved.
So was Harry. So he told himself, anyway. He'd still been an Auror Trainee two years after the war had ended when the verdict had been handed down that all former Death Eaters were to be stripped of their wands. Somehow, after that, being an Auror just wasn't the same.
Going wandless had been tantamount to banishment for many of the former Death Eaters. Without a wand it was incredibly difficult to manage in the Wizarding World, or so Harry read in the papers. Several of Voldemort's former lieutenants who had survived the war came to sticky ends in ignominious circumstances because of their wandless states, in accidents and the like. There was little sympathy for them among the populace.
Harry didn't plan to try going wandless himself. He'd keep his hidden while among the Muggles but you never knew when you were going to need it. And in the event that Spencer had unearthed something dangerous? Well. Harry was a fully trained Auror. Surely he could handle anything.
Even an aeroplane and a week in a Muggle city with no contact with wizardkind. Right?
The truth of the matter was that Harry hadn't interacted with the Muggle world at all since the nineties. He looked at the plane ticket again. What are you afraid of? he asked himself. You're acting like Uncle Vernon or something. He shot off a quick memo to the Undercover Operations Department: he would need to pick up suitable clothes for the trip.
* * *
Harry arrived at the designated building clutching a letter from a librarian at Oxford. Up the immense marble steps and through the colonnaded front, to a side office where he'd been instructed to apply for permission to enter the archives.
There he discovered that Madam Pince had a counterpart on this side of the Atlantic. A stern-looking woman behind a desk took the letter, put on her reading glasses to examine it, then peered at him over the tops of the frames while pursing her lips. Harry wondered if perhaps the flower-print on the shirt he was wearing wasn't, in fact, the height of Muggle style the way the UOD officer had assured him it would be. "And what, exactly, are you here to study?" she asked.
"Er, I need to search the rare manuscript collection for a particular, um, letter...?" Harry couldn't help it. He was a full-fledged Auror but this woman made him feel like an eleven-year-old caught sneaking into the Restricted Section.
"Can you be more specific?"
"I think I'll know it when I see it...?"
She looked away from him and Harry wondered if she were searching for a security guard to have him removed from the premises. He curled his fingers around his wand hidden in his sleeve. He didn't want to resort to Confundus, but if he had to...
She froze him with a stare. "Your permission to access is good until December 31st. Last checkout of the archives is at 4:45pm and we close promptly at five. Do not be caught in the stacks after hours or your permission will be revoked. Sign here."
She thrust a form across the desk which detailed many more rules and regulations he would be expected to adhere to. Harry signed it without reading them and handed it back. She traded the form for an ID card. "Each time you enter, you'll need to pass through my office. Do not use the student entrance."
Lovely, Harry thought. What a cheerful way to start each day. Well, it's only a week. Less if I can find what I'm looking for right away. "Thank you," he said with a nod. "Thanks a lot."
He hurried into the library then, trying to get the card into the Muggle wallet he'd been given for the assignment while simultaneously keeping his wand from slipping out of his sleeve, and thus ran headlong into someone.
Someone who was blond. Someone who looked disturbingly like Draco Malfoy.
Sounded like him, too. "Potter? What in Merlin's name are you doing here?"
"Malfoy?" Harry blinked stupidly, not believing his eyes.
"It's Marshall, actually now," Draco sneered, looking down at Harry, who had fallen flat on his arse after the collision.
"Oh, um, you changed it...?" Harry hazarded as he got to his feet.
"As is customary when getting married," Draco said.
"Married? But wouldn't she...?"
"Gay marriage has been legal here since 2004," Draco said with a huff. "Now, seriously, what the bloody hell are you doing here!"
Harry tried to stand tall, but in the decade since he'd last seen Draco neither of them had changed height. Draco was still taller. He cleared his throat. "Ahem. Research."
Draco's eyebrow seemed to carry all the skepticism in the world.
"Besides, I could ask the same of you," Harry said.
A small smile bent Draco's lips. "I work here."
"You do not!"
No, apparently that was only half the skepticism, because now both of Draco's eyebrows were lifted with disbelief. "Oh? Have you come to give me a better job?"
"What? No! I..." Harry wasn't sure why he was so angry and flustered. Wait. Yes, he was. He was sure it was because Draco Malfoy--Marshall, whatever the hell his name was now--was bloody infuriating. "Excuse me. I'm busy."
Harry marched away, pushing his glasses up his nose as he went. It was only after he had crossed the large room toward the towering bookshelves that he realized he didn't have a clue where he was going.
He dared a glance back. Draco was still standing there, cool as a copper cauldron of congealed Calming Draught, his eyes lit with bemusement.
Harry stalked back up to him. "Are you a librarian?"
"You just said you worked here!"
Harry opened his mouth to argue with the infuriating git but someone nearby shushed him loudly. Harry flinched, looking around and expecting to see Madam Pince's doppleganger. But no, it was just a harried-looking student at a nearby desk.
"Never mind," Harry said. He hurried away to look for a real librarian.
* * *
Harry's first day in the archives had started out bad, he thought, what with running into Malfoy-- literally--but it only got worse from there.
He wandered into the Reference Section, where he looked around vainly for a card catalog like the one at Hogwarts, but all he could see were standing kiosks with computer screens. Great. Harry had touched Dudley's computer a few times but that had been the extent of his exposure to them.
He watched a student go up to one, though, and hit some keys, and well, that didn't look too hard, did it? He marched up to a screen, took a deep breath, and tapped on the keyboard. The screen lit up. But after that, no matter what keys Harry pressed, nothing more seemed to happen. The screen had all kinds of information about the library but there didn't seem to be a way past it.
"Can I help you?" said a woman's voice to one side of him.
"Um, maybe? I'm not sure how this works," Harry admitted.
"Oh, are you a Windows person?" she asked.
"Um, I prefer doors, actually," Harry said, and wondered why she laughed.
"Well, can you tell me what you're looking for?"
He couldn't very well tell her he was a law enforcement officer from Wizarding England looking for a secret message hidden by a magic spell. Even if she did seem like a perfectly nice girl and all. She had a white cardigan sweater and a tiny bow in her hair despite the fact her hair was quite short. Harry supposed it was a Muggle thing.
"What's the name of the author or person you're looking for?" she prompted, when he didn't answer her the first time.
"Well, that's the thing, er...." He finally gave in and said. "Nicodemus Spencer. Do you have anything under that name?"
"Let me see." She went to the screen and tapped on the keyboard. Harry couldn't tell what she did differently, but up came a list of some kind. "Spencer, well, yes, there's a Spencer family file... I see it's slated for digitization."
"Oh?" Harry asked, hoping she'd explain.
Miraculously, she did. "Large swaths of the manuscript collection are unavailable right now because they're being computerized. But you're in luck!The Spencer family files are still accessible. Only for another day or two, though. That's the section the team's working through now."
"Um, all right, can I check the files out and bring them back tomorrow, then?"
"Oh no, these are too rare to be allowed out of the building. You'll need to look through them in the Manuscript Room, under strict supervision." She grinned a little at that.
Great. She wants to be a dominatrix when she grows up, Harry thought. But there was nothing for it but to give it a go.
Harry took a seat in the Manuscript Room and the librarian brought him the first of three boxes and a pair of white gloves for handling the materials with. The box was ancient cardboard, but the letters in it went back all the way to Harvard's founding in 1636! That was almost sixty years before the International Statute of Magical Secrecy. Harry very carefully picked through the letters. They seemed to mostly be of no consequence though, when they were legible at all.
If only the librarian weren't watching him so closely, he could use a spell to reveal if there were any hidden messages or spells on any of the pieces of parchment in the box.
His chance finally came when she could stand the boredom no longer, took out her mobile phone and began reading something on it. When she seemed sufficiently engrossed, Harry hid his wand hand on the other side of the box from her and moved the tip quickly through the proper motions to the revealing spell.
Nothing. Just a box of old letters. The next box and the next, all three turned up no sign of magic or a hidden message.
Harry thanked her for her time and went to get some lunch. He'd have to think of something else.
As he sat on the wide staircase outside, enjoying the summer weather while eating a sandwich, Draco came up to him.
"Find what you're looking for?" Draco asked, casually.
"None of your business," Harry said hotly. Summer students walking back and forth with their books made him feel entirely too much like he was back at Hogwarts.
"That would be no, then," Draco said with a half shrug. "Would you like some help?"
But that would mean telling Draco what he was looking for, and Harry couldn't risk that. Besides, he didn't think he could stand to be in Draco's infuriating presence much longer. "No," he said, trying to sound firm and serious rather than petulant.
Now Draco gave him the whole shrug. "Very well. Fancy dinner after closing?"
"What? With you?"
Draco appeared to be suppressing a sigh. "Yes. It is customary upon seeing old school chums after a long absence to offer some hospitality and catch up on--"
"You've got to be kidding me," Harry said. "Besides, you're married."
"Divorced," Draco spat, his cool facade suddenly cracked. "And it wasn't a date, Potter. Just being fr-- Oh, fuck it. Why did I even try."
This time it was Draco who stalked away, but for some reason the victory over his old rival didn't taste very sweet to Harry. Maybe it was just the thought of spending another five hours digging through musty papers that had dampened his enthusiasm.
But the worst was yet to come. Late that afternoon, when his eyes had gotten fatigued and he decided to call it quits, Harry went back to his hotel to discover that the little plastic card they had given him to use as a key to his door didn't work. When he went to the front desk to see if they could fix it, they informed him that his credit card had been declined and he was no longer welcome to stay. Harry's things had all been packed back into his suitcase, which Harry had no choice but to take.
That wasn't good. Harry had only a little Muggle money and he'd spent most of it on lunch already. If the credit card didn't work he wasn't sure what to do. The Ministry had issued it to him. Probably they had forgotten to do something necessary like sign a form or pay a bill. Harry could only guess.
Now what? He was depending on that card to see him through the week. He had come via Muggle means of transport so he had no contact with the American Wizarding Congress. He wasn't even sure where to find them or how.
Draco. Draco might know, though.
Harry hurried back to the library just in time to see Draco heading down the wide marble steps, his jacket slung over his shoulder. Harry was a bit out of breath as he intercepted him.
"Reconsidering that offer of dinner?' Draco said coolly, eyeing Harry's suitcase but not mentioning it.
"Er, um, yes. I guess. I wanted to say, I'm sorry. I apologize for being rude earlier. It was just something of a shock to see you." Harry felt like he was talking too fast and he tried to take a deep breath to calm himself. This wasn't a good place to ask about the Wizarding world, either, right in the middle of the open like this. "Could we go somewhere a bit more private?"
Draco's eyes narrowed. "I told you it's not a date."
"No no, I didn't mean it like that, um, I--"
"Shut it, Potter. Come on." Draco took off in the direction of the elaborate wrought iron gate Harry had come through, leading them off the campus and into Harvard Square.
He led Harry all the way to an Indian restaurant on the second floor above an office supplies store. Harry lugged his suitcase up the stairs, wondering if Draco had picked this place on purpose so Harry would have to do that. Draco never looked back, as if expecting Harry to follow like a trained puppy.
When they were seated in a dim corner and their curry orders had been placed, Draco said, "Well, Potter? You were saying?"
"You were in the middle of apologizing to me and asked if we could go somewhere more private. I presumed so you could apologize in greater detail, away from prying ears."
"Or not." Draco sighed resignedly.
"All right, look, I may as well come out with it. I'm stuck here. Credit card's been declined, they threw me out of the hotel, and I'm not sure what to do."
Draco's interest sharpened. "Credit card, you say? Did you not pay the bill?"
"Um, it's a company card," Harry said.
"Visa," Harry answered confidently, then realized, "Oh, you mean, um., well, it's a Ministry card."
"Ahhhh." Draco nodded comprehendingly. "And you can't exactly owl transatlantic. And there's no Floo Network in the States, you know."
"Er, no, I didn't. That's my problem. I can't contact them, and I've nowhere to stay..."
"Well, I can't help you with contacting them. I haven't had any contact with the magical community here at all."
Draco's expression darkened suddenly. "No wand, Potter. Or did you forget?"
"Oh. Er, sorry." Harry's cheeks reddened, mortified that he had forgotten. He couldn't imagine what it was like to live without a wand. In fact, he had two: Aurors were required to carry a backup. He had his old holly one, the one he'd repaired using the Elder Wand, and he had the one... Oh. His embarrassment deepened as he realized his backup wand for the past ten years had been Draco's once upon a time.
He decided this would be a bad time to mention that. Instead he said, "You know, I spoke on behalf of your family at the hearings."
"I know. That's probably the only reason my mother, who never took the Dark Mark, was allowed to keep her wand when my father and his cohort had theirs taken."
"Oh, er, how is your mum doing?" It seemed polite to ask.
"Fair enough, so far as I know. I get a letter from her every now and then but she doesn't tell me much. She divorced my father last year. I've no idea where he is now."
"Oh." So much for that.
Draco's face brightened suddenly then but Harry realized it was a show for the waiter, who put two dishes of curry and two platters of rice down between them.
They ate in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes until Draco said, "Well, you can come stay with me if you need to. While you're doing your research."
"I'm only here for a week," Harry reassured him. "I've got a return ticket and everything."
"Good to know," Draco said, and resumed eating.
* * *
Harry woke the next morning with sunlight in his eyes and Draco's cat, Maximilian, kneading his chest. Harry was on Draco's couch in his front room, which had no curtains in the bay windows that overlooked Massachusetts Avenue. He petted the cat, which was black with a white chin and appeared to have opposable thumbs. Then he tried to dislodge the cat. The creature somehow shifted his centre of gravity to keep Harry pinned.
"Um, come on puss, up we get," Harry said.
Maximilian began to purr. That was all well and good until the cat turned around, put his butt in Harry's face, and discovered Harry's morning erection poorly concealed under the thin blanket he had slept under.
There was an ungodly yowling noise.
Draco emerged from the bedroom suddenly. "Harry, what is that ungodly yowling noise? What are you doing to my cat?"
"That wasn't the cat, that was me making that noise!" Harry stood with his legs crossed and his hands guarding his privates while Maximilian paraded back and forth, in front of Harry's feet, tail and head held high. "He... he attacked me!"
Draco made a kissing noise with his mouth and the cat left Harry immediately, trotting at Draco's heels into the small kitchen, where Draco poured him a saucer of cream.
Draco's own expression was no less self-satisfied.
"What?" Harry demanded. "What is so funny? Your animal mauled me."
"He likes you," Draco said, seeming much more amused than the situation warranted.
"I wouldn't equate scratching and biting with liking!" Harry insisted.
"All right, you're right." Draco poured a bowl of granola for himself and then poured the cream into his own bowl. "Maximilian is very protective of me ever since the divorce. And his gaydar is unerring."
Harry's mouth dropped open. "What?"
"You say that word an awful lot, Potter." He dug into the bowl with a spoon, leaning against the counter to eat. "And you heard me. My cat thinks you're gay and interested in me. Of course he couldn't be more wrong, could he? He doesn't know our history."
"I--yes! You're right. A cat couldn't possibly know."
"Course not," Draco crunched, but he appeared to still be smirking. "There's a clean towel for you on the rack, the purple one, if you want to have a shower before you go off to the archives today."
"Um, thanks." Harry took that as a cue to leave Draco and his gay-sensing cat alone. In the shower, though, he found himself still hard. Draco had grown quite nicely, Harry had to admit. That sharp chin had filled out and...
Oh for fuck's sake, he thought. It's one thing to admit you're gay. It's entirely another to admit you're gay for Draco Malfoy.
* * * *
That day's work in the archives was boring and fruitless. Draco, at least, kept his distance until closing time, when he again asked Harry if he wanted to get some dinner in the Square. This time they went to a vietnamese restaurant. Harry had not had vietnamese food before and found it quite tasty, at least the dish that was the bits of barbecued meat served on rice noodles that were a lot like angel hair pasta, only white. After dinner they wandered in and out of a bookstore or two on their way back to Draco's flat.
As they were on the way up the stairs, a girl with blue hair stopped Draco in the hall. "Hey, I think I got a package for you by mistake."
"Hang on a sec, I'll get it." She disappeared into her own flat, the one below Draco's, and then re-emerged with a large envelope. "Here you go."
Draco thanked her, didn't introduce Harry, and then continued on up the stairs. Harry gave her a hesitant little wave as he went past, catching up with Draco.
Upstairs Draco tore open the package as Harry said, "Did she have a potions accident or something?"
"I assure you she is one hundred percent Muggle, Harry. Haven't you heard of hair dye?" He pulled something technical looking from the envelope.
"What's that?" Harry asked.
"This is the last piece I need to get my home-built computer system running," Draco said. "It's a video card."
"Is that like a video game?"
Draco sighed. "No. Here, I'll show you, but promise you won't touch anything."
Draco led Harry into a small office where there were two chairs. One of the chairs was entirely covered in cat fur. Draco sat in the other one, pulled out a screwdriver and proceeded to tinker in the guts of the metal box on an upturned crate next to him. Harry perched himself gingerly on the furry chair, wondering if Maximilian was going to resent his place being usurped. The cat was nowhere in evidence, though. Harry looked around for him but didn't see him.
"There, that should do it," Draco declared, and the next thing Harry knew, the screen on the desk was flickering to life.
"Um, what is it you do for work again?" Harry asked.
"I'm one of the specialists working on the digitization of the collection," Draco said.
"Hah! So you are a librarian."
"No. I'm a computer engineer. I'm making it possible to search millions of documents in seconds."
Harry's mouth fell open. "Why didn't you say so before?"
"I did offer to help," Draco noted drily.
"Oh. Yeah. You did." Harry slumped a little, getting cat hair all over the back of his shirt.
Draco took pity on him. "So, what is it you're looking for?"
Harry hesitated. "Um, it's official Ministry business."
"So Obliviate me afterward," Draco said with a bored expression. "You don't have to tell me what exactly, just give me a keyword--"
"Did you say keyword?"
"Yes, that's what I just said. Keyword."
"Like a word that unlocks something? Possible a spell?"
"Um, that's not the way Muggles mean it but--"
"But it might be exactly what I'm looking for!" Harry sat up straight, quite excited. "The clues we received said that a message was hidden inside the files of the manuscript collection. I had assumed the references to a 'key' were because the papers were under lock and key but it's obvious it must mean something like this."
"Okay, so what word are we searching for?"
"Look for the name Spencer, Nicodemos Spencer."
Draco paused for a moment, but if he recognized the name he said nothing about it. He tapped on the keyboard. "Well well well, Nicodemos Spencer. Here he is. What's this in the directory that should be scans of his letters? There are quite a number of unusually large files."
"They might be something like sound recordings of songs with a hidden meaning in the lyrics, if it's like his previous warning message," Harry said.
"These do appear to be media files..."
Harry clutched at the armrest on Draco's chair. "This is it! This has to be what I'm looking for. Can you play the files?"
"I believe I can. They're numbered. I'll start with number one." Draco tapped and clicked.
A video window opened.
A few second later the sound of flesh slapping flesh came from the tiny speakers attached to Draco's monitor, and the picture resolved into the image of two figures, one of them muscular and tattooed, his buttocks glistening and clenching as he thrust again and again, the other willowy and pale, bent nearly double while he took the muscle man's cock up the arse.
Draco glanced back at Harry with a skeptical look. "Is this what we're meant to see?"
Harry had to flap his jaw a few times to get words to come out. Those buttocks, the rhythmic gasps of the bottom, the glistening and clenching... it was all very distracting. "Um, I... I guess so? The message would be hidden somehow. You know... somehow."
The camera zoomed in on the penetration itself, the dark red cock pistoning in and out of the pink arsehole. Draco cleared his throat. "Seems like rather typical gay porn."
"You think so? I'm, um, I'm not that familiar with Muggle porn." But apparently Draco was...
They settled into another uncomfortable silence, or at least Harry wasn't comfortable. His trousers were far too tight and it felt very hot in the little office and oh god Draco was licking his lips absently, like he had a chapped spot, or maybe like he was trying to drive Harry utterly fucking mad....
The video mercifully ended. Harry shot to his feet. "Um, I better take a shower. You know. So I can be fresh and early out the door to the archives in the morning."
Draco turned in surprise. "But I thought you said this seemed like the--"
"Nope. Can't be this. I must be mistaken. Seeyouinthemorning," Harry said hurriedly as he ducked out of the room and set a new landspeed record for going from fully clothed to naked with hand on cock in the shower.
* * * *
Harry woke the next morning, having slept with a pillow over his private parts to protect him from Maximilian, to find the cat glaring at him from the floor beside the couch.
"I'm not interested, okay?" Harry told the cat. "Stand down. Your master's safe from the likes of me."
Maximilian didn't seem impressed by Harry's speech.
Draco seemed to be still asleep. Harry got dressed hurriedly, helped himself to some granola--had to admit it was delicious with heavy cream--and then headed out to the archive.
With the help of the friendly grad student from his first day, he tried some other avenues of research, having her look up keywords in the computer, including anagrams of Nicodemus Spencer.
"Is this for some kind of Mystery Hunt?" she asked him.
"Er, something like that," Harry said.
"Okay let's see..."
But after searching Unprocessed Mince, Cussed Prominence, Ensconced Umpires, and Imprudence Scones, they had come up empty.
Harry noticed that "Decencies On Rumps" also anagrammed to Nicodemos Spencer, but that seemed a stretch to make a connection to the rather indecent rumps he'd seen the night before. Codpieces Run Mens?
Um, Concerned Spies?
Penis Concedes Rum?
This way lies madness, Harry decided.
* * * *
That evening Draco again took him to dinner, this time to a pub, a proper Irish pub, where Harry had shepherd's pie and a Cornish pastie and Draco slowly nursed a pint of Guinness.
When they got back to the flat Draco picked up his mail, fed the cat, and then finally inquired how Harry's day had been. Harry admitted that it had been one dead end after another.
"Um, I'm sorry to say I might have given up on the... eh... media files too soon," Harry said. "If we could just have a look at the next one? Maybe?"
"Certainly," Draco said, all business, turning on the computer and going about pulling up the files. "Here's the second one."
This one had another beautifully muscled man, well-oiled, tied artistically to a rack of some kind. Another man, whose face they couldn't see, was stroking the bound man's cock and liberally drizzling it with lube. The bound man shook and bucked, but with his limbs wrapped with rope he couldn't really move all that well.
"Don't come," warned the man with the lube. "Don't come, don't come. Hold it in now." Then he began applying a buzzing apparatus of some kind to the bound man's balls. The camera zoomed in.
"Magic wand!" Harry shouted. "That thing says Magic Wand on it!"
"I believe that's the brand name of the vibrator," Draco intoned.
"Oh." Harry went back to being mesmerized by the merciless teasing of the tattooed, bound man. "This one, um, it's quite different from the one we watched last night."
Draco yawned. "Yes. 'Edging,' they call it. I think there's a whole website devoted to it. Men on Edge or some such."
"You've seen this before?"
"Well, not this particular one, but some like it, yes. Now concentrate, Potter. If we're supposed to be getting a secret message out of this I haven't gleaned one yet."
"Er, right. Of course."
But Harry didn't glean anything that night but another load of jizz down the drain.
* * * *
The next night, after another wild goose chase at the library, Harry went to dinner with Draco at a Japanese restaurant in Harvard Square, then they went back to the flat.
"Um, what should we do tonight?" Harry asked while wandering in a small circle in the middle of the living room. Maybe that sake was stronger than he thought.
Draco leaned in the doorway to the kitchen and folded his arms. "Well, we could catch up on old friends, of course. Isn't that what old school chums do?"
"Er..." Harry racked his brains trying to remember which of Harry's friends Draco didn't despise and which of Draco's friends were not yet dead. "Um."
Draco pursed his lips.
"Er, yeah, let's watch porn," Harry said.
* * * *
That night they watched yet another type of porn Harry was unfamiliar with. In this one, men in wrestling singlets wrestled and fought. In the next round they were down to jock straps. In the third round they were naked and oiled until they were too slick to hold onto. Points were apparently awarded not just for pinning but also for spanking and genital handling.
And of course the winner got to fuck the loser. Harry thought it was the sexiest thing he'd ever seen in his life.
"Better than Quidditch?" Draco mused when the video ended.
"Nothing's better than Quidditch," Harry said quickly before excusing himself to the shower once again.
This time when he came out of the shower, with his skin hot from the water and his genitals freshly limp, he could make out a gentle whimpering sound. He tiptoed to the end of the hall where Draco's bedroom was. The door was open wide enough for a cat to have pushed it ajar, which made it conveniently wide enough for Harry to peer in.
There atop the bedspread was Draco in all his glory, naked and lean, edging himself mercilessly.
As Harry watched, Draco rolled over, buried his face in a pillow, his knees bent, his arse in the air. His hand never ceased working on his cock and the other reached behind him to plunge two fingers into his arsehole.
Harry retreated to the living room just as Draco muffled his orgasmic cries with the pillow.
* * * *
The next morning Harry got up as usual, but decided it was time to face facts. He wasn't getting anywhere at the archive and there were still several porn files left to watch.
Clearly the best course of action was to stay home and watch as many of the videos as he could. He informed Draco of this strategy once the other man had roused.
"I concur," Draco said. "But Potter, I should tell you, taking a shower between every one is going to be hell on your skin and my water bill."
Harry blushed. "Er, sorry about that."
"Look. It's best to soldier on, don't you think?"
"Of course. You're right. Of course. I'm a grown wiz-- man."
"Of course you are. Nothing to be ashamed of. Any red-blooded man would react the same to these videos."
"Good. I'll be right there." Draco went to get dressed but instead of his usual clothes he put on a soft pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt more suitable for lounging around the house.
Four hours later Harry had seen more videos from Naked Kombat, one from Homo Emo which seemed to specialize in skinny goth boys, and several others, and had the worst case of blue balls in his life.
Draco declared they should take a lunch break.
"Um, of course," Harry agreed.
Draco arranged to have pizza delivered. As soon as they had eaten, they dove back into the files.
"How many more are there?" Harry asked.
"Several," Draco replied. "When do you have to go back?"
"Day after tomorrow," Harry said.
Draco nodded grimly. "Well, we'd better get through another three or four today, and leave three or four for tomorrow."
"Do you really think it'll all make sense once we've seen them all?" Harry asked.
"I hope it'll all come together," Draco said seriously.
"Right. Nothing for it, then." Harry gulped. "Next one, please."
But the next one was from a site called Naughty Boys, and it featured a winsome blond at a school desk. Suddenly the classroom door burst open and a teacher came in dragging another student.
"Detention!" the teacher roared.
The man looked nothing like Snape but that word made every hair on Harry's body stand on end.
"You'll be quiet until I come back," he said sternly, pointing to the desk next to the blond.
The dark-haired student sullenly took his seat and glared at the teacher as he strode out of the room.
Within minutes of course the blond student had begun pestering the other, first with spitballs, then eventually exposing himself under the desk.
"Don't tempt me," said the dark-haired one.
"Unless I'm serious? I'm serious," the blond said. "He said be quiet. You'll be plenty quiet with my cock in your mouth."
Moments later the two were engaged in oral sex. As things grew more heated they moved to the top of the teacher's desk, shedding their trousers and getting into a sixty-nine with one lying on his back, the other straddling him.
For some reason, Harry hadn't expected the teacher to come back into the scene, but he supposed he should have. Just when one of the boys had worked his fingers into the other's hole, he returned, catching them in the act...
Draco stood suddenly, pausing the video with a click. "I can't watch this."
Harry, who was seated close by, found his face uncomfortably close to the obvious tent in Draco's trousers. Enticingly close, actually.
Harry looked up into Draco's desperate eyes and thought he saw a glimmer of understanding there. "I... I can't watch it either," Harry said, as he reached out to rub his knuckles up and down the length protruding toward him.
"Don't tempt me," Draco warned.
"Unless I'm serious?" Harry said. "I'm serious."
"Show me how serious." Draco's eyes narrowed.
"This serious," Harry said, pulling down the waistband of Draco's sweats and taking his cock in his mouth.
The scent of Draco's musk was intoxicating and Harry found himself eagerly gulping down the length of him. Too eagerly maybe as he made himself gag a little, but he backed off slightly and concentrated on licking and suckling the head. The noises Draco made sounded very appreciative of this approach.
"The bedroom," Harry said. "Don't you think?"
"The living room," Draco countered. "The couch is sturdier."
Moments later Harry found himself seated on the couch with a lap full of Draco's mouth. "Oh fuck!"
"Mmmm?" Draco asked.
"Oh fuck, that's good," Harry clarified. "So so good."
"Mmmm--mmmm?" Draco asked.
"Yeah, better than Quidditch."
Harry wasn't sure how long the blow job went on. Long, he thought, very long. Eventually he realized he was being edged, with Draco taking him close to the brink of orgasm and then backing off again and again.
"Why are you doing this to me?" Harry whined.
Draco stroked him with his hand while he answered. "Seriously, Potter, did you learn nothing from what we just watched? What reason could there possibly be for me to keep you rigid as a broom handle?"
"Um?" Harry could think of one reason but he didn't want to get his hopes up. "Er...?"
"Yes, I've got a better use for this cock of yours," Draco said. "Come on, now. You can lube me better than I can myself."
With that, Draco folded himself over the arm of the couch, arse in the air.
Harry was all too happy to oblige, doing as he'd seen in the videos, getting Draco's insides good and slick and then, well, then getting his own equipment equally slick.
Draco cleared his throat though, as Harry rubbed the spongy head of his cock back and forth on Draco's hole, preparing to penetrate him. "Potter, you might want to think about protection."
"You mean like a condom?" Harry asked, puzzled and dazed from need.
"Like a spell against sexually transmitted diseases," Draco suggested. "If you don't know one, I do."
"Oh, um, I did learn a few. Hang on." Both of Harry's wands were right by the couch, one in plain sight, the other in his satchel but easily accessible. He performed a few of the spells, one of which made his entire cock tingle, or maybe that was anticipation.
When that was done he resumed teasing Draco's entrance for about two seconds before he plunged in. If the way Draco was pushing back against him, as if trying to take in more and more of him, was any indication, then it felt just fine.
Yes, this was better than Quidditch. And better than porn. Harry had his own close-up view of his dark-suffused cock pistoning in and out of Draco's tight pink hole. Draco rocked back against him on every thrust, tugging on his own cock underneath. Harry wanted as much of his skin touching Draco's as possible. He spelled both their shirts away and molded his chest to Draco's back. Ungh, so good.
"I thought you said biting and clawing didn't equate to liking," Draco said, a bit breathless to come off truly snarky.
Harry licked at the spot where he had sunk his teeth into the back of Draco's shoulder. "I like," he said, and Draco purred. Harry sat up straighter, then, keeping hold of Draco's hip with one hand as he deepened his thrusts.
Their motion sped up as they both neared orgasm and although Harry never wanted it to end, he also craved that completion for them both. Close, so close. Perfect, so very perfect, and...
A sudden crash and a flash of light blew the front door in. Harry's Auror reflexes were not the slightest bit dulled by lust. He had thrown a shield spell between the doorway and the couch where he and Draco were in congress before he even realized it, and as he came he shouted "Expelliarmus!"
The wand flew from Walden MacNair's hand. Harry hit him with a Stunning Spell next, then a Full-Body Bind.
Draco cried out from under him.
"Are you all right?" Harry asked, concerned that Draco had been hit by a stray hex.
"Fine. I'm just noisy when I come." Draco looked up. "Oh. So that wasn't just the earth moving."
"Apparently not." Harry planted a kiss on the dark spot on Draco's shoulder where his teeth had left a mark as he eased himself free of Draco's arse and went to check on MacNair. He collected MacNair's wand from where Maximilian was batting it back and forth on the floor.
"I guess my mother was right," Draco said as he sat up and used Harry's shirt to wipe the lube from his buttocks.
"Right about what?"
"About someone being responsible for all the former Death Eaters dying. She wrote me some time ago to say she suspected a conspiracy. At the time I dismissed it as her paranoia." He stretched and yawned. "I suppose we'll have to turn him in somehow?"
"Um, yeah. After I get some clothes on," Harry said. The sex had left him feeling like a Jelly-Legs Jinx had hit him, as well as a warming potion and a couple of other feel-good formulas. He sat on the couch. "It's a good thing I was here, you being wandless and all."
"Yes," Draco said. "Such a fortuitous coincidence."
Harry looked at him suddenly. "I can never tell when you're being serious and when you're being subtly sarcastic." A thought struck him then. "You mean this wasn't a coincidence at all, don't you?"
Draco cleared his throat. "There was always the chance my mother was paranoid but correct. She said she had received a message signed only 'N.S.' warning her that the Department of Mysteries had worked out a way to track those with the Dark Mark and that someone was using that to locate and eliminate the former Death Eaters, even those who had disappeared into the Muggle world."
"Is 'N.S.' Nicodemos Spencer?"
"Brilliant powers of deduction, Potter."
"Well, then it really was a good thing I was here," Harry said. "But what I still don't understand is where's the message in the porn films?"
"Maybe Spencer merely enjoyed watching them," Draco said mildly.
"That's certainly a more believable explanation than, oh, someone planted them there on the off chance that a gay undercover Auror might stumble on them while deep in denial over his urges to shag his former school rival."
"Hm, yeah, you're right, that's pretty far-fetched," Harry said.
Draco just smiled his cat-got-the-cream smile.