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Wake Up In The Night

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In the days after the War ended, there were a great many things that were changed or changing, a great many things that somehow slipped beneath the notice of Ministry officials and healers from St. Mungo's and Aurors that were tasked with capturing fleeing Death Eaters. It was, after all, the end of the War, and much like war itself, the clean up was heartbreaking. Lives had been lost. The world as they knew it had been changed irrevocably. In the grand scheme of things, there were more important things to worry about than Draco Malfoy's sudden, inexplicable ability to feel love.

He put it down to stress at first. After all, it was hard to feel love when your family had been thrown into prison—yourself included—and the entire civilized world was baying for your blood like a pack of ravenous hounds. But even after he and his mother had been acquitted, and Lucius put on a very strict house arrest rather than thrown into Azkaban with the rest of his former associates, Draco found that he couldn't bring himself to feel much of anything. Certainly nothing as warm as the emotion that had motivated his mother to, at the last minute, defy the Dark Lord, the same emotion that had motivated him to deny a face he'd never not know.

His parents didn't realize that something was wrong until the three of them walked back into the foyer of Malfoy Manor, and his mother had turned around, eyes swimming with tears, and pulled him into a tight hug, whispering his name, soft and wet, into his shoulder, and Draco had done nothing in return. Not even an awkward arm around her shoulder, a mumurred "there, there," or even a "Mother, please, you're making a scene." Instead, Draco had stood there, body still and unmoving, as his mother sobbed into his shirt, unaffected by her emotion as if it weren't there at all.

She pulled back, eyes wide. "Draco? Darling?"


"I… Are you okay?"

"Of course."

Of course, he wasn't. The Malfoy name didn't carry the same weight it used to, the power of it diminished by their involvement in the war and Lucius's stained forearm. But it was still enough to bring two Healers to the Manor with their diagnostic spells and potions. They spent three days examining him, casting and dosing him with everything they could think of without any conclusive results. They finally opened a bottle of Amortentia and waved it beneath his nose. Draco smelled… nothing—not just nothing, but a lack of everything, a sterile emptiness, an unnatural deficiency that he recognized as wrong but couldn't bring himself to care about— and the Healers, faces grey, realised what was amiss.

"It happens sometimes," the younger of the pair explained to a stunned Narcissa and an icy Lucius. "Trauma can create intense psychological responses in the mind. Emotional changes are expected, but they can become pathological. It seems that's the case with your son."

"But there's a treatment for it?"

"Ma'am"—the healer's voice was soft enough to sting—"his mind is protecting itself for a reason. When it's ready, it will heal."

Her voice was cracked and broken, unaffecting. "You have to do something! You can't leave him like this."

"Mother," he said, uncertain in retrospect why he bothered speaking at all. "I feel fine."

"But you're not."

"No, it seems I'm not. Now, if you'll excuse me."

Draco left the Manor and his weeping mother and his perpetually stoic father, and he hadn't felt any need to look behind him as he went.

As Draco lounges in yet another sex club, another faceless man between his knees, working Draco's cock like he was made for it, Draco thinks there are some benefits to not feeling love. Draco ruts up into the man's mouth, feels him gag around the head of Draco's cock, and thrills at the pure, uncomplicated pleasure of it. Fingers tangling in hair he doesn't bother noting the color of, hips moving with a brutal pace that has saliva pouring from the stretched corners of the man's mouth, Draco fucks the man like he's a means to an end, and it thrills Draco because it's true. When he comes, the orgasm is bright and freeing, and for the instance that it exists, it wipes his mind free of everything but satisfaction.

But, of course, it's only an instant, and then Draco's left with the mess that comes after. The man smiles at him, spunk smearing his lips, and slides up Draco's body with half-lidded eyes bright with desire. Draco lets the man kiss him, just once so he can taste himself on someone else's mouth, then pushes him away. The man goes unwillingly, but then stands, his hand going to the tented front of his leather trousers.

"Guess it's my turn," he says with a lust-filled grin, thumb pressing against the fastening.

"Guess you're an idiot, then." Draco pushes the man away again and gets to his feet, tucking his limp cock away. "Thanks for the suck. Have a good night."

"Wait, what?"

Draco's a few steps away when the man grabs at his shoulder, eyes still hazed with lust but filling quickly with anger. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

"Leaving." Draco shakes the man's hand from his shoulder. "Which is what you should do, too."

"That's not how this works."

"I think you'll find I don't care. Now, if you'll excuse me."

Draco turns and walks out, passing other couples and groups entwined on the various couches and in the corners of the club. His paramour shouts after him, but Draco's already focused on the exit and the cold autumn air outside. After all, he's gotten what he came here for. No point in lingering.

He casts a surreptitious warming charm when he steps onto the street. This is just one of the Muggle clubs he frequents. He only invited trouble when he tried going to a Wizarding one. The visit had only lasted a few minutes, but he'd left with a black eye. And since Draco is very attached to his face, he hasn't bothered trying again. After all, he doesn't feel any affection for the establishments or the people inside. The convenience had been the Wizarding club's greatest draw, and now that Draco's established a routine with Muggle clubs instead, the magical amenities aren't enough to convince him to make another attempt.

After ducking into an alleyway, he Apparates to his flat—also located in Muggle London—and sheds his clothes. First, the well-fitting black shirt, the jeans that are tight across his arse and the ridge of his cock and skim down the length of his thighs and calves. Black dress shoes, the toe of the left one dotted with spit and semen. He casts a wandless cleaning spell, sighing as it dulls the shine of the leather, but that can be fixed later. They're a serviceable pair of shoes. He doesn't hold any fondness for them.

The shower is as simple a pleasure as orgasm. It washes his sweat from his skin and the other man's saliva from Draco's prick and balls. Skin pink from the heat, he's clean in five minutes and unwilling to leave the shelter of the pounding water.

While no longer feeling love results in satisfactory meaningless sex, it does mean that things he'd once taken pleasure and joy in—the smell of leaves in chilled air, the weight of fine fabrics against his skin, the burn of too-hot water on his body—have lost their lustre. Like ornately embellished silver tarnished by years, the pattern and shape is still visible, can still be felt through the imprecise instrument of his fingertips, but it's flat, dull. The sheen is still there, but it's trapped beneath a barrier of oxidation that can't be shifted, no matter how hard he rubs at the stain.

With a vicious twist, he turns off the shower and stands in the stall, water dripping from his quickly pebbling skin. The droplets drag down his body, leaving rivulets of remembered heat, and while Draco can't love, he can certainly hate, and god, this sense of wrongness, of lack, that comes after fucking whomever he can get his hands on is something he reviles with the strength of all the love he can't feel.

He falls into bed, wraps his body in sheets he used to luxuriate in the feel of, and falls asleep.

The first time Draco spots Potter at one of his Muggle haunts, he thinks he's seeing things. It wouldn't be the strangest thing to happen to him after the War, a hallucination of Harry Potter with his bright, too-knowing eyes trained on Draco as another forgettable man rubs up against his body. Draco keeps his eyes locked on Potter as the other man slides his hand into the front of Draco's trousers, and finally believes that the Saviour of the Wizarding World is there when he turns away, takes a heavy drink from his glass, and disappears into the crowd. When Draco comes over the man's competent fist, he's wondering at the heat he saw, mixed with disgust, and what the combination means.

He doesn't love, but he can certainly want.

The second time he sees Potter, Draco is standing in the middle of the room, a man blindfolded with his hands bound behind his back kneeling on the floor before him. The gathered crowd is shouting encouragement, and Draco drags his cock across the man's open, panting mouth, teasing the both of them with quick glances of hardness against wet heat.

Draco looks up, brushing his sweat-dampened hair from his forehead, and catches Potter at the front of the crowd, his hands clenched tight around a railing, his eyes locked on Draco's. When Draco slides his cock into the kneeling man's mouth, he stares at Harry and wonders what his parted lips would feel like instead. He comes, eyes half-lidded, while Potter watches, his own interest evident in the hard line across the front of his trousers.

When Potter finds him a third time, Draco's alone. He arrived only a handful of minutes earlier, and his drink is fresh and cold in his hand. The booth he's sitting in is tucked into a back corner, away from the writhing mass of humanity in the middle of the club. Nothing sexual has started yet, but Draco can taste it on the air, a musk that clings to the back of his teeth and whispers of escape and a welcome emptiness.

"Why are you here?" Potter asks, looming over Draco's seat without any greeting.

"I should ask you the same." He takes a drink, watches Potter's eyes follow the motion of Draco's throat. "Sit."

For a moment, he thinks that Potter won't. It's disappointing, though Draco knows he'll get over it rather quickly. He's intrigued by the man, for certain, and he's fit as fuck, but Draco isn't attached to learning more. He wants to sleep with Potter, but that's nothing new. There are other men with dark hair that he can forget himself in here, should it come to that.

But Potter sits, body moving with sharp, jerking movements. His hands rest on the table, fingers tangled together.

"You're in a Muggle club."

"Is there a law against it?"

"You're fucking them."

Draco laughs. "I thought you weren't for blood purity."

"That's not what I meant."

"Does it matter where I get my dick wet, Potter?" Draco takes another drink. "You're here, too, and I doubt it's for the atmosphere."

Potter shifts in his seat, breaking his gaze from Draco's. "That's not the point."

"Isn't it? So you want to fuck. Why should I care that you come here to do it?"

"I want to know why you're fucking Muggles."

"Because wizards won't let me."

Potter's foot accidentally brushes against Draco's under the table, and though he pulls away, his shoe bumps against Draco's a moment later, pressing firmly into the arch of his foot.

That night, he sucks Potter off in a back hallway that leads to the alley behind the bar. Potter steadfastly looks up and away from Draco as he takes Potter's heavy prick to the back of his throat and swallows. Potter's fingers are tangled in Draco's hair as his hips thrust almost against his will, and when he comes, it's with a gasping "Malfoy" ringing in the empty hallway, the heavy music of the club not loud enough to drown it out.

Draco doesn't see Potter every night he's out looking to pull. Most of the time, Draco finds a stranger, loses himself in their body, and goes home, the short, sweet high of orgasm already fading by the time he reaches his shower. But when Potter is there, the two of them circle each other through the club until, inevitably, they end up pressed against each other on the dance floor or in a private room or the back alley, both of them hard and desperate, hands grabbing and mouths biting until they come, shuddering against each other like it's the aftermath of a fight, rather than pleasure.

On those nights, Draco goes home and trails his fingers over his skin, mapping the places that Potter touched. There are bruises and bites, china blue stains on his porcelain white skin. They ache when he presses down on them, and he comes a second time in his tangled sheets, reliving the pain and pleasure Potter's pulled from his body.

Fucking Potter is nothing like Draco's faceless hookups. With those men, he doesn't care whether they come or not. There's no point to those encounters but Draco's pleasure and chasing away the darkness. But with Potter, orgasm is an extension of their existing animosity, another weapon in their arsenal against each other. When Draco wrings pleasure from Potter's body, when he has Potter panting and moaning, desperate for release at Draco's hands, it's power. Draco doesn't make Potter come because he wants the man to feel good. He makes Potter come because he knows that Potter hates that Draco can.

It's not the same as love, but it's skirting the edge of it, and Draco wants more of those hot, panting moments with Potter with a twist of desperation he doesn't recognise anymore.

He invites Potter to the club on a lark. Draco nearly calls the owl back as soon as it leaves his flat. Instead, he dresses in all black, the mother of pearl buttons on his shirt as bright as his hair, and Apparates into an alley a few blocks from the club. It's a new place that Draco had heard about second-hand. The line outside the door isn't too long, the lights a glow of purple and red that paint him in the color of sunset. The bouncer doesn't give him a second look, just swipes Draco's fake Muggle ID under a blacklight before waving him inside.

The interior is filled with smoke and lasers, the music loud enough to hurt, even though the crowd isn't heavily packed yet. It's still a bit early, and Draco makes his way easily to the bar. The bartender, a woman in her mid-twenties with a partially shaved head and a clear disdain for her clientele, takes his drink order efficiently and hands it to him a moment later.

"Keep the change," he says as he pushes a tenner across the bartop. Her eyebrow raises, but she takes it with a shrug.

He wanders onto the dance floor, letting the music and the quickly growing crush of humanity drag his mind away. Eyes closed, his body sways to the rhythm of the crowd and the thumping bass and, for a moment, he forgets that he doesn't love this.

Familiar hands trail over his hips, and with a smug smile, he leans back into their heat.

"Potter," he says, leaning his head back so it rests on Potter's shoulder. "You're late."

"You didn't say when you wanted me here." Potter's breath chases across the sensitive shell of Draco's ear, and he shivers. "Give me your drink."

Wordlessly, Draco hands it over, his hips still swaying with the music and the feel of Potter's quickly hardening prick pressed against his arse. The ice in his glass clinks as Potter takes a sip, and then cold, wet lips chase the heat from Draco's neck. Potter's tongue is a trail of fire as it drags along Draco's pulse, and he nearly drops his glass when Potter presses it back into Draco's hand.

"You look good." Potter's lips brush Draco's skin as he speaks.

Draco grinds back against him, shocking a hiss from Potter's mouth. "You talk too much."

He throws the rest of his drink back, then loses himself to the heat and pulse of Potter's body behind his. Potter acquiesces, his wide, competent hands on Draco's hips, guiding him through a slightly off-tempo back and forth against Potter's cock. Sweat gathers on Draco's skin, and Potter brushes his lips over the droplets, his nose in the fine hair at the nape of Draco's neck. It rests there as the music blares around them, Potter's soft exhalations against Draco's skin a delicate tease. His heart is racing, and he reaches for Potter's hand, pulls it to the front of his trousers and the waiting hardness there.

"Not here," Potter whispers, his hand squeezing almost involuntarily. "I want to see you."

Draco grinds against Potter's cock, against his hand, and shivers. "Where, then?"

"Yours? Mine?"

"Mine's closer." Draco grabs for the back of Potter's neck, then pulls his head close for a messy, off-center kiss. "And I don't care if you own it now, I'm not fucking you in my mother's ancestral home."

"Fuck." Potter kisses Draco hard enough to bruise. "Let's go."

Potter nearly drags him from the club, but Draco goes willingly, his heart pounding in his ears as they push their way to the back exit. As soon as the door shuts, Potter pushes Draco against the wall, the rough brick biting through his shirt while Potter bites at his mouth. Thigh wedged between Potter's, Draco arches up against Potter's body, tangling his fingers in Potter's hair as they kiss like a scuffle, both of them scrambling for dominance, for power.

There's a bright flash of pain, then the tang of blood on his lip, and Draco groans before Side-Alonging Potter to Draco's flat.

He doesn't bring people back to his place, but he doesn't think about it as he pushes Potter down the short hallway leading to Draco's bedroom, doesn't think as he shoves Potter to the bed, doesn't think as he eases Potter's fly open and pulls down the zip. 

He's never gotten a good look at Potter's cock. The clubs have all been dark and hazy, obscured by low light and intoxication. He knows the weight and feel of it, but not the visual. In the bright, clean brilliance of his flat, Draco takes the opportunity to stare. Though it's still trapped by his pants, Potter's cock is long and thick, the darkening head pushing past the elastic waistband. Draco traces its outline, pressing down on the soft fabric as Potter's hips cant up into the caress.

"So needy," Draco murmurs, fingers still haunting the edges of where Potter desperately wants his touch. "Get undressed."

Potter's hands scramble for his jeans, and Draco steps back, calm and collected, as Potter squirms his way from his clothes. His jeans get caught on his trainers, and he starts cursing as he sits up, fumbling with the laces.

Draco chuckles quietly, undoing the buttons at his wrist and collar with confident ease. Potter's shoes land with a heavy thump, followed by his jeans, and by the time Draco's got his shirt open, Potter's leaning back on the bed in his pants and nothing else, staring at Draco with hunger evident in his gaze.

"Like what you see?" Draco shrugs his shirt from his shoulders, letting the muscles roll across his chest and stomach as the fabric falls to the floor.

Potter swallows. "Shit. Yes."

Draco doesn't reply, just thumbs his trousers open and steps from the neatly pressed fabric. He puts a knee on the bed, and Potter shifts back, making room. Draco crawls over Potter's body, eyes trailing over the lean muscled body beneath him. He brings his mouth over one of Potter's dark, peaked nipples and exhales against it. Potter tenses, then lets out a shaky breath, and Draco presses the flat of his tongue over the nub as reward.

When Draco bites down, Potter's body arches like it's been hit by electricity, his fingers clenching on the bed linens as he curses. His tongue and lips easing the sting, Draco lavishes attention on the abused flesh, then makes his way up Potter's chest and neck to his mouth, taking it in a fierce kiss. Potter moans. He grabs at Draco's back, then arse, grinding up against him as their lips and tongues tangle. His cock, insistent and hard, presses against Draco's, and they fall into an easy rhythm, a swaying back and forth of hips that has both of them panting into open mouths, biting kisses and grasping hands fighting for purchase.

"I want…" Potter groans, his hands tight on Draco's arse as he urges him forward. "Fuck, I need…"

"What do you need, Potter?" Draco whispers into his ear, holding himself still though all he wants to do is move and chase the tension growing in the base of his spine and the pit of his stomach. "You need my prick splitting you open?"

"Damn it, Malfoy." Potter writhes and shakes, impatient beneath the weight of Draco's motionless body.

Draco trails his lips up Potter's neck, lets his hands follow the path, coasting gentle touches over the sensitive hollow of Potter's throat, the racing pulse at his jawline, the rapid rise and fall of his chest as he breathes. "Tell me."

"Fuck you."

Draco chuckles, then starts pulling away. Potter's hands scrabble at Draco's hips as he curses.

"Tell me what you want," Draco says, poised somewhere between giving up and giving in.

"I… damn it. I want you to fuck me."

Potter's eyes are shut when Draco pulls back to look. He kisses Potter, soft and gentle, soothing. He wants Potter pliant and languid beneath him. It'll ease the way for both of them, and at the thought of Potter's body open and welcoming beneath him, Draco shudders. He grabs at the waistband of Potter's pants, eases them over the hefty weight of Potter's cock, following their path with his mouth. Potter hisses, hips thrusting towards the heat of exhaled breath. Draco drags his tongue across the heavy vein running along the bottom of Potter's cock, mouths at the foreskin, presses a hot, open-mouthed kiss to his balls, then lower. Potter grabs at his own thighs, pulling his legs back and open, revealing his puckered hole to Draco's questing mouth and tongue.

The first taste is bitter, but as Potter blooms under Draco's mouth, opening and unfurling with each careful press of Draco's tongue against his entrance, it eases, clears.

"Cleaning spell," Potter gasps. "Just… Oh fuck, yes. More."

Draco traces a finger around Potter's rim, teasing touches that he chases with his mouth. His finger slips inside up to the first knuckle without any resistance, and Draco's blood heats at the thought that Potter might have prepared himself earlier, worked his body open so it would receive Draco's easily.

"More, Malfoy, or so help m— "

Draco doesn't like taking orders, not in bed, but he's happy to shove two fingers gracelessly into Potter's body. It cuts off his words on a gasp, but Draco barely notices it, already searching for the spot that'll light the man up. He finds it easily, and Potter cries out again when Draco presses both of his fingers against it, milking Potter's prostate with slow, easy touches that have the muscles of Potter's legs tensing and flexing around Draco's bent head.

"You were saying?" He nips at Potter's inner thigh as he scissors Potter open. "Nothing to add?"

If Potter does have anything to say, he can't get the words out. His chest is flushed red, mouth open, eyes closed tight with tears gathering at the corners.

"I'm going to ruin you, Potter," Draco says, voice seemingly calm. His cock is pounding, though, desperate for release. "I'm going to open you up with my fingers, then fill you with my cock and my come, and you're going to love every fucking second of it. I'm going to own you, Potter, and you're going to come crying my name, thankful that I ever bothered to look at you twice."

"Oh God."

"That's right." His fingers twist, vicious and insistent. "Let me hear you."

Potter's rim clings to Draco's fingers as he withdraws them. Potter groans at the loss, his eyes flashing open with ire and lust. "Get on with it, Malfoy."

Draco presses the head of his cock against Potter's hole, then eases past the initial resistance. Though he wants to shove his way into Potter's body, to feel the man's arse pressed against the flesh of Draco's hips, he moves slowly, inch by inch. Potter has his eyes shut, mouth open as he curses Draco, his hands turning the back of his thighs white from how hard he's holding on. Filthy expletives fall from his mouth, and Draco bends over to catch them with his own, drinking up Potter's lusting, hate-filled words like wine.

"You know who's fucking you," Draco says as he pulls back and thrusts back in, Potter shuddering beneath him. "You know whose cock is filling you so perfectly, who's going to make you come so hard, you can't think." Another thrust. "Say it."


Draco stills, stops. "Say it, Potter, or we're done."

Beneath him, Potter lifts his hips, fucking himself against Draco's cock for a brief moment of bright pleasure before Draco pins his hips to the mattress, stopping Potter from moving with the weight of Draco's body.

"Dammit, just fuck me."

"Who am I?"

"Fuck." Potter struggles, his cock a hot, hard line against Draco's stomach. "Fuck. Malfoy. Draco. Oh God, fuck me."

Shivering, Draco does. His vision hazes, becomes distant and unfocused as he loses himself in the heat of Potter's arse and mouth. He holds on tight to Potter's hips, slamming forward with enough force to push Potter up the mattress. If it's uncomfortable, he doesn't show it. Instead, Potter keens, lifting himself to meet Draco thrust for thrust. His hands claw at Draco's back, and though the pain makes him wince, it sets the pleasure to a sharp edge.

"I'm going to come, Potter," he gasps as Potter mouths along the curve of Draco's neck and jaw. "I'm going to fucking fill you."

Potter bites down, and it pushes Draco over the edge, sends his mind spiraling into the space where he can forget the thing he's lacking, the vast emotional nothing that threatens to swallow him daily. Pleasure pours through him, and Draco rests his head against Potter's neck, breathing through it as his body falls apart.

"Oh, God. Draco." Potter turns his head, kisses Draco hard and fast. There's a pool of wet heat against Draco's stomach, and he grinds down against it, stealing another gasping echo of his name from Potter's lips.

When the cold, familiar numbness starts seeping back in, Draco rolls off of Potter. His softening cock slips out easily, and though he can feel Potter wince at the sudden absence, Draco lays on his back, trying to enjoy the lingering, forgotten taste of love still tainting his mouth.

"Fuck." A moment later, the mattress shifts, dips. Draco hears footsteps moving away, then stopping. "Where's the loo?"

"Down the hall, first door on the left."

Potter walks out of the room, and a moment later, Draco hears the pipes clang and water start running. He can't blame Potter for wanting to clean up. Scrubbing a hand over his face, Draco stands and pads his way to the bathroom, needing a wash himself.

Steam is already gathering in the bathroom. It's not large, and though Potter's only been in there for a moment, the mirror over the sink is fogged. Draco wipes it clear, looks at the red marks on his neck and shoulder for a brief moment before the glass fogs again.

In the shower stall, Potter's head is bowed forward, water streaming over the back of his head, his dark hair drenched and obscuring his face. His hands are pressed against the tile wall, forcing his shoulders into an awkward hunch.


He startles beautifully, and Draco doesn't give him time to recover, instead pushing open the glass door of the shower and slotting himself into the warmth of the spray. A little cold for his taste, he reaches past Potter's still outstretched arms and turns the water warmer.

"What are you doing?"

"Drowning very slowly and inefficiently. Now, shove over."

It startles an odd laugh from Potter, and he makes room in the stall. It's not quite big enough for the two of them, but considering what they'd just been up to, Draco figures that Potter probably doesn't mind. He closes his eyes, lets the hot water wash away the sweat and come, and almost doesn't notice it when Potter ghosts his fingers across Draco's chest.

"It scarred."

Draco opens his eyes and looks where Potter's fingers are nearly touching. It's been awhile since he's actively noticed the scars on his chest, left by Potter's Sectumsempra years ago. 

"Yes." He steps forward, forcing Potter to press his hand against the raised marks.


"An apology is long past necessary. Don't make this into a thing."

They brush against each other as they shower, stepping in and out of the stream of water. Potter's hands continue coasting over Draco's skin, exploratory and hesitant. His cock hardens at those soft unasked questions, and Draco presses Potter against the tile, takes his mouth like the offering it is, ruts against him until they come again, the water long since gone cold.

Potter stares at the blank expanse of Draco's left forearm, and neither of them comment on the unmarked skin there.

When Draco shows Potter out, he looks debauched and lost. His green eyes stay with Draco long after the man leaves, and though he's covered in bruises and bites, Draco rests his fingers over the stains but doesn't press down, something like pain already sighing under his skin.

Three days later, there's a knock at Draco's door. He's just back from work, though he's had some time to relax, shirt open at the collar and shoes resting by the front mat. Reading glasses perched on his nose, the Daily Prophet left on the coffee table, he answers the door.

It's Potter.

He doesn't give Draco a chance to speak, just pushes his way inside. Door slamming behind him, he pulls Draco's mouth in for a bruising kiss. It pushes Draco's glasses up his nose, and Potter wrenches them away. They clatter on the hardwood floor, but before Draco can protest, Potter's on his knees, yanking at Draco's belt and fly. Draco threads his fingers through Potter's hair, desperately trying to catch up to what's happening, but then his half-hard cock is in Potter's mouth, and any further thought disappears down a warm, willing throat.

"What are you… Fuck, Potter, what are you doing?"

He doesn't answer, just keeps moving his lips and tongue over Draco's prick, and though it feels good and he wants to lose himself in it, Draco twists his fingers in Potter's hair hard enough to hurt. When Potter pulls off of Draco's cock, there are tears in his eyes along with anger.

"Fuck you, Malfoy." He gasps when Draco wrenches his head back.

"Only if you ask nicely."

Draco draws Potter's head forward, thrusts into his gasping mouth. He fucks Potter's mouth for long, slow minutes, teasing the both of them with the steady, unerring pace he picks. But he can feel his release growing closer, his balls pulled up high and tight while Potter's spit drips over them and into the gaping fly of his trousers. With a groan, he draws away, fists his cock, and comes in hot spurts over Potter's face and glasses, white smearing the lenses in thick lines. Potter opens his mouth for it, licks where it slides down his face and gathers in the corner of his mouth, then wipes it away with a furious fist.

Draco lets Potter fuck him over the back of the couch, his trousers and pants bunched up around his ankles, legs stretched wide enough to accommodate Potter's body between them but still restricted by his clothes. Potter's fingers bite into Draco's arse, holding the cheeks apart so he can watch as he fucks his way inside Draco's body, and when he comes, it's with Draco's name a whispered curse in the heated air of the flat.

Potter doesn't say anything when he leaves, just tucks himself away and stumbles out the door. Draco takes a shower, presses his fingers to the loosened opening of his body, and wonders how long Potter will make himself stay away until the next time.

It turns into a regular thing. Every couple of days, Potter shows up on Draco's doorstep. Either he fucks Draco, or Draco fucks him, or they wank each other off in the shower, or rut up against each other in the kitchen or on the couch. Sometimes, Draco takes Potter's cock in his mouth while Potter does the same for Draco, and they come like that, wrapped around each other like an ouroboros, each one desperate to devour the other.

But it shifts, almost imperceptibly. One night, when the two of them are sprawled out on Draco's living room rug, sweaty and limp with satisfaction, Potter doesn't leave. Instead, he stretches, rolls until he's nestled against Draco's side. And instead of rising to his feet and wandering to the shower, Draco lets Potter curl closer, his head resting on the meat of Draco's shoulder. It's not exactly affection that motivates him. With Potter's body pressed against his, Draco can chase that remnant of pleasure for a bit longer. Potter's reddened skin reminds Draco of how he brought that color to the surface, and when he traces his fingers along the knobs of Potter's spine, his fingers dancing through the spaces between, he can feel… something like what he's lost.

The first time Potter sleeps over is an accident. Draco's well fucked and exhausted from it, and he's used to the weight of Potter's arm across his lower back, so when he falls asleep like that, it's with hardly a thought. It's not until he wakes up the next morning, Potter's chest pressed against Draco's back, his arm still resting across the dip of Draco's waist, that he realizes something is off. Even before the War and all it stole from him, Draco never slept with others in his bed. He preferred the comfort of spreading his body across the entire mattress, of having the blankets pushed down to the foot of his bed, the sheet the only thing wrapped around his body. But Potter is warm against him, and the gentle in and out of his breath against Draco's neck tickles in a reassuring way, and he slowly drifts back to sleep.

That, too, becomes commonplace, Potter passing out in Draco's bed after they shag. Draco wakes up slowly, Potter's hands and lips trailing over his skin, a physical alarm clock that's much more pleasant to wake to than the shrill chiming of a bell. There's something about the early morning light that makes Potter careful, hesitant. He touches Draco's body like he's never done so before, waking Draco's nerves up, touch by touch, until they're both moving against each other in slow, languid motions that draw pleasure to the surface like water coming to a boil.

Slowly, it becomes normal for Potter to stay the night, to wake in Draco's bed. Potter always gets up a few minutes before Draco does to brew the first cup of tea. He rouses Draco with soft, questing kisses and a steaming cup on the nightstand. And though he can't stretch his legs and arms to the edges of the mattress like he normally does, Draco is welcomed to consciousness with soft fingers dragging through his hair, and warm kisses pressed to his forehead, and tea always waiting nearby.

He doesn't realize the mistake he's made, not until it's too late.

Potter is fucking into Draco's body, slow and easy. His hands are gentle on Draco's hips, and though Draco shoves back onto Potter's cock, trying to egg him onto harder, deeper thrusts, Potter keeps the same steady, steadfast pace.

"Tell me how much you love it," Potter says as he grinds down, pressing against Draco's prostate. "Tell me how much you love my cock inside of you."

"Fuck, yes." Draco rolls his hips, searching for that flash of heat. "Keep fucking me, just like that."

"Tell me you love it."

Draco lies. "I love it."

He's rewarded with a quickened pace, Potter's cock arrowing for the spot that Draco needs it. He reaches down to take his own aching prick in hand, but Potter bats it away.

"No." A sharp slap of hips against arse. "Only my cock. Nothing else."

It makes Draco groan, and he arches his back, pressing his face into the mattress and lifting his hips higher.

"Tell me you love it," Potter says again. "Tell me you love me."

Disoriented, desperate to come, Draco doesn't hear. "Yes. Yes, please. Potter, fuck me."

"Let me hear you."

"Yes. Yes, goddammit. Make me come."

"Fuck. Fuck, Draco. God."

The careful tempo is lost, and Potter fucks Draco mercilessly, fingers biting into skin like teeth, and Draco comes like that, speared on Potter's cock and already anticipating the bruises the next morning.

Potter presses his front against Draco's back, mouths at the top of Draco's spine. He whispers curses and mumbled words into Draco's skin, hips shaking and jerking as he comes. They fall to the bed in a boneless slump, both of them on their sides, Potter still pressed against Draco's back, his still hard prick deep inside Draco's body.

"Love you," Potter murmurs sleepily. He trails kisses across the arch of Draco's shoulders. They're slow and soft, tinted with a color Draco can't see any more. "Don't know how it happened, but I do."

Later, Draco will replay this moment over and over again. He will think of that gentle press of lips to skin, the hint of a smile in their curve, the pleasure and confusion in the words. Three seconds of his life, played on repeat until he's nearly sick with it. Two words. One moment.

He pulls away. "I'm going to shower."

Potter stays in bed, unmoving as Draco walks into the hallway, into the bathroom, and turns on the water. It's hot and stings across his skin, and though he waits for Potter to join him—it's part of their routine now, Potter crawling into the shower a few minutes after Draco does—Potter doesn't come.

When he goes back to his bedroom, it's empty.

Draco goes to sleep and spreads across the mattress, searching for a warmth that's missing, though he doesn't know why he bothers.

It's nearly a week and a half before he returns. Draco's almost surprised when he opens the door and it's Potter, rather than some anonymous delivery man or the post. Draco reaches for Potter's jacket front, tangles his fingers in the lapel and pulls him close, mouth already parted for a kiss.

Potter's hand in the center of Draco's chest, stopping him from dragging Potter closer, is a surprise.


Draco smirks. "No? Come on, Potter. We both know why you're here."

"I don't think we do." He pushes against Draco's chest, forces him to take a step back into the apartment before closing the door. "We need to talk."

"We what?"

"Talk." Potter runs a hand through his hair, glances towards the kitchen. "I need a drink. Fuck."

"You know where the booze is," Draco says with a nonchalant wave. He falls onto the couch, arm across the back as he notes Potter's eyes devouring the sprawl of Draco's body.

"I do."

He disappears into the kitchen, and Draco undoes the buttons at his wrists and neck, considers undoing the fastenings at the top of his trousers, then doesn't. He's going to make Potter work for it tonight.

Potter walks into the room, glass in his hand, and after he drags his eyes across Draco's body, he takes a heavy drink, the ice knocking against his teeth. He stares at Draco and takes another sip.

"What are we doing?"

From the couch, Draco frowns. "I think we both know what we're doing, Potter."

"That's not…" He gestures between the two of them, his flailing hand no less clear than his words had been. "This. What is this?"

"Did you not attend that class with Madam Pomfrey? I would think you'd understand the mechanics at least."

"Christ, Malfoy." Potter falls to the couch, sets his drink on the table so he can cradle his head in his hands. "What do I mean to you?"

Confusion seeps in like cold water. "I don't understand."

"Draco," His name has never sounded so much like broken glass before.

Draco thinks it's what Potter wants to hear, so he says it. "Of course you mean something to me."


"You mean…" He pauses, considering. "Tea. A warm body. Someone to talk to."

The groan wrenches its way from Potter's throat. "That's not… I love you."

"I'm sorry."

Potter laughs like a sob. "What?"

"I'm sorry. It's unfortunate."

"You don't… I tell you I love you, someone I should hate beyond reason, and that's all you can say?"

Draco shrugs. "What would you have me say?"

"That you love me, too? That this means something to you?"

"I already told you what it means—"

Potter stands from the couch like a coiled spring unleashed. "Tea is not a reasonable response to that question!"

"Calm down." Draco sits up. "I don't understand what you want from me."

"I want you to tell me you love me!"

"Then I love you!"

Potter pulls at his hair, screaming. "I want you to mean it!"

"Then, I'm sorry."


"Because I can't, Potter."

"Because of who I am? Because of our past?"

"No, because I can't."

Potter stills, his hair still tangled in his fingers. It stands up, dark and disrupted. Slowly, his hand falls away, dropping limp to his side. "What do you mean."

"I mean I can't love you, Potter. I don't… It's not something I feel."

"You're aromantic?"

Draco shakes his head. "No, it's not that. It's not just romantic, it's… I loved before, but they… The Healers said it's because of the war."

"You don't love me."

"I don't."

"And you can't…" He swallows. "You can't love me."

"I can't."

Draco is unable to decipher the emotion that washes over Potter's face. It twists his mouth into a broken line, forces his eyes to close like he can't bear to keep them open. His shoulders are a taut line beneath his jacket, and his head falls back, throat bared.

The laugher startles Draco. It bursts from Potter in a joyous chorus, a deep booming bass of mirth. But it's discordant, the notes of it off-tune and painful. When Potter's head tilts forward, there are tears streaking his face.

"Of course. Of course you can't. God, Draco…" He laughs again, though it's thick with tears. "Of course this is how it ends."

"Who said anything about ending things?"

"I love you, you idiot. How can we… I can't…"

"I don't hate you, Potter. I just can't love you."

"You can't… Fuck." He grabs his glass and downs the rest of it. "Just… I need…"

Draco shifts down the couch, crowds closer to Potter's standing form. His eyes, red-rimmed and still stained with tears, dart across Draco's face as if it holds an answer. Draco grabs Potter's hand and pulls him to sitting. With his other hand, he cups Potter's cheek, and Potter presses into the touch, eyes closing.

"I can take care of you," Draco says quietly. He leans in and takes Potter's mouth, tasting salt.


He shushes Potter, pulls him closer, falls into the familiar feel of their bodies against each other. When Potter comes, thrusting into Draco's body like it holds the answers he needs, Draco pretends to not feel the hot trail of tears against his neck. He may not love Potter, but he can let him have his dignity, at least a bit.

Potter keeps coming back. His absences are longer than before, but never more than a week. The bags under his eyes darken, his cheeks sinking until his beard grows out enough to hide the shadows. Draco keeps fucking him through it all. Potter still brings him tea in the morning, still curls against his back when they lay in bed together. But his hands are just a bit more insistent when they pull him close, his kisses more desperate.

"Love me," he begs while he holds Draco down. "Just fucking love me."

And, honestly, Draco wishes he could. Potter isn't bad at this. He's caring and considerate. He knows what makes Draco happy, what foods he likes. In the mornings, while Draco's getting ready for work, Potter will pick out clothes for him, holding up shirts that best suit him, a pair of matching cuff links resting in the curled hollow of his palm. He's intelligent, something that Draco hadn't realised while they were at school together, and his wit, when it comes out, is biting and sharp, exactly the way that Draco likes his humor. There's more than one evening where, after the sex, they sit together on the couch and Potter reads the paper outloud, his voice leaving Draco drowsy as Potter makes off-hand comments about the articles that startle Draco from sleep with laughter.

If Draco could, he would love Potter.

But he can't, so he fucks him instead. He tries to drown out the emptiness they both face. And, for a while, it's enough.

Until it isn't.

"Just talk to her."

"I've told you, there's nothing to be done." Draco throws the post onto the kitchen counter, Potter storming in after him. "It can't be fixed."

"Hermione's never met a problem she can't solve. Just talk to her, Draco. For me. Please."

"I've told you, that doesn't work on me." He spins around, crowds Potter against the counter. He moves willingly, his body making space for Draco's like it was meant to be, like the two of them are pieces to the same puzzle, finally slotting together. It grates at Draco that he doesn't feel that sense of settling, of belonging, of love. "It doesn't matter how many people you put to the task, it won't change."

"But you won't even try!"

"And if I did? If I tried, and talked to her, and nothing changed? What then, Potter? Where would that leave you, except without whatever futile hope you have left?" Hands bracketing Potter's body, Draco presses forward until they're touching from hip to chest. "What would you do then?"

"I don't… I don't know."

"Then don't." Draco darts in for a harsh kiss. "Stop looking for more."

"It's not enough." Potter pushes him away. "It's not enough for me."

"Then end it. I'm not the one trapped in sentimentality."

Potter stiffens. He stares at Draco. Then he shakes his head, hands reaching for Draco as denials tumble from his mouth.

"No," he says again, lips coasting over Draco's pulse. "It's fine. We'll make it work. I'll make it work."

Draco holds him because Potter needs it, though the repetitive nature of these encounters is starting to grate. It's not the first time Potter's thrown Draco's lack of love at him. It doesn't matter how many times he tells Potter that there's nothing to be done, the man won't stop. He holds hope in his mouth like a predator with its prey, blood pouring down his face as he shakes it again and again, unwilling to let go.

Eventually, Draco caves. Granger's magic feels like sandpaper against his skin when she casts her diagnostics, and though his flesh isn't actually raw when she's finished, he feels like he's been keel-hauled, torn open with salt water poured into the bleeding wounds.

"I'll let you know," she murmurs to Potter before she leaves, brown eyes on Draco with a disconcerting clarity to them. After the door closes, Potter crowds into Draco's lap, forehead pressed into the curve of his neck, and stays there until he falls asleep, impossibly small in the curve of Draco's arms.

He wishes he felt anything more than annoyance.

Weeks later, nearly four months after Draco first saw Potter across a crowded dance floor, Potter presses a piece of paper into Draco's hands.

He doesn't look anything like he did that first night. His clothes hang from his body, overly large and ill-fitting. His dark hair is pulled back into a poorly contained ponytail, his beard unkempt, though Draco has urged him, time and time again, to tidy it up. Those green eyes—they used to be so arresting, so bright that they almost lit up the darkness of Draco's bedroom when they stared down at him, his back against the sheets with Potter above him—are dull.

"She found it," he says with no emotion, no change to his voice. "If you want it."

Draco, frowning, unfolds the paper. There's a single word nestled within, written in black ink that's smeared at the end. He trails a finger across the letters, wonders at the simplicity of a handful of letters.

"What do you mean?" he asks, head rising with enough speed to leave his vision dotted with white.

"If you want it, that's all you need. I…" Potter takes a step back. "If you want me."

He doesn't understand when Potter leaves. Doesn't understand that night when he crawls into bed, body clean and refreshed from a shower, no bruises to touch for clarity. He stares at his ceiling, the bright white slip of paper sitting on his dresser like an accusation.

In the morning, he takes his hawthorn wand—returned by Potter sometime during their dalliance—and whispers a word, two syllables, into the echoing emptiness of his apartment.

At first, there's nothing. It's that same endless void, that aching nothingness that haunts the edges of his consciousness. His world doesn't shift, doesn't change. He doesn't love. Unsure how he's going to explain it to Potter, to tell him that his last hope has come to nothing, Draco takes a step towards the hallway, already thinking of ways to explain his way back into Potter's bed.

And then it shifts.

Like the ocean receding from the shore in the moments before a tsunami, emotion pulls away. It's like flying, like hovering over a great, gaping wound in the earth that's ready to swallow him whole. For a moment, he feels nothing. It's a Dementor's Kiss, an Obliviate Maxima. There's nothing. No Draco Malfoy. No past, no present, no future. He is a vessel, empty and resonant with that emptiness. It rattles in his chest, shaking him until his whole body is racked with it.

It comes back in a rush. Two years, seven months, twenty-eight days, four hours, and seventeen minutes since he last felt love, it engulfs his body in an overwhelming rush. Draco cries out with it, with the endless, aching pain of it all. His mother, his father, his family. Their stricken faces flash before him in a wash, and he screams again, sudden tears coursing down his face. He loves them. He loves them, and he'd left his mother crying in the front parlour, the room she hates most of all in the Manor because it reminds her of when she first met Lucius's parents, their disapproval as thick as the carpet beneath her feet. His father at her side, icy on the outside but breaking beneath the surface and watching with grey, stricken eyes as Draco walked away.

And then Potter. Harry. A deluge of emotion that he can't hold in. Arms wrapped around his chest as if that will hold back the sobs, he curls into himself, crumples to the floor as four months of repressed emotion storm through him in an irrepressible, breathtaking flood. He's drowning. Drowning in soft morning kisses and gentle hands, green eyes on his while wide, smiling lips press laugher against his mouth. The weight of an arm across his waist, words whispered against his skin, hands hot on his skin.

Love you, love you, love you, cascading through his mind until it's all Draco can hear, all he can think, those two words repeated into infinity by someone he never thought would say them.

If it were only four months, it might be bearable. If it were only the last moment between them, Draco might be able to breathe through the gaping wound in his chest.

But he's in the Battle of Hogwarts, and Harry's cradled in Hagrid's arms, and his mind is blank with grief.

He's in sixth year, with Harry's suspicious eyes trailing him through the castle like a knife in his back.

He's on the Hogwarts Express, cracking Harry's nose beneath his heel like his heart is cracking in his chest.

He's in fifth year and blood is trickling down the back of Harry's hand.

He's in fourth year, staring at a badge because it's the only way he can stare at Harry's face without notice.

He's in third year, arm wrapped in bandages and wondering what it would take to make Harry care if he were hurt.

He's in second year and he's the Slytherin Seeker because, maybe, it'll make Harry notice him now.

He's in first year, and his hand is stretched out to that dark haired boy from Malkin's, and he's waiting and waiting and waiting.

He doesn't know how long it takes him to come back to himself, but when he does, he's crying in deep, shaking heaves that make his throat and chest ache. He can't stop. Though he fights them back, they burst forth, unable to be denied any longer.

He loves Harry, and it's destroying him.

Somehow, he stumbles his way to his feet and the living room. The Floo powder falls to the floor, but he's grabbed enough of it from the mantle that when he screams "Grimmauld Place!" into the flames, they burst into green. He falls through without waiting for Potter to answer, and tumbles onto a dark and dingy rug. The room is empty, but he staggers forward. His memories of the house are old and faded, but he has a vague recollection of where the stairs are, and he screams as he stumbles his way towards them.

"Potter!" His voice is as rough and ruined as his heart. "Harry!"

He drags himself up the stairs, still yelling Harry's name and praying for a response. The house is silent except for his faltering steps, and despair threatens to overwhelm him again. He weeps against the bannister, then drags himself up another step and another.

It's sheer luck that he hears it, but there's a creak from one of the rooms at the top of the flight, and he falls against the door, heavy with the weight of desperation pressing against his skin.

"Harry," he exhales against the door. His shaking fingers slide from the doorknob, and he tries it again with more success. The catch releases, and he falls inside. The bed is shrouded in early morning gloom, curtains drawn tight around it, but Draco knows he's there.


"What do you want, Draco?"

His voice is so tired, shrouded as it is by the curtains. It lances through Draco, knowing that he's the cause of that exhaustion, that he could've done something, anything, to prevent it.

"I want… Harry, I love you."

Laughter, though it sounds faded like an old photograph. "No, you don't."

"I do. Oh, God, I do."

He pulls the curtains back, stares. Harry is curled in on himself, head in his hands, knees pressed to his chest. He's still wearing his shoes, and that, somehow, is the worst.

"Oh, darling," Draco whispers. He reaches for Harry's shoulder, and Harry flinches away. "Darling, please. Just… Let me help. You can't be comfortable, let me help you get comfortable."

"You don't care."

"I do." Draco reaches for Harry's shoe to untie the lace. As it slips from his foot, Harry shivers. "I do, darling. Let me take care of you."

"I don't want you."

He deserves it. He knows he does. It still hurts like a blow. "I know." The second shoe slides off as easily as the first. "I know, darling."

Draco's hands are shaking when he sits on the edge of the bed. He reaches for Harry's hands, uncurls them from around the tangled edge of his fringe. They're stiff and unforgiving, but Draco presses a kiss to them anyway, eyes shut as he fights back unearned tears.

"You don't," Harry sobs, fingers tightening against Draco's. "You can't."

"I do, I do." Draco kisses the pulse at Potter's wrist, pulls back the sleeve of his shirt to follow the line of veins up his arm. "Darling, I do. Please, Harry. Let me love you."

His capitulation is like a dam bursting. With a sob, Harry uncurls from the bed, pulling Draco closer as he continues whispering denials. Draco does his best to soothe Harry, but he's crying, too, his heart breaking at the damage he's done to this man he's loved for so long.

"I'm sorry, love," he says to Harry's temple. He presses a kiss there, tries to wrap Harry in his arms so that he's close enough that Draco can heal the hurt he's caused. "I didn't know. I didn't know."

"You don't." Harry sounds angry, and he shoves Draco away. There's nowhere for him to go, both of them on Harry's heavy mattress and Draco's arms wrapped so tightly around Harry's body. He tries again anyway, and Draco lets him go, shifts against the quilted bedspread. Harry sits up, moves away, his fringe pushed back from his sunken, still beautiful face. "You don't."

"I'm so sorry." Draco wants to reach for him, to bridge the distance, but he doesn't. His nails cut into the palms of his hands. "I should've…. I should've taken better care of you, I should've stopped you. I'm so sorry."

Harry sobs out a laugh. "For what?"

"I hurt you. I shouldn't… You're everything, and I hurt you, and I can't…" He takes a shuddering breath. "It worked. Whatever spell Granger found, it worked, and I love you."

Harry stills. A tear rolls down his cheek, the only thing moving in the room. Even the air feels heavier around them, burdened with waiting.


"I love you. Harry, you have to believe me. I can't"—he fights back a sob—"I need you to believe me."

"You love me."

"I love you."


"Harry, please…"

Harry blinks away tears, then shifts closer. His hands reach for Draco's. "I… I don't know if I can believe it."

"Please." The word is pulled from his heart, from his soul, a deep-seated ache that he'll be feeling for every day of the rest of his life. "Harry, please. I'll take Veritaserum, or you can use Legilimency, I just… You have to believe me."

Silent, eyes still red, Harry nods, and Draco pulls Harry's hands into his, pulls his body against his. He's sobbing into Harry's hair, his arms wrapped tight enough around Harry's body that it must hurt, but he needs Harry closer, needs more of Harry's skin pressed against his own. For a moment, they both hold each other, heartbeat to heartbeat, but then their hands are scrabbling for buttons and fastenings, frantic and heated as they desperately seek skin.

Draco kisses his way across Harry's body. He's done it a hundred times before, a precise, well-planned assault against Harry's desire. But now, he whispers secrets with each kiss, trying to make the tangled mess of his feelings into something as bright and sharp as the love he feels for Harry. It's a diamond, it's broken glass, it's shattered stars. He's filled with refracted light, and he wishes he could shine, could let Harry see the way he glows with it.

Harry's hands in Draco's hair are soft and wondering, and when he pulls Draco up for a kiss, it's as if the whole world is illuminated.

Everything is distilled into moments after that. Harry's lips against his, whispering love, over and over again. Legs wrapped around Draco's waist as he relearns a body he knows as well as his own. The ache in his chest as he eases inside Harry's body. The taste of tears, mingled on their tongues.

When he comes, it isn't a release. It isn't relief or exhalation. It isn't anything like it had been before. It's completion. Instead of being emptied, he's refilled, rejuvenated, recreated in the rush of joy and belonging overpowering him. He holds Harry close, breathing and crying and unable to explain why it's all so much when before it wasn't, when before there was nothing but the pleasure. It feels empty now, while Draco is too full.

They lay together in the aftermath, legs tangled together, Draco unwilling to do anything more than run his fingers over the pebbled skin of Harry's cooling body. He traces the ridges of Harry's ribs, fingers rising and falling as they trail down his side.

"You need to eat more."

Harry laughs quietly, and Draco glories in the sound. "I've been preoccupied."

"You shouldn't…" Draco nudges his nose against Harry's cheek, bringing their mouths together. "You shouldn't have worried so much about me."

"Draco"—his name has never sounded so precious—"I love you."

"I love you, too. Harry."

He pushes Draco's hair back, fingers trailing along the line of his cheekbone. "It's a little weird."

"What? That I love you?"

He kisses Draco, lips curled into a smile. "That you're calling me Harry."

Draco thinks of all the other things he could call him—treasured, beloved, undeserved, maybe one day fiance, then husband—but he whispers "Harry" once more, and chases the laughter from his mouth instead.