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A House on Fire

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For the last five years, Auror Draco Malfoy has walked into his office with hardly a glance at the illusioned window taking up the back wall. It looks out over an imagined London, a perfectly bright and brilliant view of the city that hides the smog and rain and dirt that clings to the city like a patina of time that can never be worn away. It's always a perfect summer's day with soft, white clouds that float through the painfully bright blue sky like a dream. He likes to imagine the gentle breeze that ripples the surface of the Thames brushing across his skin, since he'll never be able to actually feel it. After all, his office is located on the second floor and is, therefore, underground.

Or at least that's what he did before the seventh of October, 2009. It's wet and windy outside, the temperature that awful mix between cold and mild where everything clings and feels musty. Draco shakes rain from his hair. There's only a thin sheen of it, but it's enough to annoy. He'd had a Protego up for most of his walk to the office, but with the new security protocols, he was forced to take it down about a street away. Casting a surreptitious Drying Charm before stepping in the lift, he sighs at the touch of warmth along his scalp. It chases away the lingering chill, leaving Draco with only the slight dampness on his greatcoat to remind him of the rainstorm outside.

His office is blessedly empty when he enters. Throwing his coat onto the rack near the door, he straightens his Auror robes and settles behind his desk. There's a mountain of paperwork to dig through, unfortunately. He and his partner closed out a big case the week before, a potions ring in Belfast that had the local team scratching their heads for months before they finally called Draco's team in to work it. They had, of course, figured it out within a couple of days of their arrival, apprehended the suspects, and found enough evidence of wrongdoing to bury them with it.

He's not smug at all.

Still, it does mean that Draco has been saddled with the majority of the filing to go with the glory. His partner is brilliant in the field—even Draco can't deny it, though he sometimes very much wants to—but utter shite at the administrative side of Auroring. It's his unwelcome burden, dotting all of their I's and crossing all of their T's, but it's work that must be done, and Draco's not one to leave necessary work to less capable hands.

He's partway through their evidentiary forms when the door to his office opens, and his partner falls through in a wet mess.

"Christ," Potter mutters as he takes his Muggle-style leather jacket off. "It's absolutely pissing down out there."

He isn't wearing his regulation uniform, though that's far from unusual. Harry Potter, still the Golden Boy of the DMLE, does his absolute best to skirt whatever rules and regulations he can. Today, he's got a white shirt on, buttoned up to just beneath his collar bone, and sharply creased black trousers that are clearly bespoke and made by someone with impeccable skill. His shoes, a shining pair of black leather Oxfords, are wet with rain and the soles have a bit of dirt clinging to them, a hint of where Potter's feet have tread on their way to work. There's no sign of his wand holster, but Draco knows it's against Potter's chest, tucked tight to his skin underneath the starched white of his shirt. Invisible, except when linen comes a bit too close to skin, and then it's a tantalizing hint of shadow, a smear of darkness against the pure white.

Tearing his eyes from Potter's body—the man is painfully unaware of Draco's lingering, wandering gaze, no matter how many times Draco loses control of it—Draco refocuses on his paperwork and does his best to ignore the sudden warmth in the room.

"What've we got today, Malfoy?" Potter asks as he slips into his robes and starts doing up the fastenings. Draco doesn't note how well they sit on his well-muscled shoulders or how nimble his fingers look on the black toggles.

Draco gestures to the sea of papers spread across his desk. "Paperwork."

"Ah. Right." Potter coughs quietly. "Are you sure you don't want some help with that?"

Draco glances up at him, eyebrows raised. "The last time you filed our paperwork, we got pulled in front of a disciplinary committee and, as you recall, were pulled from active duty for two weeks until we'd redone all of it."

"Right, but I could review what you've already done, maybe?"

Sighing, Draco riffles through his out box, then holds out a stack of forms he'd finished the day before. "Here, if you insist."

Potter takes it, and even though there's plenty of paper between them, he places his fingers close enough that they brush Draco's. Again, heat lances through Draco, and he pulls his hand back carefully, doing his best to hide that he's been burnt by the touch.

Their office falls silent as they both focus on their work. Draco has to squint to read some of the finer print, and it's not until his head starts to ache that he admits defeat and pulls a small pair of reading glasses from his desk. It eases the ache in his temples, but he finds himself growing more and more uncomfortable the longer he works. Frowning, he looks around the office, then to Potter, who's shifting in his seat, his robes now open and billowing around him.

"Is it warm in here," Draco asks, "or is it just me?"

Potter lets out a relieved sigh. "I thought I was imagining things. It's burning up. You mind?" He gestures at his robes, and Draco shakes his head. "Thanks, mate."

Potter sighs when he takes his robes off. Settling them over the back of his chair, he sits with a pleased sound. "That's much better. You think they've mucked up the climate control spells?"

"Possibly. They always get a bit out of sorts when the seasons change."

"Well, here's hoping Building Services gets it sorted."

They continue working quietly, and though Draco is getting a bit uncomfortable with the growing heat in the office, he forces himself to ignore it. He's always in proper uniform, unwilling to put a hair out of place and risk possible censure. It's been years since he joined the force, but there's a small, insistent voice that whispers through his mind that he's always just one step away from being tossed out of the DMLE on his arse. Unable to ignore neither the voice nor the pooling sweat beneath his arms, Draco finds the knock on their office door a welcome distraction.

"Come in," Draco shouts. As the door opens, Draco's stunned by the cool breeze that flows in from the corridor. He hadn't realised how warm it had grown since he arrived.

Weasley steps in, and Draco immediately knows that his day is about to become complicated. The man's hair is wet, but judging by the bits of snow and frost clinging to the curling ends, it's not from the rainstorm outside. He steps inside with a full-body shiver and a groan.

"Oh, fuck, that's lovely." He closes his eyes for a moment, and Draco watches a flake melt and soak into Weasley's hair. "You two are bloody lucky, I have to tell you."

"Are you all right?" Potter asks, rising from his desk. "Why're you covered in snow?"

"Did the Ministry owls not find you?" Weasley pushes his hair back, eyes wide. "I'll take that blank stare as a no, then. It's the windows." He falls into the chair opposite Draco's desk, his long legs stretched out before him and crossed at the ankles as he settles down to defrost. "Something about them's messing with the climate control spells. The whole Ministry is a mess."

"Wait, hold on." Potter looks to their spelled window and its brilliant June sky, then back to Weasley. "Why's yours snowing? I thought you had a spring morning."

"Not anymore, I don't. Pure fucking blizzard now. Parkison was getting ready to Transfigure her desk into a fireplace before I left. She's already turned the rug into a fur cape."

"Pansy hates the cold," Draco says, just as confused as Weasley sounds. "The windows are configurable, aren't they? Just put in a request for different weather."

"Can't." Weasley shivers again. "We tried that, but it didn't help. Building Services put it through, but the window didn't change. And we're not the only ones having issues. Kingsley was nearly drowned in his office this morning. Full on thunderstorm in there. He nearly got struck by lightning when he got in."

Potter sits up. "Lightning?"

"Yeah. It scared the hell out of his secretary. She was giving him a briefing on his schedule when it happened. Nearly got her, too."

"What in the hell is going on?" Draco looks at their window and its perfectly placid day, and he feels a bit of smug relief. "Well. At least we don't have to worry about anything more than a bit of discomfort. Has Building Services offered any kind of timeline for when this will be resolved?"

Weasley shrugs, his posture in the chair more of a lounge than a slouch. Head lolling back, eyes closed in what Draco assumes is warm bliss, he says, "No idea. They wouldn't commit to a timeline. Be thankful you lot have good weather in here."

"Right." Draco looks at Potter, who helpfully shrugs. Trying to bend his voice towards polite dismissal, he says, "Well, thank you for letting us know."

Weasley cracks one eye open, looking thoroughly disappointed. "Are you kicking me out?"

"We've work to do, Weasley. As much as your presence is appreciated…"

"Right, get the hell out of your office. I got it, Malfoy. Harry, see you for lunch?"

"Yeah, see you then."

Once the door shuts, the temperature starts to rise again. Now that Draco's aware of the problem, he can't ignore it. Potter looks perfectly content without his robes, though Draco thinks he can see a hint of sweat gathering on Potter's brow. The roots of his hair are just slightly darker than the longer strands, his fringe clinging to his forehead. Potter brushes them away, and Draco catches the slightly darker shade of Potter's shirt under his arms, sweat seeping into the thin material.

He's having a similar problem, the collar of his robe sticking to his neck uncomfortably. Reaching back to quickly pull it away, he can't help the sigh that escapes when the slightly cooler air of the room slips into the space between fabric and skin.

"You can take them off," Potter says, startling Draco from his brief moment of respite. Finally looking up, he nods at Draco's hand and how it still holds his robes away from his neck. "Your robes. It's bloody hot in here, and I'm not going to tell on you for a uniform violation."

"I don't need your permission to dress down, Potter," Draco says. "And I haven't worried about a uniform violation since I was a Junior Auror."

"Right." Potter's eyebrow raises, and Draco watches as a bit of sweat rolls down his temple to disappear beneath the arm of his glasses. "You're never worried about that now."

"Never."

He waits precisely two minutes before he starts undoing the fastenings on his robe. Not wanting to look too eager, he takes his time with it. It's a full five minutes before he shrugs off the robe. The rush of air against his overheated skin is pure bliss, and the slight breeze he feels when he walks the robe to the coat rack, hanging it neatly beside his greatcoat, is a delightful relief.

"Feel better?" Potter asks, his voice inexplicably rough.

Draco sniffs. "Much. Now, if I can get through this paperwork, we can get a new assignment, and escape this blasted heat."

"I'd take Knockturn duty at this point," Potter says with a lopsided grin. It absolutely doesn't do things to Draco's stomach. "Even with the rain."

Draco shudders. Whenever it rains, it turns the cobbles of Knockturn Alley into a stew of filth. "I don't think I'm quite to that point."

"Not yet," Potter mutters darkly, and Draco fights back a quiet laugh.

"Best get to it, then. I wouldn't want you ruining your shoes for nothing."

Losing himself to the straightforward work of filling in forms, Draco almost manages to ignore the growing heat. It's a full hour before he's forced to undo the mother of pearl buttons at his wrist and roll up his sleeves. He hates having his forearms bared, but he's starting to swim in sweat, and as long as they keep their door closed, he should have enough warning to cover his Dark Mark before anyone can comment.

It thankfully doesn't bother Potter, who's kept his eyes down on his own work since Draco removed his robes. The small stack of papers that Draco gave him earlier hasn't shifted very much, which is only further proof that Potter can't be trusted with the admin. Sighing, Draco pushes his glasses back up his nose, rolls the ache out of his shoulders and neck, and grimaces as his shirt sticks to his back. He lifts the front of it away from his chest, trying to vent some of the trapped heat of his body and failing. For a brief, barely lucid moment, he considers undoing the top button, but then he comes to his senses. It might be hot in the office, but he's not quite to that point of desperation.

Not yet.

Draco pushes his hair from his forehead—his hair potion is doing nothing against the onslaught of heat and sweat—and Potter groans. Glancing at him, Draco raises an eyebrow.

"Is it getting to you?"

Potter blinks, then sets down his quill "Yes. It really is." He casts a Tempus and sighs. "I need to meet Ron for lunch. You okay in here on your own?"

"I am a grown man, Potter. I don't need constant supervision."

"I know… No, of course not, that's not…" Potter sighs, then stands. "I'll be back in an hour, yeah?"

He doesn't bother to grab his jacket from the rack, just opens the door and hurries into the hallway, the door slamming shut behind him. Uncertain what's gotten Potter's knickers in a twist—and Draco is decidedly not thinking about Potter's knickers and what shape they might otherwise be in—Draco finishes the form he's on, sets the new stack of papers on Potter's desk, then lazily makes his way to the Ministry cafeteria.

The food is far from gourmet, but their bacon sandwiches are tolerable, and after spending the entire day sweating, he needs something salty and filling. He drinks two glasses of water while doing so. Briefly considering pinching one of the ever-filling pitchers to bring back to the office with him, he decides against it at the last second. The Ministry house-elves aren't too particular about things, but they do frown on petty larceny, and Draco's Aguamenti isn't half-bad. A bit tinny, if he isn't concentrating, but cool and consistent. It'll get him through the rest of the day.

Of course, the rest of the day ends up feeling like sitting on the surface of the sun. The blue sky of their window is a taunting thing, the ripples on the fake Thames hinted at a breeze that is nowhere to be found within the confines of the room. Potter tries casting a Cooling Charm, but all it does is freeze the sweat on his skin, which melts a moment later. Potter Transfigures a teacup into a pitcher, casts his cooling charm on that instead, and they at least are able to have some cold water to drink as they swelter.

The way that Potter gulps it down is criminal, though. His throat shifts and flexes as he swallows, the condensation on the glass clinging to his fingers as he cradles it in his hand. When he finishes, he always lets out a low sigh of pleasure, a soft sound that is painfully loud in their too-small, too-hot office. Every time he drinks, he sighs, and Draco, sitting behind his desk with his sleeves rolled up and his glasses sliding down his nose from perspiration, feels it like that imagined breeze across the surface of the river. A tantalizing chill that isn't there, that he desperately wants to chase.

The minute his Tempus shows 5 p.m., Draco is out of his seat, grabbing his robes, and throwing them on as he wishes Potter a half-hearted goodbye. The hallway is a chilly assault on his senses, and the wet, October air outside is worse still. But even as his skin cools and the heat of the office fades to nothing more than a memory, Draco's body burns.


After a week of punishing heat, Draco is thrilled for the relief the weekend brings. He turns his climate control spells to their coolest setting, lays naked on his floor, and enjoys the way goose pimples cover him from head to toe. Once he starts shivering, he admits defeat and puts on a pair of joggers and a jumper, but for a glorious twenty minutes, he's frozen solid and loves it.

He does take the time to bring his summer uniforms out of storage. The linen shirts and trousers, their threads enchanted with Cooling Charms and antiperspirant spells, should make things a bit more bearable than his heavy woolen winter garb.


Monday morning comes much too quickly for his liking, and though he's uncertain if Building Services have managed to make any progress over the weekend, Draco does his best to be optimistic about things.

And, for the first thirty minutes of his day, he thinks they must have fixed the climate control issue because his office is comfortable, no sign of the oppressive heat from the week before to be found. He's beaten Potter into the office this morning, a common occurrence as the man seems to be allergic to arriving anywhere on time, and Draco makes use of the peace and quiet to review a handful of cold cases he had pulled from storage the week before while trying to escape the heat. He's nearly chilly by the time that Potter arrives, so it's a bit of an annoyance that as soon as the man settles behind his desk, the temperature starts to rise.

Much like Draco, Potter's wearing a lighter uniform than last week. But unlike Draco, Potter's made absolutely no effort to stay true to the Auror uniform code. His uniform jacket is hung up with Draco's robes, but rather than the long-sleeved linen shirt they're allowed for summer weather, he's wearing a crisp cotton thing with short sleeves, though they barely count with the way they bulge and strain against Potter's biceps and shoulders. It's more like strips of fabric binding Potter's upper arms rather than clothing. Draco can see the seams straining, and though he tries to keep his focus on his cases, he keeps glancing over at Potter and his completely unprofessional attire.

As the temperature rises, so does Draco's annoyance. Even his linen isn't enough to keep him cool, and he's forced to roll his sleeves up again. Rather than easing the heat, it seems to only make it worse. Groaning, he throws his quill down and shoves himself away from his desk. The screech of his chair against the floor makes Potter curse.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he snaps, glaring at Draco through his sweat-dampened fringe.

"It's this damned heat!" Angrily shoving his chair in under his desk, he grabs his robes, and even though they're heavy and threaded through with warming charms, he puts them on. He can't bloody well storm into Building Services without looking his absolute, official, best. "I'm going to give someone a piece of my mind about this. It was perfectly fine until you arrived, and then it was like someone decided our office needed to be a bloody oven."

"Well, it's not my fault."

"I didn't say it was, Potter. Not everything has to do with you, you know." Draco winces. "Damn it, you know what I mean. My apologies."

Potter sighs and runs his hand over his face. The fabric of his sleeve groans around his arm. Draco thinks he sees a seam finally give way. "It's fine. It's impossible to think with this heat."

"Which is why," Draco says as he wrenches the door open, "I'm going to do something about it."


There is an extremely long queue winding its way out of Building Services. Wix in various states of weather-related turmoil shift uncomfortably as it moves slowly forward. There are a few people who are drenched through, any Impervius they cast clearly not enough to stand up to whatever weather front has been unleashed on their workspace. One woman is sobbing over a pile of ruined ledgers, her snot-muffled voice moaning about ruined balance sheets and income statements. A man far ahead of her in the queue is covered in a thick layer of snow that has yet to melt, even though he's been there much longer than Draco, who's near the very back and would be annoyed if it weren't for the fact that the hallway is relatively temperate.

Still, it's a solid thirty minutes before he even sees the door to Building Services, and his stomach is starting to complain about his light breakfast that morning. Idly dreaming about lunch, he shuffles forward, step by step, until he finally reaches a very beleaguered looking wizard whose hair and robes are dark with sweat.

"How can I help you?" he asks, voice threaded with exhaustion and a tone that indicates he's ready to be screamed at for at least the hundredth time that day.

"It's about my window—"

"We are aware of the problem and are doing our best to return all climate control and decoration back to their standard behaviour. We appreciate your patience during these trying times and will inform you via owl as soon as we have a solution."

"I don't think you understand, I'm—"

"Thank you, sir, for your time and again, we appreciate your patience during these trying times."

Draco scowls. "Why're you so sweaty?"

Tired eyes rising from their thousand-mile stare down the crowded hallway, the wizard blinks up at him. "Because the entire Ministry is ready to kill everyone and everything in my department. It's a bit tense in here."

"Can't you do something about it? I mean… You are in charge of this."

"Sir, if I could, I would." He sighs, then looks to the next person in line. "Ma'am, if you want to come forward. How can I help you?"

She shoves Draco to the side, and though he tries not to be annoyed about it—she's got an icicle dangling from her right lapel—he does shoot a glare back at the Building Services employee, who's repeating the same spiel he gave Draco a moment before. Grumbling quietly to himself, he turns down the hallway, walks past the various miserable wix still waiting their turn, and wonders if he's got time for a quick bite before heading back to his sweatbox of an office.

He's nearly there when a familiar voice hollers his name, sharp and pointed, down the hallway. Glancing over his shoulder, he stops walking and waits for Pansy to catch up.

"Draco Lucius Malfoy," she says before sniffling. "I have a bone to pick with you."

"Why would I expect anything less?" He takes in the heavy fur-lined cloak she has draped over her shoulders. "Might I offer you a Warming Charm?"

"Get fucked, Malfoy," she says, nose in the air. Her superior mein is ruined by the sneeze that rockets out of her. "Salazar, I hate this."

"I guess it's safe to say your office is still misbehaving, then."

She starts walking down the hallway, and he falls in beside her. "Very much so. Weasley got trapped under a bit of an avalanche earlier, though, so that brought me a tiny bit of joy. If I die of pneumonia, though, don't think the Ministry won't be hearing from my ghost. Ah, here we are."

She barrels through the door to his office, eyes bright with a near maniacal fervour that dies as soon as she stills in the center of the room. "I thought it was supposed to be a bloody desert in here. This is… this is fine. This is nice. What the fuck?"

Now that his attention has been drawn to it, Draco has to agree. Their office is nice. A bit warm, for sure, but nothing like before. More of an early morning in summer when the air hasn't had a chance to truly reach scorching but is tinted with the flavour of it, a metallic tang in the back of his throat that hints at what's to come. Draco shrugs out of his robe, which is still a bit too heavy, even for the more reasonable climate. But as he settles it over his arm, he feels the temperature tick up a notch, a rush of heat that has him frowning in response.

"I'm going to kill him," Pansy says, her rant continuing though Draco's missed a good portion of it. "Weasley swore to me that your office was sweltering, and if I don't melt through before tea time, I will kill him."

"It was burning up in here an hour ago." Harry says it like he's trying to calm a wild animal. "Honestly, just stay for a bit. You'll see. That is…" His eyes dart to Draco, eyebrow raised.

"No luck on my end, Potter. They are aware of the problem and are working to fix it."

"So, we're fucked, then."

Draco doesn't shiver at the curse on Potter's lips or the way his voice roughens with the word. "At least temporarily."

Pansy looks at Draco, then over to Potter, then back. "Hm. I do believe you have a case file I've been looking for, Potter. Would you mind handing it to me?"

"What?" Potter's brow furrows at the non sequitur. 

"Top shelf, dear. Do be quick, I have work to get back to."

"I thought you were thawing," Draco drawls.

"Hush. The folder, Potter. If you'd be so kind."

Still frowning, Harry stands up and turns to the bookshelf behind his desk. He reaches up, competent fingers running over the line of folders neatly tucked into the top shelf. "I don't even know how you can see it."

"It's green," she says as explanation. "That one, right there."

Potter has to rise to his tip-toes to grab it, and his shirt pulls with the motion, coming untucked from his waistband. There's a flash of dark skin that Draco can't pull his eyes away from, and the room gusts with heat. A moment later, Harry's got the folder, and he's turning around to hand it to Pansy, and Draco tears his gaze away like a guilty child caught reaching into the biscuit tin.

"That's exactly what I needed. Thank you, Potter." She turns to Draco. "You and I will catch up later. I'm off to the frigid north. If I don't make it, you may not have my Givenchy."

"Of course not," Draco says as he turns his eyes to the cold cases still scattered across his desk. "I only want the Prada."

Laughing, Pansy walks from the office and shuts the door behind her. The room feels painfully quiet now that Draco and Potter are alone again, and though he somehow manages to stay focused on the cases before him—kidnapping, potions accident that might have been intentional, murder from two decades ago—the room gets hotter and hotter, until Draco's forced to do the unthinkable.

He undoes the top button of his shirt.

It's an immediate relief. Air breathes across his clavicle and the dip of his throat, gentle and soothing like a lover's touch. He tries to bite back the sigh of contentment, but it escapes and eases its way through the office. Potter, whose head has been bent over his paperwork since Pansy left, raises his eyes, mouth quirked into a smile that goes stoney when he sees Draco.

"You…" He coughs. "You okay over there, Malfoy?"

"I am no longer in line with the Auror uniform code and, to be honest, it feels brilliant."

"Brilliant." Potter's eyes dart to Draco's throat. The room somehow grows warmer, though it might just be Draco and the feel of Potter's eyes on his skin. "That looks… Is it better?"

"It is."

Potter lifts a hand to his own throat. The sleeves of his shirt tighten. Fingers dance over his own button, and then it slides free, persuaded by a gentle touch to fall apart. Potter sighs. "That does help, doesn't it?"

Draco can see a sweat-dampened vest from behind the gaping front of Potter's shirt. It's white and doing very little to hide the muscled chest beneath it. As he stares, Potter shifts, and his shirt falls further open. Draco sees the curved shadow of a nipple and finally tears his eyes away.

The room is stifling.

"If it'd make you more comfortable," Potter says, voice rough, "you can undo more."

Draco nods, tight and aching, but keeps his hands on his desktop. Sweat runs down the back of his neck, collecting in his collar, soaking the thin fabric until it sticks to his skin. "I'm fine right now, Potter, but thank you for turning a blind eye."

His smile is soft and genuine when he taps the arm of his glasses. "Can't see for shit without them. So, how are those cases looking?"

Grateful for the distraction from Potter's… everything, Draco picks up the murder case from his desk and stands just enough to hand it over to Potter. "I've got a strong suspicion the spouse was involved, though I think the original investigator was correct when they confirmed the man's alibi. But if you look at the financial records in there, there's a series of recurring transfers in the months leading up to his wife's death that could be enough to hire a hitman."

Potter, eyebrow raised, looks through the papers and grins. "You've always had an eye for details, haven't you? I'll get a records request in, see if we can follow these transfers any further."

"And grab one of those pitchers from the cafeteria, the ever-filling ones. All this heat is drying me out."

"Yeah, can do," Potter says, the case file tucked under his sleeveless arm. "You get the transfer paperwork in to Robards so we can get started when I get back."

Draco starts pulling forms from his desk, and as soon as Potter leaves— Draco's eyes traitorously glancing at the man's arse and staying there until the door blocks his view—the temperature in the room starts to cool. Now that he's no longer distracted by Potter or his case review, Draco's more than a little aware of how quickly the room becomes temperate and comfortable. The sweat-drenched collar of Draco's shirt is an uncomfortable reminder of how warm it had been, and though he's not quite sure if it means what he thinks it means, Draco has an unsettling idea of why his shared office with Potter might always trend towards flaming heat while Pansy and Weasley's office is cold enough to freeze.

Deciding that the best course of action is to plunge firmly into denial, Draco starts working on the transfer papers. They're relatively easy, considering all of the bureaucratic loops he normally has to jump through, and he finishes and sends them off for processing before Potter returns with the financial records. When he smiles at Draco, the sheaf of papers in his hand flapping triumphantly, heat curls low in Draco's gut and around the still open mouth of his shirt. Sweat almost immediately drips down his neck and into the hollow of his throat, and if he were paying more attention to Potter's gaze than the sudden influx of warmth, he might have seen those green eyes track the path of moisture as it clung to his skin.

"Did you find anything?" Draco asks instead, wiping the sweat from his skin.

"I think you're on the right track. While I was waiting on the records, I Floo called the husband's office and was able to confirm his salary. It's a lot more than what we see deposited into the accounts he declared initially."

"Perfect. My father, bastard that he was, always said to follow the money."

Potter frowns, and there's a shiver of cold, quickly replaced again by that overwhelming heat. "We'll still need to figure out motive, even if we can trace the financials."

"I've got an idea about that, actually." Draco holds his hand out for the case file, then opens it after Potter places it in his hand. "There's a family friend in here that seemed a bit… too close with the wife. If she was having an affair, it might be motive enough."

Potter sighs and shakes his head. "People are such idiots when it comes to sex." Draco has to agree, especially when Potter sighs against and starts pulling the tails of his shirt free from his trousers. "This is unbearable."

"It absolutely is."

Potter's hands still on his buttons. "I hope you don't mind if…"

"No." Draco swallows. "No, I don't mind at all."

"Thanks, Malfoy."

Potter unbuttons his shirt deftly, competent fingers slipping the small discs through their holes so quickly that Draco is caught unawares when Potter's shirt flaps open. His vest isn't wet with sweat anymore, except under the arms, but Draco can smell the man's body from where he's sitting, a sharp, musky thing tinged with the spice of his deodorant or soap. The room heats in a rush, and Draco lets his fingers flirt with the next button on his shirt. When he catches Potter's eyes on his hand, he lets them push against the fastening until it slips free.

Another gust of heat, and sweat gathers again on Draco's skin. His touch lingers on the hard line of his clavicle. Potter's eyes still. The room heats a fraction more.

"Potter," Draco says, voice soft but rough, "I think I know what's going on."

"What are you talking about?"

"Pay attention."

Green fire lances through him, Potter's eyes like a dagger piercing his skin. Draco undoes another button and another until his shirt hangs open around his chest, his own sweat-stained vest visible. He carefully pulls the shirt free of his trousers, then stands so he can more easily slide it from his shoulders.

The office is like an oven, waves of heat pounding against his body and drawing more sweat to the surface. It clings to the curves of his shoulders, the dip of his elbow, the tendons at his wrists. It pools in his palms, and as he watches, a drop falls from his fingertips to land on the desk.

"Draco…" Potter takes a hesitant step forward, his own skin golden and glistening. 

Draco mirrors his motion, coming around the side of his desk so that there's only a small expanse of floor between them. "It's us."

"What… What do you mean?"

"The room. It's responding to us." Draco pulls at the hem of his vest, lets it drag against his skin as it comes free of his trousers. At the flash of pale skin above his hip, he sees Potter's eyes darken, and the room grows warmer. "To this."

When he places his hand on Potter's forearm, it's like he's been burned. He can see waves of heat rising from the floor, ghosting touches against Draco's bared skin. He follows their upward path along Potter's arm, his palm dragging against Potter's tensed muscles. When he reaches the curve of Potter's elbow, he stops, wraps his fingers around the joint, and pulls Potter a step forward. He stumbles the way a man lost in the desert falls towards an oasis, and Draco catches him as easily as still waters.

"What're you doing, Malfoy?" Potter asks, his breath even hotter than the air of the room as it passes across his skin.

"Consider it an experiment," Draco says, closing what little gap remains between them. "And if you don't like the results, tell me to stop."

And Draco—finally—kisses Potter.

His lips are lax and open in surprise, which means that Draco can taste the man long before he's ready for it. Still, he's taunted by that hint of humid warmth, and his tongue darts out to touch Potter's lower lip. It drags a groan out of Potter's throat, a wrenching, tearing sound like the roots of a great tree pulling free from the earth, and then Potter's fingers are digging into Draco's hair, tangling around the sweat-dampened strands and pulling him closer. There's no resistance in his body, all of it melted by the heat of Harry's mouth and his hands. 

Draco pours all of his repressed desire into the kiss, lost as it washes over him, drags him under. There's just the feel of Harry's mouth, restless and searching against his, the sting of his hands tangled in Draco's hair, the burning heat of Harry's body pressed against Draco's. It's overwhelming, undeniable, and as Harry's tongue teases at the seam of Draco's mouth, temptation and challenge at the same time, the office sizzles with heat.

Harry's mouth moves from Draco's mouth to the hinge of his jaw, then down the line of his neck. His tongue flashes across the muscles there, licking salt from Draco's skin. The bite of his teeth against Draco's throat is like a shot of ice water, and the way it makes him shiver aches.

"Harry," he gasps, and Potter does it again, a gentle hint of pain that has Draco throbbing in his trousers.

His fingers tangle in the fabric of Harry's vest, dragging at it until it bunches up around his armpits. Laughing, Harry draws away, arms raised, and lets Draco tear the thin cotton from his body. His bared chest is covered with scars, ones that Draco knows the origin of and others he doesn't. Fingers trembling, he lets them touch what only his eyes have dared brush against. The oval, just off-center on Harry's chest; the great slice that goes from right pectoral down along his obliques to end above his waistband; a starburst just over his hip bone. Draco traces them with purpose, and Harry shivers before pulling him back into another heated kiss.

Draco removes his vest at some point, tossed haphazardly away while they desperately try to keep their hands on each other. It's a fumbling, sweaty mess, but neither of them care, focused solely on the challenge of being as close to the other as possible. Harry's cock is firm and hard against the dip of Draco's hips, and when he shifts to the right, his prick rubs up against that firm ridge. They both groan at the caress. Draco thrusts are slow and steady, and even though his prick chafes against his sweat-soaked pants and trousers, he can't stop himself from chasing the pleasure of Harry's body against his own. It's too much. He burns with it. If he could, he'd immolate from this alone. But when Potter's fingers touch the buckle of Draco's belt and his lips part to murmur, "May I?" as if politeness is what's needed in this moment rather than expediency, Draco curses and fumbles for it himself.

As soon as his belt slips free, Harry reaches for Draco's fly and opens it with a teasing brush of knuckles against Draco's cock. He doesn't pull either Draco's trousers or pants down, just reaches into the gaping fabric to wrap confident fingers around Draco's prick. Hips jerking into the touch, Draco hisses in a breath as Harry laughs quietly before taking Draco's mouth in another bruising kiss. He's dizzy with heat and lust, but even with his eyes closed, he finds Harry's fly and fumbles it open enough for him to slide his hand inside. Harry's pants are damp. Draco isn't sure if it's from sweat or precome but can't make himself care to find out. All he cares about is slipping his hand through the slit in the front of Harry's pants and touching the hot skin beneath.

"Fuck," Harry gasps, his grip on Draco tightening as his breath punches out of him. "Fuck, Draco, I—"

Draco kisses him quiet. Though he doesn't have much room to maneuver, he gets a grip on Harry's cock and gasps. It's long and thick, like a firebrand in his hand, and Draco curses himself for not undoing Harry's trousers properly. He wants to see it, so though it nearly hurts to let Harry go, Draco does, but only as long as it takes him to finish undoing Harry's trousers.

He rests his head on Harry's shoulder, his forehead sticking to the sweat gathered in the curve of Harry's neck, and pulls his prick out. Even his grip on it earlier doesn't prepare Draco for the reality of it. Thick enough around that Draco's fingers nearly don't meet when he cradles it in his palm and heavy with blood, long enough that Draco knows he wouldn't be able to fit it all in his mouth if he tried. Draco draws Harry's foreskin up over the flushed head and holds back a pleased laugh when Harry groans.

"Don't tease me, Malfoy," he says, squeezing Draco's cock hard enough that Draco sees stars.

Draco twists his wrist, pulling another groan from Harry's chest as he starts to jerk Harry slowly. "Wouldn't dream of it."

Mumbling something profane under his breath, Harry mirrors Draco's motions. There's just a bit too much friction, their sweat and excitement not enough to ease the burn of their palms against each other, but Draco can't be bothered to cast a lubrication spell. Instead, he distracts himself from the hint of pain by kissing Harry's shoulder, biting at the ridge of his clavicle, trailing his tongue up the jagged planes of his Adam's apple and chin. They kiss again, and Draco chases Harry's groans with his own. Frantic, desperate, they thrust and pull and tighten, and the room grows sweltering, boiling around them. He can't think. His world is narrowed to the circle of Harry's hand on his prick and the painful burn of air against skin. He smells smoke. They're going to burn the Ministry down around them, and Draco doesn't care.

"I'm going to—" Harry gasps, and it's enough to tip Draco over the edge. 

Groaning, he thrusts into Harry's hand, the drag of his palm eased by Draco's spunk smeared across it. Fire lights Draco up from the inside out, whipping through his bloodstream like an unholy beast made of lava and flame. It boils his blood, sears his flesh, until all that's left is a burnt out husk, the shaking remains of whatever he was before Harry wrenched Draco's orgasm from him like steel throwing sparks against flint.

Harry's thrusts lose their tempo, speeding up and stuttering as he clings to Draco's body. "God, you didn't. Fuck, Draco, I'm—"

As warmth fills Draco's palm and Harry bows forward under the strength of his orgasm, something cold hits Draco's shoulder. It's a tiny annoyance at first, but then there's more and more of it, wet and cold enough to sting. Dragging his too-heavy eyelids open, he stares into Harry's green, hazy eyes as their office goes from sweltering desert to torrential downpour.

Harry tilts his head back, eyes closed, and rain pours over his face. Mouth opening on a laugh, water spills over his lips and out the corners of his mouth, cascading down his face. Draco wants to lick the rain from Harry's skin, and the room grows humid. Steam curls around their feet, but Draco pays it no mind as he lets the rain wash his hands clean so he can grab Harry's face and draw his mouth back to Draco's. He drinks the rain from Harry's mouth, lets it pool between them as he rests his lips against Harry's.

As they calm, the downpour slows until it's only a light mist. They're both soaked through. Harry's glasses are completely covered by droplets of water that cling to the lenses, and as the rain stops, leaving only humidity—and completely ruined paperwork—behind, he takes them off and casts a quick drying charm before putting them back on.

"Well," he says, cheeks suddenly darkening. "That was…"

"I hope you're struggling to find a suitable synonym for amazing. Maybe 'life altering' or 'paradigm shifting.'"

Harry laughs. "Those are close, yeah."

Even though only a moment ago, they were stroking each other's pricks and neither of them has yet put the offending members back into their pants, Harry looks nervous. Bashful, even. He glances down, eyes darkening and the room growing warmer, and looks back up at Draco through the wet fall of his lashes. Tentatively, as if Draco will spook, he leans in closer and presses the tip of his nose against Draco's cheek before kissing him. It's soft and searching, and Draco lets himself be found. A cool breeze eases through the office, and Draco shivers.

The moment is broken by a loud, frantic knocking on the door. Cursing, Draco and Harry pull away and put themselves somewhat to rights. Draco's just got his prick put away when Weasley bursts into the office, then stops just past the threshold.

He looks down at his now soaked shoes, then back up at Harry and Draco in confusion. "Why's it all wet in here?"

"Window's out of sorts," Harry offers helpfully, his blush fading but noticeable if you're looking for it (Draco absolutely is). "Been having weird weather all week. Didn't you hear?"

"Yeah, but your office… It was…" He frowns again. "I guess it's still warm in here, isn't it? But why… Oh, well. Look, Parkison figured it out. She's a bloody evil genius."

Draco raises an eyebrow. "You'd best not let her hear you say that. She'll want it embroidered on a pillow."

"Good thing I can't sew for shit, then. Anyway, she cracked it."

Draco waits for Weasley to continue, but as he looks at them with wide, excited eyes and doesn't say anything else, Draco's forced to admit that he's going to have to move things along if he's going to have any chance to get out of his wet… well, everything.

"Weasley, this century, if you'd please."

"Oh, fine. I thought you, of all people, would appreciate a bit of dramatic tension, but whatever."

"Weasley!"

The room crackles ominously with thunder, and Weasley points at Draco with an excited shout. "That! It's that!"

"It's Dra—Malfoy?" Harry asks, brow furrowed in attractive confusion.

Draco believes the heat's finally gotten to him.

"No, it's not Malfoy. It's his emotions."

"My emotions. My emotions have wreaked havoc on the unassuming offices of the Ministry of Magic?"

"Not just your emotions, everyone's. The windows, they're keyed to the occupants of the room, right? Only problem is that Building Services adjusted the spellwork behind them a few weeks ago, over the weekend, and they mucked it up. Instead of just showing the best weather for the people in the room, they're creating it."

"And the emotions in the room are how it's triggered," Harry says carefully. "So when someone's angry, there's thunder."

"And when they're ready to kill you with a look, it's frigid." Weasley grins. "Apparently, I pissed Parkinson off recently, and she's been trying to freeze me out ever since."

"Hence the snow." Draco laughs. "Of course. So our office has been hot because…"

"Yeah, I don't know about that, or about the rain. I was pants at weather magic when we covered it during eighth year Transfigurations. Anyway, if you two can be cordial, it should be fine in here until Building Services gets it fixed. They're saying two, maybe three more days to get every office fixed."

Harry glances at Draco, and the room gusts with warmth again. "I think we can manage."

Weasley, frowning, looks between the two of them. "I really can't figure out what's going on between you two. If you figure it out, let me know."

"Of course, Weasley," Draco lies. "You'll be the first to know."

"Brilliant. You need any help with drying charms?" Weasley lifts his foot and shakes water free. "I can help."

"Thanks, Ron, but I think Malfoy and I have it in hand."

More heat, and another confused glance from Ron before he nods and steps into the hallway. He casts a quick charm on his shoes, then reaches for the door before pausing. "You want me to leave it open? It's gonna get pretty muggy in here if I shut the door."

"Goodbye, Weasley," Draco says, splashing over to close the door—gently—in Weasley's face. As Draco turns around to face Harry, he reaches behind himself to lock it.

"So, Potter," he asks before walking forward, "whyever would our office be so… hot, do you think?"

"I swear," Harry says, flushing from more than just the growing warmth in the room, "I didn't mean anything by it."

Draco places his finger in the hollow of Harry's throat, threatening. "By what?" 

"You're fit," Potter blurts out, his cheeks crimson. "I mean, you know you're fit, and you know I think you're fit, what with all of the"—he waves indistinctly between them—"that just happened. But I wasn't going to do anything, I swear."

Draco looks Harry in the eye for a long, still moment. Steam curls around them from the water evaporating off of the floor. Harry swallows, and Draco can feel his throat move beneath Draco's finger.

Grinning, Draco asks, "Whyever not?" before leaning in to kiss the surprised laugh from Harry's mouth.

It doesn't take long for their office to dry out, what with the heat.