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Alchemical Romance

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Harry’s conversation with Ron halted abruptly as he entered the conference room. He ignored Ron’s irritated muttering in favor of staring at the blond sitting at the large table.

“What the hell Harry?” Ron complained as he pushed past him. “Oh. Bloody hell,” he whispered as he presumably spotted the other occupant.

“Potter, Weasley, take a seat please,” Robards said as he waved toward the table. “Mr. Malfoy has brought forward some interesting information pertaining to your case.” He raised an eyebrow. “I presume you all know one another?”

“We’ve met,” Malfoy responded with a smirk.

Harry saw Ron’s face twitch and bit back a sigh. They were adults now—aurors no less. He could be a professional. Absolutely.

“What information?” Harry asked, keeping his voice level.

“And how did you get it?” snapped Ron.

Malfoy glared at the redhead before turning to Harry. “I’m aware of the murders you’ve been investigating. I also know the nature of the murders and that you have yet to determine a motive.”

Ron slammed his hands on the table and leaned forward. “How could you possibly know that?”

“The confidentiality of your department is not as tightly locked as you would like to believe,” Malfoy said with a sneer. “The point is that I suspect a probable motive for the crimes.”

Harry studied the blond carefully. “What motive do you suspect?”

“There are certain potions that require parts of the body that have been forcibly taken. Seeing as your murderer tends to go after wizards who would seemingly not be missed, I would think he is choosing the easiest method to obtain the required ingredients.”

“What makes you so sure?”

Malfoy scoffed. “Well I can hardly be sure, can I? I don’t know all the facts. This is all just a highly educated supposition.” He folded his hands and smirked.

“Or maybe you know the motive because you’re the criminal!” accused Ron, though Harry could hardly blame him.

“Why would I freely give you information that could lead to my arrest?” Malfoy’s voice dripped with disdain.

Harry shrugged and placed a placating hand on Ron’s shoulder. “You feed us half truths to eliminate yourself as a suspect and keep a pulse on the investigation.”

“While that reasoning may have been enlightened at one point, its overuse has made it virtually useless in practice.”

“Mr. Malfoy is not a suspect,” Robards cut in. His tone left no room for argument. “I have already vetted him myself. His expertise in theoretical potions makes me believe he will be a valuable asset to the investigation; an asset you will make use of.” He eyed them sternly.

Ron bit his lip and visibly struggled to keep the anger out of his face. Harry was fighting back his own urge to protest. “Why do you even want to help?” he asked Malfoy.

He sighed and leaned back in his chair. It was the first time during the entire meeting that he showed any sign of discomfort. “There was an attempt on my wards last night. I believe I may be a target.”

Harry grumbled to himself as he traveled up the walkway. He'd been tasked with the responsibility of checking in with Malfoy while Ron got to analyze some other leads. He supposed Ron was the analyst of the two, and honestly Harry could manage his emotions concerning Malfoy much better than Ron. Still, he couldn't help but think he was being punished.

The door opened as Harry neared the entrance and Malfoy stood with a pained expression on his face. "What, no house elf?" sneered Harry, immediately chastising himself for his childishness.

Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "It would be a waste to have a house elf just to open the door."

Harry's eyes widened in surprise. "Don't tell me you actually gave up your house elves!"

Malfoy frowned. "Merlin, no. Why ever would I do that?" He closed the door as Harry crossed into the manor. "A few house elves maintain the property, but they are no longer used to answering the door."

A pang hit Harry in the chest and his stomach dropped. He knew the Malfoys had been shunned after the war—deservedly so—but he had never thought of the consequences on an individual level. Did Malfoy no longer have friends? Was Harry his first visitor since the end of the trials? He knew that Lucius and Narcissa had left the country. Was Malfoy completely isolated? He tried to shake the uncomfortable thoughts as he followed Malfoy down a hall. The blond stopped abruptly at a door that had been left ajar.

"What is it now?" Malfoy’s voice was filled with exasperation. "You look like a kicked crup."

Harry shook his head and decided to be honest. "I guess I just never thought about how alone you are."

A flicker of emotion passed through the other man's face too quickly for Harry to name. "I really don't know what you're on about."

Harry waved his hand to encompass the manor. "You said the house elves—"

He was interrupted by a snort. "I don't live here, Potter. Do try to keep up." With that he led Harry into what was apparently the library. "I've come here to borrow some of the books. I think there might be something useful that isn't in the texts I have at my flat."

He chose to ignore what had to be an insult and let Malfoy show him his notes. He began reading them while Malfoy flipped through a book across the table. A few times he would look up only to see grey eyes flick back down. Harry had a suspicion that he was being watched. He didn't know what Malfoy was looking for, and he certainly didn't know why it caused his pulse to speed up. After a length of time so steeped in tension that Harry couldn't possibly measure accurately, Malfoy leaned back and stretched. Harry watched through lowered lashes as his shirt rode up and revealed a stretch of pale skin. He wondered what the rest would look like.

He interrupted his own thoughts by clearing his throat. "So you think the murderer is trying to create some kind of potion?"

Malfoy held the stretch longer than necessary. When he finally looked at Harry there was a glint in his eye that Harry was afraid to interpret. "I've come across another likely option, but you’re not going to like it."

Harry waited. "Well?"

The blond smirked. "Still as impatient as ever." He turned the book around so Harry could read it. "I looked at several potions texts and though there are several promising options, none of them require the bulk of body parts that have been taken. So I went over your notes again."

Harry leapt out of his chair, effectively cutting Malfoy off. "You took our notes!"

"Pensieve, Potter," Malfoy responded, rolling his eyes. He reached over and tugged Harry back down into the chair. "Let's focus on the important details shall we?"

Harry nodded, fighting the embarrassing blush trying to cover his face. It was too easy to jump to conclusions with Malfoy. "Sorry," he muttered, studying the page in front him. He finally noticed the text and leaned forward in surprise. "Is this alchemy?"

A pleasant scent washed over Harry as Malfoy leaned in. He stopped the impulse to sniff and tried to pay attention to what Malfoy was saying.

"I didn't realize you were familiar with alchemy?"

"I'm not really," he answered, leaning back. "I recognize some of the symbols, but I don't know much beyond that."

Malfoy nodded. "You know at least that alchemy attempts to uncover certain mysteries of the universe?"

Harry shrugged. "In theory. I've never paid much attention."

Malfoy looked at him with wide eyes. "You amaze me."

"Um, thanks?"

The corners of Malfoy's mouth twitched as if it was trying to smile. "That wasn't a compliment." He leaned his head on his hand and tapped the book with his finger. It was the most casual position Harry had ever seen from him and he felt something flutter in his stomach. But Malfoy was still talking. "You held the Philosopher’s Stone in your hand when you were just eleven, and yet you have no interest in what that meant for you. That is extremely noble."

"That sounds like a compliment to me."

This time Malfoy did smile. "Gryffindors," he muttered, almost fondly.

Harry grinned. "Now that really was a compliment."

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Whatever helps you sleep at night." He tapped the book, bringing Harry's attention back to their conversation. "There is a rather disturbing ritual that would require acquiring body parts."

Something lodged itself in Harry's throat as he thought about what that could mean. He wasn't sure he wanted to know. But he was an auror first, and not one known to be squeamish. "All right," he said, glad that his voice didn't waiver.

"Now this is just a theory, but I'm pretty sure about it.”

"Just get on with it Malfoy!"

"Merlin, you are impatient." He pointed to a section of the text that Harry had no hope of interpreting. "This here speaks of a ritual to resurrect the dead."

"That's impossible," Harry said matter-of-factly.

"It's assumed impossible because no one has done it yet, not for lack of trying. These days only the unspeakables actively experiment with it."

Harry's eyes went wide. "They do?" He was appalled.

"Oh they try to keep it under wraps but my father had some contacts..." Harry held his breath, wondering if the mention of Lucius would bring an end to their temporary camaraderie. But Malfoy continued on. "Well, not many people attempt that kind of magic, and it’s not because the Ministry placed restrictions on it. There are a lot of stories about people who try it. No one has been successful, but many people have suffered from their experiments."

"What does it do?"

Malfoy frowned. "It's not pleasant. The ritual suggests that a person’s soul can be returned as long as there is a vessel for it to enter. There isn’t an agreement in the discipline over the form of that vessel. People have tried various methods, but again no one has been successful. The alchemical magic that takes place always draws from the conductor. And in this ritual, the results are never pleasant. Death is only the most forgiving consequence I’ve heard."

"Then why would anyone attempt it?"

"Because they're batshit crazy?" Malfoy suggested with a raised brow. "Or desperate, though that’s really the same thing."

Harry’s mouth thinned as he thought about his own experiences with resurrection. His own unexplained return from death had mostly been explained as an unexpected consequence of the horcrux. According to Hermione, he hadn’t really died. It was the piece of Tom’s soul that had been hidden in him, and Harry had survived without his own soul actually crossing over. And Voldemort’s resurrection also wasn’t true since he had never really died either. He wanted to ask Malfoy about it in relation to the alchemical ritual, but he didn’t risk exposing the existence of the horcruxes.

He turned his thoughts back to the case. "You think this is what our guy is after?" Malfoy nodded. "But where do the body parts come in?"

Malfoy grimaced. "The vessel." Harry gave him a questioning look. "He's building a vessel out of the parts he takes from the victims."

Harry’s stomach rolled as the revelation hit him. For a moment he thought he was going to be sick. "You can’t be serious? Why not just use one body?"

"If a person disappears, they can leave a trail that can and will be followed. But the aurors aren’t going to use their full force to hunt down missing body parts, especially when the victims are already dead. He’s trying not to get caught."

Harry studied Malfoy. "You seem to have given this a lot of thought."

"Yes, and I haven’t been able to eat or sleep for two days because of it. You’re welcome."

Harry blinked in surprise. It would certainly explain how casual he was being. He was just too tired to keep up the front. "Do you think that’s wise, considering you’ve been targeted?"

Malfoy chuckled. "Oh he won’t be after me again."

He wasn’t sure what prompted Malfoy’s assurance, but he decided he didn’t want to know. "So, what? We're looking for a suspect who's lost someone? Doesn't exactly narrow down the suspect pool."

Malfoy shrugged. "And someone who dabbles in alchemy. Someone who is either too new to understand the consequences, too arrogant to think he can be successful, or too desperate to care."

Harry placed his head in his hands. "I think I'm getting desperate."

"You should be." Harry glared at the blond, but Malfoy held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Seriously. He only has a few pieces left for his construction, and that's assuming you’ve uncovered all his victims. I don't think you’re going to get anywhere until the guy steals a head."

"Why a head?"

"If his motives are what we assume, then he'll want a head that resembles the person he lost. That might narrow down your suspect pool."

"So I should be hoping for a decapitated head?"

"Would you rather hope he turns himself in?"

"Yes," Harry admitted. "But I know that's not going to happen." He chewed on his lip. "I've got to run all this by Ron and Robards."

Malfoy nodded. “I'd assumed so. I'll show you out."

Harry followed him back to the entrance of the manor while running through everything Malfoy had told him. This investigation was going from bad to worse, though at least now they had some kind of lead. He nodded to Malfoy as he passed through the door. "Thanks, Malfoy. This has been helpful."

Malfoy’s lips did the strange little twitch again. "Glad to be of use." He was about to close the door, but stopped halfway through. "And Potter? Be careful who you discuss this with. Loose lips sink ships and all that."

Harry stared. "Did you just use a muggle phrase?" His response was a door in his face. He chuckled to himself. Malfoy was turning out to be quite a surprise.

Robards was pleased that they were making some progress, though he was less than thrilled with the direction that progress was headed. Harry and Ron were becoming much more familiar with alchemy and Malfoy was spending an increasing amount of time at the Ministry. Harry saw the blond in some capacity on most days of the week, which was becoming both a blessing and a curse. He was constantly caught in an internal battle over reminding himself that this was Malfoy of all people, yet at the same time urging himself to move on with the past. At night his body didn’t seem all that interested in his mental dilemma and he found himself thinking of the blond more than he would care to admit.

Those were of course the nights that he wasn’t traumatized by the details of the case. Despite Malfoy’s complete cooperation, the aurors were no closer to narrowing down a suspect. He and Ron were continuously chasing down leads that would result in dead ends. When they were particularly desperate they would analyze the victims and the corresponding missing body parts. They tried to find a connection. Did the victims look the same or have similar body builds? Were they particularly inclined to a specific branch of magic? They would look over pictures and alchemical texts, but in the end they would be left with unanswered questions, no connections, and heavy hearts. Those were the evenings Harry went home and prayed he wouldn’t dream. If they didn’t find something soon, he was going to have to take up drinking.

The day that he had been hoping not to hope for finally arrived. The victim was Cressida Mallaty, a neurotic shut-in with far too many cats. Harry was unfortunate enough to be one of the first responders, and he was seriously considering obliviation of that particular memory. After cataloguing every possible detail and giving a full report to Robards—thrice—Harry found himself navigating the Malfoy walkway. He eyed the wandering peacocks warily, not in any kind of mood to deal with the ornery birds.

Malfoy was waiting at the door when Harry approached. Something in Harry’s face must have given away his mood because Malfoy frowned at him. “You look like you could use some tea,” he said as he ushered Harry inside. “Or maybe some scotch.”

“Yes please,” Harry said tiredly.

“Which one?”

“Both.”

Malfoy chuckled and led Harry to a room he’d not entered before. It was a small receiving room with elegant looking furniture. Harry resisted throwing himself down as he wanted, not trusting the delicate pieces to withstand the force. He could feel Malfoy’s gaze on him as he lowered himself, and almost jumped when a house elf appeared beside the coffee table. “Please retrieve some tea from the kitchen and the Hadley Blend from the library.” With a pop the house elf disappeared again. “Now, want to tell me what has you looking like you’ve seen a Grim?”

Harry blinked at the metaphor. He hadn’t heard that reference in a very long time. He shook off the oncoming nostalgia and forced himself to look Malfoy in the eye. “A head has gone missing.”

Grey eyes widened and Malfoy lowered himself on the opposite sofa. “I see,” he said thoughtfully. “Do you recognize the victim?”

“Cressida Mallaty. Never heard of her before today.”

Malfoy shook his head. “The name doesn’t sound familiar. Do you have a photo?”

“I can’t remove anything from the crime scene,” he responded. “I could describe her to you?”

“Or you could just show me,” Malfoy answered quickly. “I do have a pensieve after all.”

Harry faltered. “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

“It’s a pensieve, Potter,” Malfoy said, sounding slightly insulted. “It’s not as if I can go digging around.”

“It’s not that,” Harry said earnestly. “It’s just—it was pretty gruesome. I wouldn’t recommend the experience.”

Malfoy turned his nose up. “I can handle anything you can, Potter.”

“It’s not a competition,” he muttered, but Malfoy was already ordering the house elf to bring the pensieve. The elf placed the bowl in the center of the table before backing away. After receiving a pointed look, Harry sighed and reluctantly tapped his wand against his head. He drew the memory out and swirled it into the liquid. “Ready?” he asked. Malfoy just glared at him before they both lowered their heads.

Harry had tried to begin the memory just after the initial discovery, but the scene was still pretty gory. He noticed Malfoy falter beside him. His face was absolutely ashen, and his voice seemed to be stuck in his throat. Harry reached for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. Malfoy turned to him and swallowed thickly. “I think I might be sick.”

With a sharp tug, Harry forced Malfoy to turn away from the victim. “Breath through it,” he said calmly. “In and out through your nose.” The nice thing about pensieve memories was that you couldn’t smell anything. “Don’t focus on the body. Look at the other details. What can her home tell you about her? What kinds of books are on the shelves? Does she have any hobbies on display?” He could see Malfoy visibly relax. It was nice to know his auror training was good for more than catching bad guys. “Now, look at her photos. Does she look familiar?”

Malfoy took a breath and turned back around, taking care not to look at the ground. He ignored the memory Harry and the other responders. He walked over to the bookshelf and looked at the framed photos. “I don’t recognize her,” he said shaking his head. “There’s something about her though.”

“Does she look like someone you know?”

Malfoy hummed. “More like someone I’ve seen in passing. I can’t quite put my finger on it.”

“All right,” said Harry, looking around the room. He’d analyzed this scene quite enough already. “Let’s get out of here.”

With a gasp they both emerged from the pensieve. Malfoy immediately grabbed the bottle of scotch and drank straight from it. “I don’t know how you do that every day,” he admitted, coughing slightly from the alcohol.

Harry shrugged. “It’s not always that bad,” he said. He watched as Malfoy took another swig from the bottle. “It was hard in the beginning. A lot of sleepless nights. You learn to cope.” Malfoy stared at the bottle, no indication that he’d heard him. “Malfoy?” No response. He bit down a bubble of panic and walked over to the blond. “Draco.” The blond started and turned to him. “Come here.” Harry reached out a hand and pulled Malfoy to him. He gave a weak protest but Harry enveloped him in a hug. After a tense moment, Malfoy shuddered and collapsed into the embrace.

They stood together for some time, Harry rubbing circles around Malfoy’s back. He took deep, even breaths, hoping to pass on his steadiness. He let himself enjoy the closeness of the man, not allowing himself to think of all the reasons this was wrong. After a while Malfoy took a deep breath before pulling back a little. Harry found himself falling into grey eyes. Before he could gather enough sense to stop, he leaned forward and placed his lips against Malfoy’s.

There was no spark of electricity as their lips touched. There was no flare of magical energy. There was a light feeling of contentment that settled on Harry as Malfoy kissed back. A questing tongue licked at Harry’s lips and he opened his mouth to receive it. This was so much better than the fantasies he had indulged the past few days. Malfoy kissed with such demanding assurance that Harry couldn’t help but comply.

Neither broke the kiss as Malfoy began moving backwards. Harry followed, not caring enough to wonder where they were going. They stopped as Malfoy’s legs hit the edge of the sofa. Malfoy broke away long enough to settle back and pull Harry on top of him. Harry felt questing hands dip under his shirt. He moaned in appreciation and followed the example. Malfoy’s skin was as soft as Harry had imagined. He grew bolder and directed his hands down. He cupped the bulge beneath Malfoy’s trousers and smirked as Malfoy’s breath hitched and his hips bucked. A hand reached for his own hardening length and he gasped in appreciation. It no longer mattered who they were and whether this was right or wrong. All that mattered was that they continued to move against each other.

Heat built between them and Harry couldn't decide if it was worth losing their perfect rhythm to remove the barriers of cloth between them. Malfoy rocked in such a way that had Harry seeing stars and he gave up thinking all together. Malfoy’s hot breath ghosted over his neck before teeth sank into that spot and Harry was coming. His hips pushed forward a few more times and he felt Draco's release. He collapsed atop the other man and breathed deeply as his vision cleared. Malfoy squirmed beneath him and Harry reluctantly rose.

Malfoy looked between them and sighed before grabbing his wand and muttering a quick cleaning spell. The sharp tingle brought Harry to his senses and he flushed as he realized what had just happened. So caught up in his panic was he that he missed the accio Malfoy cast that sent a heavy book flying into the room.

Harry stared at him incredulously. "You're going to read?" he squeaked embarrassingly.

Malfoy lifted an eyebrow and really it wasn’t fair that he should look so unaffected by what had just occurred. "We're going to continue researching before you say something incredibly stupid and ruin the moment."

He didn't necessarily agree that researching morbid rituals was a way to extend the moment, but at least Malfoy was acknowledging that there was something there. The thought was relieving. Or terrifying. But Malfoy was right: they had an alchemist to catch.

Harry stood against the tree line and observed everything going on around him. The light mist in the air did nothing to dull the cheerful reverie of the celebrants. He really hoped the clouds would produce nothing more than a drizzle. Malfoy was insistent that weather would not deter their would-be alchemist, but Harry would rather stay relatively dry.

He glanced sideways at his companion and frowned. He did not want Malfoy anywhere near here, but the other wizard had insisted. His logical reasoning had even convinced Robards to allow him to come along. It was all well and good that Malfoy felt a sliver of recognition from the latest victim, but Harry was still displeased about allowing a civilian at a possible confrontation site.

After researching enough and trading facts long enough that Harry had begun to think he’d imagined frotting on the sofa with Malfoy, they’d reached the conclusion that the best place to catch their murderer was at the Beltane fires. The suspect would need something to fuel his vessel, and Malfoy was insistent that he would go after a sacred source. According to Malfoy, it didn’t get much more sacred than the flames of the communal fire that burned on Beltane.

A hand grabbed Harry's wrist and he turned his full attention to its owner. Malfoy jerked his head and Harry's gaze followed the direction. He noticed a man standing near the flames, watching them with an intensity that did not match the carefree gaiety of the other attendees. "I know him," Malfoy whispered. "And I once saw him with a woman who looked a bit like that head."

Harry nodded and turned around to shoot a subtle patronus to Ron. "Stay here," he directed before heading toward the suspect.

As he drew near, he tried to keep the flames between them. He was hoping the shadows cast would hide some of his features. He wasn’t wearing his auror robes and had made sure his hair was covering his scar. He’d used just enough of a charm to dull his features, but not enough to survive a second glance. He wouldn’t be noticed by a casual onlooker, but his tactics wouldn’t hold up to deliberate inspection.

He watched as the man took out a strange looking candle. He needed to stop him before he grabbed the flame. If he got away with it they would have lost their only lead. He eased his way closer to the fire. Just as the man was about to immerse the wick, he called out. The man jerked and whipped his head up to stare at Harry. His eyes widened in recognition and he threw the now lit candle at Harry before taking off at a run.

Harry cursed and patted at the flames blossoming on his robes. He impatiently doused himself with an aguamenti and took off after the suspect. He was heading for the tree line, and the edge of the anti-apparition wards. Harry tried to force his legs to move more quickly. He couldn't decide if it was worth the effort, or if he should risk stopping and attempting a spell. His indecision cost him. The man made it past the wards, wand in hand. As he spun into the apparition, a pale figure jumped out and attached itself to him. In the blink of an eye they were both gone.

What!?” Harry snapped as someone cleared their throat. He turned to find Ron staring at him with wide eyes.

“Circe’s tits, Harry,” Ron said crossly. “You need to give it a break.”

Harry ground his teeth at the repeated suggestion. “I’ve already told you—“

“And I’ve already disagreed.” He sighed. “It’s not your fault Harry. The git knew what he was getting into.”

Harry coughed around the choked sob trying to escape. “That’s not the point…” His voice cracked and he stopped. He knew Ron was worried. He’d noticed the heavy bags under his eyes just hours ago. He hadn’t slept since Malfoy had been taken. He’d barely eaten. He started as Ron’s heavy hand landed on his shoulder.

“Just, at least have some tea, Harry. Tea fixes everything after all.” He gave Harry a half smile and Harry chuckled in response.

“I suppose it does.” Ron nodded and leaned against his desk.

Harry could feel the redhead watching so he took a gulp of the still hot tea. He immediately felt a little of his strain ease and sighed. It had been a rough couple of days. Even Robards had tried to convince him to go home and take a break. His reaction to that suggestion had almost gotten him suspended. As Harry drank his tea he felt his thoughts start to slow. Maybe Ron was right and he should get some rest. His lids felt heavy and he couldn't shake the grogginess. It was almost as if—

He turned accusing eyes on his partner. "What did you do?" he slurred, before everything went dark.

When he came to he was lying in the crash room. He sat up and glanced around, trying to locate his glasses. He was incredibly peeved at Ron for drugging him, but he had to admit that he did feel better. He had just recovered his glasses when his supposed best friend came bursting into the room.

“Oh good, you’re awake,” he said breathlessly.

Harry frowned. “Good? You drugged me!”

“The tracking charm finally took.”

All thoughts of anger and betrayal evaporated as Harry shot off the bed. They’d been trying to use the candle the suspect had left behind to track down his possible whereabouts. Until now their attempts had failed pathetically. If there was any chance that they were about to find Draco, Harry was going to lead the charge.

Harry and Ron trekked tiredly from the exam room after being released by the department’s mediwtiches. For once luck had been on Harry’s side. Not only had the tracking spell led them right to Draco’s location, but no one had been seriously injured. They both stopped at a sharp sound coming from an open doorway. The adrenaline from the ambush still had them a little jittery.

They peered through the doorway. Draco was sitting in the conference room, fingers fiddling with a teacup. "Well," said Ron a bit awkwardly, "I'll leave you to it."

Harry frowned. "To what?"

Ron sighed. "You went a bit mad when Malfoy disappeared. I'm not blind. I know what's going on." He ran a hand through his hair. "Just go to him."

"But it's Malfoy."

"Could be worse. Could be Robards." He grimaced. "And now I'm going to find a bottle of Ogden's to wash that image from my head." He patted Harry on the shoulder before continuing his trek down the hall.

He let Ron leave and turned back to the conference room. Malfoy was still wearing the same clothes he'd gone missing in. There were tears in the cloth and scratches and bruises where skin was showing. His faced was smudged with dirt and his hair hung limply.

He had never looked more beautiful.

With a fortifying breath, Harry gathered his Gryffindor courage and strode into the room. He smiled cautiously as Draco looked up from his cup. "You're still here."

Draco shrugged. "I haven't been released yet."

Harry frowned in confusion. "The healers said they cleared you."

"Medically, yes. No one said I could leave."

"You're not in custody, Draco," he responded. He fidgeted with his sleeves. "You can leave whenever you want."

Draco stared at him blankly. "Okay."

Harry let out a breath on an almost sigh. "What do you want?"

Something unreadable flashed across Draco's face before he stood up. "I want a shower."

"Okay," Harry replied. He ran a hand through his hair and took another deep breath. "Okay."

He reached out a hand and thought he did a rather good job of hiding his surprise when Draco took it. He pulled him along the corridor and towards the apparation point reserved for on duty aurors. The hall was unusually empty, but he didn't give it too much of his consideration. He pulled Draco closer and apparated them to his living room.

He swallowed his words as Draco took in his home, certain that anything he said would be incredibly awkward. Instead he grabbed Draco's hand again and led him to the bathroom. Draco thanked him softly and he was about to leave him to it when Draco's words stopped him.

"Are you going to stay?"

Harry turned to him with wide eyes. "If you want me to."

Draco nodded and Harry took a breath. He waved his wand and the shower came to life. Clothes were discarded and Harry stepped into the shower before pulling Draco in after him.

Draco pressed himself against Harry and their mouths found one another. Harry's hands roamed over pale skin and he sighed as Draco responded in kind. He grew brave and grabbed Draco's arse, forcing their pricks together. Draco hissed and Harry gasped as they rutted against each other. He pulled away from the kiss and bit Draco's neck. The reaction that caused was wonderful and Harry wanted more.

He backed Draco out of the spray of the water as he continued his ministrations. Once Draco's back hit the wall Harry moved down until Draco's cock was at eye level. He licked his lips and looked up. Draco's eyes were half lidded and his lips were red and swollen. Pride surged through Harry. He had caused that reaction. He smirked before taking Draco's head in his mouth. Hands gripped his hair as he swirled his tongue around the tip. He grabbed Draco's thighs and could feel the tension in them as Draco tried not to buck. That wouldn't do at all.

With every intention of making Draco come undone, he took more of the hard length into his mouth. He swallowed around it and felt Draco shudder. Once his throat was relaxed he set a steady rhythm. Soon Draco proved that even he could lose control and he began writhing under the attention. Harry would have smiled if he could. He decided to push his luck and let his hand find Draco's entrance. He slowly ran his finger around the hole, massaging it before letting the tip of his finger probe inside.

A whispered "yes" was all the encouragement he needed. He pulled off of Draco and found the oil he kept in the shower. He poured a liberal amount onto his fingers and stood up, pulling Draco into another kiss. Draco raised his leg to rest on the side of the tub and Harry wasted no time in finding his entrance again. He stretched him carefully, swallowing the delicious gasps and moans.

Eventually Draco pulled away and hit his head against the shower wall. "Enough teasing." He grabbed Harry's cock and squeezed. Harry's breath left him and all he could do was nod. How Draco had poured oil on his hands without Harry noticing he would never know. All that really mattered was that they were both ready and Draco was turning around. When Harry entered him he had to steady himself to keep from coming right then and there. Draco felt amazing and he would be happy to just stand there and feel those muscles contract around him.

“Move damn it,” Draco gritted out.

Or he could try moving. He pulled out slowly and pushed back in, try to start a steady rhythm. Draco would have none of it. He began pushing back against him before Harry even had a chance to set a pace. With a growl he gave as good back and soon the sound of slapping skin joined that of the shower beating down. A few times Harry lost his footing in the water, but he quickly recovered and he was far too busy to be embarrassed. Draco made the most delightful sounds when he pushed just there.

A few more strokes to that magical spot and Draco came with a cry. Harry wasn’t far behind, and he milked his orgasm as he emptied into his partner. He collapsed against Draco’s back and found that they were both shaking from exertion. He watched idly as the evidence of their activities washed down the drain. They let the steam of the shower billow around them until Draco began fidgeting.

With a sigh Harry pulled out and forced Draco to face him. Hoping to stave off any mood-ruining, pride-saving speeches, he pulled him into another kiss. This one was much gentler, and Harry savored it.

When they pulled away Draco studied his face seriously. "Next time we find a bed," he said.

Harry smiled.

Next time.