“Come on, Draco, it’s for the greater good,” Blaise insisted.
“It’s different for you ,” Draco sneered, “you’ve the body of a god. You don't have anything to worry about!”
“It’s body-positivity week,” Blaise chastised, “we want different body types. Besides, you’re not hideous, Draco. I don’t know why you’re so self conscious.”
“Not ‘hideous’,” Draco repeated, voice faint with incredulity. “I’m bloody stunning , first of all-”
Blaise laughed, shaking his head, and Draco smirked, but he was still nervous.
He had always sported a rather ladylike figure. It wasn’t overtly feminine, not really, but his waist was narrow, and his hips weren’t. He had an hourglass sort of figure, just without the exaggerated curves. He wasn’t unattractive, not by a long shot, but it wasn’t the kind of body men usually strived for. They went for broad shoulders and abs and bulging muscles, not Draco’s flat stomach, lanky arms, and wide-set hips.
Well. He had a nice arse, but not because he was toned, it was just... perky. He had good genes in that department, it seemed.
He had only allowed himself to be dragged into Blaise’s modeling gig because of all the debt he owed his friend, and because he liked the cause.
Like Blaise said, Draco was self conscious about his body. It wasn’t something he would really think twice about when he was home alone, or getting frisky with a partner, but for a magazine shoot? For pictures that would be put out in magazines all around wizarding London? And, possibly even further, depending on how well it was received by the masses?
Draco wasn’t a model, Blaise was. He was only bringing Draco along as his plus-one because he had, apparently, promised his producer he would bring someone in. They wanted a large variety of body-types, and, obviously, only showcasing different male models wouldn’t be very helpful.
“Think of the other boys out there struggling with your same insecurities,” Blaise said distractedly, still preening in his mirror. “You’ll be their hero, because you share their flaws, and you’re still gorgeous.”
They had been instructed to strip down to their underwear for the sake of the shoot, and Draco wasn’t anxious , but seeing his slender physique next to Blaise sodding Zabini wasn’t doing wonders for his esteem, either.
“I’m not the one in front of the mirror,” he replied, anyway. If he acted confidently, he was positive he would, eventually, begin to believe it.
Blaise sent him a look using his reflection, then went back to ruffling his hair, rearranging the low ride of his boxer shorts...
Draco frowned. “Didn’t you say the photographers would have witches on hand to adjust our hair and such? Why are you trying so hard?”
Blaise stiffened, and Draco raised his eyebrows at the fact that his entire body did so. His powerful thighs, his arse, his strong back. It was almost as though he were preparing for a full-body bind, and wasn’t that peculiar?
Draco grinned. “Someone out there you’re trying to impress?”
Blaise huffed at him, but didn’t deny it, and Draco slid next to him in the mirror, pretending to fix his hair as well—as if he hadn’t brushed it until it gleamed and spelled away any wayward hairs before leaving the house.
“What’s her name?” he asked after a few minutes of this, and smirked again when Blaise made a surprised noise.
“You’re still on that?” he asked, feigning indifference. “Come on, let’s head out.”
Draco followed, and felt his heart beat a little faster. He was really doing this. Striding, practically starkers, into a room of attractive male models and their plus-ones. Yes, he was really doing this.
“Stop hiding behind me,” Blaise murmured, just loud enough for Draco to hear, and immediately Draco straightened up and confidently stepped out from behind him. He was a Malfoy, dammit.
And when he really took a look around, Draco felt significantly more comfortable. All of the wizards in the room were in their underwear, first of all, and second, they varied in height, weight, shape, color, structure—it was really very fascinating.
“I don't think I've seen this much skin since school,” Draco admitted, and Blaise scoffed next to him.
“You haven't truly lived, my friend.”
Draco made a face. “That's disgusting.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow at him. “Such a prude,” he said, sounding surprised.
“I'm not prudish,” Draco said fairly, eyes wandering around the room as they walked around the perimeter. He didn't know where they were headed, but he trusted Blaise to lead them where they needed to be. Besides, he could feel casual eyes on him and he wondered if he would recognize any of the other average-citizens-turned-temporary-models. “I'm just concerned for my wellbeing. You don't know where they've put their genitalia, and people get so defensive these days when you demand a cleansing charm.”
“Because all of the treatments are easy enough to come by,” Blaise explained, rolling his eyes, “and it's not so much where they've put their genitalia, as much as where they're going to put it, if you catch my drift.”
Draco snorted. “Subtle.”
“Zabini!” A new voice announced, and Draco started a bit in surprise.
“Mr. McCarthy,” Blaise replied with a curt nod. “This is Draco Malfoy, the wizard I mentioned the last time we spoke?”
Draco raised a haughty eyebrow at the moustached man eyeing him.
Then, the man smiled widely, his small eyes crinkling, and held out a beefy hand.
“Richard McCarthy, a pleasure to meet you!”
Draco took the hand warily, but firmly. Even in his undergarments, he would remain controlled.
“We'll start the shoot shorty,” McCarthy assured, “but until then, why don't you two head over to the cosmetic stations.”
“Of course,” Blaise said, and when he stepped away, Draco followed quickly.
McCarthy wasn't intimidating, with his protruding belly and jolly smile, but his calculating eyes reminded Draco to be careful around him. The man was likely more observant than he seemed.
“This is makeup,” Blaise explained as they approached several small booths with dazzlingly dressed witches and wizards hovering around. “If they want to do something you're uncomfortable with, just tell them. They're pretty easy going.”
“Cassy!” Blaise called, and a lemonade-blonde approached with a mile-wide smile and pearly white teeth.
“Blaise!” she greeted, and Salazar, was she was bubbly. She practically radiated sunshine. “Who is this?”
“Draco Malfoy,” Blaise introduced, and Draco held out a hand accordingly. He was, instead, swiftly swept into a hug, and she smelled like sunshine, too. “Um.”
“Blaise talks about you all the time!” she exclaimed, pulling back just far enough to give him an appreciative once over before hugging him again, vibrating with excitement. “It's so great to finally meet you!” she squealed.
“You too,” he mumbled, awkwardly patting her back. Her breasts were squished against his naked chest, and he wasn't sure if she knew of his sexual orientation or not, but he didn't want to give her any unintentional signals if she was hugging him for more lascivious reasons.
But just as quickly as she pulled him in, she released him in favor of merely taking his wrist.
“Come on, I'll doll you up,” she insisted, tugging him along impatiently.
Draco sent Blaise a helpless look, but the bastard just winked at him and sauntered off to another cosmetic artist.
“Alright, sit here,” Cassy instructed, placing him in a large, white-and-red striped chair. As soon as his arse was planted firmly into the leather chair, she was in his face.
She swept her hands through his hair, tugging the shorter strands of his fringe out from behind his ears and into his face. She parted it unevenly, letting the larger portion loom over his right eye while the smaller portion was replaced behind his ear.
Then she moved onto his face, adding the smallest lining of eyeliner just behind his eyelashes to bring out their paleness. Then she moved onto his face, casting a charm to make his skin brighter.
“Are you trying to make me glow?” he asked, horrified. “I'm pale enough!”
“I'm trying to bring out your freckles,” she explained patiently, and Draco was impressed she had noticed them. They were faint, even to him, and he'd known they were there since he had discovered reflections. “And it makes your lips look pinker. More alluring.”
Draco widened his eyes in alarm. “Why are you trying to make my lips look more alluring?”
“I'm trying to make all of you very alluring,” she said easily. “We're trying to show there is beauty in all different types of bodies, but also facial features. Your lips are plush, and a lot of people thinks that's a thing only for girls. But they suit you, and I want to highlight all of the features that make you attractive, even if they're not what society says is attractive on men.”
Draco flushed a bit, both flattered and embarrassed.
Cassy giggled again, and continued ‘dolling’ him up for the next few minutes. When she deemed him acceptable, she gave a little hum of approval.
“Good, good, good! You're ready for the cameras now , Draco Malfoy.”
“Call me Draco,” he said, a little awkward and shy because he genuinely liked her.
Cassy beamed at him. “Of course, Draco. See you!”
With a little smile and a wave, Draco turned and walked out of the cosmetic area and back out into the crowd of models. He saw a few people he recognized, even vaguely, and quite a few he didn't in his search for Blaise.
Draco nearly doubled over when something barreled into his legs.
“Fuck,” Draco shouted, reaching out and grabbing his assaulter.
The little boy flailed wildly in his arms, eyes wide.
“I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to, I'm so-”
Draco stared in alarm at the boy with dark hair. It had looked black initially, but upon closer inspection appeared to have a tinge of blue. “Aren't you a little young for nude modeling?”
The boy stopped apologizing and stared at Draco huffily.
“I’m eight years old!” he declared.
“Well,” Draco said, slowly lowering the boy to the ground, “I'm twenty six, and I still feel too young for this.”
The boy grinned at him. “S’okay. Sparky says I'll get used to it after a few shots, and I'm not allowed to.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Sparky? And not allowed to what?”
“Model ‘nude’,” the boy said, waving his hand flippantly, expression unimpressed.
Draco felt himself smirking at the familiar expression, one he, himself wore on more occasions than he cared to admit.
“Harry says it could be considered promography.”
Draco stared. “Harry?” he echoed, voice faint. Then, belatedly, “And do you mean porn ography?”
The boy stuck out his tongue petulantly. “Same thing.”
“No, it's really not. And who is Harry? Your guardian?”
The boy squinted at him. “You sure are curious about my home life, mister.”
Draco made a face. “Don't ‘mister’ me, kiddo. I'm not old enough for that . Call me Draco.”
“You sure are nosy, Draco,” the boy said, smiling.
“When there is a child running amuck in a room filled with mostly-naked men, yes, I'm curious if your guardian is nearby.”
The boy was cut off by a rude wizard roughly brushing past him, nearly toppling the startled child in his wake.
“Excuse me,” Draco said pleasantly, grabbing the wizard by the shoulder.
The man turned to glare back at him.
“Do you mind? I'm kind of in a hurry.”
Draco smiled. “This will only take a moment, sir, but I believe you owe this strapping young man an apology.” He jerked his head in the terrified boy’s direction. “You nearly trampled him, and with your barbaric way of walking, I wouldn't be surprised if you also had no manners. I've taken it upon myself to remind you of what is typically expected of one such troll in this kind of situation. Now, if you would be so kind.” He gestured towards the boy, who was staring at them both and trembling.
The wizard snarled. “ Excuse me-”
“It's a little late for that,” Draco said sadly. “You're supposed to say that before ploughing into someone.”
The man yanked his shoulder away from Draco, turning on them threateningly. He was a large man, definitely. All buff and brawn. He towered over them easily, and Draco wasn't short. “How dare you-”
And then he froze, mid sentence, horrified eyes on Draco’s arm.
At first, Draco thought he was looking at the number printed on his arm, 37, which had been given to him upon his arrival at the shoot, but quickly realized the wizard was looking at another mark entirely.
Draco stiffened. Fuck, he'd forgotten about his Dark Mark. Blaise was used to it, so he hadn't said anything, and Cassy hadn't shown any signs that she noticed, so he hadn't remembered to glamour it.
“You- You-” the man stammered.
Draco forced himself to smile again. “I believe the phase you're looking for begins with ‘I’.”
The man looked at the little boy quickly. “I-I apologize,” he stammered, then turned on his heel and quickly fled.
Draco smirked after him, even if he felt a little hollow.
He'd left his wand with his clothes in the changing rooms, and wondered whether Cassy would have some sort of concealing cream he could use on the marking, if he even wanted to risk pointing it out to her. It seemed unlikely she had spent so much time looking him over without noticing it, and he wondered if perhaps her niceness had been faked. If she was actually disgusted by him, and he hadn't noticed because he hadn't been looking for any signs implying so.
“That was totally wicked!” the little boy shrieked, throwing himself at Draco once again, but this time in an unexpected hug.
“Woah,” Draco said, eyebrows raised in surprise, “slow down there, tiger.”
The boy released him, but not without nuzzling his face in Draco’s stomach first, and Draco felt strangely violated and affectionate at the same time.
“He was like twice your size!” the boy continued excitedly. “And you just scared him off! And you were smiling !”
Draco smiled wryly. “Guess I'm scarier than I am pretty,” he teased.
“No, you're very pretty,” the boy assured, and Draco flushed again.
“Merlin, you're embarrassing,” he murmured. “Try handsome,” he said. “ You're pretty.”
The boy frowned. “I don't think I'm pretty,” he said.
“But you think I'm pretty,” Draco clarified.
“Definitely,” the boy agreed. “Your hair is very pretty.”
Draco snorted. “Why thank you, I grew it myself.”
The boy laughed. “You're funny, Draco!”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “How very astute of you to notice.”
The boy nodded seriously. “Yes. I'm very astute.”
“You don't know what astute means,” Draco guessed, amused.
“No, but I'm taking it as a compliment.”
Draco laughed. “Alright, sport, whatever you say.”
The boy smiled at him goofily. “Sport,” he repeated.
Draco blinked. “I'm sorry, I mustn't have caught your name.”
“No,” the boy said, shaking his head, “it's fine. I like them. Sport. Tiger. Kiddo. They're, whatsit called, terms of earment, Herminny calls them.”
Draco paled. “Endearment,” he croaked, “Hermione calls them terms of endearment.”
The boy brightened. “You know Herm-ai-nee?”
“Sparky is Potter. Harry,” Draco guessed.
“Yup! Wow, you're so smart! It's because of his-”
The boy stared at him, smile turning bemused. “You know Harry, too?”
Draco looked at the boy, the boy with the familiar features. “What's your name, champ?”
The boy grinned again. “My name is Theodore, but my friends call me Teddy.”
Draco ‘ah’d quietly. “You're my cousin.”
Teddy nodded happily. “You're my cousin!” he cheered.
“In the future,” Draco said, “when people ask when we first met, promise me you won't tell them I was in my underwear.”
Teddy smirked. “Of course.”
“Thanks, chief. You're a real pal,” Draco drawled.
Teddy began to jump up and down, grabbing Draco’s hands. “Come on, come on, let's go back to Harry.”
Draco easily resisted the boy. “I have to check in with a friend of mine,” he said.
“I'll come with,” Teddy said, just as easily. His expression put Draco on edge.
The blond narrowed his eyes. “Shouldn’t you be checking in with Potter? I'm sure he's curious where you are.”
Teddy’s expression was innocent. “He'll come find me,” he said.
Draco rolled his eyes, tugging his hands from Teddy’s smaller ones. “I don't want to meet Harry,” Draco said. “I don't like Harry.”
Teddy looked shocked. “Everyone likes Harry! Why don't you like Harry?”
“We were arses to each other in the past.”
Teddy didn't seem phased by his language, too distracted by the information it carried. “Why?”
“I was never taught to play well with others,” Draco said mildly. “Potter didn't like how I treated his friends.”
Teddy frowned. “But you defended me.”
“I'm not eleven anymore,” Draco said. “I've changed since we last met.”
“Ah,” Teddy said, “maybe you'll like him now!”
Draco smiled, shaking his head. “Potter was never the one who needed to change, buddy.”
Teddy eyed him for a few moments before nodding slowly. “Okay,” he said.
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Okay? Okay, what?”
“Let's just go find your friend,” Teddy said.
“ I'll go find my friend. You have to go find Potter,” Draco said.
“But I want-”
“I'll find you later,” Draco promised, turning the protesting child around and lightly nudging him in the opposite direction. “Go on.”
Teddy pouted, but obediently trotted back into the crowd.
With a sigh, Draco turned and maneuvered his way around the room until he found Blaise again, casually leaning against a wall and flirting with a blushing makeup artist.
Draco wondered if this is the one Blaise had been out to impress, and if so, that would explain Blaise oh-so-casually resting his arm on the wall, easily drawing attention to his prominent biceps.
Draco rolled his eyes as he approached.
“Blaise,” he greeted.
“Draco,” Blaise replied, not bothering to draw his eyes away from the cosmetic witch.
“And who is this?” Draco asked, smiling at the girl charmingly. She blushed prettily.
“Dahlia,” she said shyly, holding out her hand.
Draco took it gently, and brought it to his lips.
She blushed harder, and when he drew away, she brought the kissed hand to her heart. “Oh, my,” she whimpered.
Draco smirked. “It's hard to come off gentlemanly when nearly nude, but that doesn't mean I won't try.”
Dahlia laughed airily, and Blaise frowned at him over her head.
Draco shook his head a little, and Blaise relaxed.
“So, how did you two meet?” Draco asked.
“I do his makeup,” Dahlia said. “He has the best skin!” she stage whispered, and Draco scoffed.
“With how much time he spends moisturizing, I would be shocked if he didn't. He takes his beauty very seriously, as I'm sure you do.”
“Of course!” Dahlia insisted earnestly. “Blaise is my favorite client!” Then, she flushed to the tips of her ears. “I, I mean-”
Draco sniggered, and Blaise took pity on her, patting her shoulder, but he was grinning as well.
They were interrupted by the sound of a brief alarm. And then, an announcement.
“Gentlemen,” the voice greeted, and it sounded like McCarthy, if Draco had to hazard a guess. “Thank you all for coming today. The shoot will be taking place in the next few rooms, but before we begin, I will explain the procedure. Upon arrival, you were all given a number. As you waited in this room, several photographers walked about and took notes, deciding which numbers would be best with which other numbers.”
Draco blanched. He didn't like where this was going.
“Of course,” McCarthy continued, “as was explained in the meeting beforehand, there will be a group photo of all, but for the rest of the magazine, you will be split into smaller groups and taken shots of. That being said, please listen for your number over the announcements, and which room you have been assigned to. The group shot will be performed after, as we will only be photographing the models who remain until the very end.”
Draco wondered vaguely if he could get away with skipping out now, but by Blaise’s sudden hand on his shoulder, he doubted it.
And then numbers were being called.
“01 and 24, to room A. 53, 28, 05, and 32 to room B-” and so on.
And then, “37 and 14 to room G.”
Draco looked at Blaise helplessly, and his friend gave his shoulder a firm squeeze.
“All you need to do is pose, Draco. You'll all be in your underwear, it's not a big deal.”
“Not a big dea -”
“You'll be the hottest one of them all,” Blaise assured, smirking. “No get out there, Malfoy.”
With a fond roll of his eyes, Draco turned and made his way along the wall until he found room G. He glanced to the left at room F, then to his right, eyes widening as he looked at the remaining number of doors. Did they have one for every letter of the alphabet?
Shaking himself, Draco quickly slipped into the room.
The photographer looked up from his camera and smiled, adjusting his glasses.
“Welcome. Please step into the room to your left.”
Draco blinked, then nodded, and stepped into the white room. Seeing three white chairs, he took the one furthest to the right and waited. He didn't have to wait long.
“Draco!” Teddy cheered, and Draco couldn't stop his slight smile. Likely, the photographers wandering around and taking notes had seen his little debacle.
He wondered why none had approached him about his mark. Unless they would edit it out, later?
Behind Teddy came-
Draco sighed. “Potter,” he said, crossing his arms and staring straight ahead.
Potter was fucking fit , and his undergarments were sinfully tight, and he was all corded muscle and rolling abs and broad shoulders and slim hips and—and Draco didn't need a boner on camera, thank you very much.
Potter’s answer was hesitant. “Malfoy.”
“See?” Teddy asked, bouncing into the seat next to Draco, and the blond was relieved. If he had been forced to sit next to bloody Potter... “I told you he was here!” And then Teddy pouted. “As if I couldn't recognize my own cousin.”
Draco studiously didn't react, because he hadn't recognized Teddy at first sight, but the little boy didn't need to know that.
Potter laughed, and it was deep and breathy and affectionate, and Draco felt his pulse pick up. Fuck.
Potter sat down next to Teddy, Draco assumed, and then they lapsed into silence.
Draco looked around the room for a camera of some sort, but saw none. Nor any source of lighting. The white room was just... white.
Draco squinted. He could barely make out any shadows. It almost looked as though there were no walls.
“I don't suppose you know what we're supposed to do?” Draco asked.
Potter scoffed. “Do I look like I model regularly, Malfoy?”
Draco looked at him, opened his mouth, then shut it.
Potter looked back at him, raising an eyebrow, and Draco could feel himself flushing a bit. Bloody Hell.
“Is the correct answer no?” he asked weakly.
Both of Potter’s eyebrows raised, and he blinked as if surprised. As if he didn't sodding know he was gorgeous.
“What?” Potter asked.
Draco flushed harder, because Teddy was looking at him strangely as well.
“ I don't know,” Draco huffed, “ I'm only here because Blaise is a right bastard.”
“Language,” Potter said immediately.
“I didn't tell him about the other curses,” Teddy whispered to Draco, but his voice was loud enough that Potter heard him anyway and smiled.
“Ah,” Draco said, and frowned when Teddy leaned forward to place his round cheeks in his palms. “Sit up,” he chastised, “you'll form a hunch.”
Teddy glared at him from beneath his fringe.
“I'm fine, mom .”
Draco smirked. “Whatever you say...” Then, more quietly, “Quasimoto.”
Teddy sat up immediately, face affronted. “ Excuse me?”
Draco snorted out a laugh, and then Teddy was wailing on him with his tiny fists.
“Teddy,” Potter warned, but he looked terribly amused.
“Settle down there, hot shot,” Draco agreed, easily taking the small fists and putting them aside. “I'm surprised you even know to whom I was referring.”
“I saw that movie!” Teddy insisted, and Draco raised an eyebrow. Whatever a ‘move-ey’ was.
Suddenly, an opening appeared on the white wall and the photographer stuck his head in.
“Excuse me,” he said, “but the littlun has to wait outside,” he said.
“I can model,” he insisted.
The photographer smiled. “I'm sure you can, but right now we just need your fathers.”
Draco choked on his spit, Potter coughed, and Teddy giggled.
“They're not my dads,” he said easily.
The photographer flushed. “Oh, I'm terribly sorry! I shouldn't have assumed-”
“S’okay,” Teddy said, then leant to his right to hug his godfather. “Bye, Harry!” He turned to hug Draco. “Bye, Draco!”
Draco ruffled his hair. “See you, squirt.”
Teddy blew him a raspberry before sliding out of his seat and scurrying out the door. It shut behind him.
Draco was then was acutely aware of being in his underwear with Potter, and felt even more acutely aware of the single, empty chair separating them.
“So,” Potter said awkwardly.
“So,” Draco echoed.
“The, um,” Potter mumbled. “Nice weather we're having.”
“Oh, definitely,” Draco drawled. “A full twenty-seven degrees. Time to break out the grill and barbecue.”
Potter snorted. “Of course. And you don't model regularly either?”
Draco gave him a look.
“Right,” Potter said, “so half of this awkwardness is the fact that we haven't seen each other this naked since the Quidditch locker rooms at Hogwarts, and not completely just because it's you and me?”
Draco couldn't help his little smile. “Yes, Potter. Half of it is because I don't make a habit of strutting about with strangers in my undergarments, unless the plan is to take them off.”
Potter nodded. “Naturally. So, d’you think there’s a way we could put aside the awkwardness? Just until they take their pictures, or whatever it is that will happen?”
Draco considered this, considered what this course of action may herald, and decided it was worth the risk.
“Definitely,” Draco said. “I told Blaise my pictures would be better than his, and I'll be damned if you're going to stop me.”
Potter smiled at him, and Draco, damn it all, even wanted to smile back.
“What are you in for, anyway?”
Potter huffed a bit, and it was oddly cute, and very reminiscent of Teddy. Draco wondered if that's where the boy got it from.
“Modeling agencies like to floo Nev every once in awhile because he did a gig a while back and it was popular, but he's terribly shy. He said he wouldn't come, but he liked the cause, and I told him I would go with him if he decided to go. And, now I'm here.”
“Longbottom is here?” Draco asked. “Who would have thought. And how is he?”
Potter was smiling at him again. “Wonderful. He and Luna just had their first daughter.”
Draco was impressed. “Congratulations to them. Lovegood and Longbottom, huh? Lovebottom.”
Potter blurted out a laugh before he could stop it, and Draco smiled.
“And how are you?” Draco ventured.
“Fine,” Potter said easily. “Teddy came down to visit this weekend, and Andi is off doing who-knows-what with her new boyfriend, so I figured I’d just bring him. The makeup witches seemed happy enough to watch him.”
“He's a good kid,” Draco agreed, and Potter fairly glowed with pride. “Have any kids of your own on the way?” Draco asked. “Unless—? Forgive me, I don't read the newspaper often, so I'm terribly out of the loop on the going ons of your life, I'm afraid.”
Potter scoffed. “You haven't missed much. I try to stay out if the news, especially regarding my love life.” He looked at Draco speculatively. “Or, the lack thereof.”
Draco glanced around the room again so Potter wouldn’t see the want in his eyes before he could subdue it.
“Oh? And what are you up to, these days?”
Potter leaned back in his chair, eyeing him, and Draco forced himself to keep his eyes on his face. Now was not the time to be checking out Potter’s package, even though it was right there .
“What about you?” Potter asked.
Draco frowned. “What about me?”
“I don't like being interviewed,” Potter said. “Tell me about yourself.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “There's nothing to say. I work in the apothecary Stardust , and I make potions. I go to dinner with Mother every other Wednesday. Drinks with Pansy and Theo every Friday. Saving the world on my days off.” Draco shrugged oh-so-humbly, then scowled. “Except Blaise. Fuck that guy.”
“You said he got you into this mess?”
“I owe him,” Draco admitted. “He got me out if some trouble a while back. Let's just say, in France, I'm known as Alexander Clearwater.”
Potter raised his eyebrows. “You don't say.”
“Not really,” he smiled, “it was a collection of all my little debts. Copied homework and such, but I'm mostly here because he was desperate enough to call on those little things. He needed me here, so here I am. And, well, body positivity is something worth going out of my comfort zone for.”
Potter smiled. “How very noble of you.”
Draco raised his nose to accompany his smile. “Why thank you. I've become extremely selfless since we last met.”
Potter laughed. “I'm sure. We've both changed, it seems.”
Draco squinted at him. “What part of you has changed, exactly?”
“Do I look eighteen?” Potter asked.
“Some kids these days look thirty, if I'm honest. I've taught myself not to assume things anymore.”
“Well, I'm almost definitely twenty-six.”
“Almost definitely,” Draco parroted.
“Stranger things have happened.”
Draco barked out a startled laugh. “I can't believe you just said that.”
“Not strange enough that I've learned how to dance,” Potter conceded, “but still. Strange.”
“Dancing isn't impossible,” Draco reminded him, amused. “You just need the right teacher.”
“And who would you suggest?” Potter asked, rolling his head towards Draco.
Draco bit his lip, uncertain whether or not responding me would be something he would regret.
“I’m an excellent dancer,” he said, anyway, because he was talking with Potter, with Potter , like a civilized human being, and they weren't arguing or fighting, and they were in their underwear, and the situation was bizarre enough that he figured he might get away with it.
“So I've been told,” Potter said, smiling. “But you can here today to model, not to teach me to dance. You don't have to.”
Draco felt oddly defensive. “I don't feel obligated to, I want to. Dancing or modeling, one of them isn't happening, and the other has the possibility of. Besides, this could be either extremely uncomfortable, or extremely funny, and I kind of want to try it just in case it's the latter.”
Potter shook his head, but he was smiling. “You're kind of an arse, you know that?”
“So I've been told,” Draco replied.
With a put-upon sigh, Potter stood and held out a hand.
Draco, with a little smirk, took it, and promptly yelped when Potter hauled him up.
“I'm sorry, did I ask to be manhandled?” he wheezed, still in shock. “Merlin. Break my arm, why don't you?”
Potter sniggered, and his shoulders shook. “Sorry, I'm used to Ron.”
Draco shook his head, then walked to stand in front of Potter. “Will we be waltzing, or slow dancing?” he asked, referring to the dances they learned for the Yule Ball all those years ago.
Potter looked sheepish. “Whichever is easier?”
“Slow dancing doesn’t have much movement,” Draco said easily, and Potter nodded. With a flick of his wrist, he vanished the chairs so they would have more room, and Draco may have scowled a bit at the shameless use of wandless magic. Potter smirked arrogantly in return.
He reached out for Draco’s hips and, instinctively, Draco slapped them away.
Potter stared at him then, very deliberately, reached for his hips again.
Draco grabbed him at the wrists and swiveled his lower half out of reach. They stared at each other, and then Potter lifted his arms.
Draco released his wrists, and let a cocky smile flit over his face when Potter obediently placed his hands on his shoulders. Draco nodded, very pleased with himself, and placed his hands on Potter’s waist. He was very aware of the proximity of his curled fingers to the low-riding band of Potter’s boxers, but was determined not to show it.
“I'll lead,” Draco said, “and when you get the hang of it, we can switch, if you really want. Ready? This is easy, I promise.”
Potter nodded, looking at their feet, and then they started to move. Just slowly, just in their little section of the floor, but Potter was natural at it.
Draco frowned. “You said you're not good at this.”
Potter tore his eyes away from their feet to glance at him, humming in question.
“You're fine at this,” Draco said, a little confused. “You're perfect. Where are you having trouble, exactly?”
Potter looked surprised. “Am I? I struggle more when we start moving and twirling.”
Draco nodded. “Waltzing. It's really not much different. You'll see, we’ll go slowly. Ready?” And when Draco took a step back, Potter followed, and they stayed close as they went into a waltz around the room.
Draco smiled at Potter’s head, finding it adorable that he felt the need to watch their feet so studiously.
“We’re not wearing shoes,” Draco said, “you don’t have to be scared of stepping on me.”
But then Potter looked up, and Draco felt strangely vulnerable, dancing with Potter with so little separating them and looking him in the eye.
“I think you have the hang of this,” Draco said, and it was genuine, but he may have also wanted to take a step back. He needed to breathe, to recollect himself.
“My turn?” Potter asked, instead, and didn’t wait for a response before stepping close to Draco once more. When he reached out, his hands were slow, as if waiting for rebuttal. Draco didn’t like the thought of Potter’s hands there, because his hips were a sore spot for him.
“You should put your hands on my waist,” he said. “It’s proper.”
When Potter put his large, warm hands on Draco’s slim waist, the blond shivered.
“Ready?” he asked quietly, looking at Potter’s shoulder.
Potter didn’t reply, but began slowly swaying, and Draco swayed with him, and when Potter stepped forward, Draco stepped back, because he’d been trained to dance, and he didn’t need vocal cues to know how to move his body. He just moved, and when one of Potter’s hands lifted from his waist to arms, Draco recognized the movement, and he released Potter’s shoulder, drawing back and lifting his own arm to be twirled.
“You’re good at this,” Potter said, sounding impressed. When Draco returned his arms to Potter’s shoulders, Potter returned his hands to Draco’s torso, but as they slid down, they landed on his hips.
Draco reached down to replant them firmly on his waist, and Potter grinned at him.
“I know many dances,” Draco replied belatedly, absently drumming his fingers on Potter’s shoulders, and Potter twitched.
“That tickles,” he said, and on principe, Draco did it again, and outright laughed at Potter’s shimmying motion in response. When he did it again, Potter abruptly pressed him close, and his hands went to Draco’s back, and they made eye contact.
Potter leaned forward, and Draco leaned back, and then Draco slid with his feet and leaned back with his head, dipping elegantly, and Potter held him easily. And then Draco was being pulled back up, and Potter spun them once before they were waltzing again.
Potter’s hands were on his hips, and Draco just stared at him.
“I thought you didn’t know how to dance.”
“I’ve seen a few things,” Potter said casually.
Draco laughed. “You’re kind of an arse, you know that?”
Potter smiled at him. “I just wanted to dance with you,” he admitted, and his expression was friendly and sincere. “You’ve always been good at it.”
“Yes,” Draco smiled, “I sprung from the womb with dancing shoes in my hands. I didn’t, say, suffer through several years of torturous classes to get where I am today. It’s all natural talent, I tell you. Like how I’ve heard you are on a broom.”
“I have good genes,” Potter said modestly.
“I wouldn’t know,” Draco said, “you’re not wearing any.”
Potter smiled, and it was crooked and charming. “You’re funny,” he said.
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Teddy said the same thing.” And then Draco realized they were still swaying, and stopped. Potter did the same, and then they stepped back from each other, and Draco felt oddly bereft. And his hips were cold. And he wanted to move, to do something. Simply standing around seemed like a terrible idea.
“Teddy’s a good judge of character,” Potter said.
Draco crossed his arms over his chest, feeling very naked as Potter stared at him, and then sat. On the ground. He crossed his legs, then stared at Potter expectantly.
“I’m not sitting on the floor alone,” Draco said.
“You’re the one who sat down,” Potter replied, eyebrow raised.
“And you're the one who vanished the chairs. Sit down with me,” Draco demanded, and Potter smiled a little as he walked over and sat across from him. But then Potter shot out his feet, placing one on Draco’s crossed legs presumptuously.
Draco made a waving motion towards Potter’s foot. “What is this?” he asked.
“A foot,” Potter replied, and he wiggled his toes.
“And why is it on me?”
“You already have two, what’s a third one?”
“This one is on my leg,” Draco said.
“Strange,” Potter agreed.
Draco peered at it, noticing the sparse hair on Potter’s toes, and then his gaze trailed up the attached leg.
“You’re a hairy one, aren’t you,” Draco murmured, squinting at the leg hair. It wasn’t that he had a lot of hair, really, it was just dark in color, compared to Draco’s, and relatively long. Then again, the trail of hair traveling down from Potter’s navel was prominent, so he wasn’t sure why he had expected any less.
Potter hummed in response.
Draco hummed back, but it raised at the end in question, because he wasn’t sure what Potter’s had meant.
Potter repeated the hum, and shrugged casually.
Draco hummed again in reply, but in understanding.
Potter laughed a bit, his shoulders shaking. Then Potter looked at him, and Draco looked back, and then they were staring.
Potter ran a hand through his hair. And then he did it again.
Draco, with a confused frown, copied, and was surprised to notice his hair had been in his face. He must have gotten used to it there. Draco glanced at Potter, then mimed adjusting glasses.
Potter copied, and smiled as he pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
“Here,” Draco said, holding out his hand.
Potter raised an eyebrow at him, and Draco wiggled his fingers.
With a sigh, Potter took off his glasses and handed them to Draco.
Draco took them carefully, making sure not to smudge to glass with fingerprints. He carefully balanced them on his nose, blinking into the blurriness.
Draco squinted, but his head began to hurt, so he took them off to merely look at them in his hands. The metal was dark brown, but brassy and worn in places, and Draco smiled as he handed them back.
“You’re fond of them,” he said, because these were not new glasses. These were likely the same glasses Potter had been wearing during school.
“I am,” Potter said, and he looked younger without his glasses on. “I would have gotten another pair, but they don’t sell these anymore. I have them up the prescription every once in awhile, but they’re casting on the same glass over and over.”
Draco hummed in response, looking at the ceiling.
And they sat in comfortable silence, and sometimes Draco would glance at Potter, and their eyes would meet, and they would stare a bit until the other looked away, and they were just... comfortable.
A door opened in the room, and both he and Potter jumped a bit at the sudden appearance of a familiar head.
“Sorry for the wait,” the photographer mumbled, sheepish. “We’re out of time today, but you guys can head out for the group shot before you go.”
Draco looked at Potter and Potter looked back before they both stood up.
Draco followed Potter out of the room, and then further out into the room they had waited in beforehand. All the other models were lining up, and Draco saw Blaise and began heading in that direction. He was stopped, however, by a hand on his wrist.
Draco turned to Potter, and he felt a little elated at the fact that Potter didn’t want him to leave just yet.
Potter looked at him, gave a little tug on Draco’s wrist, and the blond stepped towards him easily.
“Yes?” Draco repeated.
“Come visit next week?” Potter asked. “Teddy will be over Tuesday, if you to see him when you stop by.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “ When I stop by?”
Potter smiled. “I’m being presumptuous, but I would very much like your company.”
Draco smiled as well. “Yeah, alright. Next Tuesday, what time?”
“I’ll owl you,” Potter promised, and then he was stepping away.
Draco blinked after him, opening his mouth in protest—Did Potter even know where he lived?—, but Potter was already walking towards an excitedly waving Teddy, so with a sigh, Draco turned and marched towards Blaise.
He squeezed his way into the line.
“Where have you been?” Blaise asked. “The photographers said they were waiting on a couple wizards. It wasn’t-”
“I don’t know,” Draco admitted with a shrug. “Our photographer didn’t even have time to shoot us. We just sat in the empty room for a while, and then he was calling us out. Said we could still be in the final picture, though.”
And then there was commotion, and Draco smirked, and then there was a flash.
Blaise made a groan of relief. “Finally. Ready to go?” he asked, heading back towards the changing rooms.
Draco bit his lip, but nodded.
“Yeah, let me pull on some clothes.”
Draco woke to the sound of his floo ringing.
He cursed, and after attempting to detangle himself from his bedsheets for several seconds, only succeeded in tripping over them and falling on his harsh, wooden floors with a crash and the sound of many bones a-popping.
Draco cursed again, accio- ing his robe as he scrambled towards his living room.
He donned it in the same motion as he slid to his knees, and at the very last second, he shoved his head in the floo.
“ Yes ?” he hissed, but blinked in surprise at the stranger on the other end.
“I know you,” Draco said.
The man laughed, adjusting his glasses. “Sorry, I must have forgotten to introduce myself. Aaron Douglas, I was your photographer for the shoot yesterday.”
“Ah,” Draco said, embarrassed that he’d forgotten the face so quickly. Admittedly, he’d been... distracted. “Is something wrong?”
“Actually,” Douglass said, “something went very, very right. I understand that you believe no footage was shot of you and Mr. Potter because I was assisting another photographer with their shots.”
Draco nodded slowly. “That’s correct.”
“Well,” Douglass began slowly, “see, I’d kind of forgotten my camera on, so I did get some footage. All of it, really.”
Draco flushed. “Oh, um,” he stammered, flustered as he remembered the touching and the dancing. Merlin. “We didn’t know what you wanted to do, so we didn’t really pose or anything-”
“No, no, no,” Douglass cut him off, waving a hand. “No, you two were perfect!”
Draco blinked. “Excuse me?”
Douglass looked determined, leaning further into the floo as if that would push his point home. “Actually, I’m flooing to ask if you would permit me to use the photos of you two as the focus of the issue. Obviously, there will be other pictures, but you two... You two did exactly was we wanted. You connected and interacted despite your physical differences, even with your similar genders and different pasts.”
Draco stared, wide-eyed. “I, we, what?”
“I won’t be allowed to publish your, um, tattoo in the paper,” he mumbled awkwardly, “but I will definitely mention it. Showing and mentioning are two totally different things. I’m confident I’ll be allowed to do that, at least.”
Draco felt faint. “Sorry, I’m still stuck on the part where you want Potter and I to be the focus of the article. Why ?”
“Dark versus light,” Douglass said. “You fought on opposite sides of the war. Everyone was scandalized enough when Mr. Potter spoke at the Death eater trials—What would they think to see you two getting along so well now , eight years later? And when I had mistaken you two for a couple,” he continued.
“That,” Draco said weakly.
“Yes, that . As wrong as I was, you two seem genuinely close in the photos, which may speak to another topic entirely—homosexual acceptance in wizarding society, I mean.”
“Even if you two aren’t together, I was thinking the implied relationship would be obvious to those looking for it, those who can relate to it and will appreciate the reference, but left unsaid for those who don’t want to read about that sort of thing. And then, of course, there’s the body image. You’re tall and thin and Potter’s slightly shorter and thicker, and from your skin tones, to your hair colors, to the way you two hold yourselves. Total opposites.”
Draco gulped, and Douglass’ eyes were bright.
“Honestly,” he whispered, “you two are just perfect. For my purposes, anyway,” he hastened to add, flushing a bit at Draco’s bewildered stare.
“And you’re asking me permission to use our photos as a focus?”
“Mr. Potter said he was fine with it,” Douglass assured. Then he frowned. “Of course, he didn’t ask why , but he’s probably used to seeing himself in the papers.”
Draco couldn’t help wishing Potter had asked. He wanted to know how Potter would have reacted, hearing how “perfect” they were for each other.
“It’s up to you,” Douglass said, and his voice changed into a plea. “I know it’s a lot to take on, and I know there will be people questioning you and your relationship, but I will mention in the article that you two were merely assigned to model together, and I can casually mention how you two have become good friends since, well, since the War. If that would be prefered? I can-”
Draco shook his head, still baffled by all of this. “No, I’m not- I’m not worried about being questioned, really, because we’re not even really friends. But... if it would help someone out there,” Draco mumbled, eyes downcast.
“Help someone?” Douglass echoed.
“A reader,” Draco explained. “Someone who has body-image issues, or repressed homosexuality or whatever it is. I mean, if a few of my pictures will help them...?”
“Of course!” Douglass agreed, nodding with fervor. “Yes, you two will inspire young minds—shape the future, and all that. Is that a yes?”
Draco sighed, massaging his temples in slow, circular motions with his left hand. “Yes. that’s a tentative yes.”
Douglass made an excited noise before thanking him profusely, but it was only fueling Draco’s headache, so he cut it short with a quick goodbye before leaning back and closing his floo.
He hoped he wouldn’t regret this.
Draco stared at the magazine in awe.
On the cover were two men, one tall and buff, and the other was short and on the pudgy side. They were both attractive, though the pudgy man had the cutest dimples on his smiling face as he shyly waved at the camera.
And below the image read;
We’re kicking off Body Positivity week with a portfolio of London’s favorite male models posing with their friends and loved ones! For a closer look, head to page 12!
Draco did just that, and immediately smiled at the images.
They were all in black and white, giving the slow-motion pictures a quiet sort of intensity.
There were all kinds of blokes, some standing stoically side-by-side while some were laughing or smiling or posing. There were facial close-ups, comparing different kinds of eye shapes and noses and ears. There were group shots, and single-shots, and random arms and legs. And all the pictures were constructed together like brickwork, and it was honestly very beautiful.
Draco could even see a few of Blaise’s pictures, and there was one in particular Draco stared at for a while. In it, Blaise, staring intently at the camera, broke out into a wide grin, and the whites of his teeth contrasted with the dark of his skin and his hair and his twinkling eyes and he was gorgeous.
There were pages and pages of these pictures, and Draco was smiling too widely and also on the verge of tears, because he was a part of this. He just hadn’t found his pictures yet-
And on the fifteenth page, there they were. His and Potter’s pictures.
There were only two pictures on the first page, one on top of the other.
The first one was him and Potter sitting on the chairs, the single, empty one separating them. Draco’s arms were crossed, but his back was straight, and his irritated eyes were fixed ahead. And Potter was slouched, bored, and mumbling something.
And in the next picture, Draco was leaning towards him, arms still crossed, but he wasn’t as stiff, and his eyes were filled with intrigue, and Potter was leaning away from him, but with an amused, easy sort of confidence as he replied to whatever Draco had asked.
And the next picture took up the entire page.
It was of Draco turning to Potter and smiling, and Potter, eyebrows rising briefly in surprise, smiling back. And then Potter said something, and with the slowed time frames, it was easy to see how as first, Draco’s eyes narrowed, and then his lips twitched, and then his shoulders shook as he shut his eyes and laughed , and Potter’s smile widened as he watched him.
Draco looked at this picture for a long time.
The next page had six pictures.
The first was of Potter, standing, holding out his hand. Draco took it, and a look of shock and horror dawned on his face as he was yanked from the seat. The image showed Draco scowling and sniping something before Potter laughed, and then it looped.
The second picture was of Potter reaching for his hips, and Draco slapping his hands away, and after Potter tried again, and Draco evaded again, Potter slid his hands to Draco’s shoulder. His hand had casually traveled right over where Draco’s Dark Mark was supposed to be, right over it , and it hadn’t hesitated or hitched, and how was Draco only noticing this now? He watched as picture-Draco’s hands went to Potter’s hips, and the clueless, self-assured smirk on his face.
In the third picture, they waltzed, and Potter was watching their feet and speaking to himself, likely counting the steps, and Draco was smiling at Potter’s ducked head.
The fourth picture was Potter slowly reaching for him, as if he were an easily spooked animal, and Draco said something, eyes firmly, uncomfortably on Potter’s shoulder. And Potter’s face softened into an affectionate smile, and his hands landed gently, gently on Draco’s waist.
Draco stared at Potter’s smile, previously unknown of and unseen, for a long, long time.
The fifth picture displayed Draco moving Potter’s hands, and Potter grinning in reply. And then Draco replaced his own hands on Potter’s shoulder, and he drummed his fingers, and then Potter made a startled face and his shifted feet and wiggled his shoulders, and Draco was laughing again.
The sixth picture was the dip, and the way Potter watched him, and the way Draco wilted so trustingly, utterly melting in Potter’s hold. And when Draco arched back up, the way his arms briefly encircled Potter’s neck before they slid back to his shoulders, and the way Potter’s hands slid from his back, to his waist, to his hips, where his fingers gripped tightly before relaxing.
The next page had two photos, one of them both sitting down, Potter’s leg on Draco’s, and they were making faces at each other, and then Potter was laughing, and Draco was watching him, smiling, and they looked so comfortable with each other.
The second photo was of Draco taking Potter’s glasses, the look of concentration on his face as he handled the frames with such care, as though they were a butterfly’s wings. And then Draco was wearing Potter’s glasses, his eyes magnified to at least three times their size, accentuating the way Draco blinked and squinted, and Potter was grinning and shaking his head, but it looked so affectionate .
The last page was filled with little photos.
A close up of Draco’s mouth, the way the very edges of his lips curled before they stretched into a smile.
A close up on Potter’s mouth, the way one side raised just a bit higher than the other, and it was charmingly crooked.
A picture of Potter’s broad, square hands on Draco’s pale, freckled shoulders.
Draco’s hands, almost dainty in comparison, almost white against Potter’s shoulders.
Draco’s face, one eye squinting a bit as his pointed nose wrinkled in distaste at, likely, something Potter had said.
Potter turning his head casually, the way the muscles in his neck stretched and pulled beneath his skin.
And then a picture of them after first entering the room, just after Teddy had left. But, strangely, this photo had been taking from the back, so their faces weren’t shown.
It displayed Draco’s still, tall posture, and Potter’s casual recline, but now that Draco had seen the other photos, it didn’t look relaxed anymore. It looked purposefully poised to imply casualness.
And then picture-Draco leaned towards him a bit, and Potter’s muscles relaxed and his rigid shoulders rounded out.
All the emotions, so clearly shown by their movements. Thier faces, their words were not required.
Draco looked through all of the photos several more times, and when he felt sufficiently confused and aroused and embarrassed and frustrated, he placed the magazine down.
He needed a long bath.
And then came Tuesday.
Draco had barely knocked on the door before Potter was pulling it open and smiling widely.
“Draco,” he greeted.
“Potter.” Draco smiled, and that was as far as he got before he was tackled.
“Draco!” Teddy cheered only after launching himself at his cousin’s legs. Again.
Draco ruffled his hair, smiling. “What’s up, kiddo?”
“You’re heeere ,” Teddy whined. “I have so many things to show you! Wait here!” Teddy commanded, turning as if to run back into the house.
“I’ll just stand here in the doorway, shall I? You’re not going to invite me in for tea?” Draco asked, feigning hurt.
Teddy’s eyes widened in alarm. “No! No, no, come in , what are you doing , Harry? That’s no way to treat a guest!” he admonished, tugging in Draco’s arm.
Potter looked affronted, and Draco snorted, and then he was being tugged by tiny, impatient hands towards the living room, where he was told to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Draco merely blinked after the little boy who was being a bossy little twat one moment, and gone, sprinting up a nearby flight stairs in the next.
Then Potter entered the room, and he looked a mixture of harried and relieved.
“He’s just excited,” Potter said, sitting down next to him. “Hasn’t gotten to hang out with his friends all week.”
“Poor baby,” Draco agreed solemnly. Then, “Oh, by the way, did you see the pictures?”
Potter nodded, expression unreadable, and Draco got the distinct impression he was being careful with it.
“I thought they were bloody gorgeous,” Draco admitted, and then Potter was smiling.
“Yeah? Me too.”
“I mean, you were just okay ,” Draco said, patting Potter’s shoulder, “but I was brilliant.”
“Stunning,” Potter said.
Draco grinned. “Just the words I would have used,” he teased, but Potter was looking at him, and his expression was severe, and Draco’s smile dropped. “Potter?”
“Call me Harry, for Christ’s sake.”
“Okay,” Draco frowned, “Harry, what’s-”
“Wait,” Potter-Harry cut in, running a hand through his hair tiredly. “Don’t- Call me Potter. I can’t.”
Draco frowned further. “What? You called me Draco. At the door.”
Harry stared at him. “Honestly?”
Draco nodded slowly. “Why wouldn’t I want you to be honest?”
“Honestly,” Harry said, and he leaned in a bit, and his voice was quieter, so Draco leaned in as well to hear him better, “I’m struggling as it is, and I don’t think I can keep my hands to myself if you call me Harry.”
Draco leaned back, eyes wide. “You- what?”
“The pictures,” Harry said, looking at him as though those words explained everything.
To be fair, Draco felt they did.
But then Teddy was rushing in, a large box of toys in his hands.
“Draco, Draco look!” Teddy exclaimed, clambering onto the couch in between the blond and his godfather. “Your twin!”
Draco raised an eyebrow at the little dragon toy being brandished in his face.
“Is that so?” he murmured, admiring the silvery scales and the icy blue eyes blaring back at him fiercely. It was truly beautifully crafted. “I approve.”
Teddy grinned widely. “Yeah? Look at these!”
And then they spent the evening amusing Teddy, and dinner was delicious—Harry was quite the cook—, and then it was bedtime, or so Harry said.
Teddy pouted. “It's only eight! Draco’s still here!”
Draco laughed. “Nighty night, fusspot.” And then he reached over and ruffled Teddy’s hair.
Teddy took the hand and began swinging it back and forth, a delighted little grin on his face.
“Tuck me in?” he asked, and then he was pleading, and his eyes were large and glassy and irresistible. “Please,” he begged.
“Salazar,” Draco said faintly, transfixed by the endless depths of Teddy’s eyes. “It’s like staring into oblivion.”
Harry laughed, then shooed them. “Go on,” he said, smiling at Draco’s look of surprise. “I'll be up to kiss him goodnight in a second.”
Harry began gathering their plates, and Draco wanted to offer his assistance—not really, but Harry didn't need to know that—, but then Teddy was dragging him by the fingers and bounding up the stairs.
“Pick out my PJs!” Teddy squealed, excited, and Draco complied easily, rooting through the drawer of little clothing—bloody adorable—and picking some pajamas that resembled the night sky, filled to the brim with twinkling stars and a waxing moon.
When Teddy stripped, he was all over the room, tripping and wriggling and wrestling his way into his pajamas.
“The the bathroom!” the boy then declared, and then they were marching, and Teddy made Draco count out loud to two minutes before he finished brushing—“Don’t get used to this, chief. Toothpaste just gets mintier as you grow older. I mean, what even is this? Bubble berry? What does that even taste like?”—, and then they were marching back to the boy’s room.
Teddy hopped into bed easily, but it wasn't until Draco dimmed the lights that the boy began to settle.
“Tell me a story?” Teddy asked, and Draco laughed, shaking his head as he approached the bed and sat down next to the little boy.
“Not tonight, cub,” Draco replied quietly, brushing the short, baby soft hair from the boy’s forehead. It looked lighter in color than before, even in the dim lighting. A light brown, maybe, or a dirty blond.
Sleepy eyes regarded him. “Cub?”
“A baby bear,” Draco explained, “because you're just a teddy bear, aren't you.”
“I'm part wolf,” Teddy said proudly, but the effect was a little lost by the large yawn that interrupted his declaration.
“Alright,” Draco smiled, leaning in and lightly kissing the boy on the forehead. “Sweet dreams, pup.”
Teddy made a little noise and yanked his covers up to his head, hiding his face.
“Love you, Draco,” he whispered.
Draco smiled. A wide, embarrassingly sappy smile. “Good night, love.”
And then he stood and quietly departed the room, shutting the door behind him with care. He couldn't stop grinning, even when he was downstairs.
Harry was still washing dishes, and he hummed to himself and swayed his hips as he did so, which Draco found incredibly endearing, so he found no reason to interrupt as he silently sat down at the dinner table, just to watch Harry as he cleaned.
“Not going to help?” Harry asked, anyway, but his voice was quiet. The house seemed emptier without Teddy and his boundless energy and delightful laughter.
Draco wondered if Harry got lonely when the boy was was his grandmother.
“I'm fine right here, thanks.”
“Brilliant,” Harry replied dryly, but he was smiling.
“Teddy just said he loved me,” Draco blurted, and Potter glanced up from his washing just long enough to raise an eyebrow at him.
“Did he now.”
“This is a first,” Draco confessed, feeling it all tumbling out. “I'm not good with kids. And Teddy’s a kid. And also my cousin. My kid cousin. I didn't want to fuck it up, and I didn't, and he said he loves me.” Draco knew he was grinning again, but he couldn't stop. “He's a good kid.”
“The best,” Harry agreed, and he was smiling as well as he dried his hands. “Wine?”
Draco wasn't really in the mood to drink, but nodded just so he wouldn't have to go home so early. Well, eight at night wasn't early —he'd spent nearly all day here!—, but it felt too soon.
Harry poured them a couple glasses, and then they sipped.
“So,” Draco said.
“So,” Harry echoed, and he smiled.
“You actually looked very nice in those pictures,” Draco admitted. “I'm proud to say we outdid Blaise.” He grinned rather darkly. “That's another first, as well.”
Harry frowned at him. “I don't think it really matters who outdid who.”
“You don't understand,” Draco said, leaning forward as if telling a secret. “I'm kind of, you know, self conscious about my body and all that rot. Saying I beat Blaise, who looks like, well, a model , is just my way of saying I did well. We've had this competition going on since first year which, in retrospect, is very childish, but whatever. He bet that I couldn’t beat him at Quidditch, so I went and outdid him for tryouts. I bet that he couldn't get better scores than I did, so he went and outdid me.”
“You're encouraging each other,” Harry clarified, nodding a bit. “That's nice. Indeed, a rather immature way of doing it, but nice nonetheless.”
Draco shrugged, a little shy. “Yeah, well. I went out of my comfort zone, and I outdid him, so. Cheers to that.”
Draco lifted his glass, but Harry just sort of watched him from his side of the table, so Draco made a face and lowered his glass. The tit.
“You don't have anything to be self conscious about,” Harry decided.
Draco raised an eyebrow at him. “I think I know what I can be self conscious about on my own body, thanks.”
“Well,” Harry said, “you would only be self conscious about it if you thought other people wouldn't find it attractive, right? Like, you're embarrassed or ashamed of it? Even if only mildly.”
Draco eyed him dubiously for a moment, but slowly nodded.
Harry nodded as well, than peered into his glass as he murmured, “well, I happen to find all of you very attractive, so, in my humble opinion, I can't really see what you have to be self conscious about.”
Draco felt very warm and fluttery and soft on the inside, and he fought back a shiver of delight.
“Well,” he said, quickly downing the rest of his drink before continuing with, “I think I should be getting home now.”
Harry regarded him wearily before nodding, silently, wandlessly summoning the empty glass from Draco’s fingers as he placed them in the sink. He then made his way down a familiar hall and towards the door, and Draco followed.
“I'll apparate a little further up,” Draco explained as he walked out and into the chilly night air.
“Draco,” Harry said softly, the very tips of his fingers gently, gently tugging on his sleeve.
Draco turned to him easily. “Yes?”
Harry stared at him, tugging a little more, and Draco swept closer.
“Yes?” he repeated, voice quiet.
“Can I just...? Just a little,” Harry whispered, leaning closer. His breath tickled Draco’s mouth alluringly.
“You're more than welcome,” Draco replied, but they were so close they were already kissing and Draco just sort of mumbled it against Harry’s lips. He could feel Harry smile against him before tugging him in further, and Draco went with the motion easily.
Harry’s arms slipped up to cup Draco’s face, and it was just a light, chaste kiss, more of a peck, but then he did it again, and again, just little kisses that soon left his lips and traveled to his forehead and his cheeks and his eyelids, and Draco was laughing.
“Stop,” Draco said weakly, pushing a bit at Harry’s chest, and Harry lowered his hands to rest firmly on Draco’s hips.
“One more,” Harry said, already diving forward, and he pulled Draco’s hips forward so they were flush, and Draco wrapped his arms around him, and then their lips were parting and their tongues meeting and they were snogging.
Harry’s hands slid from Draco’s arse, earning him a lip-locked smile, to Draco’s waist, pulling him close, to his hips once more, and Draco just weaved his fingers in Harry’s hair and tugged every ten seconds for breath, but it seemed Harry liked the sensation because he just moaned and kissed harder.
Draco turned his head, and Harry made do with what he had and sucked along Draco’s jaw.
“I've to go home,” Draco insisted breathily.
“Stay?” Harry pleaded, holding Draco ever closer, draping himself, practically folding over the blond like a blanket, as if to make the offer more enticing.
If possible, it did.
“I have work, not to mention an owl that needs feeding. I'll come back soon,” Draco promised.
“Tomorrow,” Harry said naturally, as though that were the most obvious answer.
Draco laughed. “That soon?”
“I would prefer sooner, like right now, but you have an owl to feed.”
“And my job,” Draco added, but he was smiling. “I'll see you tomorrow then, Harry.”
Harry grinned back. “As early as you please. We'll be here.”
Draco sniggered. “I'll be waiting with baited breath, love,” he teased, and Harry gave him an affectionate, soft, fuzzy-feeling-inducing smile for his efforts.
Tomorrow , Draco reminded himself as he walked to the nearest apparation point. He couldn't stop smiling.
Draco raised his fist to knock, but his knuckles never connected with the wood before it was pulled open.
Harry smiled at him, and it was a slow, languid smile, and Draco felt unexpectedly embarrassed.
“You just woke up?” he asked. Harry’s hair was wilder than usual, and there were red lines on his face as if he had fallen asleep with his glasses on, face pressed into his mattress.
“I don't need to be in until twelve,” Harry said, and then he yawned a bit and his eyes watered, and Draco couldn't resist leaning in and pecking him on the cheek. Harry looked pleasantly surprised.
“Good morning.” Draco smiled.
“It is now. Come on in.” And then he stepped back and Draco slipped by. They found themselves at the kitchen table again, but this time they were drinking coffee.
“I have an hour break until eleven,” Draco explained his early appearance, “so I thought I'd stop by.”
“I'm glad you did. You came just in time to catch me before I've freshened up.”
“I can tell,” Draco smirked, “your hair is even more feral than usual.”
“Combs can never seem to tame it.” Harry shrugged helplessly.
“Try a lawnmower?”
Harry barked out a laugh. “I'm surprised you even know what a lawnmower is.”
Draco raised his nose haughtily. “I'll have you know, I know a great deal of things.”
Harry’s smile was crooked. “I'm sure you do.”
“But so do you,” Draco replied. He was having fun.
“Is that so.”
Draco brandished his cup. “You know how I take my coffee! And I don't even usually like coffee.”
“You like your tea sweet and milky,” Harry said, “so I figured you would like your coffee the same way. And I realize now how creepy it is that I remember that from Hogwarts, but, well. Stranger things have happened.”
Draco laughed, but before he could ask what other things Harry remembered about him, but he was interrupted by the excited pitter-patter of approaching footsteps.
A little head popped into the doorframe, and Teddy grinned.
“Draco!” he cheered, bouncing over, and Draco was sniggering because of Teddy’s abysmal bedhead. He looked like a fluffy dandelion, especially because his hair was colored a similar, platinum blond.
The boy clambered into his lap, and Draco didn't protest, but he did frown at the little feathers in the boy’s hair. “What's all this?”
Teddy grinned sheepishly. “Sometimes I chew my pillow in my sleep.”
Draco shook his head, smiling, and began to preen the boy. “You collect more bric-a-brac than a magpie.”
Teddy puffed out his chest, as though proud by this, and both Harry and Draco laughed.
“Sleep well?” Harry asked, leaning over the table to hold Teddy’s hand. Teddy grabbed it eagerly.
“I did! I dreamed I was a wolf! A wolf pup,” Teddy said, peeking at Draco shyly from beneath his fringe.
Draco smiled at him affectionately. “Course you did, scout. Dreams are messages from the mind, after all.” And then he noticed something. “Hey, look,” he murmured, gesturing to Teddy’s pajamas. “Do you know what constellation this is?”
Teddy peered at it, frowning. “I don't know any constellations.”
Draco gaped, staring at Teddy, then Harry, then back to Teddy. “That is unacceptable. I feel like I don't even know you anymore.”
Teddy giggled at the dramatics. “Teach me?”
With a mock put-upon sigh, Draco began pointing out the stars, and Harry listened quietly as he made them breakfast, and then they all ate together, and Teddy could barely stop talking long enough to chew and swallow, and they were all laughing and smiling.
And then Teddy was sent upstairs to freshen up, and Harry began putting away the dishes, but this time, Draco silently saddled up next to him and bumped him aside, taking the sponge and the dish soap.
Why Harry did his dishes the muggle way, Draco didn't know, but he didn't mind humoring the other man.
Harry looked surprised, and then he smiled, and it was soft.
“I'll be right back. Let me go put some real clothes on.”
Draco nodded, starting the water and beginning to wash.
Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. It was mostly rinsing, and then Draco began drying, and he jumped, startled, when he felt hands slide to his hips and a warm pressure on his neck.
“Good morning,” Harry said officially for the first time that morning, just mumbling against his skin.
“Finally waking up?” Draco asked, amused, and then Harry’s arms were sliding around him fully, and he placed his head on Draco’s shoulder, peering over it and into the cleared sink.
“You washed my dishes.”
“That, I did. Barbaric and muggle, but not altogether horrid.”
“I like you doing my domestic chores.”
“I'm pretty sure you would like anyone doing your chores.”
Harry laughed, and then he hummed contentedly, swaying his body and forcing Draco to sway with him.
“You're awfully warm,” Harry noted.
“Awfully,” Draco agreed, voice grave.
Harry pressed closer, nuzzling him. “I'm glad you're here.”
Draco smiled. “So am I.”
“Stay?” Harry whispered against his shoulder, pecking it repeatedly, as though attempting to kiss every barely-there freckle.
Draco turned in his arms and cupped Harry’s face, looking him in the eyes, so close he could see golden flecks of light brown among the sea of green, before slowly, deliberately kissing the very tip of Harry’s nose.
Harry grinned at him. “Think you can get away with skipping work for today?”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Do you have something better to offer me?” he asked, and his hands found their way around Harry’s neck.
Harry stepped back a bit and his embrace was replaced by firm hands on Draco’s hips which he then used to tug the blond right back against him. Harry nodded. “Everything. Anything. Stay with me for a little longer.”
“A little,” Draco conceded, his voice soft as Harry leaned in.