The morning was quiet at Malfoy Manor. Even the White Peacocks in the gardens had halted their usual morning squawking to peacefully prance about in their usual diva stances. In the house, at the breakfast table, the atmosphere was just as peaceful. Two members of the family sat near the top of the table, Narcissa reading a slim volume she’d taken from the library and got terribly sucked into and Draco reading the newspaper. He’d reached the society pages and was going through it with a fine-toothed comb. He was meeting Pansy later and, no doubt, there’d be a multiple-choice quiz. The usually occupied seat at the head of the table was empty, due to Lucius’ business trip to France. Malfoy Holdings had made some lucrative investments and Lucius had gone to ensure they stayed that way. He tried not to be out of the country for long periods of time, but if it couldn’t be avoided, well, someone had to keep his wife and only son rolling in the Galleons they were so accustomed to.
Narcissa jumped when the peaceful time was, very suddenly, broken by Draco choking on his tea. He coughed it up harshly enough that three House-elves appeared to help him. When Draco came to his senses, his chair had been turned and he was doubled over with his head between his knees being patted hard on the back with two pairs of small hands. He took in a deep breath and shook them off, brushed back his hair and resumed his stance in his seat as if nothing had happened.
“Now what on earth could have warranted all of that?” his mother said, sitting astonished at the table opposite him. She was sitting relaxed as she always was in the morning in her nightgown and dressing robe, her hair out and swept to the side; the long curls she usually kept up and off her neck hung loose and wayward from sleep.
Draco picked up the paper that had been dropped haphazardly on the floor and wiped off some of the coffee-spluttered stains he’d made. He turned it around to her, so she could see the large announcement spread across the broadsheet.
Narcissa chewed daintily on her toast as she took in the large print. She paused and swallowed, watching her son from beneath her lashes. “Oh.”
Draco snorted, taking back the paper. “Yeah, oh,” he said bitterly.
“It’s a lovely space though, darling,” Narcissa said casually, buttering another small corner of her toast. “The Wizarding section of the hotel has a botanical garden and everything.” She rested her hands against the wood of the table and looked up in thought, sighing wistfully. “I’d love to get my hands on a white Anthurium Lily. I hear they’re imported.”
“Mother,” Draco said slowly.
“Yes, dear?” Narcissa replied and then bit into her buttered toast.
“Not now.” He turned the page.
Narcissa raised her hand before her mouth. “Of course.” She went back to her book.
Silence reigned for a long time. “I can’t go alone.”
Narcissa raised her eyes from the page she was reading so quickly; it was obvious she hadn’t been reading at all. “I know, darling.” Merlin bless her, it was all she said. She went back to her book in understanding silence.
“I can’t go alone,” Draco said again to Pansy when he met her for lunch later in the day and had time to stew on his predicament.
“You’re damn right you can’t go alone.” Pansy had been glaring since she walked up to their table at the cafe. She’d obviously been about to ask him if he’d heard, but one look at the amount of food on his plate was enough to confirm it for her. She stole one of his chips, looking out at the people passing by their spot at the corner of the veranda. Diagon Alley was busy for January. It was freezing out, but Morgana’s was known for all-season-seating because of their hospitality charms. “That little runt. If I get my hands on him I’ll-”
Draco put up a hand to forestall her rant. “Pansy. No planned homicides where I can’t state plausible deniability. It was a long time ago.” Almost eight years. Originally, the Greengrasses had carded the Malfoys as acceptable mating material. Draco, however, being far too in love with his boyfriend at the time, had turned them down. His parents had been disappointed, but it wasn’t the end of the world, there were plenty other suitors out there. Even his boyfriend, Theodore Nott, was a good match to unite their families. The Notts held substantial holdings in Gringotts and were prime investors in a number of Wizarding and Muggle companies; they could have ruled the world.
Then Astoria had set her vengeful sights on Theo, and the bastard had accepted their proposal. Broken-hearted, Draco had hoped that in the years stipulated in the betrothal agreement for the ‘happy couple’ to get to know each other, Theo would have come to his senses. But with this announcement... he couldn’t hold out anymore.
“Not bloody long enough,” Pansy said resentfully, thinking of everything Theo had put Draco through. “He seriously hurt you. After everything you did for him. He’s an ungrateful bastard. He deserves Daphne’s little sister, if you ask me.” She took some more of his chips. “Who will you go with?” Draco gave her a helpless look. Pansy snorted. “If you could get any sadder, I would cry for you. No, I’m not going with you.”
Pansy gave him an ‘isn’t it obvious?’ look. She held up her thumb. “One, I’m as gay as you and everybody knows it, so it’s pointless.” She held up her index finger. “Two I’ve already got my date, if I get invited.” She used the fingers to steal another chip.
She answered carefully, like she was readying herself for his reply. “Luna.”
Draco didn’t let her down. “Luna,” he repeated, deadpan. “Loony Luna Lovegood?”
Pansy’s eyes got hard. “Don’t call her that.”
Draco raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Oh, wow.” He looked out and around at the crowd moving up and down the alley. “I did not see that coming. Er... when?” He speared a couple more chips on his fork.
Pansy shrugged casually. “Sometime during my off-time period with Hermione.”
Draco paused with the fork near his mouth and narrowed his eyes. “Your taste in women... is odd.”
Snorting Pansy gave him an obvious look and stole another chip, avoiding the stabbing motion of his fork as he tried to stop her. “Yeah, and your taste in men is appalling.”
Draco gave her a nod, accepting her criticism. “Touché.”
Pansy shrugged again when he said nothing else. “I don’t know, it’s...” There was a little wrinkle over her nose as she thought in silence; one Draco had always thought was adorable, but said nothing about. He wasn’t suicidal. “I hardly have to do anything to please her,” Pansy finally said, “she’s always so happy.” There was a small smile on her face now.
“It’s spread a little.” Draco smiled at her. “Oh, Merlin, you’re hooked.”
Pansy threw her last chip at him. “Shut up.”
He laughed to himself as she glared out at the people around her, looking anywhere but at him. A few of the patrons moved away as they walked. “So, no Hermione anymore?”
Pansy let only her eyes turn to him, still facing away. They narrowed stubbornly, but eventually she sighed, giving up. Pansy shook her head and shrugged. “She’s too into her career, and when she has her downtimes...” She shook her head, unable to explain it. “I either wasn’t paying her enough attention, or too much. It was exhausting.” She sighed. “We’re better off as friends anyway.”
Draco nodded in understanding. He tried that too, with Theo. They'd got along, but after a while it hurt too much to even look at him, so he distanced himself. Theo didn’t make it too hard. He was always with Astoria, and Astoria hated every last one of Theo’s friends. It made Draco wonder why she’d wanted to marry Draco in the first place. Hermione was a newer addition to their group. They didn’t have the same social circles when they were in school, especially since they’d been in different Houses, but when he was made Head Boy, Hermione was made Head Girl and they’d had to work together often. They’d become easy friends, her vast intellect intriguing him, and some of her friends had tagged along whenever Draco invited her somewhere. One of them in particular, Ronald Weasley, became the bloody centre of the world for Draco’s friend Blaise. Of course, Blaise was never man enough to say anything about it, and Weasley was too oblivious to notice. He rolled his eyes just thinking about the pair of them.
“But it’s okay,” Draco said, as if he’d realised something remarkable.
“Oh yeah, why’s that?” Pansy said, sounding as if she wasn’t really listening, most likely because she figured anything he had to say would be a blatant, desperate attempt at an excuse to not think about anything.
Draco hoped to prove her wrong. “I haven’t got an invite, and based on my history with Astoria and Theo, I’m not getting one.”
Pansy thought about it for a while. “Let’s hope that’s true. If you’re not going, I’m not either. I can get Blaise to boycott too, if you want.”
Draco shook his head. “You don’t have to do that.”
Pansy rolled her eyes and leaned forward, placing her hand over his in a show of solidarity. “No, but I want to. Theo’s an arsehole, Astoria is a conceited bitch and I can’t stand either of them. If you want me to, I can let them know that. Publicly.”
Pausing, Draco watched her, understanding exactly what she was proposing. Pansy had always been his best friend; on his side, no matter what. The Parkinsons were on par with the Malfoys when it came to money and investments. They had control of a number of corporations around the world, with considerable shares in a lot of family-friend businesses. That was Nathaniel Parkinson’s and Lucius Malfoy’s rule of life. ‘A little bit of everything can’t hurt’, and based on their financial holdings, ‘everything in moderation’ wasn’t just for food anymore. The only group Nathaniel was a slave to was his wife and two daughters. If Penelope, Pansy or Peony went against anyone, they might not go broke, but they would certainly suffer in more ways than one. Draco was always careful to stay on her good side. Lucius Malfoy lived for his wife, too. Hardly anyone crossed Narcissa and Draco by extension.
Theo had betrayed him, but he still loved him. He couldn’t do that to Theo’s family, so he hadn’t said anything to his father. Pansy on the other hand... “I know, I’ll keep you on retainer,” he said to keep her satisfied.
Pansy sat back, removing her hand from over his. “But if the world has any logic to it, and Merlin bids it, you won’t get invited.”
Draco smiled. “Yeah, of course I won’t get invited. Our history alone dictates that.” He shook off the anxiety and finally pushed the plate of chips towards her with a smile.
Two days later, a thick cream envelope arrived by owl as he was getting in. He stood in the hall, where he’d Apparated home, and stared at it. The pattern around the edges matched the tones and shapes of the wedding announcement in the paper. Draco felt his heart sink and spike up in beats per minute all at the same time. It was very disorienting.
“Fuck!” It was all he could get out.
Draco spun around, his face heating up in embarrassment. He hadn’t sworn in front of his mother before, not that he could remember anyway. He swallowed around the knot of tension he could feel in his throat and stomach. What the hell was he going to do now? He couldn’t back out, they’d know why and Astoria would win. Draco wasn’t stupid. There was no way he would get an invite to Astoria Greengrass’ wedding without her knowing about it. He had to do something. He had to talk to Pansy.
Draco took note of the fact that his mother was now standing right next to him and had the envelope in her hands. That he couldn’t even remember her coming closer told him that he’d obviously drifted off so completely, he’d lost track of his surroundings.
“Oh, sweetheart,” Narcissa added. “I’m so sorry. I’d hoped, too, that the boy would come to his senses.”
There was a series of loud cracks just outside the front door and Draco barely had time to react to the loud knocks as Dobby, the house’s eldest house-elf went to answer the frantic pounding.
Pansy stormed straight past the poor thing while Blaise at least nodded to say hello. As usual, Dobby’s green skin flushed puce and his large green eyes looked down as he shut the door. If Draco had the presence of mind, he’d roll his eyes and scold Blaise again for flirting with the help.
“Have you seen this?” Pansy said in a rage, madly waving a severely ripped envelope similar to his own. “Did you get one?” Pansy stopped mid rant and turned to Narcissa. Her manners kicked in, as they always did around ‘grown ups’. “Good afternoon, Mrs Malfoy. I hope you’re well,” she said pleasantly.
It was testament to Narcissa’s etiquette lessons as a child that she didn’t react at all to Pansy’s display. “I’m splendid, Pansy,” she said with an amused smile at the three of them. She shook her head fondly, handing Draco back his unopened invitation. “I’ll leave you all to it.” She snapped her fingers at Dobby who, instead of leaving, was standing behind her skirt and staring at Blaise. He snapped to attention and followed her out of the entrance hall. Once Narcissa had gone, Pansy’s rage swept up with the speed of a hurricane. “Did that cretin lose every last one of his senses and actually grant permission for that witch to torture you in public?” she ranted.
In response, Draco simply held up his envelope. Pansy glared at it like she wanted it to spontaneously combust. Remembering her wild magic when they were children, and how it had flared spontaneously whenever she was livid, Draco tucked it out of sight.
“Aren’t you at least going to open it?” Blaise asked him. Draco shook his head and simply handed it to him to do the honours himself.
Pansy sniffed. “Why? He isn’t going. Are you?” she asked him, portraying exactly what she felt about that option in her tone.
Draco took in a deep breath. “I have to. As you said, Astoria has to know about this. I’d need a rock solid excuse to get out of it.”
“Son of a bitch!” Blaise said to himself, reading through the invite and then taking out his own to compare them.
“What?” Pansy and Draco asked edging closer.
Blaise let out a humourless chuckle as his eyes flicked from one to the other. “You didn’t get a plus one.” He shook his head. “I did, so did Pansy. Yours is only for you.”
Pansy’s face was apoplectic. “That mother-”
“Keep your head on, Pans,” Blaise said, his forehead creased in thought. Draco eyed him warily. Blaise rarely got angry, his laissez-faire attitude to life making him rather easy going; the perfect balance to his two best friends. That wrinkle over his brow, however, said he wasn’t happy at all. “No,” Blaise said abruptly and both Draco and Pansy stopped to stare at him. “There is no way this is an accident and I will be damned if you go to this thing alone.” He turned the embossed pieces of card over, nodded, and then switched the invites around, putting his invite in Draco’s envelope.
Draco watched it, confused. “Blaise-”
“Draco.” Blaise’s face was solemn, so unlike his relaxed expression that could shift from a flirting smile to a sarcastic smirk, but never this frown of anger. Never. “They aren’t going to do this to you. I don’t have anyone to take and I wasn’t planning on going anyway, but this... this is just taking it too far. She’s trying to embarrass you. I won’t have it. You’re going, Pansy is going and so am I. We’ll beat her at her own bloody game. Take it.” When Draco still didn’t move his hands, Blaise shoved the invite forward with more urgency. Between them, Pansy watched their interaction with interest. She too, had never seen Blaise this way. “There aren’t any names on them, only on the envelopes they came in. Take it.”
Draco did, his hand shaking a little as he accepted it. “But what am I going to do? I don’t have anyone either.”
Blaise frowned in confusion. “Well, it’s still January, the wedding is in April. You have about three months. You’re young, attractive and rich.” He paused. “I don’t see the problem here.” He let out, “Oomph,” when Pansy elbowed him.
“The problem is,” she said through gritted teeth, “he’s gone frigid and no one compares to Theo with his tall frame, dark hair and light blue eyes.”
Blaise rolled his eyes even as Draco gave a noise of indignation. “Oh, please. Spare me.” He gave Draco a once over. “Then your only option is to outsource.” He put up his hands, stopping Draco’s outburst before he started. “But, like I said, you have three months.”
Three Months later
“I can’t believe it’s been three months and you haven’t got anyone to take to the bloody wedding,” Pansy said, bypassing a few of the customers in the cafe to go to their usual spot. Blaise sat waiting for her to bring him his coffee as they walked over. It was a lot warmer now and the sun held a little more heat than it usually did for spring. Draco sat down with a heavy sigh.
He couldn’t help it. Blaise and Pansy (and sometimes even his mother) had taken to setting him up every couple of days with someone new who was either too tall, too short, too skinny, not good looking enough, far too boring and way too talkative for his liking. He was beginning to despair and had thought more than once of giving Blaise back his own invitation and foregoing the entire event altogether.
“Are you even listening to me?”
Draco snapped out of his thoughts to see Blaise sipping his coffee with an amused look on his face and Pansy staring at him expectantly. “What?”
“I said do you have any plans tonight?”
Draco sat back and sighed again. He’d had a right strop over the last date, two weeks ago, and thought that his rant had deterred this behaviour. Evidently, Pansy had only been giving him time to cool down. “No. I’m staying home tonight. Mother wants some help with something and Father is coming home this afternoon from Germany, so I wanted to be there anyway. No more pimping me out, Pans, I’m serious. I’m tired. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll just go stag and hang off you for the night.”
Draco turned his head to Blaise. “I beg your pardon?”
Blaise put down his cup. “You didn’t even read the invite, did you?” Draco knew he didn’t have to answer that. Blaise didn’t often ask questions of Draco he didn’t already know the answer to. “The Greengrasses and their extensive means are treating ‘all personal friends of the bride and groom to a week of joyous revelry at the Pennyhill Hotel’ before the wedding on Saturday. And, somehow, we qualify.”
“You’re having me on.” He turned to Pansy. “Tell me he’s joking.”
Pansy simply shook her head and, thankfully, didn’t comment when Draco dropped his head to the cafe table.
“Any luck finding a date, darling?” his mother asked him over dinner later in the evening. Draco shook his head, casting a short glance at his father.
“A date to what?” Lucius asked patting his mouth with a napkin and picking up his glass of wine. He raised his arms a little so the House-elf could take his empty plate.
Narcissa answered for him, which Draco was grateful for, since he wasn’t sure he’d be able to do it without sounding like a lovesick teenage girl. “Oh, you didn’t know? Theodore Nott is marrying the youngest Greengrass girl.”
Sharp grey eyes, so much more experienced than his, zeroed in on Draco. Draco remembered what he’d been like the day he told the Greengrasses he didn’t want to marry their daughter. His father had been disappointed – Aldrich was a close family friend after all – but he’d given Draco a look, one that said ‘I accept it, but do you really think, if the situation were reversed, he’d do the same for you?’ Draco had rebelled, big time. A nineteen year old, in love, and being doubted of that love’s loyalty could be a dangerous thing, and he’d let his father know it. Extensively.
Four months later, he’d been proven wrong.
And Lucius had been... rather gracious about it, actually. “You’re going?” was all he said. Draco nodded behind his glass of wine. Lucius narrowed his eyes. “Why?” Every question he could possibly ask was summed up in that one word and Draco could hear them all in the single syllable.
Draco looked up at him finally. “I have something to prove.”
Lucius looked interested. “To prove? Or something to do?”
Draco tried very hard not to let his gaze waver. He’d never been able to lie to his parents. They knew him far too well. After Theo had dumped him so spectacularly, he’d not been the same. His parents had noticed and Lucius had subsequently spent some time in his office with Nathaniel Parkinson, Pansy and his mother sitting out in the garden with smiles galore. When they’d resurfaced, all Lucius could say was that Draco’s life was better off without the little shit and it was best he moved on. Draco never found out what all the secrecy was about and no one had ever told him, not even Pansy.
To this day, Lucius remained of the same mind. He highly disapproved of what Draco was obviously thinking. And Draco was thinking it.
Is there any way I could get him back?
It was that same thought that had him up at four in the bloody morning the next day. Draco leaned against the counter after giving his coffee order. He yawned into his hand as he waited and crossed his arms over his chest. He wasn’t eating in today, he had to find clothes ‘to make Theo Nott drool’ according to Pansy and was meeting Pansy and her sister in half an hour toPortkey to the continent for a shopping spree of epic proportions. He was dreading it. Pansy wanted to check into a hotel for the day to stash their purchases, which told Draco exactly how much she was planning on spending. Why they had to check in so early, he’d never understand. If he could find a way to get out of it, everything would be right with the world, but Blaise had refused to come to his rescue because he agreed with their best friend. He needed new friends.
“Anything with chocolate and caramel in it, Laura. And put in an extra shot of caffeine for me, please.”
Draco turned his head at the voice. A tall young man was standing next to him, having come forward when Laura, the cashier, called him up for his turn in line. Had this man been behind him the whole time? Merlin.
Laura smiled at the newcomer. Apparently, he wasn’t so new. “Long night, Harry? Do tell,” she asked in a fond tone, her grin scandalous. Draco didn’t blame her. The man – Harry – was in Muggle clothes; jeans, a t-shirt and a short leather jacket over the ensemble. It wasn’t what Draco usually went for, but he could appreciate a good looking man.
Harry scoffed. “Don’t even get me started. Some people just think they can take advantage.” He cocked his hip to the side as he addressed her. “I swear, one day I will quit and find something better,” he said with the air of someone who’d obviously promised that many times, to no avail.
Laura shrugged as she wrote down his order and passed it back to be rung up. “Take some time off. Merlin knows you deserve it with all the bastards you have to see to.”
Harry was staring at the object in his hand, swiping his thumb across it multiple times. Draco tried to check it out surreptitiously, it was obviously Muggle. “Too true, too true.” He looked up at her. “But alas,” he said, leaning over the counter to get closer to her, “if I didn’t service them, I wouldn’t have to come in here early every morning to see you,” he grinned and winked at her before looking back down to the sleek black device in his hand. Whatever it was he was fiddling with, he pressed the flat surface one last time and then shoved it in his back pocket as he handed Laura a Galleon, his eyes turning to Draco as he did so. Draco looked away, realising he’d been staring. Wow, green eyes. Scratch that. He could appreciate a gorgeous looking man.
“Draco Malfoy?” Draco turned back, eyes wide. “It is you. Hi, my name’s Harry.” Harry held out this hand to shake, giving Draco a mega-watt smile. Draco stared at it and then at Harry’s hand. He slowly took it.
“Do I know you?” he had to ask, because he would certainly remember knowing someone like this. Laura held out Draco’s coffee and he took it from her, using the excuse to look away. He was sure Harry didn’t appreciate being leered at.
Harry slowed down on the enthusiasm, the brightness of his smile reducing awkwardly. Draco could see his shoulders noticeably drop. “We... we went to school together. I was in your year.”
Draco was still coming up blank. “What’s your last name?”
“Potter,” Draco repeated to himself as he stirred the honey he’d put into his coffee, trying to place the name but the only Potter he knew of was the - “Seeker!” He lightly slapped a hand against his forehead. “Oh Merlin, of course, Harry Potter!” Potter had been the Quidditch team seeker for Gryffindor for the last three years of school. He’d been a bit of a loner the first four, likely to do with all the hype behind his family. No wonder Draco didn’t recognise him off the bat. Plus, Quidditch was always a spectator sport for Draco. He had no real reason to try out, especially with Theo on the team as a Seeker, too. “Wow, long time. How are you?” he said laughing. The man had been a good player back then, which certainly helped the schoolyard rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor. They were always the best games to watch during the school Quidditch season. Theo never liked Potter, because Slytherin never won against Gryffindor whenever the brunet played.
Draco felt time stop. Hold the Floo.
It was Thursday. The wedding was in just over a week, and the ‘week of joyous revelry’ began in three days. He’d have to face Theo on his own in three days with no weapon but his wit and the – no doubt scandalously tight – clothes Pansy was about to choose for him in Milan, and the more time that went by, the more desperate he became. Draco eyed Harry with renewed interest, and then toned it down a bit when Harry started to look worried. “So, you come here every day?” he asked as casually as he could, looking around the coffee shop.
Harry nodded and yawned. “Yeah, my job mandates the use of coffee as a medicinal remedy.”
Up all night, then? he wanted to ask. “What do you do?” He had to admit, from what he’d inferred, it didn’t sound savoury, nor did it sound like Harry enjoyed it. But, if it was what he thought it was, it did sound useful to his ends. He looked around again covertly. The only people in at this time of the morning were those who wanted early starts and those who were on their way home from the Knockturn Night Shift. He eyed Harry carefully. In Muggle clothes, he didn’t look bad. Draco could tell he’d look dashing in a robe, though. Perhaps it was a request from a John?
Harry tilted his head to the side. “What do you do?” he asked instead.
Draco paused with his coffee cup near his lips. “What do I do?” he repeated, not expecting Harry to turn the question on him. Harry didn’t say it again, he simply waited, leaning against the counter with his hip, looking interested in what Draco was about to say. Which was nothing. “I don’t do anything.”
Harry seemed confused. “Nothing? At all? Not even recreationally?” Draco shook his head. “Wow, that’s kinda boring. I was expecting something else.”
Draco bristled. “Like what?”
Harry shrugged and took the cup of coffee Laura was holding out to him along with the handful of change. “I don’t know. In school you always had a bunch of things going on. I suppose you don’t do the elf thing anymore?” he asked with a smile.
Draco eyed him sharply. “The SPEW thing Granger was always on about? Are you joking?” Hermione Granger, Pansy’s on and off again paramour, had developed a fondness for house-elves during her schooling career. Draco had only gone along with it for shits and giggles, and to use it as evidence of his initiative for his résumé, assuming he ever needed one. It had kept him occupied, at least.
Harry blew on his coffee to cool it down after he stirred in the whipped cream on top. There was no one behind him, so he turned to rest against the counter again. “She was passionate and she was Head Girl when you were Head Boy. The two of you together were a force to be reckoned with. People knew not to cross you, as far as I could understand. If anyone needed anything, they would always come to you because they knew you could get it, or, at the very least, open up a channel of discussion with the faculty to make it possible.”
Draco thought about it. It was true. Draco had connections with companies all over the world. Most of them had laughed at the idea of Elf Welfare, but had seen the attempt as admirable. Hermione had been so proud of herself, determined to let nothing get in her way. Draco had to admire her spunk. And they’d done so much more for charity during their final years, even raised money to get the Weird Sisters to perform at their Yule Ball the year the Triwizard Tournament had come to their school. It had been so good, and cemented a place for Draco in Hogwarts history.
Huh, Draco thought to himself. Harry might be right. Where had that person gone?
This kind of thing, this was what he needed. Someone with the right history and definitelywith the right looks. Merlin must be smiling down on him. “Are you doing anything later?”
Harry seemed surprised enough to look around, as if Draco could have been talking to someone next to him. Draco waited. “Er, I’m not sure. My schedule-”
“Right,” Draco said quickly, “of course.” Harry likely would have to plan ahead with his... er, well. “If you are, floo me. I’m at Malfoy Manor, third floor, east wing. The floo system will direct you straight to me. I’d like to ask you something, but I’m afraid I may have to take time to prepare what I have to say.”
Harry gave him a bemused smile. “Sounds ominous.”
Draco nodded and checked the time. The Portkey left in ten minutes; he needed to start walking to their rendezvous point. “I’m heading into Italy for the day but I’ll be back by nine tonight or so. Let me know around then if you’re free for a late dinner.” He held out his hand. “It was nice to meet you again, Harry.”
Harry shuffled his coffee into the other hand to be able to shake Draco’s warmly. “Yeah, it was. Have a nice day in Italy,” he said as if he had an opinion on that he’d rather not share.
Draco was about to leave when he turned back. “I really hope you can make it to dinner.” He left then, letting the door swing shut behind him.
Harry simply stared after him. “Me too.” He turned to see Laura grinning at him. “I think I just got asked on a date by Draco Malfoy.”
Laura cocked an eyebrow at him and brandished her serving tongues and a thin white paper bag. “Does this call for celebratory Danish?”
Harry bit his lip. “Oh you foul temptress. Fine! Give it to me.” He dug into his pockets, his eyes drifting out to the Alley beyond the glass window. He needed to get home and see about switching around a couple of appointments.
Peony was coughing, clearly choking on her lunch. Pansy handed her the glass of water next to her and then turned back to Draco. “When Blaise said outsource, I didn’t know you’d take him to heart, Draco.”
“He was right there and the opportunity presented itself,” he said like it was an obvious choice. He began listing the man’s attributes on his fingers. “He went to school with us, Pans, he was Theo’s rival in Quidditch, and he’s bloody gorgeous. I’m having a hard time seeing him among the people I knew at school, but, whatever, you should see him now.” He took a sip of his juice, watching Peony as she tried to catch her breath.
“I wish Blaise was here,” Peony said with a grin.
Draco laughed, knowing her wish was based on pure amusement, since, unlike most of the populace that met Blaise for the first time; she was not pining uselessly after him. Their small group seemed to be immune, likely because Blaise didn’t have any use for them under his spell. The things that man could get with a snap of his fingers, it amazed them all sometimes. Thankfully, Blaise only used his powers for good.
Well, their good.
“You invited him to dinner, you said?” Draco nodded. Pansy frowned. “Why? He’s for hire, you should have just asked him for an estimate.”
Draco looked at her, disappointed. “He’s not a broom Pans, or a magically modified car.” He’d certainly look good in one, though. Draco could just imagine him. Naked. Oh yeah.
“Draco” His attention snapped to her. “Look, just be careful, okay? If anything goes wrong, just call on us, yeah? I know we said you needed a date, but this might be where we push you too far.” Draco nodded and tucked back into his Tiella Di Riso. “If it does go sour, however, at the very least take a picture. You calling someone ‘gorgeous’ after the last couple of months of us failing to find someone to match up to Theo is worth documenting,” she quipped. Peony snorted.
“Draco?” Draco turned in his head at hearing his name. He’d made the reservations for ten quickly, after receiving Harry’s floo call at nine thirty. Pansy had helped him draft up a quick proposal of what he should say to the brunet over dinner before leaving him to deliver his news to Blaise. Draco expected a visit tomorrow.
Draco went still with shock, his breath freezing in his throat at the male specimen walking up to his table.
I was right. He does look good in a robe. And Harry did. It was a dark emerald robe, tailored and, even better, Draco recognised the designer on sight. This was going to be so good if Harry agreed. Finally breaking out the manners his mother taught him, he stood up. “You look wonderful,” he said, eyeing the other patrons, whose eyes were following the brunet through the restaurant, smugly.
Harry sat down smiling. “Wow, this feels like an official date already,” he joked. Draco laughed with him as they sat down.
“So what would you like? I asked, so it’s on me.” He accepted the menu from the waiter and opened it to the first page.
Harry sat back and looked around. All the money spent in this place in a day would astound him, he was sure. It seemed a bit over-the-top for a simple dinner, which meant that Draco was obviously trying to butter him up. “Well, I’d like to know about that proposal you were talking about this morning, but, if I’m honest, I’ve been spending most of my day swinging back and forth between hearing it before or after dinner, just in case.”
“Just in case?”
Harry nodded. “In case I say no.”
Hmm, that was disappointing. “So, after dinner?”
Harry shrugged. “A guy’s got to eat.”
Draco nodded. “Indeed.”
Harry smiled; Draco holding back was kind of adorable. “But I can tell you really want it out there, so go ahead. At least I got to put on this robe for a couple hours.” He leaned forward, cupping his palms around his jaw to prop him up. He assumed an ‘I’m listening’ expression.
Suddenly, yet unsurprisingly, Draco went mute for a couple of seconds. He went over the few lines Pansy had drilled into him. “I’m just going to say it then, since there’s no other way of putting it without making it sound unpleasant, especially with what you do for a living.”
Harry’s face froze, a blank look crossing his features shortly afterwards. “I never told you what I did for a living.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Well, it was quite obvious.” He put down his menu and took a deep breath. “I need to get an estimate for your services, for a week, at an upscale hotel in Surrey.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed, like he wasn’t sure what to make of that information. “Doing what?” he asked suspiciously.
Draco shook his head. “Nothing untoward, simply as a date for the wedding.”
Eyes still narrowed, Harry sat back. “Your date? For what wedding?” Harry said, totally confused.
Draco sort of understood. He’d figured already that Harry didn’t get asked for this type of arrangement very often. “Theodore Nott. I know it’s short notice-”
“What – how? Okay, look, I think you’ve got this wrong-”
Putting up a hand to placate him, Draco interrupted him. “No, I understand you don’t get this sort of request often – and I’m sorry – but I overheard your conversation with the barista this morning and it really sounded like you wanted to take a break anyway. This could be a great chance.”
Harry paused, taking it all in. Draco let him. After a few beats, a look of realisation crossed Harry’s face. “Oh, you mean Laura, this morning.” He shook his head, a laugh escaping. “Draco-”
That didn’t sound good. “Please,” Draco tried one last time. “Just order something, enjoy the hot meal and think about it. You won’t have to do anything but look gorgeous on my arm. Which obviously won’t take much,” he added, complimenting him. “It’s all expenses paid, no extras, I promise.”
“Oh, you promise,” Harry said sarcastically.
“Please think about. I have to leave in three days to spend a week with them all, where I’ll be looked at like a jilted bride, passed up for something better. I’d rather not go, but in my social circle, that’s social suicide.”
Harry looked like he was weighing the decision in his mind throughout dinner. They talked about other things, like what Draco had been up to since he left school, things they liked to eat. Draco steered clear of asking Harry about what he’d been up to, since the subject was obviously touchy. It wasn’t until desert that Harry brought it back to the purpose of the dinner.
“Who is he marrying? I don’t get to read papers often.”
Draco couldn’t help the dejected feeling whenever he thought of the bride. “Astoria Greengrass,” he said, adding a questioning tone to his words to see if Harry knew her.
Harry nodded. “I remember her. A couple years younger, right?” He sat back when Draco answered yes. “He left you for Astoria Greengrass? Is he crazy?” he asked, looking like he was completely serious.
Draco was flattered. “Well, it’s debatable. He came looking for me a couple years back, said he wanted to try again but it only lasted a couple weeks. I actually felt guilty.” He paused. “I’ve never told anybody that before.” In those three weeks, he’d begun to feel like himself again. Then one day Theo stopped coming and wouldn’t answer his owls or floo calls. The pain wasn’t new, but it was twice as horrible as before, if not more. The hope, he knew, is what made it worse this time around.
“Too worried you’d be judged?” Harry said knowingly. “I know how that is. You can’t help what you do when you’re in love with someone. It turns you temporarily insane.” He spoke like he was speaking from experience. “The trick is to surround yourself with people who’ll love you regardless.” He put down his napkin, shaking his head. “I can’t believe I’m even contemplating this.” He covered his face with his hands, thinking of the implications this could cause. “You have to know that I don’t usually do this, but let me make sure I can clear my schedule.”
Draco sat up enlivened by the possibility he may actually get through this. “O-of course, is there anyone I’ll need to speak to?” he asked gingerly, hoping the answer was no.
Harry looked horrified. “No! Merlin no. I can sort it out myself, thanks.”
Relieved, Draco sat back signalling for the cheque. Harry stood. “I’ll check in with you tomorrow. Should I come by, or?”
Harry stopped him right there. “No, I’ll come to you. Is six okay?”
Draco nodded. “It’s perfect.” He watched Harry walk away, the man still shaking his head as if he couldn’t believe what he was letting himself walk into. Draco sank back down into his chair, a heavy weight lifting off his shoulders. “It’s perfect,” he said to himself again.
“Whoever said money couldn’t buy happiness, has been shopping in the wrong places.” Blaise turned his back on the young man sitting down in Draco’s personal living room. Both he and Pansy had been ushered into Draco’s bedroom when an elf had come to tell him ‘a Harry Potter’ had arrived to see him. The two had been spying so far from a crack in the door. Draco had only just excused himself to go to the bathroom. He’d already decided he was going to pay, but he really he wanted their opinion. Blaise, apparently, had a high one.
“Really? He’s good, right?” Draco was rather chuffed he’s chosen so well.
Pansy looked very impressed. “Sweetheart, Theo won’t know what hit him.” She angled her head to look at the door as if she could see the young man through the wood. “Enough to straighten me out at least. How on earth did he convince his pimp to let him go for a week?” she added more to herself.
“Now,” Blaise continued to whisper, getting down to business and ignoring Pansy completely. “You pay half upfront, the other half when the job is done or halfway through the week. Tell him you dictate his clothes-”
“Or lack thereof.”
Blaise paused at Pansy’s comment before going on. “And you’ll need to decide on a history.”
“Why don’t we all have this conversation outside then?” They heard at the door and froze. Draco went to open it, only to see Harry leaning against the jam with his arms crossed. His green eyes ran across the people in the room. “Well, I knew I’d get to see the holy triumvirate again, just not this soon. I take it I passed inspection?”
“How did you-?”
“I heard your whispering when I took a circle tour of the room.” Draco remembered Harry pausing to look at the portrait next to his bedroom door. He’d frozen with nerves, caught between watching this man walking around his private rooms – like whatever he took note of would weigh on his decision – and hoping his two best friends would keep their mouths shut. Obviously it had been too much to ask. Harry had said yes only after walking a full round of the room, hovering over anything of interest in silence. When he sat down on the couch in front of the fire, he finally had mercy on Draco and gave him an affirmative answer to his proposal. Moments later, Draco had excused himself to go to the bathroom.
Huh, in hindsight that was probably rather telling.
“So?” Harry added. “Outside?” He lead the way, taking his previous seat and sitting back to listen. “You said something about a history?”
Blaise, having sat down, didn’t waste time. They were all leaving on Sunday night. “Theo broke up with Draco eight years ago.” Harry let his eyes move to Draco, who had shifted in his seat at the mention of time. “We need to slot you in there somewhere. If we can back it up,” he added gesturing to himself and Pansy, “then no one will argue.”
Harry nodded and looked at Draco meaningfully. “Any suggestions? I’m free from 1998 onwards.” From what the blond had told him the night before, it was obvious neither Pansy nor Blaise knew anything about Draco’s lapse in judgement a few years ago.
“Three years should be enough,” Draco said quietly.
Harry nodded in agreement. “Okay.” He knew it couldn’t be any longer than that, or Theo would know and ask questions.
“You’ll need a job,” Pansy said. “Since you have a love of Muggle clothing I’m guessing you go out there a lot.”
Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “I need to sometimes.” He watched them, waiting for a comment. When none came, he said point blank, “Doctor.”
“What?” Draco asked.
Harry turned to him. “I can be a Doctor. It’s a wedding full of wizards. They wouldn’t have any idea what a Muggle Doctor does and I know enough of them to get base information to keep people off my back for a week. Is that prestigious enough for you?” he asked Draco.
Blaise chuckled. “You think you can pretend to be a Muggle Doctor for a week?”
Harry grinned. “I’ve helped enough medical students cram for exams, in ways you couldn’t imagine, that you really don’t need to know the answer to that question.”
Blaise eyed him with a new respect. “Alright then.” He turned to Draco. “It’s up to you.” Draco nodded at them and Blaise let it go, gesturing to Pansy to get her stuff so they could leave. They weren’t needed here anymore.
Harry stood up and went to retrieve his leather jacket from where he’d put it down on a chair. Draco simply stared at Harry as his friends left. “You really think you can do it?” he asked once they were gone. It would be perfect. But he didn’t want the repercussions of this backfiring on him.
Harry paused and then nodded, giving him a smile as he continued putting his jacket on. “Trust me. I’ll make you look so good, yet unattainable; he’ll be on his knees.” When Draco smiled, Harry waved goodbye. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Draco nodded. “We leave at six in the evening on Sunday. Expect a list of clothing items to pack by tomorrow afternoon.”
Harry smiled. “Or lack thereof?”
Draco chuckled. “Or lack thereof.” He let Harry close the door then, knowing there would be a house-elf outside to lead him downstairs.
Two days later, they arrived promptly at six; all four of them landing in the foyer by Portkey. Blaise and Harry were still mid conversation about some skiing trip the three friends had been on. Draco listened with a distracted air like he had been doing all day and most of yesterday. Harry was worth the money he’d spent on him, listening and learning everything Blaise and Pansy trained him in. He’d spent the rest of it helping Harry to pack, surprised when most of his clothes equated to suitable and very suitable. Harry, quite obviously, didn’t sell himself short.
Blaise had come up with the plan to fit Harry into any and every trip they’d taken as a trio, since no one else would have come into contact with him and Pansy had brought over her photo album of all the places they’d been together, all of them surprised when Harry re-counted trips he’d taken there too. This was going to be too easy, Draco just knew something was going to go wrong.
“I’m going to go look for Luna. I’ll see you guys later.” Pansy left then, a house-elf floating her bags behind her.
Blaise turned to them both, reminding Harry of a General in the field briefing his men. “Dinner is at eight. We have two hours to check in and get ready. I’ll see you both then.” He turned and left.
Draco let him go, turning to Harry. “You ready?” he said with the air of someone going to battle.
Harry just smiled. “I think I should be asking you that. You look very nervous.” He looked concerned. “Come on, we’ll check in and then go upstairs.” He put an arm around his shoulder and led him to the check in desk.
Check in was simple and their bags were upstairs waiting for them when they got there. Draco started to take his bags into the closet when Harry stopped him. Draco was startled when he was pulled into a hug.
Harry chuckled. “For a boyfriend of three years, you’re certainly jumpy around me.”
“Well, my boyfriend has never hugged me before.” Getting what Harry was saying, he hugged him back. This was supposed to be a comfortable relationship by now. He’d have to get used to this if their plan was going to work. Theo knew that, although Draco wasn’t particularly affectionate, he craved attention and touch. He would find it strange if his new boyfriend of three years never touched him, especially if Draco jumped or looked uncomfortable whenever he did.
“He sounds like a bastard then. I’ll do better.” He held Draco tighter.
Draco laughed, holding on. It felt nice, warm, he could get used to this. The thought made him pause. “Are you going to do this for the full two hours?” he asked, suddenly feeling strange.
Harry’s deep voice whispered in his ear, “I could take it further.” When Draco tensed, Harry laughed and let him go. “Didn’t think so.” He spelled Draco’s trunk to float into the closet. The clothes started hanging themselves up as he floated his own trunk over to join in. When he turned around, Draco was behind him. “What?”
Draco kissed him.
Harry stumbled back, his back hitting the wall as Draco crowded into him. Arms encircled his neck to bring him impossibly closer. It wasn’t until a hint of tongue touched his lips that he woke up to the fact that Draco Malfoy was kissing him. Him. He responded with enthusiasm. Pleasantly surprised his jibe had had such an effect.
He was only just getting into it when Draco slowed the kiss down, backing away with a deep breath and resting his forehead on Harry’s shoulder.
“Hmm. If these are at additional cost, I may bankrupt my father.” He laughed. “But you’re right. I’m going to have to make myself used to you.” He left him then to supervise his clothes. “I think I might change before dinner, what do you think?”
Harry stood frozen at the entrance to the closet. He shut his eyes to block out what he wanted to say and instead smiled and turned to watch the blond going through the clothes he’d brought. Harry’s clothes were still sorting themselves out. He took the opportunity to let his eyes linger. “You look good the way you are now, and you only just put them on. Give the fancy Italian garb a chance. You don’t want to seem too eager.”
Draco nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.” He stepped away from the clothes Pansy had made him buy. “Come on, let’s go look around.”
The hotel really was beautiful and his mother had been right, the botanical garden they had on the Wizarding side was remarkable. All the exotic flowers made the garden a colourful array of beauty and gave it a pleasant spring-filled scent.
“People,” Draco heard Harry say in his ear, and then his hand was taken in a gentle grip, fingers threading through his. He looked down. The last time he’d done this was with Theo three years ago in Brighton. He shook that away, he was here to make the man jealous, not let him know he was pining. “Most of these are used in various healing potions, you know.”
Draco looked around, classifying and grouping the flowers and plants that could be used in healing potions within seconds of seeing them. He looked up at Harry in thought. The man had said he knew enough to pass as a Doctor. He’d said nothing about being a Mediwizard. “Have you ever thought of doing something else?”
Harry shrugged. “What I do is beneficial to a lot of people. I like what I do.”
Draco snorted as they walked down a pathway. “You didn’t seem to like it when you talked to Laura.”
Harry changed direction and tugged gently on his arm down another path. “Everyone has difficult nights.”
Draco didn’t even get a chance to think about that before, “There you are!” was exclaimed behind them. They spun around. Quentin Nott, Theo’s little brother, was looking at Draco and paused at the sight of the man he was holding hands with.
“Quentin,” Draco said almost like he was apologising. He tried to let go of Harry’s hand, but Harry wouldn’t let him. They’d been really good friends until Theo broke up with him and told Quentin not to talk to him anymore. He didn’t know if Quentin knew about their few meetings in between. It didn’t look like it.
Quentin shook his head. “Dinner’s about to start. Pans sent me out after you. I thought you’d be alone.” Another cursory glance at Harry.
Harry, feigning ignorance, just smiled. “A lot of people seem to think that.” He held out his hand. “I’m Harry.”
Quentin’s eyes moved from one man to the other. “Boyfriend?” When Draco nodded, he eyed Harry speculatively. “He treats you well?”
Draco cocked his head so it was resting against Harry’s shoulder. “Better.”
Quentin nodded and finally shook Harry’s hand. “Then welcome.”
The restaurant was full of people. The Greengrasses really weren’t sparing any expense. Draco wouldn’t be surprised if they’d bought out the whole hotel for the week. Actually, it sounded like something Aldrich would do; anything for his spoiled little girls. Draco rolled his eyes mentally, allowing himself to be tugged along by Harry as he led them towards the table where Pansy and Blaise were sitting. There were people watching, he knew, even though he wasn’t watching back, wondering who he was walking with and how he ended up bringing someone no one had ever seen before.
As they approached the table, he saw Blaise suddenly wave at them, calling them over. It wasn’t until Pansy stood up to hug him as if she hadn’t seen him up to two hours ago that he realised what they were doing.
When she hugged Harry too, as if he was a long-time friend, and they exchanged pleasantries like professionals, it was cemented. They were setting the scene. Draco wondered what he had been doing when this part of the plan was hashed out. He remembered becoming distinctly distracted when he’d been spelling Harry’s underwear into his trunk.
As Draco spoke to Pansy, Harry was talking to Blaise and moved to sit next to him while they spoke, instead of directly next to Draco, like any boyfriend of Draco’s would do if they’d known his friends for years. He couldn’t hear what they were saying but he didn’t need to. He only needed to see it done and so did everyone else. Next to Pansy, Luna smiled at him serenely. He smiled back. Luna was harmless and likely had no idea what was going on. She’d go with the flow simply because, and Draco liked her for it. Pansy was smirking at him and then gesturing with her head behind him. Draco turned around to see the quick snap turn of Astoria’s head turning away quickly. He turned back to Pansy, making sure he couldn’t be seen before he gave her a discreet high five.
Dinner was a straightforward affair, meant simply for people to know who was who and who was where, so they could go out later in the week to catch up before the wedding. The toasts were quite painful to sit through, especially when all anyone could talk about was all the love between the happy couple.
Harry, now sitting next to him after finishing his talk with Blaise, scoffed quietly. “Pfft, wasn’t so happy three years ago,” Harry whispered in his ear and Draco snorted into his drink loud enough for the toaster to pause. He’d frozen solid and only moved when Harry started dramatically coughing next him. “Sorry, wrong hole,” he’d said hoarsely and gestured for them to continue as the rest of their table hid their chuckles into their champagne and Draco hid his face.
After dinner, most of the family went to bed while all the close friends advertised on the invite stayed up late catching up. The servers had already cleaned up after dinner and left the house-elves to the stragglers, who looked like they were in it for the long haul. Harry sat with two strangers that neither Pansy nor Blaise had indicated were of any importance, so he took a break and let himself observe everyone around him. Draco was talking with Quentin quietly by the bar and Pansy was dancing slowly with Luna, while Blaise was smiling and flirting with a young man in a waiter’s uniform. Everyone was decked out in their best for dinner. Harry rolled his eyes; the rich and famous. He’d been one of them once. He shook his head.
“Harry?” said an astonished voice behind him.
Harry turned at the familiar voice and then paused in shock. “Zach?” he said with a disbelieving smile. Zacharias Smith hated things like this. He was surprised the man even deigned to turn up. “What on earth...?”
Zacharias took the seat next to him. “No, Harry, you what on earth. I didn’t think this was your crowd.”
Harry dropped his hand from where it had been propping up his head in boredom and sat back in his chair. “Oh, Merlin, it’s not. I’m here as a plus one. Of sorts,” he added wryly.
Zacharias took a sip of his wine and watched him suspiciously. “I’m afraid to ask what that means.”
Harry grinned. “I think my natural reaction to hiding my job title has got me in trouble.”
Zacharias cocked his head to the side. “How so?”
“Well, one minute I’m being asked out by Draco Malfoy-”
Zach gave him a wide smile. “Well, you finally bagged him then? Took you long enough.” Harry shook his head and Zach’s smile dimmed as his brow quirked in confusion. “I don’t get it. You’re his plus one, right?”
“Oh, yeah, but for all intents and purposes, I’m here under duress.”
Zach began to shake his head slowly. “No, I still don’t understand.”
Harry let it out plainly. “He’s paying me.”
Zach’s expression didn’t change. Then he snorted. “He does know you’d do it for free?” he said referring to a private joke. Anyone with eyes in school could tell how badly Harry had it for the blond. How bad he obviously still had it if he was here at all.
Harry opened his mouth. It was the first time he’d be expressing his suspicion out loud and it sounded a little ridiculous. But this was Zach. Annoying as he could be, he was always up for a good laugh, and if Harry didn’t laugh about this, he would cry. “I’m pretty sure that Draco thinks...” He laughed a little before he said it. “He thinks I’m a prostitute.”
Zacharias simply stared. “A prostitute,” he repeated.
Harry shrugged, gesturing like he didn’t get it either. “One minute I’m talking to him at Morgana’s, next thing I know he’s invited me out on a date. I’m thinking, ‘Bloody hell, after the week I’ve had, this is a ray of fucking sunshine.’ But then he’s offering me money to be his date at a wedding and now I’m thinking I must have missed something. Then I remembered Laura.”
Zacharias narrowed his eyes in thought. “The coffee shop girl?” He knew Laura, they frequented Morgana’s nearly every morning until Harry started working such irregular hours.
Harry nodded. “You know how she used to look at us when we came in early in the morning and her shop was already filled with the crowd from Knockturn?” Zach nodded smiling. That had been an interesting conversation. After Laura’s initial embarrassment, it had been a running joke ever since. “I was talking to her, joking around like normal, and when I look to the side, there he is – trying to look like he’s not listening to our conversation.” Harry shook his head. “Like I said, he hasn’t outright said it, but he paid me half upfront like he was hiring me for a construction job and he keeps saying things like he’s trying to be politically correct, but it all just comes across as cryptic.” He shook his head and drank from his glass.
Zach rested his arms down on the table in front of him and leaned into Harry’s space. “And what, exactly, did you say to dissuade him of this ridiculous notion?” Harry gave him a deadpan look and then gestured around him as if to say. ‘I’m here aren’t I? Obviously I didn’t say a fucking word.’
Zacharias was laughing. Harry, while not outright smiling, knew how funny it actually was. He only stopped when he realised they were gathering attention.
Fighting his mirth, Zacharias calmed down enough to say, “Harry, only you could get paid by your school crush to make his ex-boyfriend feel jealous at his wedding.”
Harry turned to him, nodding absently. “Yeah, that’s pretty much my job in this situation.”
Zach still let out the occasional chuckle. “Speaking of jobs. If that’s what he thinks you do. What about everyone else?”
Harry snorted humourlessly. “Well, his friends, Pansy and Blaise, they think I’m a hooker an’ all. Everyone else-” He laughed quietly, his finger running around the rim of his wine glass. “-oh you’re going to love this – they’ve been telling everyone else that I’m a Doctor.”
Now Zach was leaning against him as he laughed. Harry tried to make him keep it down, but he figured he was just looking uncomfortable. Draco, from across the room, seemed rather interested in what they could be talking about. “Oh my... wow.” He straightened when he noticed a lot of people looking over. “And I thought this was going to be the most boring event in my calendar.” He knocked back the rest of his drink and put his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Harry, thank you.”
Harry frowned. “What for?” he asked, and then saw the mischievous gleam in Zach’s eyes a little too late. “Zach, no.”
“Harry.” Harry turned to Draco and his two friends, who’d walked up behind him like a backup team. Pansy and Blaise were watching Zacharias suspiciously, especially since he still had his hand on Harry’s shoulder.
Trying to look innocent and failing completely, Harry gestured to the blond man sitting next to him with the amused grin. “Hey, Draco. This is Zacharias. He went to school with us too.”
“Yes. I know him.” Draco said shortly, his eyes trained on Zach’s wayward hand. “You’re a Mediwizard, right?” he asked with forced politeness.
“Yes, and I hear Harry is one too.” Zacharias eyed Harry with amusement. “Tonight.”
Harry shook his head trying to keep the smile off his face. “You wanker.”
“You two know each other,” Pansy said, not bothering to phrase it as a question.
Zacharias answered her anyway. “Oh, yes. We know each other quite well, don’t we Harry?” Tongue in cheek, he grinned. “Done a few shifts for me, haven’t you?”
Harry sighed, resigned to this for the rest of the week. “Well, I’m not working for you tonight. So kindly remove your hand before Draco breaks it off.” He turned to Draco. “I didn’t know that he would be here,” he said in way of apology.
“Why are you here?” Blaise asked.
If Zach was amused before, he was ecstatic now. “Oh, you didn’t know? I’m Astoria’s cousin and apparently, part of the ‘enemy camp’” He looked at Draco, then at Harry. Once he dropped that bomb, he finally dropped his hand. “Well, see you all later!” He raised his empty glass in a toast, winked at Harry and left them in silence.
“Well, fuck. You do get around, don’t you Potter?” Pansy said as soon as he was out of earshot.
Harry flinched at her tone and frowned. “I didn’t know he would be here,” he said with an edge to his voice. He really hadn’t known. Zach never told him he was related to Astoria before, but then that would never have come up anyway.
Blaise glared at him. “You do realise he’s going straight to Astoria, don’t you?”
Harry shook his head, turning to look at Zacharias as he shook Theo’s hand. “No, he’s not.”
“And how can you be so sure?”
Harry turned back to him. “He’s far too amused by this and Astoria isn’t really his favourite person.” He paused. “No one is his favourite person.”
“Except you.” It was the first thing Draco had said since Smith left, but it wasn’t so much the words as the tone it was said in that made him pause.
Harry turned to look at Draco and at his friends, his demeanour gone uncharacteristically cold. He may have got himself into this by bending the truth, but that didn’t mean they had to disrespect him so completely. He cursed Zach for putting him in this position. Though, really, he only had himself to blame. He didn’t like lying, but he was far too into this now to turn back. “Who exactly do you think it is that hires me Draco? I know you met me in Morgana’s, which is pretty much Knockturn central at that time of the morning. But did I look like I strolled in from a night on the Alley?” he said feigning anger. It wasn’t hard.
Draco fidgeted and then crossed his arms defiantly. “I don’t suppose so.”
Harry nodded. He’d hoped for that answer. He’d really been wondering what it was that had given Draco the impression that he could be a prostitute just by looking at him and eavesdropping on a thirty second conversation. “You paid me to come to an event filled with the well to do. Are you really so naive to think you’re the first one to do so?” When Draco said nothing, Harry looked over the room trying to locate Zacharias. When he found him, he switched his gaze back to Draco, standing up and coming closer so their conversation remained between them. “We have an agreement, and I’m going to stand by it. Zach may be a spanner in the works, but I can handle him.” And he was going to handle him, with a hand around his neck. “He owes me a favour or five. For everyone else here, I am your loving boyfriend and I will act like it. But here, in front of your friends, I am arm candy to make your ex jealous,” he added, paraphrasing Draco’s words in the restaurant. “Nothing more. Don’t treat me like a possession, you’ve only paid for half of me, remember?” He nodded to Draco’s friends. “Excuse me. I have a deal to make.” He slipped past them and made a beeline for Zach, who was now talking to Astoria.
Harry could feel Astoria’s flinty blue eyes sharpening on his skin. She didn’t like him, but Harry figured that was more because of Draco than any actual fault of his own. From what he’d gathered, Astoria had orchestrated it so that Draco came alone to her wedding to watch her marry his school sweetheart. It was cold, and Harry had no sympathy for someone like that.
“Harry, mate! This is my cousin Astoria.”
Harry nodded in her direction, disregarding her for more important matters. It incensed her, he could tell, but he wasn’t supposed to care what she thought and honestly, he really didn’t. “Zach, I need to talk to you.” You utter wanker, went unsaid, but he knew Zacharias heard it.
To his credit, Zach simply nodded and gestured to the gardens out back. “Astoria, I’ll see you later. Congrats and all that.”
Harry could feel all manner of eyes on him as he left the room with Zacharias, he was very grateful when the doors shut behind him.
“On a scale of one to ‘Holy shit’, how much trouble have I got you in?” he heard Zach say as he walked up behind him. They stopped by a bench alongside the path that led out towards the lake. The Muggle phrase had him smiling. Zacharias had loosened up a lot since school.
Harry heaved a heavy sigh. “I thought it would be a little bit of fun, you know?” Harry said, ignoring the question. “It was just a misunderstanding, and I thought it was funny and went along with it. Thought it might be the opportunity I never got in school.” He sat back. “Fuck”
Zach turned on the bench, hooking his ankle under his knee to get comfortable. “And you can’t tell him the truth?” he prodded gently.
Harry laughed. “What, that I am actually a doctor?” He shook his head. “I can’t.”
Harry paused before he answered, weighing his words. “Because then I'll lose my protection.” He let out a hopeless breath when Zach frowned at him. “You know the reason we broke it off, don’t you?” he said quietly and turned to look at Zach sadly. “The real one. Not the one I told you.”
Zach smiled sadly and nodded once in understanding. He looked to the windows of the hotel restaurant to see Draco and his crew trying to spy on them and sighed. “Okay,” he agreed. “Fine,” he said resigned. “You’ve appealed to my romantic side. I’ll help you.”
Harry smiled, but his expression still held some sadness. “My feelings don’t matter right now, because I’m hired help and I’m not supposed to have any, which makes it a little easier to distance myself. But it’s... it’s him you know? He kissed me earlier and I almost couldn’t stop. If he knows that I’m...” He couldn’t even bring himself to say it.
Zach knew him well enough to answer for him. “It becomes real and him leaving and buggering off with Theo gets you hurt all over again, this time personally.”
Harry dropped his head in his hands. “It nearly killed me the first time.”
Zach put his hand on Harry’s back. “Yeah I remember,” he said softly.
Harry sat up, dislodging Zach’s hand, but he gave him a grateful smile so he wouldn’t take it personally. Not that he would, Zacharias was far too good for that. “And the worst part is he doesn’t even know he did it. So I can’t get angry at him for not understanding and when I do, I immediately feel guilty. It’s ridiculous.”
“Is this part of the package you paid for? You stay inside while he chats up other men?”
Draco snorted, eyes narrowing on the pair in the garden. He knew what Pansy was trying to do and, while he appreciated it, he wasn’t in the mood. Since he didn’t say anything Blaise answered for him. “Well, technically he is on vacation.”
Draco turned to glare at him. “He’s still on duty,” he finally said.
Pansy smirked. “Oh yes, I can see that.” They all watched as Harry leaned forward, as if in distress. Draco stilled, tensing when Zacharias put his hand on Harry’s back. “Isn’t he supposed to be talking Smith out of blowing your cover?”
“Hello all!” Draco, Pansy and Blaise turned to see Hermione waving as she walked over, trailing behind a grinning Luna. Draco could visibly see the delight in Pansy’s eyes as the blond got nearer and he couldn’t take it anymore. This week was going to be complete shit. He huffed and walked away abruptly.
Pansy looked disconcerted at having to follow him and leave Luna behind. “Draco!” she called, but the blond kept walking. Hermione looked confused and a little hurt at the brush off, while Luna simply brushed the hair back off Pansy’s shoulder.
“I’ll go,” Blaise said and went after him. As soon as he left, the door leading out to the veranda opened and Harry came back in, Zacharias behind him. The pair split ways, not even acknowledging each other. Pansy was about to tear him apart when a flash of red hair caught her attention. Her eyes narrowed anew.
“Well, well,” Pansy said, eyeing Ron as he walked up to them. The red head looked suitably chastened as he strolled up to the group. He gave Luna and Hermione a hug as they gushed over him finally turning up to one of their get-togethers. “The prodigal son returns,” she continued, taking her turn. She smacked him on the arm with her free hand as soon as he was done. “Where the hell have you been?” she admonished as Harry finally reached their group. She noticed Hermione looking at him oddly, but ignored it.
Ron shrugged, his hands burrowing their way into his trouser pockets. “Oh, you know, Social Welfare.” He winked at Luna, who giggled, though who knew why.
Pansy rolled her eyes. “And is there a reason you haven’t been returning anyone’s floo calls? Why we haven’t seen you for nearly two years?” she stressed like he’d committed a grave sin.
“In his defence, no one’s really seen me either,” Harry piped up.
Pansy narrowed her eyes at him, even though this was one of the things they’d told him to bring up in conversation, she found she wasn’t really in the mood to keep up with it. “But that’s different. You’ve been working, Harry, Ron’s simply been ignoring us.”
Ron cocked an eyebrow at her. “Zabini has seen me. You don’t get the weekly updates?” he said sarcastically.
“Yes, well, Blaise has made it his personal goal to be wherever you are at any given time. He doesn’t count.”
Ron shook his head at her and then turned to the stranger in the group. “Hello. Since no one wants to introduce you, I’m Ron,” he said to Harry, ignoring Pansy and holding his hand out for him to shake.
Harry shook it. “Harry.”
“Oh finally, I was wondering if anyone else noticed the strange man standing with us.” Hermione extended her hand. “I’m Hermione.”
Harry grinned. He knew who all these people were and it cemented how much he didn’t belong here since they’d spent seven years together and still didn’t even know him. “Charmed.”
Ron nodded. “I see you’ve met most of the group, the shallow one, the eccentric one, the smart one, I’m the poor one.”
Harry smiled, a little bemused. Pansy took mercy on him. “Ron’s family fell victim to that horrid man, Gilderoy Lockhart, a few years ago. He breezed into town, boasting about investing money into his Muggle business. Turned out none of the ideas were his. All the money disappeared along with him when someone caught onto his scheme and tried to sue him for rights of his product.” Harry turned to Ron in shock.
Ron shrugged, swiping a glass of champagne as it passed him by on one of the floating trays. “Dad’s a bit gullible; he’s always loved Muggle things so he often jumps at the chance to own some of it. We lost quite a bit and have been working” he said with purpose, eyeing Pansy so she’d get it, “to survive and earn back what we lost.”
Pansy waved a hand to disregard him. “Pish posh,” Pansy said, ignoring Ron’s incredulous frown and his mimed, ‘who says pish posh anymore?’. “We’re your friends, we would have helped you. You haven’t made time for us in ages, despite the fact we invite you everywhere.”
Ron grumbled under his breath, something that sounded like ‘can’t afford your version of everywhere’. Harry only heard it, because he was right next to him. On Ron’s other side, Hermione was looking at him sadly. “I have my pride,” the redhead said out loud.
Pansy patted him on the shoulder as he nursed his drink. “Oh, of course you do.” She turned to Harry and stage whispered. “Don’t worry; Blaise has been looking after him.” She winked obviously at him. Harry turned to find the dark-skinned man who’d been flirting with everyone he met so far. He was chatting to an elderly woman, making her blush with his salacious smile. He kept looking around, wondering where Draco had gone to.
Ron snorted, obviously seeing what Harry was seeing. “Blaise couldn’t look after a Crup.”
Luna smiled at him widely from in between Pansy and Hermione. “No, but you’re decidedly prettier than a Crup.”
Harry, still not seeing Draco, turned to Pansy. “Where’s Draco?”
Pansy’s amused smile at Luna’s comment faded and her eyes turned flinty. “He saw something disturbing in the garden and left.” Harry, understanding, looked around again with more urgency.
Ron eyed the two of them. “Am I missing something?”
Now realising Ron had no idea who Harry was supposed to be, Pansy introduced them properly. “Oh, Ron, meet Harry Potter. Draco’s plus one.”
Ron turned to him with new eyes,
as did Hermione. “Really? Well, good luck with that.” He gave Harry a pat on the back. “Talk about pressure, mate. How’s it going? Been getting a lot of glares from people you don’t know?” Ron jibed good-naturedly.
Harry couldn’t help the smile. “You have no idea.”
Ron gave him a knowing smile in return. “Oh, I think I do; I can see a few of them from here.” He paused. “Wait.” His eyes were narrowed. “Potter. Harry Potter? As in the Gryffindor Seeker?” Harry nodded.
“I knew I had seen you before,” Hermione said knowingly.
“Merlin, one of my own! I can’t believe I almost didn’t recognise you.” Ron gave him a once over, more thoroughly this time. Ron had been a big fan of Quidditch in school, but had never had the courage to try out for the team. He was better on the side-lines anyway; always the strategist. “You’ve got tall, mate, good for you! So, what do you do now, did you go professional?”
Pansy coughed, nearly choking on her glass of champagne when Ron said ‘professional’. Harry narrowed his eyes at her. “Actually, no. I became a Doctor and a Mediwizard.”
Ron’s eyebrows rose. “Oh cool. At St. Mungo’s or-”
“Did I miss anything?” Blaise interrupted, stepping between Ron and Harry. His eyes narrowed on the brunet, clearly warding him off. Harry almost took a step back.
“Did you find him?” Pansy said her voice a little hoarse from the coughing.
Blaise didn’t even ask who. “His room, but he won’t let me in. Harry,” he said with sudden inspiration. “Perhaps you’ll have more luck. Go talk him out of his tree, will you?”
Harry, with a knowing look at Ron, smiled. “But I’m a Gryffindor. I have absolutely no experience in talking Slytherins out of trees.” Behind Blaise, Ron chuckled into his glass and, if anything, it made Blaise madder.
Harry didn’t need to be told twice.
“So here you are,” Harry said, walking into their hotel room.
Draco didn’t even move from where he was lying across the bed. “Shouldn’t you be off with ‘Zach’?” he said in a lofty accent. Much like how Zach’s had been in school. Thank Merlin it had tempered some with age.
Harry passed the bathroom and the closet. His eyes lingered over the spot of wall next to the closet door before he sat down. He bent his knee and leaned across Draco to plant his hand over by his other shoulder. “Did you want me to go to him? It didn’t seem that way when I got back from making him agree to not announce my presence to the bridal party.”
Draco finally removed his arm from over his eyes and looked up at Harry. Harry felt the jump of surprise when Draco found him leaning over so close. “Did he agree?” the blond asked.
Harry shrugged. “Have you had anyone banging down your door to gloat?”
Draco narrowed his eyes. “Give them time.” He winced a little and then replaced his arm.
Harry stared in interest. That squint. He recognised that squint. “You’re wincing. Are you in pain?”
Draco hummed. “I have a migraine.” His eyes still closed, Draco felt the dip where Harry had been sitting level out. When the brightness of the room dimmed dramatically, he understood. A few moments later, the bed dipped again.
“Open your eyes, slowly. I dimmed the lights as much as I could and closed all curtains, so the light shouldn’t bother you too much now.” When Draco did, there was a little relief in his throbbing head. “Here,” he heard and angled his head a bit to the left to see Harry holding out a phial.
“What’s that?” he asked quietly.
“It’s a pain potion, Draco.”
“What’s in it?”
Harry frowned. He wasn’t accustomed to being questioned like this by a patient, but he forced himself to remember that Draco didn’t know he was one. “Is this a Potions class? Either you want it or you don’t.”
Draco propped himself up on one arm and took the bottle. He squinted down at it, recognising the colour and viscosity of the liquid. It looked fine. “You carry these around a lot, do you?”
As a medical professional, he kind of had to, especially in his field. “It’s a mandate of the job.”
Draco looked like he was sorry he said anything. “Like coffee.”
Harry gave him a soft smile, recognising the peace offering when he heard it. “Like coffee.” He gestured to the bottle. “Drink it. I’ll get you some coffee. Some studies show coffee can aid in getting rid of a migraine.”
Draco knocked back the potion and lay down, a breathy laugh escaping him. “You take your pretend job very seriously. I’m impressed.” He sighed, feeling the softness of the pillow enveloping his head. “Just try a little harder to keep your real job out of the way, okay?”
Harry leaned forward. “My real job is what brought me here, Draco. I can hardly do that.”
Draco’s eyes were clear even in the darkened room and Harry, poised above him felt himself fall a little deeper despite everything. He was seriously screwed. Draco swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing, and Harry’s eyes followed the movement avidly. “Try. For me, please, just try.”
Harry stared a little while longer, because Draco was falling asleep and it gave him all the time in the world to simply sit there and stare. “Okay,” he finally said, but Draco was already sleeping. He took out his wand and whispered, “Nox.”
There was a knock on the door. Harry poked his head out of the bathroom to see Draco was still asleep. He checked the watch he’d left on the bathroom counter. It had only been an hour since the blond had gone to sleep, but it was now after two. He walked to the door with a hotel towel around his waist to quickly look through the peephole.
Harry narrowed his eyes and turned around to lean against the wall next to the door, careful not to make any noise. He had always hated the boy and part of the reason he’d said yes was because it allowed him to get his own back. Opening his eyes, he had Draco directly in his line of sight. Theo Nott once had the only thing Harry had ever coveted of another person. Harry smiled.
Well, not really anymore.
He quickly donned his pyjama bottoms and hurried to the door. He rubbed his hands into his eyes, cracking his mouth open in a yawn until it became a real one. Mid-way through, he opened the door. He didn’t have to squint against the light as the room had been as near pitch black as he could make it for Draco’s sake. “Yeah?” he said tiredly.
Theo took in his state of undress and promptly looked uncomfortable. “Oh. Er, sorry. I thought Draco was here.”
Harry mentally translated that. ‘I thought Draco was alone.’
‘Well he isn’t, you fucking vulture,’ his sharp mind replied waspishly.
His mouth translated this into a sleepy sounding, “He is, but he’s sleeping.” He leaned against the door; as if he was so tired he needed the help. Can I help?” he said politely.
“No, no. Can you just tell him Theo was looking for him?”
Harry simply smiled a tired smile. “I know who you are, mate. It’s kind of hard not to.”
“Oh?” Theo said a note of interest in his voice.
Harry knew what the bastard was expecting. ‘Oh, yeah, Draco’s always talking about you.’ or’You’re Draco’s ex, of course I would know you.’ or maybe even, ‘You had him in school so I never even had a chance, you wanker.’ Heh, as if. “Yeah, your name’s on every surface available this week, isn’t it?” To prove his point, he pointed to the banner behind the man in the corridor, likely a ploy by Astoria so every time Draco took a step out of his room he was reminded of the fact she’d won. It was a blown up version of the January Newspaper announcement. Theo’s name was written in large cursive letters underneath Astoria’s name. Harry took delight in the deflated look that was covered up by a thin film of resentment when Theo turned to look. He was careful not to let it show, though – when he turned back, anyway.
“Yeah, of course, yeah,” Theo rambled. “Okay, but you’ll let him know I stopped by?”
Harry played the bemused card. “Of course. Soon as he wakes, which will probably be in a couple of hours?” he said reminding Theo he was calling after his ex rather early in the morning for a man getting married in a couple of days. Theo nodded and walked down the corridor. Harry shook his head at the man as he turned the corner. “You sad, sad twat.”
“Who was that?”
Harry spun around to see Draco standing there squinting at the light. Careful observation told him it was because the light was simply bright, not because it was spearing daggers into Draco’s brain via his eyeballs. He closed the door.
“It was Nott.” There, message delivered. “How are you feeling?” he asked, finding the answer to that much more interesting. “You’ve only been asleep a little while.”
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
Harry gave him an admonishing look. “You never wake a person coming off a migraine, especially since disrupted sleeping habits can trigger them,” he rattled off without thinking. He looked up to see Draco staring at him. He didn’t ask, knowing why the blond stared so oddly, knowing that if he did ask ‘What?’ then he’d have to explain. More lying. He hoped to minimise that as much as possible. “You should shower. I’m going to bed now.” He made his way over to the bed, warmed from Draco’s body heat and snuggled in.
Draco walked into the steam-warmed bathroom and watched Harry get comfortable before shutting the door. If he’d answered the door like that, he could only imagine what Theo had been thinking. He smiled to himself. Harry really was very good at this. It made him wonder how many times people had asked him to do things like this for them. He wondered if they’d paid for it. For more.
Shaking his head to rid himself of those thoughts, he ran the shower, preparing to wash off the day, but his mind kept running over the brunet in his hotel room. He’d said caffeine was mandated for a medicinal purpose, much like his pain potions that he apparently carried around with him. He stepped into the hot spray, ducking his head under to let the heat encase him completely. Did that mean he regularly got hurt? That his clients always kept him up all night? Whatever the case, he needed the rest. Draco would let him have it for a week at the least.
But it was harder to keep that promise when he woke up the next morning with Harry covering him like a blanket.
Day two his mind supplied for him groggily. Another day of facing Theo and Astoria and acting up the whole bloody charade of being a taken man.
Speaking of being taken, his mind added for him as it allowed him to finally realise that there was something hard digging into his hip. Draco turned his face into his pillow to hide his blush, though he had no idea why, no one could see him. Last night, he may have been a little drunk. But if he was honest with himself, his reaction to Zacharias Smith was not solely based on the fact that his cover could be blown at any second.
His eyes drifted to the wall next to the closet. He’d thought about that kiss far too often the day before.
He needed to get back on track, or migraines would be the least of his problems.
“I’ve been thinking,” Blaise said at breakfast as the three of them sat down. Pansy wasn’t there yet, so it was just the boys for now. He buttered some of his toast while Harry dug into his scrambled eggs.
Draco looked up from his toast. “I think I’m supposed to answer sarcastically in Pansy’s style, but you’ll have to forgive. I only woke up two hours ago.”
Blaise ignored him. “Are you sure you want him back?” Both Draco and Harry stopped eating, various food items pausing on the way to their mouths. Draco kept his eyes averted. Blaise couldn’t possibly know what he’d been thinking this morning when he woke up. The man was good but he wasn’t a mind reader. He couldn’t be sure of that, though. Blaise had a perception unlike many people he knew.
“What?” Draco asked anyway, not understanding where Blaise was going with this.
Blaise put down his coffee cup. “I don’t like him.” His eyes scanned the restaurant.
Draco rolled his eyes. “You liked him fine in school.”
Blaise’s attention came back to the pair opposite him. While Draco ate, Blaise caught Harry’s eye. “I don’t like him anymore.” He leaned back as Harry’s gaze went back and forth between Blaise and Draco. “He’s not good enough for you.”
“Blaise, I appreciate you trying to protect me, but you really don’t have to.” He put down his fork. “Besides, this was the plan. If that’s not the plan, what are we going to do?”
Harry swallowed down some of his orange juice “We could just split up the wedding. It should be easy, since it’s obvious Theo wants you back,” Harry said. Blaise narrowed his eyes at him as he spoke. “Or not.”
But Draco’s eyes were alert with pleasure. “You think he wants me back? Really?”
Harry scoffed. “He turned up at your room after two in the morning to see you, Draco, thinking you would be alone.”
Blaise sat forward. “He what?” He shook his head, having not heard this before. He looked at Draco, who was glaring at Harry. The brunet was obviously not supposed to relay that information. Harry was looking at him, clueless, wondering why the blond was suddenly glaring at him. “No, you don’t go near him.”
Draco’s glare turned to his best friend. “What? Why? Isn’t that the point of this?”
Blaise shook his head again. “No, he’s doing what all boys do when they see something they think is theirs that they can’t have.”
Harry smiled, nodding as he finished off his scrambled eggs. “Why are you nodding?” Draco scolded him. “Don’t nod.”
Harry chuckled. “I have to nod. I thought the same thing last night. It figures why you were sent a single invite now. After yesterday, he probably wanted to find out if we were together or just really close. But when I answered the door half naked he thought differently. Believe me, if I wasn’t there, you would have let him in and throughout this whole week he would have kept on visiting you.” The last part was said with a little bite.
“And?” Draco said, not seeing the problem, or – thankfully – hearing the jealousy in Harry’s tone.
Harry turned to him. Astounded he wasn’t getting it. “He would have still married her, Draco.”
Sitting back, Draco shook his head. “No he wouldn’t. Not if he was coming to me.” Harry gave him a meaningful look, which turned sad when he realised Draco was truly serious. After a few more seconds of defiant staring, Draco backed down. Of course he would still marry her; he’d done the same thing three years ago.
Blaise was watching their interaction with renewed interest. “You’re an old toy sent to repair, forgotten about and then come back brand, sparkling new, Draco. And this time, you have a new owner. You’re unattainable now and being dangled in front of him. All you have to do is make sure that Harry is always playing with you. He can’t risk making a big scene here, not at the heart of the storm. But he does want to make sure you can’t be played with at all. His visit last night proves that,” Blaise concluded.
“Hello boys, up for some riding?” Daphne said coming over to them, her little sister standing silent next to her. “A bunch of us thought we’d take a trip to a parcel of land just outside the border for lunch. Coming?” The young women were dressed up like true equestrians, fresh off the circuit; they’d obviously been riding, judging from the wisps of hair out of place from their otherwise pristine appearance. Daphne smiled brightly at them, the expression completely different to her sister’s.
“We’d love to, Daphne,” Blaise answered for them, but his eyes went to Harry.
“Splendid!” she said. “We leave at eleven. It only takes an hour of steady ride. See you later!” She walked off with the same air of carefree living she had had in school. Astoria turned away a little later, smirking in Harry’s direction. Blaise rolled his eyes.
“Er.” Harry put down his cutlery. “I think I’ll pass,” he said quietly when the Greengrass sisters left.
Draco cocked his head to the side. “Not fond of horses? There’s nothing to be afraid of, you know.”
“Draco.” Draco turned to Blaise. The man was shaking his head to leave it alone. Draco frowned, but when he turned back, he realised Harry really wasn’t looking too good.
“Harry, are you okay?” He leaned forward, hoping to make Harry meet his eyes. “Er, Blaise I think we’ll go get ready or something.”
If Blaise remembered the rumours in school correctly, Harry wouldn’t be coming at all. He’d have to make something up. “Good idea,” he said instead.
Draco stood taking Harry’s hand and leading him out of the restaurant. By the time they got to their room Harry was looking very pale. He sat him down on the bed and pushed him back to lie down. “If you’re this frightened of horses, Harry, we don’t have to go.”
“You want to go,” Harry said but his voice had no force behind it. It sounded empty.
Draco shook his head. “Not so badly that you’ll pass out on me. What’s going on?” He sat cross-legged at the head of the bed, staring at Harry lying across it. His t-shirt had ridden up a bit, displaying a strip of skin by his trousers. Draco averted his eyes.
“My – my mum-” Harry swallowed hard around a lump in his throat, something that always happened when he thought of his parents.
Before he even finished, Draco shut his eyes in mortification. Fucking Merlin, he thought to himself. How could he forget that? Everyone knew this story in school. The whispers and gossip were probably the main reason Harry kept to himself throughout his stay at Hogwarts. The boy had lost his mum in a horse riding accident because her new coach, Mr Riddle, supposedly didn’t like Muggles. It was more the spectacle that happened afterwards that had made Harry the talk of the school. Old man Riddle had hated Muggles enough to be negligent with Lily Potter’s riding equipment. She was thrown from her horse, fell awkwardly, and died on impact.
As he was narrating it in his head, Harry had been speaking and his voice was getting softer and softer. Draco leaned forward to put his hand over the man’s mouth. The green eyes looked up at him and, from his position, Draco could just about make out the faint scar on his forehead from just after James Potter had lost the legal suit and took matters into his own hands. The accident was enough to garner sympathy, but what Harry’s father had done afterwards is what gained him notoriety. A year after legal deliberations, and Tom Riddle had got off with community service and the loss of his riding school.
To James Potter, he’d got off scot free. He’d piled his son into the back seat of his modified car, after too much to drink, in order to avenge his wife by running down the man he knew had killed her, but the Wizengamot had let go.
Well he’d succeeded. One year later, on the same day his wife had died, James Potter killed Tom Riddle, and he’d killed himself, but he’d left his son behind. Looking at the state the car had been in, it was a miracle Harry had lived.
The boy who lived.
It was no wonder the man was afraid of horses. Draco wondered if he was afraid of cars too. Draco remembered talk once about his second cousin raising him, the one on his mother’s side who’d been disowned decades ago. Apparently his aunt and uncle hadn’t wanted him.
“Come on. We’ll go for a walk.”
“But – the ride,” Harry said miserably.
“Fuck the ride, I prefer walking. Let’s go. We’ll go to the kitchens, get our own picnic and leave long before. If I’m right, they’re going to a patch of green over the hills. It’s perfect for riding. We’ll go by the lake.”
The lake was beautiful in spring. Harry lay down on the blanket he’d spread and sighed as he stared up at the sky. He was so happy he didn’t have to get on a horse. He could feel his heart beat getting out of control the second it was suggested. He shut his eyes trying to block it out.
“You’re still thinking about it. Stop thinking about it.” Harry smiled with his eyes still shut. “Hey.” The voice was closer this time. When he opened them Draco was leaning over him, much like he’d been doing upstairs. “Stop thinking about it,” he said with a smile.
“I hear her scream sometimes,” he said and slapped a hand over his mouth. That hadn’t meant to come out. A warm palm covered his hand and he looked up. Draco was shaking his head.
“No, tell me.” Draco pulled Harry’s hand away. “Come on. I know it doesn’t seem that way, but I am a good listener when people need one.” He tugged Harry’s hand down, lacing their fingers to keep a good grip. “Besides, I just realised that I’ve been feeding you all this information to remember, but I haven’t even bothered trying to get any of yours. Tell me about it. Tell me about you.” Harry’s eyes turned away, back to the sky. His eyes were the perfect pitch of green to the grass around him. “Would it be better if you couldn’t see me?” he said with some understanding. He always found it better to speak to an empty room than to people who could judge him.
Harry turned to him again and Draco could see the need there, so he ducked down and stretched out next to him. “Is this okay?” he asked. When Harry pulled him closer, he went without commenting until the brunet stopped moving.
Some second later, Harry started talking. “I wasn’t even there when she died. But in my mind, she screams like she’s right next to me. I have nightmares that her coach, Riddle, turns into a snake to scare the horse and it throws her off. I can hear the bones break in her neck. I always try to talk to him, try to get him to stop but he never does, he just hisses at me. I hear her scream all the time.” He visibly slowed his breathing down until he was calm again. “But sometimes,” he added, hesitating. “Sometimes I can hear her laugh, too. I can hear her sing.”
Draco smiled sadly. “That doesn’t sound so bad.” Hoping he was doing okay with the comforting, he bent his arm at the elbow and propped his head up on his hand. “At least some of your dreams of her are good.”
Harry stared at him for a long time. “Sometimes I don’t know which one is worse. Hearing her scream and knowing I can’t do anything about it, or hearing her laugh or sing to me and wake up knowing I won’t hear it again.”
“Do you have any memories of her?” She’d died when he was five, so Draco didn’t know if anything had stayed with him.
Harry shook his head, and then looked like he couldn’t decide. “I have dreamt of her reading to me. Weird stories I don’t understand. I never got to ask my dad and my godfather is kind of touchy about the subject of my parents so I never asked.
“Ask me.” Harry quirked his brow as he stared. “Come on.” He nudged him playfully. “I was read to as well. Maybe I’ll know the story.”
“I...” Harry looked back up to the sky.
Draco found his hand tracing the pattern on the sleeve of Harry’s t-shirt. His love for Muggle clothing must have come from his mother being a Muggleborn. Draco had gone out into Muggle London to add some to the few articles he already owned. His father had business with a lot of Muggle companies, and sometimes Draco went with him to meetings. Because of that, he had a lot of suits and business wear. He’d needed casual clothing, though, to make their charade more believable and it wasn’t as uncomfortable as he thought it would be.
His finger was still tracing a pattern, and Draco paused when he realised he’d stopped following the print before him and instead had been following the pattern he’d seen last night. There was a patch of ink underneath the sleeve he was running his finger against that stretched from Harry’s shoulder onto his arm. He’d seen it the night before, though he’d been too tired to bring it up. Maybe he would get Harry to show it to him later. “If I recognise it, it means you actually have a memory of her,” he said getting back on track.
Harry took in a deep breath. “It was about three men who cheated Death, and Death came back for them in different ways. I don’t remember all the details, but it ended with the man he gave a cloak to taking it off so Death could find him and welcome him as a friend when he was ready to die.” He shook his head. “It’s a stupid dream.”
Draco stopped his finger from moving, his hand cupping around Harry’s bicep. “It’s the Tale of the Three Brothers.”
Harry looked at him sharply. “What?”
“It comes from The Tales of Beedle the Bard. It tells the story of the three Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. No one knows who the three brothers really were, though there is speculation. It’s all myth, really.”
Harry seemed to sink down into the blanket. “It was real.”
Draco smiled at him. “It was, yeah. See? You have a memory.”
Harry laughed. “I always had a memory, Draco,” he said making light of the atmosphere. “But thank you. It’s nice to know one thing is real.”
“There’s more?” Draco asked curiously.
Harry shook his head. “There’s plenty, but this is enough for me.” He closed his eyes.
Draco understood ‘stop while I’m ahead’ when he heard it. “Well, you’re welcome.” He looked back to the hotel through the trees and lay back down. “And thank you for last night. That migraine was really bad.”
“Good thing I had my supplies,” Harry joked.
At the mention of it, Draco propped himself back up. “Have you never thought of maybe going back to school, studying something you love? Like medicine.” Harry opened his eyes to stare at him. “You seem to retain a lot of information about it. Why don’t you try it?” Draco would help him if he could. Harry seemed rather smart. He was wasting his time like this.
Harry smiled. “I might try it. One day.” He looked away, unable to maintain eye contact for long. That was when he caught sight of the riding party walking towards them. He groaned. “Wonderful. The stables are just past us aren’t they?”
Draco looked up to see what he was looking at. “Damn. Yes, they are. Do you want to move?” he asked as he saw Pansy making her way to the front of the group.
“I wouldn’t mind.”
“Oh don’t get up on our account, boys,” Pansy said as she neared them. “By all means, ditch us for an afternoon in the sun.” She looked at Harry. “You feeling better?” she said smiling. “From the looks of it, you’re both feeling fine.”
“The sun is bright and calling to me, Pans,” Harry said, using the name he’d been told to use when either Theo or Astoria were around. “I’d much rather lay here and eat, than take a ride to somewhere else to do the same,” Harry said with a cocky smile. He waved as she passed them by, followed by all the others Daphne had invited. Blaise gave them a subtle salute as Astoria and Theo took up the rear, Theo noticeably trying not to stare. “Would it be terrible if I said that while they’re gone all I actually want to do is sleep?” Harry said as an aside.
Draco watched Theo leave; curiously not bothered by the fact he was walking with his fiancée. Remembering how he’d woken up that morning, Draco couldn’t think of anything better to do than lie down in bed and rest, away from prying eyes for a while.
It was late in the afternoon when Draco woke up again in much the same position as that morning. He was on his back this time, with Harry spread out across him. Harry obviously didn’t spend the night with anyone, because he slept like he was accustomed to being the only one in his bed. Draco stared at the ceiling for a long time, feeling at ease. Calm. Harry’s arm was across his abdomen, his leg entangled in Draco’s as he breathed deeply and evenly. Draco brushed back some of the hair on his forehead, seeing that faint scar again and running his thumb along it. There was a spark of electricity, dimmed to a low hum, shooting through his hand wherever he touched the man. Curious.
Harry Potter, now that he was forcing himself to remember the short, gangly boy in school, had been a loner with little want to be around people. The only reason he’d joined the Quidditch team, according to Ron, was because the Gryffindor Head of House encouraged him to try out. The action had spurred Harry into the limelight periodically. The whispers started up again, his playing competing with his past this time. Whenever there was a game and Gryffindor was playing, people would chant his name, but other than that, he seemed incredibly comfortable with people looking straight through him. It was almost as if he was actively trying to make himself invisible. Draco hardly ever heard head nor tail of the boy for seven years. Once he left school, he’d had his own problems and Harry Potter had become nothing more than a distant memory.
Still thinking, Draco was unaware he’d been running his free hand through Harry's hair over and over again. Slowly, as Harry began to stir, he realised what he’d inadvertently done. “Mmm,” Harry said, waking up. As Draco watched him, it looked like he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to go back to sleep or get more of the hand dragging through his hair. It was adorable.
“You feeling better?” he asked, feeling Harry’s arms tightening around him momentarily before he let go to stretch like a cat alongside him. Harry looked up at him silently and nodded before getting comfortable again, relaxing into the mattress.
Someone knocked on the door. Harry groaned and turned over. Draco laughed. “I’ll get it then, shall I?” When Harry groaned again sleepily, Draco laughed once more and got up.
The laugh died when he saw Theo at the door.
Draco was dumbstruck. Theo took advantage of that and pulled Draco outside, shutting the door behind him. Draco leaned back on it, standing barefoot in the corridor. He crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at his ex-boyfriend.
“I need to talk to you.” Draco waited in silence. He tried to remember what Blaise had tried to drill into his head to do if he ever found himself alone with Theo. He had a feeling it was to keep silent, but he wasn't sure.
“So talk,” he said. Keeping it short and emotionless. You’re the injured party here, Draco, don’t apologise, don’t waver and don’t give him an opening to get under your skin. You’re a Slytherin. Remember that.
I’m a Slytherin, Draco chanted in his head. I’m better than this.
Theo seemed surprised at Draco’s lack of interest. Draco felt like doing a victory dance. He stopped himself in time. He’d been spending too much time with Harry. Yeah, blame it on Harry.
Harry, who was lying down half asleep in their bed. He was going to wake up properly any time now and wonder where Draco went. He consoled himself with that. That he wouldn’t have to stand here for long because Harry would come looking for him. It was odd how comforting that was.
His gaze locked with Theo. “You didn’t come riding,” Theo said. “You love to ride.”
Draco maintained his stance with difficulty. Theo had apparently been hoping for another chance to get him alone and had come searching for him instead, as soon as he got back, judging by his outfit. “Harry doesn’t.”
Draco cocked an eyebrow. “My boyfriend, Theo. The one on the other side of this door. I was sleeping, you realise.”
Theo frowned. “It’s four in the afternoon, dinner is in two hours.”
Draco let a surprised look cross his features. “Really? Then I should start getting ready. Thanks for the reminder.” He turned to go back inside when Theo grabbed hold of his arm to stop him.
At the same time as a spike of alarm shot through him, their room door opened and Harry poked his head outside. The sleepy confused look was wiped away in an instant. The door opened wider and Harry braced himself in the frame. He disregarded Theo and instead focused on Draco.
“I’m fine,” Draco said answering the silent look Harry was giving him. Harry nodded then, turning his gaze on Theo’s hand.
“Is there a reason you’re holding on to him?” His green eyes blazed a trail to Theo’s, the fire sharp and hot. “Should I help you remove your hand?” He knew twelve ways to fracture a hand with simple swift movements and for the first time felt no qualms in trying them all, one after the other. It may even be fun. Theo let go of Draco’s arm, stepping back, obviously seeing some form of intent in Harry’s eyes. Harry stepped aside, making room for Draco to get into their hotel room. Draco did it silently, standing by the door. Harry kept on staring at Theo, feeling the hint of déjà vu. They’d been in this same position early the same morning, but with a much different feeling to it.
“Harry, come on,” he heard quietly behind him and finally moved back to let Draco shut the door.
“Are you alright?” he had to ask. Draco had been holding his own, but Harry hadn’t missed the edge of nervousness he saw in Draco’s eyes when he had opened the door, wondering what was taking him so long.
Draco had his face pressed to the door, away from Harry. “I’m fine.”
Harry sighed and stepped a little closer. “Does your arm hurt?” he said, instead of what he wanted to say, when he saw Draco holding onto it.
Draco shook his head. “It’s fine.”
Harry gently put his hands on Draco’s shoulders and turned him around. He removed Draco’s hand, turning the arm Theo had grabbed into the light so he could see it. “You bruise easy. I should have punched him, I think. Are you sure you don’t want me to take care of it?”
Draco snorted. “No. As much as I like the vengeful boyfriend routine you have going on here, please believe that I’m fine. I’ll wear long sleeves or something. We have two hours before dinner starts. I’m going to get ready.”
Harry shook his head. “You can hide the bruise, sure, but it hurts, I can tell.” He moved away to dig in his jacket pocket. Draco watched curiously as Harry took out that same small black Muggle device he’d seen him playing with last week. Harry walked back over to him and held the object out to Draco’s arm. It made a sound like a camera. Harry pulled it away and began tapping his finger on it instead.
“What-” Draco began but was cut off when Harry held up his hand. He held the device up to this face.
“Seamus! Hey! Did you get my message? Open it. I need you to take a look at something for me.” There was a pause. Draco stayed silent. “Yeah I know, can you recommend a salve for me? No, I’ll need it delivered. I’m in Surrey. What do you mean? Surrey’s great for a vacation! Look, just deliver it, yeah? No, by owl is fine. Yeah thanks.” He put the device down and turned to Draco. “I’ll be able to get rid of it by tonight.”
“Who was that?”
“Seamus is a colleague of mine.” He was a physiotherapist for the Kenmare Kestrals. It had been his dream to work with the Quidditch team since he’d supported them as a small boy to adulthood. In Hogwarts, Harry had spent a lot of time in the hospital wing after the first time he broke his arm in a Quidditch match. The routines and spells had entranced him. A friend of his, Neville Longbottom, was a master of Herbology, even at a young age, and was always being sent on errands by Poppy, the school nurse. Seamus and Zach had apparently always known they would go into medicine so the four of them would often be found with Poppy, helping her out or working on separate assignments that could get them into a good medical school.
Oxford’s Mediwizard School was the best and the one Poppy had attended. She’d written them all excellent references and they’d gone there together. Harry branched off into emergency medicine, using his connections with Zach’s family to use some of his credits to get into Muggle medicine. During his final internship, he’d had a falling out with his boss, and subsequently opened his own Private Practice when he realised he loved being a Mediwizard, he just despised working for people. Neville took the Herbologist’s route and moved to healing potions and pharmaceutics, which Harry wished him luck in, since he was crap at Potions. Zacharias, shocking everyone, went into Paediatric Emergency and Seamus, who found he had an affinity for salves and ointments went into physical therapy. He got an internship working for the Kestrals and just after OMS he’d jumped at the chance to take the job when they'd offered.
Of course Draco wouldn’t know any of that, except maybe about Zacharias. The Smiths were rich enough and important enough to remember. “Go take a shower. You’re in luck because Seamus is in London. It should be here in less than an hour.”
“Your contacts are convenient,” Draco said to him still leaning against the door.
Harry chuckled. “Aren’t they?” He gestured to the bathroom. “Go on, get dressed. I’ll let you know when it arrives.”
Draco sat at dinner, his arm numbed as the salve Harry had sent for worked wonders. Harry hadn’t seemed surprised when the salve arrived forty minutes later, the package label holding his name and signed off with a four leaved clover. Apparently, Seamus was Irish to the core. It was a high grade salve, Draco could tell just from smelling it, and wondered where the ingredients came from. By the time he put on his shirt for dinner, the bruising had mostly faded. Now it was just heating up and cooling down to sooth the muscles underneath.
Harry was wearing one of his darker robes tonight, his eyes glaring every so often in Theo’s direction. Theo, thankfully, had kept his distance and avoided looking in their corner of the restaurant where Draco’s friends had gathered. They’d been there for hours talking about nonsense, just like they had when they were in school.
Blaise was smiling his carefree smile again, listening as Luna gave an account of her hiking trip with her father to see if they could finally find the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. The permanently surprised expression made the story all the more interesting somehow. Luna being a naturalist was always off on some adventure looking for magic beasts. Her travels had died down a little now since Pansy had got her hands on her. Blaise wondered if Pansy would soon be taking off into the jungle to join her. The thought made him laugh even more.
Hermione, in a fit of sudden inspiration, held up her hands to halt proceedings. “We should have a movie night.”
Draco let his head fall back on Harry’s shoulder. “Oh, Granger, you would.”
“No, listen,” she said, her eyes bright. Harry smiled, recognising tipsy when he saw it. “We could cross onto the Muggle side, take over their lounge. They wouldn’t mind. We’re close personal friends of the bride and groom!”
“Ex personal friends, Hermione, get it straight,” Pansy said.
Hermione waved her hand. “Yeah sure. Blaise! Luna! Come with me! I need your large doe eyes and flirtatious nature to help me convince them.” She got up, pulling on Blaise’s hand since Luna got up immediately, grinning with excitement.
“Harry,” Blaise said. “We might need your medical assistance.” He gestured to Hermione’s stumbling and Harry chuckled, getting up and disentangling himself from Draco, who’d been leaning back against him, a little tipsy himself from all the wine he’d consumed from dinner.
Pansy leaned over, and tapped Draco’s arm. He turned at the movement more than the feel, since he couldn’t really feel anything there. “Let’s go for some air while they’re off.” He nodded and followed her out.
“You’re comfortable with him. With Harry.”
Draco rested against the balcony overlooking the gardens. “He’s nice. I do like him.”
Pansy smiled. “And you both spent the entire afternoon in your room?”
Draco rolled his eyes. “We fell asleep. He’s-”
“Hot?” Draco paused at her interruption and blushed pink. “I knew it!” She got closer. “So, are we preparing to sweep him off his feet and rescue him from a life of ‘indentured service’?” Pansy stopped for a second. “Do we even know who he’s indentured to?”
Draco thought. “No, he didn’t want me to get into it. I probably should have insisted, yeah?” He sighed. “Well, what about you?”
She frowned. “Me?”
“Luna is not the type I would have seen you with, but you seem really happy.” He grinned. “I wasn’t expecting it, and before I saw you both together, I didn’t believe it either.”
Pansy laughed, looking out into the gardens. Though it was dark, the fairy lights sparkled all over making the darkened areas shine. “Luna… she’s just – I don’t know, different.”
Draco snorted, remembering her hiking story. “You’re damn right she is.”
Pansy smacked him on the arm. “Oh hush, she’s gorgeous, even you have to admit that.”
He rolled his eyes. “Oh, please, I’d have to be blind, as well as gay, to miss that.”
“Well,” she said looking in the direction Hermione had dragged them all away. “You’re definitely not blind. And even straight people would have a difficult time denying your plus one.”
Draco laughed remembering Harry walking around their hotel room half dressed. “That's very true.”
She leaned into him at the railing. “Tell you what, let’s all meet upstairs after our movie night, make a proper party of it.” she said winking at him.
Draco laughed, cheered up already at his friend’s one track mind. “Sure, why not? Throw in Granger. We might as well make it an orgy.” She giggled into his shoulder. “So no hard feelings between you and Granger then?”
She shook her head. “Like I said, we really are better off as friends.”
“And what are we gossiping about out here?” Ron said walking up to them and leaning against the railing behind Pansy. She turned.
“Your inability to see how much Blaise is obsessed with you.” Ron rolled his eyes, his common response whenever Pansy spoke. “He’s been wanting in your pants for so long, even Harry’s noticed it. And he’s only been around the two of you together for a couple of
Ron made eye contact with Draco, who gave him an affirmative nod. Ron scoffed. “Well, I’ve been without for so long, if Blaise wants in, I’m just drunk enough to let him.”
Pansy’s eyebrows shot to her hairline. “Seriously?”
Ron shrugged. “Why not? It wouldn’t be serious. Blaise doesn’t stay in one place for too long, we all know that.”
Draco wouldn’t call himself an expert, but when he met Pansy’s gaze, he realised he might just be. “Ron, how long exactly have you liked Blaise?” he asked innocently.
Ron looked like he was contemplating his answer when he suddenly realised what he was answering. “I don’t,” he spluttered. “Not that way. He’s a great guy, is all.” He gestured with is empty glass. “Gonna get a refill.”
As he left, Draco and Pansy grinned.
Before half the movie had even played, practically everyone was asleep. Draco looked around, yawning. Next to him, Harry was dead to the world and he chuckled at how easy the man could fall asleep in strange places. That thought suddenly took shape in his mind and his smile dropped in increments. It was such a waste, this smart, good looking man sharing himself around to the rich, like him. He had to do something about it.
He felt that low hum of electricity running through his hand as he brushed back his hair again. Just like before, Harry pushed his hand into it wanting more. When the brunet opened his eyes, their gazes locked and the electricity he felt before hummed between them even stronger than ever before. Draco didn’t close his eyes as he leaned in to catch Harry’s mouth with his own. It was too quick though, as he didn’t want to assume, but it was okay because Harry chased after his lips, pressing forward, his warm, wet mouth careful and sweet. Draco’s head reeled; the kiss was new and yet familiar at the same time.
Then the lights came on, blinding them both and one or two others. Slowly, but surely, each groan woke up everyone else. At the lounge entrance, Theodore Nott and his brother Quentin stood surveying the scene of half-drunk and hung-over wizards and witches ‘watching’ a movie.
“Here you all are. We were told by management that you’d taken over the lounge on the Muggle side, but this is ridiculous,” Quentin said grinning.
They stood up with varying states of balance. Harry helped Draco to stand, smiling smugly when the blond had to grip onto his shirt to keep himself up. “I was comfortable where I was, you know,” he said to Quentin when they passed him.
Quentin’s grin was knowing. “Oh I could see that when I came in. But that’s what you have a room for, Draco. Am I right, Harry?” he directed to Harry, his expression going for casual but failing miserably, because of the look on his brother’s face.
Harry, seeing that Quentin was taking great amusement out of his brother’s predicament, decided that he liked the man after all. “Oh yes. Definitely. If you’ll excuse us, that’s just where we’ll go.” Though judging from Draco’s state, he wasn’t doing anything but passing out.
And from the look of it, Quentin knew that too. “Excellent.”
Draco and Pansy jumped as Harry vaulted over the couch the next day in the Wizarding lounge. Draco had been reading a magazine he’d found on the coffee table while Pansy and Luna were playing a game of cards. Harry quickly bent to take off his shoes and lay down with his head in Draco’s lap.
“I’ve been here all day,” Harry informed them. The brunet promptly took Draco’s hand, laced their fingers and closed his eyes, noticeably evening out his breathing. Draco looked up at Pansy and Luna. The two women were watching them with interest before looking at each other and then going back to their game. It was minutes before they heard footsteps coming into the lounge. Pansy was smart enough to warn of enemy presence.
“Oh good Merlin, just when we thought we’d seen enough of the groomsmen.” She huffed and went back to her game. Draco didn’t bother looking up from his magazine until Vincent Crabbe cleared his throat. When he looked up, Vincent, Gregory Goyle and Marcus Flint stood next to the sofa looking at him.
“I realise I’m good looking boys, but the staring is a little strange,” he said since they weren’t speaking.
Draco looked across at Pansy, who he could tell had paused at the two words. She looked at him and then down at Harry. Draco avoided doing the latter and looked up at the three men instead. No, he still wasn’t sure what to do with that information. “I’m sorry, what? Theo’s-”
“Green. Yeah,” Flint said.
“What, with envy?” Pansy said, not even looking up from her game this time.
“No, his skin is green.” Gregory stepped forward. “We need a word with your boyfriend. Theo says it was him.”
Suddenly Draco understood why Harry had been running. He unlaced their fingers and ran his hand through Harry’s hair. The brunet’s hand fell with a soft thunk to his chest. “You think Harry did it?” He closed his magazine and turned a stern eye on the three men he’d known since he was in diapers. “When? He’s been with me since last night.”
“What about this morning?” Marcus accused.
Luna piped up as she picked a card from the deck. “He’s been sleeping like a baby for ages,” her lilting Scottish accent said. “You would know that if you could see the Darlens flying around him right now.” The three men watched her and she looked up with her big grey eyes. “Darlens,” she said again. “They come to sleeping people to give them pleasant dreams.” She looked at Harry fondly. “They’re practically camped out around him right now. So they’ve been there for a while.” She gave them an ‘aren’t you foolish’ smile and turned back to Pansy. “Gin,” she declared.
Pansy put down her cards. “Go away, boys, you’re embarrassing yourselves.”
Vincent shifted. “We’d still like to talk to him.”
Draco rolled his eyes. Much like he’d done accidentally for two days straight, he ran his hand through Harry’s hair, scratching at the root with his nails when Harry played stubborn.
Harry’s eyes opened sleepily and he turned his head up into the hand going through his hair, like he knew on instinct what he was like when he woke up in the morning. He gave Draco a sleepy smile and closed his eyes again.
“Harry, there are some people here who want to talk to you,” he said quietly. “Apparently, Theo’s been turned green.”
A small frown marred Harry's brow. And he opened his eyes again. “Green.” The word came out like he didn’t know what it meant. His voice was deep and gravelly. “How?” His legs stretched out on the sofa, stiffening and then relaxing; an abbreviated version of his cat-like stretch in bed. He was good.
“Oh, I don’t-” Draco looked up, prompting Harry to turn towards whatever he was directing his attention. When he saw the group of men there, he blinked and then looked again.
“Wow, intimidating. What’s going on?” he said his voice a little more awake.
“Theo’s shower turned him green.”
Harry, for his part, didn’t even react. “What with? Paint?” Across from him, Luna started to hum a tune, apparently bored with what was going on already. She took up the cards and began to shuffle them.
Draco chuckled. “You’re such a Muggle,” he said fondly. “No, with a spell.”
“Oh,” Harry said, like he wasn’t sure what they wanted him to do. He turned to face Draco from his lap. “I’m confused. Do we like him now? I’ve forgotten.”
Draco shook his head. The man was a brilliant actor. “We don’t like him, but you can be polite.”
Harry turned back. “Alright, is he okay?” he reeled off like he had been given a list in case something like this ever came up. He still seemed confused, though. “I still don’t understand. Why did you wake me up? I was having a great dream.”
“Ha!” Luna exclaimed from her seat. “Told you!” she added and then went back to humming and dealing.
Marcus turned his glare from her when Pansy unleashed one of her own. “Theo says you did it.”
Harry scoffed and turned over, putting Draco’s hand back on his head, obviously preparing to go back to sleep. “I haven’t even seen Theodore Nott for the day. If he wants to accuse me of something, he can come to me and do it face to face. Otherwise, Theo can kiss my arse.”
Draco kept his smile off his face for as long as he could. “Well, gentlemen, you have your answer. Good day.” He re-opened his magazine, ignoring the men until they went away.
“Wow. Talk about good acting, Harry that was brilliant.” Pansy was grinning, very impressed at the display. Harry turned over, figuring it was safe to now.
“You did have good dreams though, I saw the Darlens settle almost as soon as you lay down,” Luna added and then continued humming. Too late Harry recognised it as the ‘Oscar tune’. He looked at her with new eyes and she grinned at him.
Harry nodded. “I did fall asleep for a bit there, yeah. Thanks Luna.” He looked up at Draco.
“You turned him green.”
Harry’s smile was so proud, it was so adorable, and Draco couldn’t help but smile. “With envy.” He shrugged. “My godfather and his friends taught me a few things.”
“I like you,” he heard Pansy say. “Draco, you must keep him.”
Draco looked down at Harry and shook his head. I’ll try my best.
The day before the wedding, things started getting a little more hectic. Draco could see the note of urgency on nearly everyone’s faces. The wait staff was running around as calm as they could, trying not to alert anyone that things were going wrong; the house-elves were nowhere to be seen, most likely herded into the kitchens to make sure everything was done properly. The bridal party looked harried to the brink of collapse.
Blaise sank down into the seat next to Draco and huffed. Harry turned to him. “What?” He bit down on a cubed carrot he’d taken from the lunch buffet. This close to the wedding, they couldn’t spare anyone to serve tables individually.
“I’m being ignored.”
Draco immediately began to smile. “Lay off the flirting.”
Harry was confused. “By who?”
Blaise turned to him, forlorn. “Ron.”
Harry laughed. “Yeah, I agree with Draco. Lay off the flirting.”
Blaise looked offended. “I haven’t been flirting with him.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Yeah, and that’s the problem. You’re so busy trying to make him think you’re not interested that you haven’t realised you’ve been succeeding for years.
“I-” Blaise began, ready to argue when he stopped to hear what he was saying. “Really?”
“Really,” Harry said. “I thought he was just playing around, but he actually believes you have no interest besides getting into his pants. It’s quite funny. If he heard how you speak about him when he’s not here, he might just take you up on the offer.”
“Oh.” It was said as if he’d never thought of it before. Then he smiled. “Bachelor party is tonight.”
“Oh?” Draco said staring. “We’ve been telling you that for years, and suddenly Harry’s says the same things and you go ‘Oh’?”
Blaise shrugged. “Well he’s an expert, and he’s paid for his opinion.”
“Oh I don’t do it for the money,” Harry said smiling wickedly. And since he wasn’t, it was one of the few truths he’d told since he’d arrived. Blaise gave him an eye roll and got up. He chuckled and watched the man go, hoping he was finally going after Ron. He looked to his side.
Draco was watching him. “What?” The blond shook his head. “Stop looking at me.”
Draco smiled. “I can’t help it.”
Harry turned to him, amused. “Try.” He added a spoonful of the carrot he’d been eating unto Draco’s plate instead.
Draco did. Really. But the conversation they’d just had kept turning around in his mind. “I just don’t understand,” he let out against his will. “If it’s not for the money-”
Ah. Too late Harry realised his mistake. He’d only been joking with Blaise, knowing the man wouldn’t take it seriously. But Draco wasn’t Blaise, and the problem with joking was that if others weren’t in on it, they took you seriously. “It’s not,” Harry confirmed.
The thing was, Harry actual job wasn’t so far off from what Draco and his friends suspected. There was less sex, obviously, but he was selling a service to exclusive clients that treated him like he was at their beck and call. Whenever he sat down to think about it, he ended up having to stop himself before he got too depressed at how his life had turned out.
“Draco,” Harry said relaxing his hands and leaning towards the blond. He turned his head so he was giving Draco all his attention. He leaned closer. “People in my line of work hardly get any recognition or reward.” Which was true. His patients often treated him as if they were doing him a favour by needing his help. They always gave him those empty smiles whenever he gave them recommendations too. He hated them. “We do it for one of two reasons. The main one is money. Either they need it to have it, or they need it to spend it.”
“What the other reason? The people?” Draco joked.
Harry grinned and resumed eating. “It’s not the people.” His job had always been fulfilling. It was just a shame he had to interact with people. Scratch that, over-privileged rich people. Just after he’d opened his Practice, he’d saved the life of one young woman. He hadn’t known who she was, only that she’d been choking on flambéed banana in the restaurant he was eating in. He’d acted the way he’d been trained to act in an emergency, nothing more. Her father, however, was Nikolai Troevsky, the Russian Minister for Magic. He’d got Harry’s name and spread it among his friends. Soon Harry found himself being rented out as a Doctor for hire. It was embarrassing, but he got to do his job without the hassles of going to a hospital every day. He got to travel a lot, and the pay was good, but that wasn’t the main reason he did it. No, if there were no people, being a doctor would be good all on its own. “The sex really is rather good. And the pay doesn’t hurt.” He got hefty sums some days if he decided to take on a more permanent patient.
Draco’s cheeks flushed pink. “You do it for the sex?” he asked incredulous.
Harry shrugged feeling the guilt at misleading Draco so badly. “It’s regular and it costs me nothing. It’s just another service.”
“But…” Draco shook his head. “That’s-”
Harry smiled, knowing it sounded bad from Draco’s perspective. “I know. But I’ve never really been one to care about labels, Draco.” Even when he was in school, there were whispers about him and he’d just gone about his business. When he showed them he didn’t care, they treated him like he was invisible, which was just fine. He grinned cheekily at him and finished his lunch.
“Is he shitting me?” Blaise said out loud as Astoria and her coven of witches came in and made a beeline to the dance floor whooping. “He’s having his bachelor’s party in the same venue as her hen night?” He scoffed and sat down. “Talk about having a guy by the balls.” He got up. “I’m getting another drink.”
“I’ll come with you,” Ron said getting up to follow him, Blaise gestured him ahead and then turned back to give Harry a thumbs up.
Harry kept in his laughter. Pansy, next to him was glaring at the spectacle on the dance floor. “I don’t care what she says. I’m not joining her stupid party. As if I’d want to be within fifty bloody feet of her.” She turned to Harry. “I think I’m a little drunk.” She grinned. “Let’s dance, lover boy!” She pulled him up and away before he had a chance to say no. Luna took up the rear. Draco watched them go with a grin. It was only when he turned to the table, that he realised it was empty. And Theo was coming over.
“No need to look like that,” he heard as Theo sat down. The dampening spell Blaise had had the wits to perform before he got too drunk lessened the noise of the club around them so they could talk normally. Draco turned away from him to look at the dance floor, wishing he’d gone with them when he'd had the chance. He wouldn’t look like he was running away though. Not now.
“Three years is it? You took up with him quickly, didn’t you?” Draco, despite himself, turned around to face him. “Did you even wait for the bed to go cold?” Theo sipped from his scotch, though from the sounds of things, it wasn’t his first.
Narrowing his eyes, Draco took on a livid posture. “You don’t have the right to say anything like that to me after you fucking deserted me, Nott.”
Theo watched him carefully, looking for something. When he realised he couldn’t find it, he said, “How can you not know? She bloody told everyone else.”
Draco felt something odd. It made him pause. “The hell are you talking about?” There it was again, a sinking feeling that maybe, he’d got this all wrong. Blaise’s voice in his head, telling him not to give him a way in, began to fade.
Theo moved like he was going to take Draco’s hand, but Draco moved away before he could grab purchase to any part of him. He hadn’t forgotten the bruise on his arm that Harry had taken away. Harry. His eyes went back to the dance floor. The members of the bridal party had taken to the floor with a vengeance and Astoria was sidling her way up to Harry’s back without the man knowing. “Astoria’s family, the one who practically stalked yours throughout school? They wanted your money.”
Distracted, Draco answered him. “I know, that’s part of why I turned down their proposal.”Something you obviously couldn’t do for me.
Theo nodded. “Yeah, I know. I was proud of you.” Draco huffed and crossed his arms. “They wanted your money, but the smallest one, the one grinding on your boyfriend down there? She wanted me.”
Draco’s neck nearly snapped with how fast he turned it. Theo looked just as bitter as he had done since he arrived. Astoria wanted him? “What did you just say?”
Theo didn’t repeat himself. He took a long sip of his scotch and turned glazed eyes to Draco. “And Ron’s wasn’t the only family to suffer a big loss when the Galleon market crashed. They supplemented it with a very bad investment, but still. Ours just had better lawyers to keep it out of the press. Your father didn’t help.” He took another drink as he shook his head bitterly. Across from him, Draco watched him with surprise in his features at hearing about his father. “Astoria wanted me, not you. And when my family got into trouble, she used that to her advantage. She went to ‘Daddy’ and told him she loved me and you know Mr. Greengrass,anything for his little girls.” He gave him a bitter smile. “To my parents, Aldrich was very persuasive and very generous.” Theo let out an empty laugh. “Marrying her, it’s like a ‘blessing in disguise,’” he said with a twist to his expression. Draco recognized it, it was the twist present in every impersonation he’d done of his father when he was nineteen. “But I will always know the truth. They ‘bought’ me for their daughter and my parents were more interested in gaining back their wealth than how I felt about the situation.” He stared at Draco. “How I felt about you.” He spread out his arms clumsily, the scotch he’d been drinking all night finally showing in his actions. “And now you know.”
Draco exhaled a shaky breath. He felt sick. Oh. Oh, god. He shut his eyes.
Out of nowhere, he heard, “He treats you right, yeah?”
Draco opened his eyes to see Theo was looking out at all the dancers. He turned to see what he was watching. “Who, Harry?” he said catching sight of the brunet immediately. The man had done more for him in a week than Theo had done in years. “Yeah, he does.”
Theo nodded, staring down into his drink now. “Yeah. I can tell. God, he hasn’t changed at all has he?” he said with a dry smile.
“What do you mean?”
Theo snorted, “The way he looks at you?” he prompted. He frowned when Draco shook his head, not understanding what Theo was saying. Theo’s face became very serious then. “You’re joking,” Theo stated, eyeing Draco’s reaction to his words and Harry Potter out on the dance floor with his fiancée. “He hasn’t told you.” It wasn’t even a question, more an astonished realisation.
Draco frowned at him. “Theo, if you’re trying to say something I suggest you do so.”
Theo simply sat back, relaxing into his nonchalant pose from before they started talking. He shook his head, his eyes focusing on the pair of brunets on the dance floor as Pansy got between them and Luna danced a force field around them both to keep Astoria away. A little way away Blaise was having his own party with Ron. He shook his head. It was about time.
Draco huffed and sat back too. Theo had done this a lot when they were younger; start a conversation only to trail off halfway through, leaving people wanting more. He’d thought it attractive back then, mainly because he’d always been in on it, like a private joke just between the two of them. Now, irritated on the other side, he wondered how they ever made it through school intact.
“Does he love you?” Theo asked out of the blue.
Draco’s gaze snapped back to him. “What?” In response, Theo simply looked at him. He knew Draco had heard him. There was no need to repeat himself. “I’d like to think so,” Draco said eventually for lack of a better thing to say. He waited, seeing how Theo seemed to be working his way up to saying something else, likely, whether Draco loved him back. Draco, again, wasn’t sure how to answer. His gaze travelled out to Harry, who’d moved on from Astoria and settled on a sandwich between Pansy, Luna and Hermione. He shook his head fondly, fighting down the smile at Harry’s grin as he raised his hands in the air and whooped. Remembering he was in the middle of a serious conversation, he turned back to Theo.
But Theo simply looked at him, searchingly, nodded and then gave a resigned sigh. “Wow. I never... well.” Theo knocked back the last of his scotch and put the glass down on the table with a final thunk.
“What?” Draco asked, finally, sick of waiting.
Theo looked at him, his eyes sad. Draco swallowed around a sudden lump in his throat. “You have the same look. I used to love that look. I just – I never thought I’d see you give that to anyone but me.” He sighed again, this time as if he was losing something significant with the air he exhaled.
“What are you talking about?”
“The way you look at him now, it’s how he looked at you then.” Theo nodded to himself, as if settling on a decision. He stood up and leaned towards Draco, tilting his head to plant a soft kiss on Draco’s forehead. “I would say I hope he knows what he has, but he does. Has done, for a long time.” He smiled, and Draco could almost see the young man he was at seventeen. Almost. “Goodbye, Draco. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
All Draco could do was sit and stare as Theo collected his coat and left.
As soon as he was gone, Zacharias Smith sat in his spot. “You’re a prat.”
The blond sounded as drunk as he looked. Draco was not in the mood. “Go away, Smith.” The last thing he needed was one of Harry’s past clients breathing down his neck.
“You have no idea what you’re doing to him every time you drool over that waste of spec–spic – that bastard Theo.”
Draco narrowed his eyes. After having heard something similar only moments before, he turned to Zacharias and cocked his head. “Oh, really?”
Nothing got drunken people going like contradiction.
“Yes, really!” Zach said affronted. “He’s been after you for years, you prick! He even dated me ‘cause he figured I could remind him of you. He didn’t say it, mind, but I knew it was true. I actually paid attention to him in school after all. Unlike your lot, who hire him out like a-” Zacharias looked physically sick. Draco leaned back and away. “It’s such a waste, everything he wants to give you, and you throw it away. Can’t wait for this week to be over, so he can be free of you. He’s hurting, and you don’t even care, because you don’t even know.” Zach got up and stumbled away, leaving Draco in shock.
When the group got back from dancing, Harry noticed his melancholy air before he even sat down. “What’s wrong?”
After everything Theo and Zacharias had said, Draco couldn’t help but look at Harry differently. According to them Harry had liked him since school, but never taken a chance, likely because he was taken at the time. But now…
Oh, I don’t do it for the money, he’d said and followed it up with a line about sex, which, Draco admitted, had distracted him well enough for the rest of the evening.
“I need to talk to you.” Draco got up and collected his cloak. He said goodnight to his friends and left, with Harry tagging along behind him. Harry had just managed to catch up with him outside, when Draco suddenly turned around and kissed him.
Harry made a protesting sound, since he hadn’t anticipated the kiss at all, not with the strange way Draco had been behaving. Draco felt he was free to ignore it, to slide just a little closer since, other than that, Harry wasn’t arguing. Harry’s hand instead slid down the inside of his cloak, against his ribs, and curled at his hip to tug the blond closer. And then Draco felt him let go.
It was like a rush of the tide. Every part of Harry relaxed into him, pliant and calm. He kissed like it was too much for him, like he would die if he did, and yet would die anyway if he didn’t. And it all came back, every time he’d kissed the man, since the beginning, Harry’d done the same thing: wait to make sure it was for real and then give up all pretence. Draco had thought it was part of the act. But then, every time they’d kissed it had been in private. There was no one else around. Draco pulled away. “Oh, my god. Oh, Merlin.” He stepped away.
“What?” Harry said watching him as Draco held his head in his hands in the middle of the street.
Draco stopped and looked up at him. “You want me.”
Harry stepped back once and Draco could practically see the wall being built as he stood there. “What?”
“You want me,” Draco said again, “I can tell, but you don’t want to – no, you won’t let yourselfhave me.”
Harry laughed, believing Draco to be drunk or in the very least drunk enough to say outrageous things. “You think very highly of yourself.”
Draco scoffed. “I do, yeah. But I’d have to with the way you’ve been looking at me tonight. How you’ve looked at me all week.” And how could he have not noticed that? “How everyone’s been saying that you look at me like you did in school.”
Harry laughed, bitterly this time. “You didn’t even know me in school. You don’t know me now.”
Shaking his head, Draco stepped forward every time Harry stepped back. “But you knew me, obviously, and everyone else noticed you watching me. Kind of like how you watch me now, according to them.”
“They’re crazy.” Harry said finally gathering his wits enough to walk away.
Draco, ever stubborn, walked after him. “They’re my friends.” Well, not really, but they had no reason to lie.
Harry spared a glance over his shoulder as he continued walking. “Doesn’t mean they’re not crazy.”
“It does mean that they’re honest, though.” Draco jogged forward to cut Harry off. “What are you so afraid of?” he asked, moving to block Harry every time he tried to walk around him. “It can’t be rejection, because I’m standing right here.”
Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you? For how long?”
“I saw Theo up there with you earlier. Made up yet?”
“Did that kiss feel like I’d made up with him?” Draco snapped angrily.
Harry glared at him, smothering over the drop of his stomach when he’d seen Nott lean across to kiss him. “The kiss felt like you were looking for something. Did you find it?” he said angrily.
Draco wasn’t even aware of when they pressed together again, his hands in Harry’s hair as he took all the breath from him and pushed Harry into the wall to just get him to stay put, damn it. Harry held him close, tight enough to punish, like he was afraid to let him go. Draco pulled back to breathe and watch him, those green eyes reflected with chips of amber from the streetlamps above them and he couldn’t stand there anymore.
The hotel room was dark and quiet. The fire wasn’t lit, so it had a chill to it that Draco only felt in the parts that weren’t touching the man in front of him. The first touch of lips on his skin made Draco shiver, goosebumps rising to the surface. Another gentle kiss on his jaw and Draco’s breath hitched before coming out in a rush. Harry swallowed it all down when he covered Draco’s mouth with his own and moaned Draco’s name so hotly that Draco finger’s curled into Harry’s back, gripping onto the cloth and pulling him in.
It wasn’t enough.
His fingers felt every fibre of the cloth surrounding the man. He wanted skin, and he’d tear his way through those clothes to get to it.
When Harry got his bearings he was lying down staring at the ceiling as his trousers were tugged off his legs. He had no idea where his shoes were. His jacket was gone too. Once the trousers disappeared, Draco was on him, undoing the buttons of his shirt with quick hands. Harry put his hands over Draco’s to still them and when Draco tried to move it, Harry spun them around so Draco was pressed into the mattress beneath him. Draco swallowed down a gasp as Harry pressed fully against him, his hardness grinding into his thigh. When Harry kissed him again, it took Draco a moment to catch up, groaning into his mouth and kissing him back desperately. A warm palm cupped his knee before bringing it up to rest against Harry’s side. Harry broke away from the kiss and whispered something, over and over again like a chant but Draco was too out of his mind to hear it. The hand slid down, going up Draco’s thigh and bypassed his hips only to hook into the back of his trousers. And then they were gone.
His trousers were simply gone.
Draco thought of looking to see where they’d disappeared to, but since he didn’t need them anyway, he let it go, taking off his jacket instead. Once that was gone along with his shirt, he lay back and waited for Harry to be done with his clothes.
His skin was radiant when there was nothing in the way, nothing blocking his view. And he was so warm. Harry leaned in, his hand firm on Draco’s jaw, and placed a nipping kiss on his lips. He was pulling away when Draco grabbed the back of his neck and held him there, eyes dark and full of heat. His legs rose to Harry’s waist and his ankles locked at the small of his back to pull him in.
“Wait, wait, my wand.” Draco nodded and waited while Harry dug through the clothes on the floor for his wand. He was back in no time and seconds later there was a slick digit at Draco’s entrance pushing inside. The thought that Harry’s cock would soon replace it made Draco hot all over. He wanted it; and only now realised he’d gone three years without anything like this, this mad urgency because of his own stupidity, chasing after a man who didn’t know what the hell he really wanted. He clenched as an immediate response, but Harry’s gentle words and encouragement had him relaxing and sinking into the sheets.
“Been a while,” he said, even though he was sure Harry remembered.
Harry hummed, added a second finger to join the first and kissed away Draco’s gasp as he was stretched further. Draco rocked down onto them and Harry moved to cover his body as he pushed in a third easily, his mouth hot against his ear asking if he wanted more.
In response, Draco shook his head and pushed against him, using Harry’s surprise to topple him over and straddle him, pushing him down into the mattress this time. He lined himself up and sank down, breathing out on the first push, his hand grasping at the headboard above him to keep him steady. It was a heady mix of pleasure and pain and he shut his eyes, moaning as sparks shot up his spine the deeper Harry went.
“Oh, my God,” Harry whispered to himself, his hands tightening on Draco’s hips. The wordstight didn’t even begin to describe what he was feeling. When Draco bottomed out, he sat up, kissing Draco’s shoulder as he rested to accommodate the stretch and bit at his neck enough to leave marks. He wanted evidence that this happened the next time he woke. He’d dreamed of this enough in school to have to make sure. Draco’s arms were hooked around Harry’s shoulders, his mouth open against his neck where he rested his head.
“Tired already?” he said, his voice deep with the force to keep in control and not thrust up into the tight, wet heat encasing his cock. He felt Draco shiver and reached for his wand to light the fire in the grate.
Draco hummed. “You wish.” He raised himself up once and dropped back down again, proving his point. He pulled back to look Harry in the eye. His eyes closing voluntarily as Harry started moving and found a rhythm. He rested his forehead against Harry’s, his fingers tightening and loosening on his skin. “Don’t stop.”
Harry chuckled wryly. “I’d have to be insane.” He kissed him then, his hands drifting down from Draco’s waist to his hips, pulling him down harder as he thrust up, grinding into him. Draco’s tongue was hot on his neck once he'd relinquished his mouth and he felt it flicker across his skin, his nails digging into his shoulders and tracing over the pattern of his tattoo. Not able to take it anymore, he turned, making Draco lose balance as he flipped them over.
Draco’s nails dug into his back as his next thrust hit home, and then again, deeper this time. Draco threw his head back, exposing the long column of his throat and tightened around him in reaction. Harry couldn’t speak; he didn’t even try, simply let out unintelligible groans against Draco’s skin. Draco pulled his head towards his own and moaned against his mouth, arching into him and gripping his hair tight to guide him into the kiss. Letting go of his lips, he rested his head, temple to temple, holding on to his shoulders as he met him thrust for thrust.
Harry’s hands felt like a brand on his skin, the burn only adding to the heat he could feel building in the pit of his stomach. He panted against his mouth as Harry’s hand worked its way between their bodies, palming his cock while dipping his head to nip at his throat.
“Fuck, your mouth,” Draco said airily, like it was a thought he hadn’t meant to voice. Harry smiled, taking ownership of Draco’s mouth again while his hand stroked up and down in tandem with his thrusts. The tightening of Draco’s passage gave him a clue and he tightened his fist. Draco’s mouth dropped open and his head tilted back as he came, Harry’s hand and his hips trying not to break rhythm as Draco spasmed around him. Harry buried his face in Draco’s neck, leaving a slow sucking kiss there as he came, his hips faltering as he cried out in his orgasm.
“Fucking Merlin,” Harry said, astonished that he could even speak. He slowly tugged himself free of Draco’s grip and collapsed next to the blond with his eyes closed and an arm slung over his head.
Draco hummed in agreement, not even bothering to speak; he was so tired. He groaned as he turned and slotted himself against Harry’s side.
“Sleep,” Harry said finally, holding Draco close. “Up early.”
The wedding, the plan. How could Draco have forgotten the plan? A warm hand ran up and down his arm and side as fingers entwined with his over Harry’s chest. He felt the tingle of a cleaning charm as he settled in to sleep and brushed off his thoughts. The plan had gone out the window the second he first kissed Harry and he knew it. He just needed to get through tomorrow and then think of a way to get Harry to stay.
Draco hadn’t been able to keep the smile off his face all morning. They’d made their way down to the gardens where the ceremony was taking place and found seats next to Pansy and Luna. Ron was on their other side holding a spot for Blaise with a blush when they asked. That was when Blaise came up to them calm as a cucumber and told them the news.
Theo was gone.
“What do you mean, he’s gone?” he asked Blaise, who’d just returned with one of the groomsmen. “Where’s he gone?”
“If we knew that he wouldn’t be missing, Draco,” Marcus said obviously. “Look, we’re splitting up. We need to find him.”
Pansy snorted. “Why?”
“Because it’s the right thing to do,” Harry said quietly, looking at Pansy and then at Blaise. Pansy rolled her eyes but sat back. It wasn’t much of an admission of defeat, but it was something at least.
Marcus Flint nodded. “They’re trying not to alert the bridal party. They’re stir-crazy enough as it is with the way Astoria has been treating them all week. Let’s go.” No one got up.
“Oh, no, I’ve got nothing to do with this. I came as a guest for the free food and wine,” Ron said.
“Hear, hear,” Pansy said and moved over a seat to sit next to him. She pulled a giggling Luna with her and held up a stern finger at Draco. “Not you either, Draco. The last thing Nott needs is you finding him and telling him life will be worth living if he steps away from the ledge.”
Blaise shook his head. “I’ll help. Might as well. Come on, Harry; see if you can convince Smith to put in some effort.” He grabbed Harry before Draco had a chance to forbid him.
Harry shrugged at Draco and let himself be led away. “Oh, you so got some last night,” Draco heard behind him as soon as they were out of earshot. He turned back to find three people grinning at him.
“What?” Draco said, his voice a little high. “I didn’t.”
Ron snorted. “No offence, Malfoy, but you look like a leper.” Draco let his hands rise to his neck. Harry had got a little carried away. “And you know exactly where the marks should be, so...”
“Oh, please,” Draco retorted. “You’re one to talk. Scarves in season, are they?” he said sarcastically gesturing to the rather daring fashion choice Ron had made that morning. Ron patted self-consciously at his cravat.
“You got lucky! Yay!” Luna cheered happily for them both.
Ron stood up. “Right then. To the bar.” That garnered cheers all round. “I’m sure we’ll find out when the wedding starts. There’s bound to be music.” The three continued to converse over whether food would still be served even if there wasn’t a wedding.
Draco was following them inside when he got a tap on his shoulder. He turned, only to pause when he saw Theo standing there. The man was dressed casually, not at all like he was about to get married to Astoria Greengrass. “What the hell are you doing? People are looking for you!” Theo dragged him away from everyone, leading him around the side of the building.
“I just wanted to talk to you before I left.”
Left? “Left? Where are you going?” Theo stopped tugging his sleeve when they were relatively hidden by the gazebo in the gardens.
Theo was shaking his head. “I can’t do this, Draco. I can’t marry her when I’m still in love with you.”
Something leaden settled in Draco’s stomach. Funny, he’d always thought those words would evoke a feeling like that of butterflies rolling in his stomach, not this sick pile of dread making him want to throw up. “Oh, Theo, no.”
“No?” Theo said confused.
Draco couldn’t believe Theo was doing this to him, not when he’d already made up his mind to let the daft bugger go. “No, you can’t do this now. You have an entire wedding that’s been planned for over eight years. You don’t get to do something like this now.”
Theo smiled at him, that rakish smile that had always made him melt. “Not even if it’s for you?”
“Especially if it’s for me!” Draco covered his face with his hands. “Are you fucking insane? I have a boyfriend.”
Theo scoffed. “The doctor,” he said like the term itself was ridiculous.
Draco got angry. “Yes, the fucking Doctor, the one who loves me and has done since he was bloody fourteen! He’s never left me for anyone else, he’s never abandoned me to shack up with his rich fiancée, and most importantly, he’s not going to,” he said counting off on his fingers.
“He was never even with you, Draco. He couldn’t do any of those things,” Theo said convincingly.
Draco stared at him sadly. The man just didn’t get it. “Yeah. I know. Sad thing is I never thought you could do any of those things either, given the chance, but you did. Harry says that’s where you went epically wrong. He never had me, so he appreciates me now he does. You did have me and yet you still left me. He doesn’t understand it.” He chuckled. “Honestly, I don’t either.”
“It wasn’t me, Draco! It was my family. We needed the money!”
“And you don’t need it now?”
Theo huffed, unused to explaining himself for so long to Draco. “I don’t care about it now!”
Draco let out a humourless chuckle. “Well, where was that attitude when we were nineteen?” They settled into silence then. Draco was quite proud of himself for holding his own.
“So this is it?” Theo leaned back on the balusters. “It’s over completely?”
Draco nodded. “’fraid so.”
As a last ditch effort, Theo surged forwards, cupping Draco’s jaw in his hands and kissed him, trying to put all he had into it, trying to see if he could change Draco’s mind. Draco only realised that was part of why he did it when he pulled away because Theo, when he pulled back, looked over Draco’s shoulder. There was a gleam in his eye. A Triumphant gleam.
When Draco turned around, confused, Harry was already walking away and Blaise was standing, shocked, shaking his head in disbelief.
Harry was gone.
Draco looked everywhere he could think of. The spot by the lake where they’d camped out for an afternoon, the garden benches, the bar, the lounge, the Muggle lounge, the restaurant. He checked the hotel room twice already.
Third time was a charm.
Draco paused on the threshold. Harry was sitting on the edge of the bed, facing the door, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, like he was waiting for Draco to come back. His trunk was packed at the door and there was a rucksack next to him on the floor.
“I knew who you were when I saw you,” Harry said cutting him off. “I always knew. I knew how much you liked him when we were in school.” Harry scoffed, shaking his head. “Anyone could see that. Except him,” he added under his breath. “I knew and I came anyway, because it was my only chance.”
Draco, who’d been waiting for Harry to stop so he could explain, paused. “Only chance?” he asked.
Harry smiled at him, soft and sad, like he knew something Draco didn’t, and Draco was all the luckier for it. “For seven years I always knew who you were. I sat behind you in classes nearly every day and up until a week ago, you didn’t even know who I was. I recognised you on sight, but I had to remind you about me.”
Draco crossed his arm self-consciously. “I knew who you were after you told me your name. Everyone knows your name.”
Harry nodded, the sad expression on his face switching between a frown and frustration. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath as he picked up his bag. Shouldering it roughly, he shrugged. “Yeah. Everyone?” He got up and walked passed Draco, shaking off the hand on his arm.
The comment hit deep and harsh. They’d spoken about it days ago. Merlin, had it only been days? Three since they’d shared secrets he’d never even told his parents, six since the blushing brunet had re-entered his life. It felt like forever. The news of Harry’s parents had rocked the Wizarding World for years. Before them, there had never been a truly racist crime since the time of Grindelwald. The Potters were a story told on Halloween. For Harry, it was his life every day.
People watched Harry like they knew him, like they knew what it took to bend and break him. No one knew the strong-willed, passionate man beneath the gossip and theories, not like Draco did. No one had bothered to look any further. It was a sore spot, one Harry hadn’t completely got over and Draco knew that.
Fuck. Draco hadn’t meant to bring that back up. He hadn’t meant to hurt him like that.
“I do know you,” he said instead, desperate for Harry to believe him.
“Do you?” Harry said like that didn’t even matter. “Tell me what I do for a living.”
Draco paused, confused at the question. “What?”
Harry stared at him from the door. He took out his wand, preparing to Apparate. “Tell me what I do for a living, because it sure as hell isn’t what you think it is.”
Draco frowned. He wasn’t a- but that didn’t make any sense. “But-”
“I told you, what I do I don’t do for the money. And I didn’t here. I did it for you. Because who you were, the person I fell for, Nott took that away from you and I couldn’t bear to see it gone. See, I know you and I knew you were missing since our first conversation.”
“I asked you what you did when we met,” Draco said.
“Did I answer?” Harry said.
“Ye-” Draco stopped. No, he hadn’t. He’d turned the question around. “Why?” he asked.
“Because who I am now is different from who I wanted to be and I was ashamed of that for my own personal reasons. But you, you assumed. And man, when you assume, you assume big.” Harry nodded and levitated his trunk to touch his hand. “I hope that he does it right this time.” He raised his wand.
“Ha-” Draco rushed forward, but Harry was already gone.
The hotel room was too claustrophobic. Draco had to get out of there. He opened the door to leave, only to see Theo standing there. “Draco.”
Slamming the door, Draco walked off. “Fucking stay away from me, Theo,” he said his voice low and dangerous.
Theo reached out to take his hand. “Draco, I just-”
Draco spun around eyes blazing with anger. “Stay away from me!” he screamed at him, making him back off. People stopped in the corridor to watch them.
“Draco, I’m sorry.”
Draco laughed emptily. “Of course you are.” He turned around and began walking again.
Theo raced to keep up with him. “No, I mean it. I really am. He was good for you.”
Stopping again and chastising himself as he did so, Draco glared at him. “And you had to take that away, right?” he said remembering the streak of triumph in Theo’s eyes when he’d pulled away to see Harry leaving. “If you can’t have me, no one can, yeah? Fuck off!” He turned and walked away again. They’d reached the entry hall and Draco could see Pansy and Blaise in line to check them out early. There was an idea. He wondered if they’d wait a couple minutes for him. It wouldn’t take him long. Blaise suddenly looked in his direction, his eyes narrowing at Theo’s presence behind him. Draco saw him say something and Pansy turned too.
“Draco, I do love you.”
Draco stopped and felt a chill go up his spine so hard he trembled. He turned around and walked up to Theodore. “Promise me something.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed as he rested his hand on Theo’s chest. He’d laid claim to that chest hundreds of times in the years they’d been together. He looked up into those light blue eyes he’d woken up to time and time again. He smiled. “Promise me everything.”
“Anything you want.”
Draco nodded and stepped back, his hand forming a fist only moments before he used it to punch Theo in the face. He shook it out, the pain unimaginable. “Fuck,” he said holding his hand close and stretching it out to check if he’d broken anything. He thought of the salve he had upstairs that Harry had got from one of his colleagues and inexplicably got angrier. He looked down at Theo, who was feeling his lip, hissing at the bleeding cut, where it had caught on his tooth. “What I want is him,” Draco stated plainly. “And you’ve fucked that up for me, just like you fucked up everything else.” He leaned close. “Stay away from me.”
“Draco,” he heard and turned to Pansy, who held out her hand to him to lead him away. “We’ll go pack your things, yeah?” When he simply nodded miserably, she put her arm around him and ran a hand through his hair. Draco was reminded yet again of Harry in the small gesture and cradled his hand to his chest. They bypassed Astoria on their way upstairs. She watched the entire thing and looked at Draco with hard eyes.
“You can have him,” Draco said to her.
Her eyes went from Draco to Theo, they softened as she passed him to get to her fiancé. Draco watched her go, feeling a little sad as she knelt by Theo, looking a little wretched as Theo shook her off and got up to walk away. He turned his head away, not able to look for too long. He’d looked like that a few years ago and for the first time in a very long time, he felt sorry for her.
Draco stood staring out at the rain. April showers had taken over just after the wedding was postponed. He could see the white peacocks his mother loved so much running around, trying to get out of the rain, and near stomping on each other to get into the wooden structure she’d had built for them to live in. Draco used to hide in there as a child when playing hide and seek with Blaise and Pansy. It always made his mother so mad when he’d come back into the house, his shoes covered in bird shit. He narrowed his eyes at the miniature homes in the enclosure. They were so small. He’d never thought them small when he could still fit into them. Now he wondered how he could have ever been so tiny.
“I know that face.”
Draco spun around to see his father leaning against the entrance of the Spring Room. His mother had had it painted in a light pastel blue to match the colour of the sky in spring. The white crown moulding along the ceiling, and light pastel coloured furniture dotted around the room, added to the light, airy atmosphere.
“What?” he said, not understanding what Lucius meant.
Lucius gestured to his son’s face. “That’s your ‘Father needs to bankrupt someone’ face.” His arms uncrossed as he walked into the room. He’d been somewhere Muggle, Draco immediately identified, as he was wearing one of his formal robes like a coat. Underneath, Draco could see one of the many suits Lucius wore to Muggle business meetings. Draco had accompanied him on more than one occasion when he was younger and learning the business of investment.
He looked at his father quizzically. “I don’t make that face.”
Lucius held in an amused smile. “When you were younger and upset with people, you would turn to me with that same face and ask me to bankrupt them,” he answered bluntly.
Draco cocked his head to the side trying to figure out if Lucius was joking. “Did you?”
Lucius gave him an elegant shrug of his shoulders and sat on the arm of the white sofa in the middle of the room. He looked around to make sure Narcissa wasn’t about. She’d kill him if she saw him doing it. He crossed his arms over his chest again and looked at his feet in thought as he crossed them too. “It depended on whether your reasoning was sound,” he said, as if weighing the pros and cons of a toddler was a normal way to decide an individual’s financial state. “Usually, it was because they’d told you ‘no’.” He looked up. “So, who told you ‘no’ this time?”
Upset at the accusation and a little embarrassed that it was correct, Draco looked away. “Nobody.”
Lucius simply stared. “Nobody," he said with blatant disbelief. "Nobody has made your face look like that?”
Draco growled under his breath and turned back to his father. “Look like what?” he grumbled.
“Like someone took your favourite toy and won’t give it back.” A penetrating stare pinned Draco in place. “I’ve known you for twenty-eight years, Draco. I’ve seen you through your best and worst times. Don’t try to fool me. The last time you looked like this I-”
Draco’s heart made a hard thump at his father’s words. “You, what?” He’d been waiting for him to admit to this since Theo had told him Lucius had played a part in securing his family’s ruin. Apparently, the Notts would have been fine if Malfoy Holdings and Nathaniel Parkinson hadn’t pulled their investments from a group of companies the three families had sponsored. With the majority of their stakeholders gone, all five companies had gone bankrupt, cementing the Notts’ fate when they couldn’t sell their shares fast enough.
Lucius, seeing the answer to Draco’s question on his face already, saw no need to elaborate. Instead, he stood and walked to the window to stand next to his son. “What did he do?”
Draco shook his head. “He didn’t do anything, I did.” He shut his eyes and covered them with a hand. So stupid. “He’s loved me for so long and I didn’t even know he existed.”
“Who is he?” Lucius asked, not needing to be told that Draco wasn’t talking about Theo. This was someone new, and he didn’t need a back story. He knew heartbreak on his son’s face; had tried to mend it twice, though Draco would never know about the second time he’d stepped in to make Theodore Nott go away. His son thought him obtuse when it came to his love life, best to leave it that way; it was less hassle. “Someone I know?”
Giving up the pretence, Draco shook his head. “No, he’s a doctor.” It had only taken one trip to Morgana’s to get the answer out of Laura. He felt so stupid once she told him the truth. When she’d frowned at him and asked him, ‘What did you think he was?’ Draco was too embarrassed to share.
“A Muggle doctor?” he asked, intrigued. He wouldn’t have thought Draco would go for that. “Does he have a Practice?”
Draco opened his mouth to say no and stopped, realising he didn’t know. Laura had told him Harry was a Private doctor and Draco had assumed that meant he was someone’s personal doctor, which only got him more upset. However, perhaps it meant he also ran a private practice.
Lucius, reading his son like a book, rolled his eyes. “Isn’t there anyone you can ask? Someone he works with?”
Immediately, and rather annoyingly, the only person Draco thought of was Zacharias Smith and Seamus. He didn’t know who the other man was, but Smith; oh he knew where to find him. “Yes.”
Before he could rush out, he was stopped by the hand on his forearm. It was gentle, but steady. He looked up into his father’s eyes. “Be careful, Draco.”
“I’m the one who hurt him, Father.”
Lucius was calm in the face of Draco’s agitation. “That may be so, but still, try not to overwhelm him. You can be a bit much when... excited.” Draco rolled his eyes and strode to leave the room. “Also,” he heard and turned back one last time, determined that he wouldn’t let his father distract him any further after this. Lucius began walking towards him. “Make sure he knows how much your family loves you.” The calm demeanour his father had been exuding before began to slip away, bringing forth the imposing man that Draco only ever saw during particularly difficult meetings, when Lucius wanted to get his way. Draco waited as he approached and stood still as Lucius placed a warm hand on Draco’s shoulder, squeezed gently and then relaxed. The man looked him directly in the eye; a warning for him to pass on to his ‘Muggle doctor’. “That if you come back here with that look on your face again... I know people,” Lucius said, stressing the words to convey his meaning. He paused, ever dramatic and, with a final, solid squeeze to his shoulder, he left him alone.
Draco stood for a while taking it all in. For a few moments he couldn’t speak. As the words sank in, Draco couldn’t help the small smile that crept onto his face.
It was a last resort, but it had to be done, Draco kept telling himself as he walked up to the blond man at the nurses’ station of the Paediatric ward in St Mungo’s. It had been a bloody week since the botched wedding and he’d got nowhere close to finding Harry because Zacharias didn’t answer his owls or any of his floo calls. Visiting him in his natural habitat was the only way. He cleared his throat and waited as the man turned around.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Zacharias said and then looked around to make sure there wasn’t anyone of importance around. “What do you want?” he hissed.
Draco wasn’t perturbed in the slightest. “I need to see Harry, and since you’re the only person I know of who actually knows him, I came to you.”
“You know what he does then?” Zach said highly amused.
Draco flushed pink. He’d gone to Laura first at Morgana’s to ask her if she knew Harry. To his surprise, he’d found out not only was Harry not a bloody prostitute, but he was an honest to Merlin Mediwizard who’d added to his education by studying Muggle medicine halfway through Oxford Med. That was eight years ago. The man was about to take his bloody oath in October. Draco could have screamed.
“Yes, I know what he does. I just need to know where he is, if you would be so kind.”
“Oh, I could. I’m just not sure if I want to be.” He sighed. “But, Harry wouldn’t like it if I sent you away, however much he might need it.” He reached into the pocket of his scrubs and pulled out a pen. An actual Muggle pen. Draco shook his head as Zacharias turned around to rip a page out of the magazine one of the nurses was reading.
Zach glared at her. “Oh, zip it, Lavender, you’re on duty anyway.” He wrote down an address on the slip of paper and gave it to Draco, clicking his pen before shoving it back into his pocket.
Draco looked down at the address. “Moscow, that’s in Russia.” He looked up.
“Gold star in Geography.” Zach leaned back against the station. “He pissed off the attending when he was here doing emergency medicine. It isn’t a big deal, but the guy’s father is pretty much the owner of St. Mungo’s so... he blacklisted him. Harry opened up his own practice, and after saving Nikol Troevsky-”
“Nikolas Troevsky’s daughter?” Draco asked. The Russian Minister for Magic was a formidable man, everyone knew him.
Zacharias nodded. “Since then he was hired by three high profile people as a personal doctor on call.” The blond chuckled. “He gained a reputation as a ‘concierge doctor’, a title he hates to this day. A doctor to the rich and famous, who treat him like an object to be fought over and claimed.” It sounded familiar. “Harry hates it, but he gets to do his job and it keeps him paid so he stuck with it. He’s always said if he could just get rid of the people, being a doctor would be perfect.” He smiled fondly.
“And this is his Practice?” Draco said holding up the page.
Zach smiled. “That’s his Practice, for now. Are you finally going to make him settle down?” He was a little tired of meeting at odd hours of the morning for coffee.
Draco ran his thumb over the indents of the biro pen Zach had used. “I’m going to make him come home with me, if I can.”
Zacharias laughed. “Oh, you haven’t a clue, have you?” he said highly amused. Draco watched him. “If there’s anyone who can, Draco, it’s you.”
“Harry! Your four o’clock is here.”
Harry paused with his hands dripping wet over the sink. Four? I didn’t have any appointments after three. He’d just been getting ready to go home. “Four o’clock? When did you schedule that Marguerite?”
“About three o’clock. He was desperate. Thinks there’s something wrong with his heart.”
Harry walked up to her desk and took the notes she’d taken from her. “You didn’t refer him to a Mediwizard with a cardiovascular specialty?” he asked reading through what she’d given him attached to the clip board.
“I promise it won’t take long.” She smiled at him again and it made him suspicious. “You have a working knowledge of it all anyway and he just wants a check-up from what I understand,” she smiled at him.
“But do you?” he whispered to himself as he walked to the examination room. “Do youunderstand?” He opened the door and put the chart down on the table grabbing a chair to slide over. He froze when the door locked and he looked up to see Draco Malfoy sitting there with his arms crossed over his chest.
Harry was beginning to think he was in need of help from a Mediwizard with a cardiovascular specialty. His heart was not supposed to be beating so hard that fast. “Hello.”
Draco cocked an eyebrow. “Hello,” he said. “Nice Practice,” he added gesturing around the room with his eyes.
“I try,” was Harry's reply. Draco leaned forward gesturing with his finger for Harry to come closer. Harry rolled his chair closer slowly. “Where’s Theo?”
“I don’t care,” Draco said, gesturing for Harry to come closer still. When Harry was as close to the examination table as he could get, Draco slid off it into Harry’s lap, his arms wrapping around his neck to keep his balance. The momentum had Harry’s chair rolling back about three feet. He clamped Harry's lips closed with his fingers to stop the man from speaking. “Your name is Harry James Potter; you were born July 31st 1980 to Lily Evans and James Potter in Godric’s Hollow. You went to Stonewall Primary School before you came to Hogwarts-”
Breaking free, Harry stared at him bemused. “Draco, what are you doing?”
Draco looked at him like it was obvious. “I’m telling you who you are.”
Getting it, Harry’s expression softened. “I know who I am.”
Refusing to be deterred, Draco rephrased it. “Fine, then I’m telling you who I have learned you to be.”
Harry shook his head a fond feeling circling in his gut. “You don’t have to do that.”
“Oh, but apparently I do,” Draco said to him, running a hand through Harry’s hair. “Because certain doctors, I won’t name, get snippy when I can’t remember. It’s like it’s my personal aim in life to date diva attention seekers.” He cleared his throat. “So I’ll continue. At the age of eight-”
Harry cut him off the best way he knew how. He smiled when Draco continued to talk even while he occupied his lips and tongue. He stood, depositing the blond back on the table.
“Stop. It’s okay.”
Draco did stop, his hands gripping onto Harry’s jacket. The white material was starch-straight. “You’re a Doctor.”
Harry nodded, looking down. “And a Mediwizard. Yes.”
Draco looked up. “And you wear glasses.” When Harry simply looked at him amused, he just shook his head. “So you treat Wizards and Muggles?”
“I do.” Harry continued to smile and cocked his head to the side. “I hear there’s something wrong with your heart.”
Draco smirked. “Someone broke it.” Harry tutted. “And then some crackpot doctor tried to put it back together again with spellotape and left me there.”
Harry looked down, feeling guilty. But he really hadn’t been able to take watching Draco leave again. He might never have had him, but it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. “Oh, no,” he said around the lump in his throat, “Spellotape is hardly a long term solution,” he chastised.
Draco dragged him closer. “I know.” He reached out with his legs as well, to grab the brunet at the waist and pull him in. “That’s why I’m looking for some hardcore glue. Know where I can get some?”
Harry swallowed hard. “Get some?”
Draco’s eyes were heated. “Mm, I want it. I need it.”
Draco smiled at his speechlessness. “I can get used to this.”
“What’s that?” Harry said with difficulty.
Harry smiled. “I’m not playing at this one.”
“Good,” Draco said, “That’s very good.”
“You don’t mind?”
“What, that you’re not a prostitute?” He grinned. “I got over it.”
Harry laughed. “No, that I’m a Doctor.”
Draco pulled back. He eyed Harry from head to waist since he refused to let him go. “I don’t know can you wear your doctor’s outfit at home?” he said tugging on the white jacket.
Harry frowned. “Er, yeah?”
Draco gave him a winning smile. “Then you’re forgiven.” He looked at Harry seriously. “When are you coming home?” he asked wrapping Harry up in his arms again.
Harry smiled at him. “To England?” Draco nodded. “I live in Moscow. Besides, no one’s asked me to move back to England,” he said with meaning.
Draco narrowed his eyes. “I’m asking you.”
Harry’s brow quirked. “Really? Sounds an awful lot like you’re telling me.”
An eye roll took up his vision before Draco hugged him, his head tucking into the space between Harry’s neck and shoulder. “Like anyone can tell you what to do,” he mumbled into that space, making Harry giggle at the ticklish feeling.
He simply held the blond. “If anyone can, it’s you,” he remarked.
There was silence for a moment. “I love you.” Draco pulled away enough to look into his eyes. “I know it’s not as long as you’ve loved me, but I do. I want you to come back with me.”
Harry pulled back some more, putting some distance between so Draco could listen to him. “It’s not a competition, Draco. That you love me back at all is enough.”
Quit while I’m ahead. He’d have to give Harry some lessons in taking a chance for more, because it was all right here in front of him. “So we can go back now?” he said instead, figuring he could get started on that part of his personal curriculum once he had Harry back at home.
Harry looked at him impishly. “Not quite,” he said disentangling himself from Draco’s legs and arms.
“What, why?” Draco asked as Harry went over to his station and dragged over his chair.
“I’m afraid that thing with your heart sounds serious.” He snapped on a pair of gloves. His rakish grin made Draco’s heart skip. Maybe there was something wrong with it. “I’ll need to examine you. Now, if you could strip from head to toe and bend over for me.”