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Into My Heart

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Into My Heart

Draco shifted on the sheets so he could look out into the sitting room connected to the bedroom. The light from the moon filtered through the window, casting blue shadows into the room and across the golden skin of the naked man stepping into his jeans. Draco knew he should just pretend he was asleep, keep quiet and let him go, but when had Draco ever done what he should? The hurt he felt was too real, too raw.

"Slinking out again, Potter?" he asked, struggling to keep his tone even. He should be used to it by now, but he wasn't. Not matter how hard he tried.

"The fuck, Malfoy?" Harry tripped over his pant leg and stumbled slightly. He righted himself and jumped to pull his pant legs up, then turned, a smirk on his face. "Why? Have a sudden desire to cuddle tonight?"

Draco scoffed in response.

Harry pulled his jumper over his head and slid his feet into his trainers. "That's not what we do. Don't want to upset things when this is working so well, right?" He didn't look at Draco, but what did Draco expect? When did Harry ever really see Draco, after all?

Infuriated, Draco shoved up onto one elbow. "Right. You owl. We fuck. You leave. Perfect plan."

Harry paused, glancing up from tying his laces. "Is there a problem, Malfoy? I thought we agreed. No commitments. No strings. And it works both ways. You owl. We fuck. You leave."

Draco shrugged. "Right. Just tired. Probably should have said no tonight. You run along so I can get some rest." He turned his back to the door and curled into himself, pulling the covers up over his shoulder. "You know your way out."

Draco waited until the Floo roared and he heard Potter call out Grimmauld Place before he curled into a ball and willed himself not to care.


Three Months Earlier

Draco reluctantly followed Pansy past the bouncer at the door of Diagon Alley's latest and most fashionable club. To be honest, he wasn't in the mood for dancing tonight. All he'd wanted to do was stay home, indulge in some take-away and perhaps read a few chapters of that romance novel he'd swiped from his mother's during his last visit to the Manor. Instead he'd allowed Pansy to convince him that spending Friday evening listening to music so loud it felt as if it were going to make his head explode was a much better idea. Not that Draco didn't appreciate the odd evening at a club where hard bodies pressed against each other on the dance floor. Probably on any other occasion he'd smile and go along with Pansy for fun. But tonight, Pansy's sole purpose was for Draco to get laid.

And fuck it all if the place wasn't crawling with Gryffindors, there to do Merlin knows what on a Friday night. Didn't this group of hooligans belong at the Leaky? Not the hot-spot of Diagon Alley. Draco thought.

"This is a monumentally stupid idea, Parkinson," Draco hissed a half hour later, sitting at a table along one of the walls enchanted to look like the bloody solar system. "Even for you!"

Pansy cocked her head and glared at Draco. She set her wineglass down on the slightly sticky table. "Oh, please. No one, especially me, is fooled by you. I'm sick to death of your whining about Potter this and Potter that. It was bad enough at school, and it's only worsened since the end of the war. I've watched your face when you've seen a picture of him in the Prophet, as much as you complain about it. You're gagging to be shagged by him, so I'm taking matters into hand and you're going to get this ridiculous notion out of your system."

Draco rolled his eyes. He gripped his Firewhisky between his hands, smoke curling around his fingers. His heart pounded to the beat of the music. As much as he'd have liked to admit Pansy was wrong, he couldn't. He truly hated that she'd known him for so long she could see right through him. "And what exactly am I supposed to do? Stroll up to him and beg him to fuck me?"

"No need to be crass, darling. But everyone knows Potter shags anything that stands still long enough."

"Charming," he drawled. But she had a point. Rita Skeeter'd been cheerfully clucking her tongue about Potter's indiscreet sexual liaisons for years. "Thanks ever so, Pans." he continued dryly. He glanced out across the mass of thrashing bodies filling the dance floor. "It's my life's ambition to be one of Potter's one-night-stands."

"If it will stop this obsession, I'll proposition him for you, darling." Pansy gave Draco a wicked grin. "Who know, I might just anyway." She examined her nails, a smug look on her face. "He has improved dramatically since Hogwarts, hasn't he?"

"Don't force me to kill you," Draco growled.

"Threatening to off people, Malfoy?" A distinctive voice chuckled behind Draco.

Draco turned slowly and saw none other than Harry Potter himself behind him, one hip resting on the edge of an empty table covered with half-drained glasses. Draco took a moment to scan Harry from top to bottom, pausing ever so slightly at his crotch. He certainly had improved, and the cut of the dark red uniform jacket he wore accented the broad shoulders and narrow waist.

"Not likely I'd admit that to an Auror, now would I Potter?" Draco was aiming for a casual tone, but knew he was fooling no one. "What brings you over here? Tired of all the adoration on the other side of the room?" He looked back towards the bar where Potter's group was gathered. He was fairly certain he caught a flash of Weasley ginger amidst the throng of Gryffindors.

Harry smiled. He quirked an eyebrow at Draco as he lifted a glass of amber liquid to his lips. "Just thought perhaps the view was better on this side." He studied Draco with every bit of the thoroughness that Draco had studied him.

Pansy rolled her eyes. "For the love of Merlin. Potter…" When he didn't look at her immediately, she snapped her fingers. She waited until she had his attention. "Draco needs to get laid. Rumour has it you'll fuck anything with a decent arse and a nice cock. I know Draco's arse is more than decent and his cock is quite lovely. It's a win-win for you both." She stood, took two steps and stopped, looking back over her shoulder. "You're both welcome," she said with a smirk before walking away.

Draco looked at Harry to find him staring open-mouthed at Pansy's back, then dropped his forehead to the table. "Just AK me now, Potter. It'll be painless and quick."

Harry turned to see Draco looking at him out of one eye. "Painless and quick?" Harry smirked. "So that's what works for you?"

Draco's head rose slowly. He could feel the heat of a full-blown blush rising up his neck and onto his cheeks, but he fought to keep his voice even. "Actually I like it slow with a little bit of pain," he countered, a bit shocked by his own bravado. He wasn't normally so crass, but there was something about Potter that made him want to drop to his knees in the middle of this infernal club and suck him off, potential Prophet photographers be damned.

Potter's eyes grew dark with lust and Draco felt his dick rising to the occasion. Potter stared for a moment before he said, his voice thick and low, "I think I can manage that."

Draco stood, wincing as his prick rubbed against his flies. He was just about to ask Potter whose place they'd go to when Potter put a hand on Draco's shoulder.

"So we're clear, Malfoy. No strings. We fuck, we leave. That's it."

Draco nodded. "Merlin, why would I want strings? I concur. No strings. No problem." Unfortunately the little voice in his head told him he was lying. He wasn't entirely certain one night with Potter would be enough, whatever Pansy might think.

Harry guided Draco to the door of the club, waving good-bye to his cheering, jeering friends. That was a complication Draco hadn't considered, but he ignored it. They went outside to the nearest Apparition point. Leaned close to Draco's ear. "Yours okay?"

Harry's hot breath against his skin made Draco shiver as he took Harry by the arm. Circe, he smelled brilliant. Shampoo and sandalwood and man. They spun into the darkness with a soft pop.

They landed in the middle of Draco's living room. Harry released Draco's arm and looked around with interest. Draco checked quickly, thanking Merlin that he'd had the foresight to clean up his work papers earlier. Draco loved his living room. The dark leather sofa, soft as butter, faced the fireplace and the plush grey rug and matching side chairs gave the room a comfortable feel the Manor never had. Even the rotund and sleepy Great-Great-Uncle Lycus snoozing in his simple silver frame above the mantelpiece, agreed when he was awake enough to chat with Draco.

Draco watched as Potter took in the room, his eyes scanning the photographs on the mantle, the thick soft carpet in front of the hearth. Draco mentally chastised himself for worrying about what Potter thought of the room.

"Not exactly what I expected, Malfoy." Harry smiled at him and tossed his jacket on the back of a chair.

"Not enough green?" Draco retorted.

Harry laughed. It was a clear, masculine bell-tone that went straight to Draco's cock. "Not as posh as I'd have expected."

Draco's frowned. "You expected my flat to be filled with antiques and velvet wall hangings? So sorry to disappoint."

Harry shook his head. "Don't get your wand in a knot. I like it. It's…nice."

"Fabulous." Draco rolled his eyes. He didn't know why Harry annoyed him the way he did. The bastard had always been able to get under his skin like no one else. "Did you want a drink or something?" It was a polite offer of hospitality that Draco half-hoped Harry would be able to see past. He didn't want a drink. He wanted a good fucking.

"I'm good." Harry pointed down the hall. "Bedroom this way?"

Draco nodded, oddly relieved and disappointed at the same time. "Right to it then." He led the way down the hall and gestured for Potter to enter the room first.

Harry whistled. "Now that's some bed."

Against the far wall was a very large four-poster bed with a mound of pristine white pillows at the head. Draco was grateful he'd made the bed that morning, rather than leaving the dark blue duvet crumpled at the foot as per normal.

"It serves the purpose."

Harry grinned and began to unbutton his shirt. "You planning on getting fucked with your clothes on, Malfoy?"

"I'm not a whore, Potter," Draco said irritably. "A little bit of enticement would help."

Harry slipped off his loafers and shimmied out of his trousers and pants in one fluid movement. His dick was thick and hard with a drop of pre-come at the tip. Well. That was a start. Harry walked across the room and slid his hand under Draco's jumper. As one hand cupped Draco's arse, the other one moved to tease Draco's nipple. Pushing the soft blue cashmere jumper up, Harry bent and dropped his mouth to cover the other nipple, alternating between nipping and sucking it to pebbled hardness.

Draco gasped and reached out towards Harry. This wasn't what he fantasised it would be. It was so much better.

"Again, you're quite overdressed," Harry's mouth was still against Draco's nipple.

Draco pulled his wand from his trousers and whispered a spell. His clothes vanished to reappear hung neatly in his armoire, and Draco pressed his naked body against Harry's side, warm skin against skin, hard cock squeezed between them.

"Better?" Draco asked, striving to keep his tone level. It wouldn't do to let Potter know just how much he wanted this.

"Much," Harry pushed Draco back towards the bed. "I'm going to fuck you so hard; your arse will remember me next week."

Draco struggled to laugh, although he wanted to say please, he managed a weak "so you say."

Draco's legs hit the bed and then he was being lifted onto the edge of mattress. Without warning Harry dropped to his knees and pulled Draco's cock into his mouth, then his throat. Draco fell back onto the mattress and moaned in spite of himself.

Harry licked a wide stripe up Draco's prick. He lifted his head and gave Draco a wicked grin. "I knew you'd like getting your cock sucked." He pulled Draco's dick back into the slick heat, then slid his mouth down the shaft until it hit the back of his throat and back up again. He repeated the movement several times, and within minutes, Draco put his hand on Harry's shoulder and pushed him off, his body shaking with want.

"Too close," Draco panted. "And this isn't what I want." He shoved a pot of lube towards Harry.

One black brow arched and a feral glint came into his green eyes. Harry opened it and gathered a large dollop onto his fingers. He pushed one of Draco's knees up and slid a finger around Draco's furled entrance before gently sliding it inside. Harry moved his finger carefully, then pulled it out and re-entered with two. This time he pressed in further and his fingertips brushed Draco's prostate, causing him to gasp and shudder.

"Ah, we like that." Harry gave him a cocky grin showing how pleased he was with himself, and continued to open Draco up until he was a writhing, panting mess.

"For Merlin's sake, you arse. Now, Potter!" Draco growled.

"Pushy little bottom aren't you?" Harry said, moved his fingers further into Draco's arse, spreading them until Draco whined in his throat.

"Unless you want this to be a one-man show, get your fingers out of my arse and get your cock in there!" Draco said between clenched teeth, reaching to stroke his almost painfully hard cock, "get your cock in there now! Now…means NOW, Potter."

Harry chuckled shook his head, but slid his fingers out of Draco and around his own cock, spreading the lube. He lined his prick up with Draco's hole and pushed forward until he was past the still tight ring of muscle.

"Merlin." Draco arched his neck, trying to relax. It was difficult. Harry wasn't small. Finally, after bearing down for several seconds, the tight muscle began to ease.

"Ready?" Harry asked, his voice a quiet growl in Draco's ear.

Draco looked up at Harry. He was leaning on his hands, holding his body above Draco's, the muscles in his forearms straining with the effort to hold himself back. He looked scrumptious, the furrow in his brow giving him a ferocious look. Draco pushed his hips up ever so slightly.

Draco nodded, not sure he'd be able to speak with the large cock up his arse, and he groaned when he felt Harry slide forward as far as he could go.

"Hang on, Malfoy."

Harry grabbed the back of Draco's knees, shoving them to his chest, then began to move inside of him, hard, emphatic thrusts. He slipped a palm under Draco's arse, tilting him slightly and the next thrust had Harry's cock dragging full length over his prostate.

Draco grabbed Harry's shoulders, nails digging in.

"Fuck, Potter."

"Thought I was doing that," Harry gasped. Sweat slipped down his face from his hairline to his slightly rough jaw, and Draco began to move up into each hard, bone jarring thrust. Their skin slapped together, the springs in the bed sang. There was nothing gentle about it, but Draco didn't want gentle. He wanted hard, rough. He wanted to remember Harry had been there every time he sat down for the next week. As Draco looked up into the handsome face hanging above him, the only face he'd wanted to see attached to the only thick cock he'd wanted up his arse, a shocking orgasm burned through him. Lights burst behind his eyelids as he came, completely untouched, spunk striping his chest and even hitting his chin. His sphincter tightened down as hard as it could, grabbing Harry's cock in a punishing grip. Harry grunted and continued to move until he stiffened his body in Draco's as far as he could go until it was hard to tell where Harry stopped and Draco began.

Draco shuddered with aftershocks even as Harry collapsed on top of him and unthinking, he wrapped his arms around Harry and held him as he jerked and rode out the last of his orgasm. It took Draco a few moments, after he'd run his fingers through Harry's hair to register how much trouble he was actually in.

He'd never come that hard in his life, and felt like Harry had ripped the heart right from his chest. He sighed. If fucking him was supposed to cure his infatuation, it failed.

Draco lay still, waiting for his breathing to return to normal. He was about to say something when Harry pulled out carefully.

"Ensuite this way?" he asked. Draco nodded, any other movement beyond him.

Dimly he heard water running. Moments later a warm, wet cloth dropped on his chest.

Draco gasped and tossed it on the floor. "Christ, ever heard of a Cleansing Charm, Potter?"

The corner of Harry's full lips twitched. "Just trying to be helpful."

"Well, you're not." Draco rolled over to the side of the bed and reached for his discarded trousers. He pulled out his wand and cast a Cleansing Charm, shivering as his skin prickled against the wash of magic. "Just to be clear."

Harry looked up from putting on his clothes and smiled. "That was a singularly great fuck, Malfoy. I'll owl you when I need one again." He took out his wand and Apparated out of Draco's bedroom.

Draco stared in disbelief at the spot where Harry had been moments before. After casting a Freshening Charm on his damp linens, Draco turned onto his back and gazed up at the ceiling and vowed not to let Harry back into his bed.


Harry popped into his kitchen in Grimmauld Place, startled when he found his best friend, Hermione Granger, sitting at his table drinking a cup of tea. She and Ron had their own flat nearer to the Ministry, where she was an up and coming assistant to the head prosecutor and Ron and Harry had completed the academy and entered the Auror force at the same time.

"Well, hello. And, uhm… don't you have a kitchen and tea of your own?" Harry pulled off his uniform jacket and hung it on the back of one of the kitchen chairs.

"I'm out of tea," she responded dryly. "You had to know we all saw you leave. And whom you left with."

Harry ignored the dig, filled his kettle with water and put it back on the hob, lighting the flame under it with a muttered word. He'd been able to perform wandless magic since the end of the war but he didn't advertise. It seemed smarter not to.

"Where's Ron?" Harry went to a cupboard and took down a box of chocolate biscuits.

"Asleep on the couch in your sitting room. He thought we didn't have any business coming over."

Harry gave her a pointed look. "Did he now?"

"He said if I planned to monitor all of your one-night stands, we were going to be busy."

Harry snorted, taking a mug out of the cupboard.

"You know, it isn't really funny," Hermione said. "I've known you a long time, and man-whore was not the term I'd have used to describe you before…"

He shot her a warning look and she set her cup down.

"You know, you can glare at me as much as you want but it's not going to shut me up. Ethan turned out to be a cheating jerk, Harry, but it doesn't mean you need to turn into one, too."

Harry poured water into his mug and dropped in a chamomile tea bag, feeling her eyes on the back of his neck. It made his skin crawl. Finally he pulled out a chair and sat next to her. He put his mug on the table. "I'm not cheating on anyone," he said, his voice taut.

"Right. Except maybe yourself."


"No, you're my friend. My very best friend. And I've spent the last six months watching you…" She paused, clearly trying to think of a delicate way to put it."…Screw your way through half of wizarding London."

"Let's not forget the odd Muggle here and there." Ron came into the kitchen, yawning. He sat across from Harry and grabbed the box of biscuits, pulling it toward him and taking one out.

"Take that back from him," Hermione said, giving Ron an irritated look. "If he eats chocolate this late, he's up all night with heartburn."

"I am not," Ron said around the biscuit in his mouth, but Harry grabbed the box and pulled it back, putting it closer to Hermione. Ron gave him a betrayed look.

"Sorry mate, but she's already hacked off at me and I don't need to give her any more ammunition."

Hermione gave each of them an irritated look. She turned to Harry. "Can we please talk about this?"

"You know I love you, but I honestly don't think who I fuck is any of your business, Hermione."

"Perhaps not," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. "Until tonight, when you let that horrible Parkinson set you up with Malfoy."

"You don't need to worry about it, Hermione. He didn't mean any more than the rest." Somehow, it felt wrong to say that but Harry ignored it. He wasn't going to suddenly develop a conscience now. Sex was just sex, nothing more. Ethan had made that much clear during their spectacular fuck-up of a relationship. And one night stands were just one night stands. Harry liked them that way. He wasn't about to let anyone—especially not Malfoy, for fuck's sake—get under his skin.

"So how was he?" Ron asked around another yawn. Hermione gave him a shocked look.


Ron shrugged. "Just asking."

"He was brilliant," Harry said, leaning back with his hands behind his head. He gave Ron a lazy grin. "Just what I needed after a day like today."

"Why in the world would you want to know that?" Hermione stared at Ron as if she'd never seen him before.

Ron grunted and reached for her tea mug. "Well, I figure the ferret has to have some use. Maybe that's it."

Harry started to laugh, which had Ron laughing, too. The only one not laughing was Hermione, but it wasn't the first time the boys thought something was funny when she didn't. When their laughter ended, she huffed and then leaned in closer to Harry. "Will you at least listen to me, please?"

Harry sighed softly, knowing her heart was in the right place. "Sure, Hermione. I'll listen."

She reached over the surface of the table and caught his hand. "You told me something once. You said that all you wanted, once the war was over, was to get married and live a quiet life, maybe have some kids and just be somebody's husband and somebody's dad. Do you remember that?"

Harry did remember saying it. He pointedly avoided her gaze.

"Yeah, but that was before he'd figured himself out, Hermione." Ron set the mug back down on the table.

"No, it wasn't."

Hermione and Harry spoke at the same time, then exchanged an affectionate look.

"What do you mean?" Ron gave Harry a confused look. "You hadn't figured out you liked blokes. You still dated my sister."

"And your sister hadn't figured out that she like birds, either, then?" Hermione said pointedly.

"Point." Ron leaned his chin on his hand.

Hermione turned back to Harry. "All I'm trying to say is that before Ethan, that was who you were, and what you wanted. You wanted a partner, someone to build a life with."

"What of it, Hermione?" Harry scowled. "I figured out that it isn't what other people want from me. They want to fuck the name, not the person. It was what Ethan wanted, it's what they all want. So, they get fucked and I get off. It's a win-win for everyone. All they want is a good time. Well, I can provide that and…"

"And not get hurt," she said softly. "But aren't you, Harry? Aren't you getting hurt?"

Harry picked up his cup with his free hand, taking a sip. He didn't have an answer for her, and she knew it.

"Although…" She suddenly looked thoughtful, her brown eyes far away.

"It's never good when she gets that look on her face," Ron said, looking sideways at Harry.

"I know." Harry nudged her. "'Although' what, Hermione?"

"Although," she turned to look at him, "maybe what you need is to have a relationship with the first man you ever wanted, anyway."

Harry narrowed his eyes. "That may very well be the maddest thing you've ever said."

Hermione didn't seem fazed. She pointed a finger at him. "You have to admit, it was Malfoy who made you begin to question your sexuality while we were in school."

"Oi, mate," Ron complained. "Please tell me she's barmy on this. If I thought you were checking Malfoy's arse out while we were at Hogwarts, I might lose my dinner."

Harry shrugged one shoulder, shooting Ron a slight grin. "You have to admit, it's always been a pretty fine arse."

Ron made a gagging sound. "I don't have to admit any such thing."

"I'll admit it." Hermione grabbed a biscuit. "It is now and always has been a very nice arse. Come on, Ron." She stood up. "Let's go home."

"That's it? Malfoy has a fine arse and everything's sorted?" Ron stood up. "You people are exhausting." Hermione handed him the biscuit with an indulgent look. Ron kissed her quickly, then popped the biscuit into his mouth. She turned to Harry.

"Do you plan to see him again?"

Harry pretended ignorance. "Who?" The look Hermione gave him made it clear he wasn't fooling anyone. "Maybe," he said casually, not wanting to lie to her. "But it will just be for sex, Hermione. That's the deal. We meet, we fuck, we move on. He's not interested in a relationship and neither am I. Not anymore."

She didn't look convinced but she left it at that.

Minutes later, while Harry was in the shower, he wrapped his hand around his cock to wash it, made the mistake of thinking about how tight Malfoy's body had been around his and was almost immediately hard. Huh. That next owl to Malfoy might be sooner rather than later, but it didn't mean anything.

It didn't mean anything at all.


When Harry Owled three days later, Draco cancelled dinner with his mother to meet Potter for a shag. He knew she was disappointed, but Draco was afraid if he turned Potter down this early in their arrangement, he wouldn't get another taste of that brilliant cock. It'd been too long since Draco had been so thoroughly fucked; he wasn't about to let this opportunity go to waste.

This time Harry sucked him off in the sitting room, a half-clothed Draco spread out across the grey rug in front of the hearth. Draco had sent Uncle Lycus off to the Manor to keep his mother company during dinner – it always helped to have someone about to buffer Lucius when he was drinking, even if said buffer was a portrait – so Draco felt free to writhe beneath Harry's hands and mouth, telling him sharply what to do to bring him off.

Harry, it turned out to Draco's surprise, was an excellent listener.

They fucked on one of the leather chairs, later, Draco astride Harry's cock, his unbuttoned white shirt still half-hanging, wrinkled and spattered with spunk, from his shoulders as he rode Harry, his own prick slapping wetly against Harry's stomach, knees pressed against the soft leather. The desperate noises Harry made were an aphrodisiac to Draco; when he tightened his arse around Harry's cock, Harry's deep groan sent Draco over the edge and his body shuddered and bucked against Harry's. Harry flipped Draco onto the chair and rammed into him, hard and fast; Draco's come smeared warm and sticky between their bodies as Harry gasped against his ear, whispering filthy promises that Draco prayed Harry intended to fulfill.

Afterwards, they barely spoke. Harry pulled on his jeans, not even bothering to button them or to clean himself off, and the thought of him going back to Grimmauld Place with Draco's scent still on him made Draco want to drag Harry back down to the floor and have him again. He restrained himself, thank Merlin, and after Harry disappeared into the Floo, Draco ran himself a tub of hot, soapy water, sinking his aching, sated body under the mound of bubbles.

This was worth it, he told himself.

For a little while, he actually believed it.


Six weeks into his arrangement with Harry, Draco found himself summoned to a Saturday lunch at Obertelli's by Pansy. He was surprised it'd taken her this long, to be honest. He'd barely seen her since the club; Harry'd been taking up more of his time than he'd realised. Even on nights they weren't shagging, Draco was sitting near the Floo, waiting – hoping – Harry would call him over for a bit of slap and tickle.

If he were honest with himself, if no one else, Draco was fairly certain this wasn't healthy. He couldn't help himself, though. He wanted Harry. Needed him, in fact. He told himself it was just that the sex was brilliant, but Draco knew it was Harry too. When Harry was inside of him, for those few moments, Draco felt calm. Safe, in a strange way. Was it fucked up? Of course. Even Draco wasn't delusional enough to think otherwise.

And so he sat quietly in one of Obertelli's private, plush booths, pushing his food around on his plate and waiting for his best friend to tell him off. He wouldn't expect anything less of her; if their situations were reversed, he'd do it himself.

"Draco," Pansy said finally, her dark eyes filled with concern, "I don't understand this —," she waved her arms in the air in frustration, "— this thing you have going with Potter. I thought once you two shagged, you'd get Potter out of your system and move on. A lovely one-off with him and be over the whole sordid mess."

She waited for Draco to answer and when he remained quiet, she continued with a frown, tucking her hair behind one ear.

"Now you're neglecting everyone and sitting home every single night. Probably waiting for him to Owl, aren't you?"

She knew him too damn well. Draco didn't answer, and Pansy's face fell. "Oh, Draco." She pursed her lips together. "Tell me you aren't falling for him."

Draco looked down at his plate, the grilled prawns looking less appetizing by the minute, and shrugged. "No, it's…," he hesitated, then sighed. "It fills a need." He looked up at his best friend, and felt a spark of annoyance. If it weren't for her, he wouldn't be in this bloody position. "After all, wasn't it your brilliant idea for me to get shagged by Potter in the first place?"

Pansy attempted nonchalance, but Draco saw through it. She was worried about that, as well. "I didn't expect you to turn into fuck-buddies while having your heart ripped out twice a week!"

Well. Some weeks it was three times or more, but he wouldn't tell her that. She'd have Harry's bollocks on a platter in two shakes.

Draco placed a hand over Pansy's. "It's fine. He said no strings in the very beginning. I knew exactly what I was getting into."

Pansy turned her hand over and weaved her fingers through Draco's and sighed. "No, darling, I don't think you did. I think you expected Potter would one day realise he can't live without you." She worried her lip before continuing. "But that hasn't happened and if you're honest with yourself… I don't think it's going to and neither do you."

Draco looked away. He knew she was right, but saying it aloud to her would make it real. If he didn't admit to it, if he pretended that all he wanted was Harry's prick, then it was easier to pretend what he had with Harry was okay.

"Drop it, Pans, okay?" Draco's words were barely audible. "I know what I'm doing and I know the consequences."

Pansy looked annoyed but after a few moments pause, she nodded. "I really hope you do, Draco." She gave his hand a squeeze before pulling away and beginning to eat again. "I hear Blaise is back in town. You should give him a call."

Draco gave her a small smile. He knew what she was doing and he did love her for it. "Maybe I will. It would be good to see the old rag again."

Pansy's smile widened. "Oh I'm sure the two of you will find many things to reminisce about."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Leave it, Pansy, okay? The last thing I need in my life is another complication." His short-lived relationship with Blaise had been an utter disaster, nearly ruining their friendship. Sex with Blaise had been fun, but Draco preferred having him as a friend, not a lover.

Pansy put her fork down. The waiter swooped in to fill their water glasses before discreetly stepping away, although Draco wasn't entirely certain the man hadn't been eavesdropping. "Maybe you should get away for a bit. Go on holiday."

"Go on holiday," Draco repeated, one eyebrow arching. "Why in the world would you say that?"

Pansy gave a negligent shrug. "I don't know, change of scenery? Explore new places…meet new men." She bit her crimson lip. "I don't know…even shag a few?"

"Subtlety will never be your middle name, darling," Draco said affectionately. "I'm fine, but I love you for worrying." He took a sip of wine. "So what's the latest gossip at the Ministry? Any big scandals? Clandestine affairs in the supply room?"

Pansy shook her head, but smiled at him and began to fill him in on Agatha Warbottom's not-so-secret affair with the senior undersecretary for Magical Transport, whose wife had just had their second child.

"Terribly indiscreet, darling," Pansy said over the rim of her wine glass. "His wife's certain to find out before too long, not that Agatha cares, mind. Charles on the other hand will be devastated if Antigone takes his children away, which she should, in my opinion. But what can you expect from a Ravenclaw like him, really? All theory and books, and some of them haven't a lick of bloody common sense."

Draco listened, paying just enough attention to make the appropriate sound, grateful that he didn't have to try to explain the situation with Harry. He wasn't sure he wanted to explore it in too much detail, particularly with Pansy. It just hurt to think about.

He was starting to suspect that's what his entire life in relation to Harry had been like. Painful and powerless.

The frightening part was even though it hurt, he wasn't sure he cared.


Draco glanced around the bar looking for Blaise. When he didn't see him, he moved to a booth near the back of the smallish room. Draco hadn't been to The Snidget before, it had only been open about a month. Leave it to Blaise to choose to meet at the newest place on Diagon Alley Draco thought with a faint smile. Leaning back into the plush upholstery of the booth, Draco looked around the room. It was definitely Blaise's sort of place; dark corners for discreet assignations, tables lit with small bronze lamps that spilled warm pools of light across the dark wood and rich plum velvet. There was a quiet, understated sexiness about the whole place, and Draco couldn't help but wonder how many of Blaise's dates were going to start here with a drink or two at the polished mahogany bar.

Draco glanced at his watch. Blaise was fifteen minutes late, which was quite tardy, even by his standards. Draco pulled the menu board towards him and was about to order a drink when he felt the heat of a body against his side.

"Starting without me, old thing?" Blaise teased. He bumped Draco, forcing him to budge over or risk being sat on.

Draco gave his old friend a long exasperated look. "You ancient toe rag. I was about to leave your sorry arse here. Living in Italy has done nothing for your punctuality." Draco attempted to sound put-out, but his tone held nothing but affection for his old friend.

Blaise laughed and pulled Draco into a hug. "Oh do piss off, Draco. I know you, remember. You were about to order the most expensive bottle of wine and then later in the evening, remind me I'd been the one to extend the invitation so the cheque was on me."

Draco laughed. "I might have done." He pulled away slightly, looking closely at Blaise. He'd aged well and apparently living in a sunny country had turned his skin a deep brown that made his eyes sparkle.

"Well then, allow me." Blaise took the menu board away from Draco and scrawled something on it. The board popped away.

"Please tell me you didn't just order any old champagne," Draco gave a heavy sigh. "You know the piss-water these places try to pass off as quality alcohol if you're not specific."

"Trust me, darling." Blaise didn't even look ruffled at Draco's complaints; it's one of the reasons Draco was glad they'd kept their friendship over the years. It was hard for Draco to find people he didn't overwhelm.

Or annoy, honestly.

Moments later a standing, iced champagne bucket appeared at Blaise's side with a pop. Before Draco had a chance to comment, the sommelier stepped up and held out a bottle for Blaise to inspect.

"I'd hardly call a 1989 bottle of Cave Privée piss-water, Draco," Blaise nodded to the steward. The bottle was opened with a delicate hiss and a sample poured for Blaise to taste.

After expressing his approval, fresh glasses appeared on the table and the sommelier filled them both before setting the bottle back in the ice bucket.

Blaise lifted his glass and waited for Draco to do the same. "To old friendships." Blaise said when he did, tapping Draco's glass and sipping his champagne.

Draco took a sip and moaned in appreciation of the taste.

They drank the first glass in silence and Draco was about to ask Blaise how he liked Italy when his friend broke the quiet.

"So," Blaise began. "Potter?"

Draco groaned. "I see Pansy wasted no time." He'd suspected it when Blaise had suddenly Owled, asking to meet for dinner. It'd been a bit too convenient, this unexpected trip back to London from Rome.

"She told me her version." Blaise shrugged. "Now I'd like to hear yours."

"There is no version. There is no…anything. One of us Owls the other, we fuck – tension is released." Draco took another sip of champagne. "That's all there is to it."

Blaise ran a well-manicured finger around the rim of his glass. "Mmm hmm," he murmured.

Draco tilted his head and glared at his friend. "What?"

Blaise pursed his lips. "Draco. You've had a jones for Potter since we were at Hogwarts. Why would you put yourself in this situation?"

"I have not had a jones for Potter since Hogwarts! For fuck's sake, Zabini, you make me sound like some lovesick teenage girl!" Draco protested. He lowered his voice. "What part of we fuck – end of story, don't you understand?"

"You might be able to sell that shite to yourself, Draco, but I know you. I've known you most of your life." Blaise looked at Draco before he continued, his eyes a bit too sharp and assessing. It made Draco uncomfortable. "You may think this is what you want, but it really isn't." He paused for a moment as if trying to decide if he should continue. Finally Blaise sighed. "You deserve better."

Draco closed his eyes. He knew Blaise cared about him; he also knew Blaise would shag him in a heartbeat, which made Blaise far from an unbiased observer. "While I appreciate your concern, frankly it's no one's business but mine and Potter's."

Blaise raised in hands in a sign of supplication. "It's no scales off my dragon if you want to shag Potter six ways from Sunday. Never was one for commitment myself." He paused, as if considering his next words. "But if you're really honest with yourself, you'll find that you aren't as happy as you want to believe."

"I don't want to argue," Draco said on a sigh, "especially about Potter."

Blaise nodded and finished his drink. "How about some dinner? I took the liberty of making a reservation at Nipa Thai." He smiled warmly at Draco. "The Pla Phad Char still your preferred entrée?"

Draco's mouth began to water at the thought of dining at his favourite Thai restaurant. "How on earth did you get a reservation on such short notice? They're booked for months!"

"It helps when your mother used to date with the sous chef," Blaise said with a shrug. "She put in a Floo call for me."

"Good to know Wilhelmina hasn't lost her charms," Draco laughed.

Blaise and Draco left The Snidget and walked to the nearest Apparation point. When they arrived at the restaurant, they were seated so quickly Draco decided Wilhelmina must have done a bit more than just date the sous chef, but chose not to go down that road. People in glass houses and all that, he told himself.

"Enjoying that, are you?" Blaise said with a laugh. He was watching Draco run his spoon around his plate, gathering up the last of the sea bass in its succulent sauce and practically licking the spoon clean.

Draco felt heat on his cheeks, but simply tilted his head at his friend before joining him in laughter. "It really is good to see you, Blaise. I never even asked if you're going to be here for a while or are you just passing through?"

Before Blaise could answer, the maître de rushed over to their table. "Mr Malfoy, this was just delivered for you. I certainly hope it's not bad news." He placed a small envelope next to Draco's plate.

"Thank you, Rama," Blaise said softly.

Draco looked down and immediately recognized the writing on the envelope. "It's nothing," he said quickly. "Must have neglected to sign Charlotte's holiday request." He tried to smile, but he couldn't do it. He looked at Blaise and for the first time ever – felt dirty about meeting up with Harry.

Blaise glared at the envelope on the table and Draco worried that it might just burst into flames from that look alone. When Blaise finally spoke, his tone was as cold as ice. "Are you going to answer him?"

Draco shook his head. "No, I told you I was spending time with you. I don't run off every time Potter calls, you know."

With an expansive sigh, Blaise leaned back in his chair. "I know that look, Draco. You want to go." He paused. "You're afraid if you don't go then Potter won't ask you again."

Draco tried to object, but Blaise continued.

"I know you think this is what you want. That you're willing to have Potter anyway you can. But this isn't good for you." Blaise pursed his lips. "Just go out to the desk and answer him."

"But it can…"

"Just go. I'll settle up the bill and meet you in the front. It's pointless for me to sit here trying to talk to you while you're thinking with your dick."

Draco paused, contemplating his next move, but finally stood and walked to the front of the restaurant. After a brief discussion with the maître d', he jotted a quick note to Potter and sent it off with the restaurant's owl.

He turned to find Blaise waiting near the door. "I'm sorry," Draco said as he approached. "I'd no idea that would happen."

"What did you tell him?" Blaise looked at his friend and then slowly shook his head. "Don't answer that. I'll just say one thing and then I'll let you go meet up with him. This isn't healthy, Draco. You care too much and in the end, you're the one who's going to be hurt."

Draco gave Blaise a hug. "I appreciate your concern. But honestly, I know what I'm doing." It was a bald-face lie and they both knew it. Draco was in over his head, not for the first time in his life, not for the last. He just hoped he managed to salvage a part of himself before this all blew up on him.

"I hope you're right," Blaise replied and walked out the door.

Draco waited a minute before leaving. He arrived at the Apparition point, knowing the ache in his chest wasn't going to get any better by going, but unable to resist.


Harry answered the door, dressed in low slung track pants and a thin tee shirt. "You're here sooner than I expected." He held the door as Draco walked through.

"Let's just get to it." Draco pulled off his cloak and shrugged out of his jumper.

Harry stood by the door, brow furrowed. "You're in a mood, Malfoy. Who pissed in your treacle tart?"

Draco stopped for a moment, telling himself to pull it together. This is what you wanted, so deal with it, he told himself. He drew in a deep breath and exhaled, trying to calm down. "Sorry, had a bit of a dust up with Blaise this afternoon."

"Well, those things happen." Harry eyed him for a long moment. Draco looked away, suddenly uncomfortable.

"I came here to fuck," he said roughly. "Not talk."

Harry stepped closer and ran a hand down Draco's bare chest. "I can think of many things that pretty little mouth of yours could be doing rather than talking about Zabini."

Draco reached forward and cupped Harry's crotch and squeezed through his track pants. Harry's eyes grew wide in apparent surprise when Draco's next move was to push Harry towards the living room.

"Strip," Draco told him, while he also removed his remaining clothes. He waited until Harry was naked before speaking again. "Down," Draco growled, pointing towards the rug in front of the sofa.

Harry knelt on the rug, his expression amused. Draco leaned over and pushed Harry down onto his back. Pulling his wand from his trousers, Draco murmured a spell before lowering himself so one knee was on either side of Harry's legs. Draco leaned over, pulling Harry's cock into his mouth.

"Christ, Malfoy," Harry moaned as Draco began to slide his mouth up and down, each time pulling Harry deeper into his mouth. Draco slid one hand around the base of Harry's cock and moved it in tandem with his mouth.

Harry sighed and muttered as Draco worked his prick until he knew Harry was close. Then in one swift movement he released Harry from his mouth and lifted his body and moved forward. Draco reached behind himself and held Harry's dick steady as he placed the tip against his magically prepared hole and let gravity take over. He lowered himself in one movement until he was filled with Harry's cock and his arse was pressed against Harry's groin. He grabbed Harry's wrists, holding them tight against the floor. He didn't want Harry in charge tonight. He wanted to do this, get what he came for and then be done. With everything.

"Fucking hell!" Harry groaned. "What the…"

His words were lost as Draco lifted up and slid back down, over and over until Harry was a babbling mess. "Oh…oh…so close," Harry cried out.

Draco took his own dick in his hand, releasing Harry's wrists, and gave his cock about three rough pulls before he was shooting his release across Harry's chest. Draco slid down one last time and Harry's fingers scrabbled against the rough pile of the rug as his hips bucked up and he came deep inside Draco's body.

Draco sat for a minute until his breathing returned to normal. Then he rolled off Harry, stood and walked over to where he'd dropped his wand. He performed a cleansing charm on himself before pulling on his pants.

Harry lay on the floor, his hands behind his head and a startled but satisfied smile on his face. "Well that was…interesting."

Draco paused, his jumper in his hands. "You wanted a fuck. You got a fuck. Any complaints?"

"You're a piece of work, Malfoy. But no. No complaints about the fuck."

Draco pulled his jumper over his head, and then grabbed his cloak off the chair he'd dropped it on. "Good. Then everybody's happy." He looked down at Harry, sprawled across the floor, his still damp dick limp against his leg. "Don't Owl me, Potter. I'll Owl you." He turned on the spot and Apparated home.


Draco landed unsteadily in his living room, pulled his cloak from his shoulders and threw it across a chair. He stalked across the room and pulled open the liquor cabinet. With a trembling hand he took a glass and lifted a bottle of Adnams. One thing Muggles got right was whisky he thought darkly as he poured a healthy measure in a glass. He tossed it back in one gulp. After taking a deep breath, he contemplated pouring a second glass and did just that. Rather than finishing it in one gulp, he went and dropped into his favorite leather chair. A quick flick of his wand had the fire going, but it did nothing to remove the deep chill he felt in his bones.

His conversation with Blaise had shaken Draco more than he wanted to admit. What was this thing he had going with Potter? He tried to tell himself it was nothing – just someone to use to get release from sexual tension. A human dildo? But there was that niggling in his brain that the tightness in his chest wasn't from the whisky, but from the feelings he had for Potter that were so much more than a…what was it Pansy had called them? Fuck-buddies?

Draco finished his drink and set the glass on the side table. Tomorrow, he decided, was soon enough to think about it. Maybe the day after. Right now what he needed was a good night's sleep.

Unfortunately, his mind didn't seem to agree. He tossed and turned for nearly an hour before getting up and going into the living room. With a quick wave of his hand he had the fire going, casting the room in a muted light. He walked to the side board and considered his alcohol options, but nothing appealed enough to deal with a headache in the morning. Draco picked up a copy of Potions Quarterly from the table and sat in his favorite chair. Sadly, the magazine didn't hold his attention and Draco found his thoughts going back to the first time he brought Potter to his flat. It was that deceptive gentleness he'd shown that was the problem. If he'd just fucked him and left, then maybe Draco would have seen where it was headed and ended it before Harry had a chance to work his way under his skin.

"Arrgh," Draco sighed explosively and threw the magazine on the floor and stood. He stood and ran his hand through his hair in frustration. This wasn't helping at all.

"Fuck this," Draco said aloud and strode down the hall to the bathroom. He opened the cabinet over the sink, his eyes skimming the potion names. He reached out and clasped a vial of Dreamless Sleep. He really hated taking potions to help himself sleep, but desperate times call for desperate measures, he told himself. Carrying the vial back to his bedroom, Draco sat on the edge of his bed. He popped the cork out and raised it to his mouth. Tipping his head back, he grimaced as he emptied the vial and laid it on the bedside table. He lay down and closed his eyes and was asleep in minutes, leaving all thought of Potter behind.


It was late after Malfoy left, but Harry couldn't get the odd encounter out of his head. What the hell had that been all about? Draco had acted…completely pissed off, which made no sense at all. Why would he be angry, just because Harry had called him for one of their evenings? And worse, why was Harry so concerned about it?

He showered but was still unsettled so he decided to Floo call Hermione. When the Floo was answered on the other end, however, it wasn't Hermione of Ron who answered; it was Luna.

Harry had forgotten that Ron and Hermione had let the extra bedroom to Luna. They were trying to save up money for their honeymoon and having someone helping to pay the rent was one of their solutions. Ron wasn't thrilled, but since Luna was gone several days out of each month doing research for a book she was writing about all of the magical creatures her father had taught her to recognize, he didn't complain too much.

"Oh hi, Luna," Harry said on seeing her. "I don't suppose Hermione is there?"

"Hello, Harry. No, she and Ron are at dinner at the Burrow. Molly wanted to discuss the wedding plans."

Since Molly was driving Hermione barmy with her constant interference and 'suggestions', Harry decided he might wait to talk to her until another day.

"Is there something I can help with?"

Harry shook his head. "Oh, no. It's okay, Luna."

"Is this about Draco?"

Harry stared into her wide blue eyes, stunned. "How in the world…"

A small smile curved Luna's lips. "Well, everyone knows you've been dating him."

"We don't date," he said firmly. "We…" He stopped himself.

"Fuck. Yes, so I heard." Luna nodded in the flames.

Why was it that word sounded so incongruous in her childlike voice?

Wait. "Who did you hear that from?"

She smiled again. "Oh, Harry. Everyone is talking about it. Do you want to come through and talk?"

Harry hesitated, then thought, why not? If everyone was already talking about it what harm could it do?

"Okay, Luna. Maybe…" He was going to suggest she step back but she was already moving before he had a chance to say anything. He stepped through and she gave him a luminescent smile.

"It's so good to see you."

"You, too, Luna." He hugged her then she stepped back.

"Would you like some dandelion tea?"

Harry remembered the horrible tea from when they stopped to see her father during the war, and he shook his head quickly. "No, thank you."

"Come through into the sitting room, then. I don't think Ron and Hermione will be back for a while and we can talk."

When they walked into the tiny sitting room there were papers and photos spread over the small table in front of the sofa and on much of the floor. Luna gathered enough of them that Harry could sit on the floor and she joined him, giving him a sweet smile.

"You look wonderful, Harry."

"Thank you. So do you." And she did. Her hair was even longer than it had been at Hogwarts, and her arms and legs were tan. "Is this the research for your book?"

"Yes." She brightened. "I have all of daddy's notes and photographs, but I have to authenticate each of the creatures before they can be included. It's a lot of work."

"It sounds like it."

Luna's face fell a bit. "Most people thought he was mad, you know."

"I don't think he was mad," he said softly.

"Oh, he was." Luna laughed. "At least partly. That doesn't mean he didn't see the animals. I've already documented three." She sifted through some of the photos, then handed Harry three of them. One each was pictured odd, ugly little creatures he'd never seen before. "Aren't they beautiful?"

"Uhm, sure." Harry handed the photos back and Luna smiled as she put them back with her notes.

"You've always been so kind, Harry." She crossed her bronzed legs and looked at him, her head angled to one side. Harry found himself wondering if that was how she looked at her newly discovered creatures, and decided it probably was. "So, what's bothering you about Draco? Did you finally realize you're in love with him?"

Harry blinked. "What?"

"I think he's been in love with you since sixth year."

"For fuck's sakes, Luna," Harry burst out. "I tried to kill him sixth year."

"Oh, I know. I never said it was healthy."

Harry rubbed his hand over his face.

Luna patted his leg. "Although I think it could be. What happened today?"

Harry exhaled, trying to figure out how to put it into words that didn't make him sound like a complete bastard. "We have a system," he said finally. "One of us will owl the other and, well…"

"You'll fuck." Luna said it so bluntly that Harry grimaced.

"Well, yeah." Harry ran a hand through his hair. "And it's worked pretty well for both of us, I thought. Then today when he got there it was like he was … pissed off. And things were even more … abrupt than usual, I guess you could say. I mean, it's not like we cuddle, but usually we at least make an effort to be civil. Today he was really just interested in…"

"Getting off?" she provided. Harry looked at her, thinking 'oh, the hell with it'.

"Yeah, exactly."

"You know, angry sex can be the very best kind of sex," she said in her sing-song voice. "But when one partner has more feelings than the other, that can be very hurtful. I know Draco has been in love with you for a very long time…"

"How can you know that?" Harry said. "He certainly never said anything like that to me."

"Well, he wouldn't, would he? Thinking you only wanted a relationship made up of uncomplicated sex. But you see, that's the trouble, isn't it? Once you're that intimate with a person, is it ever uncomplicated?"

Harry stared at her. "I'm sorry, Luna. I can't seem to get past your belief that Draco bloody Malfoy's in love with me and has been since Hogwarts."

"Well, of course." Both of Luna's eyebrows shot up. "Why else do you think he didn't tell his aunt that it was you after Hermione hit you with the Stinging Hex?"

To be honest, Harry'd never been entirely certain why Draco had protected him back then. But he still couldn't wrap his head around the idea that Draco might have those sorts of feelings about him. They didn't have that kind of relationship. It was made to even entertain something so foolish.

But when he got home and couldn't sleep, he wondered. Maybe, just maybe Luna might have a point.

And that possibility made his stomach flip in an uncomfortable way.


"I just don't know anymore, Pans," Draco said softly. "It was supposed to be okay. I really thought I could handle sleeping with Potter – no strings." He ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know when the fact that he didn't care started to matter to me."

Pansy moved from the chair to sit next to Draco on the sofa. She pulled him into a hug. "Sweetie, it always mattered. You just didn't want to admit it to yourself."

Draco gave a watery laugh. "Yeah, that's me. 'Put my head in the sand and pretend it's not happening' Malfoy." He leaned back against the sofa. "I suppose I mastered that back when the Manor was Insanity Central. Pretending there wasn't a madman in residence was pretty much the only way to survive."

"But you did survive and now you're the Head of the Broom Regulatory Control Department. You have a staff, for Merlin's sake!" She took his hand in hers. "And frankly, you deserve to be treated better than this. No." She squeezed his hand softly. "You should treat yourself better than this."

Draco looked into the tear-filled eyes of his best friend. The one who stood by him through it all. The years when he acted like an arse at Hogwarts…and the awful ones that followed the war. And he knew she was right.

"It's so hard, Pans." He took a deep breath and when he spoke it was barely a whisper. "I've loved him for so long."

Pansy pulled Draco close again, resting his head on her shoulder and running a soothing hand down his back. "I know, Draco. I've always known."

They sat together for several minutes. Finally Draco pulled away.

"Maybe you were right," he said.

Pansy smiled. "I generally am, but what exactly am I right about this time?"

"Maybe I need to get away for a while. Put some distance between Potter and myself." Draco tried to smile back at her, but couldn't. "It's too hard for me not to run every time he Owls. Potter knows that. I wanted to believe it was because he had some sort of feelings for me, but I know better now."

"Then let's plan this trip. The weather is changing," Pansy said excitedly. "It should be some place warm, somewhere with lots of pretty men for you to look at…" She gave him a sideways glance. "Or more."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Seriously? I don't need to get laid. I can do that here."

"I was thinking more in the lines of finding someone who's not Potter and would treat you better. Respect you," Pansy said sharply. "Sorry, that doesn't help."

"No, but it's true. So where exactly does one go off-season to find themselves?" Draco tried for light, but he ended up sounding as pathetic as he felt.

Pansy reached over and patted Draco's hand. "I have some relatives in Cordes-sur-Ciel, France. They own a lovely hotel that caters to both wizards and Muggles. There's not much to do there, but it's a lovely area and the museum in town is quite nice."

Draco tilted his head and arched a brow. "And what's his name?"

Pansy looked confused. "Pardon?"

"I know you, Parkinson. You're not fooling anyone with your oh I just happen to have relatives who own a hotel in France," Draco shook his head with a small laugh. "Relations I've never heard of, by the way, who are willing to open their arms to Muggles. Doesn't sound much like your parents."

"Darling, these relatives are so far down the family tree I'll probably have to Owl a copy of it to them so they recall who I even am. I swear to you there is no secret wizard I'm trying to introduce you to." She made an X across her chest. "Witch's honour."

"There best not be, because best friend or not, I promise I will AK you without a second thought."

Pansy shook her head and sniffed. "Noted," she said. "Now that we have that out of the way, may I finish what I was saying?" She gave Draco a pointed look.

Draco waved her on with his hand.

"Not only do they have the hotel in town, but they also own a small winery in Cahuzac-sur-Vere. You can Apparate there from the hotel, or Portkey over. Anyway, maybe you could spend some time there too. The country is quite lovely and private." Pansy leaned her head against Draco's shoulder. "There's not much of night life in either place, so if you find yourself wanting company, you'll have to Apparate to somewhere nearby. I'm sure my second cousin? Third? It doesn't matter. His name is Gerard and I'm sure he would have some ideas."

Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Okay. Let's do this. You talk to your cousins or whatever the fuck relation they are and I'll arrange things with work. I have enough time coming to me that their only objection could be the short notice."

Pansy pulled Draco into another hug. "You won't regret it. You know as well as I do it's for the best. Put Potter behind you…so to speak."

"Cow," Draco said affectionately. But he wondered exactly how having far too much time on his hands was going to make him forget Harry existed.

It took nearly three days before Pansy was able to get things set in France and Draco had arranged time off at work. Those three days were the longest time Draco had gone without any contact with Harry. Draco spent most of his time at work, making sure everything was set before he left. To be honest, he probably wouldn't even be missed by anyone except his mother, and he'd cancelled on her so many times lately that wasn't even guaranteed.

Finally it was time to go. Draco was taking a Portkey from Pansy's directly to the Hotel Lazare in Cordes. Pansy handed him the small silver hair brush before enveloping Draco in a hug. Draco swore he felt the shimmer of a spell wash over him just before the Portkey began to glow and he felt the familiar tug behind his navel.

Once Draco was gone, Pansy slid her wand back up her sleeve with a smile. "That's that sorted. Now just try to find him, Harry Potter."


Draco landed in a small room. It appeared to be just off a small lobby of a hotel that looked out onto a cobblestone terrace. Several tables that seemed to be waiting for someone to sit at them. Draco considered taking a seat at one, when he heard his name.

"Monsieur Malfoy?" a deep voice called.

Draco turned and saw a man who unmistakably bore the Parkinson pug nose. "Monsieur Tisserand. I'm pleased to meet you. Pansy asked me to pass along her regards." Draco took the offered hand and shook it lightly.

"Please call me Gerard. I understand you're looking for somewhere quiet. We hope that you find what you need at Hotel Lazare." Gerard's tone was warm and caring.

"Then I insist you call me Draco. Your hotel has already enamored me with this lovely terrace. I can't wait to see the rest of it," Draco replied.

Gerard brought Draco to the registration desk and in no time handed Draco a key. "I've given you a lovely room on the third floor with a delightful view of the valley below. It also has a small balcony you may sit on during the day. I fear our evenings are becoming far too chilly to sit outside once the sun sets."

Draco nodded and followed Gerard to a narrow stone stairway. They went up a three flights and Gerard turned down a hallway to the end. Draco slid the key in the lock and opened the door. Inside the room was nothing that Draco expected. He had resigned himself to a small, cramped room with a tiny bed. This room was spacious and airy, with a large floor to ceiling window on the far wall. In front of the window was a comfortable chair and in the corner a writing desk. Draco turned to Gerard and smiled.

"This is wonderful," Draco said. "I wasn't expecting it to be so large."

Gerard beamed at him. "This is my favourite room in the hotel. It gets the best light this time of year and the view of the valley in the morning is something you simply must experience."

Draco took his luggage from his pocket, set the three pieces on the bed and expanded them to their full size.

"There are currently no Muggles staying with us," Gerard said, "So you are free to use your magic discretely outside of your room. However, I do ask that you are cautious when you are on the terrace. One never knows if you might be seen. Not that a warming charm on your tea is an issue, but summoning something from your room could be problematic."

Draco nodded. "I'll use discretion if I'm not in my room. Do you serve breakfast to the rooms, or am I expected in the dining room?"

"Breakfast can be served in your room if you prefer, but dinner is only in the dining room. Shall I plan on having breakfast served here…at say half-eight each morning you're with us?"

"That would be perfect," Draco replied and tried to hide a yawn. "I'm sorry, I haven't slept well and I think it's catching up with me."

Gerard shook his head. "No need to apologize. I'll leave you to get things sorted. Dinner is served at eight every evening. Although if you'd rather tonight I could arrange for a plate of sandwiches to be sent up to you."

"I don't want to cause any extra work," Draco said, although the thought of not having to leave the room until tomorrow was tempting.

"Nonsense." Gerard smiled. "I'll have them sent up in an hour, under a Stasis charm. Then you can eat at your leisure. Also, I'm having some wines from our vineyard sent up to your room. I'm afraid they just arrived moments before you did and one of my staff is arranging a basket for you. I'll send it along with the sandwiches."

Draco was speechless. No one had ever taken such steps to assure his comfort. "Merci, Gerard," he finally replied. "You are far too kind and generous."

Gerard paused at the edge of the room. "I may not be close with Mademoiselle Parkinson, but she is family and as you are obviously important to her – so you are also family. Enjoy your stay, Draco and I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for."

He closed the door behind him, and Draco sank on to the bed. Perhaps, he thought, this little holiday might be exactly what he needed.

For the first time in weeks, he felt hopeful.


When the first of his owls returned unanswered, Harry figured Draco must be busy or something. It wasn't that big of a deal. He tried again a couple of days later. When that owl was returned, he got annoyed. What could Malfoy have going that could possibly be more important than seeing him? Just the thought going through his mind brought him up short. When had he turned into that arsehole, the one who thought he was the most important person on the face of the earth? Realising it was when Ethan fucked around on him didn't make him feel any better about himself.

He waited another couple of days, and then tried again. This time when the owl was returned, the quiet beat of panic began in his chest. Is that what that last weird day had been about? Was Draco getting tired of their assignations? Or had he found someone else, someone who cared enough not to be afraid of the thought. Luna's words kept circulating through his mind. Well, if it was true, if Draco was in love with him, maybe it was better that it end now, that they not go any further. He pointedly ignored the sinking sensation in his stomach.

Telling himself he didn't care, Harry decided it was time to just go out and pick up someone else. If Draco had begun to have second thoughts, if he wanted more than Harry was willing to give, he'd just let the relationship go. He could do that, he told himself. He could. And there were lots of fish out there, or so he'd told himself for the last few years.

He went to a favourite bar, finding himself a place at the counter and ordering a Firewhisky. He was used to word going through a place when he was there, used to the men who would hit on him in the hopes of nothing more intimate than a blow job, just excited to be able to tell their friends they'd blown Harry Potter. He could get off and go home, they got what they wanted. It was equitable for everyone.

Except the small parade of men who began within minutes of his arrival, stopping by where he sat at the bar to flirt and maybe exchange numbers, did absolutely nothing for him. Not one of them. In fact, they annoyed him. It didn't matter how cute they were. They were either too short or too stocky or too dark haired. The bartender watched the exchanges with amusement, shaking his head when Harry shut one guy down before he could even open his mouth.

"What?" Harry tossed back his second Firewhisky, annoyed.

"Mate, you're brutal." The man shook his head, setting another shot in front of him. "I mean, I know who you are, and on top of it you aren't hard on the eyes, so I get what they're after. I just don't get what you're after."

"I'm not after anything." One of the bartender's eyebrows shot up, and Harry scowled. "Fine. I'm after uncomplicated."

The bartender snorted. "Any of those guys would have given you uncomplicated, if that's truly what you were after. I think you're kidding yourself."

"I don't remember asking for your opinion."

"Haven't you heard? Bartender's always have an opinion."

Harry was suddenly irrationally angry. He stood up and threw several Galleons on the bar top. "You know what? I don't need this."

"You're absolutely right," the bartender said. "You don't. And it's absolutely none of my business. But I see a lot of pickups from here behind this bar, and tonight? You're doing it all wrong." He picked up Harry's money and dropped it into the till. "You're never going to have a problem getting laid, Golden Boy. Finding someone who actually cares about you is going to be the trick. Good luck with that."

Harry turned and walked away, wishing he'd just stayed home.


Harry walked down the street of townhouses, wondering what the fuck he was doing. He'd gotten the address from work. The Ministry, in attempting to modernize, had a database where every wand, and its owner, was listed. The Aurors weren't supposed to use it for personal reasons, but he was about at his wit's end. What they didn't know wouldn't hurt him, he reckoned.

He'd sent another Owl to Malfoy after his pointless night out at the bar. He kept telling himself it was just that he'd just gone without sex for a couple of weeks and he needed to get off, but he knew damned well he could take care of that by himself. He didn't just need someone's arse. He'd proved that to himself with those frustrating hours in the bar. What he needed Malfoy's arse. And not just his arse. He needed Malfoy's dry humor, and his soft hair, and his beautiful, perfect skin. He'd finally figured out that Malfoy had spoiled him for anything else he could find in the bar, and now the bastard had gone and disappeared on Harry.

Parkinson was Malfoy's best friend. If she didn't know where he was, then it was time to put out a missing person's alert.

Harry climbed the steps that led to the polished black door and rang the bell. It echoed through the townhouse and a house elf wearing a spotless tea towel and a serious expression answered.

"Can I be helping you, sir?"

"Uhm. I'd like to see Pansy Parkinson."

"Is she expecting you?"

"No." Harry shifted uncomfortably. "But it's kind of important."

"And, whom can I tell her is calling?"

Harry shoved his hands into his pockets. "Harry Potter."

The elf's eyes went so wide Harry was concerned about them staying in the sockets and he disappeared with a pop. It was several minutes before he returned.

"Be following me, please?" The elf intoned with a formal bow, then turned to lead the way from the entry way. He led Harry into a formal sitting room, gesturing toward a settee.

"Miss Pansy will be with you in a few minutes."

With that he disappeared, leaving Harry standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. Finally he perched on the edge of a floral upholstered chair, his cold hands linked between his knees.

She kept him waiting for forty-five minutes. He was about to get up and walk out when he heard the sound of high heels clicking on the marble floor. Moments later Parkinson sailed into the room, her short bob brushing her chin, a long thin cigarette in her hand and her blue eyes like chips of ice.

"How did you find my address?" she asked archly. He stood, his hands going into the pockets of his uniform jacket. "Is this some sort of Ministry harassment? I thought we were done with that when the war was over."

"This isn't an official visit," Harry said, standing up.

Parkinson inhaled from the cigarette between her fingers, her sharp red nails shining. She blew out the smoke, her eyes narrowed. "Did you use the Ministry system to find my address?"

Harry felt his face heat, and knew he was blushing.

"That has to be against some regulation or other." She grabbed an ash tray off of an end table, tapping her ash off. "Gods, you are so lucky…" She broke off, shaking her head, sneering. "What do you want?"

"Where is he?"

She arched one perfectly tweezed brow and took another drag on her cigarette before answering. "Where's who?"

"Don't fuck with me, Parkinson."

"And don't come in here in your uniform and try to intimidate me."

"Intimidate you?" Harry let loose a ragged laugh. "Is that even possible?"

Parkinson's lips twisted wryly. "No."

He took a deep breath, trying to center himself, then let it out slowly. "Parkinson, please. Where is he?"

She looked at him for a long moment, then shook her head slowly. "Leave him alone, Potter."

He blinked. "What? Why?"

"Just, let it go and leave him alone. I think we established previously that you could fuck just about anything you wanted. It's easy for you. God knows, most of the men in any bar you choose would be delighted to grab their ankles. You don't need Draco."
Harry frowned. "How the hell do you know what I need? I don't even know."

He was so shocked to have said it that he stared at her, horrified. She stared back, her cigarette dangling from her fingers. Smoke curled up towards the ceiling in thin grey spirals.

"Well. Isn't that interesting?" Parkinson studied him, then seemed to come to a decision. She lifted the cigarette to her mouth, then took a drag, blowing smoke in Harry's face. "The answer is still no. There'll be no more Owls summoning Draco to come over and fuck. I know that was the set up in the beginning, and I'll accept my part of the responsibility for encouraging it, but you're going to have to accept that it's over."

Harry felt as if she'd struck him. He swallowed the sudden panic. "Did he… tell you that he wanted it to be over?" The thought made his breath grow short and his hands cold.

She turned away. "I'm done here. Stubby, show Mr Potter out please."

"Parkinson," Harry gasped. "Please."

She turned back, staring at him. "I doubt he'll be gone forever, Potter. Perhaps you need to work on your patience."

She left the room and he heard the staccato sound of her heels as she walked away.

Harry sank back onto the arm of the chair, his stomach roiling.

He hadn’t a bloody clue what to do.


After nearly two weeks in Cordes, the peace and quiet Draco originally found quaint and soothing, was now beginning to grate on his nerves. He contemplated simply heading home, but knew if he did he'd most likely not be able to stop himself from looking up Potter. Draco was beginning to realize exactly how little he must have meant to Potter. Not once in the two weeks he'd been gone had an Owl arrived from the man.

Draco was sitting out on the terrace, mindlessly stirring his cup of tea, the book he'd brought down to read lying unopened on the table. He was startled out of wool-gathering by a soft voice.

"Monsieur Draco?"

Draco looked up and a slow smile appeared. "Good afternoon, Gerard. Did you need the table?" He shrugged. "I could go read," he looked down at the unopened book, "or not read in my room."

Gerard shook his head and gestured toward the empty chair across from Draco. "If I may?"

"Of course," Draco replied. "Although I may not be the best company at the moment."

"Perhaps I have a solution for your…malaise," Gerard ventured. "I believe Pansy mentioned that we also own a small vineyard not too far from here, yes?"

Draco nodded.

"My brother and his family run it. And for the next few days, they will be showcasing our wine at a festival in Toulouse. It is a wonderful event and Toulouse has many more places for a young man to meet people." Gerard winked.

"I..I…" Draco spluttered. "Thank you, but I'm not interested in meeting anyone."

Gerard looked knowingly at Draco. "Ah, that would explain some things. Here to heal a broken heart?"

Draco paused, he wasn't exactly sure how to explain what he had been doing with Potter. "More like taking a step away to gain perspective and make decisions."

With a nod, Gerard stood and placed a hand on Draco's shoulder. "Let me set up this visit for you." He ignored Draco's protest. "You are too young and if you'll forgive my brashness, far too attractive to be spending time pining over someone who clearly did not appreciate you."

Draco remained in his seat, completely flummoxed at that statement.

The Portkey to Toulouse was easily obtained and before Draco knew it, he'd packed a small bag and had arrived at the Grand Hôtel de l'Opéra before afternoon tea. Gerard had been in contact with the proprietor, an old school chum of Gerard's, and Draco had been assured of a room in the wizard section of the hotel.

The room was far more modern that at the Hotel Lazare, which was to be expected from a hotel in the middle of the capital of the southwestern department of Haute-Garonne.

Draco freshened up a bit before going back to the lobby to meet Gerard's brother.

Where Gerard barely resembled the Parkinson's, the man in front of him could have passed for Pansy's older brother. He was the same height at Pansy's father and his build was practically identical. Add in the black hair and a pug nose and there was no denying they were related.

He crossed the room, hand extended. "Draco! May I call you Draco? Gerard said such wonderful things about you that I feel as if I know you already."

Draco paused. Apparently appearance was the absolute only similarity the man held to his caustic, sharp-tonged best friend.

"Hello." Draco waited for the man to continue. "I'm sorry; I seem to have forgotten your name."

"Remy, Remy Tisserand, sorry I'm getting ahead of myself."

Draco smiled. He liked the man already. Remy reminded Draco of one of those Labrador dogs that seemed to love everyone.

"Don't worry about it. I'm afraid Gerard has not told me much about you other than the fact you run the winery in Cahuzac-sur-Vere and there's a festival here in Toulouse this weekend."

Remy gave Draco a wide smile. "Exactly. It's not a large vineyard compared to other French wineries, but we do all our harvesting by hand and have produced several award winning Rosés and Merlots."

"I'm afraid what I know about wine production is minimal at best. I know what I like when enjoying a glass, but that's where my knowledge ends."

Remy took Draco by the arm, leading him out of the hotel and into the cool fall afternoon. "Then you, my friend, are in for a treat."

Several hours later, Draco was back in his hotel room. The festival had been an amazing combination of food and wine vendors as far as the eye could see. Draco had tasted wines from several vineyards and had placed orders that would be adding a number of bottles to his own collection. He had begged off dining with Remy and his family after the festival closed, but now found he was a bit hungry.

Draco contemplated ordering a plate of cheeses to go with the bottle of Rosé Remy had given him as he left, but decided to simply go down to the dining room and have a proper meal. Unfortunately the dining room was filled with a very boisterous party. The noise level at the front of the restaurant was obnoxious and Draco was fairly certain that he'd have a monster headache if he tried to eat there.

Fortunately, there was a small bar on the other side of the hotel where he was quickly seated. He nursed a glass of scotch while he waited for his order of breads and cheeses to arrive. After a few minutes of peace and quiet, Draco felt someone slide onto the stool to his right.
"Bonjour, monsieur," the deep voice said tentatively.

Draco turned his head and found he was looking into the most astonishing blue eyes he'd ever seen. Draco struggled to focus on the man's face and not just the eyes, but it was difficult. "Yes?"

"I'm Renauld. I was wondering if I could buy you a drink?"

"You want to buy me a drink?" It had been so long since someone had tried to pick Draco up in a bar, he felt completely out of his element.

Draco's first instinct was to politely decline, but those compelling blue eyes made refusing impossible. "Thanks, I'll have another scotch, neat." Draco drained his glass and set it on the bar. "And I'm Draco, it's a pleasure to meet you, Renauld."

Renauld shifted on his bar stool to face Draco. "You seemed so…what is the word," he said in this thick French accent, "contemplative. I felt I must come and try to bring a smile to your lovely face."

Draco felt heat rising up his neck and knew he was blushing. "I spent the day at the festival and frankly, it was a lot to take in."

"Ah, you're British," Renauld nodded. "Yes, all of those vineyards and owners trying to get you to taste and see why we're the best can be overwhelming. Were you able to find some that you enjoyed?"

Feeling a bit more relaxed discussing wines rather than himself, Draco sat back in his chair and smiled. "I tasted several that were far too sweet for my tastes. However the Merlot from the Chateau Tisserand vineyard was perfect."

"Tisserand produces some delightful selections. Several are award winning," Renauld agreed. "Was it the festival that brought you to Toulouse?"

Draco hesitated, not entire sure how much he was willing to divulge to this unknown stranger, no matter how attractive he was or how nice he seemed. He decided that somewhere in between completely honest and a bold-faced lie was probably in order.

"I was holidaying in Cordes-sur-Ciel and I heard about the festival from the owner of the hotel I was staying at." Draco attempted nonchalance. "Cordes is lovely, but a bit quiet. I thought I might find more to do in Toulouse."

Renauld's eyes brightened. "And the festival is all you have done? Oh Draco, you must allow me to take you to dinner and perhaps to see some of the night life here in Toulouse."

Draco hesitated. "I only arrived today, so I've not had any opportunity to see the city." Draco looked at Renauld, he wasn't what most would consider stunning, but he had such an earnest face, Draco found himself agreeing to join Renauld for dinner.

After arranging to have his cheese plate delivered to his room later that evening, Draco took his first step in moving on.

The restaurant Renauld chose was barely a step up from The Leaky, but the food they ate was delicious. The evening was going very well; Renauld was well spoken and had a delightful sense of humour.

"What made you settle in Toulouse?" Draco asked conversationally. "It seems like a nice enough city, but…"

Renauld interrupted him. "You Brits. You only see what you want to see. Toulouse has everything to offer someone. We are but an hour from the Mediterranean sea and nearly as close to the Pyrenées mountains. Do you ski, Draco?"

Draco laughed. "Me?" Draco had been fairly certain Renauld was a Muggle, but he'd hoped until that moment that he was simply a Muggle-born wizard and not simply a Muggle. "No, I'm afraid strapping strips of wood to my feet and hurling myself down a mountain of ice, is not my idea of fun. I prefer to get my speed thrills in other ways." Draco saw himself on a broom, racing through the wind and wished he could tell his companion about the feeling.

"Well, as it's too late to venture to the mountain, I'll simply have to show you some of Toulouse's night life." Renauld said. "There are several wonderful clubs within walking distance from here."

Draco nodded, hoping he looked more enthusiastic than he felt.

After settling the bill, Renauld and Draco were walking along the Garonne River. The night was calm and the stars were bright in the sky above them. Renauld stopped and pulled Draco close, leaning down to for a kiss.

Draco froze. His mind told him to kiss back, but his heart said it was the wrong person kissing him.

"I'm sorry," Draco said, taking a step back. "I…Mer…I'm sorry."

"It is I who am sorry," Renauld said softly. "Perhaps I was reading you wrong. I thought you were interested."

"I am, I am" Draco objected. "I just wasn't completely honest with you earlier when you asked me what had brought me here."

Renauld shook his head. "I suspected it was more than just a holiday. But I had hoped you were moving past your lost love. And I see now that the timing for me is unfortunate. I will not pretend that I'm pleased, but I see that right now there is no hope for me to win your heart. Not when it is so firmly in love with another."

"I'm not in love," Draco protested.

Renauld laughed. "You may tell yourself that, Draco, but your actions tell another story. I am sorry this man has hurt you so, but I will hold the hope that one day, when your heart has healed you might think of Renauld and return to Toulouse." He kissed Draco lightly on each cheek and left.

Draco forced himself to walk back to the hotel. Numb, he crossed the lobby to the lift. Once inside he willed himself to hold it together until he was safely behind his hotel room door. He leaned his back against the dark wood and slid gracelessly to the floor, pulling his knees up to his chin. For the first time since leaving London, he cried.

He woke in the morning, regretting that he'd not been able to feel something for Renauld. He really was a lovely man and Draco wished things were different.

Draco sent an Owl to Remy, making his excuses for not being able to stay any longer in Toulouse. He knew it was the coward's way out, but he couldn't risk running into Renauld. He felt a pull back to Cordes and the lovely terrace where he could read all day and let his heart heal.


Harry wandered through Diagon Alley, staring listlessly through the store windows. Christmas had snuck up on him while he'd been searching for Malfoy, and now he had two weeks to buy gifts for his godchildren and friends and family, and absolutely no desire to purchase anything. Of course, 'I'm in a shite mood' wouldn't suffice with kids (or anyone else for that matter) and so he browsed through the Magical Toy Emporium looking for something for Bill and Fleur's entirely too fucking smart children. A toy cauldron with different colored jewels promised 'realistic spell results', and he wondered if he was brave enough to give it to the children of a half werewolf. Probably not.

He heard a distinctive laugh and Harry turned, spotting Blaise Zabini and Greg Goyle laughing at what Harry had thought was a pretty tacky dancing house elf toy. Harry started to turn away, then stopped, remembering Draco talking once about how good a friend Zabini had been to him. Among other things. Without pausing to consider the intelligence of the decision, he made his way to where the two men stood.


Blaise paused as he and Goyle were turning away, and went still, dark eyes opaque and assessing.

"Auror Potter," Zabini said dryly. "We weren't going to steal it. Cross my heart." He made the motion over his own chest, and Harry followed the motion of his caramel colored hand. Even through a jumper and jacket, he could see the fine shape beneath the clothes, and he hated him just a bit. Draco had been with this man; he hated him for that if nothing else.

"I didn't think you planned to steal anything, and I'm off duty," Potter said, his voice dry. "Where is he?"

"The elf?" Zabini arched a brow. The expression was so much like Draco's he wanted to smack it off of his face. "Why, he's right over there. But I do understand they used one of the Hogwarts elves to model the prototype. I'm sure if you ask your good friend Longbottom, he can sneak you a peak. But what a very odd fetish for you to have." Goyle snorted, until Harry looked at him. His expression must've been fierce, because the much larger man took a step back.

"Fucking hilarious, Zabini," Harry growled. "And no, not the elf. You know who I meant. Where. Is. He."

"How in the world should I know?" Zabini made a dismissive motion with his hand. "Draco doesn't check in with me before he goes on holiday. What's the matter, Potter? Running out of people to Owl for a fuck?"

Harry felt his face heat. Clearly Draco had shared more with the man than he would have liked. It was embarrassing.

And why was that, he wondered, the thought drawing him up short. He blinked, stunned. He was embarrassed Zabini thought Draco was just a fuck, when it occurred to Harry that no matter what he'd said, he was so much more.

"Zabini, please." He lowered his voice. "I need to know where he, so I can tell him…"

Zabini's eyes narrowed but his gaze on Harry's face sharpened. "Tell him what, Potter?"

Harry swallowed, closing his eyes. He was so fucking scared. Facing Voldemort had been one thing; he'd been scared then, because he hadn't wanted to die. But this – Draco could break his heart, which was why he'd begun the 'just a fuck' routine in the first place. He'd always wanted Draco, he just hadn't been willing to risk heartbreak. He'd risked his heart once before only to have it stomped on. Now – something inside of him kept insisting if he didn't risk it, he'd lose more than he'd bargained on.

"Look, I just need to talk to him, okay?"

Zabini looked disgusted. "You're such a waste of space," he said, clearly seething. Harry straightened.

"Hey." Not the most articulate response he'd ever given, but he was angry.

"You know, I've thought you were many things over the years, Potter. Egotistical, arrogant. I never thought you were stupid."

"Zabini." Harry's lips scarcely moved as he hissed the name.

Blaise just shook his head. "He was the best thing that ever happened to you, and you fucked it up. And I know what I'm talking about, because I fucked up with him, too. But you – you always had the inside track, and you lost him. You have no one to blame but yourself, Potter." He started to turn away and Harry grabbed his arm, probably harder than was necessary. Zabini turned back, his eyes going from Harry's hand to his face. Harry thought it was a miracle he didn't get frostbite.

"Zabini," Harry repeated, then paused to take a deep breath. He tried to put as much earnestness into his expression as he could. "Zabini, please."

Blaise stared into his eyes, his head angled slightly to one side. "Why should I tell you anything?"

Harry let his hand drop away from Blaise's arm. "I'm in love with him. I've screwed up, but I love him and I have to tell him. Please."

Blaise stared at him for so long Harry was sure he didn't intend to answer. "Look in Cordes-sur-Ciel, France," he finally answered. "And if you fuck this up, I swear to Merlin I'll AK you on sight."

"Duly noted." Harry turned away, his heart leaping into his throat. Cordes-sur-Ciel, France. He needed a Portkey.


Harry stepped out of the small Portkey office in Cordes and out onto the main road. Blaise hadn't given him more than the town Draco had disappeared to, but one wasn't best friends with a world-class researcher for nothing. It had taken Hermione the better part of a day, but she'd discovered Parkinson had some distant relative that owned a hotel in town. Harry walked the short distance to an Apparation point and disappeared with a pop.

Harry landed near the hotel entrance, on a narrow road. The view of the valley below was breathtaking and he hoped that he'd be able to see more of it. But right now he wanted to find Draco. He turned to walk into the hotel, looking up at the name of the place painted artfully on a hanging sign that moved gently in the slight breeze, and ran full tilt into someone exiting through the archway, hard enough that it knocked him backwards.

“Damn, I’m sorry…”

The words died on his lips when he saw who it was he’d nearly knocked on his arse.

“Draco – “

“Potter?” Draco absently rubbed his stomach, his brow furrowed. “What the hell –“

“Are you okay?”

They spoke over one another, then both stopped. Finally, Harry gestured for Draco to go ahead.

“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” he asked, and Harry flinched a bit at his tone of voice. He certainly didn’t sound happy to see him. Harry pulled himself up to his full height and took a deep breath.

“I came to find you. I need to talk to you.”

Draco huffed, straightening as well. “We don’t talk, Potter. Remember? We fuck. No strings, no emotional entanglements.”

Harry grimaced. That had been the deal in the beginning, but now…

“Can I please just speak to you? Maybe someplace…less public?”

Draco crossed his arms, his chin lifted obstinately. “How did you find out where I was?”


Draco exhaled explosively. “Fucking Blaise. That’s the last time I tell him anything. And no. If you have something to say to me, you can say it to me out here. I apparently can’t think with my head when we’re alone.”

Harry wanted to latch onto that, to remind him how good the sex had been but that sort of defeated the purpose. This wasn’t supposed to be about their pricks. He shoved his hands into his pants pockets, feeling more vulnerable than he could ever recall feeling in his life.

“Well?” Draco prodded. “I’m waiting, but not for much longer. There’s this lovely Frenchman, you see…”

Harry felt alarm ring like church bells in his head. “No, God, please Draco. Don’t find someone else now, not when…” Harry stopped as a couple came out through the hotel lobby, forcing both men to step aside to let them pass. “Draco, please. Isn’t there someplace where we can talk – privately?”

Draco’s lips twisted, then he turned and stalked away. But he didn’t say no, so Harry followed him. Draco walked through another curved archway, paused to look around a deserted bar, then gestured toward one of the padded booths along the wall.

“There.” He walked over and slid onto the seat. When Harry didn’t immediately follow him, Draco made an impatient gesture with his hand. “This is as private as you get, Potter.”

Harry rubbed suddenly damp hands on his hips, walking over to slide into the booth opposite Draco.

“Thank you,” Harry said, “for agreeing to hear me out.”

“Just don’t try my patience. What did you want?” Draco crossed his arms tightly, glaring at Harry. The way he held himself so removed, so tightly closed off, was painful.

Harry swallowed, wishing for a glass of water more than anything else right then. He cleared his throat, gripping his hands tightly together on the table top, trying to think how to start.

“Potter!” he looked up to find Draco’s frown compounded by his silence. “Today, if you please.”

“Isn’t that s’il vous plait?”

His attempt at humor fell flat, Draco staring at him with one brow quirked and Harry took a deep breath, trying to calm the clanging, discordant beating of his heart.

“Draco, I…” he licked his lips then ran his fingers over his mouth. “I…”

“Oh, for fucks sakes! You what?”

Harry glared at him in return. “Fine. I love you, okay?” he burst out. “I love you. I’m in love with you. I think I have been for a while. And you can’t run off and find someone else, not now. Not when…”

Draco was staring at him as if he’d lost his mind. “You… what?” he whispered.

“I love you,” Harry repeated, figuring he was already in it up to his neck; why prevaricate? “Not when I love you.”

Draco said, his voice raw. “What happened to ‘no strings’?”

Harry stared at him, feeling tears stinging his eyes. “I’m such an idiot. I thought by…putting limits on it I could protect myself.” He shrugged weakly. “It didn’t work. I fell in love with you anyway.”

Draco stared at him, at the tears in his eyes, with his own eyes very wide. Harry saw him swallow. “Why would you need to protect yourself?”

Harry swiped at his eyes with his fingers. “Fuck.” He took a deep breath. “About six months before you and I started – seeing each other I was seeing someone named Ethan. We were actually talking about moving in together. I was – committed to him.”

Draco stared, his eyes wide but at least the irritation gone. “You were in love with him,” he murmured.

“I thought I was,” Harry admitted. “Until he fucked someone else in my bed.”

Draco recoiled. “Oh, Merlin.”

“He told me that ‘it didn’t mean anything’, it was just a fuck. But to me it mattered.” He had to stop, to swallow again. “After that, I found out about a string of guys he’d fucked while I thought we were in a relationship. They all told me the same thing; he was using the fact he was screwing Harry Potter to pick up other men. I broke it off with him, but…”

“The damage was done,” Draco murmured, and Harry nodded.

“I figured after that it was easier, safer to just keep the idea of a relationship out of my life, to just do casual pick-ups because that way no one could hurt me or use me. I mean, I’d be using them too, right? Then Parkinson contacted me and…” Harry closed his eyes. “Gods, I’d wanted you for so long.”

“How long?”

Harry lifted his head and looked at him. “Does that matter?”

Draco nodded, finding it did. Very much.

“I was attracted to you from the moment I knew what that feeling probably meant, so…since third year? But I probably started to fall in love with you that night at the manor, when you didn’t tell Bellatrix is was me. You knew it was. I’ve never understood why you lied for us.”

“I didn’t lie for all of you,” Draco said, his voice raw. “I lied for you.”

Harry dared to reach across the table and grabbed Draco’s hand. It was cold, but that didn’t deter him. “Draco…” When Draco didn’t attempt to pull away, Harry scooted around to the back of the booth, pulling him closer by the linked fingers. “Draco.” He lifted his free hand to Draco’s face and cupped his cheek in his palm. “Draco, please. I know I fucked up and I was an arse. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just was so fucking scared…”

Draco stared into his eyes then closing his, he leaned his cheek into Harry palm. “I understand,” he whispered.

“You do? I mean, can you maybe… forgive me? Give me another chance? Only this time, I won’t lie to you. I’ll tell you upfront I love you, so much.”

Draco closed his eyes, his lashes damp. “Gods, I love you, too.”

Joy filling his chest with effervescence, like a fine champagne, Harry slipped his hand around Draco’s nape and pulled him in, opening his mouth over Draco’s lips.

Draco stiffened for a moment in surprise, then slowly his muscles softened and his lips parted. When Harry tentatively slipped his tongue into his mouth, Draco curled his tongue around it, making a soft sound of pleasure.

Harry’s fingers speared up into Draco’s hair, holding his head in his hand as he slowly, sweetly tried to tell Draco everything he was feeling by making slow, careful love to his mouth. When he pulled back Draco looked at him, a slightly dazed expression on his face.

“You’ve never kissed me before,” he whispered.

“Kissing is personal,” Harry answered, his voice equally soft. He traced the edge of Draco’s chin with his thumb. “I thought if I didn’t kiss you, maybe you wouldn’t figure out how I really felt.”

“Well, well done you, because I didn’t.”

Harry chuckled softly, then stopped. “Yeah, and it almost cost me you.” He leaned in to kiss Draco again, Draco angled his head to kiss him back, and a throat was cleared gently. They both jumped, looking up. Standing at the edge of their table was the bartender.

“Forgive me, gentlemen,” he said with a slight smile,” as entertaining as I find your display of affection, I am about to open the bar and other patrons might not be equally pleased. Might I suggest you take it…somewhere more private?”

Harry looked at Draco, trying to put his heart in his eyes. After a long moment, he smiled slowly. “I think that can be arranged.”


They stumbled through the lobby, giddy as school children, leaning on one another and smiling as they waited for the elevator. It was empty but for them, and when the doors slid closed Harry walked Draco to the back of the car and pushed him against the wall, holding him there with his body.

Harry kissed him again, and Draco opened his mouth with a sound of welcome, lifting his arms so that he could sink his fingers into the thick mop of Harry’s black hair. He’d touched it before, but not like this, not where he could sink his hands into it and luxuriate in the surprising softness. When the doors opened on Draco’s floor, the elevator had to ding twice before they come up for air enough to realize they’d arrived.

Heart pounding in anticipation, Draco opened the door to his room. The moment the door was closed behind them, Potter was there again, kissing him as if kissing had just been invented, as if he couldn’t get enough of the taste of him. Draco, giddy with desire, allowed himself to be turned and maneuvered until the backs of his knees hit the bed and Harry pushed him to sit. Smoothly, he went down to his knees, rubbing his hands up Draco’s long thighs. When Harry cupped his erection through his trousers, Draco pressed up into his touch.

Harry’s hands went to his waist, undoing buttons and lowering his zipper. Draco tried to grab him to pull him up, but Harry shook his head.

“Just, lie back and enjoy, and let me do this.”

Draco stacked his hands behind his head. “Never let it be said I denied you what you want.”

Harry smiled up at him as he slipped his fingers under the waistband of Draco’s pants and trousers and pulled them down together. Draco’s cock slapped softly against his groin and lower belly, and Harry leaned forward with a soft sound, pushing Draco’s knees apart to make room for him. When he took Draco’s cock into his mouth, licking around the head before sucking softly, Draco’s hand settled on his head, his fingers slipping once again in his hair. He closed his eyes and the incomparable feeling of Potter lowering his head to take the whole of him into his mouth then his throat sent chills up over his chest. His nipples tightened down into hard nubs and as if he knew it, Potter sent a hand up under his jumper, rubbing his hand over the planes of his chest before curling his fingers to pinch. The sensation went straight to Draco’s groin, and he moaned as he thrust up into Harry’s mouth.

After that everything was sensation. Harry’s mouth, the wet sucking heat, the fingers pulling at his nipples then moving down to curl around his balls. When all too soon Draco felt himself growing close, he yanked on Harry’s hair to warn him but Harry didn’t care. He intensified his efforts, bobbing his head up and down, curling his fingers around his sac to pull gently, knowing how that drove Draco mad. He gasped as he came, his back bowing and his hands scrabbling into the bedding as he pulled on it. He emptied himself into Harry’s throat and he swallowed it all, his mouth moving on him until Draco had to yank on his hair in earnest, his skin too sensitive to be able to take it any longer.

He felt Harry flop onto the bed beside him, felt his head come to rest on his shoulder as he shuddered through an aftershock.

“Are you all right?” Harry whispered.

“Huh-uh,” Draco mumbled. “Brain. Gone. Dead.”

Harry chuckled softly. Draco tried to roll toward him but his body wouldn’t move. Instead he flailed out with his hand, trying to get to Harry’s flies only to realize his cock was handing out of his jeans, and it was half hard and damp.

“Ah ah ah,” Harry said, shifting slightly away. “Too soon.”

Draco rolled his head, forcing his eyes open. “You came?”

“The moment I took you in my mouth,” Harry answered.

Draco frowned slightly. “You didn’t come on my shoes?”

Harry laughed. “No, you nancy poof, I didn’t come on your shoes. The hotel bedding may not have been as lucky, but as I recall you’re a daub hand at getting spunk out of fabric.”

Draco giggled. “I’ve had lots of practice.”

Then they were laughing together, until Draco was weak with the giggles.

“Gods.” He finally was able to roll to his side, and he moved over until he was lying against Harry’s side. “What made you come after me?”

Harry inhaled, then sighed softly. “Pure, unadulterated fear and desperation.”

“What were you afraid of?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Harry turned his head, and they were nose to nose.

“Maybe, but tell me anyway.”

“Afraid of losing you.” Harry found his hand and linked their fingers. “Afraid you’d find someone else.”

“Oh, Harry,” he whispered. “Don’t you understand yet?” Harry searched his face, then shook his head. “There is no one but you. There hasn’t been since I was sixteen, not for me, anyway.”

Harry kissed him softly, and Draco didn’t even mind is come breath.

“I’m afraid I was a little slower on the uptake,” he said when their lips parted. “Can you forgive me?”

Draco pretended to think about it. “This time. But don’t do it again!”

Harry grinned. “I promise to never be so stupid again.”

“Well,” Draco drawled, “don’t set an impossible goal for yourself.”

Harry laughed. “Hey,” he complained lightly.

Draco reached up and, smiling, wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck. “Fortunately for you, I have a soft spot for a slightly thick Gryffindor. However, if you repeat that I’ll deny it.”

“I wouldn’t think of it.” Harry kissed him again, this time with a bit of tongue, and he tasted himself in his mouth. Instead of putting him off, he found it arousing. He rolled over, on top of Harry, and deepened the kiss.

Harry moaned softly as Draco pressed down, their cocks rubbing together.

“I love you,” Harry gasped when their lips parted. “So much.”

Draco smiled down into his face, his fingers brushing down Harry’s face. “And I love you. Now,” he lifted just enough to take both of their cocks in his hand, curling his fingers around them. “Enough talking.”

“Not another word, I swear.”

“Well,” Draco pretended contemplation as he moved his hand on them, “some words are all right. Such as ‘yes, Draco.’ Or ‘please.’ Or ‘now’.”

Harry smiled up at him. “Yes, Draco. Please. Now.”


Draco kissed the smile from Harry’s lips.