Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Genre(s): General (slice of life)
Canon: Through DH (EWE)
Other Characters: Blaise Zabini, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, OC House-elf
Artist(s): ningloreth and reikokatsura
Summary: Draco is less than pleased when an unexpected house-guest shows up in the middle of the night.
Author's Notes: Thanks to the mods of this fest, and to my cheerleader Hope. Thanks to my beta's, clear_stream18 and tari_sue.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
If Zabini wasn't dying, Draco was going to Avada Kedavra his arse. No, the killing curse would be too good for that sleep-depriving bastard, he'd... well Draco would... maybe think of something better if it wasn't four in the morning.
He threw open the door, the tip of his wand already glowing red from the hex on his lip, and then nearly tripped forward in shock. In retrospect, any good Slytherin-raised wizard would have know it wasn't a good idea to open a door before checking to see who was on the other side, no matter how sure he was that he knew. But his sleep deprived mind hadn't been functioning at its normal capacity, and now he was facing quite a surprise. Instead of the charming, smiling face he was expecting, he saw shockingly green eyes that definitely did not belong to Blaise.
"Blaise?" Draco said.
The stranger took a step out of Draco's shadow, letting the light from the flat illuminate his face, as if Malfoy had been so poor of sight he just hadn't seen him properly. Right. Potter was standing outside his flat at four in the morning. Draco would have a better chance believing The Dark Lord had come back from the dead and showed up for a spot of tea with him.
"You can't possibly stand living with that prick, can you?" Weasley said, ignoring his comment.
"We have a great time, don't we Potter?" Draco drawled."Just last night we indulged ourselves in a fun time of ritualistic goat killings before hitting the cemetery for some good old fashion grave robbing, then topping the night off with a tasty gauntlet of baby's blood."
"He's turned you into a nutter!" Weasley said in distress.
"Relax Ron, he was obviously kidding," Granger said, although her eyes remained keenly fixed on Potter as if she couldn't fathom what she was seeing.
A moment of awkward silence followed. Draco tried to hide his discomfort with a performance of boredom. He turned to study the old stone wall he was standing next to, tracing the cracks with his eyes and noting the various changes of grays and browns splattered across. An ant was making its way to the top, about a foot over Draco's head, and he wondered briefly where it was going, or if it was running away from something.
"Well um," Granger cleared her throat, drawing three pairs of eyes to her."We should get going. Ron and I."
Weasley made a protesting noise that sounded a lot like a terrier whining, but he didn't appear to have the ability to word his displeasure. Especially not with the way Granger was staring at him with wide eyes and pursed lips.
"Us too," Potter announced, edging closer to Draco. Granger's gaze shifted to him, sharp and dissecting and Draco found himself very glad he wasn't on the other end of that. They didn't seem to be on bad terms, but Potter was quick to withdraw from their company.
"Harry," Granger said, her voice soft but with intensity."You're always welcome at our place."
Potter nodded, and then Granger was gently pushing at Weasley, prompting him to start walking. Draco glanced back at them as they passed, but Potter's gaze remained ahead. Looking at his profile, Draco though he saw a twisting of emotions on Harry's face irritation, anger, sadness.
"There's a place that sells Muggle clothes to wizards up ahead. That'll be our last stop," Draco said, trying to clear the sudden heaviness of the air.
Potter looked at him with a blank expression."You're buying Muggle clothes?" He deadpanned.
"Of course not." Draco wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"You want me to? I don't have any money."
"I'm aware of that," Draco said smugly, "but if you're going to be seen in public and not thought of as a lunatic who rolls around in a pile of razors until you're covered in torn fabric, you'll need some clothes."
"I have clothes. They're at Ron's place."
"Let me guess," Draco sneered."Hogwarts uniforms and oversized muggle clothes."
Potter shrugged."I also have some dress robes."
"You're an idiot, Potter. Move," Draco shoved him in a similar fashion that Granger had shoved Weasley, although not as gingerly. His hand felt incredibly warm after that brief contact, his palm extra sensitive. He grimaced at the sensation.
"What's the point of buying muggle clothes from a wizard shop?" Potter asked with a frowned. Draco wanted to roll his eyes as he bit back the obvious part of not having to actually go and... coexist with the Muggles while shopping. Potter clearly wasn't as disturbed by that thought as he was.
"They have magical properties added to them."
He huffed in annoyance. Since when was Potter so keen on holding a conversation with him?"They're charmed to resist stains. Zippers, buttons, ties will fasten on their own. Useful things."
Potter's frown deepened, his eyes shifting to the side.
"I don't want you buying me clothes, Malfoy."
Draco had to fight tooth and nail for every piece of clothing they bought. It was difficult too, considering he was fighting with Potter while trying to make it look like they were best of chums to any on-lookers. Potter was stubborn, and showed too much emotion on his face too easily. Draco wondered where all those closed off expressions for Weasley and Granger had disappeared to.
"Will that be all for you?" The cashier said with stars in her eyes as she gazed at Potter. The brunet was visibly uncomfortable, his face tight.
"Yes," Draco said with a charming smile that was lost on her. They'd settled on five, (slightly oversized) shirts, another pair of (blessedly fitting) jeans, a jacket, and a decent amount of socks and boxers. Draco had wanted to add a formal outfit to the mix, but as it was he'd had enough of a hassle convincing Potter to get what he did, so he'd drop the subject for now.
"That's twenty-four Galleons and 14 sickles," she said, still looking to Potter. Considering he'd been the one trying on clothes for the past two hours or rather, fifteen minutes with an hour and forty-five minutes of arguing it was understandable that she expected Potter to pay for it. When Draco reached for his wallet instead, her eyes grew round with surprise then narrow with suspicion.
He laid out the galleons on the table, ignoring the sullen look Potter shot him. It really wasn't much money at all, Draco had expected to pay three or four times that amount for a new wardrobe. Potter probably suspected Draco to be poor after all the ministry took from him and his family: the manor, a vacation house, and one of their vaults from Gringotts. Unbeknownst to them, the Malfoys had multiple vaults in different names, and others in France and Germany. The Ministry had only captured a fraction of their wealth, although some of the treasures lost in the Manor were irreplaceable.
Potter picked up the clothes that the woman had packaged in brown wrapping paper and twine, mumbling a vague thank you that could have been directed at either Draco or the shop clerk, then practically bolted out the door.
Outside the sun was setting and the streets were thinning out. Draco had a hard time keeping up with Potter's quickened pace while still appearing dignified. Rushing anywhere showed a lack of composure, and looking as if he was chasing after Potter was even worse. He glanced around conspicuously, noting a few eyes that followed Potter's tracks.
"Where are you rushing off to?" Draco said irritably. Potter stopped abruptly, causing Draco to narrowly miss plowing into him. They were only inches apart and his heartbeat rose as he stepped back a few feet. Good thing too, because Potter whipped around like a hurricane the next instant.
Potter had been acting antsy since the whole ordeal with Granger and Weasley, but it only seemed to be escalating. Draco almost asked if he was okay, but caught the words on his tongue just in time.
"I'm going to go out for a while," Potter said out of the blue, his voice sounding eerily forced, as if he was holding back from scream.
Draco raised an eyebrow."We are out."
"No. That's not what I mean."
Suddenly there was a brown package being rudely shoved in Draco's hands. Frowning his disapproval, he grabbed a hold at the last second, just as it had started to fall to the filthy street.
"Potter, what the hell has gotten into you?"
It was then that he got a glimpse at green eyes, wild and more alive than Draco had ever remembered seeing them. He opened his mouth, maybe to say something, but no words came, and he was lost in the storminess of Potter's eyes.
Then with a turn, Potter was gone.
Harry Potter's New Look
Harry Potter was seen shopping in Diagon Alley yesterday looking better than he has in ages.
He was spotted outside of the Apothecary sporting some new threads, much more fashionable than his usual baggy t-shirts and jeans. His button-up shirt and muggle blue jeans were formfitting and flattering to his body. It seems everyone's favorite hero is taking steps to improve on his personal appearance.
In the past, Mr. Potter has always been a modest and shy wizard, but eyewitnesses reported him being quite cheerful and boisterous as he caught up with some old friends from Hogwarts. It seems everyone's favorite hero is finally coming out of his shell.
Draco put down the paper with a smirk on his lips. It was a short article, but he was pleased with it. The writing was horrible yes, but all that really mattered was the picture above the text, featuring Potter, Granger, Weasley and him talking, combined with the line about Potter catching up with friends from Hogwarts. He wondered what all his old classmates would think when they saw this.
He shoved the newspaper in his nightstand drawer and stood to stretch. He had Flenchy making breakfast for them now, so he suspected he'd need to make his usual shower a bit shorter, which is a pity, because he was especially tired this morning. It had been close to midnight when he had finally given up waiting for Potter. He didn't know what the bastard was off doing, but some people had work in the morning, so he reluctantly keyed Potter into his wards and went to bed.
He washed and dressed in a surprisingly quick fashion for him although his usual hairstyle suffered a bit from the neglect, curling slightly at the ends. Actually, he decided he didn't mind the look, it was a bit more muggle than he usually liked, but he thought he could wear it well.
Walking into the kitchen area, hunger gripped his stomach more tightly as he smelled the French toast. The scent of nutmeg and cinnamon filled the air, making him think of Christmas time. It took a little self-constraint not to lick his lips like a dog that'd spotted a delicious treat in its bowl.
Glancing over, he expected to see Potter asleep on the couch, but paused when it proved to be empty. He frowned and scratched underneath the collar of his shirt.
"Where's Potter," he asked the elf who was busy sprinkling a light dusting of powdered sugar over a heaping stack of French toast. The elf's ears went down as he whimpered.
"Flenchy doesn't know, master. Flenchy is sorry." The elf put down the sugar and started to reach for the grill, hand hovering over it.
"Stop." Draco commanded. He hated when the bloody elves hurt themselves, it was disturbing."Don't punish yourself."
The elf's hand hovered over the grill for a moment longer before dropping limply to his side.
"When did he get in last night? Do you know?"
The elf shook his head and Draco frowned. Potter had probably never come back at all, which meant he'd been out all night. He quickly squashed the small tremble of worry that tried to worm its way into his head. Since when did he care what Potter did?
It wasn't like he had expected them to be on friendly terms for real.
As he took the first bite of his French toast, he thought it tasted strangely bitter.
When Draco strode into his work, he was unsurprised to see his boss there. What was unusual, though, was the way she seemed to be nervously wringing her hands as she looked at him.
"Morning, Ms. Williams," Draco said a bit stiffly. He didn't like this odd behavior, it could mean she was planning to fire him, and looking for a new job would be an absolute nightmare. His eyes narrowed a fraction when she didn't say anything back, merely biting her bottom lip, exposing a smear of lipstick across her teeth.
"You," she clicked her heel once and flipped her fake-looking hair over her shoulder."You- um. Yes."
Draco raised a curious eyebrow.
"Howhaveyoubeen?" She said in a rush of words.
"Um..." she fidgeted nervously with the clasp of her robe and Draco pleaded to the universe not to have it accidentally fly open and show him what he very much didn't want to see. Behind her the owls hooted impatiently, shifting on their perches, rotating their heads to fix an eye on him, confused why he wasn't tying on their pouches yet. In the corner of the room, he spotted his least favorite, the horned owl with devious eyes fixated on him as she fluffed out her feathers before smoothing them down again.
"Did you go to school with Harry Potter?" His boss asked out of the blue, catching him completely off guard. After he took a moment to process what was happening, he bit the inside of his cheek to prevent the smirk that wanted to crawl across his lips. So that's what this was about. The article. He could only imagine what expression she made when she'd opened the paper and seen the Great Harry Potter standing next to the employee she'd been a bitch to for the last few months.
"I did. We were very close." As rivals, at least.
Her eyes seemed to gloss over as if she was picturing them, walking down the hallways of Hogwarts and laughing like good mates to an inside joke.
"Listen," she said, her shoulders hitching up stiffly."I mean- if you could introduce me..."
Draco decided that if she'd gone to Hogwarts herself, there was no way she'd have been a Slytherin. She had no subtly, no cunning. He could tell she was gagging for it, a chance to meet Harry Potter, a real-life, breathing Hero, the great warrior of the wizarding world. She might have been trying to act nonchalant about the situation, but anyone with half a brain could read the eagerness in her tense body language.
"Well," he said, looking to the side and pretending to study the owls closely,"Harry's a very busy individual."
She nodded as if she whole-heartedly agreed, like she personally knew Potter and that was the most obvious thing in the world.
"I can..." she shifted on her feet, her ugly purple shoes scuffing against the concrete floor."I'll give you a three-percent raise."
Holding back a scoff, Draco pushed a pensive look onto his face. Her bargaining skills were atrocious. Even if he'd been desperate for the money, he'd hardly do such a big favor for so little. It was laughable. Good thing he wanted something else.
The only problem here was that Potter had gone off and decided he didn't need Draco anymore, and had run off without even paying him back. Bastard. Still, Potter owed him, and being the noble guy he was, Draco was sure he could guilt Potter into paying him back for his recent hospitality.
"Ten percent," he said, watching as her eyes widened in surprise. He saw optimism enter her face, probably realizing his response meant that meeting Potter was a tangible possibility now.
"I can't go higher than five," she countered a few breaths later. She could, Draco was sure, she just wouldn't. He considered pressing her for more, watching her sweat as he squeezed out more than she wanted to give up, but he had to remember that there wasn't an equal power balance between them. She was still his boss after all, and he only had so much leverage because of that. Too bad this wasn't a case of blackmail, it would have been so much more fun.
Still, having Potter show up next to him, holding that over her head was a superiority that he could taste.
"Alright," he said, smiling just crooked enough to put a little trepidation in her eyes.
Cursing to himself, Draco made his way to outside the anti-apparation ward while holding his bleeding hand. On his way out of work he'd gotten a nasty nick to the side of his hand, just under the pinky knuckle from that bloody horned owl. She had skipped her usual bite earlier that day, and just as he'd thought himself safe, she'd attacked him in the hall. Fucking bird, he was going to strangle it one of these days. He wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't actually Potter, or hell Weasley in Animagus form, biting him daily just to piss him off.
Usually he'd have no problem whipping out his wand and healing a bite, but there'd been three employees in the hall, and he'd learned long ago that people get incredibly jumpy when ex-war criminals pulled out their wands. Sometimes that led to them taking hasty, unnecessary action against him.
He reached the apparation point, healed his bite, then before the magic had even finished working, apparated just outside his door. His mood had been fine up until the bird attack, but now he was really looking forward to a spot of tea from Flenchy and maybe a sweet treat or two. Or ten.
Throwing open the door, he nearly tripped as he saw a body sprawled out on his couch. Potter. He'd completely forgotten about him, which was a surprise considering the git had been on his mind so much lately. Well, in all actuality, Potter had been on his mind in some level since he was eleven. Even in Azkaban. Especially in Azkaban. On the worst of nights, alone and trapped and panicked in the cell he'd been sentenced to for five years, Draco would think of Potter to distract himself. The memory of the time in the fiendfyre...
Draco squeezed his eyes shut, pushing all his thoughts away. Those were things he kept buried, the Forbidden Potter Thoughts, and he'd be damned if he lacked the self-control not to keep them that way.
Flenchy appeared at his side, hands outstretched for Draco's cloak, which he shucked off his shoulders and tossed to him. With a snap of the elf's fingers, it disappeared before touching the elf.
"Did you let him in?" Draco asked in a whisper. He already knew the answer. He had warded his house out of anger before leaving that morning, there was no way Potter could have gotten in on his own. The elf nodded timidly, looking unsure."Good," he said quickly when he saw the elf eyeing the wall, as if contemplating weather or not he should charge head first into it as punishment.
Draco studied Potter's sleeping form, and upon and was surprised to see Potter was filthy. His clothes were littered with little rips and tears, the corner of his eye and the back of his hand covered in dried blood. What the hell had Potter done? Gone out and wrestled with werewolves?
Potter's hair, though, made him realize exactly what must have happened. He'd seen it wind-whipped enough in the past to recognize it. Potter had gone flying, and at very fast speeds by the looks of it. The tears in his clothes and cuts in his flesh indicated he'd probably been foolish enough to do it around too many trees, letting their branches snag at him. He hadn't even bothered to clean up his cuts afterwards, and was probably getting blood all over Draco's expensive sofa.
Something new in the room caught Draco's eye then, a light brown duffle bag lying against the segregating half-wall between the living room and kitchen.
Flenchy was wringing his hands, the deep wrinkles on his forehead more defined than usual with a scowl."A Mudblood brought it. Master's guest's belongings," he said, indicating the bag.
Fingers itching to open it up and look through it, Draco turned away, quelling the temptation. He doubted Granger would have brought anything of real value for Potter, especially since she left it here with a house elf that probably glared murderously at her. Still, he had to wonder if that invisibility cloak was there, in the bulk of that lumpy tan fabric.
"The Mudblood left this for you," Flenchy said, holding out a scroll, sealed both with wax and magic.
"Tea. And some lemon curd and scones," Draco ordered and with a bow the elf popped into the kitchen, dropping the note on the table.
He unrolled it and watched as the letters scrawled across the parchment. Very interesting, Granger had charmed it for only his eyes. Was there something she wanted to say that she didn't want others reading? Or perhaps Potter himself was to be kept out of the loop. He wouldn't have put it past Granger to charm it so if he tried to share the information in any way, with anyone, he'd forget it immediately, or lose his voice, or some such rot. Glancing over he saw Potter still fast asleep, eyes flickering slightly underneath his eyelids.
Flenchy put down his scones and tea, and Draco took an ungracefully large bite before starting on the letter.
I don't need to remind you that Ron and I are very protective of Harry. Should you hurt him in any way, we will hunt you down like we did Voldemort.
Well. He chuckled. Who knew Gryffindors could sound so threatening? Adding the Dark Lord's name was a nice touch; Draco could admit even to himself that it caused an unpleasant shiver to rack his body. He repressed the urge to cover the name with his thumb and read on.
I don't know if it was you that convinced Harry to live there, or the other way around, but it was clear today that you're using him. But just because Harry doesn't use magic anymore, doesn't mean he's not dangerous.
Draco blinked a few times, rereading those words. Just because Harry doesn't use magic anymore? It was true that Draco had noticed Potter's lack of spells, but he obviously could and did still use magic, considering he'd apparated out of Diagon alley yesterday. He glanced over to the sleeping form on his couch, watching Potter's steady rise and fall of his chest. He turned back to the letter with a frown.
In fact, I'm writing to warn you. When Harry abstains for even a little while, his magic can become volatile.
Reading the world volatile gave Draco an uneasy feeling. Especially since he could see scratch marks in the parchment where Granger must have been writing other words, then spelling the ink clear, leaving just the carvings of the pen.
He needs our help, but refuses it. Please, if you have any decency, convince Harry to come back home.
Draco rolled the parchment back up and tapped it thoughtfully against his leg. When Granger said Potter's magic became volatile, she must have been referring to magical accidents. Uncontrolled bursts of magic might have been scary to a Muggleborn, but every normal wizard knew magical accidents were commonplace, especially when it came to children who hadn't yet learned to channel their magic through wands. Weasley should have known this, but considering his intelligence level was on par with a slug, he probably couldn't figure it out.
It was no surprise that if Potter, for whatever reason, wasn't practicing proper control of his magic by frequently channeling it through spells, he'd have this kind of problem. It was almost laughable, like a child wetting the bed, but Draco could appreciate that with Potter's high level of magic it was probably a little more problematic than most magical accidents. Powerful wizards meant powerful magic. The real curious issue was why Potter didn't cast spells anymore. Draco had a few guesses, but only Potter would know the real reason.
Just then there was a deep sigh from his left, and he turned to see the figure on his couch sitting up. Potter yawned and arched his back.
"Finally awake I see," Draco sneered.
Potter made a dismissive gesture with his hand as he stood, stretching some more Draco absolutely did not look at the strip of Potter's stomach that was exposed and shuffled clear into the bathroom.
A few minutes later, the door opened and out came a slightly more awake looking Potter. Draco had already ordered Flenchy to make Potter a cuppa, and he was still sipping his own while nibbling on his scones. Potter came over yawning, pulling out a chair but pausing when he saw what Draco had been staring at.
"Is that mine?" Potter asked pointing to the bag while cocking his head, his voice still a bit hoarse from sleep.
Without another word, Potter went to kneel by it, hands working the drawstring knot at the top. The blood had been washed from where it had been dried at his eye and hand, but there were still cuts present. Draco's eyes glanced over to the table by the couch, spotting Potter's wand lying there, looking almost lonely. His attention was shifted the moment a cup of tea was placed on the table, actually more closely to slammed, but not a drop was spilled. Apparently Flenchy was still harboring some ill feelings toward Potter.
"You're dismissed until diner," Malfoy instructed, and the elf Disapparated. Potter looked at him in a disapproving way, but remained quiet, digging back into his bag and pulling out the biggest, ugliest gray t-shirt he'd ever seen in his life.
"You are not wearing that in my house," he said turning up his nose.
"What does it matter what I wear?"
"I bought you decent clothes, Potter." He narrowed his eyes."Or are those not good enough for you."
"I think they're too good for me," Potter said, scrunching his face up."They're too nice. Plus, they're way too tight on me."
Draco made a show of rolling his eyes, but the brunet's attention was still focused on pulling out even more disgustingly gross clothes and laying them over his knee. Potter really was an idiot.
"For the love of- they're not tight."
"Whatever," Potter said dismissively, and Draco tried not to feel insulted as he took a few more gulps of his tea. Once finished, he rose to discard the teacup in the sink, tired of watching Potter pulling out the horrible muggle garments.
He placed his hands on the counter, feeling exhausted. Frowning as he felt a twinge of tightness in his back, he stretched his arms above his head, cupping his hands and pulling his back muscles. Merlin that felt nice. He turned, arms still in the air, and then froze as he realized Potter had been watching him, green eyes darting away quickly.
Draco's arms dropped limply to his side, as his heart rate speed up. Potter fiddled with the drawstring of the duffle bag for a moment before diving in again, still not looking in Draco's direction. Had Potter...
The air was tense, and Draco felt uncomfortably warm. He turned away from Potter, going to lean against the arm of the couch. Self consciously, he crossed his arms over his chest. Had Potter been looking at him, or had that simply been a product of his imagination?
Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Potter reach in and pull out two long, slim boxes that made Draco's chest clench unpleasantly and forget all about the odd moment. Wand boxes. Probably his, and the other was doubtlessly the much talked about Elder Wand. He couldn't decide which one Potter owning pissed him off the most.
From his peripheral vision, he watched as Potter lifted the lid of one box, just enough to peak in, then shoved it back inside his duffle bag. He lifted the second lid clear off, pulled out a ten inch Hawthorn wand that had Draco's chest nearly bursting, then stood up, ignoring the fact all the clothes he'd been balancing on his knee unceremoniously fell to the floor.
"Here, if you want it."
Draco just stared in disbelief at what was in Potter's hand. The cylindrical wood that was like a limb to him for over seven years of his life, the wand his fingers still itched for, was there in front of his eyes, being offered to him. Potter had kept it all this time, and now he was just handing it back. He didn't know if he was grateful or angry. A little of both.
His fingers reached out, just barely grazing the surface of the hawthorn, but that first touch was enough to throw him into an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. He remembered it connecting with his magic like one remembers the sensation ice being cold, fully ingrained in his mind.
"Thanks," Draco mumbled, but that word wasn't enough. Feeling his old wand in his hands again was indescribable. He was so happy he could kiss Potter.
A loud clack started him and he nearly dropped the wand. Potter was sitting opposite him now, frowning into his cup of tea, which he'd noisily dropped into its saucer like the low-brow barbarian he was. Half the contents of his duffle bag had ended up sprawled out on the table, including a toothbrush, not to mention the other half dumped onto the floor, but Draco kept his scornful comment about that to himself.
"What it is?" Draco asked, his fingers absentmindedly traveling up and down his wand, exploring the familiar groves of it.
"It's gone cold," Potter said studying it as if there was someway of getting it to warm up just by looking at it." I don't suppose you have a microwave you've been hiding."
"Never mind," Potter said with a chuckle."Muggle thing."
Draco looked thoughtfully at him as Potter took another sip and made a face of dislike before swirling the hawthorn wand and casting a heating charm.
Potter looked down at the now steaming cup."Thanks Malfoy."
He smiled at Draco, not big, but bright and honest, and it caused something warm to coil in his gut. But as soon as he glanced back over to Potter's own wand, he frowned. While he was at it, he summoned a pillow and blanket for the couch.
"So you want me to just follow you to work?" Potter's eyebrows crinkled and Draco had to smother a smile.
"Yes. I'll pretend to be pretending to show you around. You just have to pretend to be interested. That way I won't not have to not kick you out on the street."
"Wait..." Potter's eyes squinted in confusion.
This time, Draco couldn't help the smirk that curled on his face. He'd found messing with Potter's head was a fun activity he was starting to enjoy on a daily basis. Yesterday's was with unwarranted hurt looks that had Potter scrambling for apologies in which he wasn't sure what to say. Today's game was with words.
Potter wasn't too unbearable to live with. For the most part, he slept on the couch, and kept to himself. He was messier than Draco liked, but a few scathing comments about Potter's personal hygiene usually cured that. The best part was Draco's brilliant plans to screw with his head. Potter was just too easy sometimes.
"So I just have to go in to your work and pretend I'm fascinated by the owl post?" The brunet said, obviously giving up on completely working out what Draco had said.
Potter had only disappeared to go flying one other time and come back with his clothes ripped. Draco had Flenchy fix them this time, while he healed a fairly shallow cut on Potter's right shoulder. The fact that he got to see Potter shirtless was completely unimportant to him. He'd yet to see any magical accidents Granger had been talking about, but he wasn't too surprised. The magic usually had to build over a period of time it might be months before he witnessed one. He had to admit, he was a little curious to see what would happen. He was mentally prepared to forgive Potter if a piece of furniture blew up, or whatever this volatile magic would be.
"If you want. As long as you remember to act like we're mates."
Potter shrugged."I've had to do worse in my life."
Draco glared half-heartedly.
The more used to each other's company they got, the more they developed into a behavior of jaunting, although on a much less severe level. Potter's expressions were more guarded than back at school, and his temper heated up quite a lot around Draco. On the other hand, Draco found more sarcasm slipping out of his mouth than there had been in years. His scathing remarks might have been watered down a bit, but his tongue was still sharp and witty. At least, he'd like to think so.
"Are you sure you can manage to get up that early, or will it cut into all that beauty sleep."
Potter glared."I'm not the one who's concerned about my beauty, Malfoy."
"You're right. You must be sleeping that much in hopes that you'll permanently ingrain bed head as your natural hairstyle. I've got news for you, Potter; you've already succeeded in that."
"Excuse me for not being born with flat, limp hair like some people."
"Limp!" Draco huffed, his voice a little higher than dignified. He narrowed his eyes and fixed Potter with the iciest glare he could muster."I'm not limp."
Potter's eyebrows rose suddenly, his face flushing as it darted first to Draco's crotch then quickly away. Draco bit back his own blush, his heart slamming in his chest."My hair always has volume," he said with half the power of his normal voice.
"Yeah," Potter mumbled.
Draco knew an awkward silence would follow if he didn't quickly lead the conversation into something else, so he shifted where he was sitting, tucking one leg underneath him and tossing his arm over the back of the couch in what he hoped to appear as a relaxed position.
"Wear something I bought too, not your old clothes," Draco made a show of curling his lip up in disgust. They were beastly things, baggy and completely unflattering, hiding way too much of Potter's body. The git had taken to wearing them, rather than the items Draco had purchased. Only rarely did he see Potter don a new shirt or the jeans, showing off his body better. Not that Draco thought about Potter's body all that much, or what the clothes were hiding behind it.
"Why do you want me to meet your boss?" Potter said, shifting to face Draco more. He appeared to be staring at Draco's hand draped over the couch, which made it feel twitchy.
"Because I want to rub her face in the fact I personally know the wizarding world's hero."
Potter rolled his eyes.
Draco lifted his hand and ran it through his hair, ruffling it, still feeling self-conscious about Potter's flat hair comment. He'd thought he had managed to do it subtle enough, but there was a small curl in Potter's lips. Since when did he smirk?
"Fixing your hair for me?" Potter said, in a teasing tone of voice.
"Please. Why would I care what you thought about me?"
Potter lowered his face until his eyes were peering out from underneath their lashes. It took all of Draco's willpower not swallow nervously. The brunet glanced down Draco's chest for a moment, and his tongue darted out to wet his lower lip in what looked like a subconscious gesture. Draco's whole body started to buzz, feeling more energized than it had in months.
"Potter," he started to say something, but there weren't any words that followed as his mind drew a blank, distracted from the oddly husky sound of his voice.
Potter stilled completely, frozen where he was. Then slowly, yet in a way that was too quick for Draco's liking, his body shifted, leaning much too close.
The heat radiating off of Potter was like a furnace, burning Draco's body inside and out the moment they touched. Strong hands brushed his stomach, pausing at his initial jump in surprise, then sliding upward towards his chest. The tentative touch sent a tingling of pleasure along his skin.
Draco glanced up and was met with the most acute gaze he'd ever received from Potter's ghostly green eyes, all his attention focused fully on Draco. The feeling was rich, like his head was suddenly too foggy for rational thought.
Somehow things had changed all too soon. Draco didn't know what Potter was doing, hovering too close to him, touching him, but he couldn't do anything about it. He'd lost command of his body, the ability to use his arms to push Potter off, to form scathing words demanding what the prick thought he was doing. It was like Potter was a viper who'd struck him, paralyzing him, leaving him at his mercy.
No, it that wasn't right because he was leaning into the touch, his blood pumping so strongly in his veins it felt like his whole body was pulsing. His senses became only aware of Potter, his touch, his smell, his tan hands running down Draco's shirt. Potter shifted closer, his head coming near enough for a few black strands of hair to tickle Draco's cheek. Green eyes focused on his lips, which felt unbearably dry so he licked them, his mind completely hazed as he leaned a fraction of an inch closer.
Then suddenly it felt like he was spinning too fast on his broom, and before he could realize what he was doing, he had shoved Potter off him, clear onto the floor and cursed. Potter looked up, surprise dancing in his eyes, and Draco took a deep, shuttering breath as he reached out with his magical sense, feeling that there was a presence outside of his door.
"I'm sorry," Potter mumbled, and Draco glared down at him, not sure if he was mad at Potter for doing what he had, or if he was angry at being interrupted. Perhaps both.
"There's someone at my door," he said, his voice a little more horse than he'd have liked. He cleared it and straightened out his shirt. After a moment, Potter stood too, settling himself back on the couch and looking away from Draco. What had just happened was such a brief moment, and yet Draco had never felt so shaken, so utterly undone before.
With a tremble in his fingers, Draco reached for the doorknob, his other hand gripped tightly on his wand and he was trying to make himself focus on the fact that there was a stranger just outside his door. He couldn't even think of a defensive spell as he turned the doorknob, the presence of Potter so thick in his mind.
He cracked the door open, peering out.
There stood a familiar face he had no desire to see at the moment. Silky black hair, coffee brown skin, tight black t-shirt, he was going to kill him.
"Draco!" Blaise said cheerfully through a toothy smile."Whoa, why the sour face?"
Draco had done nothing to hide his irritation. In fact, he tried to amplify all he felt ten fold, focusing it into the most scathing expression he could manage, then turn it on Zabini. Unfortunately for him, they'd known each other since they were very young kids, and Draco's looks didn't ever work on him."What the fuck are you doing here?"
Zabini's smile fell and his eyes turned down in a saddened expression that Draco didn't buy for a second."She kicked me out. I did nothing but offer my purest love to her, and she still she turned me away."
"Uh huh." Draco sneered."Well, better luck next time."
He started to push the door shut, but Blaise stopped it with his hand."Oh come on, Draco. We both know how this goes, I beg you to stay, and you eventually cave in and let me."
"Not this time," he said, narrowing the opening of the door a fraction."I already have one unwelcome house guest. Go somewhere else."
A smirk played on Blaise's lips, one that rivaled his own. Bastard."Did Pansy get drunk again and pass out? The poor dear can't hold her liquor."
Draco closed the door a bit more, only to have Blaise to push back harder than he'd expected. The door swung open, revealing more than Draco had wanted the git to see.
Blaise's dark brown eyes widened until the whites showed and Draco knew he'd seen just whom it was sitting on his couch."Oh my god," he whispered."You finally fucked Harry Potter."
"I did not!" Draco squeaked rather undignified. Potter'd better not have been able to hear that. He lowered his voice."Potter just showed up here."
"And you didn't take the opportunity to fuck him?" Blaise gave him a look like he was the stupidest creature to ever walk the Earth. Draco started to list hexes in his head.
Potter cleared his throat, probably to bring attention to himself, and it worked.
"Hullo, Harry," Blaise said at normal volume, giving him a bright, charming smile."Long time no see. How have you been."
Looking a bit taken aback, Potter answered with a barely audible,"Fine."
He looked Blaise up and down in confusion, which Draco found to be reasonable. Blaise always acted like he was the best friend to everyone he talked to, and considering he and Potter hadn't probably ever spoke directly to each other in their entire life, it was an awkward situation to face.
"Well, Blaise," Draco said with a slight growl in his voice."As you can see, my place is all filled up."
"That's okay. Potter can sleep out here, and I'll share your bed," Blaise said in a silky tone, wrapping his arms around Draco's shoulders. Draco wanted to slap his arm away. Or maybe just slap Blaise. After what had just happened between Potter and him, he wasn't in the mood for Zabini's play-flirting.
Potter sat up a little straighter."Zabini can sleep out here with me, I don't mind."
"Ooh, even better offer," Blaise whispered into Draco's ear.
"Well I do mind," Draco said bitterly, and ignored it when Blaise gave him a curious look.
"Because I'm sick of free-loaders."
Blaise raised a knowing eyebrow that Draco didn't particularly like.
"Fine, you know what? Stay. Apparently my flat has become an inn to unwanted travelers."
"Thank you, Draco," Blaise said, giving his shoulder a squeeze."You're a saint."
"Flenchy's gone for the night, so if you're hungry, tough luck," he said, looking down at the hand on his shoulder. He shook it off, scowling.
"Aww Draco, I never knew you cared so much," Blaise said, smiling.
"Whatever." His lip turned up."I'm suddenly feeling very tired, and I have to go to work tomorrow, so I'm going to bed."
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Potter staring at the floor, completely void of emotion.
"You're leaving? I just got here," Blaise said, pouting.
Draco was shaken and not at his best. The last thing he needed to be around right now was a Slytherin who would be dissecting his every move.
"We'll have the party some other time," he said dryly, making his way across the room, trying his best to pace himself so it wouldn't appear as if he was running away. He was almost out of the room before Potter stopped him.
"What time do I have to get up?" he said, and Draco stared at him blankly, confused."To go to work, what time?"
Work. That's right, he'd finally asked Potter to come to work with him. Somehow, that seemed so long ago.
"Flenchy will get you up when it's time," Draco said over his shoulder.
He shut the door behind him, just barely restraining himself from slamming it. Placing both hands on either side of the sink, he stared at his reflection in the mirror, looking directly into gray eyes and frowning. After a moment, his body moved on its own, going through the motions of cleaning his teeth.
When he moved from the bathroom to his room, he could hear them both in there, laughing, and it made him sick. It certainly didn't take Potter very long to buddy-up with Blaise. So now he was just handing his friendship out to anyone who wanted it? Draco frowned. That's how it had always been, Potter would befriend anyone. Anyone except him.
He dropped to his bed, rubbing his eyes. How the hell had everything changed so drastically so quickly? Blaise had some really bad timing. Or maybe he didn't, maybe he'd just saved him and Potter from doing something they'd have really regretted. He wasn't sure how far that would have gone.
And he still wasn't sure how far he wanted it to go.
Sleeping wasn't the easiest thing to do. Draco couldn't imagine why, it just one of those mysterious nights where no matter what he did, he couldn't fall asleep. He couldn't get comfortable on his bed, his sheets were too hot on him, but it was too cold without them. Just because he kept getting up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, to go to the bathroom, and to make sure he'd warded the door and windows properly didn't mean he was checking out the happenings of the living room. If he noted every time that Potter and Blaise were in their perspective sleeping areas Potter on his couch and Blaise on the newly transformed coffee table, that was just a simple observation, and not reassurance for any worrying thoughts.
Draco woke up panting and hard and incredibly confused as to why Potter's head wasn't between his legs. That was, until he realized he'd just been dreaming. Merlin, he'd been dreaming.
It was still dark outside; he didn't have a clue of the time. Groaning, he turned over onto his stomach, which only exasperated the problem in his groin. He whimpered pitifully, forcing himself not to hump the mattress in desperation.
This was all Potter's fault. What the hell had he been thinking earlier? The reminder caused his hips to twitch forward, the delicious pressure rubbing the fabric of his pajamas against his sensitive flesh. He groaned, tucking his head in the crook of his arm and squeezing his eyes shut.
He couldn't do this, he shouldn't. It wouldn't be the first time he wanked while thinking of Potter far from it but doing it now was wrong. It just- he couldn't with Potter out there. With Potter and Blaise out there.
He rolled over, onto his back again. Each brush against his erection caused him to cringe as pleasurable tingles kissed up his spine. Stupid body.
It wasn't fair. The more he tried not to think of the dream, the more vivid the image became of Potter's lips stretching around his cock, eyes burning with lust.
Draco bit his lip, fingers gracing the skin right below his belly button, rubbing softly. Then his hand slipped lower, despite the voice of reason screaming in his head, and Draco knew he'd be ashamed of himself later.
As he wrapped his hand around the stiff flesh, he decided right now he just couldn't bring himself to care.
The look on his boss's face was priceless. Even more so from the way it had been frozen in place from when they'd arrived. Mouth parted, eyes so wide her forehead wrinkled.
"So er..." Potter said, standing almost flat against the wall as if trying to disappear in it. Draco could sympathize with how uncomfortable it would be to have his boss's stare fixed so eerily at him."Draco. This is where you work?"
Draco smirked. Potter had given up trying to talk to her after the only responses he'd gotten were a variety of high-pitched squeaks. It was also highly entertaining the way Potter kept saying Draco's first name, like it was a foreign word that he had to sound out carefully each time.
"You're Harry Potter," his boss said, and Draco couldn't fully hold back a snicker. He'd seen a fair amount of people mooning over Potter in his life, but he'd never seen someone as star-struck as his boss. It was a good thing he hadn't warned her about bringing Potter today, her being mentally unprepared was quite fun to watch.
"Yeah, last time I checked," Potter said with an embarrassed smile. She laughed then, too high and even to be natural.
"You saved us. You saved us from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," she said airily, as if just now realizing it.
Potter cleared his throat, pressing himself even closer to the wall."Not by myself. I had a lot of help."
For the briefest moment, Potter's eyes touched on Draco's figure and he could feel the heat rise on his neck.
"You're amazing," she breathed, sighing.
"Yes, he really is," Draco said, smiling smugly at her."But isn't it time we got to work."
She blinked slowly, as if the concept was completely new to her."I work here," she said, giggling.
"Well actually," Draco said, about to touch her elbow before deciding he didn't actually want to touch her anywhere. He stepped in front of her instead, blocking her view of Potter."You work out there."
She looked to where his finger was pointing, her smile slowly falling off her face. Blinking rapidly for a beat, she started to blush, ugly red splotches littering her cheeks."I should get to work."
"Hmm." Draco said in an agreeing tone.
She ducked her head around Draco, smiling once more."If you need anything, anything at all Mr. Potter, you come get me right away."
"We will," Draco assured, walking with her to the door while blocking her view of Potter the best he could. After another sickeningly long look at Potter over Draco's shoulder, she turned around the corner, thankfully leaving.
The clack of her heels down the hall were uneven, as if she kept pausing and pondering weather or not she should come back, but eventually they faded away.
"Your boss is weird," Potter said, tapping his skull."Not all quite there, huh?"
Draco smirked."That's what happens when faced with the charisma of the All Mighty Hero. You're as good as a confundus charm to people."
Potter glared."So this is all you do all day? Tie things to Owls?"
Jutting his chin up, Draco looked down his nose at Potter, unamused."When they're out delivering their items, I clean up after them too."
"Lovely," Potter said, his eyes scanning the droppings around the perches.
"It's a lot more than you do," he said defensively.
Potter shrugged, walking over towards a few owls on the perches. They stuck their legs out, thinking he was going to tie their pouches on. Dumb animals."Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind working with owls. Better than being stuck in front of a store all day, having people stare me like I'm some kind of freak in the circus."
Sitting down at his station, Draco chanced a quick glance over to Potter to see that his face had gone completely blank. He wouldn't be surprised if that was exactly what it had been like if Potter had tried to get a job. Anyone in charge of him, especially if they owned a business, would want to exploit Potter for further profit. Draco gritted his teeth as he picked up the first square of leather and tied it to a tawny owl.
"Why don't you just spell them onto the owls?" Potter said, nodding his head towards the box of coin pouches.
"By all means, why don't you give it a try? I'm sure the owls won't do more than scratch out your eyes if you use any magic on them."
Potter looked from the box to the owl right in front of Draco a few times before apparently losing interest and walking off towards the perches in the back. Draco focused again on his work, looping the leather strings through the metal ring, then tying the ends together with a sheet bend knot. It was the best knot he'd found, quick enough to tie onto the owl without them getting impatient, and equally as quick to release when they got back.
"You remind me of Hedwig," Potter said quietly, and Draco turned his head to see him stocking the wing of a snowy owl as it hooted contently. The way Potter spoke, it sounded like his owl had died, and Draco felt a little sympathy go out towards her. He'd seen her at school and she had been quite beautiful. Potter had seemed to really care about her too, at least from the way he'd give her scraps of his food whenever she showed up, and pet her gently. It made him think of his own owl, currently playing traitor by staying with his parents instead of him.
When he looked again, he tensed as he saw Potter now in front of the great horned owl, petting her chest.
"Careful, that one bites," he said, but Potter being the stupid idiot he was just kept on touching her. The owl tilted her head, rotating it until she was looking at Potter sideways. He watched as tan fingers slowly moved to her chest, gently stroking her soft feathers. Potter's sudden smile was warm and gentle and nothing like Draco had ever seen close-up before. His chest started to burn, and he had to tell himself that he was not jealous of that bloody bird. Leave it to Potter to make friends with the one that hated Draco.
"How'd it go?"
Draco's hand clenched tightly around his wand, arm muscles tense with the desire to stab Zabini in the eye. He was sitting on the couch Draco did not almost think of it as Potter's bed smiling in his charming way while reading Draco's paper. Shirtless. His chest was a lot more filled out than Draco's own, muscles well defined but not bulky. Still, it wasn't anything compared to Potter's, in Draco's opinion.
"Fine," he said, moving into the room so that Potter could step inside."I see you're making yourself right at home."
"Well, you know I have always considered this place as my second home."
"Is that so..." Draco tossed his cloak into the waiting hands of Flenchy. The elf bowed and shuffled behind him.
"Harry Potter sir?"
Draco peaked over his shoulder to see Potter removing his jacket and gingerly handing it over.
"Thanks," he said, embarrassment seeping into his words.
He wasn't sure when Potter had gone from 'Master's guest' to 'Harry Potter sir', but the elf seemed to be very accepting of Potter. He'd found them on occasions, talking together. He couldn't imagine a house-elf being much of a conversationalist, but Potter never seemed to mind. He didn't know what it was they talked about, but he'd caught a few sections of stories Potter told about the nine and three-quarters Platform gate not working for him in second year, rouge bludgers during a Quidditch game, even about a house by the coast. It irritated him that Potter would waste his war stories on the likes of Flenchy, but it wasn't like he really cared. Why would he care if Potter told his house elf about his war experiences and not Draco?
"Take a load off," Blaise said, looking at Potter with lowered eyelids and patting the couch next to him."It's exhausting work being paraded around all day like a trophy, isn't it?"
Glaring, Draco toed off his shoes."You would be familiar with extorting people," he mumbled under his breath.
"I didn't mind," Potter said with a shrug. Draco smirked satisfyingly at Blaise.
"Well anyway, its good to have you guys back. I was so terribly bored," Blaise said with a playful pout.
Draco's smirk shifted into a withering look."I'm so sorry my house the house I'm so graciously letting you stay in is boring."
"Apology accepted," Blaise said smiling."You really ought to expand your book collection, Draco. There's not one ounce of romance on that shelf over there."
Draco rolled his eyes.
"Even better, you should get yourself a Muggle telly." Blaise laughed charmingly."Don't look so horrified by the 'M' word. They're really quite fun. Aren't they, Harry?"
Potter glanced up from the corner of the kitchen he'd gone to stand in. His arms were crossed, lower back resting against the counter and looking particularly moody.
"Sure," he said, running a hand through his hair distractedly."I think I'll go take a shower before dinner."
"Take your time," Blaise said, which really was an odd thing to say in Draco's opinion, but Potter didn't acknowledge him as he shuffled off.
"Mmm, just imagine," Blaise said while looking at the direction of the bathroom."Potter's sexy body dripping wet. I wonder if I could make it look like an accident if I walked in on him..."
"Why don't you find out," Draco said bitterly.
"Do you think he got all hot and bothered seeing me?" he said, running a hand down his bare chest.
Draco narrowed his eyes and made himself uncurl his fists when he felt the finger nails digging into his palm.
"How long are you planning to stay?" he said, sounding more snappish than he'd intended. Blaise made a thoughtful noise.
"I don't know. I'm really enjoying my time here." As if to make a point, he glanced back to the bathroom and smirked.
"You have one week to find a new place before I kick you out."
Blaise chuckled, his eyes twinkling in an infuriating imitation of the late Dumbledore's."Does that deadline apply to Harry as well?"
Draco must have made some kind of expression, because Blaise broke out into a snickering laugh. Tugging on his collar, Draco hated the way he suddenly felt so self-conscious.
"Despite what you think, Draco, subtly is not your art."
"And that's suppose to mean what?"
Blaise stretched out on the couch, resting his neck on the back while his legs crossed at the ankles. There was a playful smile twitching on his lips."You've always been quite obvious when it came to Potter, whether you know it or not."
Sneering, Draco started to cross his arms, but decided placing his hands in the pockets of his trousers would appear less defensive."I'm sure it always has been rather obvious that I hate Potter. Don't mistake that I'm letting him stay here as a sign of concern."
Blaise raised an eyebrow.
"I owe him my life, that's the only reason." Draco fingered a few loose coins in his pocket as he strengthened the scorn in his sneer."I pity him. I despise him. That's all there is to it."
A slow, dangerous smirk slithered onto Blaise's face, a look of a cat right before it pounced on it's pray."You really hate Potter?"
"Yes," Draco snapped, feeling the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
"Really? That's not what it sounded like last night.
For a moment Draco stared at him in mild confusion before embarrassment and shame washed over him like a sudden downpour.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said, his voice a pitch higher than usual.
"I heard you," Zabini said, smiling deviously.
"I don't know what you thought you heard, but-"
"Moaning and groaning and writhing-"
"I was not writhing-"
"Ah! So you do admit it. Unless, could it be you were thinking of me instead?"
"No!" Draco snarled, just as he heard the metallic squeak of the shower being shut off. He took a deep breath as he glared down at Zabini, who was currently chuckling as he tucked his hands behind his head.
"Like I said, subtly isn't your art."
"Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about."
"I think I do," he said, uncrossing his legs."I think you like Potter. Or at least the idea of Potter on his knees in front of you."
Draco really hoped the heat in his face wasn't noticeable.
"Either way," Zabini continued."If you're not going to make a move, I am. Harry is looking very sexually frustrated and I certainly wouldn't mind helping him remedy that."
Just as Draco was opening his mouth, a venomous reply on his tongue, the bathroom door swung open and out walked Potter wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. Out of the corner of his eye, Draco could see Blaise craning his neck to get a good look.
"Where's my bag?" Potter mumbled, probably to himself as he scanned the room. The towel was just hanging there precariously.
"Here," Draco growled, spelling the blasted thing to shoot across the room and it hit Potter square in the chest. He caught it with a grunt, shot Draco a puzzled look, then, blessedly, turned back into the bathroom.
"Yummy," Zabini said as soon as the door clicked shut. Draco's fist trembled with the effort it took not to punch him square in his stupid mouth.
The sidewalks were shiny, the scent of rain still in the air as Draco walked back from work. It was refreshing, the breeze crisp and cool against his skin. He really did love being outside after a storm, there was nothing like it.
It would have been a very lovely walk, if it weren't for the bushy head of hair he kept spotting in the reflection of windows he passed by, trailing behind him. He suspected it was suppose to be a stealthy operation, but his follower made one hell of a lousy spy.
"Are you stalking me, Granger?" he said casually over his shoulder. He heard a muttered curse although, a very kiddy curse in his opinion and had to bite the corner of his mouth to keep from snickering. How on earth Potter and his friends remained undetected by the Death-Eaters hunting them during the war, Draco would never know. He suspected that it had a lot to do with Potter's invisibility cloak. That, or she was putting up to something, putting on a show on purpose, but he couldn't imagine her to be the cunning type.
"Hello, Draco," Granger said stepping out from behind a store sign that had barely been covering her at all. It was obvious that she'd decided to do the brave thing and confront him outright. She had a lot of audacity to call him by his first name, though. He tried not to glare as he nodded in recognition.
As she stood opposite him her eyes were kind, yet probing, and it was only from years of practice that he kept himself from fidgeting under such a strong gaze.
"Something you want?" he said, keeping his voice calm and as friendly as it was going to get with Granger.
"You mean your place."
Draco rolled his eyes as impatience started to win out over the amusement."Obviously."
"How is he?"
"Do you mean, is he dead yet?"
Her mouth tightened.
"Look, besides what you and Weasley must be imagining, Potter and I get along quite amenably. He sleeps most the day, we eat together, we might even talk a little bit. It's all very domestic."
"How did Harry convince you to let him stay with you?"
Apparently with Granger, one answered question meant a handful of new ones. Sighing, Draco shifted his weight to one hip and crossed his arms, resigning himself to answering enough to get her to leave him alone.
"What do you mean?" Draco smirked."He asked me, and, being the nice guy I am, I let him stay out of the kindness of my heart."
Granger's lips pursed even tighter, her eyes dripping with suspicion."Was it because he got you out of Azkaban early?"
The world around Draco suddenly blurred. Thoughts vanished from his mind, leaving only vague images of Azkaban and Potter flashing through it. Cold bars, gray stones, darkness, smells of decay and then Potter, pulling him away from that, saving him from the panic.
"He didn't tell you?" she said in a pitchy whisper. Her face was a mix of terror and annoyance, as if she couldn't decied whether she should be mortified by the fact she had betrayed Potter's secret, or angry that Potter hadn't done it himself.
He could see why Potter hadn't said anything. He understood the way the git thought, he always downplayed his heroic actions and he was uncomfortable of having people praise him. He probably hadn't said anything to Draco to try and prevent things from being even more awkward between the two of them. Though, he wished Potter had.
Draco, slowly regaining his senses, wanted to curse at himself. It had been quite a bombshell Granger had dropped, but if he'd acted like he'd already known that, he might have gotten her to talk more about it. Too late for that now. His best option was to act as if that news wasn't important and hope that she either reacted by proving to him it was by going into details, or seeing that it wasn't a big deal and she didn't need to be so tight-lipped about it.
"No, he didn't," Draco said with a shrug, trying to loosen the sudden tension in his body so that he would appear nonchalant and board.
"Never mind," Granger mumbled, shoving a mass of frizzy hair behind her ear only to have to fall forward again. Damn, she was going to avoid the topic all together. Draco changed tactics.
"Why would he do that? Why did he?"
"You'd better ask him," she said predictably. As much as he'd like to pursue the topic, he backed off, knowing the more he prodded Granger for information, the more she was likely to close up about it. It was too bad, she was a better bet to learn about what happened than Potter. In the old days, Draco might have been able to taunt the information out of Potter, but lately the brunet had been acting too compliant.
"What do you want?" he said after a moment of silence stretched out between them.
She straightened."I want reassurance that you're actually taking care of Harry."
"Potter doesn't need me to take care of him," he paused, fighting back the smirk that wanted to form on his lips as he said the thing he knew would really piss her off."He's got my house-elf for that."
As he'd predicted, Granger's lips pressed so close together all the color rushed right out."I'm watching you, Malfoy." She said in a huff, and spun as if to dissapparate. Unfortunately for her, they were still in the anti-apparation wards. Her brows drew in as confusion fitted across her face, then after a scowl at him, Granger stalked away, rubber souls of her shoes slapping loudly against the wet concrete.
He snickered as he watched her turn the corner. Was he supposed to be afraid of her? Silly girl.
Draco was sitting on his kitchen counter, legs dangling like a child as he ate the sweetest, richest chocolate pudding Flenchy could make. He wouldn't usually indulge himself in such uncultured behavior but, well... he'd been in a sour mood all day and wasn't in the frame of mind for practicing his lessons of propriety from his upbringing.
He spooned another bite of pudding, the creamy sweet rolling over his tongue in the most wonderfully delicious way. He closed his eyes, savoring the taste and letting it distract him from his bad mood. Bless Flenchy and his cooking abilities.
Potter had been gone when Draco had woken. Either he'd run off to wherever it was he sometimes disappeared to, or he was with Zabini. Draco couldn't decide which one irritated him more. Either Potter had gone flying for who knows how long and would come home exhausted enough to pass out for hours, or he was with Zabini alone. Probably getting fed all of his pathetic romance lines. When it came to Blaise, he had more moves than a wizard chest board.
Not that Draco particularly cared. Why would he? Blaise could go after whoever he wanted. Potter probably was sexually frustrated, and that's why a couple nights ago he had done what he did. Draco didn't care. Not one bit.
Just as he was poking sullenly at his pudding, he heard the fireplace blaze, followed immediately by a very loud thump and cursing.
Without craning his neck to see past the separating wall, Draco knew who it was. Potter was the only wizard who apparently couldn't master not falling on his ass whenever he used the floo.
A moment later the brunet came into view, ash littering his wind-whipped hair. Draco's fingers itched to brush it out before he frowned at the ridiculous thought.
"Welcome back," he said, a touch of sarcasm in the words.
"What are you eating?" Potter asked as he unzipped his jacket and casually threw it over the back of a dinning chair. Draco's grip tightened on his bowl.
"None of your business."
Potter blinked blankly at him before approaching, obviously lacking any proper etiquette when it came to personal space. From this close, Draco could recognize the usual fatigue Potter had after his flying sessions, but there was also something lively about him, like the energy around him was completely untamed. It didn't appear as if he'd tired himself out as much as he usually did. His clothes weren't torn, no cuts on his face. Draco was pleased to see that he didn't look as if he had been as reckless as he usually was.
Potter put both hands on either side of Draco's thighs, bowing his head to peer into the bowl. Draco's heart thumped loudly in his chest as the other's presence was suddenly so prominent.
"Potter, you have the manners of a dog," he said, putting the bowl off to the side. He expected Potter to back off, but he remained, and when Draco looked up he had to keep his breathing steady as their eyes locked. Despite a somewhat expressionless face, Potter's eyes had an unnerving intensity in them.
"You're always such a mess," Draco said as his fingers reached up of their own accord, brushing the gray soot out of black hair.
The air around Draco felt charged, buzzing against his skin as Potter's eyes moved about his face, something hungry emerging inside them as they fixated on his lips. Draco's hand fell to his side once again, still tingling where it had touched the dark strands.
Potter made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat as his lower stomach brushed against Draco's knees. He moved in closer, pressing their bodies closer together, foreheads merely an inch away. Draco could smell the earth on Potter, the sweetness of dried leaves, the freshness of grass, all mixed with the saltiness of his sweat.
It would just take one little shove, a hand pushing at the center of Potter's chest and all this would end before Draco dug himself into a mess. Instead, he allowed his legs to open slowly, accepting Potter closer to his body, shivering at the feel of his hips dragging gently against Draco's inner thighs. The heat of embarrassment flooded to his cheeks, but it was nothing compared to the heat rushing to the lower parts of his body.
Potter's breath shuddered against his lips, but a twinge of disappointment spiked through Draco's body as Potter turned his head, grazing his nose against Draco's cheek. Not knowing what to do with his hands, but wanting to do something, he placed them on Potter's shoulders. It felt awkward and forced, but it prompted Potter to move his own hands to Draco's thighs, sliding up them erotically, and that was wonderfully warm.
Draco shifted closer to the edge of the counter, pressing their bodies tighter together, and the heat between them was almost unbearable. Lips grazed a sensitive spot just behind Draco's ear, and his fingers flexed, moving up until they were tangling with black hair. Potter leaned into the touch, like a kitten starved for attention, arching his neck and exposing the bump of his Adam's apple.
As if a primitive part of him had taken control, Draco moved without thought, pressing his lips against Potter's chin, the corner of his mouth, then tentatively against Potter's own lips. It was just a brush, quick and gentle, but it awoken something inside both of them.
Their mouths connected again, more hungrily. Potter's lips parted underneath his own, a probing tongue slipping out. He answered with his own, opening his mouth wider and slanting his head to deepen the kiss.
The wrestling of tongues was heightened by the mingling of their quickened breathing. Strong hands squeezed his thighs, eliciting a moan that was echoed in Potter, vibrating against both their lips.
Draco slid even closer, and Potter moved a hand to rest on Draco's lower back, fingers just barely grazing against his arse as their hips met. The feel of their erections touching was the single most arousing moment of Draco's life so far. And then it was nothing compared to the way Potter ground their hips together and moaned torturously.
"Malfoy," Potter whispered against his lips, sounding eager and frustrated while he repeated the action. Pulses of pleasure thrummed through Draco's lower body, shooting up his spine as the harsh fabric of his trousers brushed against him again and again.
Both teens froze as the silky deep voice carried from the other room. Cursing to himself, Draco shoved Potter away and leapt down from the counter. With shaky hands he brushed off his chest, heart thumping as he could still feel Potter pressed against him his lips, his hands.
Just as Blaise slaughtered into view, Draco had the wits to wrap his robes around his waist.
"There you are," Blaise said, smiling so wide his cheeks dimpled. Stupid, dimple-smiling, cock-blocking bastard. He was going to kill him.
Draco's gaze shifted to Potter for a minute, who he noted with some relief had grabbed his jacket and was now holding it casually in front of himself. For a moment, Draco's spine prickled with worry that Potter was somehow going to give them away, but then he realized Blaise was studying him, and Draco had to quickly reign in any emotions that had been showing on his face.
"So what's going on? Having a snack?" Blaise eyed the bowl on the counter.
"I was," Draco sneered."Until I was interrupted."
Potter's eyes remained fixed on the table, his expression completely blank as Blaise chuckled happily.
"Pudding? You have such a sweet tooth," he said, throwing his arm around Draco's waist and pulled him close in one smooth movement. Draco's gray eyes narrowed dangerously and he prepared to elbow the idiot in the ribs when a loud crack suddenly echoed throughout the room. He jumped and felt Blaise tense next to him. They spun around, still connected and stumbling slightly. Potter was standing over the table, his eyebrows low and his mouth tight, looking like a child who'd just got caught doing something he wasn't suppose to. Below him, the table had a new, deep gouge in a zigzag pattern right down the middle.
"Sorry," Potter mumbled, clearing his throat and keeping his eyes lowered. Draco's gaze traced the new mark with fascination. The gouge itself wasn't that impressive any idiot could cut wood but he could see the magic that had caused it still lingering, lighting the table's wound in an eerie green color much like the Killing Curse. Or Potter's eyes.
"Wow Harry, you must not know your own strength," Blaise said in a light, teasing voice. From under his black fringe, Potter looked up with gratefulness in his eyes and Draco felt a prickle of anger touch his chest. He shoved Blaise away as a cold burn settled in his stomach. Although what he was getting so worked up about, he couldn't say.
"I'll buy you a new one," Potter said."Eventually."
It had been a magical accident, Draco was sure. He'd been expecting them since Granger's letter, but a very small, protective part of him regretted it had happened in front of Zabini.
"Nothing that a little reparo won't fix," Blaise said, pulling out his wand and casting the spell. Nothing happened.
Draco snickered."Wow Blaise, you're amazing."
"Just leave it. It's not reversible," Potter said irritably. Draco eyed the scar now on his table. He suspected the only one powerful enough to remove it would be Potter himself, and considering he never liked to use magic, he doubted that was going to happen any time soon. Then he blinked in surprise as Potter suddenly disappeared.
"Wow, no manners," Blaise said tusking. Draco gave him a dark look then peered down, glowering at his kitchen counter.
"I better get going too," Blaise said, stretching his back.
"But you just got back."
The other boy shrugged."I just came back to change for tonight."
Blaise smiled deviously."A gentleman never tells."
A few moments later, Draco found himself just as alone as he'd been a few minutes ago, agitated.
"Great, Blaise is going out to screw someone out of their money, and Potter's moodily gone out to fly again."
"Harry Potter doesn't go flying," Flenchy said appearing at his right, high voice sounding more upset than usual. Draco blinked in surprise, at first thinking the elf had somehow read his mind before he realized he had just said all that out loud.
"Of course he does," Draco said, narrowing his eyes.
Flenchy shook his head."No, no, no."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Flenchy saw it," the elf said, grabbing his ears and pulling so hard it looked as if he'd tear them clean off."Harry Potter took Flenchy to see Dobby's grave."
Dobby? The old Malfoy house-elf that had helped Potter that night at the manor? "What does that have to do with flying?"
"Then Harry Potter walked into the storm." The elf shook his head quickly, squeezing his large eyes shut tightly. "Mistress Malfoy ordered Flenchy to watch over Harry Potter, but Flenchy was too scared!"
"What do you mean, he walked into a storm?" Draco hissed in confusion.
"It was all around him. Harry Potter called it."
Called it? He summoned a storm? Then it hit Draco. A storm around Potter, one that he created. It was a magical accident. Every time he'd thought Potter was out flying, he'd been letting his magic go crazy to its hearts content. If he called storms with his uncontrolled magic then Potter was even more powerful than Draco had thought. Affecting nature itself with magic was no small feat.
A desire coiled in his chest. He wanted to see it. He wanted to see Potter's magic uninhibited.
"Take me to him."
Flenchy shook his head, knobby hands gripping at his ears.
"Flenchy can't. Flenchy can't!" the elf shrieked.
"Yes, Flenchy. That's an order."
The elf wailed, pulling on his ears until they turned red, then went completely white. Draco waited. He knew the elf just had to ride it out, like a toddler tiring itself after a tantrum. He could wait.
As soon as he emerged at his destination, Draco was hunching over and covering his eyes as a vicious wind screamed at him. It'd been a bit alarming, going from the calm quiet of his flat to a raging windstorm, so it took him a moment to get his wits about him. He cast an eye protective charm and raised his head to look at his surroundings.
"We shouldn't be here, master!" Flenchy squeaked, barely audible. Draco looked down at the elf, appearing decidedly pathetic while squatting with his hands over his head like a scared animal cowering before a storm.
"Master?" Flenchy looked up unsure, his big round eyes watering with the effort to keep them open.
"I'm staying. You go."
"Go!" He shouted, and the elf disappeared, leaving Draco in the furious storm alone. No, not alone Potter was out there somewhere.
Water droplets pierced through the air, hitting the exposed skin of his face, his neck, his hands, just like a stinging curse. He pulled out his wand to cast a water-repelling spell, but the next instant a pulse of powerful magic filled the air. His wand crackled, red sparks flying from its tip.
The wind was savagely thrashing about, unforgiving in the way it pushed across his body, tearing at his clothes with rocks and leaves and other debris, nicking at his skin. His eyes strained to see around him, to look through the rain and the heavy glow of magic. He felt disoriented, lost. He had no where to anchor his view but then something flashed in front of his vision, too fast for his eyes to track. Lightening? No, it was as if fire itself had streaked across. Another flash, and this time his eyes were able to follow, straight to a small dot in the horizon.
Potter was a lone figure standing in pure chaos, his magic heavy in the air like a thick fog, blinding, all-encompassing. It was uncapped and out of control, feeding itself into the forces of nature, amplifying them.
"Potter!" Draco shouted, but the wind blew harshly, shoving the name back at him.
He pushed his way past the hissing wind as the tall grass beat at his shins. A piece of debris flew past his arm, slicing open his sleeve as if it were a sharp knife through paper. The wind screamed through the trees, stripping their leaves from them, pulling their branches down. It came at him like a wave, crashing over him, consuming him, and he had to fight with all his strength to remain upright.