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25 December 2012 @ 12:41 pm
Author: alafaye
Recipient: The hd_holidays community!
Title: The Thread Between Then and Now
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco
Summary: Enough is enough. They're Unspeakables and they were better than this.
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): A little angst, a little ust
Epilogue compliant? Not at all
Word Count: 8034
Author's Notes: Thanks to my beta, lucisaurora who helped make this plot flow and the characters stay in character.



"Neon green robes?" Kismarthy seethed. He slammed a folder on the desk as he walked around it and leaned forward, glaring at the two men--children--in front of his desk. He began saying something, then stopped. He tried again, but failed to decide which words would have the best impact.

"What part of 'Unspeakables' do you two not understand?" he finally asked, tone deadly in its quiet.

The two Unspeakables looked at the floor and one of them shuffled his feet. Kismarthy sat with a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers. "This is the third incident in as many months. This has to stop. No one is supposed to know what we do or in what manner!"

They were both silent and Kismarthy sat back. When they had first been assigned to work together, his office had echoed with their defiant cries for weeks after and the months that followed--despite how well they could and did work together--brought many headaches to Kismarthy. Though both of them could act like an Unspeakable--discreet and quiet, unseen and bland--there had been four too many cases at the beginning that exposed the department. What was more, when their reports were turned in, they were filled with an obvious dislike of the other and a potentional rift that could have caused them to return to single agents.

How they settled down, he didn't know, but he had been grateful they had.

However, the last weeks saw the return of their arguments. And his headaches.

Enough, Kismarthy decided. He pushed the folder toward them and flipped it out. "This is a professional retreat in Switzerland. For the next two weeks, you will be there, sharing a room and meals. We've already sent a message ahead so they are expecting you and will make sure you two stick together."

"What are we looking for there?" Malfoy asked, looking over the information. Potter was looking over his shoulder.

Kismarthy smiled and sat back in his chair. "You won't be looking for anything." They looked up, confused. "You'll be learning how to get along. Fix whatever it is that gets in your way of working together like civilized adults."

"Can't we just be assigned different partners?" Potter asked.

"No," Kismarthy said.

Malfoy wrinkled his nose and set the folder back on the desk. "I fail to see why not. I know we do have a good success rate, but surely there are better suited partners for us."

"Too bad," Kismarthy said. "This is an order--not just from me, but from above. You are going to Switzerland. You will get along. Sort out what needs sorting out. Am I clear?"

They glared at each other before mumbling an assent. He dismissed them and as they left, he shook his head.

~~~

The retreat was a chalet with only a few visible floors, nestled into a valley in the Northern Alps. The nearest sign of civilization was the village they'd been brought to after the portkey had left them at the Swiss Ministry. That had been five hours ago. Harry supposed that if it was meant to be a retreat, it would make sense to have it far away from anything.

"Gods, I hope it's warm in there," Draco muttered, stomping his feet. "Do you think the heat even works in that blasted vehicle?"

Harry shrugged and picked up his bag. "Maybe they're just used to the cold."

Draco renewed his warming charm silently and lead the way into the chalet where, much to Draco’s relief, a roaring fireplace stood a few feet from the doorway. To the left of it was the reception desk. The floors were all wood, save for the rug between the door and the fireplace. On the right side was a staircase and a hallway leading to the back plus the entrance to a library. It was cosy in its own way.

"Hello," the receptionist greeted. "Welcome to The White Cabin. My name is Mary. How can I help you?"

"Uh, we have reservations," Draco said. "Not sure what they'll be under, but I'm Draco and this is Harry."

"Oh, the boys from Britain, yes," she said brightly. "I was hoping you'd get here soon--they're predicting a storm for tonight."

"Lovely," Draco muttered under his breath.

"Now, I just need you boys to sign in here," she said, presenting them with a book and quill. She took a key off the shelf as they did so. "Now, let me show you around the place. All of the staff know that you are to be constantly in the company of one another, though we are allowed to make a concession if one of you is asleep."

She pointed to the library as they passed it going down the hallway. "The library is always open and someone is always at the front desk. You are welcome to read any of the books and please help yourselves to the bar in there--it's stocked with both wines, spirits, and fruit juices." Down the hallway, another entrance opened to a dining room, scattered with round tables filled with various numbers of seats. At the back of the room was a full length table.

"Breakfast is served between six and ten, lunch between eleven and one, a small snack between two and four, and dinner is served five to seven thirty. But you can eat as you want and when you please. There is always someone in the kitchen so just let the front desk know if you get hungry when there isn't a meal being served."

They turned a corner where a staircase led upstairs and then the back of the cabin opened up into a large sitting room, the back of which was all glass, giving them an amazing view of the mountains. The room was filled with chairs and couches, two fireplaces, and several coffee tables. Plants and books and knick knacks were spaced here and there.

"A common sitting room if you ever wish to interact with our other guests," Mary said. "Right now, there's only two others, but they keep to themselves. We're expecting a few more--the holidays are very busy for us. On Saturday, we'll be putting up our Christmas decorations--you're very welcome to join us. Our tree goes in the middle of this room here and I've been told that it's going to be a tall one this year."

She pointed to a staircase in the corner. "Down there is our pool, sauna, and spa. All come with the package you were set up with so go ahead and take advantage of it, though please make sure to make an appointment for the spa or masseuse at the front desk. Now, how about your room?"

Up the stairs, she continued. "This staircase and the one in front will both lead you up to the first floor where you are. There's only one floor above you where we have a small outside patio that you are welcome to. I don't recommend it because of the weather, but you can if you'd like."

Four hallways lead off of the central entry way on the floor and they walked down the one of their right. She stopped them in front of number seven and opened it with a smile. A small sitting room of a fireplace, two chairs, a coffee table, and a desk greeted them. The bathroom was on the left and beyond the sitting room was the bedroom.

Mary had turned on all the lights and she presented them with the key. "A maid will come along each morning to collect any dirty linens--though of course you can ask her not to. She will also collect anything you'd like to be sent to our laundry service which includes dry cleaning." She pointed to a string by the fireplace. "If you pull this here, a bell rings downstairs in the kitchen and someone will be up shortly. We do encourage people to use the downstairs dining room, but you don't have to. You can eat here if you'd prefer."

She smiled. "Now, any questions?"

Harry was overwhelmed and shook his head. Draco, though, got from her more details than Harry had even thought of--such as the hours for the pool, what newspapers were delivered, and where they sourced their drinks. He went into the bedroom and set his bag on one of the beds. There were two full size, each with their own bedside table and lamp. There were two dressers and a chair in the corner. They had a sliding door on the far wall which led to a small sitting area.

"Well, isn't this cosy," Draco said as he joined Harry. The outer door closed and they were left alone.

"Could've been worse," Harry said. "We could have been sent on some workshop kind of event."

Draco shuddered. "Don't say that. When we get back to Britain, the Ministry will have decided to make that kind of thing mandatory."

Due to being part of the Department of Mysteries, the Unspeakables rarely held team meetings or small office celebrations. Harry only knew of two others who worked at the department and one of them was Kismarthy. Harry loved his friends and was a social kind of person, but he and Draco both agreed the lack of forced social interaction was a bonus to working for the department.

"So, how are we supposed to figure out how to get along?" Harry asked cautiously.

Draco glared. "I spent all of last night packing my bag and I spent today wrapping up my work and travelling. I am going to have a shower, book an appointment with the masseuse and then rest."

As Draco then stormed off, Harry decided it had to be. He let out a breath and fell back on the bed, arms stretched out. It was going to be a long two weeks.

~~~

Ahead of the storm, an Owl dropped off a package for them. Mary left it and as Draco made arrangements to have several appointments with the masseuse; Harry opened the package. He frowned when it was a folder--or, rather, several of them. He set them on the low coffee table and opened the first. "Look at this."

Draco padded over. "Is that--"

"The cases where we exposed either ourselves or the department," Harry said. He tapped his finger on the first folder. They were, of course, in order of date; the department's archivist, Elizabeth, was very meticulous. They would both have to make sure the folders were sent back in the same order or she would be after their heads. "Do you think we shoud look them over?"

"For what?" Draco asked, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow.

Harry shrugged. "So we can see where we went wrong?"

Draco narrowed his eyes. "'Where we went wrong?'"

"What?" Harry asked, confused.

Draco snorted. "There is no we about it."

Harry squared his shoulders. "Are you saying it was all my fault?"

Draco smirked. "Well, you said it, not me."

Harry took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and counted to ten. When he opened his eyes, he grit out, "Regardless of who is at fault, we should still look at them."

"How many are there?" Draco asked. "I don't want to spend the entire two weeks--where we are at a lovely retreat--going over what we could have done differently."

Harry narrowed his eyes. "Seven."

Draco drummed his fingers on his arm. "And we're just going to look them over and see what happened?" Harry nodded. "Right then. Let's look over the first one."

December, 2015

Harry tipped his head once at Malfoy as he approached Kismarthy's door. He raised his hand to knock, but paused when Malfoy stopped behind him. "Problem, Malfoy?"

Malfoy lifted a single eyebrow, cool and composed. "I am here for my assignment, Potter. What are you doing?"

Harry gritted his teeth. "You can't be. I'm here for my assignment."

Malfoy scoffed. "You? An Unspeakable? I hardly believe it, Potter. You were never that good at anything but rash, stupid decisions."

Harry smirked. "Seems like I can defy your expectations. I am an Unspeakable and I am here for my assignment."

Malfoy opened his mouth to retort, but the door swung open on its own. "In here, now!" Kismarthy bellowed.

Harry shoulder Malfoy out of the way and entered the room first. "Malfoy says he's here for an assignment, but I thought I was getting mine. Which is it?"

Kismarthy raised an eyebrow, amused. "You are. Sit, both of you."

Harry narrowed his eyes and sat, but his mind was racing. Surely he wasn't going to have to work with Malfoy? Anyone who knew them, knew they got on like oil and water in the middle of a fire.

"It is usually the nature of our work here to work independently," Kismarthy said, "but for the foreseeable future, you will be working together."

Harry jumped up, shouting, but he doubted he could be heard--Malfoy had added his own at Kismarthy's announcement. Kismarthy quickly cast a Silenco over them both and bound them to their seats. He glared at them each in turn.

"Regardless of how either of you feel about it, you will be working together," he said. "Your magic is in tune and each of you excel in areas where the other doesn't. We've been watching your cases and if you can learn to actually work instead of fighting, you'll find that we're right."

He opened a folder and turned it to face them. "We have several disappearances in Cornwall only to have rumours of those missing turning up in the middle of the night, moaning and stumbling. A scan of the area has turned up magic that we've not seen since the last century when a wizard tried to resurrect the art of necromancy. You will both go and find out what's going on. Understood?"

Present

"This is the one where we completely blew our cover," Draco muttered.

"Where we refused to work together?" Harry said sarcastically. They had found a witch who had been kidnapping Muggles to use for her experiments in necromancy. She had been hoping to find a way to resurrect her late husband. Harry excelled at tracking--a skill he'd perfected when he had followed Draco around the school in their sixth year--but Draco had tried another way, leading them to several dead ends and on the receiving end of glares and the like from Muggles.

Two days in, they had their first run in with one of the resurrected Muggles and ended up creating a light show in front of several drunk teens that they hadn't thought to check for, too busy arguing. When they found the witch three days later, they had practically blown their cover in front of the entire town.

"This one is easy," Draco said. He headed a piece of parchment and put on the far left which case it was and the date. He wrote down "first time working together--obvious".

Harry smirked. "We didn't do that bad after that."

Draco hummed. He stretched his arms over his head and Harry looked away, to keep himself from starring at the bit of skin bared when Draco did so. "It's about time for dinner--shall we?"

Harry cleared his throat and nodded.

~~~

The next morning, Draco was awake before Harry and had ordered them both breakfast. He had the next file opened and was frowning at it.

"What is it?" Harry said through a yawn. He scratched at his stomach as he shuffled toward the chairs.

Draco looked up and then quickly looked back down. Harry thought he saw Draco blush, but decided that it had to be from the fire. He snagged a pastry from the tray and poured a cup of coffee.

"This was our next case," Draco said, "when the clean up squad had to separate us."

Harry frowned as he struggled to remember what they'd done.

February

"Well, well," Malfoy said, picking up something from the ground.

Harry looked over. "What is it? Something we missed?"

Malfoy grinned and waved the paper. It looked like a newspaper, but Harry couldn't tell since the street lamps still weren't working right. "Oh, no. This looks likes last week's Prophet, Potter."

Harry scowled and held out his hand. "Give it here."

"I don't think I will," Malfoy said. "Do you know, I stopped subscribing to this rubbish ages ago. Wish I hadn't now."

Great, Harry thought. It would be the Prophet from the day when his break up with Ginny had been discovered. He stomped over and pulled the paper from Malfoy's hands. "It none of your business then what's in it." He burned it completely and turned away.

"I rather think it is when it concerns my partner," Malfoy teased. "Who knew that the Saviour didn't have it in him to keep even a Weasley?"

Harry closed his eyes. The break up had been painful and Ginny being seen with Michael Corner had been worse. Hadn't taken her long, had it, to find someone else?

"Not man enough for her, Potter?"

That did it. Harry turned and jumped Malfoy.

Present

"Well, you were a right git," Harry muttered. He reached for the cart and put together a breakfast of eggs and toast.

"I concede that I might have done something different," Draco said cautiously.

"Like not pouring lemon juice into my wounds?" Harry said, mock sweetly.

Draco frowned. "Come on, Harry. It wasn't that bad."

"You insulted me!" Harry said hotly.

"And your next lover proved you were certainly man enough," Draco said with a wink.

Harry flushed and coughed. "Doesn't matter."

Draco shrugged and made a note on his sheet. "So, no clear pattern yet why we're not getting along." He tapped his lip with the quill and Harry, unable to stop, watched. "Shall we move on to the next one?"

Harry coloured, having no trouble this time remembering the next time.

April

"Potter, what the hell are you doing?" Malfoy hissed. He looked around them, at the flashing lights and the DJ in the corner and the writhing mass in the middle of the floor.

Harry mimed "one minute" to the man he had been talking with--and likely getting a one-night stand from--and pulled Malfoy away to a corner. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Looks like you're blowing our cover," Malfoy said.

"We're in the middle of a Muggle club!" Harry said. "It's not likely anyone is going to recognize us and even if they did, they'd probably be too afraid we'd notice him." Despite the forward thinking of most of the younger generations, the wizarding world still treated homosexuals as "others" and those who came out were likely to face discrimination. If anyone did notice Harry, they wouldn't spill, afraid of being exposed themselves.

"And we're on a case!" Malfoy returned hotly.

"We're not meeting our informant until tomorrow afternoon," Harry said. "So in the meantime, I am going to get laid. Excuse me."

Present

Draco frowned. He sat back and crossed his arms. "I want to say that this one was your fault."

Harry sighed. "I know. I should've known better."

Draco smirked. "Who knew our informant was a squib addicted to potions?"

The informant had been a disgraced and exiled squib from a prominent and popular wizarding family. For generations, they had produced powerful wizards and witches until Gerald. When no owl came bearing a letter of acceptance to a wizarding school, his family had given him a small sum of money and left him to be raised with a distant acquaintance of little importance. Despite being barred from the city's wizarding districts, he had found his way into the darker parts of it--much like Knockturn Alley--and found employment.

He had been at the club, enjoying a night out with some friends, and he had seen Harry and Draco both. He provided them with the information they needed to crack an illegal trade on stolen magical essences, but at the end, tried to blackmail both of them. When they hadn't responded and turned to go report him, he'd become violent. The fight had spilled over into the street where the shop trading the essences had been, brawling there in front of the wizarding world. Someone had seen the inside of the shop, the wall having broken during the fight, and the next thing anyone knew, reporters were swarming everywhere.

"I believe you were the reason they made it a rule that the moment you leave your home for an assignment, regardless of where or when you'll be meeting anyone, you must be in some way disguised," Draco teased lightly.

Harry half smiled, unable to stop himself. It hadn't been something bad--he'd broken no laws going to the club or going home with someone, but it had caused the case to become public knowledge. Harry didn't doubt that witches and wizards would be careful for years to come about who they let in their homes or cut their hair or whatever for fear of having their magic taken.

"Mark it down as my fault," Harry said. "It's fine."

Draco shrugged and wrote it down, adding "blackmailed" to it. "Well, that's that. Our appointment with the masseuse is in fifteen. Shall we?"

~~~

Harry wrapped his towel tighter around his waist. He looked at Draco out of the corner of his eye, noting how cool and relaxed his partner looked. Candles that were meant to be soothing were lit up around the room, a small fountain trickled in a corner, and from somewhere, harp music was being piped into the room.

"This is supposed to be relaxing?" Harry asked.

"Sorry, they were all out of glitter and strobes," Draco teased.

Harry rolled his eyes. "You enjoy it as much, you pillock."

Draco stuck his tongue out and smirked.

May

"Potter?" Malfoy asked dimly.

Harry blinked. In a town the size of London, how had he managed to find the same club that Malfoy had? And for that matter why was Draco here? "Thought you were straight?"

Malfoy flushed and coughed. "Bi, actually."

Harry nodded. "Right. I'll just--"

"Yeah. Yeah--that way. I'll be there. Minding my own business."

Harry started walking away, but turned around. Malfoy's blond hair made him stick out like a sore thumb, but he easily mingled with the crowd. He let himself be pulled tight against a red head and began dancing. Harry watched, cock filling, as the dancing quickly became something more heated. He flushed and looked away. A man with blue hair caught his eye and he quickly made his way over.

Present

"When did you know?" Harry asked, stirring from the memories.

Draco frowned. "Know what?"

"That you were bi?" Harry asked.

"Does it matter?" Draco settled himself on his stomach, arching his back and then settling down, head pillowed on his arms.

Harry looked away, discreetly covering his towel where his cock threatened to tent it. He didn't know when it had happened, but he was noticing it more now--he definitely felt something for his work partner. Though what remained to be seen.

"Suppose not," Harry said finally. "I'm just curious."

The door at the back opened and the two masseuses came in, smelling like jasmine and something Harry couldn't quite put his name on. He shuffled onto his stomach and turned to face the wall. He'd had a massage before and they felt amazing, but he was certain he couldn't watch Draco's face without showing his emotions.

Bugger this damn getaway. And damn Kismarthy, too.

~~~

"That night you were blackmailed," Draco said. They were sitting in the general sitting room, watching the storm continue to dump snow on the mountain range. They were both sleepy and loose limbed, leaning against the couch. The massage had been the best Harry had ever had.

"What?" Harry asked.

"When I knew I was bi," Draco said. He blushed. "Before I left the club that night, one of the dancers pulled me in and kissed me. Bold as you please. He said I looked like I needed to relax and he thought it would help." He chuckled. "Unfortunately, it didn't."

"You thought you were straight," Harry said.

Draco nodded. "Yeah. When we got back from the case, I worked up the courage to find out what I was feeling. Turns out I like men as much as women." He smirked. "It was very fun, that revelation."

Harry wondered if he'd not had that many good revelations if he made it a point to mention this one as fun. Considering their past, Harry decided it was highly likely. He smiled. "I remember that. Finding out I was bi. There were suddenly so many more partners and men are definitely more into the one night stand, fuck 'em and leave 'em kind of deal."

"Very useful," Draco said with a fond smile. "If I feel randy, I can go on the pull for a guy and not worry about him wanting more the next morning."

"I had one once," Harry said, chuckling. "He was on his knees, begging me not to leave, that we could have a beautiful life together."

"I'm sure that stroked your ego," Draco teased.

Harry sleepily pushed at Draco's shoulder. "Pillock. Come on--surely you've had one of those?"

Draco licked his lips, silent for a moment. "All right. I think this was a few months ago. I took home this amazing guy--six pack, arms strong enough that he could strangle me with one of them. Dark haired and completely ready to fuck there at the club. But we decide to go back to his place and the sex was...I could barely walk in the morning, you know? I wake up on my own and find him in the kitchen with a pink apron. He made a full breakfast for me and asked if I was free for the afternoon. Said he could make me a wonderful lunch. In fact--and this is a direct quote, Harry--'I would make you proud to have such a good house husband'."

They both chuckled a little.

Harry sighed. "It's not that I don't want a relationship, you know. I just don't think a one night stand is the place to start."

"At least you'll know how good they are in bed instead of waiting a few dates to find out," Draco said.

"Oh?" Harry asked, sensing a story.

Draco smirked. "I do occasionally go on dates. You're not the only one who wants a relationship. Anyway, I met this guy at the coffee shop near where I live. Cute--brown hair, freckles across his nose, blue eyes. We were stuck in line one day behind each other and we started talking about this and that while we waited. After we get our drinks, he gives me his number and says to call him. I waited a bit because I wanted to be sure. But I did--"

"You know how to use a phone?" Harry mocked.

Draco punched him. "--because he was cute and I thought he would be at least good for one night. We went to this Italian place a few streets over from the coffee shop and we get to talking and then, that was it. No sex. Not even a kiss. I thought maybe I wasn't that interesting or not putting out the right signals, but he saved my number in his mobile and called me, asking me on another date.

"I finally get to kiss him on the third date and he then invites me back to his. We'd been flirting the entire night and I was about ready to fuck him against the door. But when we get there, he takes me instead to the bedroom and just lays there, like a dead fish while I fuck him."

"Wait--so he just, what? Laid back and thought of England?" Harry asked.

Draco nodded. "I suppose. Just kept his legs propped up, hands hanging by his sides, just...there. I don't think he even got hard."

Harry shook his head. "Wonder what that was about."

Draco shrugged. "I don't know. After I came, I didn't ask. Just cleaned myself up. And he says to me as I'm leaving that he doesn't think it'll work out."

"Huh," Harry said. "Well, I hope he finds what does work for him."

"Never saw him again so I can't say," Draco said. "Though one does have to wonder."

Harry chuckled. "Does one even want to?"

"Lunch is ready," one of the kitchen staff called.

"Come on," Draco said. "Your turn for a story. I'm sure you've got one."

Harry smirked.

~~~

Harry pulled out the next case when they returned to their room after dinner. They had spent the afternoon in the library, each reading, taking some quiet time. It was as close to alone as they were going to get, not that Harry minded so much. He watched Draco out of the corner of his eyes pour a drink from the courtesy tray, moving elegantly and smooth. He wasn't visibly muscled, not like Harry, but there was power hidden under his clothes, clothes that hung just right to tease a person. Harry swallowed hard and focused on the case.

"I think I know what happened with the next one," Draco said. He sat in the other chair and leaned back. "It was from August, right?"

Harry checked the date. "Yeah." He frowned. "Wait--isn't that--"

"When I was told my mother was dead?" Draco sighed and closed his eyes.

August

Harry scanned the bar, trying to find Draco's tell tale head of hair. A haze of smoke lingered in the air despite the city wide ban on indoor smoking and Harry noted more than one patron hunched over. He ignored the bar tender and waitress eyeing him with distaste and circled around the tables. He had tracked Draco to the alley outside the bar, but he couldn't be certain. He hoped he wouldn't have to chase Draco around the city, not with the case they had right now.

There, finally. Harry hurried over to the far end of the bar, where Draco was curled into a corner, nursing something dark.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Harry asked. "In case you hadn't remembered--"

"My mother is dead, Potter," Draco growled. "I just received an owl telling me that despite the best efforts of the Aurors and St. Mungo's, she was killed by curse when some drunken idiots decided to go out and have fun."

Harry took a deep breath. That was what that owl had been about. "I'm sorry."

Draco chuckled darkly. "Sorry doesn't bring her back."

"Do you want to head back?" Harry asked. "Kismarthy won't mind if we do."

Draco shook his head. "No. We're staying here. I am going to get drunk and tomorrow we're going to hunt down the wizard." He tossed back the last of his drink and waved the empty glass at the bar tender. As the man picked up a bottle, the doors flew open and a mist billowed in.

Present

Draco blinked, eyes watery, and shook his head. He marked down on the parchment "Draco--stupidly getting drunk/not backing out".

Harry frowned. "It wasn't your fault."

"He tracked me there," Draco said. "He had been hiding out in a completely Muggle town and when he realized that wizards had come, he tracked me. Wanted to get me out of the way--he knew if we were there he was in trouble. Why else would wizards go there?"

"But it wasn't your fault," Harry said firmly. "Just like technically it wasn't my fault what happened in April."

"You owned up to it and I will too," Draco said, narrowing his eyes.

Harry held up his hands in surrender, "So that's four out of seven."

After August, when Harry had covered for them both by claiming responsibility for every mistake, including Draco being on his way to drunk, they had begun to get along better. Well, they had been even before, when they had crossed paths at the club in London. They'd had no incidents again until the beginning of December and had had three of them in last weeks.

Harry scrubbed his face with his hands. "We were getting along. We haven't had any problems." He looked over at Draco. "Until this month."

Draco pursed his lips together and set his glass down. "I'm going to bed. Coming?"

Harry's mind flashed with images of them in one bed, naked and entangled in all the best ways. He swallowed hard. "Nah. Go ahead if you want. I'm going to stay up a bit longer."

"Just don't look through the files without me," Draco chided. "We're supposed to be working together, remember."

Harry waved his hand and Draco left the room. Harry listened to him getting ready for bed and stared into the fire, lost in thought. What happened to change their easy partnership?

~~~

That night, Harry dreamed of Nic.

Nicholas Wheeler was an Auror and one of his cases had been one of Harry and Draco's. Nicholas was after a group of witches and wizards selling illegal potions; Harry and Draco were after one person in the group who had possession of an item that dated to pre-Roman Englad, one that could plunge the entire global wizarding community back into the dark ages. Kismarthy's superiours decided it would be prudent if Harry and Draco teamed up with the Aurors to break up the ring and get the item themselves to avoid any one in the Aurors asking questions about it if they got their hands on it.

The case had started in late August, but they weren't able to close it until the end of October. Every time they caught someone, it was as though a door opened up to three more. As the deaths piled up from the potions and as more people were suspected of using, Harry and Nic started a brief affair that left Harry heartbroken in the end.

He still wasn't sure how it started, but one day, after a tense meeting, he found himself in a supply cupboard, being snogged quite thoroughly by Nic. Moments later and Harry's pants were around his knees as he was fucked quick and dirty. Then there had been "dinner" at Nic's, "breakfast" at Harry's, and well, Harry could admit it escalated rather quickly.

In addition to being good at his job and handsome--blond, sharp eyed, pale skin--Nic was also an avid Quidditch fan and loved to just go out for no reason. Quick fucks soon turned into longer dates. Harry quickly found himself falling for Nic.

But in the middle of October, shortly before the case was wrapped up, Nic's partner came home. Matthew was an aide to a diplomat and had been in a serious relationship with Nic for three years. Harry had caught the two of them celebrating their reunion in Nic's office.

Harry had been glad the case wrapped up fairly quickly after that. None of Nic's excuses or platitudes could make up for what had happened. Harry was hurt, yes, but also because he had helped someone cheat on his partner. Harry hoped that any partner of his would never do that to him and he disliked being part of it now.

Draco had known Harry was seeing someone, somehow, though he hadn't known who. When Harry was less focused on their cases, he figured out that something had happened and when he saw Harry avoiding Nic, put two and two together.

In the morning, brushing his teeth, Harry blinked at the mirror. It couldn't--he finished up and ran out to the sitting room. Draco looked at him with a frown as Harry pulled out the last folders. The next one they were going to look at was from the beginning of November. He flipped open the file and took a deep breath.

"What is it?" Draco asked.

Harry looked up and pointed at the file. "This was the case where you put Nic in St. Mungo's."

Draco cleared his throat and pointedly returned to his breakfast. "Was it?"

November

"What is that arse doing here?" Draco asked, seething.

Harry frowned and turned. "Who?"

"No one!" Draco said, hurriedly turning Harry around. "Nothing to see. How about we order a drink? We're supposed to be meeting with our informant soon."

"Draco!" Harry hissed. "Who is it?" He turned again and before Draco could intervene, Harry caught sight of Nic at a table, looking ever so cosy with someone not Matthew. "I can't fucking believe it."

Draco was taking a deep drink from his water. "Some leopards don't change their spots, Harry."

Harry clenched his hands into fists and stood. "I need to use the bathroom."

Draco put his hand on Harry's arm. "Are you all right?" Their friendship had deepened despite the rocky start their work partnership had and ever since Harry's break up with Nic, Draco had been very protective and caring of Harry.

"Yeah. Just...need some space," Harry said. Draco nodded and let go.

Harry stormed to the bathroom and bent over one of the sinks. He breathed in and out slowly and splashed his face with a little water. He was of half a mind to send a message to Matthew to tell him what his partner was up to, but suspected that Nic would only turn the tables. It would do no good until Matthew found out for himself.

"Well, well, well," Nic purred as the door opened. "If it isn't Harry Potter."

Harry flushed angrily and mopped up his face with a rough towel. Nic smirked and crossed his arms. "Out with the boyfriend are you?"

"I happen to be working," Harry said hotly. "Meaning I am actually doing what I'm paid to do. Certainly nothing you're familiar with--work and pulling are one and the same. Who is the guy out there--new Auror?"

Nic's eyes narrowed. Harry continued, unable to stop himself. "Or is it someone from Matthew's department? New undersecretary?"

Nic starting advancing toward Harry. "You shut your mouth--you don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, don't I?" Harry said. "I should since I was once that guy."

Nic's hand reached out just as the door banged open. Draco stood there, wand already out. He looked ready to murder someone.

Present

"Because we were too busy, we missed the informant and the suspect we were chasing ended up using the item he had gotten his hands on," Harry said. He flipped the folder closed and pulled the next one over.

"I wasn't going to stand by while my partner's ex beat my partner up," Draco said.

Harry frowned as he looked at the next folder. "This one--you took a hex for me."

Draco flushed and lunged for the folder.

November

"You idiot!" Harry seethed, pacing back and forth in front of Draco's bed. They were in St. Mungo's, waiting for the all clear so they could get out there and back to their respective flats.

"Please stop pacing," Draco murmured. "I am still very nauseous and you are making it worse."

Harry froze and clenched his hands. "Do you even realize how bad it could have been if I wasn't fast enough?"

"I am well aware of the effects of the Antioch curse," Draco said. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "But I took the hex and we're both alive and the bad book has been carefully placed in a secure place, away from the general public."

"A book from which the hex was taken!" Harry said. "We didn't know what was in that book or what it was for. We didn't know if she had translated it--and you just blithely step in front of it!"

"What was I supposed to do, Harry?" Draco asked. "Let you get hexed?"

"I've been trained for it!" Harry shot back hotly. "That is my skill, not yours!"

Draco flushed and stood. He listed back and forth for a moment, getting his footing. "You know what? Fine. Next time I'll just stand by while my partner is being hexed by something we don't know! I'll just watch and make notes, shall I? After all, my skill set involves excellent observation skills!"

"Erm, Mr. Malfoy?" A nurse said nervously. She looked between them both, frowning. "Sorry to interrupt, but you're clear to go."

Draco held out his hand for the paperwork. When she left, Harry sighed. "I'm sorry. It's just--"

Draco waved his hand. "Forget it, Harry. Just...forget it."

Present

Harry let Draco have that case folder, but grabbed the final one.

He paused before opening it, frowning. Ever since Nic, their bickering had escalated back to their old animosity. It had started slow, but quickly worsened. Harry would never say so, but it had been Draco's fault. He'd been edgy, furtive. Angry, too, almost. Habit for Harry was to respond similarly. The worst part was when Harry found himself missing their friendship, the ease of it. More, being confronted with the Draco of last year made Harry realize that he wanted more from Draco.

He opened the folder and skimmed the details. The neon green robes that had Kismarthy upset had come about just before they'd had to chase a suspect down an alley--they'd been arguing and it had led them to start flinging harmless spells and charms. Two had hit, rebounded, and caused their robes to turn neon green.

To say that they had made a scene running after the suspect would be an understatement.

"Are you quite done?" Draco asked. He looked a little rumpled, but he nevertheless looked handsome.

Pieces starting falling together in Harry's mind, starting with Draco's odd behaviour toward Nic and then taking the hex. He looked up at Draco. "That's what happened," he muttered.

Draco was bright red, looking away. He looked half mutinous, half embarrassed. Harry set the folder down and kneeled down in front of Draco. "Why didn't you say anything?"

"How?" Draco said. "Would you have actually said yes if I asked you out on a nice dinner date?"

Harry considered the question, since it deserved a serious answer. "I would have asked to think about it, but I wouldn't have turned you down right away."

Draco raised his eyebrows. "Seriously?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah. I mean, it's not every day I get asked out by a handsome wizard."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Prat."

"I mean it," Harry said. He bit his lip. "When did you...realize?"

"That I wanted to date you? Or that I wanted to fuck you senseless?"

"Yes."

Draco sighed. "I've wanted to fuck you senseless ever since I realized I was bi. It wasn't until Nic that I realized I wanted to give you something better than what he gave you."

Harry smirked and plucked the folder from Draco's hands. "How about we get to the fucking senseless part now and later we'll have room service brings us a nice meal?"

"We may not be getting to dinner if I have my way," Draco said, voice low and eyes darkening.

Harry licked his lips. "I think that'll be all right."

~~~

Harry's breath left him a woosh as Draco pushed him back onto one of the beds. He pushed himself up on his elbows as Draco pulled off his sleep trousers and pushed up his shirt. When Draco kneeled down and began kissing his stomach, he rubbed his foot against Draco's thigh. "Hey, you have to be undressed, too."

Draco looked up with a wicked look and ran his tongue slowly across his lips. "Not for this part, I don't."

Harry gulped and Draco's tongue reached out to lightly touch the tip of Harry's cock. It bobbed as Harry's hips twitched. Draco smirked and, after a last look at Harry, bent his head. Down and down and fuck, that was Draco's throat Harry's cock was in. As Draco lifted his head, his tongue dragged along the underside of Harry's cock and his thighs jumped as a burst of warmth ran through Harry's body.

Draco slowly sped his pace up, bobbing up and down, his tongue playing wicked hell with Harry's nerves. Harry kept his eyes closed--the sight of Draco's reddened lips and sweat slicked hair was too much--but when Draco's rhythm faltered, he looked and found Draco pulling out a tube from one of the bedside tables. He pulls of Harry's cock with a pop and waves the tube.

"May I?" he asked, voice husky. Harry shivers and wants to hear more. Instead, though, he looks at the bottle.

"You brought lube?" Harry asked incredulously.

Draco shrugged. "One must be prepared."

Harry narrowed his eyes and tugged Draco up by the collar of his sleep shirt. "On a trip where we're supposed to be working out our problems? Were you planning on pulling while were here?"

Draco, settled between Harry's legs, lifted his head. "Hope springs eternal, Harry." He blushed and leaned down. He stopped centimetres from Harry's mouth and looked up. Harry smiled and lifted his head.

The kiss was soft, warming, and dizzying. Nothing about it was frantic or demanding or rushed. Harry's hands settled on Draco's waist as Draco removed his own clothes.

"Harry," Draco whispered.

Harry pulled him back for more kissing as he passed over the lube--laying forgotten on the pillow when Harry had pulled Draco up. Draco lifted up enough to reach between them and then under Harry. One quickly became three and the kiss turned hard, rough, passionate. When Draco added a fourth, Harry stopped him. "Now."

Draco bit Harry's lip and lined up his cock. The push in was slow, but Harry pushed back and then Draco was in. They both let out a breath and Harry wrapped his legs around Draco's hips. Draco braced himself on his elbows and set a steady, bracing pace.

And when they came, it was quiet and soothing.

~~~

Harry is alone when he wakes up. He reaches around on the bed, blindly, and frowns when he realizes that it's cold. He leans up and only notices the slip of paper on the other pillow.

Meet me downstairs in the dining room when you're awake.

Right then. Harry showers and dresses quickly, wondering what exactly Draco had in mind. A few waiters are just setting up for lunch, but Draco has taken over a single table. A bouquet of flowers is off the side and several plates are covered, waiting. Draco looks up with a smile at Harry's entrance and he stands.

"Hello," Harry greets, pulling him in for a quick kiss.

"Mm, hello," Draco purrs. He keeps one hand around Harry's back, but the other swings to encompass the table. "I managed to convince the staff to put together a meal just for us."

"Finger foods?" Harry asks, half joking and half hoping.

Draco smirks. "Later. For now, it's your favorites."

Harry hums and sits down. "Didn't have you down as a closet romantic."

Draco blushes. "When one has been pining for a few months, one finds oneself doing several odds things."

"You'll have to tell me," Harry says with a wink.

Draco coughes and begins removing the covers from the plates. Harry raises his eyebrows when it is apparent this is everything he likes. "How did you convince--where did they get some of this?"

Draco shrugges. "I didn't ask. I simply inquired and they provided." He smirks. "Now, this is all good and well, but we still have the most of these two weeks off. Plenty of time, wouldn't you say?"

Harry smiles, imagining all they could get up to this far from home and distractions. "Plenty." He might have to send Kismarthy a thank you gift when he gets back.

Draco picks up a breadstick and with a wink, puts a good portion into his mouth. Harry gulps. Yeah, plenty of time.
 
 
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