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26 December 2012 @ 02:15 pm
Author: frayach
Recipient: leemarchais
Title: The Secret of the Solstice Stones
Summary: Draco has lost his magic, and Harry has never been truly convinced of his own, which is just two more reasons in a long list of why they belong together.
Rating: R
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Athletic wanking, just a teeny-tiny hint of exhibitionism and far too many Americanisms; I didn’t have time for a Brit-pick. Please try to overlook them to the extent possible.
Word Count: 7K
Author’s Notes: It wasn’t exactly what you asked for, L, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. You’ve been a wonderful friend and far too kind to me over the years. This story is only a small part of the thanks you deserve. I hope you have a joyful holiday season and a very happy New Year. Best of luck on your original fic. Perhaps you’ll be our next E.L. James (and I mean that in the best of all ways *g*). Also, a thank you and sincere apology to the mod(s). Thank you for the opportunity to make things right. Finally, a huge “thank you” to my husband for the SPaG editing. Honey, I know it was traumatizing. Thank you for suspending your delicate straight guy sensibilities for an hour.




There was a certain poetic justice to it: The Malfoys stripped of their magical abilities and placed under house arrest in their Manor, which, itself, had been gutted for reparations and rendered about as homey as a crypt. Before the Malfoys had been released and permitted to return, Harry had assisted the Aurors in confiscating pretty much everything not nailed to the floor – dozens of velvet drapes so large and heavy it required potent Levitation and Shrinking spells to carry them away; tables from the era of the Han dynasty that swore at them in Mandarin; endless heaps of books capable of all manner of defensive nastiness at being handled so roughly, and surly portraits, some of which were even more vile and bigoted than Mrs Black’s. Despite feeling a twinge of affection for Narcissa (and something that resembled . . . something for Draco), Harry considered it a small price to pay for aiding and abetting Voldemort’s brief, but murderous, occupation.

Harry had taken part in the taskforce of Aurors that cleaned out the Manor, but he asked not to be appointed to the group assigned to escort the Malfoys home from Azkaban. The Aurors who were participating showed a little too much retributive zeal for Harry’s comfort. But he heard from some of them later that both Narcissa and Draco had been grimly resolute as they’d walked through the front door. It’d been Lucius who’d cried like a baby. The knowledge was sweeter than the sweetest treacle tart. Hermione had told him it was unseemly to revel in anyone’s downfall – even Lucius Malfoy’s – but Harry couldn’t help himself. Fortunately Ron shared his feelings on the matter.

“Serves the bastard right,” he said, holding up his pint of lager and clinking it against Harry’s. “The only thing that would’ve made things sweeter is if Draco had blubbered too. I would’ve liked to see the snotty pouf get all snotty in the literal sense. Oh well, there’s still hope for that. Imagine how traumatising it’ll be to live like a Muggle. Odds are he’ll have a breakdown before Christmas and be trundled off to St. Mungo’s plucking the legs off spiders and gibbering to himself.”

Harry smiled and clinked Ron’s proffered glass, but his heart wasn’t as moved by the idea of a broken Draco as it was by a humbled Lucius. The idea of the Malfoys trying to navigate the Muggle world, however, was hilarious. When he had a rare idle moment, Harry liked to imagine the three of them trying to figure out how to use an electric kettle. The property was no longer Unplottable, and a Muggle liaison had hired an electrician to hook it up to the electrical grid, so the Malfoys weren’t bumbling around in the dark – well, bumbling perhaps, but not in the dark. Harry, Hermione and Ron amused themselves for hours drinking Butterbeer and imagining the Malfoys trying to comprehend various mundane Muggle contraptions (a vacuum cleaner was Ron’s favourite, but Harry found a flush toilet more amusing – while, perhaps because she was the daughter of dentists, Hermione got quite a laugh out of imagining them trying to use electric toothbrushes).

Weeks passed, and no one heard a peep from Wiltshire. Everyone was relieved that the “Malfoy matter” had been thoroughly, but humanely, “dealt with.” Other Voldemort supporters were less easily managed. There were no executions, but a few lengthy prison sentences were handed out. Harry was busier than he’d ever been in his life; he’d been made an Auror, but he didn’t have even half the skills he needed to keep himself from getting killed, which meant he had a lot of catching up to do during his scraps of spare time. If he ever thought about Draco and that kiss . . . no, he was not going to think about that kiss . . . but if he ever did (which he didn’t), the pinprick of desire he felt was just that – a pinprick.


Shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Harry had decided it was high time to return Draco’s wand. Not only was he keen on tying up the loose threads of the past, he’d been curious to see how the prat was making out. Early on a hot August afternoon, Harry had flown to the Manor and alighted on the gravel drive. When no one answered his knock on the front door, he’d walked around the side of the house and startled the hell out of Draco in the garden. The git had been so surprised to see him that he hadn’t had the chance to come up with a shitty remark; all he’d said was Harry’s name – his first name, not Potter – and Harry had been so surprised in return that he’d cried out Draco’s first name. It’d been the most cordial exchange they’d ever had, and Harry had surprised himself again by staying for tea (Draco was rather proud of his mastery of the electric kettle, which couldn’t be described any other way than endearing). Harry had stayed until the first nudge of evening, and Draco had walked with him to the gate. He’d been wearing a faded, but still elegant, robe with the collar unbuttoned in the heat. It’d reminded Harry of the garden where they’d spent the past few hours – a tad unkempt, but still beautiful and defiant despite the absence of man-eating ferns. Harry had often wondered if his family’s fate would break Draco in some way. It didn’t look like it had, and Harry found himself surprisingly relieved. Ron would be horrified.

“Come again sometime,” Draco had said in a poor approximation of bored indifference. “You’re not half as dull as I’d imagined.”

Harry would’ve bristled at the miserly compliment – it wasn’t as though he hadn’t had anything better to do than chat and drink watery tea with Draco – but then Draco had stepped closer and kissed Harry lingeringly on the mouth. If Harry had ever wondered whether he might, just perhaps, fancy blokes just an itty-bitty teeny-tiny bit, his body’s response to Draco’s nearness and the touch of his lips had been enough to banish any doubt. He might’ve even kissed Draco in return if Draco hadn’t stepped back and smiled slyly.

“Good night,” he’d said and turned to walk back to the house, leaving Harry wondering if, just maybe, he should run after him.


A couple weeks had passed, but Harry was still unsettled. It didn’t help matters that he, for some unfathomable reason, felt like he was cheating on Draco when he snogged Ginny – an activity that was occurring less and less frequently and was destined to end when Ginny joined the Harpies and moved to Holyhead. Harry was appalled at himself for counting the days.

The first letter (not an Owl, but an actual post letter) arrived in September. It was short and to the point, shorter even than the haikus Harry had taken to writing (albeit badly) to amuse himself during long stake-outs:

Potter,
I’m bored.
D.M.


Harry chuckled and Summoned the Auror office’s intimidating owl. His response would undoubtedly rile the prat.

Malfoy,
I’m sorry to hear that. It must be dreadful for you. My sympathy & condolences.
H.P.


Because Draco was using the post, the response came a couple of days later. It sounded less peeved than desperate – perhaps even slightly unhinged.

Potter,
I mean it. I’m really really bored. I think I might die from it. Don’t you have a saviour complex?
D.M.


This time, instead of a note, Harry sent one of WWW’s new Dirty Limerick Owls.

A bear taking a dump asked a rabbit
"Does shit stick to your fur as a habit?"
"Of course not," said the hare,
"It's really quite rare!"
So the bear wiped his arse with the rabbit.
Yours,
H.P.


Two days later, he received an old postcard from the 1950s depicting a smiling family in front of Niagara Falls. Draco had scratched out the original message addressed to someone named Edna Twiggle.

Potter,
That was stupid. You’re weird. I’m still bored.
D.M.


After the thousandth missive proclaiming Draco’s apparently life-threatening ennui, Harry started to get a picture of how Draco had achieved his life’s goals: Sheer awe-inspiringly annoying perseverance. His tenacity was fearsome. Harry was impressed. It dwarfed even Hermione’s, but then again Hermione had a life and Draco didn’t, so Harry didn’t think any less of her for it. Finally he did the inevitable. He asked if Draco was busy that Saturday. When that Saturday didn’t completely suck, Harry spent another Saturday with the git, and then after that, Harry’s friends stopped asking if he was free on the weekends. Before he knew it, Harry’s Saturdays belonged completely to Draco, who’d be waiting for his arrival at the gate at noon, bouncing excitedly on his toes like a little kid at a carnival. If asked at wand point what he thought on the matter, Harry would have to admit that just the sight of Draco made his heart skip a beat. Sappy and unfathomable as that was.

When the Winter Solstice came, Draco wanted to see the standing stones. Harry, himself, wasn’t chuffed at the idea. Stones were boring; he wanted to go to the London zoo. But Draco had insisted, arguing they could go to the zoo any old time, but that the Solstice only came twice a year.


Their heads hadn’t even stopped spinning from the Side-Along (at least Harry’s hadn’t – he’d never get used to the sensation of Apparition) when Draco walked over to a patch of tall dry grass. He scrunched up his nose and jabbed at a brownish-purple blob with the wand-like stick he’d fashioned from a hawthorn branch while they were walking in the forest by the Manor Saturday last.

“Ew,” he said. “What is it?”

Failing to see a cause for alarm – or even disgust, for that matter – Harry stooped to examine the offending substance more closely.

“I dunno,” he said. “Some melted Black Jack chews? A bit of regurgitated Curly Wurly, perhaps?”

Draco shot him a look of shock and disgust. “Watch your tongue, Potter! My virgin ears!”

Harry boggled at him for a moment before realising that the git was taking the piss. “You mean you’ve never had a Curly Wurly?” he asked. “What are you? Some kind of freak that grew up in a magical shadow society?”

Draco grinned and gave over poking at the goo. How he spotted such things at such distances, especially when there were at least a thousand more interesting things to look at, never failed to amaze Harry. It was as though Draco had some kind of preternatural sixth sense for spotting yucky Muggle things. Just the other week, in fact, he’d sidled up to Harry as he stood gazing appreciatively at a beautiful piece of stained glass at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum. “Piper Window,” it was called, and even though Harry never would’ve considered himself much of an art lover, the piece had moved him deeply in a way he couldn’t quite articulate. But before he could put his thoughts together on the matter, Draco had leaned in so close that his lips brushed Harry’s ear as he spoke.

“Pssst, Potter,” he’d whispered, igniting a fuse that seemed to extend from Harry’s earlobe to some heretofore unimagined and magical place right behind his balls. “There’s a bloke in the water closet doing something obscene to his nose.”

Harry had swallowed. He’d been fairly certain Draco had spoken words to him, but he couldn’t for the life of him glean their meaning. Not only were they utterly nonsensical as far as he could tell, but he’d been concentrating too hard on willing his burgeoning erection to subside.

“Huh?” he’d muttered, squinting at the piece of stained glass as though it held the secrets of the universe.

Draco had sighed deeply at Harry’s obtuseness, but because he was still leaning in far too close, it failed to have any effect other than to make Harry’s dick twitch.

“I said,” he’d replied huffily, “there’s a man molesting his nostrils in the lavatory with a dangerous implement. Perhaps we should aid him in some fashion.”

Harry had turned his head as much to convey to Draco what a daft tit he was as to ensure that any further communication did not cause more wet spots in his underwear. Seeing Harry’s expression, Draco had stepped back in alarm. Much to Harry’s relief.

“I say, Potter,” he’d exclaimed. “No need to sprout a second head! I was just concerned for a fellow non-magical being . . .”

Because neither “sprout” nor “head” were words Harry wanted anywhere near their conversation, he’d sighed and said, “All right, show me then. Where is he?”

Draco had pointed towards the gents’, and Harry had seen instantly the serendipitous opportunity for what it was. Squaring his shoulders, he’d said, “Right. You wait here. I’ll go and investigate.”

And that was how Harry had found himself wanking over Draco Malfoy in a public loo while a father in the adjoining stall coached his toddler to aim for the bowl and a bloke with the hairiest nostrils Harry had ever seen in his life (hairier even than his Uncle Vernon’s) trimmed his hirsute honker with a pair of clippers at the sink. There’d been nothing – absolutely positively nothing – sexy about the situation, but that hadn’t stopped Harry from coming in record time and with record force.

“Hey, are you all right in there, mate?” the father had asked, rapping solicitously on the door of Harry’s stall. It’d taken far too long for Harry to collect himself enough to reply with a weak, “Yes, thank you for asking.”

His curiosity concerning the goop in the grass seemingly satisfied, Draco wandered toward the picnic tables. Harry watched him pick up a crisp bag and examine it thoroughly, even going so far as to sniff it. Predictably, he scrunched up his nose again and moved on to the Coca-Cola bottle. Harry shook his head in a combination of amusement and exasperation. This was the seventh excursion they’d made together in as many weeks, and all Draco seemed interested in were commonplace Muggle things and commonplace Muggle behaviours. Here Harry was, sacrificing the time he should be spending studying Auror tactics in an effort to relieve Draco’s relentless boredom by taking him to interesting places, and all Draco seemed to want to do was study empty crisp packets and melted sweets and the nose-hair trimming habits of middle-aged blokes. Oh, and torture Harry. That was clearly another cherished goal of their outings together.

Dressed in the nondescript jeans and jumper Harry had bought for him, Draco should’ve looked like any other eighteen year-old bloke. Even his hair was unworthy of a third look (a second, certainly, because of its colour, but not a third) since Harry had taken him into the village to get it cut. Draco’s face in the wan December sunlight looked entirely unremarkable, and his hands were raw and red where he’d chewed his fingernails to the quick. What’s more, he wore a perpetually shifty look and tended to walk slightly sideways like crab. Twice they’d been stopped by policemen and asked to empty out their pockets – a situation made even more uncomfortable when the contents of Draco’s pockets were revealed to include four generic looking rocks, three wrapperless hard boiled sweets of different sorts, two large dried-up beetles and one almost empty tube of “personal lubricant.”

In other words, there should be absolutely no reason under the sun why Harry could not take his eyes off of Draco, even for a second. Let alone wank over the stupid prat in a public toilet. It made no sense at all.

Harry sighed to himself and went to join Draco beside the overflowing skip. Clearly, he was missing Ginny and her skilful hand jobs behind the chicken coop. He could see now that he’d taken for granted the release their groping sessions had provided. Without them, he was dangerously susceptible to any manner of temptation.

“Muggles, I’ve noticed,” Draco said as Harry drew alongside him, “are careless with their refuse. Not just in public places such as this, but in their own homes. Potter, do you know many how many Muggle houses I’ve been in where I’ve discovered open containers of their filth? I mean not just innocuous filth either, but things like bogey-covered tissues and used semen-containment apparatuses and these odd little sticks with fuzz on each end soiled with ear wax. It’s revolting! Have they really no means of Banishing their rubbish?”

Draco stood assessing the skip with a look of horror on his face. Despite himself, Harry found himself laughing out loud.

“Says the bloke who has yet to figure out the washing machine,” he replied. “My, we’re very fastidious all of a sudden, aren’t we?”

Draco arched an eyebrow at him and smiled wolfishly. “And someone is inordinately interested in the state of my laundry,” he replied.

Harry tried to concentrate on the way the unforgiving mid-day light revealed the slight tea-stained unevenness of Draco’s teeth and the watery pallor of his eyes. And was that a spot on his chin? Harry was almost certain that it was.

So why was his heart skipping every other beat?

It made no sense at all.

“What I don’t understand,” Harry grumbled, “is why you’re spending our visit to Avebury investigating a skip.”

Draco sighed and sprawled on the bench of a nearby picnic table. “Potter,” he said, tilting his head back and letting the sun fall on his face. “I’ve been to Avebury’s stone circle a million times. Father used to bring me here on the Middle Hour of every month when I was growing up. It’s practically my back garden. That’s why my ancestors chose to build here in the first place.”

Harry joined him on the bench and pulled off his knit wool cap. “If you’ve been here a million times, then why is the skip such a bloody novelty?”

Draco lifted his head and gazed at Harry levelly. “Surely you jest,” he said.

Feeling annoyed and confused and certain that his hair looked even more like crap than usual, Harry glared at him and tugged his cap back on. “In fact, I was being serious,” he said. “Although apparently you’re now going to make me feel like an arse for it.”

Draco just shook his head and laughed. “Merlin, Potter. You really were raised as a Muggle, weren’t you?”

“Never pretended I wasn’t,” Harry muttered and folded his arms defensively across his chest.

“Now, now, no need to get stroppy,” Draco replied. “You have to admit it does seem incredible. I mean, I grew up hearing stories of The Ickle Baby Who Lived. There was even a Harry Potter comic for a while, before someone – must’ve been Bumblebore – put a stop to it.”

Harry stared at him. “Please tell me you’re joking,” he said.

“Now who’s questioning whose veracity? No, of course, I’m not joking. Why on earth would I lie about such a thing? Your head’s already bloody big enough as it is without making up imaginary reasons to puff it up even more.”

Harry’s stare reverted back to a glower. “Sod off, Malfoy. My head’s no bigger than yours is, and even if it was, at least there’d be a reason for it.”

Draco clutched at his heart melodramatically and collapsed backwards on the bench, giving Harry an unobstructed view of his crotch in the process. Harry averted his eyes when he felt the blush creep into his face and gazed at the grey pock-marked stones.

“Oh, oh, I’ve been mortally wounded,” Draco cried. “Who shall console my parents after being deprived of my scintillating company?”

“Perhaps they’ll get a telly,” Harry replied. “Just about anyone would be more scintillating than you. I think you’re imagining the superb quality of your company.”

“So, I ‘imagine things,’” Draco said, wriggling his eyebrows annoyingly. “Like what? Like the fact that right now you want to touch me so badly that you’re digging your nails into your palms inside those stupid mittens you’re wearing?”

Harry shook his head again, because even though Draco wasn’t far from the truth, in fact Harry really didn’t want to touch him. Not where Draco was insinuating as he reached down with one hand and opened the buttons of his fly. Not in this place, not yet. And hopefully not ever. After all, there was a vast chasm between wanting to be touched and wanting to touch someone else. By that point, he’d acknowledged to himself that he very much wanted Draco to touch him, but the thought of touching Draco in turn scared the ruddy daylights out of him. Nevertheless, feeling both excited and appalled, Harry watched as Draco reached into his jeans, pulled out his dick and began to stroke it.

“Er,” Harry said and then realised his mouth was too dry to speak properly. He swallowed hard and then tried again. “I really don’t think that’s a good idea. This is a public place after all.” He glanced nervously in the direction of a large group of Asian tourists making the victory sign with their fingers as dozens of flashes went off like a miniature lightning storm.

Draco smiled but showed no sign of stopping. “Draw your wand,” he said, and when Harry gaped, he laughed boyishly. “Not that wand, you git, your holly wand.”

Frowning, Harry pulled his wand from the waistband of his jeans.

“Now make the same motion you use for a Disillusionment Charm,” Draco continued. “But say the following instead, Abstrudo Muggle Sceleratissimus Caenum.” When Harry failed to comply, Draco glanced meaningfully at the tourists who were making their slow but inexorable way in their direction and then just as meaningfully at his erection. “Unless, of course, you want them to watch too. I’m sure they’d be happy to take a picture of you holding it for me.”

Harry scowled and blushed and traced a Disillusionment Charm in the air. “Abstrudo Muggle . . . what?” he asked.

Abstrudo Muggle Sceleratissimus Caenum.”

Abstrudo Muggle Sceleratissimus Caenum,” Harry repeated, and suddenly the whole world seemed to flicker and jump, like a film skipping a frame. And just as suddenly, they were no longer sitting on a bench at a picnic table, but rather on a coarse tussock of dead grass. Gone were the overflowing skip and the tourists and the car park and the toilets and the rubbish bins and the crisp bags and the Coca-Cola bottles. Gone, in fact, was everything except the wide-open downs, the even wider-open sky and the solemn stones jutting up like accusatory fingers at some god still, as of yet, open to the entreaties of men. Harry heard himself gasp in the sudden pre-industrial quiet. A quiet that was so quiet, in fact, that he could hear, for the first time in his life, his own heart beating in his chest.

“Merlin’s saggy left tit,” he breathed. “What was that spell?”

“Translated roughly into English, it’s something along the lines of ‘Be Gone, All You Muggles And Your Disgusting Artefacts,’” Draco replied. “Brilliant, isn’t it? You asked earlier how I could’ve come here at least once a month when I was growing up without ever having encountered all that tarmac and rubbish and filth. Well, that’s how. My parents cast that spell before they took me anywhere. To spare my tender sensibilities, no doubt. The first time I ever saw a Muggle in the flesh or even a Muggle invention was when I was eleven and went to King’s Cross for the first time.”

Harry gazed at Draco’s face in awe, almost forgetting for a moment that Draco was still stroking himself and that the wet sound of wanking was obscenely loud in the otherwise soundless air.

“That’s . . . that’s absolutely incredible,” Harry stammered. “And it explains so much about you, too.”

Draco laughed breathlessly. “I’ll take that to be a good thing,” he said. “Now, Potter, are you going to help me with this or not?” He glanced again at his lap.

Harry shook his head slowly. “I’m not gay,” he said, though his voice cracked halfway through.

“You don’t have to be gay to get me off,” Draco replied. “Didn’t you Gryffindorks ever indulge in a little circle jerk now and again?”

Harry swallowed for what must’ve been the hundredth time. “I thought you said you were a virgin,” he said lamely, mostly because he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Is that what you need me to be?” Draco asked quietly, his eyes dark and his cheeks flushed. “I’ll be anything you need me to be, Harry.”

Harry’s eyes flicked back and forth between Draco’s face and his hand, which was moving faster and faster as his climax neared. He was breathing so shallowly in the cold air that he felt light-headed, like he might faint at any second.

“I . . . ,” he started and then faltered. “I don’t need you to be anything.”

“Then what do you want me to be?” Draco replied, the need painfully clear in his voice.

“I . . . I don’t know,” Harry answered. “All I know is I’m not gay. I like girls. Blokes don’t turn me on.”

Draco’s gaze flicked to Harry’s own lap.

“You mean to tell me that you’re not turned on?” he said. “Prove it!”

Harry blushed even harder than he already was.

“Well, of course I’m turned on now,” he said. “You’re about to make yourself come, for Merlin’s sake! A bloody rock would be turned on under the circumstances.”

Draco smiled at him. “So what you’re saying then, if I’m understanding you correctly, is that it’s completely natural that you have a hard-on for me. Under the circumstances.”

Harry grimaced. “Malfoy, why are you doing this? You’re not helping either of us. I’m straight, and you’re desperately lonely. This is not a recipe for romantic bliss. In fact, it’s a recipe for me going back to avoiding you like the plague.”

Suddenly, as soon as the words left Harry’s lips, Draco’s hand stilled mid-stroke. For a moment, Harry thought it was because Draco was coming. As he stared, unable to look away even if his life depended on it, Harry watched Draco’s penis throb and a gush of clear liquid pulse from the head. Yanking his hand away, Draco collapsed back into the grass, threw his arms over his head and let his knees splay open as far as they could go. Harry watched in an agony of sympathy as Draco’s erection throbbed again, and another puddle of pre-come spilled onto his belly. He must’ve been literally only seconds from orgasm. Harry’s own erection throbbed and ached just thinking about how it must’ve felt for Draco to stop when he did like that.

“I’m sorry,” Harry breathed.

“Just shut it, Potter,” Draco replied hoarsely, as he stared unblinking at the cloudless, airplane-less sky.

“No, I mean it, though,” Harry continued doggedly. He didn’t know exactly what he was trying to say, but he felt it was essential nonetheless that he say it. “I . . . I find you attractive, Draco, I really do . . .”

Draco propped himself up on his elbows and glared at Harry.

“If you say something stupid thing like, ‘I’m sure you’ll find someone special someday,’ or some such other bloody rubbish, I will make you bleed,” he snarled. “And don’t think I’ll need magic to do it.”

“I wasn’t going to say any such thing,” Harry replied, not at all sure that in fact he wouldn’t have. He was well and truly out of his depth, and he knew it. “I was just . . . Oh, sod it all!” He dropped his head into his hands and scrubbed it harshly, pushing off his hat in the process and not caring at all if his hair looked like shit. “I’m not gay, for fuck sake!” he cried drawing up his knees and burying his face in his folded arms. “Why is that so hard for you to accept?”

He didn’t turn as he heard Draco sit up and began to fasten his jeans again. Harry shuddered imagining how uncomfortable the denim must feel against the brutally sensitive head of Draco’s penis. Perhaps, he thought sourly, that’ll teach the bloody git not to go around without pants all the time. But he found the possibility poor compensation for the sympathy he felt on Draco’s behalf. Harry could only imagine the extent of the discomfort he must be feeling – both physically and emotionally.

“I’m sorry,” he said again, wincing. “I wish I could give you what you want.”

“You don’t know what I want, Potter,” Draco answered, his voice haughty and cold. “And you’re flattering yourself if you really believe that it could be you. I’m bored. You’re here. It’s as simple as that.”

Harry’s breath caught and he turned his head. Part of him felt Draco’s words like a blow, but another part of him was relieved. Was it really going to be as easy as all that? Was Draco really going to chalk up all the sexual tension between them as nothing more serious than boredom and curiosity?

“You don’t mean it,” he said, tentatively testing his luck.

Draco tossed his head and gazed up at the sky with an expression of almost perfect indifference on his face.

“In fact, I do mean it,” he said smoothly. “You’re unbelievably full of yourself if you read anything more into this than me just wanting a mindless fuck.”

“Er,” said Harry. It seemed foolish to tempt the fates like this. After all, they’d just handed him the proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card. But for some reason he couldn’t explain, he just had to know . . . “A mindless fuck? Is that really how you want to lose your virginity? Don’t you at all want it to be special? To mean something?”

Draco turned his head and looked at him for the first time since he’d so cruelly aborted his own orgasm. “You, Potter,” he said, “are the biggest gittiest sissiest girl I have ever met In. My. Life.”

Harry blinked at him, not sure whether to be outraged or mortified. But before he could make up his mind, Draco suddenly smiled a brilliant smile.

“Get over yourself,” he said. “This spell wears off in an hour. Do you want to see the stones sans Muggles or do you want to sit here and be girly?”

Harry smiled tentatively. “I want to see the stones,” he said.

Draco stood up and reached out a hand. “Then get your straight boy arse up and let’s go.”

Harry’s smile widened into a grateful grin. He accepted Draco’s assistance, and they walked side by side in companionable silence among the stones. Above them, a crow circled slowly, calling out now and again to the distant downs, and the sun slipped toward the western horizon just enough to cast the slimmest crescent of shadow beneath the stones. After several minutes, Draco stopped and pressed his cheek against the tallest one.

“What’re you doing?” Harry asked, but Draco shushed him with a finger to his lips. He gestured for Harry to join him, and Harry did. Facing Draco and standing so close that Draco’s breath warmed his cheeks, Harry took a deep breath, pressed his ear to the stone, closed his eyes and waited.

Nothing happened.

After a couple of minutes, Harry started feeling stupid. Yes, he supposed he deserved it, but Draco’s little joke was nonetheless annoying. He opened his eyes and found Draco watching him intently.

“What’s supposed to happen?” he mumbled, blushing hard at the intensity in Draco’s eyes.

“Shhhhh,” Draco whispered and pressed a finger first against his own lips and then against Harry’s. Startled, Harry sucked in a deep breath through his nose and smelled . . .

. . . Draco. His skin and his sweat and his sex. And just like that Harry’s mouth was flooded with saliva, and his body was flooded with desire. Even fiercer now than it’d been before. So fierce, in fact, that Harry squeezed his eyes shut again in the fear that he might weep from sheer frustration. If Draco had thought him girly before, seeing Harry cry would just cement the assessment.

“Ssshhhhhh,” Draco said again, as though he’d read Harry’s thoughts and wanted to comfort him. “You have to be absolutely still.” He traced his finger gently over Harry’s lips, and Harry had to bite his tongue to stop it from reaching out to see if Draco tasted as amazing as he smelled.

“I can’t be still when you’re doing that,” Harry replied petulantly. If Draco didn’t cease his feather light caress this instant, Harry was going to do something he was pretty sure he’d regret. .

To his great relief, Draco dropped his hand.

“What am I supposed to be listening for,” Harry asked to fill the silence that stretched between them once again. “What did you hear?”

Draco took a deep breath and then released it in a heavy sigh. “I didn’t hear anything,” he said dully.

Harry’s eyes were still closed, but he could picture Draco’s expression on the insides of his eyelids. He’d seen it before when the subject of magic had come up between them. Gaze averted and eyes as flat and grey as the stone their faces were pressed against.

“I can’t hear anything anymore,” Draco continued. “Not since they stripped my magic from me. But you can hear it. That’s if you have ears to hear it with.”

Harry frowned but didn’t open his eyes. “My ears are as good as yours, I reckon,” he replied snappishly.

“Well, we’ll just have to see about that then, won’t we?” Draco said, and Harry could hear the familiar smirk in his voice. “Breathe deep and centre yourself,” he continued. “When father first taught me to listen to the stones, he told me to picture them as holes in a vast ice field. Circles of dark water in a sea of white. Choose one and dive into it. Dive in and breathe!”

Harry tried hard to do as he was told. At first nothing happened, and he battled with his innate distrust – not only of Draco, but of magic in general. He’d lived too many years – his formative years – not only as a Muggle, but surrounded by the worst kind of Muggles, to really be able to believe in it; it was times like these when he encountered the limits of his faith and faltered in his heart like a pilgrim stumbles on a stony path.

It was times like these when he realised he would never really belong. At least not in the ways that really mattered.

But just as he felt himself yield to despair, Harry heard a low thrumming noise. At first he was certain it was a distant train or the whirring of a jet plane’s engines. But then he remembered that they’d banished all of that – at least for a brief space. For an hour there were no such things as machines or electricity. There was just the muscular flex of the earth and the sea. The irresistible tug of the sun. The lullaby of the moon. The ancient gestalt of rock and tree and bone and flesh. Suddenly, there appeared to him a power so elemental, so ungovernable, that he felt flooded with fear and awe, while gradually, like the slow building of an orgasm, the thrumming sound grew to incorporate the wind, the sound of his own blood pulsing through his veins. He gasped as the boundaries between himself and the stone and the very ground beneath his feet seemed to dissolve like sugar in a cup of tea. Like frost in the sunlight. He felt alive in a way he’d never known before. Alive to the point where it hurt to draw each breath. He felt his heart swell painfully and catch, with every beat, against his ribs like a hand strumming a harp. He was enveloped and entranced and aroused beyond his ability to bear it. Aroused in every sense – sexually, emotionally . . . spirituality. Being agnostic, it wasn’t a word Harry often thought of, but it was the only way he could think of to describe what he was feeling.

Just as he felt the sensations crest to the point of unendurable, he felt Draco’s finger against his lips once more, and without pausing to think, he took it into his mouth and suckled like a baby at a breast, and just at the same instant, Draco wrestled his other hand beneath the waistband of Harry’s jeans and brought him off so suddenly and violently that Harry dropped to his knees with a cry and curled around himself as though he’d been punched in the gut as gouts of semen seemed to tear themselves from his body.

When he finally stopped shuddering, Harry bowed his head until the crown of it came to rest against the cold surface of the stone and struggled desperately for several minutes to catch his breath and, above all, not to cry. He only knew for certain that he was going to be all right when he felt Draco’s fingers combing through his hair. Nonetheless, it took him several minutes more before he could bear to lift his face and look at Draco where he crouched beside him.

“Hey,” Draco whispered hoarsely. “Our Muggle-free hour is almost up.” Tenderly, he slid his hand down Harry’s cheek and cupped his chin. Uncertain and more than a little fearful of what he might encounter, Harry lifted his head and met Draco’s eyes.

“You okay?” Draco asked, his gaze as naked and vulnerable as Harry’s own felt.

Harry nodded, and Draco smiled.

“Phew,” he said after a long moment that should’ve been awkward but wasn’t. “Introducing Harry Potter to actual real magic is thirsty work. How about we buy a couple of Santas.”

Harry stared at him like the daft twat he was. “A couple of whats?” he asked.

Draco waved his hand exasperatedly and stood up.

“Merlin, Potter!” he exclaimed. “Brush up on your Muggle culture, will you? Santas! You know, those fizzy drinks that make your nose hurt?” He reached out and pulled Harry to his feet just as Harry doubled over again, but this time in hilarity.

“What?” Draco said, sounding genuinely miffed as Harry sputtered and convulsed with laughter, which made his recently-exercised stomach muscles ache even more.

“Fantas,” he gasped when he could finally catch his breath. Suddenly the world flickered and once again they were standing amidst the detritus of the Twentieth Century. “They’re Fantas, you daft git. Not Santas. Santa’s that fat bloke who brings kids, like my cousin Dudley, lots of crap they don’t need at Christmastime.”

Draco zipped his anorak, shoved his hands deep into its pockets, and glared at a tourist who asked them to take her picture.

“Oh right,” he drawled. “The bearded chap who tries to commandeer the Floo Network every twenty-fourth of December. What’s he got to do with fizzy drinks?”

Still chuckling, Harry shook his head. “Nothing, Malfoy,” he said. “Absolutely bloody nothing.” He turned and grinned at Draco’s pale and not-at-all-beautiful profile.

And as though he felt Harry’s gaze like the caress he’d withheld from him earlier, Draco turned with a startled expression that melted slowly and impishly into a grin of his own.

“Next time,” he said. “You get to wank, and I get to make you feel like shit.”

It was a weird thing to say with a grin on one’s face, but Harry was getting used to Draco’s brand of weirdness. It, in fact, was a shy tentative attempt to say just how he felt, no matter how vulnerable it left him.

“I didn’t mean to make you feel like shit,” Harry replied, reaching out to brush a leaf out of Draco’s hair. “You just have to understand . . . I never considered this. This wasn’t in my plans . . .”

“As are all the best things in life,” Draco said. He tugged Harry’s cap over his eyes and then danced out of the way when Harry tried to capture him in his arms . . .

. . . to wrestle him to the ground and make him plead laughingly for release . . .

. . . or maybe to pull him close.

Harry wasn’t sure, but he also wasn’t sure if it mattered. He adjusted his cap and straightened his glasses. Draco’s cheeks were pink and raw from the December wind and he grinned as sly as a fox.

“How about that Santa?” he said. His laugh when he turned and sprinted toward the concession stand was as bright as an electric light and as ancient as a ray of the setting sun on the eve of the longest night of the year. Harry grinned and shook his head before following Draco’s puckish footsteps on a path to the New Year – and all the weird wondrous shit it no doubt had to offer.
 
 
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