Title: Same Old Story
Summary: Finding an untold story about Harry Potter has grown nearly impossible. But Witch Weekly reporter Draco Malfoy will do just that, even if he has to make the news himself.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Wanking, Voyeurism (sort of)
Epilogue compliant? No.
Word Count: ~4700
Author's Notes: Happy Christmas, dragonfly_lily! This was actually a bit challenging to write, even though you and I have a lot of similar tastes. :) In the end, I decided against the addition of an epic shagging scene, so hopefully you'll forgive me for the lack of pure, unadulterated shmex. But I do hope I've been able to fulfill a few of your Christmas wishes. Also my eternal love and gratitude to my beta (and boyfriend!) S, for putting up with me when I'm sick and forget what day it is.
Parvati Patil hated Monday mornings.
It wasn't that the coffee always ran out before 8:30. It wasn't the weekend's worth of owl post piled on top of her desk that needed sorting. It wasn't even the general unproductive mood that her staff seemed to fall under. It was the five minutes she was forced to spend with her temperamental top reporter, and his unfortunate tendency to—
On the floor in front of her desk lay the shattered, splattered remains of her breakfast tea, and the exquisitely-crafted porcelain mug that had formerly held it.
Parvati sighed deeply. "Draco…" she began.
"I refuse to write another story about Harry goddamn Potter!" Draco Malfoy stared back at her with arms across his chest and his nose pointed smugly in the air, as though he'd proven some sort of point.
"And smashing my tea on the floor illustrates this how?"
"I won't do it, Patil!" Draco went on, as though she hadn't spoken. "Every week, it's the same! 'Write about Potter, Draco. Do a story about Harry, Draco. Find a new angle, Draco.' Well, I'm done, do you hear me? No more!"
"Draco," she started again. "We go through this every week because it's what the readers want. And as a reporter, it's your job. Unless you don't want it anymore…?" She let the threat go unspoken, because she knew as well as Draco did that this whole act they went through every Monday was just that.
It was only a moment's pause before Draco replied with his standard, "I didn't say that, did I?"
Another sigh passed Parvati's lips. "No, of course you didn't. Which is why I'm certain you'll have a fantastic story on my desk by Wednesday." The words were tired, worn down from the frequency with which she was forced to repeat them, but she said them nonetheless. Because Draco Malfoy really was a good reporter, and as Editor-in-Chief of Witch Weekly, Parvati needed him. If there was any other reporter she had who could scrounge up half the story Draco could, she would gladly leave behind this song and dance routine. But Draco had a way when it came to Harry Potter; he'd always had…
"I really do hate you," Draco said, without much conviction.
"Likewise," she answered. "Now please get out of my office, or I'll be forced to kill you with the shattered remains of my tea." She waited as he stomped out, slamming the door behind himself for good measure, and then she slumped back into her chair. It was moments like these that she most seriously considered handing the Potter assignment to someone else…
But then again, she always had been a bit of a sadist.
Draco's office at the Witch Weekly headquarters was a lavish affair, all personally selected and approved by Draco himself. The desks were finely crafted pieces of dark oak with authentic Italian leather chairs. The paintings were originals, and pricey ones at that. The walls were the exact shade of green as Draco's old Slytherin dorm. It was, in Draco's opinion, his own quiet sanctity.
"Help! Draco? Is that you? I'm stuck again! Draco!"
Well. Relative sanctity.
Draco had no more than stepped into the room when he was met with the unflattering sight of his secretary's lumpy backside, flailing wildly from where his head was stuck in a filing cabinet.
Rubbing at his temples with pained exasperation, Draco muttered, "Goyle. Honestly. How have you managed to survive this long? Surely there must be some evolutionary loophole that's allowed you to live."
"Please, Draco!" The lump wiggled frantically. "It hurts!"
"If you were an animal, your mother would've eaten you at birth," Draco said as he grabbed Goyle's shoulder and gave a sharp pull, freeing his friend from the confines of the cabinet. "There, you great fat ox, and bloody well don't do it again."
Free from the wretched filing deathtrap, Greg Goyle stumbled over to his desk, attempting to pry loose the rogue paperclip that had embedded itself in his forehead. "Thanks, Draco. I don't know what happened, I was just…" he began, and then he noticed the slight twitch in Draco's left eye. "Did she tell you to do Potter again, then?"
"Ugh, don't say it like that," Draco groaned. "And yes, she did." He crawled behind his desk and threw himself into his chair, secretly wishing the down-stuffed cushions would swallow him whole. "Like she always does. Because she hates me. Because the world hates me." He buried his face in his hands, rubbing at the tenuous headache trying to start behind his eyes.
"I don't hate you," Goyle piped up.
Draco snorted. "Aren't I the lucky one."
"Erm… yes?" Goyle's grasp of sarcasm was quite similar to Draco's empathy – it didn't exist.
It was only by a slim margin that Draco decided against chucking a book at Goyle's face. After all, his reflexes had been improving in the three years he'd served as Draco's secretary. Instead Draco decided his best course of action was to bash his head against his desk. Which he did. Repeatedly.
Goyle watched him, befuddled. "Erm. Anything I can get you?"
"No," was the muffled reply. "Because what I need is something new to write about Potter. And that doesn't exist, because there isn't anything new about Potter. It's all. Been. Done." He punctuated his words with the steady thud of his forehead on the desk.
"I could make some tea…" Goyle hedged, gnawing on his thumbnail. He never knew quite what to do when Draco got this way.
Suddenly Draco sat up, slightly cross-eyed and seemingly unaware of the red circle that had blossomed on his forehead. "I need to leave," he said, reaching for his suit jacket. "I need to go… somewhere… where I can think, somewhere quiet and alone."
Goyle seemed to brighten. "Okay! Can we go out to lunch then?"
For a moment, Draco stared at his friend. Then he raised one finger, ready to point out the parts of 'alone' and 'quiet' that Goyle had apparently failed to understand. But Goyle's face had all the dumb happiness of a puppy offered a bone, and Draco found himself deflating. "Damn it all," he sighed to himself. "Yes, alright, let's go then."
Leaping to his feet, Goyle fumbled to pull on his coat. "Can we have Indian take-away?"
"God, no!" Draco looked horrified. "That's all you ever want! They do serve other things in this country, you know…"
They'd finally settled on lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, and once Goyle had eaten enough fish and chips to frighten the family seated nearby, Draco finally dragged him away to his intended destination: the Daily Prophet sales cart in Diagon Alley. All the various written media of the Wizarding World sat lined on the shelves of an old covered cart and lorded over by a crinkled old man with bushy black eyebrows.
Draco's gaze slid over the rows of papers and magazines – and found the bespectacled face of Harry Potter staring back at him from almost every cover. He sighed, and began piling them all into his arms.
"Quite the bloke, that Potter, eh?" The sales wizard was watching Draco with apparent interest, a quirked smile on his face. "Always do good business when he shows up in the papers."
"Is that so." Draco tried his best to look disinterested.
"Oh yes. Always good business," the old man said, delightfully oblivious to the deep scowl his customer was giving him. He leaned closer to Draco, wiggling his frightening eyebrows in what he clearly considered a conspiratorial manner. "'Specially those lady magazines, where they show the bloke with no shirt on and such like. Best sellers, them are."
Draco did not like the direction this conversation was headed. "That must be quite nice for you. Well, I've got to be off, things to do. How much to I owe—"
"Not that there ain't some blokes who sneak by sometimes, askin' for those magazines," the wizard went on. "I don't say nothin', though, as I ain't one to judge. I just sell 'em, after all. 'Sides…" He was now so close to Draco that one rogue eyebrow was trying to attack the reporter's face. "… sometimes I think the lad's quite fit meself."
"All right, I've really got to be off!" Draco all but shouted as he shoved a handful of Galleons at the old man. "Keep the change!" In what he would later think of as a feat of humiliation-induced strength, he netted Goyle by the arm and dragged his confused friend bodily away – but not so quickly that he failed to catch the sales wizard's parting words:
"Don't worry, lad, your secret's safe with me!"
"My brain, my poor sensitive brain!" Draco took a long pull from his glass of firewhisky, and as the liquor's sharp burn kindled down his esophagus, he contemplated dumping the rest into his ear. Maybe it would eliminate his memory much the same way it seemed to be destroying his stomach lining. "Why, Goyle?"
A snort sounded from the opposite side of the table, and Goyle's startled face appeared from behind a large pint of lager. "Why what, Draco?"
"Why do they always think I'm… I… you know!"
Goyle stared blankly back at him. Clearly, he did not.
"You know… they all think I…" Draco ducked his head, and dropped his voice so low Goyle had to lean across the table to hear him. "I… fancy Potter or something! I mean, it's my job, isn't it? I've got to ask intimate questions and show up wherever Potter goes, right? Why can't they see that?"
An unusual look of contemplation seemed to crowd its way on to Goyle's face, and it was Draco's turn to be startled as his friend reflected, "Well, you have been following Potter around since before you had this job. And you kind of… I dunno… obsessed about him when we were in school. Maybe that's why they think you fancy him now." And then Goyle shrugged, and the momentary ray of thoughtfulness wandered off to brighten more attractive pastures. "Or maybe they're all just nutters." He drained off his glass and wiggled the empty at Draco. "Can I have another?"
"Go on then." Draco waved him away, too gobsmacked by his friend's words to take into account they'd been gone from the office since 10:30.
He wasn't obsessed with Potter. What kind of stupid thing was that to say? He hated Potter. Potter and his stupid friends. Potter the flawless savior. Potter the beloved. Potter who'd saved his life, even when he could've let Draco die…
Spread across the table, countless pairs of brilliant green eyes smiled up at Draco from a myriad of magazine covers. Heads of raven-black hair were carelessly tousled. Expensive-looking shirts were in various states of unbuttoning. And form-fitting trousers wrapped enticingly around sensitive areas, leaving little speculation for even the most inactive of imaginations…
Draco stood suddenly, swaying a little as he did so.
"I'm going home," he announced, meeting a heavily-laden Goyle halfway across the bar.
"What? But what about work? And what about…" Goyle glanced helplessly at the four ale glasses he juggled in his arms.
Draco dropped a handful of coins into the closest glass. "Here. You'll think of something." And bowing his head against the bitter winter wind that had kicked up outside, he disappeared into the street.
Draco's London flat was nowhere near as magnificent as Malfoy Manor, but it was his, and he paid for it with his own earnings, which was more than he thought he'd ever be able to do after the war's end. His mother, always conscious of her only son's comfort, sent the remaining family house elves over twice a week to tidy up and stock the pantry. So he was not at all surprised to find a warm fire burning in the hearth as he stepped into the living room. Gratefully, he sprawled out in front of it.
It was only a moment before the worst of his chills had faded off, the warm tendrils of heat seeping over him, and without the distractions of wind and whiskey to hold his mind, his thoughts wandered back to Goyle's words.
"Of course I don't obsess about Potter," he said aloud, somehow reassured by the echo of his own voice on the empty walls. "It's my job."
He forced himself to focus, casting about for the stack of magazines he vaguely remembered grabbing as he'd hurried out of the bar. He found them on the coffee table, tossed aside when he'd bee-lined for the warmth of the fire, and now he spread them all out in front of him.
Idly, he scanned the articles. "Life After Heartbreak – Harry Still Healing From Weasley Woes", announced the Daily Prophet. With a snort, Draco threw it aside. He'd been the first to report Potter's split with the Weasley girl, a mere thirty minutes after it had happened. Such old news.
Quidditch Weekly asked him, "Can Potter Do It? England's Hopes for World Cup Victory". Draco laughed – he'd done a full four-page spread the previous month, complete with exclusive photos of Potter in his new English National Team uniform.
But it was The Quibbler's outrageous "Is Harry Potter Part Veela?" cover story that made him shove the collection of papers away and throw himself backwards onto the sofa with a desperate sigh. There simply wasn't anything left to tell about Potter! For three years… well, ten, if he was being honest with himself… his every thought and plan, every move and step, had revolved around Harry Potter. He knew every detail of the man's daily routine; he knew where he cut his hair, where he preferred his tea from, and where his favorite brand of underpants was bought. Hell, he probably knew Potter better than Potter's own friends did.
But for what reason?
Well, for his job now, obviously. But before that… why couldn't he draw himself away from Harry sodding Potter?
And as if to prove a point, one of his own articles sat open next to him on the coffee table, flung there out of frustration during the previous week's story hunt. The title read, "Harry Potter: Britain's Most Eligible Wizard". Shirtless, shy-looking Harry rubbed his neck awkwardly, gazing up at Draco with a bashful smile from the accompanying photo.
Draco stared back. He'd been at that photo shoot, trying not to watch out of the corner of his eye as Potter had tugged off of shirt. Firmly ignoring the smooth abs and sculpted chest. Absolutely taking no notice of that "just been fucked" hair. And fiercely avoiding those piercing eyes, denying to himself that, just for a moment, they were lingering on him.
Almost without realizing, Draco's hand had slipped down into his trousers, his long fingers wrapping around his painfully hard shaft.
The photo of Harry seemed to be watching him, an imaginary flush seeming to rise in his cheeks.
Draco stroked down his own length, his thumb seeking the swollen head, smearing the weeping liquid in small, slow circles. His breath caught in his throat, hitching as he imagined Harry's hands touching him. Harry's strong hands, moving firmly over Draco's hard cock and dragging from him a desperate, pleading moan.
The nails of his free hand dug into his palm as a slow heat rolled through him, urging his fingers to more fevered ministrations. Draco's hips arched achingly up to the touch of his imaginary seducer, and all the while his gaze stayed locked with Harry's.
It was almost too much now, with intense green eyes drinking in his every move, and his hand grew almost frantic as he raced towards his inevitable finish. His eyes began to roll closed as the first ripples of pleasure washed through him, but he forced them back open, to stare at the photo of Harry, and…
Draco would never know if it was a trick of the light, or his own desperate imagination, but as he locked gazes with the man he wanted more than anything, he swore the photo mouthed his name: Draco.
"Harry!" Draco cried, and the all-consuming tide of orgasm swept him away.
Parvati Patil was waiting for him when he finally shambled into his office at the perfectly reasonable hour of eleven. She looked nearly as cheerful as Goyle, who had clearly indulged in more than just the four ales he'd been holding when Draco had left him. He currently had his head smashed, vice-like, between his balled fists. Draco patted him lightly on the back.
"You weren't supposed to drink the coins, Goyle," he offered helpfully, receiving a groan and a belch as his response.
Draco sighed, and turned his attention to his boss. "Right then. Patil, you're looking foul-tempered as ever. Can I bring you some tea, or perhaps a punch to the face?"
She rolled her eyes. "Sod off, Malfoy. Do you have my story?"
Taking his time, he slid out of his coat, hanging it neatly on the back of his chair, and then eased himself into his seat. He studied his nails for a moment, rubbing at a particularly rough edge, and then ran his fingertip over a spot he suspected he'd missed while shaving. At last, he folded his hands, looked at Parvati with much solemnity, and answered, "No."
"Well, lucky for you, I do," she announced, and slammed a flyer down onto his desk. Without giving him time to read it, she said, "Be there. Tonight. And have my story by tomorrow." She started out the door, then almost as an afterthought, added, "And get him some mouthwash and a hangover potion. I'm half pissed off just the fumes alone." And then she was gone.
Draco picked up the flyer, ignoring its tiny dancing figures as they circled around the words 'Charity Banquet Tonight! All proceeds to benefit St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Special Guest Harry Potter!'
Slowly Draco crumpled the paper in his hand as determination spread slowly through him. Yes, tonight there would be a story.
"I'm leaving," he told Goyle as he hurried back into his coat. "If anyone asks, I’m out gathering resources for my next article." He strode across the office, his thoughts racing as he went. He'd nearly disappeared out the door when, much as Parvati had, he remembered his prone secretary. "Oh, and by the way, there's a bottle of Dr. Lager's Hangover Tonic in the bottom drawer of my desk. Use it wisely."
And then he was gone.
Draco stared at his watch. It was two minutes past eight. Draco stared at his wardrobe. There was nothing to wear.
"No. No. Merlin no. No. Where did that come from? No…" Clothes flew out onto his bed as he tossed them aside, suddenly discontent with the finest designer outfits he owned. "No. No. Wait, what fresh hell…?" He pulled from the pile a pair of black leather trousers that appeared tight enough to make his voice an octave higher. "These aren't seriously mine, are they?" He shuddered, and threw them with particular vehemence.
He continued until his closet stood bare and his bed lay buried, and the only thing left in his grasp was a deep green silk shirt and a pair of black trousers that sat low on his slender hips.
With a troubled sigh, he slipped into the garments. It was better than going naked, after all.
Except… The wickedest part of his mind attempted to interject, as he straightened his tie.
"Except nothing," he told himself sharply, jerking on his best black coat. "I'm writing a cover story, not a porno. Now shut up."
His mind went silent, but not without a departing smirk.
One last look in the mirror, and Draco blew out the breath he found himself holding. "Now or never, Malfoy," he said, and closed his eyes as he focused on Apparating. When he opened them, a politely formal man in dress robes was holding out a hand to him.
"Your coat, sir?"
Draco passed it to him distractedly, already searching the milling crowds for one familiar head of messy black hair. The coat servant had already started to shuffle away when Draco called, "Wait! You there!" The man turned, looking startled to be addressed. "Yes, you. Do you, ah, know if Mr. Potter's here yet?"
It seemed to take the words a moment to seep through the man's brain, as though casual speech was not something he normally practiced. At last, he managed to reply, "Not yet, sir, to my knowledge. But he's due to give a toast at ten, sir, so one could expect him quite soon."
"A toast..." Draco repeated, his mind already speeding ahead.
"Will that be all, sir?"
The dulcet tones of the coat man forced Draco back to the present, and with an irritable flick of his head, he said, "Yes, that's all. If you'll excuse me…" And without waiting for a reply, he hurried off, making a straight line for the bar. He would plant himself there, firmly and squarely unavoidable, and when Potter came to give his toast, Draco would get his story.
He slid onto a cushioned barstool, signaled the bartender to him and ordered a glass of firewhisky. And then, taking a moment to enjoy the smooth burn of alcohol as it coursed through his system, Draco sat back to wait.
At half past ten, a waitress came around to remove the six empty glasses collected by Draco's elbow.
At eleven, the bartender began hinting that Draco might like a glass of water. He did not. What he did like was a double firewhisky on the rocks, thank you very much.
At midnight, most of the party guests that had at first tried to approach Draco and catch his interest were now pointedly avoiding him. The bartender only answered his summons when he threw a handful of Sickles at the back of her head.
"Stupid goddamn Potter," Draco slurred, glaring at his glass and wishing he could chuck it at someone. "Doesn't even show for charity. Class act, he is, just ace. Maybe that's my story – Harry Potter, Charity Skipper."
"It's quite catchy," interjected a voice, and Draco felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Even before he turned, he could feel amused green eyes studying him. "Think it might even win you an award."
Reminding himself sternly of the Malfoy policy – dignity at all times – he at last faced his would-be tormentor. "Potter," he greeted coolly.
"Hello, Malfoy. Stalking me again, I see." There was mild exasperation in Harry's voice, but it was softened by the slight smile that played at his mouth.
"Piss off, Potter," Draco muttered, but made sure not to sound too hostile; Harry had walked off on him enough times for him to know better. "You bloody well know it's my job."
"Ah, yes. Malfoy the reporter." Harry sighed, taking the seat next to Draco and calling over the bartender with a wave of his hand.
She eyed Draco warily before turning to Harry. "What'll it be?"
"Whatever he's having," said Harry with an indicative nod to Draco.
"What, my entire firewhisky stock?" she grumbled, but poured Harry a glass nonetheless. Harry took it with a smile and pushed a few Galleons across the bar at her.
"For your troubles."
The bartender pocketed the money while glancing at Draco. "Your troubles now, love," she smirked, and hurried away before Draco could decide to chuck more coins at her.
Harry took a long sip of his drink before turning his attention to Draco. "Alright, Malfoy. Let's make it quick. What do you want out of me this time? I'm not dating anyone new, I haven't joined any cults, I'm not shaving my head, I haven't bought a Russian love slave and I'm not addicted to sex. So what else can I tell you?"
For a long moment, Draco said nothing. He simply stared at Harry – stupid, perfect Harry – and felt the words sticking in his throat. He knew all the right questions to ask; he'd asked them a thousand times before, of course. But there was only one question now, the one he'd spent the whole night previous asking himself.
"I want to know…" he began, and paused, distracted by Harry's face. Those green eyes were watching him, sharp as ever, but was there a hint of a flush to his cheeks? Draco shook his head, calling back his focus. "I want to know if…"
Harry was too close, much too close. Draco could see the fine hint of stubble along the line of Harry's jaw and smell the mixture of sweat and cologne that indicated a man who'd had a long day. He could feel the warmth of Harry's skin rolling off his body. In fact, if he looked close, he even could count every fine eyelash lining Harry's eyes.
Swallowing hard, Draco finally asked what he'd been dying to for the last three years. "I want to know why I can't leave you alone."
Harry's confident expression began to waver; this was clearly not what he'd expected. "Erm, well… I think that's a question better suited for your psychiatrist, don't you think—"
"And," Draco went on heedlessly, his pulse racing, "I want to know what you think about this." It took only a second to close the small gap between them, and then Draco was kissing Harry. Mouth to surprisingly soft mouth, both demanding and pleading, Draco kissed him until he was out of breath and it was only the quick, steadying hands of Harry that kept him from toppling off his bar stool.
Another long moment, and Draco's eyes could finally focus on Harry's face. He took in the shocked expression, the slight flush, and – he could only hope – the slight trace of longing?
"Malfoy…" Harry gasped. "I… you just… I don't know what…"
A slow sinking started in Draco's chest, though he couldn't quite claim himself surprised. He waited, letting the taste of Harry linger on his lips for as long as possible and willing the moment not to end.
At last, Harry seemed to find his voice. "Malfoy - Draco. You just – you kissed me."
Draco swallowed. "Yes."
"And you want to know what I think."
"Yes," he answered again, mechanically. His heart had reached somewhere around his knee caps, but he refused to show defeat.
"I guess I…" Harry wasn't meeting his gaze, and with a final drawn breath, Draco awaited the blow. It took a minute, but Harry's features suddenly set, and with conviction in his voice, he said, "Well, if you really want to know what I think, it's this."
Harry's mouth was on Draco's again, but Draco hadn't moved an inch. His intoxicated mind decided to take extraordinarily long to process this turn of events, but luckily his lips knew exactly what was going on. Draco dove into the kiss, oblivious to knocking teeth and bitten tongues as he put every remaining bit of his energy into that solitary action.
This time, Harry pulled away first, but his forehead was leaned against Draco's, and the tight grip he had on Draco's shoulders clearly said he had no intentions of letting go soon. With a soft chuckle, he murmured, "I wish you would've asked me that sooner. I had no idea."
"Yes, well… I had other questions to ask, didn't I?" Draco let a smile tug up the corners of his mouth.
For a long, blissful minute, they basked in each other's warmth, nuzzling one another and ignoring the room at large. Then Harry sighed. "You know I can't let you write about this tomorrow morning, right?"
Draco sat up, trying his best to look scandalized. "But… this is the story of the year! Harry Potter, In Love with the Enemy! I could win an award," he insisted, but his smile was now betraying his attempt at gravity.
Harry just laughed and kissed Draco again, softly. "Hasn't anyone ever told you? Sometimes the best stories are better left untold."