Title: Not By Bread Alone
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco (Harry/Ginny, Draco/Astoria)
Summary: No man – wizard or Muggle – can live by bread alone.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Infidelity, prostitution, bondage, angst
Epilogue compliant? Epilogue compliant, yes. Disregards most of interview canon except for Astoria's name.
Word Count: 6500ish
Author's Notes: Thanks to my betas for their invaluable help with this story and to the mods for running such a great fest! mizbean, I really enjoyed writing for your prompts and I hope you like this. :)
The seasons were changing – summer was over. Harry caught the first hint of fall in the air at King's Cross when he was waiting for the train. The weather had turned crisp, and it was the last golden sunlight of the year.
Harry buttoned his coat up to his chin and thrust his hands into his pockets, walking alongside Ginny on the platform. The boys had boarded the train, stuffing their trunks into their compartments, meeting old friends and making new ones.
"He'll be all right," Ginny said. "Gryffindor or Slytherin ... he'll do well either way." She laced her fingers with Harry's, holding his hand for a second before letting it drop.
"I know." There was nothing more that Harry could do – he stood there on the platform and watched the train disappear into the fog, his children bound for Hogwarts. Their Houses and their futures were out of his hands.
Ginny stood next to him, shivering in the first chill of autumn. "I think I'll start heading back," she said. "Harry … are you coming?"
"Just a minute."
This was the train station where Harry had left for Hogwarts, every year – the same platform, the same train, the same trolley full of sweets. He remembered.
Just out of the corner of his eye, he saw Draco Malfoy lingering on the platform with his wife at his elbow.
He was tall and looked paler than usual, wrapped up against the chill in a dark woollen coat. Harry half-turned and watched him, pretending that he was still looking at the departing train. He hadn't seen Malfoy in years … he took a step toward him.
The sound of his footfalls was muffled in the fog, and Malfoy didn't see him. He turned away from Harry, offering Astoria his arm and leading her off the platform. Harry stopped and watched them until they disappeared, two elegant silhouettes fading out of his sight.
It was the same room. Half of Harry's life was blank and blurred – secrets given, stories forgotten – but he remembered this room.
Shoving his hands into his pockets, he slouched at the window, leaning forward until his forehead was pressed against the glass. His breath came to make a halo around the faint reflection of his face, at first, and then fogged it up until he couldn't see his image there in the steam.
It was the first real day of winter, and London was cracking open in the cold. The streets were filled with men and women in long black coats, bundled in hats and scarves until they were mere round specks splashing through the slush and grime, rushing out to fill the cracks left by the weather.
Harry had left Ginny at home with a vase of white winter roses, grown in a hothouse somewhere and flown to London by a long-suffering owl. His children were demanding a visit to Diagon Alley, an early taste of the wonders of the season – the toys that popped and sang, the soldiers that marched and fought in mock wars, Molly's gingerbread fresh from the oven. They wanted liquorice sticks and gumdrops and candy canes, all of the fuss and frosting needed to make their gingerbread house into a fairytale castle.
Harry had begged off and left Ginny to deal with it all. Too much work to do, he'd said, and he'd Flooed to his office, but he had nothing to do.
It was the same room. This was the bed where he had fucked Draco, the place where Harry had given him the last memory. It was nothing now, a wisp of grey in his mind – something about lunch with the Minister, something that Harry had done in the office. It was nothing that mattered much.
Draco had left him with all the memories that he needed. He had the bright, colourful moments with his children, the time he'd spent with Ginny, his school years with Ron and Hermione, the adventures at Hogwarts – every time he'd been with Draco. The memories that he had were seared into his flesh. He remembered the feel of Draco's skin, the taste and smell of him.
Pigeons still flocked in the park across the street, beating away the chill with their thick feathery wings. They cawed and circled around the old man who fed them bread, crumbling it up and scattering it for them. They had food for the winter as long as they stayed, as long as the old man lived in the park. Passing by the park on cold days, Harry had seen him ward off the chill with fires built in rubbish bins, his bread toasted and eaten while it was still warm.
They had eaten cold strawberries and fizzy champagne, drinking the taste from each other's lips afterwards and chasing it with more kisses.
Harry wiped the fog of his breath off the window. He wouldn't see Draco again.
He had promised to see him – promised luncheons and teas, social amity to help Draco re-establish himself. He'd gone to the wedding and seen Astoria in her meringue-white dress, frothed with lace and pearls. He'd seen Draco take her hand and feed her a slice of almond cake, bite by dainty bite. There was no frosting to kiss away, no mess to clean up afterwards. Harry had Disapparated with a crack, clutching his wand so hard it hurt his fingers.
He still had the memories.
In the street, a black car honked as it swerved, spraying the birds and the iron lamp posts with slush. The pigeons scattered, the entire flock exploding into flight in a heartbeat. They took to the air, cawing down at the car and the dark-suited men who had dodged the slush and hurried past the homeless man shivering on his bench.
Harry wiped away the last of the steam from his breath and dried his hand on his trouser. He'd stop at the store on his way home and buy candy canes and cracked chestnuts, mulled wine and cider. His throat hurt but Harry swallowed, shoving his hands into his pockets.
He went past the front desk, keeping the key to the room. It was a warm weight clenched in his fist, hidden in his pocket. The metal ridges cut into his fingers, but Harry kept it.
The last thing was Draco's wand. Harry had kept it in the bottom drawer of his desk, with rolls of Spellotape and daisychains of paperclips and battered scrolls, remembering it when it was convenient. When he needed it.
It was still smooth to his fingers, still as comfortable as it was when he was Horcrux-hunting or out in the field, but he wouldn't be needing it anymore. He passed it back to Draco. Their fingers touched, a brief dry kiss of skin to skin.
Harry put his hands back on the table, folding them one over the other on the crisp linen. He felt the loss of the wand as an ache in his knuckles, making them stiff and swollen. He wasn't old enough to suffer from the joint pains that kept old wizards waking through the nights; he was too old to keep Draco's wand when he had no need of a spare. He was too old to cling to it as boys hoard their baubles and treasures and toys.
Draco was rolling the wand between his fingers, passing it from one hand to the other, holding it up to the light to examine it for nicks or scratches. He took the crisp white napkin folded into a swan and used the beak to buff the wood until it shone, never looking at Harry until he was finished. "Thank you."
"Yes," Harry said. His fingers didn't twitch. He took a deep breath. "And will you–"
"Of course," Draco said. He slipped the wand into his pocket and leaned forward to take his glass of water. He watched Harry over its rim while he took a sip. "As we agreed."
It was Muggle London, though the restaurant was fashionable now and there were wizards who watched Harry and Draco dine together and saw them leave together – as had been planned – but it was Muggle London, so it was easy enough to slip away from their notice and find a room to rent.
The room had a window that looked out over a park. There was a flock of pigeons fluttering and squabbling over a sudden largesse of crumbs, while the homeless man on the bench tossed them more bread and begged for coins from the people who passed. Harry rested his head against the cool pane of glass, watching.
Through the glass, he couldn't hear the rustle of the leaves on the ground or the wind through the trees. Behind him, he heard the rustle of cloth, but he didn't turn to watch Draco. He didn't need to watch him.
Harry knew it all – skin revealed inch by inch, the roll of Draco's hips as he shifted from foot to foot, removing shoes and socks. All of it – all of the skin that was revealed – was pale and hairless, perfect and unblemished. Draco would keep his shirt on, unbuttoning it from collar to sternum, and Harry would kiss his way down that line of pale flesh.
It wasn't enough. Harry pressed his hands against his thighs and held himself still, standing at the window. He didn't turn to look at Draco, but he said, "Take off your shirt."
"What? You know–"
"Just this time," Harry said.
Draco came up behind him, pressing his body against Harry. He kissed the base of Harry's neck. "You don't want that," he said. "Don't you want me now? I can't wait to take off my clothes – I'm so hot for you, Harry–"
Harry pushed him away. "Don't – I'm not one of them."
Circling around him, Draco came between Harry and the window, standing between him and the sight of the pigeons feeding on bread crumbs. He blocked the light. "Oh, but you are," he said, reaching out to trace the line of Harry's jaw. "You pay in a different coin, but you're no different."
This wasn't the same. Harry's fingers clenched, his hands balled into fists, and he didn't reach for Draco – he didn't. The other men were the ones who left him bruised and hurting. Not Harry.
Draco circled around Harry again and crowded him up against the window, the plate glass cold against his back. The cold seeped through Harry's shirt and into his skin, and Draco was warm, just a breath away. Harry didn't reach for him. He didn't touch Draco.
"Do it for me, and I … I'll give you a memory."
Draco had his wand in his hand, slipping it out of his pocket and putting it against Harry's temple before Harry had time to draw a breath. The tip of the wand dug into his flesh, but Harry stared straight at Draco and didn't flinch. "Go ahead. Do it."
It was nothing like Occlumency lessons with Snape. When it was Draco, Harry felt like he was flying – there were mists in his mind, formless clouds that shifted and changed as they moved closer, growing darker as Draco went deeper. Harry smelled broom polish and grass and felt the rush of wind on his face, stinging his skin and making his eyes water. He didn't close them – he held Draco's gaze.
Memory after memory, it was just a blur until Draco latched onto what he wanted. Harry was in his office, he went to lunch with the Minister, he met a member of the Wizengamot, the ambassador from Bulgaria, the reporter from the Daily Prophet – Draco took it all, names and places and details. The memory grew pale and blurred until Harry blinked.
He was back in the hotel room, Draco's body pressed against his, Draco's hand on his cock, stroking – Harry moved to the side, twisting away from Draco's wand. He touched his temple, rubbing away the feel of the wood pressed into his skin.
"Fine," Draco said, pulling away from Harry. He stripped off his shirt and let it fall to the floor. He looked smaller without it, with the glare of the fluorescent light on his skin. He held his left arm at an angle, twisted behind his back, and he looked straight at Harry. "Happy?"
Draco was quick with his wand, but he was out of practice and Harry was faster, disarming him and putting his wand on the bedside table. "Incarcerous."
Thick ropes wrapped around Draco's wrists and bound them together – Harry levitated him over to the bed and tied him to the posts, securing them and standing over Draco. He twisted Draco's arm to see the Dark Mark, holding him still when he struggled.
The Mark was still there, a pale scar on Draco's skin, but this was nothing like capturing a Death Eater. Draco struggled against the ropes, his cock stiffening as he pulled and pulled against them until they tightened, cutting into his skin. Harry flicked his wand, and another set of ropes bound Draco's ankles, parting his legs and holding him in place. The arm with the Dark Mark was held over Draco's head, and Harry came closer – almost touched it, but Draco jerked away from his hand.
Harry didn't touch him. Taking a step back, he unbuttoned his robes and let them fall to the floor. The wind gusted against the window, rattling tree branches and sending a draft through the room, but it was warm enough. Harry didn't shiver as he stood bare before Draco, watching him.
He knew Draco's skin and lips, the way he sighed and the way he kissed. Harry would taste him, touch him, feel the hard length of Draco's cock pressed against his, feel him shudder when he came–
"I want to fuck you."
"Another memory," Draco said. He stopped struggling against the ropes and lay on the bed, looking up at Harry with one brow quirked. He shifted a little, spreading his legs wider.
"No," Draco said. "During."
Harry slid onto the bed, resting next to Draco – close enough to touch him – and gave him back his wand. Draco said nothing, but let the wand slip from his fingers and fall onto the pillow next to his hand, watching Harry all the while.
Harry popped the cork on a vial of lubricant and tipped the vial, pouring the lubricant into the palm of his hand and letting his skin warm it. Draco's cock twitched and he shifted, angling his hips for Harry – but Harry waited, his fingers slick, watching Draco. The Mark was pale against his skin, a scar that shone in the light.
Draco's wand rolled further from his fingers and he twisted against the ropes that bound him until he could hide his forearm under his head. Thrusting his chin in Harry's direction, he said, "Do it."
Harry traced circles around Draco's hipbones, feeling the planes of skin and bone, the sharp lines of Draco's hips. The light from the window cast clear-cut shadows on Draco's skin, and Harry traced the edges of each shadow. Draco shifted under his fingers, canting his hips upwards until Harry let his hands slip lower, his thumbs stroking the curve of Draco's thighs and his fingers following them. He made each touch last, made it count – learned it all by heart.
Draco was already slick, already ready for him – Harry knew. He knew what Draco did, but he took the time to stretch him. Draco's hands were clenched into fists, his wand just out of his reach, and his fingers were scrabbling for purchase in the sheets as Harry slid into him.
There was no long slow burn – it was quick and it was easy. Harry was chest to chest with Draco, pressed against him, latching onto the ropes that bound him to the bed and gripping them to steady himself. Draco shifted, working more slack from the ropes and wrapping his legs around Harry's hips, drawing him deeper and pulling him closer.
Draco's wand clattered to the floor as Harry thrust, shaking the bed, and Draco cried out and managed to summon it with a wandless charm. It flew into Draco's hand, smacking against the flesh of his palm, and Harry thrust into him again, taking a deep breath and holding it. This was enough – this was perfect, and he didn't need any more. He didn't.
Draco pressed his wand to Harry's temple and gave him more. Flying, floating, falling … the world was indistinct and formless around him, Draco was solid under him, and Harry held onto him. His grip was tight enough to bruise, his hands were on Draco's arms, one hand circling the Dark Mark – he knew it, but at the same time he was trapped in his mind, he was with Draco watching the Minister, he was with Draco learning secrets, he was with Draco. He thrust harder, faster – needing, wanting – he was falling, he was caught.
The memories were the first thing – the sign that Draco wanted to return. Harry had given him Galleons and paid for articles in the Prophet to clear his name.
"Show me. Show me why I should go back," Draco had said, but he didn't listen to Harry's reasons.
"You belong there," Harry said. "Your mother misses you. You have–"
He broke off, coming up close to Malfoy and letting his hand dip into Malfoy's back pocket, caressing his arse through his tight jeans. "You don't mean to do this for the rest of your life, do you?"
Draco pulled away and shrugged. "It puts bread on the table."
"You could do this," Harry said, flicking his wand and Banishing their clothes. He grasped Draco's cock, stroking it, fondling his balls – Summoning lubricant from the bedroom. "Magic – you could have it again, you could earn a real living, feed yourself–"
His fingers clenching as he struggled against the ropes that bound him, Draco bit down on Harry's earlobe. "Shut up," he said. "Shut up, Potter–"
"When you're ready to go back," Harry said.
It was June when the answer changed from yes to no. They were in Draco's apartment, the sun through the pane glass windows making watery patterns on the tiles, like the shifting golden light at the bottom of a clear lake. Close enough to touch, close enough to kiss – Draco turned his face away from Harry and shrugged. "It pays well enough … it used to."
He advanced on Harry, forcing him backwards. "It used to pay well enough," he said, a smile curving his lips. "Now … to make ends meet, I may have to add additional charges."
"Going back to the Wizarding world will be expensive," he said. "Robes, potions, a new wand. Floo powder. Flowers for my lover, a ring for my fiancée … diamonds for Mother, the ones I promised her when I left. It all adds up, Harry. I need to pay for it somehow."
"Don't tell me I've got you and your endless pocketbook," Draco said, his lips twisted in a sneer. "You can't think that this will last."
It had lasted this long, years and secrets piling up like dust in the attic. Ginny never had suspected – never asked where the money was going, where Harry went when he left the house on weekends. She didn't know where he was.
"You're–" Harry took a step toward Malfoy, but he held his hand out, palm up.
"You need to pay for it if you want me."
Harry had paid. The apartment, the hotel rooms and the meals – the gold in Draco's pocket and the vase of blue forget-me-nots – he had paid for it all. He took Draco's hand. "What do you want now?"
There was a Pensieve on the table, hidden behind the vase of flowers – heavy stone and magic, bought with Harry's money. Draco led him to it, and put Harry's hand on the carvings on the rim. "Your secrets," he said. "I want them all."
Draco set out a feast while Harry filled the Pensieve – bread and cheese, champagne and strawberries, food bought with Harry's money. His hands were cold when he finished, tucking his wand back into his pocket. Draco took his hand and kissed each chapped knuckle, working his way over the lines of Harry's bones beneath his skin, bones and the ligaments that held him together.
He drank champagne from the palm of Harry's hand, licking it up with his tongue – and his lips were warm on the inside of Harry's wrist, searching for his pulse and finding it. He brushed blue flowers across Harry's face, following the silk-smooth touch with his lips, and when they were done – when every memory had been shown – he led Harry to the bedroom and the high canopied bed.
There was a red vase on the table in the front hall, full of showy sunflowers that caught the afternoon light. Harry stopped to touch them, brushing dark pollen onto his fingers. He tucked the Prophet under the table and snagged his coat from the hook on the wall.
"Just going out for a moment, love," he called out. "I'll bring you a copy of the paper."
Ginny was at the table with Lily, who refused to eat boiled cabbage this week. Harry hadn't touched his own dinner – discreet flickers of Banishing spells disposed of it when Ginny was watching the children eat, wiping mouths and doling out reprimands when they kicked each other.
This was what she had wanted. Harry shoved his hands into his pockets, rubbing his thumb over the ridges of his other fingers. Draco was waiting for him.
It was a nice restaurant in the upper end of Knightsbridge, and Draco was already there, standing in the shadow of the trees in front. Harry stumbled away from the spot where he'd landed, and Draco caught him, setting him upright and brushing his clothes into order. "You never could manage something as simple–"
"When you're ready to Apparate yourself, then you can talk." Harry brushed off Draco's hands and went in, going straight to the maitre d' and letting Draco follow him. He ordered a bottle of champagne that he knew Draco disliked, and downed a glass without making a toast.
"Don't," Draco said, putting a hand on Harry's. "Potter–"
Harry pushed him away again. The waiter brought a basket full of warm bread, and Harry took a piece and ripped it to shreds, leaving the pieces on his plate. Ginny had served broiled lamb and boiled cabbage and soggy carrots – vegetables that Lily had refused to eat – while he and Draco ate steak au poivre and had crème brulée for dessert. They ate off china and crystal, silverware clinking as they refused to speak.
It wasn't until Harry had paid the bill that Draco touched him again, one finger sliding along the inside of Harry's wrist. "Please–"
Harry watched him lick his lips, and after a minute, he reached for Draco, catching his hand under the table and holding it. It was a Muggle restaurant. No one knew them here … he used his foot to nudge Draco's legs apart and traced circles on his knee. "Your place," he said. "I'll Apparate us there–"
"It's not that bloody hard to take the Tube," Draco said, but he relented when Harry pulled him outside and into the shadows of the alley. "All right – just this once, mind."
Sidealong Apparition felt different with Draco than it did with Ginny – there was an extra thrill to the spin, the navel-sucking speed that sent them hurtling through space and into Draco's flat. Draco caught Harry again when he stumbled, pressing him up against the mantle. "Wanted you all this while–"
Harry flipped him around, catching his head before it could slam into the wall. "Incarcerous," he said, binding Draco to the mantel with ropes as thick as his wrist.
Draco arched up against him, hooking one leg around Harry's to pull him closer. His cock brushed against Harry's and he bit his lower lip, his eyes fluttering shut. "Please – Harry –"
"Yes," Harry said. "Yes."
It wasn't what he had with Ginny, after all. It was different. He sank into Draco and bit his shoulder and held him, fingers digging into his skin – it was hard enough to hurt. It was what Harry needed.
The apartment was empty the first time Harry saw it – white walls, bare floors, one window that let in the sunlight and the smog. After visiting the goblins twice and paging through a stack of Muggle mail-order catalogues, Harry managed to furnish it. It was easy enough to hide the money from Ginny – it was easy to hide it all from Ginny.
When he showed it to Draco the first time, the apartment looked like a picture from one of Aunt Petunia's glossy magazines. Floor-length velvet curtains, high-backed chairs, a cherry-wood table that gleamed in the sunlight, a vase of flowers. Harry had chosen lilies and white daffodils, and the wrinkled old witch who arranged the flowers had smiled and sent her best wishes to Ginny.
His back to Draco, Harry fingered the long green stems of the flowers. Daffodils were full of poison – named after Narcissus of the pool and as beautiful, the first thing the florist had told him. A useful ingredient for potions. Harry didn't care.
"Thanks," Draco said, stepping up behind him and putting one finger on Harry's hand. He traced the veins in the back of Harry's hand and moved down his fingers, then traced the stem of the lily. "This is lovely."
It had cost a year's wages – it would be hell to hide from Ginny if she ever looked – but Harry only shrugged and said, "You're welcome."
Draco's finger traced a path back up Harry's hand, slipping under his cuff and touching the pulse point at his wrist. "Want to show me the bedroom?"
Harry did. He swallowed and nodded, putting his hands in his pockets as he led the way. His fingers tingled and he clenched them into fists, rubbing them against his woollen trousers. Draco was behind him, a warm presence at his back – he put a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"You're nervous, aren't you?"
It was all he said, and then he pressed Harry against the wall, kissing him hard. His tongue slipped between Harry's lips as his hand went down to fondle Harry's cock, touching him through the fabric that separated them. There was too much between them.
Harry fumbled with his buttons, nearly losing one as he hopped out of his trousers. Draco did the same, but left his shirt on, unbuttoning it enough to show his pale neck before he advanced on Harry again. Harry kissed the skin that was revealed, working his way down Draco's chest and kissing him through the fabric. "You – Draco, take it off–"
He had undone one of Draco's buttons before Draco pushed him away, one hand flat on Harry's chest. "Don't," he said. "That's not included in our agreement."
"I want to touch you–"
Draco licked his lips and reached down to touch his cock, beckoning to Harry with his free hand. "Then touch me."
Harry was the one to advance on Draco, then, pushing him into the wall and kissing him. He took Draco's cock in his hand, stroking their cocks together – the two of them together, Draco's breath warm on Harry's cheek.
He held Draco when it was over, using his weight to pin him against the wall. Draco made a quiet sound and turned his head, moving away from Harry's kiss. "Show me the bedroom now?" he asked. His fingers closed around Harry's wrist and he led Harry down the corridor.
Bread and water was what they fed the inmates at Azkaban prison, the ones who weren't drooling porridge back into their bowls, Kissed and lifeless. Bread and water is what Lucius Malfoy got.
Malfoy told Harry about the one visit he had been allowed – the gray walls, the barren sea, the Dementors that ghosted through the corridors like wraiths, always prowling through the prison. He put his hand on Harry's when he was done with the story.
"I won't go back."
Harry caught his fingers and held them. "You don't have to."
He fed Malfoy – they ate fish and chips, walking through the low-lit streets together, peeling back the greasy paper and throwing it into bins when they were finished. Malfoy was thin and he put a hand on Harry's arm, stopping him before he could turn toward Grimmauld Place.
Malfoy was thin enough to be starving – not doing well in the Muggle world. Harry could tell.
His mouth twisted into a straight line and he covered Malfoy's hand with his own before pulling him into the shadows of an alley for a quick kiss. "Apparate to the hotel?"
"Nowhere to arrive without being seen," Malfoy said, holding onto Harry, breathless and warm in his arms. "Somewhere–"
Harry pushed him up against the wall, one hand fumbling in his pants. He stroked Malfoy fast and hard – pressed against him, rutting against his thigh – kissed him until he couldn't breathe, until the pace of the blood pounding in his ears drowned out everything. He needed – needed Malfoy, needed this.
They went to Grimmauld Place, stumbling through the streets after Harry had Banished the mess and Malfoy had straightened their clothing. Harry held Malfoy's hand, catching him when he tripped over cobblestones and clinging to him when twigs rolled under his feet.
They went past the apparition of Dumbledore, though Malfoy turned pale when the dust swirled at his feet and the spectre pointed a finger at him. "Have you got somewhere to sleep?" Harry asked.
"Stay here for now," he said when Malfoy shook his head. "Just for a while."
Malfoy nodded, so Harry kissed him – a sloppy kiss, nothing like the ones in the alley or the hotel room. Their noses bumped together and Harry pulled back, blinking. "I – I'll let you get settled in," he said.
"Don't be stupid," Malfoy said. "Come to bed."
It was the same street, the same lamp post – but Harry was sober, and he had his wand in his pocket, the wood smooth-solid under his fingertips. He thought he was ready until he saw Malfoy's slumped shoulders.
"It was you."
Malfoy didn't turn. "What's it to you?"
"You didn't think at all, Potter. If you had, you wouldn't have come back."
Malfoy was just as Harry remembered him – all thin, sharp angles, his hands in his pockets and his bony elbows jutting out from his body. He didn't look at Harry.
"Why are you–"
"None of your business, Potter." Malfoy spat on the ground and leaned against the lamp post. "Go back to the Weaselette and make babies with her. Find orphans and charitable causes. Bask in the glow of your victory over evil bastards like me. Learn how to comb your hair."
He turned to look at Harry, and he was pale and he jammed his hands further down into his pockets and he didn't quite meet Harry's gaze. "Do whatever the fuck you want," he said. "Just leave me alone."
Harry touched him – traced the line of his chin with a finger, touched the corner of his mouth, bumped his elbow. "You don't have to tell me," he said. "I'm not an Auror yet, and you–"
"And this is the Muggle world, Potter. I don't care if you're an Auror or the Minister of Magic … you can't touch me here."
"If this is the only way you have to earn a living … let me help you."
"Right," Malfoy said, moving away from Harry's touch. He leaned against the lamp post, his shoulders hunched and his shirt hiking up to show the pale skin of his belly. "Because it's that easy. The poor pitiful Slytherin sells his body to keep his mum in diamonds and pearls, and perfect Potter waltzes in to save the day."
"Is that why–"
"Don't be stupid, Potter."
"Let me help you."
Malfoy hesitated for a moment and then looked up and down the empty street. He held out a hand to Harry. "Same rate as everybody else, Potter, and the same rules. I won't be the one to do special favours for the Boy Who Saved Us."
After last night, Harry was ready and he dropped a pouch of Galleons into Malfoy's outstretched hand. The coins clinked together as Malfoy shoved them into his pocket, and then he reached for Harry's hand. "Ready?"
As ready as he'd ever be. Harry took a deep breath and let it out, watching the white steam puff into Malfoy's face. He was sober – Ginny was waiting at home – last night had been ….
Harry took another breath, taking Malfoy's hand. "Yes," he said. "I'm ready."
The first thing, the thing that made Harry stop, was a smile. It was raining. He was soaked and his breath came out in hot steamy puffs – dragon's breath, he thought, just as he saw the boy on the corner. He was drunk on champagne and the world was blurry in the rain and the image seemed to fit. Dragon's breath, hot and steamy – dragon's breath that came before fire.
The boy was drenched, too, with his hair slicked back and his shoulders slumped as he stood haloed by the streetlight. He smiled, and Harry's heart skipped a beat.
When Harry came close to him, he squinted through the rain. The boy looked familiar, like someone that Harry should know, someone he should be able to name.
The boy shook wet hair out of his face and reached out to Harry. "Do you have a place for the night?"
"Do you have a place for the night?" His fingers were cold on Harry's wrist, brushing the rain onto Harry's skin. His fingers closed around Harry's hand, and he tried to pull him closer. "You know … a room?"
The boy was wearing a thin black coat and shivering where he stood. Harry swayed when he stepped toward him. Dragon's breath, streetlight, star light … the world was cold and wet, but Harry was still warm, could still taste the champagne on his lips, still feel the diamond black-and-white marble under his feet, still feel Ginny's silk robe under his fingers. Dancing – burbles of applause – toasts with champagne – a diamond clenched in his fist – it was all a blur, now. He took another step toward the boy.
There was the cottage in Godric's Hollow – out of the question. There was Grimmauld Place, shut up with shadows and curses and the spectre of Dumbledore, always accusing Snape of his murder.
"There's a hotel around the corner." The boy's breath was warm on Harry's neck – he was pressed up against Harry – he was pressing Harry against the lamp post, he was kissing Harry–
One word, and the world changed. The boy took Harry by the hand and led him down the street, past the lamps and the shadows of the lamp posts that cut the street into diagonal sections, sharp black shadows and yellow lights. It had stopped raining, but he led Harry around the puddles and helped him cross the street.
"Here we are."
The receptionist didn't smile at him – didn't look up from her neon-paperbacked novel until she handed them the key. Harry paid with crisp Muggle money, folding the bills together until they were in some sort of order, numbers ascending or descending. He couldn't count, but the boy helped him when he fumbled with the money, and took the change, slipping it into Harry's pocket. His hand lingered there, just one layer of cloth away from Harry's skin.
The world blurred. Steps, corridors, the gold-and-silver numbers on the doorways – Harry stopped and pointed at the colours. "Gryffindor and Slytherin."
The carpet was red and green, patterned with diamonds that moved under Harry's feet. The boy pulled him on, down the corridor that went on forever, and Harry leaned on him when they stopped again in front of a door. The key fell from his fingers.
"Only you," the boy said, bending to pick it up. Harry put a hand on him – his clothes were wet, his jeans shaping the curve of his arse, his shirt slipping up to show the knobs of his spine – and he traced the pattern that a drop of water made, following it until it dripped down the boy's side.
"You," Harry said. The door moved under him and he fell into the room, stumbling. "What–"
"It's a key, Potter. It opens doors. Even an idiot like you ought to–"
The boy stopped speaking when Harry came close to him, holding him still for a kiss. His chest was heaving, and Harry traced a line down his breastbone, following the jagged teeth of his zip. He stopped, one finger poking into the boy's smooth stomach. "You–"
"Want you, yes." The boy was pressed against Harry, skin against skin as he pulled off Harry's shirt and unbuttoned his trousers. "Can't wait to have you–"
His fingers were rain-slick and cold on Harry's cock, and Harry shivered. Warm kisses on his wet neck, the boy in his arms – Harry moved to pull the boy's shirt off, but his hands were pushed away and held over his head. His blood pounded in his ears and he gasped in a great breath of air, smelling the musty room and the rain and the boy.
The world spun and Harry was lost and it was warm and the boy's mouth took away the cold of the rain and he held Harry and it didn't matter anymore, nothing mattered but this, the warmth and the spinning lights and the boy in his arms. Harry rolled over and fell back flat on the comforter and dragged the boy with, draping him over his chest.
The fire surrounded Harry – flames the shape of beasts, roaring after them, and black smoke billowed, filling their lungs until he couldn't breathe. He saw Malfoy in the smoke and the swirling, dizzying waves of heat that came from the fire and distorted the air.
Harry swooped down and grabbed hold of Malfoy, pulling him into the air and away from the fire. He couldn't breathe. The smoke was in his lungs and Malfoy was pressed against him, holding him tight enough to hurt. Harry's ribs were crushed under Malfoy's hands and he coughed and coughed, trying to breathe.
The door was in front of them, the fire behind them. There was only one way out. Harry sped towards it, urging the old broom to go faster and faster – caught between the wood and Malfoy, pressed between them. Malfoy's hand hit Harry's cheek, his fingernails grazing his skin and drawing blood – it hurt.
They were through the door, out into the open air and safety. Malfoy clung to Harry for a moment longer before releasing him, swinging one leg over the broom and dismounting. He managed to look elegant while he brushed the soot from his clothing.
"Don't think this changes anything, Potter."
Harry had saved him – had been pressed against him, almost swallowed up by the flames that filled the room. He had felt Malfoy breathing against his back and felt the way he shivered when he thought he was going to die. It had changed everything.