Title: You Can Leave Your Hat On
Summary: Harry and Ron, for reasons beyond their control, find themselves shopping for hats at March and Malfoy’s Magical Millinery.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): A sad lack of actual smut, alas.
Epilogue compliant? Not really, no. Harry and Ron are Aurors, but that’s about it (although it doesn’t say anywhere in canon that Draco doesn’t own a hat shop, now does it?)
Word Count: 3800
Author's Notes: Oh, darling Jae, this fic has wandered far from your original prompt, and for that I am terribly sorry. But there are hats!
Harry and Ron stared up in dismay at the sign above the shop door. It was very nicely done, in a discreet and costly sort of a way, with ornate gold lettering on black; it was the words themselves they were having trouble with.
“’March and Malfoy’s Magical Millinery’,” Ron read out in hollow tones. “Why, why, would she send us here? Beloved sister or not, she and I are going to have words when I get hold of her.”
“She’s under a lot of pressure, with the wedding and all. I think your mum’s nagging has finally got to her.” Harry replied. The sign squeaked softly as it swung in the breeze.
The shop in question stood on the corner of Diagon and Knockturn Alleys; to their left, Fortescue’s seethed with small witches and wizards, all a-babble with excitement, waving spoons and comparing newly purchased school supplies. ‘I swear, they get smaller every year,’ Ron had muttered as they’d passed “We were never that titchy.”
Across the alley Gringott’s hummed like a hive, buzzing with shoppers, traders, and Ministry officials, all as busy as robed and pointy-hatted bees. To their right, on Knockturn Alley, empty shopfronts straggled down towards a huddle of disreputable-looking businesses on one side and Borgin and Bourke’s on the other; it was an area with which Harry and Ron, as intrepid up-and-coming Aurors, were all too familiar.
“Maybe it’s his mum’s shop,” Ron suggested hopefully. “Or some distant relation – a second cousin or something – who’s actually quite decent.”
“Ron, Mr and Mrs Malfoy have been living in Tallinn for years. Even in the wizarding world that’s quite a commute. ”
“I don’t want to go in there. What kind of hats do you reckon he makes? They’re probably enchanted to…”
“Well, we promised Ginny. If we return empty handed she might just start crying again, and then your mum would probably kill us.”
“Me, maybe. You’re the Boy Who Can Do No Wrong, remember?”
“Why do we even have to wear hats? Who wears hats to weddings nowadays?”
“Ron, we’ve been over this. Ginny wants hats at the wedding, so we wear hats, or do you fancy another run-in with your mother?”
“That wooden spoon hurt,” muttered Ron, rubbing his left arse-cheek ruefully.
“Hats,” Ron agreed glumly.
“If you two don’t stop loitering about outside my premises I shall call the Aurors,” came a peevish voice from the doorway. They looked up, startled, to see Malfoy himself, in sober dark blue robes and displeased expression. Harry was slightly taken aback. Malfoy was still too pointy to be considered really beautiful, but he had grown into his height and was no longer the skinny, raw-boned boy Harry remembered. His face had lost some of its sharpness, too, and Harry (having realised certain things about his own proclivities in recent years) noticed for the first time the Malfoy’s grey eyes were framed by eyelashes so improbably long and curled that Harry suspected some sort of cosmetic Charm to be involved.
“We are Aurors,” Harry pointed out, hoping that neither Ron nor Malfoy had noticed he’d been staring. Malfoy scowled.
“That doesn’t give you the right to harass innocent people at their places of business! I warn you, I will make no bones about complaining to the Ministry.”
“Innocent?” snorted Ron. “Since when have you been innocent?”
“That’s a rather personal question, Weasleby.” Malfoy cocked an eyebrow, and Harry had to stifle a surprising fit of giggles.
“I just meant…” Ron blushed. Malfoy rolled his eyes.
“I know what you meant. What I don’t know is what you mean by cluttering up my shop frontage. You’re making the place look untidy.”
Ron bristled, and Harry laid a restraining hand on his arm. “Actually, Malfoy, we’re interested in your hats.”
“And why, pray tell, are the Aurors interested in my hats?”
“The Aurors are not, as far as I know. These Aurors in particular,” Harry indicated himself and Ron, “have a wedding to attend next month, however, and have been instructed by the bride to purchase respectable headwear.”
“On pain of death,” Ron added, nodding solemnly. Malfoy eyed them dubiously.
“Well, I suppose you’d better come in. Do try not to break anything.”
He stood aside and held the door open, waving them inside. Harry had to give Ron a not-so-gentle shove, but they eventually followed Malfoy into the cool interior of the shop. The door shut behind them with the subdued jangle of a bell.
March and Malfoy’s Magical Millinery was a glorious jumble of gloves, fans, lace shawls, tins of scented pomade, cuff links, tortoiseshell combs, moustache wax, hair pins, tie pins, hat pins, and of course, hats; shelf upon shelf of traditional pointed wizard hats of every colour and size imaginable – purple velvet, spangled blue, sombre black, green and orange and shimmering aquamarine, and even one fashioned from rather startling canary-yellow silk. There was also a plethora of Muggle hats, catering to the post-war trend for Muggle fashions; panamas with gaudy hatbands, fedoras, boaters, bowlers, and pork-pies, trilbies, bonnets, and glossy black toppers. Suspended in midair, a small fleet of levitating glass globes, slightly bigger than Bludgers, bobbed and twirled lazily, showing off the headwear displayed on them. One drifted, spinning slowly, towards Harry, bearing a pillbox hat of embroidered satin decorated with flowers and seed pearls and crowned by pair of pink silk birds. One of the birds was fast asleep, but the other lifted its head and trilled as the globe and its cargo sailed by. A flock of enchanted fans, tethered to one arm of a brass hatstand, fluttered near the cash register. The air smelled of dust and leather and attar of roses.
Leaning with his elbows on the counter, and looking as though he had leaned there since Time Immemorial, was an individual Harry took to be Mr March, whose flat nose and unfortunate buck teeth leant him a distinctly leporine appearance. He turned his faintly befuddled gaze upon his customers.
“How can we help you gentlemen this afternoon?” he enquired. Ron muttered darkly about being in a hat shop and therefore beyond help, and Harry elbowed him in the ribs.
“They’re hardly gentlemen, my dear Mr March, but they do have a wedding to attend, so we shall have to do our best to make them look presentable,” Malfoy answered for them. “Perhaps you could assist W – Mr Weasley here, while I take care of Mr Potter.”
“Mr Potter, eh? Well, well,” replied March, “the Potter, is it?”
“Yes, yes, the one and only,” Malfoy said before Harry could open his mouth, and he steered Harry towards a display of Muggle hats. March merely nodded, clearly accustomed to Malfoy’s manner, and began explaining to Ron the merits of traditional Potion-stiffened brims as opposed to the cheaper, more modern method of using Charms. Ron rapidly assumed the glazed expression Harry remembered so well from History of Magic classes. Meanwhile, Malfoy had been speaking to him.
“Sorry, what?” he said, turning his attention back to the pointy-faced git, who was standing before him brandishing a measuring tape.
“I said we need to measure your head, Potter.”
“Do you treat all your customers with this level of respect?”
“You’re a special case.”
“I get that a lot.”
“Yes, but most people probably mean it as a compliment.”
Malfoy stepped closer, and carefully wrapped the tape around Harry’s head, level with his temples. Malfoy’s hands were cool and deft, and for the brief moment when he leaned in close Harry could smell his aftershave - something herbal and faintly bitter - and feel the soft, warm ghost of Malfoy’s breath against his cheek. And then Malfoy stepped back, examining the tape with a familiar smirk.
“Hmm. Insufferable fat-head with a Saviour Complex and negligible dress sense.”
“It does not say that!”
“It does, look,” Malfoy held up the tape, his thumbs bracketing the measurement in question. In tiny, scrolling letters it did indeed read Insufferable fat-head with saviour complex and negligible dress sense. “You see? Measuring tapes never lie. Now, what kind of wedding will it be?” he asked, stowing the odd measuring tape in a pocket.
“Why, what does that matter?”
“Because, you oaf, it will determine the hat you may wear.”
“I like this one,” Harry said, reaching for a handsome fedora and plonking it on his head at a rakish angle.
“Don’t be absurd, it’s a wedding, not an archaeological expedition.” Malfoy snatched the hat away and returned it to its stand.
Harry glanced across the shop to where Ron was modelling a black top hat that seemed Charmed to neaten the hair of its wearer. The mirror and Mr March both voiced their approval. Harry wasn’t going to give in so easily; he found he’d missed bickering with Malfoy, and wondered if perhaps this was a symptom of some lingering trauma. He tried on a checked twill deerstalker. Malfoy was not amused.
“Why not?” Harry demanded, flashing Malfoy what he had been assured was a charmingly cheeky grin.
“I would have thought that was elementary,” Malfoy replied with the smallest of smiles, as he removed the offending article and replaced it with a dark green silk wizards hat. Malfoy ought to smile more often, Harry decided. It made Harry want to do things to him to make him smile more, and he flushed slightly at that thought (not at the idea of fancying a bloke, as he’d come to terms with his lack of interest in girls a long time ago, but at the idea of fancying Malfoy of all people). A more hopeless infatuation could hardly be imagined. All the same…
Harry’s train of thought was derailed by a sudden shout from the other side of the shop, and he whipped about to see a tall, cobalt glass vase toppling towards the floor, the brilliantly hued feathers it had held fluttering in its wake.
“Mr Malfoy!” cried Mr March. Quick as a flash, Malfoy drew his wand and called out “Wingardium Leviosa!” The vase’s plummet was halted inches above the floorboards, and they all breathed a sigh of relief. Malfoy, after returning the vase to its rightful place with another wave of his wand, went back to searching for a hat for Harry, muttering about that vase being worth more than Weasley himself. Ron, now in an even more pressing rush to escape the shop, finalised his purchase of the black topper with Mr March.
“You done, Harry? I’m starving,” he said, wandering over with a hatbox hovering in the air behind him. He still looked faintly flustered.
“Not quite. You go, though. Meet you at the Leaky in a bit?”
“Sure,” Ron said, looking relieved. He hurried away, hatbox bobbing along in his wake. The bell above the door jangled discreetly again as he exited the shop. Malfoy watched him go as though expecting him to wreak more havoc on his way out, then turned his attention back to Harry, who had donned a beaded and feathered fascinator in an arresting shade of mauve.
“You’re not going to take this seriously, are you?” he asked in a rather theatrical, longsuffering tone. Harry grinned.
“Could you at least tell me what sort of dress you have decided on?” Malfoy asked, removing the fascinator ungently along with a small clump of Harry’s hair. Harry could have sworn he saw the twitch of another smile in the corner of Malfoy’s (really very pretty) mouth.
“Well, I wasn’t planning on wearing a dress, but who knows, after a couple of firewhiskies....”
“No, Scarhead, dress code,” Malfoy said patiently, steadfastly ignoring Harry’s waggling eyebrows. “Will you be wearing traditional morning robes? Or perhaps less formal day robes?”
“Um, I’m not entirely sure. I was just going to wear…”
“Potter, how can you not know what you’re wearing to your own wedding?”
“My wedding? I’m not getting married!”
“Then what’s all this been in aid of?”
“Ginny’s marrying Neville!”
“Oh! Well, then…really? Because I thought you and she…”
“No, no, she and I nothing. Not since school.” Harry shrugged.
“And I thought the two of you were going to settle down and breed little speccy freckled delinquents together. What happened?” Malfoy asked, brushing imaginary dust from the brim of a crimson felt wizards hat before setting it on Harry’s head.
“She’s…not really my type, as it turns out.”
“Not one for redheaded girls?” Malfoy removed the hat, tutting softly.
“Not one for girls in general, actually.”
“Oh?” Malfoy turned away; Harry could have sworn he saw him blush, but when Malfoy turned back he had regained his composure.
“So, what are you planning to wear?”
“Oh, well, I bought some new robes last week.”
“Colour?” Malfoy asked, scanning the shelves.
“Um, they’re red.”
“Oh, Potter, no.”
“But your Auror robes are red; you’ll look as though you came straight from the office!”
“Not if I wear this!” Harry said gleefully, donning a scarlet velvet fez with an impractically long, gold tassel.
“You cannot wear that to a wedding.”
“Fezzes are cool!”
“Damnit, Potter! Would you kindly stop arsing about?”
“I like arsing about,” Harry said, cocking an eyebrow. Malfoy rolled his eyes, but that small smile made another brief appearance at the corner of his mouth.
“So do I, but not at work,” he said primly.
Harry couldn’t decide quite what Malfoy meant by that last remark, and so stood quietly as a bewildering variety of hats, both Muggle and wizard, were tried on and rejected.
“What about this one?” Harry asked.
“That’s a boater, you twit. Here, try this one.”
“Nah, it’s too pointy.”
“It’s a wizard hat, it’s meant to be pointy!”
“I like this one.”
“Now you’re just being silly.” Malfoy plucked the feathered tricorn off Harry’s head and returned it to its shelf. Mr March approached, immaculate black bowler tucked under his arm.
“I believe I shall pop out for a spot of refreshment, Mr Malfoy, if you don’t mind holding the fort until I return.” He smiled at Harry as he said this, then turned to Malfoy. “Have you the time?”
Malfoy drew his wand and flicked it with a murmured Quihora. The words ‘Time for Tea’ shimmered in the air for a moment before melting away. March smiled. “Well, that settles it, then.” He winked at Harry before walking towards the door.
Malfoy glared after him and fussed with the blue felt beret he’d snatched from Harry’s momentarily distracted grasp. “Blue and red, Potter? Really, no,” he muttered. A thought suddenly occurred to Harry as Mr March exited the shop with another tinkling of the bell.
“He’s a Squib!” he blurted.
“Well? What of it?” Malfoy demanded. “Haigha is a damn fine hatter and a dear friend, and if you…”
“No, nothing!” Harry said hastily, “I just…I never pictured you working with someone like that. You were…” his voice trailed off. An arrogant, bigoted arsehole, his brain supplied, but he refrained from saying it out loud.
“A conceited, blood-proud little sod?” Malfoy asked, with one raised eyebrow. “Really, you think so loudly one needn’t to use Legilimancy.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said.
“What on earth for? I was a conceited, blood-proud little sod,” Malfoy replied calmly, placing a hand on Harry’s back and guiding him to the far corner of the shop. The barely-there pressure on the small of his back felt warm and somehow heavy, and it didn’t escape his notice that Malfoy kept his hand there longer than could be considered strictly necessary to pilot Harry towards a set of shelves arrayed with top hats of grey felt and black silk.
“And what are you now?” Harry asked, feeling oddly breathless. Malfoy was walking rather too close to him, although the cluttered nature of the shop may have had something to do with that..
“Oh, I think I’ve matured into a standoffish, aloof sod, thank you very much,” Malfoy replied with a wry little smile.
Harry halted, obedient to the press of Malfoy’s other hand on his chest, in front of a vast gilt-framed mirror that cooed endearments at him until Malfoy made dire threats involving hammers. Malfoy selected one of the dove-grey toppers and placed it on Harry’s head with a degree of care that had more to do, Harry suspected, with concern for the hat than for Harry.
“I’m not sure grey will go with red,” Harry said. Malfoy brushed an errant curl of hair away from his eyes as though it was the most normal thing in the world for him to be fiddling with Harry’s hair, and adjusted the hat slightly.
“It doesn’t suit your eye colour at all. We’ll try the black,” Malfoy said, a flick of his wand sending the grey felt back to its shelf and summoning one of the black silk numbers. He was still standing far too close, and Harry was becoming increasingly aware of this fact. Malfoy huffed, leaning back to consider the effect of the black top hat. To be fair, Harry’s jeans and unironed black shirt didn’t add to the picture. Malfoy frowned and sent the hat back on its shelf.
“Potter, I don’t know how you manage it, but no hat suits you.” His air of exasperation was belied by the smile stubbornly curling one corner of his mouth.
“What do you mean? All hats suit me!” Harry exclaimed in mock outrage.
“Look at your hair,” Malfoy tutted, shaking his head and clearly trying not to giggle, “it’s practically a hat itself.”
Harry burst out laughing, and grabbed a tweed cap from a neat stack of them on a nearby dresser. After a brief struggle with Malfoy, Harry managed to jam it onto his own head at a jaunty angle.
“What do you think?”
“I think you look like a Dickensian street urchin,” Malfoy said haughtily, and adjusted the angle of a wine-red felt cloche on its floating glass ball. Harry sighed and made to take the hat off again, but Malfoy reached out and stayed his hand.
“Don’t,” he said, suddenly awkward and (Harry thought) charmingly hesitant. “It suits you, the guttersnipe look.”
“Gosh, thanks. Can’t really wear this to a wedding, though, can I?” Harry asked. Malfoy was still touching him, cool fingertips pressed against the back of Harry’s hand.
“Definitely not appropriate for a wedding,” Malfoy replied, meeting Harry’s bemused gaze. An endless instant measured itself out in Harry’s too-loud heartbeats as they stared at each other. I must be out of my mind, Harry thought, and leaned in to gently press his mouth against Malfoy’s. He had nothing to lose, he reasoned. If Malfoy kissed him back, all well and good, and if Malfoy tried to hex him then, well, that would just be business as usual.
Malfoy didn’t do either for a moment, and Harry was just about to pull away and mumble an apology when Malfoy pressed back, lips parted slightly. Harry rubbed his mouth against Malfoy’s until the other man’s mouth opened up a little more, then darted his tongue out to tentatively flick against Malfoy’s full bottom lip. Encouraged by the breathless little whimper this produced, Harry did it again, sucking lightly at Malfoy’s lip before slipping his tongue into Malfoy’s mouth. Malfoy moaned properly, opened up more, his warm, slick tongue stroking against Harry’s then thrusting into Harry’s mouth. It was Harry’s turn to moan, and he slid one hand to the back of Malfoy’s neck in case he had any foolhardy notions of escaping the kiss. Malfoy responded by running his hands through Harry’s hair, knocking the cap to the floor. The kiss turned bruising, and Malfoy shoved Harry up against a Queen Anne dressing table, rattling the bottles of perfume arrayed on it. Harry ignored the edge of the table digging into the small of his back in favour of concentrating on the way Malfoy’s long, lean body was now flush with his own from chest to knees. Emboldened, Harry sought and found Malfoy’s arse with his free hand, and Malfoy made a desperate little noise in the back of his throat. It was then, with his hand on Malfoy’s bum and Malfoy’s tongue in his mouth, that Harry happened to glance to his left.
“Malfoy,” Harry gasped, making a thoroughly half-hearted attempt to interrupt the kissing. “Malfoy!”
“I think,” Malfoy said, biting Harry’s lower lip and flicking his tongue into the corner of Harry’s mouth, “given present circumstances,” he sucked Harry’s tongue, “we could probably use each other’s first names.”
“Okay,” Harry agreed, his words muffled by kisses he gave up pretending to evade. “Draco. Window, Draco.”
“Window. Mmph…people staring.”
“Oh. OH.” Draco looking fleetingly at the window out of the corner of his eye, unwilling to move his mouth away from Harry’s, and caught sight of an elderly witch wearing lilac robes and a scandalised expression, and a pair of girls with eyes like saucers, to whom he had sold Hogwarts hats not an hour previously. He pulled back abruptly, and shot the onlookers a ferocious glare that had them quickly on their way. Harry, meanwhile, was treated to the spectacle of his former nemesis looking deliciously debauched. Malfoy’s (no, Draco’s, but that was going to take some getting used to) hair was in a state of disarray, his cheeks and neck blush-stained, his lips swollen and wet. It was his eyes that Harry really noticed, though, when Draco turned back to face him; heavy-lidded and half-hidden behind those improbable lashes, pupils blown wide, and so filled with raw desire that Harry’s knees nearly buckled as he stared into them. He was aware that his own state of arousal was plainly obvious in the bulging front of his trousers, but he couldn’t find it in himself to be embarrassed. Draco made no move, so to break the frankly unbearable tension Harry reached out and took the strange measuring tape from the pocket of Draco’s robes. Draco remained still, blushing slightly, as Harry wrapped the tape around his head and read aloud the result. He smirked.
“Hmm. You were right. ‘Standoffish sod with a weakness for Hero Types, cooks a good breakfast’.”
Draco laughed ruefully, but didn’t even attempt to refute the measuring tape’s claim.
Harry was momentarily disappointed when Draco took a step back and stooped to retrieve the cloth cap, but then he was setting the cap back on Harry’s head, and leaning in to murmur in Harry’s ear. His voice was pitched low and soft, and it thrummed through Harry’s body to the very core of him.
“Come now, I’ve something out the back that might suit you.”
Harry felt distinctly as though he’d been hit with a Jelly-legs Hex as he watched Draco flip the sign on the door to read ‘Closed’. Draco glanced back over his shoulder, and reached out a beckoning hand.
“And Harry?” he asked, as Harry hurried obediently after him.
“Leave the hat on.”