Title: I Await A Protector
Summary: A snarky Patronus and its even more snarky master insist on disturbing Harry's peace of mind.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): None in particular.
Epilogue compliant? No, not at all.
Word Count: ~5800
Author's Notes: emmagrant01, I hope you like it! I know you said you prefer humour over angst, and snarky dialogue; I tried my best. Thanks so much to my betas, tigersilver and winnett, always so amazing, and cheers to the mods for running this fest!
Chai tea is his favourite. The silky-sweet-sharp taste of it, how its scent moves into his nostrils like a long-lost lover, folding into his mind with sly abandon
How he loves it. Adores it. He'll have another, thanks much.
He shakes his head slowly and then sits up straight, looking around. He's in a small shop, tucked into the back near the door to the loo, trapped willingly between the wall and a threateningly small, round table. There's a massive cuppa on said sulky table, around which his big hands curl, big but slender in the fingers; odd combination, that.
Cuppa's done. Another cup of this beautiful tea is definitely in the near foreseeable future, so it is.
There are other people sitting in this quaint coffee shop, talking quietly or looking through the single, massive window out onto the narrow road. More than a few of them are slanting dark looks at him. He has no idea who they are.
Forget them. He has no idea who he is.
Harry stares at the translucent cat that trotted right through the walls of his dorm room and sat itself down, pert-like, nearby his ankle. He has never seen this Patronus before, with its sleek body and spotted coat; he wonders who it belongs to. As he blinks down at it, it simply curls up on his ragged floor-mat and looks up at him with a calculating sort of interest.
"Er," Harry says, his finger still hovering over the line he had been reading. "Can I help you?"
The cat flicks an ear at him, and Harry closes his book. "Who are you, by the way?"
“A Patronus," the cat answers in a surprisingly deep voice. It is a voice Harry knows very well; something hot and dark curls in the pit of his stomach and his skin feels suddenly too tight for his bones. The Patronus blinks, very slowly, and continues: "That's what I am."
"Oh, come on now," Harry sighs, then rolls his eyes at himself. Considering to whom this sprightly little Patronus belongs, he really shouldn't be so surprised. "Do you need my help, or not?"
"Ooh, language," the cat taunts, its wide eyes gleaming. "Is that how our blessed Saviour speaks to hapless victims?"
"Do. You. Need. My. Help?" Harry enunciates very carefully, because the bloody thing is just as infuriating as its master. He had just taken a potion to drive away the troll of a hangover stampeding around his temples, and he's really not in the mood right now. He also has a consultation with Healer Ackeridge over brunch, and he still hasn't gotten the final part of his draft fully indexed. "Tell me or leave, all right? I didn't even know Patronuses could be so bloody aggravating--"
"Oh, please, Mr. Harry Potter, sir!" The cat chirps out in mocking dismay. "Help! Help!"
"Fine." Harry slams his book down on his desk and gets to his feet, reaching across to snag his shirt from the bed. He yanks it over his head and, when it's fully on, he finds the cat staring at him fixedly, head cocked. "What?"
"Nice chest there, Potsy," the cat leers. Harry wants to recoil, laugh and strangle the obnoxious thing all at once. "Going to the gymnasium now, are we?"
"For fuck's sake," Harry snaps, "Just tell me where Malfoy is."
He jumps when a man simply pops into existence right beside him. Fuck, he'd been taking a satisfied sip from his new cup of chai tea--never mind how he was going to pay for it-- and he was having what might turn out to be an awful day, and then this happens. A few of the other customers turn and look, curious but curiously unafraid. Some of them, their eyes widen when they catch sight of the man's face; they lean to their neighbours, whispering in excitement.
He clears his throat and looks up at the man who is giving him an incredulous green-eyed stare. Very nice green eyes; he's just realised he's partial to that very shade, and smiles.
"Yes?" he says. This man just... appeared out of nowhere, and he doesn't feel too upset about that. In fact, he feels oddly calm and strangely comforted. "Is there something you require?"
Harry stares at Malfoy and then sits back, swallowing hard. Malfoy is dressed in the same clothes from the club last night: a long-sleeved, black button-down shirt; black trousers; black shoes. He wears black exceptionally well, for it sets off the paleness of his skin and his hair, melts the ice-chips of his eyes to slate. He has his hands wrapped around a massive mug of tea, those same hands that were all over Harry's body just hours ago, hot and bruising. Harry swallows again.
"Malfoy," he croaks out and clears his throat. Malfoy blinks at him, tilts his head. His eyes are as wide as his Patronus's, but there is no trace of the taunting; Harry searches his face for the sure sign Malfoy is up to something. There is also a sullen red spot on his left temple that Harry is pretty sure hadn't been there last night. "You called me."
"I called you?" Malfoy wrinkles his pert nose and peers down into his cup. "I did no such thing, Mr--what is your name?"
"Stop fucking around," Harry hisses and why does that sting so much? It meant nothing last night, just a fantastic...whatever it was, but it had been bloody wonderful and now here's Malfoy pretending that it didn't even happen. And he's gone as far as to summon Harry with his snotty little Patronus and play his head-games.
Why Harry had been expecting better this morning is beyond him, honestly.
Malfoy head jerks up at the sharpness of his tone, and his eyes squint down to hard, glassy slivers. The small smile that had been playing around his lips disappears, and they thin out.
"I'll thank you not to use that tone with me, young man," and Harry boggles at him, because really. "I did not call you and it is quite certain that even if I did, I certainly would not invite such abuse. Now, if you shan't be civil, and I doubt you are with such a coiffure, then be a dear and bugger off."
Harry clenches his fists, and glares at Malfoy. He has no words for the spiteful git, and so he spares none, spinning on his heel.
He thinks of his dorm room and his abandoned thesis with such ferocity, that when he appears next to his unmade bed, the blankets puff into the air with the force of the displacing air. All his precious notes swirl around in a mini-tornado. Harry lets out a wordless shout of frustration, snatches his wand out of his sleeve and spells them back into a messy pile of parchment on his desk. Great, they've probably not been arranged back into proper order.
Harry sits on his bed, clutches his hair and settles into a fine sulk.
Well! That just bloody ruined his morning, didn't it? He takes a long sip from his tea to calm his frayed nerves, pursing his lips. Malfoy: that must be his name. It feels familiar, like an old cloak that's been folded in the attic all this time and brought down just recently. Sounds like a surname, though, and he wonders what his first name must be.
What an utter git that fellow was, though. All burning green eyes behind glasses and that shock of insane black hair (which still appeared very soft to the touch). That skin, pink at the cheeks and pale everywhere else; not a spot in sight. His fingers twitched against the warm porcelain of his mug. A bit shorter than he was, and built slender, but strong. Very strong. Capable hands, oddly delicate wrists, trembling thighs, sweetsweetsweet mouth--
Malfoy, he says, sweet lips moving as if he's talking through honey, Malfoy, tell me somethin', yeah? What's a place like you doing in a bloke like this...whoops got it all mixed up haven't we, and he blinks at the drenched-blurry-hot feeling of that memory, and the way it climbs into his mind like a pet snuggling close.
Malfoy's cat Patronus wriggles from underneath Harry's bed, right between his trainer-clad feet, and peeps up at him. Harry scowls down at its expression of intense feline disapproval.
"Go away," he tells it. The cat ignores his request for a moment and begins to bat at his ankles in an almost playful fashion. Its paws are oddly tangible but the ghostly feel of it leaves a tingling warmth.
"Why should I?" the cat finally says. "I asked you to go help me and you haven't. Naughty Saviour, you are."
"I did go to help you!" Harry yells down at it and tugs at his hair. "You don't even need my help, you twat, and you fucking blew me off, so just...argh,go away, will you?"
"No," the cat says firmly and rolls onto its back, still between Harry's feet. "I won't leave. You are very rude, you know. Bad Saviour."
"Don't call me that," Harry says.
"I'll call you whatever I like!" The cat spits out and glares up at him. It looks as if it's about to nip at him and Harry shifts his feet further apart, just in case. "If I want to call you a tetchy little git, I will!"
"I'll find a spell to disperse Patronuses...or bar them from entering my dorm," Harry says, more to himself than anything else. "Maybe trap it somewhere, like a trunk. Call it research. Hermione'll approve, I think."
The cat cuddles up to Harry's left ankle. It actually puts a paw over the foot, possessively, and licks the skin that is exposed between the hem of his jeans and where the low-top trainer curves under the bone. Harry tries to jerk away from the raspy sensation; he should have put on socks, but the cat hangs on and keeps on licking.
Harry purses his lips and lets out a long sigh, trying to release most of his annoyance.
"What kind of a cat are you, anyway?" he asks, reaching down to pet its spotted hide tentatively. Mrs. Figg’s cats had always piled on him whenever he had to spend time at her house, crawling all over his lap as Mrs. Figg turned page after page of her cat albums. He'd sent up fervent prayers for some severe allergy to strike him so he'd have a reason to not get dumped over at her house again (although Uncle Vernon might have continued to do so with glee, if he clued in it made Harry sick), but in that respect he'd had the constitution of an ox.
Despite this childhood trauma, he didn't mind cats. Cats were all right, he supposed, even if they were pushy Patronuses with the personality of a prickly git.
"I'm a Mau," the cat tells him, exposing its stomach for rubs, the greedy thing. "I'm quite special, you know. I'm the best Mau that ever was; there's not a Mau like me."
"I'll take your word for it," Harry says drily and scratches the soft belly. He's never petted a Patronus before, at least one that wasn't his. His stag seems to like it, and will butt him on his upper arm with its bony forehead when it wants attention and affection. Ron's Patronus is a busy scrap of a dog, always yipping and bouncing all over the place, never staying still long enough for anyone to get close. Hermione's is a sleek otter which doesn't seem to take kindly to being touched. Yet, here's Malfoy's bossy cat, as close to his personality as a Patronus can get, and it's purring loudly in approval of Harry's touches.
...much like Malfoy had been last night.
"You're to go back," the Mau states firmly and grabs Harry's hand between its front paws. "I demand that you do so, Potter."
"Fine," Harry says, trying so hard not to grit his teeth. "But what's wrong with you? And look here, why don't you come with me?"
"It's safe here." The Mau blinks its pretty moon eyes. "And there's not a thing wrong with me. Just go help me, and stop asking silly questions."
"Or a spell to just make them shut up," Harry tells himself as he gets up and prepares to Apparate. "Like a Patronus mute button. It'll be mad handy, I think."
Malfoy scowls at the scruffy-haired man from before who reappears in front of him; he clutches his third cup of chai in a rather protective manner.
"I didn't call you," he says and the man closes his eyes briefly, as if he's in pain. "Stop bothering me!"
"You did call me," the man says in a tired tone. He takes the seat opposite Malfoy, placing a slender stick on the table. Malfoy eyes it, curiously, because he has one that looks just like that in his trouser-pocket, and he has no idea what it's for. He stares at the man's face, suddenly feeling quite shy. He feels he knows this man, but he just isn't sure.
"What's my first name?" Malfoy demands and the man rolls his eyes up to the shadowed ceiling, obviously beseeching some higher power for spiritual assistance. Or a lightning bolt to strike one or both of them; Malfoy can't quite tell.
"Draco," he finally grounds out and Malfoy nods, slowly. "What, you want me to call you Draco now? Am I allowed?"
"I won't stop you." Malfoy--Draco sips at his tea. Mmmm, so very good. When he glances up again, the other man has an odd expression on his face, as if someone had dumped a bucket of icy water over his head. "What?"
"It's...nothing," the man says and shakes his head. "Look, Draco. I'm here to help you. What's the matter?"
He leans forward, and Draco Malfoy leans away, suddenly feeling warm at the other man's proximity. A doubtful sensation begins to creep into Draco's mind, slippery and sly. Draco Malfoy might not even be his real name, and this man with that earnest expression is...is just trying to trick him, lead him into some kind of trap. He's probably hurt Draco (or whatever his name is) very badly before, and he's playing games now, popping in and out and asking him all sorts of questions.
"You leave me be," he says, tucking himself back and away from the man and his hypnotizing stare. Yes, that's right. He's probably hypnotizing Draco Malfoy right this minute. "Leave me alone. I'll call the authorities on you if you keep hassling me. I will," he insists, hoping the threat doesn't sound feeble. He's not too sure which authority to call.
The man opens his mouth, his eyes gone so wide behind his glasses that they look as though they'll fall out of his head in a moment or two. Then he blinks, very rapidly.
"You...don't remember who I am," he says and lets out a long, shaky breath. "You don't remember me?" He sounds incredulous.
"I don't know. Go away," Draco Malfoy hisses, even though he doesn't really mean it and then glances at the other patrons. They are staring in his direction, their eyes wide and as he feels shaky and insecure. Alongside with that suspicious feeling, another takes up dark residence beside it: one of sheer unhappiness, because he would like to know who this man is, to be sure; he wants him to get close...possibly due to his weakness for those damnable eyes.
The man squeezes his eyes shut, as if he's trying to remember something and then he nods. He opens his eyes, picks up his stick and surreptitiously points it at Draco Malfoy, who leans away even more.
"Stay here," the man tells him in a low murmur. Draco Malfoy feels languid all of a sudden, loose and warm. "Don't move. I'll be right back, okay?"
"Okay," Draco agrees and traces a finger around the rim of his cup in an abstract fashion. Another memory floats down from way above, settling into the now tranquil river of his mind.
You've lovely eyes, Potter. Beautiful. I'll kiss your eyelids, I will. Mmm, come here. Come closer, let me...yes, that's it. You fit so well against me, do you know that? What nice earlobes, here...Potter.
Potter, Potter. Potter.
"Harry," Draco Malfoy says softly and closes his eyes, as if to dream.
Harry pops into his room a bit more gently this time, turning to peer at his narrow bookshelf. The Mau is perched upon the highest shelf, its ears brushing the ceiling as it peers down at him.
Harry smiles up at it, feeling fond and warm, before searching out a specific title among those which spoke about Advanced Magipsychology and the Parapsychological Papers.
"Are you helping me?" The Patronus leaps down, landing on Harry's shoulder with the precision of an arrow and the lightness of a feather. "It's why I came straight to you, you know."
"I know," Harry answers, reaching up to pet its head as he tilts his own back and forth, reading across the spines of his books. They'd spoken of it last night...his studies. He and Malfoy had blocked off the thumping music of the club with a strong bubble spell, at first uncomfortable in each other's presence, but drawn to each other like magnets. Malfoy had been freezingly polite, and had actually asked Harry about his goals.
After the third tumbler of Scotch, Harry had been rambling about his final project: his thesis based on Memory. His aim is to help people like the Longbottoms, or even Lockhart. The human brain was a marvellous thing, storing information in so many places; a memory, or an entire history might not have been erased. For a person with magical blood, it could have simply been shifted to one side...moved. The Mau rumbles loudly in his ear as Harry finds the tome he's looking for, and flips to page one hundred and sixteen; it is the introductory chapter on the lesser known protective aspects of Patronuses.
"'Not only is the Patronus Charm the ultimate protection against such dark forces against Dementors and Lethifolds,'" Harry reads in a whisper and then folds his lips in as he continues.
What happened to you after I left this morning, Draco?" he asks, and the Mau rubs against his cheek.
"Pain," the Patronus murmurs in his ear, Draco's sultry baritone echoing against his neck. "I was hurt. I needed you there."
Harry closes his eyes and tries to breathe through the warm feeling pressing inside him. "Are you ready, Draco?" he asks. "I won't let anyone hurt you, all right?"
The Mau purrs and then nods. "I am ready now."
Harry turns on his heel.
The man has returned, just as he said he would, and Draco Malfoy bites at the inside of his lower lip. Possibly, he was wrong to mistrust this man, but he’d felt so confused before. A strange cat sits on the man’s shoulder and it leaps onto the surface of the table. It's beautiful, and it's glowing; so pretty. Draco pushes aside his teacup and holds out both hands; the lovely cat brushes against them, purring loudly.
"Remeo," he hears the other man say. The cat's lean body wavers, and then begins to disperse in brilliant sparks of blue-white light. Draco Malfoy opens his mouth to cry out at the loss of such a lovely animal, but as the sparks sink into his skin, he remembers.
The drinks were strong, and his desire for the messy-haired git seemed to increase with every sip. Potter's hands flapped around the air like excitable, pale birds as he went on and on about his thesis. Granted, it was a good idea. Brilliant stuff, if he could pull it off.
When asked about his own advanced studies, Draco had been reluctant at first, but Scarhead managed to drag out information about his reading magical Municipal Law. It was difficult and tiring, and Draco loved it. He was embarrassed that he would speak at such length with Harry Potter, of all people, but Potter had turned out to be a fair listener. Of course, when he licked his lips and smiled, that was good too.
"We're being watched," Draco had told Potter at one point, jerking his chin in the direction of a busy clot of people seated at the bar. A few men in the large and noisy group had turned to stare at Potter and Draco's table. Their hostility flowed in waves across the room and seemed to pierce the bubble-charm in an attempt to bowl Draco over, but he sat firm and stared right back.
"Oh, them," Potter said, turning back around to give Draco a bright smile. "Malfoy. Malfoy, tell me somethin', yeah? What's a place like you doing in a bloke like this?" He put his hand over his nose and mouth, giggling faintly. "Whoops! Got it all mixed up, haven't we?"
Draco felt a grin tugging at his lips. "We've always got it mixed up."
Potter's smile faded, and his eyes were bright as he tipped back another tequila. He kept his gaze locked with Draco's.
Five drinks later, Potter was in the seat right next to his, tucked up against Draco's side. He leaned close and whispered, alcohol-soaked breath wafting against Draco's cheek: "Have you ever...thought of us?"
"Potter," Draco said, more truthful drunk than he would ever be sober, "there's not a moment that I haven't thought about us, in some way."
Potter's blush was apparent even in the smoky haze of the club. He slumped against Draco's side, all boneless weight and warm, smooth skin. "In some other world, we might’ve have been good friends, you know?"
"Or more." Draco squinted at him sideways when Potter let out peals of overly-loud laughter.
"Or more," Potter agreed and shrugged, the material of his sleeves making a shusshing sound against Draco's. "After the whole war…thing..."
He waved his glass in the air unsteadily. The barkeep behind the curved counter thought he was requesting another drink, and being a brilliant bartender and all, another round shimmered in front of them. Potter swayed in his seat, blinking at the glasses.
"Right," he said, dragging through the letters of that single word quite slowly, as if he wasn't quite sure of the way. "Brilliant. What was I saying?"
"The war-thing," Draco said, his own voice tight, so he threw back another drink.
"Er. Right. The war-thing. Wanted to look you up and...maybe talk to you, send you an Owl, but how does one look up a Malfoy? You don't just open up a phone book and look in the white pages for Malfoy, see what I'm saying here?"
"What in the world is a phone book?" Draco wondered and Potter set off into giggles again.
"Your hair is so nice," he said and tugged on a lock of hair that had slipped out of the braid that Draco wore nowadays. He stroked the pale strands between the second and third fingers of his hand, smiling in a vague manner. "As soft as it looks."
"I've hair in other places," Draco told him, withstanding the pull on his scalp with easy, if sodden, grace. "Just as soft."
"Oh," Potter said, and laughed breathlessly. "Oh."
Three more tumblers and then Potter touched his hand, murmuring, "Follow me to the loo, will you?"
"Afraid you'll get lost by yourself?" Draco mocked, but he rose to his feet at the same time as Potter, and they managed to slide their way past the rocking bodies, Potter clutching onto Draco’s hand. The lights were blue-white bright inside the bathrooms, but Potter simply led him to the furthest stall and stepped in. He leaned against one side of the stall, which had sturdy, tall walls covered in large red tiles and a water-closet with a pull-chain. The Manor had a few of those, and Draco glanced at the porcelain tank set above their heads as he entered before returning his attention to Potter.
"Now that you have me here," he said, and Potter smiled crookedly, "what are your plans?"
Potter had simply stepped forward and placed his hands on Draco's shoulders, smoothing his fingers along the dark material. He moved them up, coming to rest on either side of Draco's neck. He stared at them for a long moment, as if he had to absorb the fact that they were actually touching each other without one or both of them imploding with annoyance and anger.
"I'm not the planning sort, you know. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants," Potter reminded him, and then there were soft lips against the corner of Draco’s mouth. Potter's body pressed against his from chest to crotch, warm and so deliciously here. The kissing was a bit too sloppy and loose for Draco's taste at first, but Potter drew back. He inhaled deeply, licked his lips and dived in again.
It got better after that; it was still too hard and too fast, and Potter's stubble rasped against his skin as they kissed. They both managed to smack the back of their heads against the unforgiving tiles as they turned in the small space in an awkward, hungry dance. Draco yanked Potter's shirt up and rested his hands on Potter's waist, letting his thumbs caress the jut of hip-bones. Words began to spill from him, unbidden.
"You've lovely eyes, Potter," he muttered against Potter's cheek as their hips jerked against each other. He pulled back to see that Potter's eyes were half-lidded, and he felt one of Potter's hands gripping Draco's shoulder tightly. "Beautiful. I'll kiss your eyelids, I will."
Potter let out an incredulous little laugh but he leaned forward, eyes closed obediently. Draco kissed the thin skin there, feeling Potter's long lashes flutter against his bottom lip.
"Mmm, come here," Draco said, hauling Potter's body against him again, and their chests knocked together with the force of their embrace. Potter exhaled sharply, and then backed up against the other side of the stall and pulled Draco with him, standing with his legs set to provide just enough space so Draco could slide one of his between them.
"Come closer," Draco urged, even as he pressed himself against Potter's frame, licking around and into his mouth. "Let me...yes, that's it. You fit so well against me, do you know that? What nice earlobes, here," and he couldn't seem to stop his mouth; it kept running away and leaving good sense by the wayside, doing ridiculous things like nibbling at Potter's earlobes.
Admittedly, they were rather nice lobes. Potter seemed to have no aversion to having them nibbled, for he arched and gasped and scrabbled at Draco's back, grabbing onto his bum and squeezing tightly. He'd even managed to get one leg up over Draco's hip. Such a bendy prat.
"Potter," Draco moaned and Potter pushed him back a bit, fumbling at Draco’s belt and the fastenings of his trousers while taking the kiss deeper, hard jabs of his tongue into Draco's mouth. Their breaths were heavy pants through their noses.
Potter's hand reached in past the silky material of Draco’s underwear and curled around Draco's stiff cock, moving in quick, jerky pulls. Draco pulled his hand away, too dry, and pinned it to the wall near his head by the wrist. He recalled the spell for undoing buttons and cast it wandlessly; mayhap he did it a bit too strong, because all the buttons on Potter's clothes flew off, pinging against the tiles.
Potter apparently thought this was the height of hilarity. With his shirt hanging open, exposing his chest, and his jeans sliding down his thighs, Potter rested his head back against the wall and laughed for a long, long time. Draco pressed his mouth to the side of Potter's Adam's apple, his nose pressed sharply into the skin. He smiled at the salty taste of Potter's amusement.
The laughter choked off though, when Draco grasped their cocks in his free hand, and focused on a spell for slickening his palm. He vaguely hoped he wouldn't end up with his entire forearm greased to the elbow, but Potter buried fingers in his hair and tugged, groaning helplessly against his mouth, lips dragging down the sweaty plane of Draco’s cheek.
Their legs were tangled up together, and Potter bucked against him as Draco's hand stripped along their pricks, pulling soft skin over hard flesh. Pre-come oozed over Draco's fist from both their slits, and Potter mewled against his mouth as Draco's wrist ached.
Potter's hips jack-knifed and he went up on his tiptoes, back arched and chest panting forward as his hair curled in dark wisps against the tile. Draco felt the pulsing of Potter's prick against his own, the hot streaking of his come over Draco's hand. He tightened his fist reflexively and stopped, starting to tremble. Potter kissed him with lots of hot, curling tongue as Draco shook against him.
"Mmm," Draco hummed as Potter continued to kiss him, slow and sweet now. "Potter," he murmured, even though the name was compressed between their lips. "Potter."
Potter drew back a bare inch and urged, "Harry."
"Harry," Draco tried.
"Draco," Potter said and blinked when Draco made a face. "What?"
"It just sounds odd when you say it, that's all," Draco said and an annoyed expression marched across Potter's still-flushed face.
That was fine; that was excellent, in fact, because Draco realised that they stood so close, their softening cocks still dangling in the air. Spunk dried on Draco's hand and on Potter's lean stomach. His head was spinning and he stumbled when he stepped back, reaching into his unbuttoned cuff and unstrapping his wand from his forearm to spell away their mess.
"I'll get the buttons," Potter told him, swishing his own wand around the tiny space. His magic whispered against Draco's skin as the fastenings reattached; one of the buttons which belonged to the jeans ended up on the shirt. Potter stared down at himself and chuckled, before shrugging and leaving it be.
"Look--," he began, very softly and then they both glanced at the door of the stall as the outer door of the loo opened. A man, loudly singing along to what the DJ was currently spinning, did his business at a urinal and wandered back out, his footsteps unsteady. Draco and Potter exchanged similar expressions of faint amusement, and then averted their gazes once more.
"I have...an advisement session tomorrow. For my thesis," Draco heard Potter say, and he nodded as he adjusted his collar needlessly. "So..."
"Tomorrow?" Draco tried to drawl in a careless manner, but the word came out wavery. "It's already tomorrow."
Draco nodded, blinked rapidly at a section of tile to the left of Potter's head and then nodded. "I'll be here next Thursday though."
He felt more than saw Potter's surprise.
"I...me, too. Be here, that is."
"Good to know," Draco said and finally met Potter’s eyes, drinking in the soft green shade. He didn't look down when Potter reached out and gripped his wrist, a brief but hard hold, and released him quickly.
A few more patrons entered as they were leaving the bathroom: two men far more blatantly needing to get into each other's trousers than they had been. There was a lumbering dance at the doorway before Draco and Potter could properly escape.
As soon as they were out in the overly warm main floor, Potter nodded at Draco and began to make his way around the diminishing crowd. Draco pushed aside the urge to chase after him and accompany the Great Speccy Hero to his dorm. He restrained himself, and left five minutes later.
The sun hadn't properly emerged as yet when he stepped into the narrow alley which served as the entrance to the club; the dawn was still just a hint of pink and grey in the sky, shadows still lurking like thieves in the corners of buildings. Draco wondered if Potter would attempt to nap before going to work on his project, or whether he’d just take a potion and dive right in.
Maybe the latter, the prat. Draco had been at the point of focusing on his destination, his room at the Manor, when he felt a shove in the middle of his back. He stumbled forward, hitting his forehead against the rough brick.
Wincing at the pain which bloomed near his left eye, he twitched his arm in that particular manner to loosen the straps and allow his wand slide into his hand, and then turned to face his attackers. Ah yes; the scowling men who’d been staring at him and Harry in the club. Their eyes as bloodshot as Draco's probably were. One in front, a leather collar strapped tight around his neck, turned and spat on the tarmac derisively.
Draco expected threats: keep away from Potter or Death Eater scum, something of the like, but the curses and hexes came before the words did. Draco slammed up defensive charms, and let his own curses slip through and underneath, teeth bared at the collared bloke and his cronies as he held them off.
Idiots, he'd thought, and was about to inform them of their failing when a purple-flash of a spell ricocheted off the wall behind him and struck his already throbbing head with an agonizingly loud crack. Draco felt his muscles twitch and dance under his skin, the sensation of it almost distracting enough to cover the sound of his attackers staggering to the end of the alley and stampeding off into the morning.
He fell to his knees, and gripped this odd stick in his hand. He was thinking of green eyes when he held it up and murmured, "Ex--expecto. Patronum."
What a darling little shop he's found. He thinks he'll have the chai.