Title: Cooler Heads Prevail
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco (with Greg/Millicent and implied past Greg/Draco/Millicent)
Summary: Post-war; Auror!Draco; Assumptions are always dangerous.
Rating: M for Mature
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Epilogue compliant? Takes place post-Hogwarts era/pre-Epilogue, so it’s up to the reader how compliant they view it.
Word Count: ~2500 words
Author's Notes: Thank you, S and I for the emergency betas. ♥
“What’s this, then? ‘The locator spell didn’t work.’ What good are you?” Mr. Spencer slams his fist down on his kitchen table. “My baby boy is out there somewhere and you’ve gotten us no closer to finding him! I’m thinking we should have stuck to our own authorities, April, rather than wasting our time with this nonsense,” he grumbles.
Mrs. Spencer pauses her desperate hand-wringing only long enough to place a calming hand on her husband’s shoulder. She raises her pleading eyes back to Millicent. “Well, can’t you do anything else? Another spell?”
Emotions are running high. It’s understandable, but they’re going to need the parents’ cooperation to move this investigation further. Draco answers them calmly, projecting a sense of confidence. “We are in fact working with the Muggle authorities to find your child; so I assure you Mr. Spencer, they are aware of Bobby’s disappearance and checking CCTV footage as we speak.” He leans forward in his seat. “Now, there are two reasons why the locator spell could not find your son: either he is being held somewhere that is unplottable and resistant to magical detection, or a powerful spell has been placed on him to hide his whereabouts, both of which would indicate the kidnapper is a magical person.”
Millicent remains silent beside him, carefully observing their reactions and body language. Mrs. Spencer’s hastily covered gasp and her husband’s shrewd narrowing of the eyes are as expected. Nothing out of the ordinary, but he wouldn’t be surprised if Millicent notes something he doesn’t. Her keen eye for detail has her swiftly gaining on his rank and likely to surpass him someday.
“Have either of you had any incidents of note with anyone from the wizarding world? Anything at all you can think of?” Draco questions them, “And while there have been no traditional demands for ransom, have you received any strange packages or parchments from birds?”
Draco adjusts his Auror robes and, frustrated, blows a gust of air at the obnoxiously busy road in front of the Spencers’ home. “Nothing useful,” he admits. “You?”
Millicent gives him a wry smile and shrugs. “At least we narrowed it down to someone magical.” She grimaces at her own words and shakes her head. “Clock’s ticking.”
He gazes morosely at her and takes a deep breath, releasing it slowly. Can’t help but be comforted by the scent of her body wash. Millicent has never dabbled in the pretense of perfume. Draco looks away and down, stifling what remnants of guilty longing he can. Hopefully, before her sharp eye catches him. He addresses the ground, “Missing children,” and his voice carries more layers of meaning than he could possibly hide from her. Looking up without looking over at Millicent, he delegates, “You go find out what they have with the CCTV footage. I’ll re-interview the potential witnesses from the park. One of them had to have seen something.”
Draco interviews - for the second time - one exasperated nanny who clearly doesn’t pay enough attention to her surroundings, in his opinion, and an irate dog walker with so little compassion as to complain over the disruption to his precious dog’s schedule. He’s barely managed to convince himself not to waste time reporting the man for his noise-complaint-worthy dog and is on his way to another interview when Millicent gets ahold of him to let him know that not only has the CCTV footage uncovered definite evidence of a magical abductor, with the kidnapper traveling through the footage as an isolated but moving blur, but also the presence of a so far unaccounted for witness.
Draco walks up from the nearest apparation point, meeting Millicent at the entrance of the park. “Why was the stand attendant not already interviewed by the Aurors on scene?”
Millicent leads the way towards a hot dog stand and he falls into step with her. “The guy had closed the stand by the time the kid was reported missing. They assumed he had missed the whole thing,” she says with disdain.
Draco shakes his head in disgust. “And if he’d been the kidnapper? ...We’re going to have to convince management to improve basic Auror training. ‘S just pathetic.” He walks up to the stand and lifts up his Auror badge, catching the attendant’s attention. “Sir, I’m Detective Chief Auror Malfoy and this is Detective Auror Goyle. We’re here to ask you a few questions. Hoping to get your help in locating a kidnapped child, sir.”
It’s a lucky break. The man recognizes the child as having been carried away by Mrs. Blackwell, a regular to the park. After that, they’re able to track down her house – a grand-looking detached home with a large garden – just across the road from the park. Mrs. Blackwell is somber and teary-eyed; she doesn’t resist when arrested. When questioned, she confesses to the crime, admitting her foolish attempt to fill the void left by the death of her own children in the war. They return the child to grateful parents.
They finish booking Mrs. Blackwell and get back to their offices to see Greg waiting for Millicent with their baby in his arms, a welcome sight indeed. Draco remembers those arms. Strong and gentle. He watches as they cradle little Soleil Goyle and embrace Millicent lovingly when she rushes up to clutch at them. And Draco can’t blame her. He can’t blame either of them for enjoying what they have. Even if he feels despondent and left behind in the wake of their happiness. Children’s cases always strike a chord.
Draco appears with a whorl of flame in his aunt’s floo. There’s no one else in the room but he hears voices in the next one over. He shuffles his feet and adjusts his grip on the new teddy bear he’s brought, doubting his welcome and mentally chiding himself for not calling ahead. But the voices grow louder and Aunt Andromeda, still only recently on cordial terms, enters from a side door.
“Draco!” She greets him with surprise and a smile. “Hello. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Harry Potter walks in from behind her, all wide curious eyes and wiping his hands distractedly on a small wash rag.
Draco takes a hesitant step forward and gestures with the stuffed animal in his hand. “I just... wondered if I could see Teddy?” And just how all that career earned confidence drained away to leave nothing but awkwardness and stilted uncertainty, he’ll never know.
Her face softens. “Oh, he’s down for a nap now, luv. But why don’t you go ahead and look in on him.” She smirks at the stuffed teddy. “And I’m sure he’d appreciate something soft and cuddly to wake up to.”
Draco ducks his head, grateful, and quietly makes his way to Teddy’s room. He carefully tucks the small bear into a sleeping Teddy’s side, lifts the boy’s blanket higher over him, and pulls back to watch him in silence.
A creak in the floorboards behind him signal Harry leaning in the doorway. He doesn’t say anything, though. Just watches Draco watching Teddy. And making Draco feel uncomfortably out of place.
Draco rolls his eyes and leaves the room, passing Harry in the doorway. But he follows him, of course.
“So,” Harry says, speaking softly in deference to Teddy’s slumber. “It’s fairly odd, isn’t it? You’re the Auror and... I’m not.”
“What’s your point?”
“Nothing.” Harry shrugs defensively and shoves his hands in his pockets. “I was merely commenting on how strange it is that you turned into this successful Auror and I assist Hermione with researching how to adapt Muggle technology into the wizarding world. Not that I don’t like what I do!” He toes at the carpet under his feet. “But I’ve heard what a good job you’re doing and I’m... impressed.” Harry looks up, bashful and flushed. “I couldn’t get a handle on it, myself.”
Draco can’t help but quirk his head and take Harry in. Strange? This is what’s strange. Strangely endearing. As if on cue, a beep sounds from his own pocket. Draco smirks at Harry, “Don’t sell yourself short. This mobile phone thing is fairly impressive.”
Harry smiles, recognizing the phone Draco pulls out as a product he’s helped to bring to the wizarding market.
Glancing down, Draco checks the recent text message. New case.
They've barely delved into the new case, discovering leads and making arrangements to follow up on them the next day, but there's only so much they could have done before their shifts ended. One more late night this week, and the boss will have his hide for not heeding his big lecture on curbing overtime. Because even the MLE couldn't escape the recent austerity measures.
Draco puffs out a rush of air, harsh and full of frustration, not missing a step in his forceful stride towards the nearest pub.
He's about ten paces away when the door opens and three Weaselys stumble out. The two youngest are supporting the remaining Weasely twin between them and shuffling down the road.
And it hits him.
Maggie Goldstein, Vic #2, was the man's now-late girlfriend. Soddin' luck, huh?
Draco makes his way inside and heads straight to the bar. There's a dark head of tossled hair bent over a drink, and when he takes a seat on the open stool next to him, it doesn't surprise Draco that it's Harry.
The barkeep raises an eyebrow at him in question.
Three victims, so... "Three shots." He sighs.
Harry looks up and smiles over at him. His face is an annoyingly endearing mix of commiseration and tipsy greeting.
Draco really can’t help himself; he’s softening towards Harry Potter. He returns a small smile.
There’s the stringent burn of alcohol, the warm flush of interest, and the steady relaxation of inhibitions. An invitation extended becomes an invitation accepted and there’s wet mouths and welcome skin. It’s excitement and relief and everything in between.
A faint shuffle sounds, reaching Draco's ears; and he stiffens automatically. You don't become a successful Auror without collecting enemies -- something he unfortunately has long developed an aptitude for over his lifetime. He slowly inches his arm over the sheets and feels where warm unoccupied linen is cooling. Draco opens his eyes. Harry's missing. Not the type he expected to pull a fuck-and-run, but then they've never been on friendly enough terms for Draco to really know.
He lets go of the wand he's got hidden under his pillow and rolls over with a sigh, about to go back to sleep (forget Potter, thinks he's too good for the morning after?), when a distinct paper rustling sound rings out. Draco's eyes snap wide open. What cause does Harry have to be fussing about with papers? How long does it take to stumble bowlegged to the door?
Draco slides smoothly out of bed and makes his way down the hall, stealth a hard-engrained skill.
And there's Harry, lurking inexplicably over Draco's never-used dining room table, files spread before him. Those are his case files, his notes. Rage surges through him, sudden and consuming. "What the bloody hell are you doing?"
Harry jumps. "Shit!" He stares at Draco in shock, as if he's the one who just caught someone rifling through his things. "Draco, I--" he says. The nerve!
"What? Didn't trust me to do a fair job when it comes to your mates? Is that it?" He wrenches the file from Harry’s clutched hands. "You don’t think I can be impartial with the murders of Ministry officials?"
"No. That’s not--" Harry stammers.
But Draco goes on, "Or perhaps you think I got this position to cover up for those lingering pockets of Death Eater fanatics? As if I don’t hear enough of that libelous nonsense from the trash news rags!"
Harry shakes his head, wide-eyed. "Draco!"
"No." He doesn’t have to put up with this in his own home. "Get out." Draco summons the rest of Harry’s clothes and shoves them into his arms, not caring if he has to finish dressing in the hall.
Draco’s not the least bit satisfied by the stricken look on Harry’s face or the soft click of the door. He clenches his jaw and looks down at the file in his fist.
It’s the Spencer child case, only a report left to finish and sign in order to close it.
Confusion jolts into dismay. Shit.
Draco tosses the file on the table and dashes out the door, racing after Harry.
"Wait!" He cries out, and at the end of the hall Harry’s head jerks up. But Harry’s already in the lift and the door is starting to close. "No, wait! I’m sorry."
The door keeps sliding towards closed. It’s about to close in his face and take Harry away; and he can feel his chance – his wildly unexpected shot at a relationship with Harry – slipping away.
Draco launches himself forward in desperation and manages to make it to the lift in time, though the door catches on him, slamming him into the frame and wedging him there.
"Oh!" Harry gasps and drops his bundle of clothes to the floor -- trousers, socks, and shoes tumbling.
Wresting himself free of the door, Draco pants in exertion and presses the stop button before the now closed lift can move between floors. "Harry, I’m sorry. I thought—" No. With a shake of his head, Draco continues, "It doesn’t matter what I thought. I shouldn’t have assumed the worst."
Harry’s gaping at him, probably in shock.
But then he laughs. Harry smiles at Draco – all bright eyes and warm laughter.
"I’ve always known you were your own worst enemy," he says and pulls Draco close. Harry skates his fingers up Draco’s bare arms and loops his own around Draco’s neck, then favors Draco with a slow and sensual kiss.
Draco moans and grins at Harry. "So, does this mean I have your forgiveness?"
"Okay." Harry runs a hand through Draco’s sex-disheveled hair and smirks playfully down at Draco’s underwear. "But only because you ran after me in your pants."
Draco presses Harry back into the lift wall and runs a teasing hand under the hem of Harry’s shirt and around the edge of Harry’s boxers. "Well, it was only fair after I sent you out in just your underwear."
Draco kisses Harry, pouring as much passion as he can into it. He’s both deeply relieved and eager to show his appreciation. And thus begins Draco’s introduction into the wonderful world of makeup sex.