Title: Redeeming The Name of Malfoy
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, background Ron/Hermione
Summary: There are more than two ways to work off a life debt, and Draco's about to find out exactly what the third way entails.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Life Debts
Epilogue compliant? No
Word Count: 8,395
Author's Notes: I hope you like this, mervab! You mentioned how much you loved dialogue on it's own, so I tried to include as much of that as possible for you. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it and I hope it works. Thank you to my beta ashe_frost and the mods for hosting what's certain to be a fantastic last round.
It's exactly seven months to the day since Draco was sentenced to house arrest, and he's stood outside Harry Potter's door, his knuckles white with frustration at the conversation he's about to have. He's played the scene out so many times in his head, and now the time is actually here, it's taking everything he has not to turn around and walk away. Harry would never have to know he was here.
I can't do that. I've been waiting too long for this. It has to be done. For myself and for my family.
After the Battle of Hogwarts, all the Malfoys, along with the other remaining Death Eaters, were taken into custody to await sentencing. Lucius received nine years in Azkaban, while Draco and his mother were placed under house arrest. For her part in helping Harry, Narcissa was given a smaller sentence than Draco was. While it was certainly better than prison, they'd nearly gone stir crazy in there alone. The friends they'd had that had escaped any sort of punishment at all refused to see them, not wanting their reputation tainted. Being seen with disgraced members of society did not do wonders for one's social standing.
Draco's head shoots up from the spot it was focused on, only to see Harry staring at him through the window. His face is soon gone and Draco can hear Harry coming to answer the door. It flies open to reveal a dishevelled and disgruntled war hero.
"What do you want, Malfoy?"
Draco raises an eyebrow. "You look rather worse for wear, don't you?"
"I'm in the middle of something. My partner thought you were a pervert."
Draco sighs and steps forward. "May I come in? It's rather rude to leave your guests on the doorstep."
"It's not a great time."
"I'm quite sure you can spare me five minutes."
Harry seems to contemplate this for several moments, before sighing heavily and opening the door. He slams it loudly as Draco wanders freely through the house, not having a clue where he's going. He spies a sofa in one of the rooms and goes to enter it, but before he can, Harry's jumped in front of him and shut the door.
"Not in there. The kitchen. Straight down."
Draco follows the instructions, walking down the corridor to the dark, black door at the end. He's heard all about Grimmauld Place from his mother, for she remembers visiting her cousins as a child, but he's never been here himself. It's gloomy and dark, and looks just like the sort of place a Slytherin would live. It seems out of place in Harry's hands.
"Well?" Harry asks before Draco has even sat down properly. He thinks about making a comment about the lack of hospitality; Harry hasn't bothered to offer him a cup of tea, but he decides instead to get straight down to what he came here for.
"I owe you a life debt."
"I don't like that."
"Is that seriously all, Malfoy?" Harry bangs his hands on the table loudly, leaning forwards with annoyance all over his face. "You came all the way over here on what can only be your first visit out to tell me you don't like the fact that you owe me a life debt?"
"I haven't had any contact with you since you saved my life during the Battle of Hogwarts," Draco begins. "I was taken into custody as soon as it ended, sentenced a week later and then confined to house arrest. I didn't want to send you an owl because this matter needs to be discussed face to face, so I've spent the last seven months waiting for this moment. What it all boils down to is that I don't like owing you a life debt, Potter. I don't like it at all."
"Well, what do you want me to do about it?" Harry's eyes grow wide and he brings his hands off the table to place them on his waist.
"I want to work it off. Anyway, anyhow. I don't care what you want me to do, I just want to get rid of it. Malfoy's do not owe Potter's anything, least of all life debts."
"Are you serious?" Harry asks, waving his arms around wildly in a way that would be comical in any other situation.
"Of course I'm serious!" Draco snaps, jumping up off his stool. "You think I'd waste my first visit out on you if I weren't? You think I'd insist on coming in when you're obviously in the middle of having relations if I didn't give a toss?"
"I'm not having relations—"
Draco puts up a hand. "Save it. Are you going to help me or do I have to follow you around every minute of every day until you need your life saving?" Harry stares at him blankly. "No, I don't like the sound of that either, but having a life debt to you is much worse. These past few months have been more than agony, and have brought such shame on our family."
"Really, Malfoy," Harry scoffs, "I don't think me saving your life is what's shamed your family."
Draco scrapes his stool back in frustration and goes to leave, stopping momentarily in front of Harry. "I'll be back at the same time tomorrow morning to hear your answer. Oh, and if you so insist on doing such activities in your living room, please keep your curtains drawn so the street doesn't have to watch."
Seven AM on the dot the next morning Draco arrives at Grimmauld Place, and is more than pleased to see that the curtains of the living room are fully drawn. He lifts a hand to knock, but before he can, the door opens and a more alert Harry than yesterday ushers him in. He doesn't wait for Harry to tell him which room to enter, he just goes straight for the kitchen and sits on the same stool as the previous day.
"Well?" Draco asks once he's comfortably seated.
He's stalling. He must be. He didn't offer me tea yesterday.
"No, thank you. Your answer, if you'd be so obliging."
Harry sighs and sits down opposite Draco. "I don't want you following me around until my life needs saving again, Malfoy. Now that Voldemort's gone, there are fewer opportunities for people to save my life."
"So what would you like me to do?"
"It's not that easy!" Harry insists, his voice rising an octave. "I can't think of anything for you to do. I didn't even know you could work life debts off until I mentioned it to Hermione yesterday. She said it hasn't been done in years, that nobody cares anymore."
"I care, Potter. My family cares. Our social standing depends on it."
"Your father still has the majority of his sentence in Azkaban left. I doubt you'll be centre of attention until he's freed."
"Let me worry about that," Draco snarls, furious that Harry has once again tried to outmanoeuvre him by using his father. "You concentrate on figuring out how I can work off my life debt to you."
"Can't you do it?"
"No. It has to be you."
Harry growls in frustration and pounds his fist on the table. "You would honestly follow me absolutely everywhere?"
"Try me, Potter."
It doesn't seem as though Harry likes that idea at all by the way his face scrunches up in disdain. "Fine. Give me some time to figure something out."
Draco stands and holds out his hand. "One week."
Reluctantly, Harry stands and shakes Draco's hand.
For the third time in just over a week, Draco finds himself climbing the steps of Grimmauld Place. Before he even reaches the top, Harry's opened the door for him, and Draco repeats his previous behaviour by entering the kitchen and taking up his particular stool. This time, Draco doesn't have to prompt Harry. He starts speaking straight away.
"I've spoken to Hermione. She's been researching this all week. She says that there are only two known ways in history of repaying life debts; saving the persons life or entering a period of servitude. That doesn't mean they're the only two ways, just the two recorded. Just as I don't want you following me around all night and day, I don't want you serving me either. I want this over as quickly and as painlessly as possible."
"As do I."
"Hermione believes your life debt would be repaid if you worked for me for a period of time. Not living with me, not becoming my servant, but simply working for me. As an employee. Obviously you would not be paid monetarily."
"She doesn't know. There's nothing explicitly written down, but she says we'll know when the debt has been repaid and the bond between us has broken."
"We will," Draco assures him. "Ever since you saved my life, you've been in my head constantly. I've tried to ignore it, but it's driving me up the wall."
"That's... that's what that was? The life debt?" Harry looks confused and uncomfortable, begins scratching his head awkwardly.
"Of course. What did you think it was? Don't tell me, you thought you had feelings for me."
"No!" Harry shouts. "Certainly not." He rambles on trying to strenuously deny it, but Draco sees through it. Harry must have spent the last few months exceptionally confused if he hasn't worked out until now that the link to Draco is the life debt.
"Yeah, well. The ache isn't so bad now we're near each other." Draco says, cutting Harry off. As amusing as it is to see Harry flustered, he doesn't want to spend more time in his company than he has to. "What do you do?"
"I've recently created the first wizarding film company."
Draco quirks an eyebrow in confusion.
"You know Muggles have those little boxes that they watch things on? Well, they sometimes watch extra-long things, and they're called films. I thought it was time to introduce it to the wizarding world. There are some changes, obviously, they work more like a memory than a DVD, but everyone seems excited about them. Haven't you read the Daily Prophet recently? They always talking about it."
Draco ignores Harry's question and goes straight to the point. "And what would you have me do?"
"I suppose you can choose. There are many different opportunities."
"You could work behind the scenes, write the scripts, star in a film. Take your pick."
"What would starring in a film entail?"
"You've been to wizarding operas, yes?" Draco nods. "It's just like that, except it'll be caught on film. Like an extended wizarding photograph. I then watch the entire thing through, duplicate my memory and sell it. Like a memory, you'll be able to walk through it. It's much more interactive than the Muggle films."
"An actor," Draco says confidently. "I'll be an actor. It'll give me a chance to redeem the name of Malfoy too. Make it known for something else."
Harry manages a weak smile. "Good. It's long hours, but I'll start you off with a small part to see how you get on."
"Trust me, I need to get out of the house. The long hours will be wholly welcome. "
This time when Harry smiles, it appears somewhat genuine.
Two weeks after their last conversation, Draco receives a script and a note from Harry via a large, brown owl. The note requires Draco to be in Godric's Hollow at seven AM the next day, and also informs him he'll be playing the part of Lawrence Bercator. He flips through the script to see his lines, but Harry was correct when he said the part would be small. He appears in two scenes and has three lines. That he was sure he could manage.
With a quick glance through the script, Draco gathers that the film is a horror. While on holiday, a couple contract a nasty virus that eats them alive from the inside, but not before forcing them to turn on each other. Lawrence Bercator is the vicar who owns the church in the village the couple are staying at.
After breakfast, Draco sits down to read the entire script through, properly focusing on everything. He then makes sure to go over his lines again and again, so he knows them off by heart. His part may be small, but he refuses to mess it up.
The first day on set is exceptionally easy for Draco. Despite being asked to turn up at seven AM, he isn't actually requested until ten AM. If Draco weren't so glad to be out of the manor, he might have complained at this. He doesn't see Harry until he's called to rehearse his first scene with the couple. He doesn't know the woman, but he recognises the man as being a Ravenclaw two years above him at Hogwarts.
Harry sits in a chair in front of the set, which happens to be the graveyard outside the church in Godric's Hollow. He doesn't acknowledge Draco in any special way and treats him the same as he does everyone else. In a way, Draco is glad, for the terms of the life debt are far easier than he originally thought they would be. He knows, as Hermione had found out, that every life debt in history has been paid off via slavery or saving a life. Draco had been willing to do either to not be in Harry's debt anymore, but he'd been glad when Hermione presented another option.
It was clearly working in order to pay off his debt too, for Draco could feel the bond between he and Harry grow stronger. From what he knew, as he worked the debt off, the bond would grow and grow, until eventually it had been paid and it was effectively shattered. On the downside, it made him want to get as close to Harry as possible, and since he hated Harry's guts, this wasn't exactly ideal.
"Everyone on set, please," Harry shouts, and Draco takes his place at the entrance to the graveyard. The woman of the couple is at the back of the set, hiding from the man who Draco's character, Lawrence, tries to stop entering as a result of her distress. "And action!"
Draco's only taken two steps towards the man of the couple when Harry stops the entire scene to tell him to loosen up a little. It's embarrassing and Draco shoots daggers at Harry, but tries his best to 'loosen up'. His attempt must have worked, for Harry allows the entire scene to play out without any interruptions.
"Good. That was good. We'll rehearse it twice more, break for lunch and then do it for real."
Harry had said the hours would be long, but he hadn't said the work would be so repetitive. Doing the same thing over and over again sounds rather dull to Draco, and he thinks that by the time it comes to do it for real, he'll be so bored his performance will be lacking. As he repeats the scene, he decides to make a mental note of this so he can discuss it with Harry later.
Both rehearsals go pretty fast, and it's not long before Harry is calling everyone off the set to have lunch. Draco takes this opportunity to approach him; he looks busy and harassed, gathering up a pile of parchment and taking them as he walks towards his personal carriage.
"Potter!" Draco shouts, a little louder than necessary. When Harry recognises Draco's voice, Draco's sure he saw him roll his eyes.
"What, Malfoy?" Harry stops in his tracks and turns around.
Draco decides to start off with something simple before mentioning his idea. "How did I do?"
"Good, you were good," says Harry quickly, attempting to take off again.
"Wait!" Draco runs forward slightly to close the distance. "If we repeat the scene so many times on set, do you not think that by the time we actually film it, we'll all be so bored our performances will be, well, half-arsed?"
Harry raises an eyebrow. "Are you kidding?"
"No," Draco says seriously. "I suppose I can see the need for one set rehearsal, but I think anymore than that is just unnecessary, and if anything goes wrong, we can just do it again. Right?"
"Hmm." Harry doesn't look at all impressed by Draco's suggestion. "I'll keep that in mind."
As Harry rushes quickly away, Draco can't help but think that Harry will try and pretend he never even had that conversation.
That day's filming is the only one Draco has on that particular film. His part was so short that it could be completed in an afternoon, and while he is a little miffed about that, he's never forgotten that Harry said his performance was good. Unless, of course, Harry had just said that because he was in a hurry.
Three days go by before Draco hears anything from Harry.. He doesn't mind the distance between them, but the bond obviously does. He prepares to go and see Harry when the agony from the bond grows too much, but he's delayed by the arrival of an Owl. It looks remarkably like the one Harry had in school (though Draco's sure he heard something about the owl dying) and has Harry's writing too. Opening the envelope and skimming the letter reveals it is indeed from Harry, detailing the next film he'll be in.
Attached is a copy of the script, which Draco has to enlarge, and a note attached which says he's playing Amandus Roca. A quick flip through the script allows Draco to see that his part in this film is much, much larger than the other. The genre is completely different though; it's a romance. This, Draco is sure he'll be brilliant at. He's always been a natural charmer and has never been short of partners.
The letter also requires Draco to attend the rest of the filming for the film he's just finished on, and Draco is all too sure why Harry's insisted upon that. It'll be the bond. He wants me near him to quell the ache. If only for the same reason, Draco is partially glad too, and eagerly grabs his coat and Apparates to Godric's Hollow.
At first, he doesn't see Harry through the crowds of people, but then spies him ushering a group of people into a shed. He looks busy, so Draco hangs back and waits for a free moment. One doesn't come until they break for lunch, three hours later. Draco makes a beeline for Harry and is pleased that Harry seems relieved to see him.
"You know why I want you here," Harry says immediately, and Draco nods. "So just hang around and busy yourself."
"I have been doing. How many more days of shooting do you have left?"
"Today's the last day, that's why there's so many people." Harry looks at everyone crowding the lunch table, something akin to annoyance in his eyes. "We start on A Love For The Ages next week, but I'll need you for promotion purposes this weekend."
"Good," Draco says. "At least I'll have something to do then. Thank you for the bigger part."
Harry looks taken aback that Draco's apologised, as if he thinks the words weren't even known to him. "Er, you're welcome. Look, a few of us are going out for drinks afterwards. Do you want to join us?"
Now it's Draco's turn to be surprised. "Yeah, thanks. I'd like that."
"Great." Harry smiles awkwardly. "Well, we'd better go and get lunch before it's all gone."
Draco grins widely and looks rather smug. "I envisioned this situation; I've already eaten."
"Now why doesn't that surprise me?"
Previously, Draco would have been annoyed with Harry's answer, but it's very clear that it's meant it in a jokey sort of way rather than a malicious one. Draco feels something akin to happiness when around Harry, but he's sure it must just be the bond, because whenever he's away, he doesn't pine for him (though the bond does cause a rather awful aching).
Throughout the day, as he waits for the evening to come and looks forward to it, he finds himself watching Harry as much as he can. Everything Harry does, Draco sees, and it must be the other way round too because they often catch each other's eyes.
"And that's a wrap!" Harry says loudly as cheers echo around the room. Everyone is glad to have finished the last day of shooting, especially since Harry is such a hard task master.
Draco makes his way over to Harry and the group that's now gathered around him; presumably those also invited to go out. He doesn't really know any of those in the group as none of them were in the same scene as he was the other day, but Harry acknowledges him with a nod.
"We're going to the Leaky Cauldron," Harry says. "Just Apparate and we'll all see each other there."
Draco nods in understanding and Apparates when the others do, landing right outside the familiar pub. He hasn't been in here since before the Battle of Hogwarts, and knowing it's often the haunt of many of the light side, he's rather concerned about the reaction he'll get. Being with Harry will be a safety of some sort, but how much, Draco isn't sure.
"The first round is on me," Harry announces as they all make their way inside. "Grab that table over there, would you?"
He's talking to no-one in particular, and when the rest of the group go off to the table, Draco continues to stand with Harry. He doesn't know anyone else and feels it would be awkward to follow them without Harry in tow. "I'll help with the drinks."
Harry smiles, but it's clear he finds it strange since Tom gives out trays and he can always use magic. "What do you want?"
"Firewhisky, please." Draco's sure he can feel a few eyes on him, and the looks he's receiving from Tom the barman aren't exactly friendly. He's glad when he can finally grab a few drinks and levitate them over to the table. He places the drinks down and sits, feeling a little uncomfortable until Harry joins the table moments later.
Small talk about the film ensues, and Draco finds himself a little isolated from the conversation. With his small scene, and not really knowing any of the actors here, he ends up being a bit of a spare part. Harry notices this and engages Draco in a conversation of their own, which Draco is only too relieved about.
"How did you find acting?"
"I liked it," Draco replies, fingering the rim of his glass. "Though it was a little repetitive."
"Well, I've been thinking about what you said, and I think it makes a bit of sense."
Harry nods. "Yeah. I'll try a few scenes as you suggested and see how it goes. No promises it's permanent, though."
"Harry! You alright, mate?"
Draco turns to see who has rudely interrupted him, and is not pleased to see Seamus Finnigan approaching. Seamus looks equally unhappy to see him.
"Oi, what's the ferret doing here?"
Harry narrows his eyes slightly. "Malfoy's an actor in a few of my films."
"Yeah, right," Seamus scoffs. "Like you'd hire a Malfoy! I'll go get a drink, what you having?"
"I'm fine, thanks," Harry says as Seamus makes his way to the bar, turning to Draco just as Seamus is out of earshot. "Sorry about him. He's a bit hotheaded. Just ignore him."
"Because it's that easy," Draco mutters.
"I didn't know he'd be coming in tonight." Harry looks over to the bar and then groans loudly. "It looks like he's not alone either."
Draco turns to look and sees Dean Thomas and Ron Weasley entering and then joining Seamus at the bar. "I think I should probably go. Thanks for the invite and the drink."
"No," Harry says firmly, pushing gently on Draco's arm to get him to sit down again. The touch is electric, sending signals through both their bodies. "You have as much right to be here as they do. If they don't like it, they can leave."
"Don't ruin your friendships for me, Potter."
"I'd rather not be friends with anyone who thinks my judgements are poor."
Draco's not quite sure Harry really means that, but he goes along with it anyway. At best, they'll defer to Harry and (probably only temporarily) accept him. At worst, it'll be amusing. He keeps a calm appearance as Seamus, Dean and Ron make it over to their table, even when they pull up stools and force their way to sit between he and Harry.
"Alright, mate?" Ron says, patting Harry on the back.
"Ain't seen you here in a while," Dean remarks.
"No," Harry replies. "I've been busy. Just finished up this film, got the promotion this weekend and then starting another after that."
"Seamus said you've got Malfoy working for you," says Ron, though he doesn't even look at Draco. In fact, neither of the three of them are acknowledging Draco's presence at all. "Bet that's a turn up for the books."
"Yeah, it is," Harry moves his stool slightly to see Draco properly since the lads moved in. "He's a good actor and he enjoys the work, don't you, Malfoy?"
"I've never seen the ferret do an honest days work in me life! I'll bet he's a right lazy sod."
"Seamus!" Harry reprimands his friend. "He's sitting right next to you. At least be polite."
"So?" Dean chimes in. "Why is he sitting with you anyway?"
"Because we work together."
"I work with loads of people I can't stand." Seamus' eyes narrow slightly. "I don't go to the pub with them though."
"No, you don't. So doesn't that tell you something?"
"That I might actually want to be in his company?" Harry says obviously, as though they were five years old and having trouble understanding. "I invited him to join me tonight. I don't appreciate your rudeness."
"Come on, Harry." Ron tries to placate his best friend, placing a hand on his shoulder, but it doesn't appear to be working.
"No." Harry shrugs Ron's hand off. "If you don't even have the courtesy to acknowledge a colleague of mine than I politely ask you to leave."
Seamus and Dean seem to think this is fair enough, for they snort loudly and stand up to find another table. Ron, however, stays seated and gives Draco a curt nod.
"Yeah," Draco says, not wanting to throw Harry's kindness back in his face. "Fine, thanks. You?"
"Good. So you're an actor then?"
"Yeah, just started though. House arrest only just ended."
"Right, yeah, I heard about that. I think I'd go mental if I had to stay in with my mum all the time."
Draco laughs as he takes a sip of his drink. "It wasn't easy, I'll say."
The night progresses far faster than Draco would have liked. By the time Tom calls last orders, Draco is actually enjoying conversing with Harry and Ron and feels a little disheartened that he has to go home to a virtually empty manor. It has been a long time since he's laughed and joked with his friends, and though the Gryffindors aren't exactly mates of his, they were much more friendly towards him than any Slytherins have been recently.
"We'll have to do this again," Ron says as he struggles to stand, quite a little more than the tipsy he is claiming to be. "You ain't half bad, Malfoy."
"Thanks." Draco pats Ron on the back, but he's a little drunk himself and the touch is harder than he'd envisioned. It causes Ron to off-balance himself and career into the table, falling into a heap at their feet. "You muppet!"
"S'not my fault," Ron protests.
"Course not!" Harry bends down to help Ron up, but also having had a few it isn't exactly easy. "Oi, Malfoy. Help me with this great lump, will you?"
"If I must," Draco says jokingly, grabbing the other half of Ron and pulling him to his feet with Harry's help. "Can you stand now?"
"What sorta question is that?!" Ron asks indignantly. "Course I can stand!"
"Oh ho, I think not." Harry catches Ron as he sways backwards again. "Tom! Can we use your Floo? I don't think any of us can get home tonight."
Tom doesn't exactly look happy at the request, but he acquiesces and allows them through to the back room.
"Right," Harry says firmly, looking Ron in the eyes. "You know where you're going, yeah? The Burrow. THE BURROW."
"Shuddup," Ron moans, carefully walking forwards into the Floo. He takes a handful of Floo powder from Draco, but it all falls through his fingers and he has to have another one. "I know where I live! The Burrow!"
"I'll never hear the end of it if he doesn't get home, you know," Harry says as Ron disappears. "He once got lost after a night out and he's constantly moaning about how he could of died. After everything we've been through and that's what he moans about!"
"That's Weasleys for you," Draco jokes, and is pleased when Harry takes it the right way and laughs with him. "I'd better be getting back. Mother worries sometimes." He bends down to grab a handful of Floo powder at the same time as Harry does and they end up bumping heads. The electric touch is back in full force, and before either of them know what's happening, they're drawn to one another and are kissing passionately. Harry's lips are soft and moist, and Draco's arms wrap around Harry's waist as he allows his tongue to enter and explore Harry's mouth. Neither knows who started it, but neither really care. The effect of a kiss on the bond is nearly more than each can take, and they have to pull themselves away from each other before they go too far in such a public place.
"Sorry," Harry says quietly, jumping into the fireplace. "It was the bond, I don't know... Grimmuald Place!"
The ensuing silence is painful. Wanting to escape it fast, Draco jumps into the Floo and shouts, "Malfoy Manor!" He goes straight to bed in the hopes of getting to sleep. Maybe he'll wake up in the morning with a clear head and understand what the fuck just happened.
The weekend draws near pretty fast, and the only communication Draco's had from Harry since the kiss is business-like. He's told to be in Diagon Alley at five o'clock, for that's when the official première will be. He spends ages choosing what to wear, knowing his presence will be scrutinised, and chooses his finest green robes. There's no point hiding behind another colour; everyone knows who and what he is and what he's done. Hopefully the film will be the start of a new identity for him and his family, erasing the old one completely.
Although nobody knows better than Draco that until his father is out of Azkaban, nobody will ever truly forget. Maybe temporarily, but when Lucius' release is publicised, the Malfoy family name will be brought into scandal once more.
The address Harry notes down is unfamiliar to Draco. He hasn't been to Diagon Alley since before the Battle of Hogwarts, and this address is the location of Harry's wizarding film company. The name of the establishment is 'Potter Productions', and Draco can only smile. It seems a very Slytherin thing to do, to put your name in your business, but then Draco does recall hearing a rumour that Harry was nearly placed into Slytherin.
Draco Apparates into Diagon Alley expecting to get there and have to wander around to find his destination. Except, when he arrives, it's clear this isn't necessary. Half of Diagon Alley is taken up by a very long red carpet, with reporters and random witches and wizards on either side. Many of the cast of the film are walking down it, posing for pictures and stopping for interviews, and Draco does a quick search for Harry. He sees him at the start of the red carpet, Ron and Hermione by his side, welcoming the actors and other attendees he doesn't recognise. Not knowing what else to do, he makes a beeline for him.
"Evening," Draco says casually as he approaches. He expects it to be awkward, but Harry greets him as he had any other time. "What's all this?"
"Oh, of course!" Hermione exclaims, more glee in her expression than there probably should be. "You won't know, will you? Harry's set it up like a Muggle film première!"
"Right, okay." He glances at Harry and Ron, who simultaneously smirk and roll their eyes. Hermione blushes and steps backwards slightly. "What do you want me to do?"
It's then that the reporters and the crowds seem to have recognised him, for they're all screaming 'Malfoy' at him.
"Your public awaits," Harry says with a grin, gesturing Draco down the red carpet.
"I just... walk down the carpet?"
Harry nods. "Do what the others are doing. You can't go far wrong. I'll meet you in the building afterwards."
"Here we go then," Draco mumbles to himself as he turns to face the crowds. He ventures slowly down the red carpet, looking awkwardly around him. A man with a camera is screaming at him to pose, so Draco does. It feels strange having everyone watch, but at the same time, his old Slytherin confidence and charm bubbles up inside him and it isn't long before he's really working it.
"Mr Malfoy! A little word, if you please?" The speaker is Rita Skeeter, and Draco feels a little bit of trepidation as he goes over to her for his first interview. "You've only just come off house arrest, have you not?"
"Yes," Draco replies through gritted teeth. He assumed they'd want to talk to him about the film and his newfound career, not his house arrest.
"Why do you think Mr Potter has chosen to employ a Death Eater? Especially one whose father is still in Azkaban..."
"Do you mind?" Draco snaps, narrowing his eyes at her. Annoyed, he carries on down the red carpet at a rapid pace, ignoring all the shouts of 'Malfoy' that follow him. He soon reaches the end and is just about to enter when he hears a delicate voice call him by his first name. Curious as to who it is, Draco stops and turns towards the voice. There, at the front of the screaming crowd, is Luna Lovegood. She has a Quick Quotes Quill and parchment floating in the air next to her and she's holding a copy of her father's magazine, The Quibbler, so it's obvious she's here on a journalistic nature. He doesn't want another grilling about his past so he chooses to ignore her and go straight in.
"Wait!" Luna calls, a little more loudly this time. "I'm not like them, Draco. I'm interested in your side."
Draco contemplates this for a second. It's true; she's not like anyone else. He remembers her vaguely from the time she spent in his cellar during the war, and even then she hadn't reacted like anyone else. She didn't beg like Ollivander, she didn't scream like Granger. She just accepted everything that was thrown at her and carried on as though nothing could bring her down. Realising he probably owes her one, and wanting his side of the story to be out there, he turns around and walks over to her.
"Hello, Draco," she says kindly as he approaches. "You look well."
"And you." Luna does look good, but as usual, she doesn't look anything like anyone else around her. She's wearing a brightly coloured dress that goes down to her knees with three large bead necklaces. She has a headband made of daisies in her hair, and rather looks like she's prepared for a picnic rather than a première.
"Thank you." Luna blushes and then changes the subject by cutting right to the chase. "What's it like being an actor? Do you enjoy it?"
"Yes," Draco replies happily, relieved she's stuck to her word. "It can be a little repetitive and the hours are long, but it's fun and the costumes are a laugh if nothing else."
Luna laughs. "You were filming on location in Godric's Hollow, yes? Crumple-Horned Snorkacks are rumoured to be setting up home there. Did you find they interrupted filming at all?"
"Oh, that's good. They can be quite mischievous when they want to be." She looks off into the distance, as though remembering something. "Hmm. Well, your next project is A Love For The Ages. It's a romance. Do you think you'll find that a challenge given you've only done a horror so far?"
"No," Draco says with a smirk. "I've always been rather popular." He lifts in his eyebrow and winks in a suggestive way, but Luna doesn't seem to understand. She appears rather confused and chooses to just move on instead.
"How do you find working with Harry? You never got on in school..."
"That's an understatement. Fair to say I hated him." Draco runs a hand through his hair awkwardly. "Things are different now, though. He's grown up, I've matured. Harry's good at what he does. If he wasn't, I'd've buggered off by now!" He realises that it's the first time he's referred to Harry by his given name, but he convinces himself it's just because that's what Luna called him. It was stuck in my head, that's all.
"He likes you," Luna says quietly, rather out of the blue. "Well, you'd better go inside now. The film's due to start soon and you don't want to miss it. And, Draco? Be careful on set. You never know what creatures are hanging around."
"Yeah... Thanks." Draco gives her a small smile as he enters Potter Productions. It's a rather simple place and it's obvious Harry's going for the minimalistic look.
"Mr Malfoy," A sharply dressed man approaches him, smiling broadly. "If you'd like to follow me, I'll show you to your seat."
Draco does follow him, but is a bit bewildered at why he is getting such 'special treatment' when far more prominent actors in the film are milling about without anyone guiding them. The man leads him through into another room with a rather large seating area, and takes him down to the very front where there are 'Reserved' signs on all of the seats.
"Here you are, number five."
"Thank you," Draco says, sitting down in the seat and making himself comfortable. He's the only one on the front row and he can't help but feel a little awkward. He's sure he can feel people giving him nasty looks, but when he turns around to glare back, no one is even paying attention to him. After a few moments, he is joined by Harry, Ron, Hermione and Luna, who all greet him as though he is their long lost best friend. Harry takes the seat next to him. "Was this your doing?"
"Of course." Harry grins as he takes his coat off, pulling a piece of parchment out of one of the pockets. "I've got to give a speech in a minute, explaining how it's all going to work."
"Rather you than me," Draco says with a grimace. Harry smiles as he stands to get the attention of the room, which is now full with actors, reporters and several prominent faces of the wizarding world.
"If I could have your attention please." Harry's voice is loud and booming, and he doesn't seem at all phased by his public speaking. Mind, he's been a public figure for the better part of ten years now, so Draco figures he's probably grown into it. "Thank you for coming to the première of The Virus Within You. When I first had the idea of a wizarding film company, I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to work. Indeed, I wasn't even sure if it could. After a lot of research, many hours of filming and some delicate memory tweaking, here we are. In order to watch the film, you have a small pensieve and a vial with the film in next to it under your seats. Please pull them out now."
Murmurs fly around the room as everyone does as Harry instructs. Draco places the pensieve on his lap and uncorks the vial, but doesn't dare place it in until Harry's given the okay. The rest of the room seems to feel the same, as everyone is poised ready to pour the film in.
"Once instructed, pour the film into the pensieve, enter and then watch. You will be able to walk around through the film. For those of you with Muggle backgrounds, you will appreciate the 3D nature adding to your watching experience!" A few laughs sound out, though Draco isn't entirely sure why. "The running time is ninety-four minutes, but you won't be truly aware of the passing of time while you're in there. You'll know when the film is over. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the film." Harry sits back in his seat and pulls out his own pensieve and vial, then loudly gives the instruction for everyone to begin watching the film.
Draco pours the film in and enters the pensieve, a little nervous about his own scene. He's not sure where about in the film he appears, so he watches on tenterhooks. The film soon engulfs him, however, and he forgets all about his own scene, getting really into the storyline. He's even a little surprised when he does see himself, and can't help but walk closely up to himself in the past. He thinks he looks remarkably handsome, and though it's short, he's very pleased with his performance.
When the film finishes and he pulls out of the pensieve, he's extremely impressed with the entire thing. He's never seen anything like it before and wants to see more. The reaction in the room seems to be exactly the same, and a quick glance to his left shows that Harry is more than relieved to see this.
"We're going to The Leaky Cauldron for drinks," Harry says as they all get up to leave. "Come and join us."
This time, it isn't an offer. It's practically an order; Harry really wants him there. "Sure," Draco agrees, following the group out into the street and then down to the pub. "That was great. I really enjoyed it."
"Yeah, Harry," Hermione agrees. "That was much better than an actual film! I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy the cinema again!"
Draco doesn't know what she's on about, and nor do Ron or Luna by the looks on their faces, but Harry clearly does by his laughter.
"I'll get the drinks in, you lot sit down," Ron declares as they enter the pub. "Thought we'd celebrate with some mead."
The pub is exceptionally crowded due to the many people at the film première, so they end up around a small table in the centre of the pub. It's not ideal, but right now, Draco doesn't really care. Ron comes over with the drinks, handing them all out as he sits down and then suggesting a toast.
"To Harry!" Ron shouts, lifting his glass in the air along with everyone else.
"To Harry!" Everyone chants in unison.
It's the first time Draco's seen a smug expression upon Harry's face, but the look rather suits him. "You deserve this, you know," Draco says quietly when the others begin talking. "I think you've moved us on about ten years!"
"Something like that," Harry agrees.
"We can't stay long, Harry," Hermione says once she notices they've finished speaking. "We're telling Molly tonight."
"Fantastic!" Harry holds his hand out to shake Ron's and then leans over the table to kiss Hermione on the cheek. "You reckon she'll be happy?"
Ron nodded. "Of course. All we've heard from her since we got married is 'When are you starting a family?'"
"I know, Hermione's never stopped moaning." Harry winks at Hermione and she jokingly reaches over to punch him on the arm.
"You're pregnant?" Draco jumps into the conversation, not wanting to be too out of the loop. When Ron and Hermione hold hands and beam at him, Draco can only smile with them. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks," they say together.
"Congrats again, guys," Luna says quietly. "I know you'll be excellent parents, and keep that little one of yours safe. Did you get that book I sent you?"
"Yes, thank you, Luna. I'm sure it'll come in handy." Hermione stands and pulls Ron up with her. "Come, we'd better get going. You know we'll never hear the end of it if we're late again."
It's a little awkward when they're gone, because it's just the three of them left. Ron and Hermione are Harry's closest friends, and quite sociable, but Luna seems content to just sit there and stare off into nothingness.
"So, Luna," Harry starts, obviously feeling the uncomfortableness too. "You okay?"
"Don't worry, Harry," Luna says softly, grabbing her bag and standing up. "I won't intrude any longer. I think you two would rather be alone, wouldn't you?"
"No!" Harry says a little more loudly than Draco would have liked.
"I won't tell anyone," she assures him. "Goodbye, Harry. Goodbye, Draco."
"Luna's rather intuitive," Harry says when she's gone. "She's always been able to see things others can't. In more ways than one."
"She doesn't know about the bond?"
Harry shakes his head. "Only Hermione does. I don't know if she's told Ron, but he hasn't mentioned anything."
"Do you mind?"
"No," Draco says quietly, though he's rather reluctant to say what the problem really is. "It's just..."
"You've been acting like the kiss never even happened," Draco blurts out, rather quickly before he loses his bottle and stops midway through a sentence. "I thought that meant you were ashamed about it and wanted to forget."
"No," Harry corrects him. "It meant I was okay with it."
"Oh." Draco blushes. "You need to work on your communication skills, then."
"Apparently so," Harry mumbles. "Look, I never thought I'd say this, but I like you, Draco. You're not an insufferable git anymore."
"Thanks? I think. You're not bad yourself."
"Do you want to come back to mine for a drink? It'll be quieter than in here."
"Certainly," Draco says happily, rather relieved to leave the loud and crowded pub.
"Side-Apparition okay with you?"
They step out of the pub into the cool night air and Harry offers his arm out. Draco takes it, and immediately the same electricity that's flown through them every time they've touched before comes back. It makes Draco feel alive, but before he can act upon it, the world is turning and they land in Grimmauld Place's hallway. Draco couldn't care less, though, for the electricity has made him eager for more of Harry's touch, and it looks like Harry feels the same.
This time, they're both aware of what's happening when they kiss, and they're so fuelled by passion that they can't help but start undressing each other. It's quick and raw and neither of them care that they're behaving like animals. It could be the bond, it could just be them, but either way, they both want it to happen right now. They clumsily make their way up the stairs, kissing and ripping clothes off like it's the end of the world all over again.
Harry leads Draco into a bedroom at the top of the stairs, pushing him onto the bed and then climbing on top of him. Harry brings Draco's legs upwards and casts a wandless lubing charm. Draco's only startled at Harry's magic for a moment, for the next thing he knows, Harry is placing his cock at Draco's hole and gently pushing inside. Once passed the barrier, he lunges forwards for all his worth and begins rutting against Draco with all the energy he has.
"Play with yourself," Harry demands, and Draco doesn't hesitate to obey. He wanks at the same pace Harry fucks him, and with the bond fuelling their desires, it isn't long before they're both coming; Harry's orgasm setting off Draco's. They allow their orgasms to play out and after a few seconds respite, Harry pulls out of Draco slowly.
Once Harry's out, it's immediately clear that something's different. The bond has been broken.
"Do you feel different?" Draco asks as Harry collapses on the bed beside him.
"Yeah, you're—" Harry reaches out a hand to touch Draco, but neither of them feel the electricity that was there before. "The bond..."
"Shit, I didn't think this would break it." Draco's almost disappointed; he'd grown to like the connection they had together.
"Least you don't have to work for me anymore," Harry says with an exasperated laugh.
"What if I still want to?"
Harry raises an eyebrow, as if he doesn't quite believe Draco even now. "Do you?"
"Yes! I don't think the bond made us sleep together. It may have drawn us closer, but I don't think it forced us to have feelings for each other."
"I'll see you on Monday, then," Harry says with a grin.
"Oh, and Draco?" Harry calls as they settle down to sleep. "You're due on set at six AM."
"Ugh." Draco pulls the duvet over his head. "I don't do mornings. Push the time forward a bit. Surely I get privileges for shagging the director?"
"You'd think, wouldn't you?"
Draco manages fake muffled laughter as Harry settles down next to him, wrapping his arm around Draco's waist. It's nice, warm and comfortable. I can get used to this, he thinks, as he comes to the happy realisation that he's going to get a little bit more than the redemption of his family name out of his acting career.