Title: Unfinished Business
Summary: Summary: [By Romilda Vane, CMM (Chief Magical Marketer)] Mr Potter, a seven-year veteran of the Auror department, can't bring himself to think outside the box until a visionary change agent resurfaces with a value-added proposition to facilitate a profound interpersonal culture shift.
[Translation, by author who will never, ever use Ms Vane for summaries again] Harry is confronted with a difficult truth when the only person who knows his secret is reassigned to the Ministry's London office. And it's all making him a bit mental, to be honest.
Word Count: ~8650
Author's Notes: Happy H/D Holidays, ashe_frost -- hope you enjoy this! Ashe wanted “the kind of stuff where people get shoved into walls,” angry sex, witty banter, and happy endings. I’ve aimed to please. A thousand and one thanks to the anon person(s) who helped breathe life into this -- can’t wait to credit you properly.
“How much longer is this supposed to last?” Harry whispered to Ron. He was still groggy from his early morning Apparition from Reykjavik, where he’d spent an exhausting three weeks searching for a so-called shaman who’d bilked millions of Galleons out of unsuspecting wizard tourists. Thank Merlin he’d finally received the official clearance to call off the search in mid-October -- navigating frozen fjords in the frigid Icelandic winter wasn’t exactly his idea of a smashing time.
Ron gestured for Harry to lower his voice even further, motioning toward the front of the room where Romilda Vane was speaking. “God, I don’t know,” he said helplessly, keeping his eyes forward. Romilda had just returned from Birmingham, where (with the hearty encouragement and sponsorship of Minister Arthur Weasley) she had completed a cutting-edge Muggle management seminar, the subject of this morning’s Auror meeting.
“So what does all this mean for our organization?” Romilda asked the room. She scanned the crowd, not finding a single person who was even close to her level of perkiness that morning. “It means that some very exciting culture changes will be underway, and sooner than you might think. Our research shows that the public’s been wondering why they need the Ministry of Magic. They’re tired of the same old government doing the same old things, day after day. But we’ve got just the cure!’
She smiled at Arthur Weasley, flipping her glossy black ponytail with the back of her hand, and he proudly returned her smile.
“Hold on to your hats, witches and wizards, and listen to this,” she said, her voice rising with excitement. “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Ministry of Magic has been rebranded. From this day on a going-forward basis, we will henceforth be known as... Ministry!”
As if written by an invisible quill, the word “Ministry!” formed on the screen behind Romilda and etched itself into the sheets of parchment that had been distributed to the Aurors as they’d entered the conference room that morning.
“People, note the exclamation point!” she trumpeted. “It’s a key component of our brand, as much as the word ‘Ministry’ itself. What we’re doing here is getting our community excited about government again!”
Harry stopped himself before his eyes began to roll. An unfamiliar young witch with mousy hair shyly raised her hand.
“Yes, Miss --?”
“It’s MacGregor, thank you. I -- I think I see what you’re getting at,” she said, “but why take ‘magic’ out of the title? Isn’t magic what we’re all about?”
An encouraging murmur ran through the crowd, but Romilda’s smile continued, undiminished.
“Of course we haven’t done away with magic!” she declared with a sparkling laugh. “In fact, it’s now part of a brilliant new organizational acronym!”
She whipped out her wand from the pocket of her business robes and pointed it toward the screen behind her. With each flourish of her wrist, multicoloured sparks shot out of her wand and new words appeared.
Miss MacGregor appeared impressed, but Harry wasn’t. Instead of looking at Romilda, whose unnatural exuberance was making him feel even more tired, he cast his eyes down to the sheet in front of him and read to himself as she proudly ticked off her list.
M... is for Moving Forward!
A... is for Action-Ready!
G... is for Goal-Oriented!
I... is for Integrity!
C... is for Centre of Excellence!
Harry hadn’t the least idea what she was on about, but he couldn’t help thinking that Romilda Vane would have made a fantastic cheerleader had she been born an American Muggle. “What is it with her teeth?” he asked Ron under his breath. “They’re practically gleaming!”
Luna Lovegood turned around from her seat in front of Harry and nodded knowingly. “Don’t you know?” she said in a loud whisper. “It’s the latest Moldavian dental charm, developed by a famous oral sorcerer after years of secret experimentation... the Quibbler just ran a story on it.”
Hermione, to Luna’s right, put a finger to her lips. “Oh please,” she hissed out of the side of her mouth, “it’s nothing of the sort! Romilda went to see my dad. Muggle dentistry works on wizards too, you know!”
Harry chuckled quietly, and along with his friends, he dutifully returned his attention to the front of the room.
“So, you see how we can close the loop and drive organisational change by leveraging our core competencies,” Romilda continued. “Can you tell me one of Ministry!’s core competencies, Mr, uh --” she darted a glance around the room for people she hadn’t called on yet. “Malfoy?” she asked, her voice slightly dropped in volume.
Harry’s stomach clenched as he twisted to his right to see an all-too familiar figure sitting by the window, his white blond head in his hands. An unbidden memory came rushing toward the surface, heralded by the sudden twinge in his groin.
“What’s he doing here?” he whispered to Ron. “Thought ‘Ministry!’ stuck him out in East Transylvania.”
“That was five years ago,” said Ron without moving his lips. “That office’s restructuring now. I heard Malfoy was given the choice to transfer either back here or to Djakarta.”
Harry frowned. “Bloody great, isn’t it? We’re in for a right treat with that prat around again.” He hadn’t taken his eyes off Malfoy, whose snowy hair now reached past his shoulders and was fastidiously tied back in the style his father had favoured.
“Mr. Malfoy?” Romilda repeated, gazing at Malfoy expectantly.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to pass,” he drawled in that lazy voice that grated on Harry like teeth on aluminium foil.
“Er, all right, so --- what about you, Mr. Longbottom?” Romilda went on bravely, her smile faltering only slightly.
As Neville started to answer, Ron turned to Harry again, looking thoughtful. “Actually, I’ve been working with him for about a week, and -- well, he’s still a prat, but he’s not that bad. He’s changed, he really has.” He grinned at Harry’s incredulous expression. “Believe me, I’d be the last person to ever say this, but it’s true.”
Harry shook his head. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” he muttered. Malfoy’s return was perfect timing; all he needed right now was another annoyance to add to his pressures at work. And would this meeting ever end? No doubt his desk had accumulated a huge backlog during his absence. Not that he was exactly dying to get back to it, but right now anything was better than having to listen to Romilda’s monotonously upbeat patter. Especially without the aid of caffeine, the magical properties of which he’d never questioned.
As soon as the polite applause had finally subsided, Harry burst out the door of the conference room, determined to make it to the elevator before the throngs arrived. He was so familiar with the route that his feet automatically took him where he needed to go, confident that any obstacles blocking his path would simply move out of the way.
Harry whirled around. He’d thought his shoulder had struck the doorframe, but no such luck.
“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” he growled.
Draco Malfoy rubbed his stricken arm and gazed at Harry as though he were seeing him for the first time. He laughed. “Should I?” he said. And slowly, as Harry watched in horror, he ran the tip of his tongue over his lower lip, leaving it pink and shiny.
Harry swallowed and flushed a deep red colour. “Stop that!”
He fought to calm the sudden tremor that raced through his body. The war was over, he was twenty-four years old, and Malfoy was nothing more than his childhood enemy, the bane of his Hogwarts existence. He didn’t want to remember, wasn’t going to, wouldn’t waste a second of time thinking about it. No matter how much Malfoy goaded him.
Ron spoke from behind Harry. “What’s going on?” he asked, looking from Malfoy’s smirk to Harry’s glare.
“Nothing,” Harry said quickly, avoiding Malfoy’s mocking gaze. “Let’s go.” He turned away and headed off toward the elevator, not waiting for Ron, desperate to focus on anything but the memory of a night that never should have happened.
It happens because of Harry. He does not tell Ron, he does not tell Hermione. He does not tell anyone. It happens because as usual, he can’t seem to leave well enough alone.
It happens in sixth year; it begins almost as an afterthought, just as evening falls on the day that he casts Sectumsempra for the first time. Harry is haunting the halls of Hogwarts under his Invisibility Cloak, having left his friends to study in the cosy calm of the Gryffindor common room. He wants to see where Malfoy keeps coming secretly, but finds something potentially even better: Pansy Parkinson hurrying toward the hospital wing, her arms piled with velvety purple-black roses, a concerned-looking Daphne Greengrass in tow.
Not wasting a moment of deliberation, Harry scoots up to walk in step right behind the Slytherin girls, hoping neither will notice the sound of an extra pair of feet hitting the floor.
“Poor, poor Draco!’ he hears Pansy exclaim. “He fought so hard, and never once turned away from the fight, even when Potter was trying to kill him!”
I was not! The retort forms automatically in Harry’s head, but he remains silent. Is that what she really believes? Is that what everyone believes?
“I know,” Daphne clucks sympathetically. “And you’re such a good girlfriend. Those flowers are his favourite; I’m sure they’ll cheer him up!”
“If he survives, that is,” Pansy says, pressing both palms to her chest like a dying heroine in a third-rate opera. “At least my darling will know how much I loved him before he perishes.”
Daphne sighs in heartbroken empathy and puts her arm around her friend. “Courage,” she says. “I pray that your dearest recovers.”
Harry nearly gags at her melodramatic words. As if anyone would miss that arrogant twit! He follows Pansy and Daphne all the way to the hospital wing, refraining from audible sarcasm even when Pansy starts to brag about what a wonderful husband Malfoy will make.
“We’re here to see Draco Malfoy,” Pansy announces grandly to the bored-looking Assistant at the front desk. “Tell him it’s his girlfriend. Oh, and his dear friend Daphne, too,” she adds, and Daphne stops scowling.
With elephantine slowness, the Assistant removes the quill she is chewing from her painted lips. She casually moves her wand over the piece of parchment on her desk and turns it over to read it.
“What does that say?” Pansy asks, craning her neck over the desk.
The Assistant frowns at her and covers the parchment with her hand. “Says here that Mr Malfoy is to have no visitors at this time.”
“B-but --,” sputters Pansy, aghast.
“No buts, miss! Them’s Madam Pomfrey’s official orders!” The Assistant declares. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some filing to get back to.” She waves her wand again, and papers begin to fly from piles on her desk into folders in the open filing cabinet.
Pansy grimaces as she unloads her entire purple armful of flowers onto the desk. “At least see that he gets these!” She pulls Daphne away as she marches from the room, muttering threats under her breath about certain incompetent minions who need to be sacked as soon as possible.
But Harry isn’t ready to leave. He glides across the shiny floor and presses his palms against the information desk, lifting himself up and bending forward, far enough to see the scrawl on the parchment that the Assistant had attempted to shield from Pansy. “Draco Malfoy, room 3, no visitors, thanks muchly M. Pomfrey.”
Room number three... Harry had been in that room himself back in year two when the bones of his arm had to be regrown as a result of Professor Lockhart’s bumbling magic. He spies a crack of light under the door -- Malfoy must be awake. Slowly, hardly daring to breathe, Harry opens the door and slips inside, closing the door gently before Malfoy has time to notice.
Malfoy is in bed, reading a venerable-looking book the size of a tea tray. Harry tiptoes closer until he is able to read the gilt print on its cracked, whorled leather binding: The Sceptical Chymist, by R. Boyle, Esq. Isn’t that nice, a little extra credit work for Potions, Harry thinks, making a sour face. Classic Malfoy, always sucking up to Snape. He steps lightly over to the bed, ever closer to his target, and almost fails to stifle his gasp.
For Malfoy isn’t studying Potions at all, and the subject of his study has never been taught at Hogwarts, at least not to Harry’s knowledge. The glossy magazine concealed behind Malfoy’s book features moving photographs of naked, muscular wizards, their hands and mouths all over each other. Nervous laughter bubbles up in Harry’s throat, but he quells the impulse to let it out. Instead, he watches Malfoy as he takes one hand from his reading material and slips it under the covers, between his legs.
Malfoy’s hand moves under the sheets, up and down, and Harry draws in his breath as he realizes what Malfoy is doing. It isn’t something he should see, but he can’t look away. His heart is pounding so loudly he fears that Malfoy may be able to hear it. He wants to leave. He has to leave. He needs to leave. And he would leave, but for the fact that he can’t seem to move.
He simply can’t take his eyes off Malfoy. That active hand, rubbing and stroking and pulling, the long thin body under the covers, shaking with need; the wet, open mouth huffing and panting, craving air. Harry’s own mouth fills with saliva and he swallows as quietly as he can. Malfoy closes his half-shut eyes as the motion of his hand becomes more and more frantic, and then he freezes. His hips thrust upward, and, his lips part even wider to release a resonant groan, the mere sound of which tugs at Harry’s cock like an invisible, eager mouth. Malfoy’s normally pale face is now a deep pink, and his hand emerges to smear a trail of cloudy semen onto the coverlet for someone else to clean.
Harry’s hands shake as he unzips his trousers. His own erection has been pushing almost painfully against the stiff wool, and he nearly sighs with relief as he frees it to poke out in front of him. He’s throbbing so hard, he feels like he might come the moment he seizes his cock in his fist, if the cool night air blowing against his skin doesn’t do it for him first. Harry aches to touch himself, and he knows that he will, as soon as he gets back to his room. He could do it here, under the safety of his Cloak, but it would be wrong, right in front of Malfoy, not that it isn’t wrong anyway to be turned on by another bloke wanking himself. He backs out of the room, sliding without lifting his feet, never more grateful for the option of invisibility.
The other Gryffindor boys are asleep when Harry returns to his dorm, their soft snoring and his own shuffling movements the only sounds he can hear. Within seconds of drawing the curtains on his bed, his robes are in a heap on the carpet and he sits with his back to the headboard, his bare legs stretched out in front of him. He’s never been completely naked in bed like this, on top of the covers, knees bent, legs apart, and it makes him even more excited to know that if his dorm mates were to lift the curtains they could see him, see his stiff reddish cock springing from the crinkled black mass of hair and his great swollen balls, and if he spreads his legs further, even the wrinkled opening of his arse. Imagining their faces frozen in shock and fascination, Harry decides to put on a show they won’t soon forget.
He makes himself go slowly, savouring the tension. The longer he can hold off, the better it will be when he finally comes. He licks his fingers and lightly strokes his neck and chest, rubbing and pinching his nipples until they’re as rigid as his cock, then slicks himself with the oil he normally uses for conditioning his broomstick. The slurping noises his hand makes are embarrassingly loud, and he reluctantly casts a silencing spell.
Harry’s cupped hand is moist, hot and slick against his cock, and he wonders, as he always does, if this is how it feels to be inside a girl. Ginny, or maybe Cho. Or even better, Ginny and Cho. He holds the image in his mind as he yanks away; two girls, the one fair, the other tawny-skinned, both naked and panting, wantonly spreading their legs, wet and open and yielding, just for him. Letting him do anything he wants, anything...
Still pulling on his cock, Harry rocks back to push a finger inside himself as far as he can. This always feels odd at first, like a medical exam, and then it hurts a little, and then it feels tender and sensitive and achy in a good way. He frigs himself until he can take in another finger, and he draws them in and out, faster and faster as his rectum clenches against them. But now Cho and Ginny’s imagined moans fade away, and all Harry can see is Malfoy’s pink, sweating face when he tossed himself off in his hospital bed, so turned on by those pictures, so intent on his own pleasure, and Harry spurts all over the quilt that Ron’s mum made for him, able to think of nothing but what it might feel like to have his own cock fast in Malfoy’s fist, Malfoy’s long thin fingers wedged deep in his arse, and the guttural, animalistic sounds that will come out of that aristocratic throat when Harry pulls apart his sweet cheeks to fuck him, long and hard.
He shudders when he thinks about it later, Occluding his thoughts. Because he doesn’t want Malfoy, not in that way. Or at least that’s what Harry keeps telling himself.
It’s half-past midnight the following night when Harry creeps back to the hospital wing. He sidesteps soundlessly past the chair where the night matron is snoring, head dropped to her chest and half-moon glasses slipped almost to the tip of her crooked nose. Malfoy’s room is dark and he appears to be sleeping this time, definitely sleeping, his face pale as the moonlight it reflects. But his mouth is moving, and Harry thinks he hears actual words.
Harry edges closer, easing his weight onto the mattress to avoid any bouncing. His Cloak is twisting uncomfortably around him, so he shucks it off, confident the darkness will provide sufficient cover. Then he hears just what he wants to hear.
“I can’t do it, but I have to.. I have to...” Malfoy mutters. Harry is right next to him, practically touching him, his body tight with excitement at what Malfoy may be about to reveal, when Malfoy rolls over and curls up against him. He smells like sweat and sleep, and his body yields to Harry as his arms wrap around him, having nowhere else to go. Malfoy nestles his drowsy blond head in Harry’s chest, settling in, and Harry breathes in the fragrant herbal scent of the potion Malfoy uses to wash his hair, so different from the soapy pink liquid the Dursleys always have in their bathroom.
“Don’t want to...” Malfoy murmurs, “don’t make me...” He is wearing a light linen nightshirt, and Harry can feel the cottony mass of bandages on his chest underneath. His head is so close to Harry’s face now, and Harry can’t stop thinking about how simple it would be to kiss the top of Malfoy’s head. Just a mere matter of slightly inclining his neck, nothing more. Malfoy is fast asleep, he’d never know, and it would be so easy, ridiculously easy. But of course, this isn’t something that Harry wants to do, so he’s going to stop thinking about it, right now, and he’s not going to think about how soft Malfoy’s hair would feel against his lips, or about the firmness of Malfoy’s lean body, every muscle defined against him, separated only by the thinnest layer of fabric...
But suddenly Malfoy’s body jerks in Harry’s arms, and Harry tenses, realising too late that he’s not going to be able to get out of this easily. For a second Malfoy just stares at Harry’s face, his eyes wide open in shock, and then he shoves Harry away with surprising force.
“Leave me alone,” he hisses. “Haven’t you done enough? I’ll see to it that you get expelled! Just get -- the fuck -- out of -- he -- here --” Malfoy’s voice cuts out as he gulps a few breaths that turn into sobs. He flips onto his side toward the wall, away from Harry, and wails incoherently into the space between his folded arms.
Harry swears under his breath. This isn’t how this was supposed to go. Without knowing why, he drapes an uncertain arm over Malfoy’s shivering shoulders. “All right, you win,” he says. “I’m leaving right now, okay?”
He’s seized with a sudden desire for confession, for expiation. Malfoy is tolerating his half-embrace, but only barely, his body stiff and resistant. "I didn't mean it, you know. The other day -- in the girls’ bathroom? I didn't mean to do this to you."
The situation is getting much too weird, and he’s about to get up and leave when Malfoy turns to face him, his cheeks wet and pink, his eyes fierce with anger and something else that Harry can’t place.
"You meant it, Potter," he says, his voice husky from sleep and crying. "Don't lie to me." He reaches out to touch Harry’s cheek, and Harry feels the light pressure of Malfoy’s fingers echo deep in his groin. His breath quickens, and he stops breathing for a second, not wanting Malfoy to notice what he’s doing to him.
“Get out,” Malfoy says again, and he plucks Harry’s glasses off his head and sends them spinning, skidding across the floor. “Get out!” He grabs Harry’s shoulders and kisses him hard on the lips.
Malfoy’s mouth is briny with tears. Harry kisses him as swiftly and deliberately as if he was fighting, each press of his lips the return of a punch, each swipe of his tongue a calculated attack. He sucks Malfoy’s lower lip into his mouth and bites it. Malfoy moans into Harry’s mouth, his body trembling in Harry’s arms. He’s hard, too, right against Harry’s trousered crotch, and Harry grinds against him in an ageless dance he didn’t think he knew, his own cock chafing against his trousers, his hands automatically running down Malfoy’s back to cup and squeeze his lovely little arse.
Malfoy’s narrow hands are pulling up Harry’s robes, and now he lavishes wet kisses on Harry’s chest and stomach, working his way down until he unbuttons Harry’s trousers and Harry feels Malfoy’s breath, moist and sultry, against his exposed crotch. When Harry’s yearning cock bends toward Malfoy’s open mouth, Malfoy flicks the tip with his hot tongue, just once. He looks up at Harry, and Harry hesitates, then nods, surrendering.
And just for tonight, the war doesn’t enter into this room. The fact that Malfoy may be a Death Eater doesn’t prevent Harry from twining his fingers into Malfoy’s soft, faintly damp hair, and the fact that Malfoy is against everything that Harry stands for doesn’t stop Malfoy from wrapping his wet lips around Harry’s shaft and sucking on it as if Harry’s cock is the only thing that sustains him. He grasps Harry’s cock in his fist like a trophy, and shifts his mouth from the base to the head in a slow but powerful motion, teasing extra moisture from the slit with his tongue. Harry’s hips jerk involuntarily, but Malfoy doesn’t gag, he just places a warm hand against Harry to steady him, and Harry keeps his hands on Malfoy’s head as it bobs up and down, not forcing, just wanting to feel connected to him, not wanting this to end.
He awakens with his body curved around Malfoy’s back, the darkened room grown pale and rosy with the tentative light of dawn. Harry untangles himself and rolls right out of bed, almost slipping on his Cloak, which must have fallen on the floor. Before he shuts the door he spares a final glance at Malfoy, who is still sleeping, his hands folded under his cheek like a child. Harry leaves before he can even think about kissing him again.
He feels like throwing up, but he can’t, and he takes a shower, the water as hot as he can stand, scrubbing himself until his skin is red and raw. Later that day, Ginny Weasley kisses him for the very first time, and Harry comes alive with joy and relief. He doesn’t see Malfoy much at all, and he starts to think what happened must have been a dream.
With Ginny to distract him, Harry’s obsession with Malfoy practically vanishes; he doesn’t even think of him any more except to wonder idly now and then whether the evil little git is indeed in league with Voldemort. On the afternoon that he spots Malfoy walking toward him in the halls after Charms, alone for once without his sturdy sidekicks, Harry barely notices him.
Harry looks up from his armful of books. Malfoy has a strange look about him, both happy and excited. His lips curve into a spontaneous smile, and his grey eyes almost sparkle with joyous anticipation.
Harry’s mouth feels dry and heavy, and his stomach sinks when he realises what he has done, reads the evidence on Malfoy’s shining face. He has nothing to say to Malfoy, nothing at all. If anything, it’s far worse to see him starry-eyed like this than seeing his usual sneer. He is weighing the possibility that some joker may have slipped a love potion into Malfoy’s pumpkin juice when Ginny comes running up from behind Malfoy and snatches Harry in her arms. He drops his books and lifts his sweetheart off her pretty little feet, feeling strong again. Like a man.
Over Ginny’s shoulder, Malfoy stares at him open-mouthed, his smile evaporated, his face drained of more colour than usual. Suddenly, Harry can’t bear to have those eyes on him. It feels like they’re burning through him, indicting him. Exposing him.
“Get away from us, you disgusting pervert!” he bellows, hugging Ginny close, shielding himself as much as he is shielding her.
Malfoy just looks at Harry, his stare now cool and contemptuous, and Harry sees a tiny angry version of himself and a puzzled Ginny reflected in the light grey depths. “No more disgusting than you, Potter,” he says quietly.
“Wouldn’t you like to know what your boyfriend did last week?” he asks Ginny, raising his pale eyebrows meaningfully. “Your precious Potter isn’t who you think he is!”
“Fuck off, Malfoy!” Ginny hisses, pushing Harry’s protective arm away. “Or I’ll hex you!”
“Ooh, I’m sooooo scared,” Malfoy snarls. “Fuck you. Fuck both of you. But especially Potter.”
Ginny and Harry are going for their wands, but Malfoy has already turned his back and begun walking away. He pauses, turning his pale head, and Harry registers the ugly, unmistakeable word that Malfoy forms with his lips, the lips that kissed Harry seven long nights ago, the lips that Harry kissed before he kissed Ginny.
“Did you get your new assignment yet?” Ron asked, speaking loudly to be heard over the clamour of the Ministry’s cafeteria. It was so mobbed that day that he and Harry thought themselves lucky to get a table at all.
“Yeah,” Harry said, after looking around to see that there weren’t any fellow Aurors sitting nearby. Details of assignments were supposed to be confidential until the assignment actually started, although few Aurors stringently followed this rule. “I’m with Neville, and we’re posted here at the home office, actually, following up on some of the older matters which may have been put aside during the war.”
“Exciting!” Ron laughed. “I’m off to Copenhagen with MacGregor... Dad wants me to train her on tracking kobolds.” He crammed his last three chips into his mouth.
“Enjoy it,” Harry said. “I’m just glad I didn’t get stuck with Malfoy.” He pushed aside his plate, tired of looking at the congealed remnants of his lunch. The suet pudding was greasy and tasteless, and the mushy steak and kidney pie with its burnt crust hadn’t been much better.
“Oh, come on, Harry --” Ron protested, but then he stopped. “Hey!” he said heartily.
Standing in front of their table was none other than Malfoy himself, smirking as always, his hair tied back in that stupid ponytail again.
“Weasley,” he acknowledged, not looking directly at Harry. “Planning on doing any work today, or just faffing around all afternoon?”
“The latter, of course!” Ron chuckled as though Malfoy had made a brilliant joke instead of being an arse, and then he said what Harry had been dreading. “Why not sit down with us for a bit?”
“Sorry, I was just leaving,” Malfoy said. “I’ll see you around.” And then he turned to Harry, who was engrossed in pushing around the cold lumps on his plate with his fork.
“Fancy a bit of spotted dick today, eh Potter?” he whispered, just loud enough so that only Harry could hear him. He cast a sly look at Harry’s plate, then fluttered his eyelashes in Ron’s direction. Harry glared up at him, not saying a word.
When Malfoy’s steps had receded, Harry looked at Ron, surprised at his lack of reaction. “Did you see that?” he asked.
“So he said hello, big deal!” Ron said. He ran his hands through his shaggy red head. “He’s trying.”
“Trying to be a git, that is,” Harry corrected him, exasperated. “Look, your dad’s Minister of Magic now. No wonder Malfoy’s smarming up to you!”
“Harry, I know you have... unfinished business with him, but that was years ago. Why can’t you just let it go?”
Unfinished business? Harry froze in place as his insides seethed. Ron knew, and there was only one way he could have found out. He got up abruptly.
“Excuse me,” he said to Ron who looked mystified, and he walked off briskly after Malfoy, catching a glimpse of the back of his tall robed figure just as it slipped into the gents’.
Malfoy was standing alone at the row of urinals, his hands reaching for his zipper, when Harry grasped his shoulders roughly and spun him around.
“Did you tell Ron?” he demanded.
Malfoy smiled indolently. “Tell him what? That you’re a shirtlifter? That you like boys? That you just love to fondle my arse?” He wriggled his hips in a suggestive circle.
“That’s not true!” Harry yelled, his voice echoing against the stone walls. He took a deep breath. He wasn’t going to lose control of this situation. “It was such a long time ago,” he continued, his voice striving for calm. “We were so young -- we didn’t know what we were doing. Two teenage blokes -- they’ll shag anything, right? Everyone goes through a phase like that.”
“Wasn’t a phase, Potter,” Malfoy said, still wearing his amused smile. “It’s who we are.”
“Maybe it’s the way you are,” Harry conceded. “But I’m not, and I don’t want you to bring up what happened, okay? Not to my friends, and not to anyone at the Ministry.”
Malfoy laughed loudly. “And how do you know I haven’t already?” he sneered.
Harry surged forward, trapping Malfoy against the wall. “You’d better not have!”
For a second they both stared at each other, face to face, then Malfoy spoke. “You’re hard.” He lowered his eyes almost flirtatiously.
Fear and anger poured through Harry as he realized Malfoy was right. “I don’t have to take this from you, you fucking cocksucker!” he spat, and drove his fist straight into Malfoy’s stomach.
Malfoy doubled over, groaning in pain. “You...” he gasped, lifting his head, hands braced against his robed thighs. “That night. You wanted it as much as I did. I know you did.”
He staggered forward, and then he reared back and smashed Harry’s nose. It hurt every bit as much as the first time Malfoy had done it, years ago, but that didn’t stop Harry from reacting instantly. He seized Malfoy’s slender wrists and pinioned him against the wall, holding his arms over his head.
Harry paused for a moment to catch his breath, but Malfoy didn’t move or struggle. He stared at Harry, his eyes dark and defiant. A stray piece of white-blond fringe had fallen onto his forehead, a tiny relinquishment of control.
“Who are you, Potter?” he asked softly.
Harry stared back at him. “I don’t know!” he blurted out, his voice breaking with his admission. He concentrated on watching the blood from his nose drip off his face, spattering crimson on the dark floor. He wasn’t going to crumble, he wasn’t going to give Malfoy the satisfaction, but his body was trembling and his grip was weakening and Malfoy was parting his lips, and --
Footsteps. Someone was rapidly approaching, and Harry dropped Malfoy’s arms.
Malfoy dug into the pocket of his robes and shoved a folded white square into Harry’s hand. “Episkey,” he pronounced brusquely, and the door opened just as Harry pressed the handkerchief to his nose.
“What say, boys?” Arthur Weasley said merrily, his reddened nose suggesting a recent bout with more than a few lunchtime pints.
“Silly me, blundered right into that pillar, didn’t I?” Harry said, his voice muffled behind the cloth and his hand. “Good thing Malfoy was around to help, eh?”
“Now there’s some blue sky thinking!” beamed Arthur. “That’s just what Romilda meant when she spoke about teamwork at the Envisioneering meeting!” He nodded and headed to the far urinal.
Harry nodded back and walked out of the loo, not waiting for Malfoy’s response. He didn’t look up when he brushed past Malfoy in the vestibule. “Er, thanks,” Harry said quickly, but Malfoy grabbed the collar of his robes, forcing Harry to stop and look at him.
“For what it’s worth, I never told,” he said, his voice dry and emotionless, and he let go of Harry’s collar.
“Wait!” Harry shouted, struck by a sudden realisation. But the door had closed and Malfoy was gone.
Malfoy wasn’t at work the next morning, nor the following one, nor the one after that. When he was sure no one was looking, Harry made a discreet investigation of Malfoy’s desk, only to find it empty save for an empty stapler that snapped its hungry metal jaws at him. Finally, he gave up and asked Ron about Malfoy’s absence over lunch, in a very casual, offhand way.
Ron gave him a funny look. “Hermione told me he decided to transfer to Djakarta instead of staying in the UK. Guess they made him a better offer than Dad... but why do you care?”
“I don’t, really. I was just curious.” Harry responded. He took a rushed sip of water, setting the glass down so hard that liquid sloshed over its edge. “Ron,” he said carefully, knowing where he was going but not exactly sure how he would get there, “I have something to tell you.”
A month passed, and Harry was surprised at how little things had changed now that he was out as a gay wizard -- for the most part, his friends were still his friends, and the people who had always hated him still did. There was a brief furore in the media, but Voldemort was long gone, the 1990’s were over, and the personal life of The Boy Who Lived just wasn’t front-page material anymore. Which was just fine with him, frankly.
He was happier than he’d been in ages, feeling like a tightly-wound knot deep inside him had just unravelled. He walked with a new bounce in his step, smiling at random witches and wizards in the street. His patience at work had grown immeasurably; now he tolerated the increasingly tedious meetings with a smile instead of gritted teeth, and even shocked Romilda Vane by volunteering to chair her unpopular Resourcering committee. But despite his happiness and a soaring feeling of finally living an honest life, Harry sensed that something was missing. He hadn’t found what he was looking for -- and he doubted he ever would, even in the midst of so many doors opening, all at once. Handsome young men now winked at him in the elevator, and he’d received more than a few indecent scrolls from new admirers. He’d indulged himself at London’s gay wizard bars and found them to be great fun, though he hadn’t gone further than dancing and promises to exchange owl posts. Even Ron had got into the spirit, offering to set him up with his brother Charlie, who had just come out last year. But Harry begged off, protesting that he wasn’t ready, omitting the reason why.
Fall turned to winter, and the Ministry was abuzz with talk of the rebranding ceremony that was set to take place at the annual Christmas party. Romilda had recruited a crew of magical advertisers and publicists to design signs, posters, and gift baskets especially for the event. It was just another obligatory work ‘do for Harry, though he was looking forward to some decent food for once. Romilda had convinced Arthur that modern government employees required plenty of fresh organic produce and humanely farmed meats in order to achieve maximum levels of productivity.
Harry spent the evening of the party curled up in a corner with Hermione and Ron, drinking hot spiced mead and sharing old and new stories. He shook hands and exchanged holiday pleasantries with passing dignitaries when the occasion demanded, only occasionally discomfited by the blinking rainbow lights from the giant glowing Ministry! sign that hung directly above them.
“So, what do you make of all this?” Ron said, gesturing to the signs, the brightly coloured motivational posters, and the booth where Romilda Vane was handing out logo-festooned t-shirts and mugs to their co-workers.
“I think it’s pants!” Hermione said firmly, and Ron snorted. “Yeah, I’m afraid Dad’s really lost it this time!” he agreed, and he threw his legs over Hermione’s lap, Hermione just as quickly shrugging them off. “Ronald, my dress,” she reminded him in an audible whisper.
“Wonder what Malfoy would have thought?” Harry mused. “He’d probably say that this was exactly the sort of thing that Voldemort was trying to prevent!” He chuckled to himself until he noticed Ron and Hermione’s slightly alarmed expressions.
“Oh please, no one’s calling him You-Know-Who any more!” he scoffed.
‘That’s not it, Harry,” said Ron. “What made you mention Malfoy? He hasn’t been around for months!”
“And wondering what he might think? Honestly, Harry, it almost sounds as though you fancy him!” Hermione giggled.
“Er --” Harry began. He hadn’t exactly told Ron everything. “Oi, Ginny!” he called, grateful for the distraction.
Ginny drifted over to the group, dressed in silvery robes that nicely set off her flaming hair. She was assistant-teaching Quidditch over at Hogwarts now, and the spark between her and Harry had long since cooled into friendship. “Say, where’d you get that mead, Potter?” she asked coyly.
Harry smiled. “I was just about to get a refill. I’ll get you some as well,” he said. “If I can get up, that is.” He rubbed his stomach. The caramelised treacle tart in a port wine reduction had been awfully nice, as was the chocolate gateau made with fair-trade cocoa harvested by a team of reluctantly unionized house elves.
He started for the drinks table, and nearly dropped his glass when he recognised the drawling voice that came from his right. Was there even such a thing as a blond voice?
“Yes, I’m back here for good now,” Malfoy was saying as he accepted a canapé from a handsome waiter. “I look simply horrid in batik- that’s all there is to it. And the humidity? You don’t want to know what it does to my hair.” He popped the morsel into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.
The man next to him laughed and placed his hand on Malfoy’s arm in a familiar way. “I don’t blame you one bit, Draco,” he said. “It’s so good to have you back again.” He was a remarkably pretty man with wheat-coloured hair, his features as delicate as Malfoy’s. Probably Malfoy’s type, Harry surmised with a lump in his throat.
He turned around. There was no point in postponing the inevitable. “Happy Christmas, Malfoy,” he said glumly.
“Happy Christmas,” Malfoy echoed, and he smiled. “Have you met my cousin? Merriwether Malfoy, Harry Potter.”
Harry smiled back. Hoping he didn’t look as relieved as he felt, he grasped the outstretched hand eagerly. He took a closer look at Merriwether, who had his cousin’s almond-shaped, almost elfin eyes and his sharp chin. Not a Black, but definitely a Malfoy.
“Pleasure to meet you,” he said. “Would you mind terribly if I stole your cousin for a moment?”
“Be careful with him, he’s fragile!” Merriwether laughed, and Malfoy looked peeved.
“Sweet blessed Merlin, aren’t you ever going to forget that?” he groaned.
“Never!” Merriwether said, still chortling.
“What’s that all about?” Harry asked.
Malfoy sighed heavily. “When I was six, Merriwether and his brother Alcipius came by the Manor and asked if I could come out to play with them. And mother said --” here Merriwether joined him, speaking in an exaggerated, high-pitched voice -- “‘Mind how you play with Draco, he’s very fragile!’”
“I’ll see that I bring him back in one piece,” Harry said, perfectly deadpan. Malfoy handed his untouched drink to Merriwether, who was still roaring with laughter, and followed Harry to the cloakroom. Once inside, Harry closed the door and stood in front of it, his heart beating madly. If he played his cards right this time, the missing piece of his life was about to snap into place.
“Malfoy,” he said. “Let me tell you who I am. You were right -- I am a shirtlifter. And I do like to fondle your arse -- very much. In fact, I love it, and I wish I hadn’t bollixed up my chance to do it again. Oh Malfoy -- Draco -- I’m so sor --”
“Spare me the apology,” Draco interrupted, his voice clipped, harsh. “As you said, it happened a long time ago. Maybe it’s best to forget about it.”
Harry looked at Draco for a moment, studying him. He took in the hue of Draco’s eyes, the very colour of the Scottish sky on a gloomy morning, and lost himself for a moment in the rich contrast of Draco’s night-dark dress robes against the tantalizing milkiness of his throat. “No,” he said, a slight catch in his voice. “I can’t. I’ve never been able to. And I tried to for so long.”
“I’ve kept that night inside of me, all these years,” he continued. “I never felt the way you made me feel, no matter who I was with. It’s not so easy to forget.”
Draco didn’t answer immediately, but his eyes never left Harry’s. Finally he spoke. “I never forgot,” he said. “And I never will.”
He smiled suddenly, storm clouds momentarily lifted, and Harry felt a pang in his heart, catching a glimpse of the love-stunned boy who had goggled at him in the hallway, all those years ago. He placed his hand on Draco’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze, a preamble to the kiss he was about to attempt. “I cleaned your handkerchief,” he babbled, “and I would give it back to you except that I left it at home and --”
“So take me home with you.”
Harry paused, not sure he’d heard correctly. “Er...what?”
Draco sighed. “I was referring to your home, Potter. Four walls, a front door, and a roof, and you live inside it? Oh, I give up. I knew you were dense, but this is ridiculous.”
Harry laughed and playfully boxed Draco’s ears. “Well, come on then!” He pulled out his wand and hugged Draco tightly to make sure neither of them splinched as they Apparated side-by-side back to his flat.
Draco was still in his arms after the rush of air and the stomach-squeezing feeling of compression had subsided. “Hold on,” said Harry, and he took off his glasses himself before Draco could fling them off. He could afford new glasses now, but it was always a chore to replace them.
He guided Draco onto his comfortable old couch, grateful for the wand-vacuuming he’d given it a few days ago. Within moments, Harry was on top of him, snogging him between hastily gulped breaths, caressing his hair and his neck and everywhere else he could reach. Their robes got in the way, so they took them off; then it was their shirts and their trousers, until finally he and Draco both lay naked, skin sliding against skin.
“How much longer were you planning to wait for me?” Harry asked, reluctantly lifting his head from nibbling the creamy skin around Draco’s collarbone.
Draco reached behind his neck and untied his hair, which came spilling out to frame his pointed face. He looked both naughty and princely at the same time. “I never calendared a drop-dead date, if that’s what you’re asking.” he said.
“I won’t make you wait a minute longer,” Harry promised. His hand crept down to capture the warm lump that had been straining against him, and Draco gave a soft little sigh that made Harry feel a rush of affection for him.
“Sensitive?” Harry asked, stilling his hand.
“No, fragile,” Draco replied, maintaining a straight face, and Harry laughed, completely at ease. He inched down to inspect what he held in his hand, gently lifting it to rub his nose and lips against the petal-soft skin.
“You smell so good,” he marvelled. Slowly, he curled his hand around the base of Draco’s cock and brought his mouth down over it, careful not to let his teeth touch. Draco tasted clean, like fresh-cut wood, and just a little salty.
“Mmmmmmm...” Harry murmured, and Draco groaned deeply, raising his hips, giving himself. Harry licked him up and down, alternating with thrusts of his hand, and he sucked at the fleshy, tender head that fit so perfectly between his lips, tempted by its vulnerable bald roundness.
“Keep going,” Draco gasped, and Harry followed a whim, wetting a finger and pressing it under Draco’s balls, until he was inside him, and drew it in and out, still sucking and licking and pulling, until Draco shuddered and uttered a sharp cry, his stomach muscles contracting as he came into Harry’s mouth, tugging at Harry’s hair.
Harry swallowed what he could, and wiped the excess off his lips. “D’you know how delicious you are?” he said, his voice slightly hoarse.
“I’ve heard rumours to that effect,” Draco acknowledged. He gave Harry a roguish wink and pulled him up to face level.
“Might this ‘home’ of yours come with a shower?” he asked after a few lingering kisses, and Harry pointed the way, unable to achieve much in the way of words. After listening to the water for a minute, he wondered why he was still lying on the couch. He stood up and walked toward the bathroom, his erection proudly leading the way.
Draco stood under the shower spray with his eyes closed, his body wet and sleek, his white skin rosy from the steam. “Come here,” he said, opening his eyes to look at Harry with approval. He washed Harry all over, soaping him with firm motions of his hands. He wrinkled his nose at what Harry had for shampoo, but washed his hair with it anyway, turning Harry into a sighing lump of putty with a good hard scalp massage.
In fact, Harry was so relaxed that it took a moment for him to realise that Draco wasn’t tending to his hair anymore. “I think you’ve washed that bit already,” he said. Draco had dropped to his knees behind him and was smoothly parting Harry’s buttocks with his palms.
Draco looked up with a watery smirk. “You’re right, I did,” he confirmed. “Do yourself a favour and hold on to something.”
Harry grabbed hold of the towel rack just as Draco pressed his face into his bottom, his lips fastening around the hole, his tongue licking and pushing inside him, and Harry reached for his swollen, neglected erection, Draco’s hand snaking around his waist to help him. Harry pushed back against Draco’s tongue, his legs trembling, and he let Draco take over from the front, pumping away until his orgasm took him by surprise, his cock squirting thin white jets over his stomach as he squeezed the bar of the towel rack, nearly crushing the steel in his hand.
His limp, useless body was only good for being draped around Draco at this point, but Draco didn’t seem to mind helping him out of the stall. “Towels on the door,” Harry managed to get out, and dried himself off.
He heard a buzzing noise, and looked up to see Draco moving his wand over his hair, which blew away from it as if propelled by an unseen force.
“You’ve never learnt any hair-drying charms?” he asked Harry in mock astonishment. “Bit mad, walking around with a wet head all these years.” And he turned his wand on Harry’s head, drying it with mild pulses of warm air.
“The towel method works just fine,” Harry said. “But I like this way better.” He giggled as Draco kissed his ears and neck, his limbs still delightfully heavy. “Especially when you do it for me.”
He opened the door into his bedroom. Draco lowered his wand, and pointed it at the fireplace. "Incendio,” he said, and crisp orange flames leapt up from the piled logs. "Stay warm, Potter,” he added, touching Harry’s shoulder lightly. He reached for his shirt and pulled an arm through the fine cotton sleeve.
Harry’s forehead creased. "Oh no, not yet,” he pleaded, his hand already on Draco’s other arm, preventing him from further dressing.
Draco did his best to peel off Harry’s hand, his grip gentle but firm. "I’m knackered. Lots to do tomorrow..." His voice trailed off, though his tone remained pleasant.
Harry laughed and shook his head. "Apparating while tired is the best way to splinch yourself, don't you know that?"
“Is that a hint?”
“It’s not a hint, it’s an order! Look, I’m even giving you your own pillow.” He tossed one toward Draco, and Draco caught it, rolling his eyes. “I didn’t change the sheets for nothing, you know.”
Draco’s eyes were focused on the spot where the pillow had been resting. “What’s that?” He pointed at the white square, starkly obvious against the dark grey sheets, and Harry blushed. “Told you I had your handkerchief,” he mumbled.
Draco laughed and held up his hands in exaggerated defeat. “So how shall we spend the rest of the night?” he asked, and smiled hugely as Harry whispered in his ear.
“That,” he said, “sounds like an excellent plan.”