Title: All in the Cards (Part 1/2)
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Draco/Theo
Summary: A tale of love and heartbreak told in five vignettes.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Angst, snark, humour, romance, power play, character death.
Word Count: 12,200 words
A/N: Written for morganmuffle for the H/D Hols Exchange. Betaed by R with a shout out to A for the look over. Any mistakes thereafter are mine own.
The 'Melting Pot' was buzzing with activity that night. Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, even Slytherins were co-mingling in the unified common room as part of Headmistress McGonagall's strategy to unite the houses in amity.
McGonagall had done much in her fifty-year tenure to improve upon relations between her students. She'd even proposed skirts for boys as part of her plan to eliminate sexist inequality. Only one thing had remained the same since the school had reopened its doors after the war; Slytherin and Gryffindor had an inescapable rivalry.
Over the years, the competitiveness had extended past academics, house spirit and Quidditch. It had degraded into X-rated one-upmanship, sexual conquests and illegal gambling, sometimes one or more of them combined.
That night, it had been decided that Slytherin Julian Wentworth and Gryffindor Sebastian Crowley would compete in a little card tête-à-tête of the poker variety. All parties interested were to meet at the Room of Requirement so they could have their pissing contest undisturbed.
The game had dragged on for hours with each player alternating between winning and losing. The stakes had been trivial at first; Knuts, Sickles, sweets from Honeydukes and bits and bobs from Zonkos. By three a.m., the ante had turned to Galleons and contraband and still it was evenly matched. Someone had to be the big loser sooner or later - if only to save them all from McGonagall's wrath.
Devereaux Hawke was first to break the silence, laying a hand on his best mate's shoulder. "It's after three, 'Bastian, time to wrap this up. Bet it all, mate."
"Yes, do listen to your friend, Crowley," Wentworth taunted. "Slytherin has a match tomorrow against Hufflepuff, and I don't want to just beat them. I want to humiliate them."
Crowley turned out his pockets. "I've nothing left to bet. We finish this hand with what's on the table. Winner takes all."
Wentworth did not look pleased. "What say we throw in a blowjob? I know you've been gasping for it since fourth year."
"Don't flatter yourself, Wentworth," Crowley snorted. "You're not my type. I usually like my blokes with a lot more meat on their bones if you catch my meaning."
Wentworth stood, angrily tossing his cards on the table face down. "Are you implying that I have a small cock?"
Crowley smiled. The insult was all he had left next to a pair of queens. "Are we playing poker or what, Wentworth?"
Wentworth sat down, looking over his hand. "Not unless you can offer up something of worth."
"Told you I was all out of money. Are you deaf as well short dicked?"
"That's your last insult to me, Crowley," Wentworth hissed.
Spoiling for a fight, Crowley was just about to loose another insult when Addison Croix whispered something in Wentworth's ear. The smile that followed was the harbinger of death.
"Croix has just informed me that you have a limited edition set of Potter and Malfoy Chocolate Frog cards. The ones those fools made as a declaration of infinite togetherness."
Crowley shrugged, feigning indifference. "Yeah, so?"
"Malfoy belongs in the Slytherin common room, away from that filthy, four-eyed fuck. You can bet that."
"Are you mental?" Crowley asked. "That set's a one of a kind. The cards can't be separated. That was one of the stipulations to having the set."
Wentworth looked nonplussed. "If it's so bloody rare, why have it at Hogwarts then?"
"If you lived at my house, you'd know. I have three younger brothers, one of whom likes to eat anything he can get his hands on. I'm not betting the card. I'd sooner suck your pathetic prick."
"Coward, Crowley. And you call yourself a Gryffindor. Pity, though. My father's close personal friends with Elric Marchpine, you know, the Ministry's Head Auror. Weren't you in need of a boost, what with your mediocre Potions marks?"
"You'd never follow through."
"I'd put it in writing. A magically binding contract." Wentworth leant forward, smug. "I should think this an irresistible offer."
Crowley nodded and Hawke went in search of the card. Nervously, Crowley drummed his fingers in waiting as Wentworth drew up the agreement. When Hawke returned, Crowley put the card on top of the contract, hoping to Merlin he could beat or bluff Wentworth's hand.
He signalled for three fresh cards, turning up an ace, a deuce and a six. Despite his disappointment, he maintained a poker face. He was going to have to bluff a magnificent hand with a pair of queens ace high.
Crowley considered his next move behind a fan of cards. "Tell you what I'm going to do, Wentworth," he smirked, improvising. "I'm so sure my hand's better than yours, we're going to up the stakes. The winner gets to take the other from behind--"
Wentworth quirked a brow, intrigued.
"--with five of his friends watching. That is if you think you can handle a pounding?"
Wentworth looked a bit hesitant, and for a moment or two, Crowley was certain Wentworth would fold.
Unfortunately for Crowley, a Slytherin would not be outdone. "I'll see that side bet and raise you five friends. Question is, can you take a pounding, or are you a gutless, worthless excuse for a lion?"
Praying for a miracle, Crowley stood his ground. "I'm in. What do you have?"
Wentworth laid down his cards. "Straight flush. A hard hand to beat."
There was a pregnant pause and a silent moment of 'Oh fuck, what have I done?'
"Cards, Crowley. Lay them down."
Hesitantly, Crowley flipped them over. The Slytherins broke out in fits of laughter.
"You tried to bluff me with a pair of queens? Oh, Crowley," Wentworth snorted in disbelief. "That was a fool's move."
Crowley stood, sick with grief. "Just take the fucking card."
"Not so fast," Wentworth said. "You have something else to honour. And I do believe I'll collect now. A good orgasm does wonders for knocking me out."
Crowley searched the wall before him, finding a focal point. It was better that he didn't see his mates' pitying looks.
Stretched across the table, stray Sickles pockmarking his cheeks, Crowley endured the fuck. After everyone had vacated, it took him several minutes to register just what had happened. Reaching around to rub at the soreness, he felt a card stuck to his arse cheek.
Ripping it off, he read the message Wentworth had left him. 'Didn't see me pull this out of my sleeve, did you? Slytherins are infamous for sleights of hand.'
In that moment, two things crossed Crowley's mind: a salve for the tenderness and a devious plot to see that Chocolate Frog card back in his possession.
Sebastian Crowley picked at his breakfast. The grease from the sausages did little to settle his queasy stomach. From inside his pocket, he fingered the smooth surface of Harry Potter's Chocolate Frog card. Potter did not look well, even for a hologram. His face bore the expression of an anxiety attack, and he clutched at his heart. It seemed an absurd notion, but Potter was aware that something was amiss. Things would need to be set right.
Climbing over the wooden bench, Crowley made his way over to the Slytherin table, tapping Addison Croix on the shoulder. The table quieted at his interruption. "Where's Wentworth? I need a word."
Croix did not look up from his eggs. "Not here, obviously. Don't tell me you're thinking of challenging him to a rematch?" One of the girls across from Croix made an obscene gesture with her fingers, thrusting one in a ring made of two on her opposite hand.
"No, but I need to have that card back. Walk with me, or I'll inform Professor Ashcroft that you copied your answers from Smythe's paper."
"Fine," Croix growled, upsetting the bench as he rose. "You have five minutes."
Once outside the Great Hall, Crowley pled his case. "Where can I find Wentworth?"
Croix picked a piece of gristle from in-between his teeth. "Finding a buyer for his card."
"He lied, then. Said that card belonged in Slytherin."
"Of course he lied," Croix laughed. "He's a Slytherin. It's what we do."
Crowley did not back down. "Help me find him."
"Why should I help you?"
Crowley showed Croix Potter's card. Harry looked absolutely heartsick. "Because it's the right thing to do."
"You have a lot to learn about Slytherins, lion," Croix said, amused. "However, I have an hour to kill before first period." He plucked the card from Crowley's fingers, perusing the facts. "I love bondage stories. Tell me about this tether nonsense, and I may consider yet."
Pleased that he was making progress, Crowley obliged.
) O (
"Sign here and here," the Auror said, shoving release papers in Harry Potter's face.
"You don't have to do this, Harry. Draco's not your responsibility."
Harry looked up, regarding Hermione over the rims of his glasses. "Isn't he? If I can't have Snape's arse, I'll settle for his." He turned around and pointed his quill threateningly down the corridor at Draco's holding cell.
Hermione did not see the logic in this. "You're just asking for trouble."
"Besides," Harry continued, ignoring her point, "I want to see just how serious he is about seeking asylum with the Order. I plan on making him do all sorts of vile things to prove his loyalty."
There was a fire burning in Hermione's eyes she normally saved for Ron. "Harry James Potter, there are strict guidelines you need to follow. Section thirteen, paragraph nine clearly states that all persons in protective custody--"
"Save your breath, Hermione. I'm doing this my way," Harry interrupted, shouldering past her. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to be outfitted with a tether."
"Ask them to outfit you with a gag while they're at it," Hermione shouted after him.
Harry said nothing in response. Ignoring her was sometimes his best defence.
With an angry flick of Harry's wrist, the knot of Draco's blindfold loosened and his wrist bindings fell slack. Harry, however, did nothing about Draco's ankle bindings, and he tripped upon taking his first step. It was damn near impossible not to laugh at Draco's tumble. "Have a nice fall, Malfuck?"
Draco tried to knuckle the brightness from his eyes, using a chair to rest his back against. Painfully, he slipped from the ropes around his ankles, rings blistered clear around them. "They're going to ask me how you've treated me, Potter, and I'll tell them everything. Do you hear me? Every last detail!"
"Spare me the histrionics, Draco. You're lucky you're not in Azkaban for attempted murder. This goes both ways, y'know. If you don't cooperate with me, they'll want you back. Did you know," Harry said, crouching to eye level with Draco, "That the Ministry reforms Death Eaters by conditioning? You could kiss your mind as well as your arse goodbye."
Draco glared at Harry. "I'm not a Death Eater."
"Oho?" Harry said, quirking a brow. He wrestled Draco's sleeve up over the bump of his elbow. The Dark Mark was burned into his flesh, skull and serpent writhing when exposed to light.
Draco clutched his Mark the same way Harry had seen Snape clutch his long ago. "Just leave me alone. You can't help me. No one can."
If Harry softened even a little at the despair in Draco's voice, he didn't show it. "The Order can help you. I can help you. But you have to prove to me that you deserve our help. Relationships are built on trust. If you give a little, you'll get a little. You can start by telling me why you've suddenly switched sides."
Draco mashed his lips together as if refusing to eat something unpalatable.
"Fine," Harry said coolly. "Tomorrow, then. But I warn you. I've nothing to do and all day to do it. You'll tell me sooner or later." He offered Draco a hand up, but Draco slapped it away.
"Just point me to the shower. I stink of Mudbloods and Ministry suits."
"Down the hall and to your left," Harry smirked.
Draco hadn't walked twenty steps when a strong, electric charge shocked him.
Grinning, Harry snapped his fingers in remembrance. "Oh, right. I forgot to mention that. Can't wander more than ten feet from me or ZAP ZOWIE!"
Draco's eyes narrowed to slits even shafts of light couldn't escape. "I hate you."
Harry smiled in response. The slam of the privy door, however, startled the grin from his face. Too often, the sea enjoyed taunting the storm.
With his back to the door, Harry read until he fell asleep. It wasn't until Draco exited, towel loosely wrapped about his hips that Harry fully awoke. Draco's arse was dappled with water droplets, and there was a dimple in his right cheek. Harry hid behind his book until Draco retreated into the bedroom, following when the distance widened between them.
Draco had refused any offering of food, so Harry went without. He climbed into bed and set his glasses on the bedside table, discreetly reaching underneath his pillow to finger his wand. Just as he rolled over to extinguish the light, Harry could feel the weight of Draco's knee dipping the mattress. With quicksilver reflexes, he seized his wand and turned it on Draco. "Oh no you don't. It's the floor for you."
"I'm not a cocker spaniel!" Draco hissed.
"No, you're more like a poodle. Yappy little shit with a stupid haircut."
"I am not sleeping on the floor!"
"Wanna bet?" Harry said, flattering the tip of Draco's nose with his wand.
Begrudgingly, Draco left the bed, settling on the floor. A pillow and blanket were tossed at him shortly thereafter. A thank you, however, did not follow.
"Fucking hate you," Draco said, his voice muffled from underneath the blanket.
Turning over on his side, clutching his pillow, Harry said with a chuckle, "You just think you do."
"You've had Malfoy a month already?" Ron asked, stuffing his face with biscuits.
Hermione gave him a scathing look.
Harry frowned at the platter of crumbs. "Doesn't seem like it, but yeah. House is almost presentable thanks to him. Thank Merlin Moody takes him on occasion. He grates on my nerves."
"I don't approve, Harry," Hermione blurted out. "Draco's not here to finish your house."
"Well, he won't talk," Harry said, matter-of-factly, "Figure he has to serve some purpose."
Ron joined in the chorus. "Yeah, Hermione, hard labour's still better than being Voldemort's bitch."
"You two… I…You're both…" Hermione left the table, finishing her sentence in the archway. "…Despicable."
"You going to eat these biscuits?" Ron shouted after her.
Harry grinned over his teacup at Ron.
"Don't mind her, Harry. What you're doing is brilliant. Malfoy's practically rebuilt your home from the ground up."
Harry used his forefinger to swirl the tea sediment around the bottom of his cup. "If you think that's brilliant, you should see what I have planned for tomorrow."
Ron rubbed his hands in anticipation. "Let's hear it then."
"It'll be much funnier after the fact," Harry said, snitching a chocolate covered shortbread from Ron's fingers.
"You want me to go where? To do what?"
Harry wasn't for certain, but he thought he saw steam emerge from Draco's ears.
"The Death Eaters have attacked London. Crippled hundreds of Muggles. Many of them are without food and shelter."
"And that's my problem how?" Draco asked, arching a pale brow.
"You're one of them. Way I see it, you're partly responsible."
Draco tugged down on his sleeve. "That's fucking rubbish."
Harry continued, despite Draco's hostility. "We're to work in the kitchens serving food. Part of an agreement Scrimgeour's made with the Muggle prime minister."
Draco turned his nose up on the idea. "Well, I'm not doing it."
"You will because you're capable of doing so. Don't tell me you can't."
"It's not that I can't help those people, it's just that, well, I don't want to."
Harry started to walk away from Draco. "How about some shock therapy then? I hear the Mediwizards at St Mungo's tried it to jog Lockhart's memory."
"Fine," Draco agreed. "Let's just get this over with."
The devastation was much greater than either of them had anticipated. When Draco saw a woman that bore an uncanny resemblance to his mother, he was the first to grab a ladle, dishing stew to the indigent and war weary.
Work was mostly a quiet affair until Draco broke the silence. "I did it for my mother and my father. I'm of no use to them dead."
Harry wiped his hands on his apron and turned to Draco. "The Order will help them. Well, your mum anyway."
"What about my father? Is he to rot in Azkaban?"
"I don't know, Draco. Not unless he helps us. Would he pass on information? We'd need a show of faith."
"He wouldn't," Draco said resolutely. "Not without a deal. He still believes in Voldemort's utopia."
"What about you? What do you believe?"
"I don't know anymore," Draco said quietly. "Maybe I'm too far gone."
"Nonsense. You couldn't kill Dumbledore."
"Yeah?" Draco said, throwing down his apron. "And look where it got me."
Harry could see the wetness forming in the corners, but he let himself believe it was only the steam from the boiling pots that teared Draco's eyes.
Harry had trouble sleeping that night. He tossed and turned, ending up in a fetal position. His wand lay unguarded beneath his pillow.
A cold breeze chilled him to the bone, and in a semi-conscious grab for his blanket, a pall of fear washed over him. There was a small voice just outside his window.
Face aglow with moonlight, Draco had trampled the newly planted snapdragons, leafy tails flailing underfoot. His sleeve rolled to mid-arm, he had taken possession of Harry's wand, tip pointed at the Mark on his arm. Harry knew that if Draco acted on impulse, a hundred Death Eaters would storm Godric's Hollow.
Harry slipped through the window, and oddly enough, Draco stood stock-still.
There was a quaver to Draco's voice, and his hand trembled. "Don't come any closer. I'll do it. I really will."
Negotiations had been an ugly reality of war. Harry had prayed he'd never have to talk someone down and now he was getting a crash course. "You won't. You wanna know why? Because you want to come out of this alive. Because you want those you love to come out of this alive. You're better than that. Stronger. Hand me the wand, Draco."
"I'm not," Draco said listlessly. "No one cares about me. No one who matters knows I'm alive."
Harry took a baby step forward. "I care."
Draco turned and faced Harry, wand at Harry's chest. The tip poked his breastbone painfully. "You're just saying that. Pity, broken dragons don't fall like lame horses."
Harry noticed a spasmodic twitch to Draco's fingers. He was listening to him. "Don't say that. Haven't we made progress, Draco? Haven't we worked together? We can turn this around. There's still hope. Let me have the wand, please."
A sigh escaped Draco's lips, and the wand fell to the grass with a soft thud. Draco collapsed, straight into Harry's arms.
) O (
Once Crowley had finished his story, Croix handed back the Chocolate Frog card. "Rather misleading and a little too girly for my tastes. I don't know where Wentworth's at, but I will tell you that Kensington's in the library, the fucking swot. He may know."
Crowley pocketed the card, and with a nod of thanks, he went on his way.
The library wasn't as busy in the mornings as one might think. Only a handful of students were actually studying. The others were either slacking off or sleeping.
Every house had one student who placed academics above all else and Slytherin's overachiever was none other than Corbin Kensington. He was seated near the Restricted Section, highlighting book passages when Crowley came calling.
Crowley cleared his throat. "Kensington, is it?"
Kensington didn't look up from his tome. "Who wants to know?"
"I do," Crowley said, sitting uninvited. "Was told you might know where Wentworth's at?"
Kensington used his finger to bookmark his page. His glasses slid down the bridge of his nose as he regarded the maroon and gold crest. "Now what's a Gryffinwhore want with a Slytherin?"
"He has something of mine, and I want it back."
Kensington snickered. "Hope it wasn't your virginity."
"No, nothing so trite," Crowley said, rolling his eyes. He set Potter's Chocolate Frog card down and pushed it across the table to Kensington.
"Oh, right," Kensington said, examining the card. "You're the bloke who lost Draco on a fool's bet. Potter doesn't look so well, either. Did you know it's possible to die of a broken heart?"
"I think Potter's already dead," Crowley said, trying and failing to snatch the card back from Kensington.
"I could use a bit of a study break. Little's known about Potter and Malfoy's courtship. Why don't you tell me about this black tie affair, and I'll clue you in to Wentworth's whereabouts."
Crowley made a book barrier to muffle his storytelling, walls three books thick. "Already on it."
) O (
"Can't believe we're here," Hermione said to Ron, looking uncomfortable.
Ron made a face at just about everything on the buffet table. "I can't believe the food. I mean what is this stuff?"
"Pheasant under glass with larks' tongues in aspic, candied saffron custard and fugu. You might try something new."
Ron made a face. "We'll order in Chinese later."
Hermione sighed. "Honestly Ronald, do you think with anything other than your stomach?"
"Well, I occasionally think with my di--"
Hermione clapped a hand over Ron's mouth when Narcissa Malfoy passed them with a cold, hard look. Hermione nearly jumped from her skin when Harry tapped her on the shoulder.
"Enjoying yourselves?" Harry asked with a smile.
Always polar opposites, Hermione answered 'yes' as Ron said 'no.'
Harry laughed at their replies, eyeing the buffet table. "What's here?"
"Pheasant under glass with larks' tongues in aspic, candied saffron custard and fugu," Ron and Hermione said in unison.
Harry made a face. "Draco has business with his father after the party and won't be about. We'll order in Chinese."
Exasperated, Hermione threw up her hands, walking away.
Ron poked the aspic with the tip of his wand. "Can't believe you're seeing Malfoy, Harry. How long has it been?"
"Six months," Harry said, plucking a wine goblet from a passing waiter. "He's a different person now, Ron."
"Well, his father still hates you. Good to see some things haven't changed."
Harry gave Ron a playful shove. "Didn't expect Lucius to shake my hand when Draco informed him that we were shagging."
"Where is Malfoy?" Ron asked, looking around the ballroom.
Harry switched his empty goblet for a full one when the waiter made another sweep. "Dunno. Probably couldn't decide what to wear. Who knows when he'll--"
Harry nearly choked taking a sip of wine. Draco had arrived for the black tie affair wearing only a black tie.
Ron snickered. "So the curtains really do match the carpet."
"Hold this," Harry said, shoving the wine goblet at Ron. He started after Draco.
"What about Chinese food later?"
Harry winked over his shoulder. "Save me a spring roll."
Draco was helping himself to a tray of drinks when Harry caught up with him. "This is a new look for you."
Draco did a little twirl and pouted prettily. "You like it?"
"Well, yeah, but I -- what are you doing, Draco?"
"Getting soused. What's it look like I'm doing?"
Harry blushed, shielding Draco from behind. The cover was just as much for Draco as it was for himself. He had only to see the dimple on Draco's backside wink at him to get him hard. "You know full well what I mean. Where are your clothes? Did you forget your parents were hosting this overblown gala?"
"Of course not," Draco said, turning to face Harry. "My father did stress to me that this little soiree was black tie only." He gave Harry's package a condescending pat. "You don't appear to be too put out by my courageous fashion sense."
Harry leaned in to the caress. "I don't think he meant it literally."
Draco stepped to the left putting him in full view of the partygoers again. By this time, half the room had taken notice. "Probably not, but he's a prick bastard, and this was the easiest way to embarrass him."
"So, this wasn't just for me?" Harry asked, moving to cover Draco again.
"I could mount you on the buffet table. Would that make it up to you?"
Harry's expression grew serious. "What did your father say to you?"
Draco peered over Harry's shoulder, expression unflinching. "I don't remember. Why don't you ask him? He's coming over here, y'know."
Just as Harry turned around to see if Draco was being flippant, Lucius Malfoy angrily shouldered past him. He took Draco by the arm and shook him, furthering the scene. "I don't know what in Salazar's name you think you are doing, Draco, but you will vacate these premises at once. You have greatly embarrassed me, more importantly your mother. Was it your wish to break her heart?"
Draco drank deep from the bottle, dribbling some Armagnac down his chest.
Lucius wrinkled his nose in distaste. "Good God, boy, you reek of a distillery. Do bathe." He let go of Draco's arm after one last shake. "Now take your filthy little consort from my ballroom and pray our paths don't cross again this evening."
Harry stayed right in Lucius's path so that Lucius was forced to go around him. He mouthed an Unforgivable at Lucius's back, wishing he'd listened to Snape's advice on non-verbal spells.
"Prick bastard," Draco repeated. He took one last sip of the Armagnac, swishing the amber liquid around before spitting it back into the bottle. "That'll teach him."
"What was that all about?"
"Nothing special. I'll tell you later. C'mon, let's get out of here."
Harry chivalrously offered his arm. "Where to?"
Draco smiled as if the fight with his father never happened. "I don't believe you've had a proper tour of the manor, have you?"
"I only need to see one room," Harry teased, straightening Draco's bowtie.
Draco led Harry out of the ballroom by the front of his trousers. "And I know just the room."
Lucius and Narcissa's bedroom was so lavish that it was more like the throne room of a Medici prince than a room for sleeping.
There were marble columns with priceless vases and tapestries lining the walls. The canopied bed was large enough to accommodate four. It was little wonder, Harry thought, that Draco's parents didn't have a second child what with all that space between them.
Best of all, the room's temperature was just right; warm enough to lounge nude and lie atop the covers. In short, it was the perfect place to have a tryst.
Locking the door behind them, Draco slipped his arms around Harry's waist and pulled him close, nipping along his jawline. Harry laughed when Draco's forehead nudged the arm of his glasses askew.
"Hate that you need those to see," Draco teased.
"Yeah, well, it's just that I like to see who I'm fucking."
Draco tugged at Harry's bottom lip. "Little presumptuous, aren't we?"
"What, that I'm topping or that we're fucking at all?" Harry asked. He took Draco's balls in his palm, gently juggling them until Draco's cock peeked from the roll of foreskin. "Don't need to see to make you hard."
Draco let a moan roll off his tongue, trilling the Rs in Harry's name. "The bed. Fuck, get me to the bed before I come all over your shoes."
Harry took Draco firmly by the cock, pulling him towards the bed. "I wouldn't worry. They're rentals."
"We really are the blind leading the naked," Draco said, falling back on the bed. He spread his arms out as if he were making a snow angel. "Eight hundred count Egyptian cotton sheets. You'll never want to fuck anywhere else after this."
Harry kicked off his shoes. "Doubtful." Hands on his hips, he watched as Draco undressed him. Unlike Draco, he needed no rough handling. He was already painfully stiff.
Draco pulled Harry into the bed, settling next to him on his side. "Like when we face one another and stroke each other off." He threw a leg over Harry's and caressed the back of Harry's calf with his heel.
"You gonna wear that fucking bowtie all night?" Harry asked, slipping a hand between Draco's legs. He ran a fingertip down the cleft of Draco's arse, rimming the tight ring of muscle with a lip wetting 'Mmm.'
"Fuck - ohGOD - ," Draco moaned. He was barely coherent to follow up with a response. "You kept your socks on."
Harry threw his head back, sucking the saliva through his teeth when Draco thumbed the wet slit of his cock. "So, what was that little exchange about at the ball?"
"Do we have to talk about that now?" Draco hissed. "I'd like to come without picturing my father's face."
Harry took Draco's shaft in his hand, slowly pumping. He tightened and loosened his fingers the way Draco liked; the way he always begged for. "Just wanna know. Wanna make you feel better."
Draco's tone was chilly. "You are. Now let's just forget about it."
It wasn't long after that Draco came, pushing up into Harry's hand. When Draco let go of his cock, Harry finished the job himself, rolling over on to his back as he came. The orgasm felt cold and detached.
Draco sighed contentedly. "That felt so good."
"For you, maybe."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Harry took off a sock and cleaned himself up. "It's always fucking about you, isn't it? You have to get off first. You decide when we talk. Merlin, I had to finish myself tonight. What's going on, Draco?"
This time Draco's sigh was exasperating. "I didn't want to tell you tonight. Didn't want to spoil the evening, but I guess it's too late for that."
"Go on," Harry said firmly.
"Father said I have six months to get you out of my system and marry Pansy Parkinson or I'm cut off."
"Well, now that's just fucking brilliant. And I suppose you bent right over to kiss his arse?"
"What was I supposed to do, Harry?"
Harry scooted off the bed, reaching for his clothes. "Oh, I dunno, tell him you have your whole life to marry and produce an heir? I never imagined we'd always be exclusive, but I never thought you'd cut me out after six months. Fuck this, I'm going home."
Draco stretched across the bed on his belly, reaching out to keep Harry from leaving. "It's not that simple, Harry. You wouldn't understand. You're not a Pu--well, you know. Just hear me out."
"I've heard all I need to hear, thanks. Don't owl me. We're done." Harry slammed the door behind him, rousing the portrait of Abraxas Malfoy over the hearth. He was so angry with Draco that he didn't even notice he was cutting through the ballroom starkers.
'Think we're overdressed,' he overheard Ron tell Hermione on his way out.
) O (
"That's some story," Kensington remarked. "Seems to have refreshed me for another study session. That should be worth something. Wentworth was here about an hour ago, but he slipped out while I had my nose in my Arithmancy book. Try greenhouse three. Nicholas Darling should be gathering plants. He's Wentworth's Potion's partner. He might know."
Crowley took back his card and gave Kensington a slight nod. He hated jumping through hoops, but he was determined to find Wentworth. That was, if he didn't go completely mental on the Slytherins' goose chase.
Cutting through the unpruned pathways, Crowley was well on his way to the greenhouses. If only he'd remembered his allergy potion.
By the time Crowley arrived at greenhouse three, he was sneezing three and four times in succession and itching like crazy. Part of him wondered whether or not his hypersensitivity to flora was worth another lousy lead. In twenty minutes he'd have hives the size of Snitches, but he couldn't stand the movement in his pocket any longer. Harry was going to wear a hole in the cardboard if he kept his expectant pacing up.
Crowley found Nicholas Darling by a strange group of plants he'd never seen before. He was just about to tap Darling on the shoulder when--
"You're shit! You're nothing! You're withering! Your roots don't go deep enough!"
Crowley jumped back, startled. "What the bloody hell!?"
Darling spun around at the call of his name, shovel in hand and a murderous look in his eyes. "I could say the same to you. Salazar's scrote, what happened to your face?"
"Hives. It's hives," Crowley explained. "Forgot my allergy draught."
Darling shoved a phial of diluted bubotuber pus at Crowley. "Here. Put some of this on your face. Good for spots as well as hives. Who are you now?"
"Sebastian Crowley. I'm looking for Wentworth. I'm told you're his Potion's partner. Darling, isn't it?"
"That's right. Aren't you the bloke who--?"
Crowley held up a hand. He was tired of being a link in the Slytherin gossip chain. "Yeah, I am. Er, what were you just doing screaming at that plant?"
Darling held up the plant. "It's called a Weeping Willoughby. Their leaves are key ingredients in a Despondency Draught. Problem is, you have to make them cry to give up their leaves. This bugger's particularly stubborn."
Crowley cut right to the chase. "Haven't seen Wentworth around, have you?"
Darling's eyes lit up. "Maybe. Maybe not. Might be a lot closer to maybe if I had a hand belittling Willoughbys, though."
"Oh, for Merlin's sake," Crowley said, picking up one of the plants.
"In a minute," Darling said, yanking the pot back down. "Heard you've been telling stories about Malfoy and Potter's courtship. I could use a break. My voice is hoarse."
Crowley let Darling examine the facts on the back of Potter's card.
Darling pointed with a soil-black finger. "This one here. About making up. I'm curious to know who weakened first."
"Very well," he said clearing his throat. Crowley wasn't for certain in his feverish state of mind, but he could have sworn he saw the Weeping Willoughby perk at the mention of Malfoy and Potter.
) O (
"I can't believe I'm spending Saturday night with you." In retrospect, it sounded mean, but Harry meant it in the nicest way possible.
"And every Saturday night for the past six months," Ron said, waving his mug for another pint of bitter. "I'm just as sick of your arse, Harry."
Harry grinned in response. "Fancy a game of darts?" He stumbled climbing down from his barstool.
"Sure you're up for it? You hold your liquor 'bout as well as Hermione. Somebody might lose an eye. I hear it's how ol' Mad Eye lost his."
"I'll be fine, Ron. Secure us a board, and I'll bring the drinks. You know how crowded this place gets on the weekend."
Harry hadn't waited five minutes when he was pushed into the bar from behind, the rail catching him in the gut. He was content to ignore the first shove sans apology, but when he was bumped a second time, Harry whirled around to give the jerk a piece of his mind.
He hadn't expected to see Malfoy.
With a boy on each arm.
Harry's cheeks flushed in embarrassment, and he tried to comb through his hair with his fingers. That he hadn't shaved or showered that evening made things even worse.
"Well, well, Harry Potter. Fancy meeting you here. You remember Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott, don't you?"
Harry nodded weakly. He wanted to drown himself in the gentleman's tankard next to him.
Draco tossed a few Galleons on the bar. "That round's on me." He arched a pale brow when the tender brought two drinks. "And whomever you're with."
"That's not necessary, Draco."
"Sure it is," Draco said, snapping his fingers for Zabini and Nott to shove off.
Harry sighed. "I don't want to talk. I'm here with someone."
"Who, Weasley?" Draco snorted. "You can pull better."
Harry threw the pint in Malfoy's face, walking away. "Thanks for the drink, Malfuck. Sure hit the spot."
Draco flipped his wet hair back, catching Harry by the crook of the arm. "All I want's a word. You owe me that much for storming out six months ago."
"Fine," Harry said, shrugging from his grip. "Outside then."
"I've decided," Draco said, dabbing the wetness with his handkerchief, "That I miss you enough to allow you back."
Harry snorted. "Is that why Zabini and Nott were hanging all over you? And Zabini? Since when does a bigot like you colour outside the lines?"
Draco beamed proudly. "I don't see colour, I see conquest. Besides, Zabini's seeing Miles Bletchley. It's Nott I'm shagging."
Harry threw his hands up in exasperation. "That's wonderful, really, but Ron's waiting."
"Tell me you don't still have a crush on me."
Hearing that made Harry angry. "You weren't a crush, Draco. You were a crash." He gave Draco one last disgusted look before he went back inside.
Draco had yet to be convinced of this. "You'll be back, Harry. They always come back."
Twenty minutes later, Harry and Ron exited with several drunken patrons. Draco was still loitering outside, polling anyone who would listen. When Harry was within earshot, Draco made the mistake of asking a bloke who could barely stand.
The drunkard not only disagreed with Draco, he vomited on Draco's shoes. For once, Harry thought, poetic justice prevailed.
"You believe Potter?" Draco asked as he spat between brushings. "Thinking he can do better than me. I'm the best thing that's ever happened to him."
Nott emerged from the shower, snatching a towel from the bar. "Could we have one night when you didn't talk about Harry fucking Potter, Draco?"
Draco's smile brightened. "Jealous, Theo?"
"Yes. No. Maybe. A little, I suppose. He's a bit to live up to."
Draco snapped the wet towel at Nott's arse. "What if I fucked the doubt from your mind?"
Nott fell back on the bed with his legs in the air. "That might convince me."
Draco Accio'ed a tube of lubricant and anointed his cock. He didn't even bother with foreplay, grabbing Nott by the ankles and entering him in one, unapologetic stab.
They'd been fucking for ten minutes when a snowy owl flew in through the open window and landed on Draco's bed.
Nott lifted his head when Draco slowed. "Please tell me you're not going to open that letter while we're fucking?"
Never one to cave to his friends' demands, Draco opened the letter and read.
Perhaps I was a bit too hasty in my decision to dismiss you. I'm willing to give us another chance if we can come to a reasonable solution where Pansy Parkinson's concerned.
Nott had lain back down, silently counting backwards from ten.
"Harry wants to get back together. We're done, Theo."
Mouth agape, Nott propped himself up on his elbows. "Did we just break up in the middle of a fuck?"
It was their first night out together in six months, and Harry had wanted to do something special for Draco.
The Witches and Wizards Symphony Orchestra was making a rare appearance in London, and Harry knew that Draco was a big fan of French violinist Rémy St Étienne. Scoring tickets had been easy. The boys at the Ministry were interested in Quidditch, not classical music. It was nothing for Harry to make a trade. He was still in touch with Oliver Wood.
Harry took Draco's hand on the way home. It was a warm night in June and perfect for an after-concert stroll. Harry had expected Draco to gush over the evening's performance, but he was unusually quiet. When Draco hadn't returned Harry's hand squeeze, Harry looked over at him. Draco was off in his own little world, murmuring quietly.
Unsure of how to interpret Draco's mood, Harry began to hum a tune. It was one he'd heard Remus play on his Muggle phonograph. Afterwards, Remus had told him the story behind the composer's inspiration. It seemed the perfect opportunity to try and impress Draco, and that had always been somewhat of an impossible feat for Harry.
When Draco stirred from his reverie, Harry smiled in triumph. For reasons unknown, Harry was the only Order member who knew how to get through to Draco.
"What's that you're humming?" Draco asked. "It's pretty."
"It's called Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner. He's a Muggle composer, so I don't expect you'd be familiar with his work. He wrote it for his second wife, Cosima, on the occasion of her birthday. She woke up to its sweet melody."
Draco finally gave Harry his hand squeeze. "That's nice. People just don't do romantic things like that anymore."
"They don't," Harry agreed.
Draco quieted again after that.
"Your birthday is in a few days."
"Don't feel like celebrating this year."
Draco stopped dead in his tracks. "I told them, Harry. Told them I was too young to marry, and that I had my whole life ahead of me to produce an heir."
"And?" Harry asked.
"My mother said that she was greatly disappointed in me."
Harry visibly stiffened in anger. "And your father?"
"Told me to get out. That I wasn't his son any longer."
"That fucking prick bastard. He does realise that you saved his wretched life? He'd still be rotting in Azkaban had you not intervened."
Draco let go of Harry's hand. "Did you really think he'd be so accepting of all this? According to him, I've spat on the Malfoy bloodline."
"Yeah, but you never said you wouldn't marry. Just said you wouldn't marry now."
"Makes no difference to a man as stubborn as my father."
"Oh, Draco," Harry said, taking Draco's face in his hands. "I'm sorry. This is all my fault."
Draco placed his hands on top of Harry's. "Under normal circumstances, I'd say yes. But this was my decision. For once, I'm doing something I want to do."
"As you should," Harry said smiling.
"So, looks like you're stuck with me."
"Rather be stuck with you than stuck in you," Harry said, kissing Draco's lips softly.
"Remember," Draco said, fluffing his pillow. "You're not to do anything for my birthday tomorrow. No presents. No cake. No bloody surprise party. I want the day to come and go just like any other day."
Harry didn't look up from his book. "Mmm hmm."
"No birthday tomorrow, I mean it."
"Right," Harry said, marking his place. "I'm not to fuss."
Much, Harry thought with a grin as he rolled over.
It had been a struggle, but Harry managed to stay awake all night. He had a surprise to oversee.
Harry knew that Draco was a sound sleeper, so he sent Hedwig into their bedroom to peck at Draco's hand. When Draco finally arose at quarter of nine, he stormed out of their bedroom, knuckling the sleep from his eyes. Harry couldn't help but chuckle at the mess of blond hair and the half turned pajama bottoms as Draco readied a great holler.
"Surprise," Harry said from the bottom of the staircase. There, in quartet, bow in full swing, sat Rémy St Étienne.
Draco listened a moment before he joined Harry downstairs. "Is this what you were humming the night of the concert?"
Harry nodded. "Siegfried Idyll."
Draco rested his head on Harry's shoulder. "How'd you manage to pull this off without my knowing?"
"I'm sneaky that way," Harry said softly. He slid an arm around Draco, pulling him close. "Happy Birthday, Draco."
"Thanks for not making a fuss, Harry."
"Anytime," Harry said, leaning his head against Draco's. "Anytime."
) O (
Darling was silent a moment before he spoke in reverence. "I give Malfoy a lot of credit for standing up to his old man. Salazar knows I never could. Hell, I can't even make a bloody plant cry."
"Then you'll help me?" Crowley asked impatiently.
"Mmm, yes and no. Wentworth said you might come looking for him. Told me not to tell you where he was."
Crowley looked at Potter's Chocolate Frog card. Potter was stooped over like an old man. His condition was growing worse. Crowley had to act fast.
Seizing the Weeping Willoughby, Crowley put it very near his face and bared his teeth. "Cry, dammit, or I'll feed you piece by piece to the Venomous Tentacula."
The Willoughby began to drop its leaves.
"Impressive, Crowley. I'm not one to rat out my mates, but Wentworth didn't say anything about not telling you how to find him through Dexter Peabody. Wentworth likes to play chess with Peabody and give him daily reminders he's still a virgin. But you didn't hear that from me."
"'Course not," Crowley said with a tip of his hat brim. "Thanks for everything."
Crowley was almost out of the greenhouse when he noticed he was still holding on to that stupid Willoughby.