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25 June 2007 @ 08:54 am
Happy H/D Holidays, ms_mindfunk! 1/2  
Author: zness
Recipient: ms_mindfunk
Title: When the war is over, you can read the paper, 1/2
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Snape/Lupin (implied)
Summary: Auror Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts to teach and realizes the war still needs to be fought within the castle’s heavily warded walls.
Rating: R
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): wanking
Word Count: approx. 11,000
Author's Notes: It’s been great to work on this fic. Thanks to all those who read along with it as it was being written, especially to my amazing beta.


When the war is over, you can read the paper

August

It was a picturesque Sunday Morning in England. Not a cloud in sight, a bright expanse of blue sky was all that Harry could see until he looked down to the trees that dotted the fields in front of his house.

Harry took it all in, muttered a curse and shut the curtains to block the outside view from his window.

“Explains why you haven’t answered my letters.”

Harry winced. Not now. “I’ve gotten them. I just never bothered to read them.”

“Dammit, Potter. Would you turn around?”

Harry considered it for only a second. Having your back turned to Severus Snape could never be thought a good idea.

“You look like shit.”

“Brilliant observation, Professor.”

“You’re not sixteen anymore.”

Harry pressed the heel of his hand into his forehead, attempting to somehow force his pounding headache out of his skull. “I can’t.”

“You won’t.” Snape sighed. Then he pulled out his wand so fast that Harry just heard the hiss of ‘Legilimens’ before he was thrust into memories of the explanations and words of wisdom that he only received after he was left injured and scarred year after year.

The wall went up with a speed to match Snape’s so that the only thing in his mind’s eye was a bowl of lemon drops.

“It’s our choices.”

Harry glared at Snape. “Then what’s mine?”

“You’re expected to report on the thirty-first at eight o’clock in the morning.”

Snape Disapparated so noiselessly that Harry had to wonder if the man had been there at all.

~*~


“So you’re going to take it?”

Harry shook his head. “I didn’t quit my old job to jump straight into another.”

It was Ron’s turn to shake his head, which was disconcerting, as he was talking to Harry via Floo call. “You’ve been out of work for four months now. Isn’t that enough?”

“Not all of us have to work everyday to live comfortably.”

Ron smiled. “You’re just saying that to rile me up. But if teaching isn’t your thing–”

“I never said I was teaching!”

“You could try out for the Falcons. They’d give you a spot on the reserves easy, and after some time training–”

“No Quidditch.”

“It was only a suggestion.”

“Suggest something else.”

“Don’t work. Grow out that beard you’ve already started, and keep up your excellent hygiene.”

“That bad?”

“Mate, the smell’s coming through my fireplace.”

Harry stared at the threadbare hearthrug. “Visit me in Hogsmeade?”

“Every day that I can.” Ron grinned.

“Bloody liar. You’ve got to spend some time with your harem.”

“Shhh! I’ve got a girl here now!”

“See you soon then.”

“Bye, Harry.”

~*~


Dressed in worn jeans and a dress shirt too big for him, Harry climbed the steps leading up Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he pressed through the entranceway, Harry could feel layers of wards wash over him in a rush of protective magic so strong that he almost staggered from its weight.

He breathed easier when they ebbed away from him and back into the stone walls.

“Potter – why are you here so damned early?”

“It’s the twenty-ninth. I thought most professors come in early to – you know, set up shop and all that.” Leave it to Snape to criticize him for doing something responsible.

Snape rolled his eyes. “Some do… others milk their vacations for all it’s worth and don’t show until the very first day of school.” Harry could’ve sworn he heard Snape mutter ‘Lupin’ after that.

“I have to set up syllabi and lesson plans for seven classes, don’t I?”

“To plan something so detailed would take you the whole summer or longer. How would you accomplish this by Thursday?”

Harry tried to respond, but Snape held up a hand.

“Never you mind. The last professor left her old parchmentwork with me. You can use them.”

Harry nodded. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet.” Snape’s lips thinned into a smile as he headed toward the Great Hall. “I still have to renew the wards here. And since you came here so willingly…”

“Bastard.”

“So I like to think.” Snape took out his wand and set Harry to work without any other preamble.

~*~


Harry arrived at the staff meeting five minutes before it began, mentally listing the last few things he needed to get done before the students arrived tomorrow. Granted, he technically had another day, as they were no actual classes taught during the Welcoming Feast…

Harry shook off the temptation to take the night off and instead took one of the two empty seats left on either side of Snape.

“Glad you could join us, Potter.”

Harry nodded and gestured to the empty seat. “Who’s missing?”

“The Potions Professor,” Snape said dismissively.

Harry was about to ask who that was exactly, since Harry hadn’t seen any other staff members, but Snape rapped his wand against the table and called the meeting to order.

“A few announcements. First, our new Defense Professor is Harry Potter.” Some applause from the other professors began, but Snape cut it off with an impatient gesture. Harry breathed a sigh of relief.

“Next, I’ve seen to strengthening the wards on the school over the summer. With that in mind, remember to remain…” Snape winced. “Vigilant. Any questions?”

The Muggle Studies Professor, Robbins, if Harry wasn’t mistaken, asked a question about the computer that was supposed to be installed over the summer for the N.E.W.T. level class. Harry tuned out the answer, a creak at the door catching his attention.

A white blond head of hair ducked into the room, followed by a thin body in charcoal robes. The head rose and Harry saw the person’s face, pale and pointy and drawn.

Draco Malfoy took the seat opposite Harry, not looking at anyone except Snape, listening to his every word like the kiss up he was in their Potions classes. Only his jaw was more pronounced with the absence of childhood roundness, his hair cut shorter than it had been during their Hogwarts years. Harry continued to study Malfoy’s face until the meeting ended with another tap of Snape’s wand. The sound of it didn’t alert Harry as much as Malfoy’s standing, bringing Harry to gaze upon the silver fastenings on Malfoy’s robes.

Harry waited for the other staff members to cease their idle “What did you do over the summer?” conversations and file out of the lounge. Once Pomona Sprout had left, only Snape, Malfoy, and Harry remained.

During the staff room conversations (Welcome back to Hogwarts, Harry! Pity you didn’t stay on with the Auror career…Is it really you? Look a bit shorter in person… What on earth happened with that pretty fiancée of yours…), Harry had ended up on the other side of the room, watching Snape and Malfoy talk and trying to read their lips in the process.

“You’re making a pathetic attempt at espionage, Potter.”

“I just have to get information from you, sir.”

Malfoy inclined his head. “I’d best be going.”

Snape said goodnight to Malfoy, who replied in kind.

Harry didn’t speak until Malfoy slipped out of the doorway. “You should’ve told me.”

“Told you what?”

“That Malfoy’s teaching Potions.”

“As I recall, I’ve never had to give a fully detailed report of our staff to prospective professors.”

“You should’ve told me!”

“And you would not be here.” Snape’s eyes challenged Harry to say otherwise.

Harry rubbed his closed eyelids, the cool metal of his glasses bumping against his fingers. “I can’t leave now.”

“Goodnight, Potter.”

“Goodnight.”

~*~


September

Harry didn’t think much of the Great Hall when he had been warding it with Snape, but when the four long tables gleamed from the floating candles and the nighttime sky glittered with cloud covered stars, Harry felt himself go back to another time, when all magic here was good and wasn’t it so great that Hagrid took him away from the Dursleys…

The students began to enter the Great Hall in small groups, the seventh years standing tall and triumphant as they chose their seats, the first years waiting at the doorway for the Sorting.

Harry squinted at the back of the Great Hall. That couldn’t be right at all.

“Er… Miss?” Harry addressed the professor sitting to his left.

She turned to Harry and corrected him with an impatient shake of her head. “Ms. Bryar.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Did you want to say something?” she asked, her spectacle-shielded eyes focused on the students once more.

“Yes,” he gritted out, his own patience dwindling.

“Then, what is it?”

“The first years. They’re so early.”

“Oh no. They’re right on time.”

“But… the lake…”

The professor laughed, a short and sharp sound. “An outdated practice. They board the carriages like the other students.”

“But that doesn’t make sense. The tradition–”

“Was old one that needed to cease. What if someone – the squid, even – attacked the students in the lake? Far too dangerous.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “The Ministry is taking these safety regulations too far.”

Ms. Bryar harrumphed and spoke with the professor on her other side with a flip of her head.

“Not too tactful there.”

Harry turned to his right. The Muggle Studies professor was sitting there, even though Harry remembered the seat being empty earlier.

“Why would you say that?”

He leaned in and lowered his voice. “She helped put those laws into effect.”

“She was on the board?” The woman didn’t look much older than Harry, possibly in her early thirties.

“Yeah. Took over her husband’s place while he was in his death bed.”

“But she said–”

“Took back her maiden name – and her cut of his fortune – after he died. Name’s Craig Robbins, by the way.” He held out his hand.

Harry shook it. “Harry Potter,” he said, feeling stupid as he did so.

Craig didn’t say “I know” or something sarcastic. He just smiled, the skin around his eyes crinkling.

“Pleased to meet you, Harry.”

All conversation ceased when Snape stood and Professor Sprout ushered in the first years for the Sorting. Harry applauded for every new Gryffindor and noticed Craig clapping for the Ravenclaws.

Harry whispered, “You were in Ravenclaw?”

“Yeah. I started here a few years after you, I think. When you were Quidditch captain.”

“That makes you…”

“Yeah, I’m a little young, but you don’t need age experience to be a Muggle Studies Professor.”

“So you’re Muggle-born?”

“I guess you could say that.”

They looked at the remaining first years waiting to be sorted. Harry lost interest quickly (Three Hufflepuffs in a row, honestly) and glanced at the other staff members along the table. Harry didn’t recognize most of them, smiling at Remus Lupin, who, as Snape had predicted, had arrived that afternoon. Snape sat as stony faced as ever as he surveyed the Great Hall, and then there was Malfoy, seated at Snape’s left.

He watched the proceedings with a bored air, his hands resting on the table. His fingers tapped the table in a strange pattern, his right hand mirroring whatever his left had started. It was as if Malfoy was playing the piano… or tapping out a code.

“Our new Defense Professor, Harry Potter…”

Craig nudged him to stand, which Harry did for a short moment. The applause and whispers that came after brought him to sit just as fast.

Harry turned to look at Malfoy one more time before tucking into the feast.

A jolt ran through him when Malfoy’s eyes met his.

Stop staring at me, the look said.

Harry did so, but not before an unexpected thought fluttered through his mind.

I don’t want to.

~*~


When arranging the schedules for the upcoming school year, Snape made sure not to baby Harry on his first day. On September second, Harry’s first class consisted of seventh-year N.E.W.T. students, many of them Slytherins.

Bastard was an understatement.

They filed in with all the ease and bravado that came with students in their last year of schooling, only quieting when they saw their professor standing in front of his desk.

Harry cleared his throat.

“Good morning, and welcome to the Defense Against the Dark Arts, N.E.W.T. level.”

Grasping the edge of the desk, Harry continued. “Because you are in the advanced class, you’ll be studying the history of the Dark Arts–” Several groans echoed. “Defense spells, and, finally, about the Dark Arts themselves.”

Some gasps and whispers followed this, as Harry expected; the last part wasn’t in the curriculum Snape had given him.

“It’s not to train you all into future V-Dark Lords,” Harry amended. “But the Dark isn’t so easy to detect, and with awareness comes true defense.” Harry wanted to add “Constant Vigilance” to the end of it, but he told his students to open Esoteric Examinations of Evil Enchantments to page seven.

There were some lessons they would have to learn themselves.

~*~


By the end of the week, Harry decided his favorite classes to teach were the first and third years for their enthusiasm for the spells and magical creatures Harry introduced them to. He would probably enjoy teaching his N.E.W.T. class later in the year – because history was quite boring – but at least he could look forward to bringing in a grindylow to show the third years next Friday.

Thinking of the creatures brought Harry to roll up the lesson plans he had been studying and push his chair into the desk.

I should’ve asked him earlier.

Harry found himself in front of Malfoy’s office shortly after that, raising a fist to the dark paneled wood.

“To whoever is hovering in front of the door: enter or get out.”

Harry twisted the doorknob and entered Malfoy’s office, squinting from the sunlight streaming in from wide panels of windows high up on the dungeon walls. Bookshelves full of ancient texts and clear bottles filled with viscous liquids, not unlike the relics in Snape’s old office, lined the three walls away from the door. They framed Malfoy’s desk, set in the center, and Malfoy sat behind the desk, his hands clasped and his mouth set in a line.

“This looks nothing like Snape’s dungeon of doom.”

“Did you come here solely to admire my interior design?”

Harry bristled but pulled out the parchment describing the potion he needed for the arriving grindylow. “I came to ask a favor.”

The tapping began as soon as Malfoy unclasped his hands. Tap – tap tap. Tap – tap tap.

“What are you staring at?”

Harry coughed. “Nothing.”

Malfoy’s expression remained impassive, but the tapping stopped. “What’s the favor then? If it’s about the fifty points I took away from Lucy Brannigan, you can forget it.”

“I’m not Gryffindor’s Head of House.”

“You mean Lupin still has the post? That furry-faced dolt is so incompetent–”

Harry closed the distance between him and Malfoy’s desk in a few angry strides. “Don’t insult Remus that way.”

Malfoy tilted his head up. “What are you going to do, Potter?” Harry flinched at the familiar sneer of his name. “Bring in Shacklebolt and the gang to arrest me?” Draco leaned into the desk, his palms flat against the surface as if he was to push himself up.

“I’ve earned my place here, and I don’t need people like you demanding to see my left arm.”

Harry threw the parchment to the floor. “Take your Order of Merlin and shove it,” he said, marching out of the office and slamming the door behind him.

~*~


The next morning, Harry finished his breakfast just as the flock of owls flew into the Great Hall. Pushing his plate aside, Harry watched as three owls presented their offerings to him while pecking at the food around them.

“You’re popular this morning,” Craig said over his Daily Prophet.

Harry mumbled a reply and perused the mail. The first was the latest issue of The Quibbler. He set that aside, along with a heavy letter from Hermione. The last thing came from an owl that scratched Harry’s fingers with a talon as he removed the package from it.

He passed a hand over the package, relieved when no harmful spells were present on the object. Tearing the paper wrapped around it, Harry gasped when he saw what was inside.

No note accompanied the small violet bottle containing what Harry knew to be the potion he needed. The label wrapped around it was filled with words written in Malfoy’s elegant longhand, the potion’s name, maker, and brew date all noted.

Harry turned to thank Malfoy, taking in a sharp breath.

He wasn’t there.

And when Harry scanned the Head table for that blond head of hair at lunch and supper, he realized Malfoy never was.

~*~


October

“And that’s why the Falcons don’t have a chance – where are you going?”

Harry looked back at Craig and smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry, but I’ve got something to attend to–”

“Not a problem, Harry. Talk to you later?”

“Yeah. Later.” Harry left the Muggle Studies Professor’s office and headed for the nearest staircase. Craig was nice and had a good head for Quidditch stats, but Harry needed to speak to Snape. Now.

He approached the gargoyle and whispered the password.

After reaching the door to the Headmasters’ office, Harry knocked and almost fell back when the door opened, Malfoy behind it.

“What are you doing here?” they both asked.

Harry shook his head. “None of your business.”

“How trite. Step aside, Potter. Some professors actually do work after their classes end.” Not even waiting for Harry to move, Malfoy pushed past Harry and left.

“Come in,” Snape said from within the office.

Harry entered the office and shut the door.

“Before you enumerate the many abuses you have suffered from Professor Malfoy, I’ll remind you that I will not have you engaging in unprofessional behavior on school grounds. Is that clear?”

Harry wondered if Malfoy received the same lecture.

“Yeah.”

“Have a seat.”

Harry did so, taking in the absence of strange silver devices and the addition of two portraits. Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall both occupied the latter’s frame as they played Wizard chess.

Snape followed Harry’s gaze. “Those two hardly ever feign sleep.”

Harry’s eyes prickled for a moment.

“What brings you here? To reminisce about old times? To chat about the weather over cups of tea?”

“Saying things like that makes me wonder why I ever…” Harry sighed. “I want to know about Draco Malfoy.”

“I’m sure you know all about him.”

Harry groaned. The man would talk circles around him unless he didn’t say what he wanted. “Why doesn’t he eat with us?”

“He is a vampire who drinks human blood every evening at moonrise.”

“Come on, Snape. Give me a straight answer.”

“That is impossible.” He smirked.

“That’s disgusting.”

“Not all of us are buff young things. Some are old professors. Or ex-Death Eaters.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “You can’t mean–”

“I do.” Snape’s face changed. “While you’re here, Potter…”

He reached under his desk and pulled out a glowing wooden box. He pushed it across the desk to Harry.

“I wouldn’t suggest opening it, but you can run a diagnostic spell on it.”

Harry placed his hand over the object, sensing hatred, anger, and dyed parchment. “This is full of Howlers!”

“One point to Gryffindor for that excellent observation.” Snape put the box back under the desk.

“Er… shouldn’t you use a box that isn’t so flammable?”

“I obviously placed protection spells on it. I take that point back.”

“But… why do you keep them?”

“I cannot forget who I am and what the world still thinks of me. The Ministry barely tolerates my position here as it is.

“If you’re going to keep an eye on someone, let that someone be the Ministry sycophants in this school. As long as they are here, Hogwarts will never be safe. And if you want to pursue Malfoy, do that on your own time.”

“I am not pursuing him.”

“Goodnight Potter, and don’t ogle my arse on the way out.”

Harry made a retching noise as he left.

~*~


When he tried to sleep that night, Harry’s mind was a jumbled mess of memories. He fell into uneasy dreams of auburn hair and broken promises, sweating and thrashing on the bed.

He opened his eyes. Sheets tangled around his legs, Harry sat up and put his mental shields in place. All thoughts were blocked, leaving behind nothing but the sensation of cold on Harry’s skin.

In search of a t-shirt, Harry got out of bed by moonlight and put it on, facing the window.

The sky was clear and cloudless, allowing the moon to shine its light upon the dark grounds. Harry imagined the tall gold hoops on the other side of the castle standing opposite each other on the Quidditch pitch.

It was a night made for flying.

Harry grinned and focused on his broom and wand. As they flew into his hands, Harry cast a spell to open the window and flew off into the night.

~*~


Harry let out a whoop of delight as he flew up and around the spires of Hogwarts, then shooting ahead to reach the pitch. The wind ruffled his fringe, welcoming him back into the air.

Gripping the broomstick’s handle and turning it left, Harry prepared to feint when a flash of gold caught his eye. It was a little blurry around the edges, but Harry pursued the Snitch anyway. His lack of glasses wouldn’t stop him from catching it.

He dived to follow it but lost sight of the gold and only saw the grass quickly approaching him.

He pulled out of the dive, skimming the grass as he flew straight and looked up. The stars shone brightly, white glimmers of light that contrasted with the flutter of golden wings by Orion’s belt…

Harry shot up and leaned right until he was level with the Snitch, reaching for it and suddenly realizing that wasn’t a good idea.

He closed his fingers around the Snitch and heard nothing but the buzzing sound in his ears. It didn’t feel cursed, only the spells that kept the Snitch in the air and always flying humming in his fist.

But common sense caught up with Harry, and he wondered why a Snitch would be left out to fly in the pitch at night.

“A passable catch, Potter, but I would like my Snitch back.”

Harry examined the Snitch and found the Hogwarts seal inscribed at its base. “Doesn’t look it.”

Malfoy removed one hand from his broom and held it out. “Give it back.”

Harry felt a surge of mischief go through him. “Sure I will.”

Now, Potter.”

Harry let go of the Snitch and caught it again. “But I was having so much fun.”

“I have to return it.”

“You will.” Harry let his broom back away from Malfoy.

“Give it now!”

“Okay. Now.” Harry released the Snitch and watched it flit away.

“Let’s get it,” Harry said, flying next to Malfoy and nudging his broom.

Harry heard Malfoy utter a curse before he sped away. He followed Malfoy for several yards, then slowed to circle the pitch.

Malfoy was flying below him at a faster speed, a blond blur that zoomed to the other side of the pitch…

Harry dove down until he was flying side by side with Malfoy. He looked straight ahead for the gold but saw nothing but darkness.

A laugh sounded next to him. “I got you.”

“What?”

Malfoy stopped his broom. Harry did the same, squinting to see Malfoy hold out the Snitch in his fist.

“I won.”

~*~


“Do you play out here often?” Harry asked, his broom slung over one shoulder as he walked with Malfoy to Hogwarts.

“Upon occasion, and always fully clothed.”

“I’m wearing clothes.” Sure, he wasn’t wearing any shoes, but the grass felt cool against his bare feet.

“You’d give the students an eyeful.”

Harry blushed, remembering what Snape had told him earlier.

“Why are you nice to me all the sudden?”

Malfoy inclined his head. “I think the question is why are we both being nice to each other.” Malfoy opened the doors of the school with a flick of his wand.

“Thank you – for the potion.”

“The sun will rise soon.” Malfoy took the steps to the dungeons and melted into the shadows.

~*~


November

“Professor, my Patronus doesn’t look right,” Elizabeth Johnson, a Hufflepuff fifth year, called out.

Harry weaved his way through the students and their Patronus attempts until he was at Miss Johnson’s side. “Are you focusing on your most happy memory?”

The girl nodded. “My first visit to Hogsmeade,” she said wistfully. “My aunt is taking me there during Christmas hols – I’ve been dying to go all year.”

Harry plowed ahead with his instruction before Miss Johnson spoke again. Why are Hufflepuffs so damn chatty?

“Then focus it into your spell. And remember to pronounce it properly.”

She closed her eyes, took a breath and said, “Expecto Patronum,” letting out a shriek of delight when a silvery frog leaped out of her wand and hopped around the room.

“Excellent. Keep practicing, and you can join the others who have produced one in a practice test. Have you got your chocolate ready?”

“Honeydukes finest, Professor.”

“Good.”

Harry walked off to the other side of the room to monitor his students’ progress when he heard a knock at the classroom door.

“Hullo, Harry,” Remus said in the doorway.

Harry waved to Remus and addressed his class. “I’ll be right back. Continue working.”

He made sure to stand outside the door in a way that gave him a good view of his students. “What’s wrong?”

Remus smiled. “What would give you that idea?”

Harry shrugged. “Used to assuming the worst, I suppose.”

“I guess we all have. Severus wants to see you immediately.”

“My classes…”

“Not to worry. That’s why I’m here – to cover for you.”

“Oh.”

Remus peered into the classroom. “Working on Patronuses, I see. Should be able to handle that, right?”

“Yeah. I’ve set up a practice test for them. Since the boggart won’t work, I’ve set up a spell…”

Remus patted Harry’s back. “Don’t worry, Professor. I’ll take care of everything.”

Harry nodded and ran to the Headmaster’s office, hearing calls of delight for the Transfiguration Professor behind him.

~*~


“Professor?”

Snape looked up from his desk and waved his hand in the direction of the chairs opposite his desk.

Harry sat and leaned forward. “What’s wrong?”

Snape straightened and held out his fists. Opening them revealed two black pieces of wire attached to nubs with small holes on them.

“Do you know what these are?”

Harry would have laughed is it wasn’t for the look on Snape’s face. Surely he had seen one spy movie in his lifetime. “It’s a bug.”

“Don’t joke with me, Potter.”

“No, not an insect. It’s a Muggle spying device that records what someone says.”

“Electronic?”

“Yes.”

Harry could already see Hermione in his mind’s eye reciting Hogwarts: A History. “It doesn’t matter,” Harry added. “They can’t work–”

“Yes, they can.” Snape put the wires down. “There’s a magical field around the Muggle Studies classrooms to permit the use of Muggle electronics. I installed it a year ago so that Robbins could demonstrate some basic things. A toaster. A lamp. Anything needed electricity.”

“But it’s only in the Muggle Studies department, right?”

“I found these in my office.”

Harry shook his head. “The magic is too strong here.”

“I don’t know if they’re actually able to spy on me. But these are a threat.” Snape cradled his head underneath his palm. “It has to be Robbins.”

Harry sputtered. “It can’t be–”

“His father is on the board. How do you think he got the job?”

“It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Do you have any evidence to prove otherwise?”

It was like being in Shacklebolt’s office again. “No.”

“Robbins it is, then.” Snape looked around the office. “Watch him. Try to probe the truth out of him.” Snape turned to the portraits. “And I better not have any gossips up there. Understood?”

“Yes,” Harry and the other portraits grumbled. He noticed that Dumbledore and McGonagall were not in their frames.

“Good. You have most of the morning off. Use it wisely.”

“But… Remus–”

“He’ll be fine.”

“He has all of Friday morning off?”

“Perhaps.”

“Ugh. Is that your time to take–”

“Out of my office, Potter.”

As Harry shut the door, he saw Snape make an expression that could have been a smile.

~*~


The headache Harry had ever since he had talked with Snape continued throughout the day so relentlessly that he doubted sleep would come easily that night.

His suspicions became truth as he lay awake that night, unable to think of anything else but the threat against Snape, Craig’s involvement in it, and long reddish-brown hair.

Even Occlumency wasn’t going to work this time. Not with his headache.

Then he remembered. With a flurry of excitement, Harry made sure he had his robes, trainers, and glasses on before he flew out the window.

Harry wondered if Malfoy was going to be at the pitch like last time. He hadn’t spoken to Malfoy since then – Merlin, that was almost a month ago – and his absence in the Great Hall during meals made an attempt at conversation even more difficult. Harry had considered sending Draco an owl, but his letter writing skills were minimal at best, and that was when he was writing to his friends.

Harry frowned when he had arrived at the empty pitch. In that case, he would have to –

“Still looking for that Snitch?” a low voice said from behind him.

Harry turned his broomstick. “Malfoy! I thought.”

“Well, you thought wrong.” Malfoy flew so that he was in front of Harry, the smooth line of his back visible through the dark robes he wore.

Harry looked away. “You released the Snitch?”

“It’s already flitting about, waiting for us.” Malfoy looked over his shoulder, silver blond hair framing his face.

Harry grinned. “You’re on,” he said, flying under Draco and into the center of the pitch.

~*~


“Admit defeat, Malfoy.”

“Never. My flying was excellent, my technique–”

“But who caught it?” Harry held out the Snitch between his thumb and forefinger, laughing all the while.

“I can still fly circles around you anytime.”

“Anytime?” Harry lay on the grass, looking up at the stars.

Draco eyed him speculatively. “That’s what I said.”

“Tomorrow.”

“Do you lack the ability to form complete sentences?”

Harry took off his glasses and rested his forearm on closed eyes. “Will you play tomorrow afternoon? With me?”

Harry could hear Draco let out a deep breath. “Potter–”

“Oh, right. One of the House teams must be practicing for the start of the season–”

“There is no Quidditch.”

Harry flung his arm aside. “What do you mean, ‘No Quidditch?’?”

“Safety measures. Remember all the times you were hexed in the air?”

“Yeah. Something about a pointy-faced git dressed up in Dementor robes.”

“Piss off. The Dark Lord had also been involved.”

“He’s gone. Problem solved.”

“No, it’s not. The Ministry–”

“Sod the Ministry. No Quidditch teams?”

“No flying lessons either. Surely you must’ve noticed why Hooch never got a replacement?”

“It’s ridiculous, bureaucratic bullshit!”

“Don’t tell me that. Tell the board.”

Harry smiled into his shoulder. “I will.”

“What?”

His headache long gone, Harry sat up and opened his eyes. Draco’s hair looked fuzzy around the edges, almost like a halo.

“Have you gone mad, Potter?”

As Harry Summoned his broomstick, he realized that he had spoken aloud. “Yeah. I think I have.”

~*~


He slept.

~*~


Draco had eventually agreed to play on Saturday – in the evening. When Harry approached the field on his broom, Draco greeted him with a Quaffle to the face.

“Shit, Malfoy,” Harry said as he barely caught the ball. “You could have knocked me out.”

“You’ll do as a Keeper,” Malfoy said, flying up to the northern set of hoops.

“What game are you playing at?” Harry shouted as he flew after him.

He could feel Draco’s smirk when he spoke. “Same game we’ve always played – with a twist.

“You take the posts, and I’ll take the penalty line. Every time I score, I get to ask you a question.”

“About?”

“Anything but the war.”

Harry nodded.

“If you successfully block, then you ask a question. Same terms.”

“Let’s start.” Harry threw the Quaffle back to Draco and settled in front of the center hoop.

Draco flew right and threw left. Harry missed the Quaffle because of the fake.

“Point for me. Fetch the ball while I think up a good question.”

Harry grumbled as he flew after the Quaffle and returned with it.

“Took you long enough.”

Harry threw the Quaffle at Draco. Hard.

Draco caught it deftly. “Not my fault you Keep worse than Weasley. Why is Snape nice to you?”

Gets straight to the point, this one. “He taught me Occlumency during the war.”

“After sixth year?”

“Yeah,” Harry answered. “Hey, stop trying to filch extra answers out of me.”

Malfoy didn’t respond, instead hurling the Quaffle straight ahead. Harry caught it easily.

“You gave it to me.”

Draco held up his hands. “I was looking to injure.”

“Why don’t you eat with us?”

“I’m shy.”

“Truth.”

“I’m working.”

“On what?”

“My ball.”

Harry threw it back and waited for Draco’s next throw. He flew high and fast, throwing the ball at a curve. Harry blocked the wrong hoop.

“Why are you nice to me?”

“Your hair’s pretty.”

“Shut up.”

“I don’t know. Why are you nice to me?

“Make a save, and I’ll tell you.”

Harry retrieved the Quaffle and tossed it to Draco.

He didn’t throw easy this time, and Harry stretched so far for the Quaffle that he almost fell off his broom, the red leather knocked off its course.

“Why are you nice to me?”

“You didn’t catch it.”

“I blocked it anyway.”

“Your hair’s horrible, but your Quidditch is satisfactory.”

“I’ll show you satisfactory.” Harry prepared for another dive for the Quaffle, but Draco held up a Snitch-filled hand.

“Show me.”

~*~


Harry was a man who hadn’t fucked for awhile. It was only natural, then, that his knees were spread wide, his boxers were around his ankles, and he was jerking off rapidly, a book of defense spells lying forgotten on the other side of his bed.

His throat tight and cock throbbing, Harry let out a ragged breath as his release spilled over his fingers. He cursed and muttered a cleansing spell, closing his eyes and waiting for sleep to claim him.

Because fantasizing about soft blond hair in his hands as he pushed a willing Draco Malfoy onto his cock was not natural at all.

~*~


Part Two