Title: Bed & Late Night Snack, Part 4/5.
By the time they were back behind closed doors, Malfoy seemed to have regained his control. His expression was closed off and, on the surface, nonchalant, but Harry could see sparks of barely contained anger dancing in his eyes. He frowned, not really understanding what reason Malfoy had to be angry with him; it should be the other way round.
There was a flick of a wand, and Harry found himself standing inside a Privacy Bubble together with Malfoy. He didn't think it was a good idea to alert their hosts that they had something to discuss in secret. Harry hoped that if they were being observed, it would just look like they were having a lovers' tiff they'd prefer to keep private…
"What's your problem, Harry? Am I not good enough for you?" Malfoy asked.
…If not for the fact that he had to participate in this conversation, it would have amused him that the impression they were most likely making wasn't that far from the truth.
Malfoy's question gave him something to think about. He was startled to discover that he couldn’t decide between a simple yes or a no, and the more he thought about it, the more confused he became. He decided to shelve the question for later, and for now concentrate on the real issue.
"It's not about being or not being good enough," was the reply he finally settled on.
Malfoy seemed momentarily startled; then the expression gave way to a depreciating grin which Harry didn't like being directed at him.
"Oh, don't I know?" Malfoy asked breezily. "You fancy yourself straight. But you know what's interesting? In the Ministry, when I was in your girlfriend's skin, you didn't seem to be enjoying yourself enough to fake a decent snog. And then after that…" Malfoy's voice trailed off. Harry was mortified by the realisation that Malfoy had felt that; that shouldn't have happened.
"Would you have enjoyed it more if you had posed as Weasley and I had been pretending to be you, I wonder."
Against his will, Harry found himself snorting; the idea seemed too absurd to take it even remotely seriously. "You don't even like red-heads as far as I'm aware." Then he sobered instantly. "It's a job. It has nothing to do with enjoying myself."
"Didn't seem like that to me last night," Malfoy countered almost instantly with a smirk. Harry wanted to tell him that last night had been a mistake, but that would have meant admitting to Malfoy that he had succeeded in making Harry break his own rule, and what was to say he wouldn't try it again? Actually, it rather looked like he was doing just that right now.
Malfoy stepped closer, his voice turning seductive, and lifted one of his index fingers to smooth down Harry's throat, then continued along his shirt buttons, finally coming to a halt above his crotch. "And as to not liking red-heads… I beg to differ. Though it is true that I also like them coming in pink or purple…"
Harry's face instantly heated up, both as a result of catching on to the meaning behind Malfoy's words and of the maddening touch on his cock he could feel through layers of clothes. He might have muttered something about informing Tonks just to alleviate his discomfort, which Malfoy rewarded with a mock-affectionate pat on his cheek – it only registered in Harry's mind because he had taken away his finger to do that.
"I have this theory about you… how about we test it now?" The amusement in Malfoy's eyes transformed into something Harry couldn't read very well – something hard, sparkling and sharp as broken glass. Determination? In the next moment, the invisible laces on the green dress were loosened and the cloth dropped to the floor, pooling around slender ankles. Once out of the ungainly dress, there was nothing ridiculous about Malfoy, Harry noted with a catch of his breath.
The first thing that jumped into Harry's mind was that Malfoy hadn’t been wearing any underwear, followed unbidden by the memory of the feeling those buttocks moulding into his palms: warm, silky and inviting.
Malfoy stepped out of the circle of fabric gracefully, bringing himself almost nose to nose with Harry. Harry was frozen to the spot, unable to stop staring. In the next instant, he was startled out of his reverie by the delicate touch of Malfoy's palm on the front of his trousers. The tingling warmth seeping through the fabric made him instantly aware of the abrupt changes that had occurred in his body in the past couple of seconds since Malfoy had so casually shed his clothing. The lips in front of his face curved into a teasing smile.
"Stop me while you still can, because I fully intend to find out tonight what colour yours is," came the husky whisper, and, for a moment, Harry had to close his eyes against the sudden surge of desire running through his body.
His heartbeat was thundering through his whole body. Searing heat pooled under Malfoy's too light touch, and was doing its best to burn away his last will to resist. Suddenly he had trouble remembering why it was so important to hold on to it. Malfoy's fingers tightened around his awakened erection, and the resulting jolt of sensation was like an explosion in his mind, sweeping away the last remains of his reservations.
"Screw it!" Harry growled low.
He grabbed Malfoy's wrist and yanked away the tormenting hand. His other arm coiled around Malfoy's waist – all that glorious expanse of bare skin – dragging him forward. Malfoy followed his lead readily, moulding his body to Harry's from their knees to their shoulders until not an atom of air remained between them, a victorious smirk still firmly in place on his lips.
In the next instant, Harry was attacking those mocking lips, satisfied with the instant participation he received. Malfoy's tongue and teeth seemed to be fighting his own every step on the way, demanding more and more. It was fundamentally different from the kisses he had shared with Ginny. God, Ginny had never kissed him like that. He hadn't kissed her like that… he was going to say 'in a very long time' but actually, it was 'ever'.
Malfoy was panting when they finally parted, but he still had this smug little smile in the corner of his mouth. "Still not gay, Harry?" he asked.
This time, Harry didn't feel offended by it, though, merely tempted to turn Malfoy's little mind game against him. The sudden release of his crumbling control was making him light-headed and perhaps a bit reckless. He was fully aware how dangerous it was to succumb to his baser desires in a situation like this, but he was past caring. Right now, his attention was focussed solely on one thing, and that was Malfoy, who had so skilfully divested him of that control.
"Mmm… No, can't say I am."
"What?" As Harry had expected, Malfoy's eyes went wide with indignation. "I can't believe that after all this you still think you're straight!" He tried to jerk free from Harry's embrace, but Harry was ready to prevent it.
"Straight? Now, I don't think I've ever said anything to that effect either," he countered, amused. "I'll never understand this obsession with labels: pure-blood, Mudblood, Gryffindor, Slytherin, gay, straight…"
Malfoy looked momentarily pole-axed, mouth falling open with astonishment, but he recovered pretty quickly, considering.
He grabbed Harry by the collar of his shirt and shook him hard. Harry stumbled back and hit his hip on an inconsiderately placed drawer. The grimace of pain must have been enough to alleviate Malfoy's frustration, because then he let go of him and started attacking his shirt buttons.
"You're overdressed, Potter," he growled, an indication that he was irritated with him but that irritation apparently didn't deter him from what he had planned. Harry agreed with him wholeheartedly.
"I take it you prefer to top," Malfoy growled breathlessly when Harry landed equally naked on top of him on the bed, his face buried in the warm curve of Malfoy's throat. He liked the way Malfoy's skin smelt and tasted, and was concentrating on sampling every square millimetre of it.
"I'm not all that partial," he answered off-handedly, then bit into the silky flesh of an earlobe, causing Malfoy's breath to catch. However, there was no doubt in either of them which way it would go this time.
"Fuck!" Malfoy gasped when Harry's teeth closed in on a dusky nipple and bit down, then a tongue circled around it until it firmed. "Stop teasing!"
Harry lifted his head and graced Malfoy with a smirk of his own brand. "What? No foreplay, Malfoy?"
"This whole night… what am I saying?... these last couple of days were like one long, drawn-out foreplay. I can't take more, get to the point!"
"As you wish," Harry agreed, but the amusement in his tone was tinted by a darker shade of passion.
Malfoy reacted to it by sliding the fingers of both hands into Harry's hair and pushing his head southwards until Harry's nose was buried in wiry curls of gold. Harry found himself looking down at Malfoy's cock, jutting up straight. He took a couple of seconds to admire it – he had not seen someone else's cock from that close up until now – it was full and a lovely rosy colour, with pearly drops of moisture running down from the slit. He stuck out his tongue and gave it a swipe – it also tasted good: sort of like sushi. Malfoy gave out a small noise that sounded like a mewl, reminding Harry of his objective.
He knew what he would have wanted, had their positions been reversed, and though it was a first time for him, he found that he wasn't as averse to sucking off Malfoy as he would have expected – quite the opposite, in fact. He felt his mouth watering with anticipation.
With one hand, he cautiously lifted Malfoy's erection from the taut belly and then closed his lips around the meaty head, suckling lightly. Malfoy's prick felt natural in his mouth, as if he had done this a thousand times already. If he could judge from the noises, he must not have been doing very badly either; Malfoy definitely seemed to be enjoying the attention. He found that he could comfortably accommodate its girth and take more than half of its length without triggering his gag reflex, though Malfoy couldn't be described as small in any way. He found that fact quite satisfying. Harry's hand lifted unconsciously to his own erection and he started stroking himself.
Some minutes later, he felt the body under him go rigid and shake with its impeding orgasm. His own wasn't that far away either. He doubled his efforts, moaning low in his throat. But before long, a sharp tug on his scalp prompted him to look up. The sight of Malfoy, flushed and dishevelled, almost pushed him over the edge on its own, before his mind registered the frown forming above the passion-clouded eyes.
"Don't you dare bring yourself off," Malfoy squeezed out between gasps. He reached under his pillow, and then threw a tube at Harry's head. Harry caught it deftly, recognising it for what it was. The seal was unbroken and he didn't know what to make of that, but he wasn't about to ask now.
He had to use both hands to open the tube. They were shaking and as a result, he squeezed a bit too much of the liquid onto his fingers. He couldn’t care less. Malfoy spread his legs, his knees drawn up, his gaze burning a hole into Harry's skin as he watched him from beneath heavy eyelids. Then Harry leaned back down, lubricated fingers slipping between the firm globes of Malfoy's arse, the other hand reaching for the abandoned erection lying flush in a nest of damp, straw-coloured curls. Malfoy batted it away with a small, distressed moan.
Harry smirked and poised his finger at Malfoy's entrance, rubbing in slow circles on the sensitive skin. The noise that this action generated was throaty and shaky, filled with gradually mounting desire. The muscles under his touch relaxed quickly, and Harry carefully pushed a finger inside.
He prepared Malfoy a bit more carefully than he had initially intended to; he was tighter than Harry had expected, which made him realise that Malfoy probably participated less frequently in sexual activity than his casual attitude towards it had indicated. Or that perhaps Malfoy preferred being on top. Either way, Harry didn't hear him objecting to what he was doing – quite the contrary.
He couldn't stifle a heartfelt groan when Malfoy's hips moved and he started fucking himself reflexively on Harry's fingers. He could almost feel a ghost of sensation prickling around his own entrance in sympathy. Then he remembered something else and curled his index finger, feeling around for the slight bump and caressing it carefully. Malfoy took great gulps of air and held very still, until a few seconds later, his pelvis lurched up from the bed, his back arching, and a high-pitched keen prompting Harry to stop right there if he didn't want to ruin the rest of the night.
Harry hastily smeared some more lube onto his aching cock, having to bite his lip while he gave it hard squeeze to prevent an untimely orgasm. Then he positioned himself between Malfoy's thighs and sank slowly but almost without resistance into his silky heat.
He started out with shallow, measured thrusts, gradually building up to deeper strokes, but never changing his pace. Malfoy seemed impatient for more, but Harry was enjoying himself too much; he wanted to make it last. He leaned forward, folding Malfoy almost into a pretzel, and his lips clamped down on that complaining mouth. Malfoy thrust his tongue between Harry's teeth, then his thighs circled Harry's waist, pulling him closer, his arms around Harry's back. The shift of position elicited shivers from the clinging body on every forward motion of Harry's hips.
Long-fingered hands cradled Harry's face, pushing slightly to break the kiss; Harry obeyed, although reluctantly.
"Fas-ter!" Malfoy panted, eyelids fluttering, hot breath washing over Harry's damp mouth.
He pushed up on his hands and knees for a better leverage. Malfoy's hips thrust upwards to follow him, accompanied by a demanding grunt. Harry's lips pulled back in a determined snarl. He started moving in earnest. Malfoy easily adjusted to the hard tempo Harry was dictating, as if their bodies were synched by an unseen clock.
Harry was somewhat disappointed to note that Malfoy wasn't a very vocal type, but he more than made up for it by enthusiasm. Harry had never been able to coax out such a degree of active participation from his female partners. Having someone else to do half the work made for an intensity that let his blood sing in his veins and made him want to cling to the sensation with the last vestiges of his self-control. He was halfway aware of the delicious tightening of Malfoy's inner muscles for a while before he realised what was happening. He could feel he was just seconds away from an earth-shattering orgasm himself.
He leaned forward, capturing Malfoy's lips once again, a fast-moving arm catching on his nipple as Malfoy's hand was flying over his erection. His thrusts deepened, the head of his cock brushing over that spot inside of Malfoy that made him writhe under Harry and produced those nice, keening sounds. The slide of skin on skin between them became slippery with hot droplets of moisture coating their stomachs. Strong inner muscles grabbed onto Harry's sensitive cock and yanked him over the edge, and he was falling hard after Malfoy.
The next morning, Harry woke up with a numb shoulder and pinpricks in his left arm. He needed a couple of minutes to unravel the mix of sensations to decide whether he was feeling good or bad. His stomach itched and felt sticky, his back muscles were stiff, and different parts of his body were alternately either too hot or too cold. His left ear tickled from being subjected to periodic gusts of air, which, Harry realised, was someone's breathing. That was the moment he woke up enough to remember what had happened the previous night. With Malfoy.
His muscles stiffened for a couple of heartbeats as an instinctive reaction while he contemplated what would be the most sensible thing to do. It was way past the time when he should have disentangled himself, dressed and left. Or at least to gone to spend the rest of the night in his own bed. Now if he moved, he would wake up Malfoy who was currently using his shoulder as a pillow, and he wasn't about to subject himself to that before he decided on a course of action.
"How the hell did this happen in the first place?" he found himself muttering under his breath... only to discover that Malfoy wasn't as asleep as he had assumed. The weight on his shoulder lessened as the other hoisted himself up on one elbow and gave him a scathing glare.
"That's the stupidest question I've ever heard," he said, his gaze unblinking and intense. The earnestness of the proclamation was somewhat ruined by the less than imposing effect of pillow creases lining his face, which Harry couldn't fathom how he had collected, seeing as he had not been sleeping on a pillow.
Malfoy didn't move and Harry was unable to look away. He saw the glare slowly even out, Malfoy's facial muscles relaxing into a more neutral expression, but his eyes remained locked with Harry's. From this close, he could see his own reflection within the grey depths. A sudden lurch of an unexpected emotion hammered through his chest and flushed all the stupid excuses out of his mind.
Malfoy began to look uncomfortable with the growing suspense, since neither of them seemed to be able to find the right words to say in this situation. His glance dropped to his own hand resting on Harry's chest and the uneven line at the meeting of two different coloured skins. Harry saw him blinking in surprise and following it with his finger. It ran around his torso and his left shoulder. There was another one above his right elbow. Malfoy's eyes darted upwards, his gaze searching for a similar one, first on Harry's neck then above. When he found none, his hand slowly lifted to Harry's forehead to rub the skin with a thumb. It came back clear of any kind of make-up; Harry knew he wouldn't be able to feel any unevenness there either, except the slight indentations where the grafts hadn’t healed seamlessly.
"What… when did this happen?" Malfoy asked finally with an inscrutable expression.
"Last October, in Dublin," Harry answered. "I was lucky. G… someone got me out in time and into St. Mungo's. They were able to regrow the skin almost as it was before."
"Almost," Malfoy agreed, apparently unable to look away. Harry blinked; Malfoy's cheeks were flushed pink. The colour looked strangely endearing on him. His eyes riveted back to Harry's for the fragment of a second, then he yawned with a calculated gesture, which gave Harry the feeling he was only trying to mask his awkwardness with it, and snuggled back down into his earlier position. A few minutes later, Harry found himself absently combing through short locks that felt like strands of gossamer between his fingers, while he tried to wrap his mind around the fact that this thing didn't feel that weird after all.
That thought reminded him of Ginny's warning that perhaps he had been too quick to make a decision about his preferences. He might yet find that the fact that he was all right with her more risqué games in the bedroom didn't consequently mean he would enjoy having sex with men. He hadn't understood Ginny's concerns at the time she had confronted him. It was sort of funny that he comprehended them better now, after they had been proven wrong.
At a subconscious level, Harry had suspected it ever since he had been small. Dudley had a habit of calling random people Harry's boyfriend, just to taunt him. The only time Harry had felt uncomfortable with it had been when he had said it about Cedric, and that had been because Cedric had been Cho's boyfriend – and then was dead. Later that night, when he hadn't been able to sleep because he hadn't been able to stop thinking about Voldemort and all sorts of things connected to him, he had decided that Dudley's intolerance for boys having boyfriends must come from his aunt and uncle's fear of the things they didn’t understand, like being able to do magic. For all he had known, it could have been a perfectly normal thing in the wizarding world, where he truly belonged, he just hadn't known it at the time because it had not yet come up.
The only strangeness in the situation he was in now was that it was Malfoy and not someone else, someone who was a more… logical choice. But in his experience, logic rarely entered as a factor in these kinds of decisions.
While they still had to eat breakfast in the dining room, Harry was glad to note that Lucy hadn't waited for them. It would have been suspicious if they didn't ask her what they should do with the documents they had collected from Renfield's office, and Harry wanted to have a look at them before deciding whether he wanted to hand them over or keep part of them to himself. He couldn't have used them as proper evidence, as the method he had acquired them was less than legitimate, but they'd be useful to get further hints as to where to continue searching. Robards was right in one thing: Harry should not have made that arrest without any palpable evidence. He was becoming worse than Moody: jumping at the first trace of some Dark magic he had felt in the presence of the Minister's staff, and second-hand information. The only valid excuse to detain them was that the residue could have been an indication of one of them being under the influence of the Imperius Curse. That had allowed Robards to save Harry from Azkaban and keep him on staff, but hadn’t been enough to keep the Minister and his people in custody in order to conduct a proper investigation after the tests had come back negative.
Upon returning to their room, the first thing Harry noticed was the shimmering silver figure of a chameleon sitting on one of the beds, and instantly knew it meant trouble. The chameleon seemed to leap at him, despite the fact that real chameleons were definitely not capable of that feat, then after making contact, vanished into thin air.
"What was that?" Malfoy asked, more alarmed than the situation would have required.
"Just a message from Moody," Harry hurried to reassure him, only noticing that he had already taken an unconscious step towards Malfoy when his hand was already on the other man's shoulder, squeezing soothingly. He quickly drew back his hand, feeling uncomfortable and hesitant about how he was expected to behave now, after having slept with Malfoy.
"What was it about?"
"Ginny was attacked yesterday. She is in St. Mungo's," Harry found himself blurting out before he realised that Malfoy might not have needed to know that much detail. He really needed to get his act together – and to do that, he had to get away from Malfoy for a little while. "I have to see her."
Malfoy nodded tentatively, but he was still looking at Harry expectantly as if waiting to be invited along, which sounded ridiculous.
"Um… how about you start on those documents while I'm away?" Harry said, feeling uncomfortable from the intensity of that glance.
"I was just about to suggest the same," Malfoy answered, his tone sort of hesitant still. It served to reinforce the funny feeling in Harry's stomach that their familiar dynamics that had consisted of bantering and the occasional exchange of only the most vital information had changed to something new, as of yet undefined. Harry hadn't yet decided if he liked it.
He dressed quickly, pulling a navy blue robe over his head, then checked his appearance in passing and was ready to leave. His hand was on the door handle when he felt Malfoy stepping close to him; his head turned instinctively in that direction. He was not prepared for the light kiss he received in lieu of a goodbye, and didn’t know how to react at first. Then he felt Malfoy preparing to step away, and he jolted out of his trance, grabbing Malfoy's shoulder and quickly returning the press of lips – with a little extra as an apology for his slow reactions.
"I'll be back soon," he found himself saying, just to fill the uncomfortable silence, before he closed the door behind his back. Then he spent the better part of the way to the gates fighting the blush that had crept unbidden onto his cheeks.
Ginny looked somewhat pale but otherwise fine. She was lying in the midst of white sheets and pillows, her eyes closed so that Harry thought at first she was asleep, but they opened when she heard him entering.
"What happened? Are you all right?"
"Harry? Is that you? What are you doing here?" she answered his questions with her own. She didn't seem to be pleased with his visit.
"Mad-Eye sent me a message."
Harry stepped to the end of the bed and got the answers for his own questions by checking her chart. It told him she had been subjected to a Petrificus Totalus and several annoying but not really dangerous hexes of the sort one would expect from a teenage prank. Harry let out the breath he had been holding and put the chart back in its place.
"It's nothing serious." Ginny sighed. She looked annoyed. Then she patted the generous empty space on the side of her bed in an unspoken invitation to sit. "If you're already here, you can just as well tell me what happened in the Ministry."
Harry complied with her request, not fooled by the fact that she seemed to be without her wand. Greater wizards than him had fallen victim to that assumption.
"I'm not sure how much I can tell you," he started, pursing his lips. "We went in, listened to some stupid speeches, Malfoy made you seem like a complete slut…"
"What?" Harry was ready to catch the pillow flying his way before it reached his face. He stuffed it behind his back where she couldn't reach it, and continued his account without as much as a break.
"…Some pervert was following us. We figured we'd give him something so he'd leave us alone." No sense in keeping that a secret from her; Harry had no doubts she would hear about what people thought had happened from gossip if not to her face on her first day back. It was not like her reputation would suffer from it. The fact she had been attacked at a different location should make it quite obvious that she hadn't even been in the Ministry at the time.
"Did you get what you wanted?"
Harry nodded, then paused. He really didn't know what else he could tell her. Unfortunately, Ginny was rather effective when it came to extracting information from people.
"Wait, what do you mean you gave that pervert 'something'?"
"We just acted as if… It was nothing. No one else saw it, I swear." He wished he could leave now, while he was still in one piece.
Harry knew he was blushing, though there really was no reason for it. Except for the fact that, rather than her reputation, Ginny seemed to be more interested in the part that it was Malfoy he had done those things with. Harry should have known. He knew the game was over when she suddenly stopped talking and just looked at him with that searching stare. Harry really, really wanted to be somewhere else.
"I can't believe it!" she muttered finally, almost as if in awe. "I can't believe you nailed the Prince of Slytherin!"
There was a noise coming from the door. Harry looked back over his shoulder and spotted Ron standing there, frozen to the spot, with his eyes the size of saucers. In the next second, he lurched forward with a speed that was quite frightening from a body of this size and covered the distance between the threshold and the bed with two steps. Harry saw Ron's arm lift and readied himself for the impact.
He almost fell off the bed from the exultant slap to his back. It could rival Hagrid's.
"You caught Snape? Tell me all about it!" Ron cried, eyes bright. Harry was momentarily rendered speechless.
"What is this I hear about catching Snape?" The next voice belonged to Hermione. She came right after Ron and, thank Merlin, she remembered to pull the door closed behind her.
"Ginny says Harry nailed down the Prince!" Ron turned towards her, his face shining. "Finally, he gets his due," he added, his tone becoming predatory.
"Oh, Ron!" Hermione sighed, exasperated. "You know Snape worked for our side. He had to…"
"He still killed Dumbledore," was the stubborn answer. "Nothing justifies killing people."
"Um… mates? Who was talking about Snape? I was talking about Harry and Mmm…" Harry's hand shot out and covered Ginny's mouth, effectively silencing her just in time. Then, with a sigh, he turned to his oldest friend.
"Ron, I'm sorry but I still don't know any more about Snape than I did one day or one week ago."
The room instantly quieted down. Harry could feel everyone's attention focussed on him. He found himself having to swallow around the lump in his throat to be able to get out the blatant lie. "Ginny said if I nailed the Prince."
"No?" Ron's face became morose. "Well, I hope you do catch him one day. Merlin knows he has a lot to atone for."
Harry was thankful both Hermione and Ginny remained silent, though he caught the tail end of a glance between them. He couldn't shake the feeling that it was a promise for a private talk later.
He thought it was high time for him to leave and go back to Malfoy… to find out whether had managed to discover anything about those documents.
"I'm sorry, I need to go," he said, standing up. He wracked his brain for a way to let Ginny know he wouldn't appreciate her talking about his private matters, even if it was with Hermione, but didn't know how to word it without the other two catching on.
"Harry, wait!" Ginny sat up abruptly, then turned to the other two. "Could I please speak with him alone for a few minutes?"
Ron and Hermione nodded and left the room.
Harry thought he was going to be made fun of, and he wasn’t ready for the almost-reprimand that left her lips as soon as the door clicked closed.
"Harry, listen to me! Please, be careful. Don't trust him."
"What? Why are you telling me…"
"Don't you remember how he came to you with the information? I just have a feeling that he has something to hide. Mad-Eye says…"
"You told him that?" Harry bristled. Then he shook his head. He really had to go. "Ginny, please, not a word to anyone else. About anything. And I mean it." He saw her open her mouth to protest, so he quickly continued. "In exchange, I promise to be careful. It's not like I trust him fully…"
"You don't?" She blinked in surprise. "But you slept with him…"
"That doesn’t have to do anything with it…" Harry answered, somewhat uneasy. He only realised later that he hadn't even made an attempt to deny it. Not that Ginny would have believed it at this point, anyhow.
"If you say so…"
In the end, he thought he managed to satisfy her that he wasn’t going to let down his guard. He had a feeling that the disbelief apparent in her eyes was for a different reason.
He might have only spent an hour and a half with Ginny, but he still felt as he used to after having fought scores of Dark wizards for his life from dawn to nightfall. He could only hope that his tiredness wouldn't affect his mental capacities. He wanted to go through those documents personally. He didn't expect Malfoy to have found out much, not because he wasn't skilled enough but because he didn't know what to search for. Truth to be told, Harry only gave Malfoy the task to prevent him going off on his own while Harry wasn’t there.
He turned the last corner in the hallway and was instantly alert when he found their door open, lights spilling through the doorframe into the semi-darkness of the corridor. He heard the muffled voices of a conversation. It only took a couple of sentences for him to identify the speakers. One of them was Malfoy; the other was the Flayer who had seen them arrive the previous night and had unfortunately witnessed their little altercation. Then Harry started paying attention to what was being said, and the little alarm bells in his head began to ring louder and louder. He sneaked close enough to the door to be able to see inside without being seen, and then stopped, listening. Apparently, he had arrived in the middle of some kind of interrogation.
An interrogation who’s subject was Harry.
"Are you sure he is your boyfriend? He doesn't call you by your name. In fact, he doesn't seem very… attached to you. Is he even that way?"
Harry felt his heart thump loudly. He had made a blunder last night. His only excuse was that he had been startled, which made Malfoy just as much to blame as him, but that didn’t change the fact that he had made a mistake, which could cost him his cover.
Harry risked a glance over the doorframe. The nasty purplish face pulled into a highly unattractive condescending smile – and not just unattractive because the fellow had chosen to grow tentacles in the place normal people would be growing a beard and a moustache.
Malfoy appeared uncaring. He had his back to the door, so Harry couldn't see his expression. The only indication of his discomfort was the slightly stiff angle of his shoulders when he answered with a seemingly nonchalant shrug.
"He is that way, Greg. Just so far in the closet he is going to find himself in Narnia any minute now…" He was using the same flippant tone he frequently employed to annoy Harry – apparently, it worked on other people just as well. Harry gave him points for creativity and studiously ignored the small detail that Malfoy was using him as the butt of a joke. The thing he couldn't ignore was the all too familiar name: Greg... Well, that answered one question but turned up new ones that Harry hadn't expected.
"Isn't that Nirvana?" He was distracted from his forming doubts by the next question; the palpable confusion in that voice sounded familiar now that Harry knew where to place it, and served – strangely – to calm Harry's twitching nerves.
His decision made, Harry decided that he had heard enough. He chose that moment to enter the room as if he had just arrived.
"Hi Dra… um…Malfoy." He hoped that the change of his tone from casually cheerful to something more formal sounded less forced than he imagined. Acting was not among his strengths, but he had no better idea how to repair the obvious fractures on his cover. Malfoy blinked at him first, but he caught on as quickly as Harry had expected him to.
"Harry," he said, smiling, and damn if it didn't look real. "You can drop the formalities, we are among… friends."
Harry turned a curious glance towards the hooded figure – he didn’t have to fake there. Now that he knew what to expect, the features under the dark fabric seemed somewhat familiar, but he didn't dare dwell on them for long. The man had not introduced himself and Harry suspected it had been deliberate. He thought it would be better to let him think Harry hadn't figured out his identity.
Instead he turned away and made as if he were contemplating Malfoy's words and deciding to follow the advice. He stepped close to Malfoy and planted a chaste kiss on his lips as if per usual greeting. He felt Malfoy stiffen for an instant, but then he returned the kiss. As if an afterthought, Harry nodded in the direction of Greg, without turning fully around.
There was a flash of frustrated uncertainty reflecting in the shadowed eyes. Ten seconds later, they were alone. Malfoy gave Harry a surprised, appreciative glance, which inexplicably filled him with satisfaction. It only lasted for two seconds.
The instant the door closed on them, Malfoy put up the Privacy Bubble again. This time it was big enough to encompass the whole room. Harry had the impression his own questions were going to have to wait.
"Looks like we are suspected," Malfoy pronounced in a deliberately calm tone. "We might not have much time, so I suggest you start telling me everything you have been keeping from me."
There was a minute during which a silent fight of wills took place. Harry contemplated the many different answers he could give to that question. Finally, he went with the one he thought should be most obvious.
"I can't. It's classified."
As he expected, Malfoy got angry.
"I'm in this with you. I have the right to know!"
Harry resolved to keep a cool head. To his dismay, he found that it wasn’t that easy to do, with his common sense and his personal feelings fighting a war inside him. In the end, he had to remind himself of Ginny's warning.
"No. I wouldn't tell you everything even if it weren’t classified. I can't trust you enough to reveal sensitive information. I don't know your allegiances, but I'm pretty sure you're not devoted to my person or the justice system. Nothing better to prove that than the way you got into this in the first place." It sounded pathetic even to his own ears – as if he were trying to convince himself.
"I understand," Malfoy nodded, suddenly calm again. "You're saying that you are justified to keep your secrets, even if they might cost my life, because you're paying me to get you inside." Malfoy's voice was steadily rising until the forced calm faded, giving way to anger once again. "Well, fuck you, Harry! You know I'd have done it even without the money! I was under the assumption, after all, that you were after the murderer of my mother."
Harry noticed that Malfoy's tone had turned cold and he had – consciously or unconsciously – returned to the aristocratic drawl he had used during the first seven years of their acquaintance – instead of the less cultured street accent he had more recently acquired, most likely to be able to blend into his surroundings. But he still used his given name. Harry was not sure what that was supposed to indicate.
He sighed and ran the fingers of his left hand through his hair, wincing when they caught in a tangle.
"First off: I do want to catch Shacklebolt. He had caused the deaths of several of our people as well. But there is something more important going on, compared to which he's just a small fry." Malfoy was opening his mouth to argue, but Harry lifted a hand to cut him off. He thought brutal honesty would be his best course of action.
"And no, the reason I cannot tell you about it is not the fact you're accepting my money. It's the fact I don't know what you're going to do once someone else offers more in exchange for this information. The fact that you're living from making unlicensed potions and selling them to less than respectable members of society somehow doesn't indicate I can trust you further than my money's worth." He studiously ignored a small voice in his head that told him this wasn’t 'being honest', just plain brutal.
"I… thought we were past that!" Malfoy frowned.
"What?" Harry asked, bemused. "You thought we are now brothers-in-arms or what?"
"And what about last night?" Malfoy demanded, then he promptly looked as if he had already regretted having mentioned it.
"What about it?" Harry inquired cautiously. But even as he did, the small voice said Malfoy was right and whatever it had been, it should matter. Harry was trying to expel the errant thought as irrelevant.
Malfoy didn't appear to want to talk about it either; instead he changed the topic.
"Look, would it help if I told you that I don't plan to live the rest of my life like this? I… I want to be… someone respected; someone who doesn't need to steal and sell illegal potions to make ends meet. This… is just temporary until…" Malfoy's voice drifted off and his eyes seemed to be looking at some different place – perhaps a place in the future where he could be all that.
"So you admit to stealing? Like that golden cup last time I caught you? Which, I might add, was stolen two days later."
Malfoy blinked at the unexpected non-sequitur. Harry's question jerked him back from his reverie rather abruptly.
"I have an alibi," he said haughtily. "You won't be able to prove I was even near that cup when it was stolen."
Harry grimaced and made an exaggerated sigh of defeat. "I know. And if I ever catch you with that Time-Turner, I'll put you into Azkaban for ten years," he growled.
"Oh, come on, you don't mean that seriously. Besides, let me remind you of your Vow to protect me from the law if I ever got into trouble while I was working for you."
"You weren't working for me at the time."
The return to the familiar banter lightened the almost oppressive atmosphere from before. Malfoy's eyes crinkled at the corners. The silence that followed was almost relieved in contrast. It felt like a sin to break it, but Harry was acutely aware that they didn't have all the time in the world. Aside from the fact that he still couldn't risk fully trusting Malfoy before he got more information about him, now the question was starting to awaken his true interest.
"All right, let's say I believe you and in your intentions. Mind telling me what respectable and, without doubt, profitable future profession are you planning to take on?"
Malfoy's smile disappeared but the previous frown didn't return. Harry understood he wasn't angry with him, just being serious because he was talking about his plans for the future.
"I'm going to be a Potions master."
"A Potions master?"
Malfoy shrugged. "It wasn’t what I initially wanted to do, but I'm sort of out of other options."
Harry tried to sort out what he knew about becoming a Potions master. Malfoy's ambition seemed unrealistic; the realisation caused an uneasy twinge in Harry's stomach.
"Not to question your proficiency, Draco, but I thought you can only become Potions master after twelve years of apprenticeship. That seems a long time to go." He didn't want to add the other reason he didn't think it would work; after all, Malfoy must have noticed by now that his past would make it hard for him to find a master who would be willing to accept him.
"Not that long," Malfoy said casually, as if he hadn't noticed Harry drawing the obvious conclusions. "Only three more years."
Harry blinked. Then he counted back. There was only one possible explanation. Harry could see in Malfoy's eyes that he expected Harry to come to the right conclusion. And now looked like he very much wanted to take it all back.
"You do know he is wanted by the law," Harry inquired slowly, being careful not to say the name aloud, even in the protection of a Privacy Charm.
"I'm not going to expose him," was the instant response.
"I know. I'm not asking you to."
"You swear you won't use me to go after him!" Malfoy demanded stepping forward, his hand lifting hesitantly as if he wanted to grab the front of Harry's robes and hold him back by it if necessary.
"I'm not going anywhere near him." Harry shrugged, a small smile tugging on the corner of his lips. "I can't stand arctic cold and furry robes aren't really my style either." The smile disappeared abruptly when he remembered how much he hated lying to his best friends, even if technically, he only needed to keep it a secret from Ron.
"How…?" Malfoy asked, disbelieving. The hand was now hanging limply at his side.
Harry felt somewhat uncomfortable in his skin at the scrutiny. He tried shrugging off the feeling, but of course that never worked.
"The same way as you, I reckon," he said, hiding behind an apologetic grin. "It's useful to have a snowy owl at hand when sending confidential post through Siberia. Funny he always covers pages to describe the incompetence of his students in Dark Arts but he never even mentioned you once. I didn't know Potions apprenticeship could also be done as a correspondence course…"
Now it was Malfoy's turn to shrug. "He trusts me to know how to handle myself in a sticky situation. And it isn't as if I had any other choice. I never knew… he's teaching Dark Arts now."
"Only when his headmaster's duties leave him enough time," Harry smiled wryly. He'd long given up hope to ever understand it: they hated each other passionately, but the man still took the time to write him every month, like clockwork, and regale him with a detailed account of every great deed he participated in and every small piece of career advance he had achieved since the last time, whether Harry was interested or not. Harry was starting to think he would be expected to write his memoirs after his death.
"And how do you expect to sit your exams? You're not allowed to leave the country, so you can't go where he is. I thought you'd have to bring recommendations from your master if he is not available, but the Ministry is not likely to accept a reference from someone who is on the list of wanted criminals. In fact, you might even get into trouble for not having reported his whereabouts."
"I know. Don't worry, I have already taken care of that." There was a hint of a smirk on Malfoy's lips. "I have an Auror at my beck and call who is going to vouch for me."
"An Auror…?" Realisation slowly dawned on Harry. "You…!"
Suddenly Harry found the whole situation immensely funny. He didn't quite understand it; he thought he should be feeling angry.
"Based on the previous pattern, I take it that the only thing you have to ensure is to be working for me at the time."
Malfoy smirked and winked at him. "Oh, I'm sure I can find something to do for you while I'm at it."
Then he paused and his brows came together, deepening a vertical frown line between them. "That is, if you can avoid getting yourself killed until then. Now, are you going to finally tell me what you needed me to do this research for? I thought… but these parchments have nothing to do with Kingsley Shacklebolt. Except if you were going to suggest that he is either fallen victim to or is working for this Renfield fellow, but I rather think you're not. Right?" That last word was pronounced with an unusual care on emphasis, daring Harry to contradict the statement.
Harry remained silent.
"Fine, be like that," Malfoy spat. "I thought catching Shacklebolt was just as important to you as it was to me. He sold out several members of your precious Order, after all."
Harry blinked as Malfoy's words forced him to remember. His throat felt strangely constricted with old pain being dragged up again; pain of having been confronted with the death of people who had been important to him, even if he hadn’t known all of them that well. They had been a part of what he had seen as his refuge, his security blanket during dangerous times of war. To have witnessed it being shredded so easily had been no less of a shock than Dumbledore's death. It had been an unavoidable sacrifice. Fortunately, he hadn't let himself be held back by grief for too long.
"I want to catch him as well," Harry answered finally, not being able to keep the bitter note out of his voice.
According to the files he had dug up with painstaking secrecy throughout the past years, the Ministry had not been overly bothered by the deaths of a couple of vigilantes. Quite the opposite in fact: there had been an unspoken relief between the lines of those reports that said that if the Order of the Phoenix got eradicated to the last member, it would be just one problem less the Ministry had to deal with. Harry had been seething for weeks after that discovery – no, actually, he had never stopped feeling that way; he had just successfully buried it deep, under tons of problems concerning his work and private life.
"So what is your problem? Surely, you couldn’t have forgotten that he practically killed your mates – murdered my mother! Though the latter might not mean much to you."
Harry was momentarily at a loss in the face of Malfoy's sudden emotional outburst. It wasn't the admission of grief that threw him but the way Malfoy had obviously expected Harry to understand, and the hurt he had allowed him to see when Harry had failed to show sympathy. Harry was not ready to deal with the sudden change that seemed to have occurred some time during the past few days. So of course, his first automatic response was delivered in self-defence, aimed at restoring the familiar distance between them.
"Technically, he didn’t murder your mother. He killed her in the line of duty when she drew her wand on one of the other Aurors sent to arrest her." He mentally winced when he realised how that had sounded. He wondered why he wasn’t able to feel any satisfaction that he had succeeded in hurting Malfoy, as it was obvious he had.
"Well, Potter, that's straight talk at least." Malfoy's tone was bitter. "I should have known better than to think that anything had changed just because of a little romp between the sheets. You never gave a shite for people like me and my mother, but I didn’t think you'd be capable of using me the way… the way…" Then he abruptly stopped.
Harry looked up at him sharply, his patience at its end, especially because what Malfoy was accusing him with just… just wasn't true. And why did Malfoy think he was the only one who could be hurt?
"The way you and your likes would have done, had the situation been reversed? You thought I was better than that? What? Saint Potter? Golden Boy of Gryffindor?" It was strange to hear that cynical tone from his own mouth. As if his and Malfoy's roles had been reversed.
Harry could see Malfoy's Adam's apple bobbing up and down. He sneaked a brief glance at Harry, but his lips remained firmly closed, pressed together into a thin line. Harry suddenly felt tired of it all.
"Don't come to me with this 'Saint Potter' crap," he said slowly. "That sort of thing only ever existed in your mind. It's what you made me out to be, not what I am… or ever was."
Malfoy blinked, his whole frame trembling with annoyance. Then the trembling subsided at once, and he shook his head, snorting. It hadn't been clear who the snort was meant for: himself or Harry.
Harry thought that if Malfoy wanted to believe in the pretty ideal of inherent goodness in a person of his own choosing it was his own fault when he got disillusioned, not said person's. Apparently, big bad Slytherins needed those ideals just as much as goody-goody Gryffindors, even if it was just to use them as reference to make finding their designated place on the 'dark side' of the universe easier. Harry didn’t feel like further accommodating Malfoy's delusions out of the goodness of his heart. He didn’t care what Malfoy thought of him, he said to himself, even though a small voice of reason in the back of his mind seemed adamant to refute that.
"Are you trying to endear yourself to me with this shite?" Malfoy asked, finally turning face to face with Harry. Harry was taken aback by the apparent anger in his eyes. "Do you think I'll suddenly fall in line with your cause if you show me that we are more similar than I thought? Well, bully for you, Potter, because I don't. I want my revenge, whether you're part of it or not." It was a good indication of his state of mind that, for the first time that day, he slipped up over Harry's name.
"Don't you understand? This thing is a lot bigger than personal revenge! Sure, I want him dead, too. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, as they say. But my priorities are with the living, not the dead."
"As are mine," Malfoy said after a second's silence. His voice was oddly muted. "I don't want him dead, just to suffer. And not for what he did to my mother. For what he did to me by taking her away from me."
Harry shook his head, feeling bitterness surging up his oesophagus and seeping into his voice.
"If you want him to suffer, Draco, then you'll have to kill his daughter. That was about the only thing that mattered to him, last time I saw him."
Malfoy stayed silent. Apparently, he didn’t know how to answer to that. He took a deep breath and then pushed it out, slowly and noisily.
"All right," he murmured in a tone that said he was far from having closed the topic but he was willing to let it slide for now. "How about we start talking about things that matter here and now Harry." Harry thought this was as close to a voiced peace offering he would ever get from him. There had been a note of what he had assumed to be impatience in the question, but after having replayed it in his mind, he thought it sounded closer to worry.
That instantly tripped his alarms.
"You found something in those documents," he stated. It didn't need to be a question. "All right. Tell me what you discovered and I'll tell you what I can," he said finally.
He knew he was making his decision too hastily, but a nagging worry in the back of his mind, that had been there ever since he had returned and found Malfoy with company, warned him against losing more time with pointless squabbles.
Malfoy nodded tightly and stepped to the bookshelf to extract the folder from between two books on the second lowest level. He had most likely hidden it there when Greg had appeared at his door.
"I did discover something, all right. This folder is full of potions whose main component is human blood. I haven't seen anything like these before, except in ancient texts from the time when it was perfectly permissible to use one's neighbours as involuntary test objects. The only thing I can tell with certainty is that they are Dark." Malfoy started his hasty account sounding irritated still, but by the time he launched into an explanation, the note of previously displayed anger was gone from his voice and had been replaced by detached professionalism.
"One stack of the parchments contains research notes and test reports of a potion whose aim is to gain complete control over a person."
Malfoy shook his head. "No, it's different; it goes a lot further than that: the blood used in it assures that the target has no chance of ever breaking free. The potion's effect only ends if either the controller or the controlled person dies – it's usually the latter. It works differently as well. Firstly, the target doesn’t have to be present for it to start affecting him. It is enough if there is a sample of his blood in the potion. The one who wants control then drinks it, and the target is under the influence of the spell. Secondly, the target's mind is completely controlled. All of the personality and even the most basic thoughts are wiped out, and what you get is basically only a hull of flesh and bones to be directed at the controller's will: like a puppet on strings."
"Well, shite," Harry whispered.
"Quite. At least, if they use the strongest type because there are other versions of the potion with weaker effect. On the other hand, the potion cannot be used as a substitute for Imperius. It's not made for subtly manipulating people into doing things without their acquaintances discovering that they are controlled. Victims of Imperius retain their normal state of mind in every other aspect of their lives."
"Not of this potion, though?" Harry asked, frowning.
"No. Additionally, the controller must be 'in control' all the time in order to sustain even basic body functions of the controlled person. Not things like breathing, but definitely sleeping and eating. It is as though the person in control slips out of his body and into another. He cannot stay longer than a few days without risking his own body dying from dehydration or lack of nutrition, or have someone tending it in his absence. Controlling another person like that takes a big toll on the system. I think it was only rarely used even when the spell was still practiced. That's why I haven't seen any mention of it before today."
"It isn't practiced anymore?"
"Not that I know of, and I have been studying Potions for nearly fifteen years. Believe me, I would know. The references in the folder are from different tomes and have only limited information about the original potion. Whoever did the work of finding and piecing all this together has done a thorough job. But, knowing all the recriminations, I don't think it would have been of much real use to them."
"I wouldn't dismiss it so quickly. Someone went to a lot of trouble to gather all these pieces of information." Harry said, frowning and rubbing his temples. He wished for some coffee or even some of Malfoy's funny tasting tea. "You said one stack of the parchments. What about the rest? Anything interesting in there?"
"Oh, definitely interesting. For example, I found a study about using vampiric blood to create a potion that mimics a vampire's ability to have access to the mind of a person whose blood they consumed."
"Let me guess, the consumer ends up controlling this person?"
"Not necessarily. But they can read their thoughts, emotions and perceive what their senses take in. Mind control only occurs if the victim has a weak will. But don't worry, that isn’t the same as being crap in Occlumency," Malfoy added flippantly, but the humour of it fell flat in face of these revelations.
"Anything else?" Harry growled.
"Incomplete research on other blood-based potions: one to render the person whose blood was taken dependant on the consumer – most likely used in generating master-slave bonds; one to bodily incapacitate the victim; there was even one to create a double of the victim out of a toad – ever wonder why your doppelganger-tale has been so easily believed?"
Harry shook his head, frowning. He couldn’t even get irritated with Malfoy, because the fact that he wasn’t making a real effort to rib him made it pointless. In fact, now that he really looked, Malfoy was acting as if he was just going through the motions for the sake of preserving normalcy, not because he felt like it. The straight line between his brows hadn't evened out one smidgen ever since he had started talking about his discoveries. Harry didn’t like it.
"There is something you're not telling me."
"Really?" Malfoy asked, his tone mocking. "And here I thought I was the only one left in the dark."
Harry was already reaching for the front of Malfoy's collar to yank him to his feet when he realised that he had been tricked. Malfoy had brandished a small dagger from somewhere – presumably he had had it hidden in his sleeve all this time. He gripped Harry's wrist with the other hand and held it in place. The slim, silver blade came down suddenly on his forearm to make a neat cut, then fell onto the carpet with a metallic flash when Malfoy dropped it right away.
Blood blossomed along the thin line, trickling down Harry's arm to his elbow. Harry made a belated attempt then to free himself, but the grip on his arm was stronger than he had expected. He wasn’t able to prevent Malfoy from curling his fingers around the wound after which he murmured a quick incantation. He didn’t even bother to use his wand. Harry only knew it had been a spell because he felt the short sting of pain in and around the wound. He finally managed to escape the unexpectedly firm hold, though only because Malfoy let him go.
Harry felt the urge to get out his wand and hex Malfoy into next Sunday, but the fact that neither Mad-Eye's Dark-detector nor the standard Dark protection vaccination in his blood had reacted violently to the spell helped him keep a cool head.
"What the hell was that?" he hissed furiously, dabbling blood with his robe sleeve, since it was already ruined.
Malfoy's eyes were fixed on the still bleeding cut. He looked shaken but also relieved.
"A Healing Charm."
"And what for? It seems to defeat the purpose if you only cut me to heal me afterwards, Draco. Besides, it didn't work." Harry frowned at the still bleeding wound on his skin, then fixed it with a flick of his wand and a muttered incantation.
"And be glad for that," Malfoy returned on a low, solemn voice. "It's only supposed to work if you're under the influence of that controlling potion. Compensates for the fact that the controller cannot feel the controlled body and thus, might be prone to cause harm to it."
Harry took several seconds to ingest the information, then rolled his eyes.
"I could have told you I'm not. I'm not mad enough to come here without having set up appropriate wards."
Malfoy laughed at that, though it came out a bit wan.
"Oh, right, Harry. Next time I'll let you tell me if you're being controlled. Except, you won't be able to, because you are being controlled…" Harry rolled his eyes again, but before he could have opened his mouth, Malfoy continued. "That little logical glitch aside, your wards wouldn’t have been of any use. The potion is Dark, but you're not the one who has to consume it; you're just the one who donated the blood. There was a reason why it was created, even despite all those drawbacks. It's virtually undetectable – just like all the other ones within that stack of parchments."
Harry nodded slowly, taking in Malfoy's words and wondering how close this dangerous knowledge had come to being realised. He briefly considered the option that Malfoy could be a victim, but then what reason would he have to reveal all this to him? He replayed the words once more in his head and something different caught his attention.
"You said I 'donated the blood'. It didn’t sound like you were simply describing a possibility," he said evenly.
Malfoy didn’t answer immediately. Instead he stood up and pulled out a hastily folded parchment from the inner pocket of his robes. Harry recognised it as the one Malfoy had taken from the office last night. He accepted it from Malfoy with a curious glance, discovering that it was an official report of trespass in the Auror Headquarters' medical room and stolen blood samples. His first thought was to wonder how this sort of document had landed on that particular table. To his knowledge, the Minister's advisory staff had neither business nor authorisation to look into matters of security. Harry had the suspicion that it had been there to be quietly disposed of. That thought also made him wonder what had made Malfoy think that it could become important, since he could hardly have known. He skimmed through the paragraphs and found a list of people whose blood samples had been reported missing on the morning following the trespass. That was when he spotted the significance.
His own name was on the list.
Which meant, Malfoy had had a good reason to think his blood had been used for a potion. The full implications of that conclusion dawned on him when he looked up from his reading and saw the other wizard looking at him with suspicion in his eyes.
"Let me guess, you haven’t found any means to test for the other potions," Harry murmured.
Malfoy silently shook his head.
He didn't have time to elaborate, though, because in the next second, the door to their room clicked open, revealing Lucy standing on the doorstep, head cocked to the side and wearing an inscrutable smile on her face. She waved her wand, and Malfoy's Privacy Charm disappeared with a small pop.