Title: At The Ashwinder, Part 1
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, implied: Vince/Greg, Vince/Greg/Weasley twins, Ron/Hermione
Summary: Harry’s life was predictable until Draco came back.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Humor, mystery, and a cameo by leather pants.
Word Count: ~10,900
Author's Notes: Thanks to E. for beta, and happy hd_holidays Last Hurrah, jairissa! I think this covers most of your requests.
“Can’t I just stay in for one night?” Draco pleaded. “All I want is for once to spend my first Saturday evening at home playing chess with my Mother!”
“You’re the public face of our family,” his mother said sternly. “You’ve got to present a proper image.”
“Boozing and dancing with horny bimbos is hardly a proper Malfoy image,” Draco snapped, slouching further into the chair. “Why can’t YOU do it?”
“If you’re out with these “bimbos”, then you’re clearly not busy organizing Death Eater resurgences,” she answered. “They’re not worried about me,” she added with a smirk, “And bimbos are hardly my style.”
“Nor mine, Mother,” Draco answered wearily.
His mother sat on the arm and carded her hand through his hair, smiling gently.
“Don’t worry,” she said absently, fluffing his fringe. “Vince and Greg will be happy to help.”
Draco clutched his head and groaned.
“Is this really necessary?” Harry scrunched down in the chair, trying not to flinch as Hermione loomed over him.
“It’s a moral imperative,” she said, dragging the brush through his unruly hair. “You can’t plead work every time- I know there’s not that much going on in the Auror department these days.”
“But we’re still looking for Death Eaters- they’re OW!” Harry grabbed at his head protectively.
“It’s not my fault if you let Pigwidgeon nest in your hair,” Hermione said testily, waving the brush for emphasis. “Now hold still!”
Harry didn’t move his hands.
“Isn’t there a spell for this?” he asked plaintively.
“If there were I’d know about it,” Hermione snapped. She yanked Harry’s hands away. “Now quit squirming.”
Harry looked up at her through his fringe, eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Where exactly am I going to go?”
The tug on his hair eased.
“You’ll have fun,” Hermione said crisply, straightening his collar. “Luna and the twins will make sure of it.”
“But where are we going?” His eyebrows crept down dangerously.
Hermione smiled. “Out.”
Draco barely stumbled as his feet hit the cobbles of the public Apparition point outside of The Ashwinder, the current hot club in the rebuilt Diagon Alley. He clenched his arms tightly around his companions’ waists to steady himself.
“Draco, you’re groping,” a high-pitched voice hissed reproachfully into his left ear. The woman detached herself and adjusted her dress, squishing her ample breasts back into position under the precariously straining fabric and flipping her blonde hair back over her shoulders. “At least wait until there’s an audience.”
He sighed. “This hurts me more than it hurts you, believe me.”
The other (equally blonde) woman smirked and snuggled into Draco’s right side. “Don’t pretend you didn’t love it too, sweetie,” she cooed, batting her extraordinarily long eyelashes.
Draco rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically, then tucked both women under his arms again.
“Come on girls,” he said, steering them towards the entrance. “It’s time for the show.”
Harry stared moodily at his drink, fidgeting with his too-small semi-sheer robes, borrowed from Fred and George’s stash. He hadn’t even realized they made robes like this. He wiggled his arm for a moment, fascinated by the play of light glinting along the fabric, before returning to glare at the drink.
At least half the wizarding world seemed to be here- he recognized lots of ministry officials and pro Quidditch players, and had already exchanged uncomfortable handshakes with several members of the Auror department. He could have gone his entire life without knowing what his boss Shacklebolt looked like in leopard print.
His erstwhile companions were off dancing again, the three of them happily oblivious to the spectacle they were creating. Luna generally seemed to enjoy flailing about by herself like a dying bug, while the twins mainly danced with each other around her.
Harry dared another peek, and quickly wished he hadn’t. They were imitating Muggle robots now, which was only marginally better than the magically-assisted “break dancing” they’d tried earlier. Safer, though- he’d insisted on sitting down after healing the scrapes and bruises he’d accumulated during that unfortunate episode. The rest of the crowd had quickly learned to give the group plenty of space, managing to avoid further collisions.
He shook his head, taking another drink in a failed attempt to remove the memory. He was going to hex Hermione through the wall if she suggested anything like this again. Ever. Maybe he could just escape- his friends were certainly distracted enough.
Harry took a last gulp, peeked towards the door to evaluate his escape route, and promptly choked on his drink.
Draco Malfoy was standing in the entryway with a matched pair of giggling, scantily-clad women draped over him. Malfoy shook them off just long enough to discard his cloak, and scanned the room with a sneer as they snuggled back into place on either side. The blonde trio oozed towards the dance floor, trailing covetous stares and outright leers in their wake.
Harry ducked back into the shadows of the booth, frantically wiping the spill off his robes as he tried to keep an eye on Malfoy and his literal hangers-on. Trust Malfoy to have an actual entourage- it was almost like Hogwarts, but with slinkier clothing and a bass-heavy soundtrack.
Malfoy’s group found the only open spot on the dance floor- directly adjacent to Luna and the twins. Harry tensed, his hand automatically sliding towards his wand, but Malfoy turned his back and completely ignored the twins, who seemed happy to return the favor.
He rolled his eyes and signaled for a refill, putting his boots up on the opposite seat and leaning back against the wall of the booth and closing his eyes with a sigh. There was no way he could leave now- if Malfoy caused trouble he’d better be around to help.
Another drink levitated over from the bar and settled in front of him with a gentle thunk. Harry opened his eyes at the sound and fished out the small pink wizard hat on a stick, nibbling at the rum-soaked pineapple on the end as his eyes flitted back towards the dance floor.
Fred and George were still doing their jerky robot dance, while Malfoy… Harry’s internal monologue came to a screeching halt as he tried to match Malfoy’s actions to anything reasonable. He realized his mouth was gaping open, and closed it with a snap.
Malfoy had finally shed his coating of blonde twins to reveal the most indecent robes Harry had ever seen on a wizard. They were dark green, sparkly, obscenely tight, and showed entirely too much of Malfoy’s pale, smooth, glistening skin. The prat seemed to have waxed his chest and smeared it with glitter, and must have used some illegal charms- nobody could move that sinuously with normal human joints.
Harry wrenched his gaze away, and found his eyes following the tight green cloth downward, where it clung to the man’s narrow waist, skimming around his arse before flowing outward.
Malfoy twisted again and spun, the bottom half of his robes flaring outward to reveal a pair of thigh-high slits and almost equally high boots covering his skinny legs to the knee. Harry twitched then gave a pained yelp and dropped the wizard hat, clutching his stabbed cheek.
He gave the writhing, twirling Malfoy a glare before examining the rest of the group. The blonde twins were grinding against each other, engaged in a fairly passionate kiss that was starting to attract even more attention. Even Fred and George seemed interested, and they sidled closer while maintaining their strange jerky movements. Only Luna seemed immune to the newcomers’ effect, content to spin and wave in her own private bubble.
Maybe he could lure the twins out before they started hitting on Malfoy’s women and the hexes started to fly… and maybe everything the Quibbler printed was 100% true. Harry leaned on the table and pillowed his head on his arms with a groan. This was a complete train wreck. He started counting, breathing in and out with measured speed, the calming ritual he’d done so many times over the last several years.
“Potter.” The voice was right over his table, and Harry shot upright to see Malfoy smirking at him, arms crossed.
“What do you want?” he asked wearily.
Malfoy reached over and grabbed Harry’s drink, holding it up to the light critically. “I should have known you’d like the girly drinks, Potter,” he said, eyebrows crawling upwards. “You’re definitely the type.”
Harry scowled. “What’s that supposed to mean?” He reached for his glass, but Malfoy shifted out of his reach. “Give it back.”
“I’d say that’s obvious, Potter,” Malfoy said with a grin. He drained Harry’s drink in one go, dropped the glass back down on the table, and turned to examine the dance floor again.
“Prat,” Harry growled at Malfoy’s back. He carefully looked away from Malfoy’s shiny arse and out at the rest of the club, tracing the other man’s gaze.
The Weasley twins had attached themselves to Malfoy’s blonde twins, and the four of them were bumping and grinding with enthusiasm completely out of time with the music. “Oh, shit,” he breathed, stealing a glance back at Malfoy, who twirled back towards him.
“Calm down, Potter,” he said, the left corner of his mouth skating upwards. “They’re just decoration.”
Harry stared at him suspiciously, but Malfoy just rolled his eyes. “Thanks for the drink, Potter,” He said, giving Harry a once-over. “And nice shirt.”
Harry stared down at the shimmery fabric in confusion, looking back up as Malfoy made his way back across the dance floor.
What the hell was going on?
What the bloody hell was going on?
Draco hadn’t meant to say nearly so much to Potter, but it was just so much fun to torment the man. It was still just as easy as it had been back at Hogwarts five years ago- the time apart had hardly changed things at all.
He wound around the sweating dancers, smiling politely but evading any attempt to pull him off course.
Of course, Potter was still the same slow, poorly-socialized git he’d always been, but he’d clearly grown up in the years Draco had been abroad. Potter was still clearly wearing someone else’s clothes, he thought with a smirk, but at least these actually fit.
Draco glanced back across the club to see Potter glaring after him, apparently still dazed, and smiled to himself. Played right, this evening could be fun.
Instead of fighting through the press around the still-grinding twins- who would have guessed?- he slid over to Lovegood, grabbed a hand, and twirled her.
“Malfoy, you’re back!” she exclaimed enthusiastically, dancing a weird counterpoint to his moves. “Don’t you just love this song?”
Draco couldn’t really tell the thumping bass apart from any of the previous music, but nodded and continued dancing, taking care to keep his best side towards Potter. The boy wasn’t going to know what hit him.
“Pity you couldn’t get Harry to dance,” she continued, cocking her head at him, “But at least your twins seem to get along well with ours. What a nice surprise!”
“You have no idea,” he said dryly. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to check on the girls.”
Another spin and he released Lovegood to her own devices, and wriggled through the crowd towards the writhing blonde-and-ginger mass at its center. Placing a loud smack on the nearest piece of Weasley ass, he cleared a path into the fray.
“Sorry Weasley,” Draco said with a smirk, “I’ll be taking these girls back for a moment.” He flicked his eyebrows up apologetically. “It’s about that time.”
The women immediately reattached themselves to his sides, waving over his shoulder to the Weasley twins as he steered them off the floor towards the rear of the club.
“I leave you alone for a few minutes and find you both covered in Weasels,” he muttered. “What happened to your standards?”
A hot breath of suppressed laughter hit his right ear. “Who was off flirting with Potter?” a matching voice murmured into his left ear. “You’re hardly one to talk.”
“I was just playing with him,” Draco retorted. “At least he’s somewhat good looking- all the Weasleys are scrawny.”
Another throaty laugh, and a hand running down his spine made him shiver. “Again, you’re hardly one to talk, Draco.”
“Enough, wench,” he said with a sigh, earning him a playful slap on the cheek. “It’s time.”
He steered them behind some draperies, scanned the small space warily, then pulled a flask out of a pocket in his robes.
“Explain to me again why witch robes don’t have pockets?” he asked, passing the flask to the woman on his right. “It’s not as if you couldn’t add them, or at least stuff things in there.” He gestured vaguely toward his companion’s chest.
She drank, passed it on, and smiled sweetly. “Because, Draco darling, that’s what you’re for.”
“There’s not enough room in here for much else,” The other woman said, jiggling her breasts at him as she upended the flask.
Draco rolled his eyes and retrieved his bottle. “That’s quite enough, ladies; I’ll let you get back to your scrawny Weasels now.”
They giggled, hands entwined, and the nearest gave him a peck on the cheek.
He was about to pocket the flask in his pocket when with a loud BANG everything went blank.
Malfoy was up to no good- Harry could almost smell it on him. Well, somewhere under the clinging smell of women’s perfume and the fruity rum drink he’d stolen from Harry, but it was still clear to anyone with half a brain. Harry was pretty sure he’d about that much left after this godawful disaster of a night out, and years of Auror training plus his previous history with Malfoy meant… well.
It meant he knew what he was doing, and that Malfoy was Up To Something. Maybe nothing evil, but certainly something bad, and probably Dark and barely legal.
The Ministry had officially cleared Malfoy of any wrongdoing during the war, but Harry knew the Ferret had to be doing something illicit. He glared, following the insufferable git as he paraded across the dance floor.
Why was he be back in London now, after all these years? What was he doing here in this ridiculous posh club, drinking Harry’s alcohol, dancing with Harry’s friends, wriggling his arse in those impossibly tight sparkly robes… Harry shook his head vigorously and rubbed his temples for a few moments before resuming his surveillance.
One of the Weasleys was staring at Malfoy in annoyed shock- what had the prat done? He’d totally missed it.
Oh, he was collecting his bimbo entourage and heading purposefully towards the back of the club. Maybe they had a stash of Muggle drugs- the Aurors had been finding more of this garbage in Wizarding clubs of late, and Malfoy seemed exactly the type. He’d probably smuggled them in from wherever he was lurking in Europe for so long.
Harry got up and slid towards the wall, muttering a glamour charm under his breath, and started working his way around the edge of the club towards Malfoy.
The crowd was thick and it took him some time to reach the back of the room. Malfoy’s party had disappeared behind some drapery, so Harry reached into his pocket for an Extendible Ear and sidled towards the curtain. He was almost in position when there was a loud CRACK, and a series of dull thuds. He broke into a sprint.
Shoving the last few clubgoers aside, he covered the remaining distance in seconds and whipped aside the curtain, wand out. Malfoy was sprawled face-down across the legs of his female companions, who were both clearly unconscious.
A blur of leopard print and Kingsley was by his side, trailing several other Aurors in his wake. “Check them,” he ordered, levitating a small silver flask from Malfoy’s hand.
Harry rolled Malfoy over, wincing as his head bounced off the smooth wood of the dance floor. There was a flash of light and some muffled yelling from behind his shoulder, and he looked over to see Shacklebolt setting up wards around them. Whatever- he didn’t need the distraction. Harry checked for a pulse, then waved his wand over Malfoy’s chest in the standard field scan.
Probably not waxing, a part of his brain suggested dispassionately- the skin was far too smooth, and waxing was a Muggle thing. There was probably a really good Dark spell for this, or maybe Malfoy men were naturally hairless… Harry quashed that thought, and looked up at Shacklebolt.
“He’ll be OK,” he said, glancing across at Binks and Addams hovering over the women, both of whom gave a thumbs-up.
“Looks like something blew up in their faces,” Shacklebolt said grimly. “Bring them in.”
“Keep them separate, and question them when they wake up. I’ll get this tested.” He tucked dropped the flask into a matching leopard print bag and gave the scene a final glare before spinning on his heel and Disapparating.
Harry sighed in relief. He felt better already- Auror work was much easier than socializing. You always knew where you stood with the law, while dancing could only be described as an unmitigated disaster.
He waved apologetically across the room. “See you lot tomorrow,” he yelled to Luna, his words muffled by the magical barrier separating them.
She smiled and waved back, while Fred (Or maybe George? He couldn’t tell for sure) made a face and flipped him the bird.
Harry grimaced and lifted Malfoy with an arm under his knees and shoulders. Levitation charms wouldn’t do for Side-Along Apparition with an unconscious body- he had to do it the old-fashioned way. Malfoy’s head lolled against Harry’s elbow as he mumbled a quick lightening charm, lurched to his feet, and Disapparated.
The club winked out, replaced by the Auror Apparition point. The witch on duty flicked over a badge labeled “D. Malfoy, Room 22B, unconscious suspect”, and attached it to Malfoy’s green robes with a sticking charm and a disapproving glare.
Harry glared back at her, and shuffled down the hall to room 22B.
He deposited Malfoy on the cot, and stared for a moment. There was already a large bruise blossoming on Malfoy’s cheekbone, florid against the pale skin. He’d lost a few buttons from his robes, managing to expose even more chest.
Harry sighed, and unlaced and removed those ridiculous boots before tugging the robes back together as best he could. He pulled the blanket over Malfoy’s prone form. After a moment’s hesitation transfigured it to softer wool, and tucked it in around the other man’s shoulders.
He held Malfoy’s fringe back with one hand, leaned in close, and cast a quick healing charm. He was still staring at now-clear skin, transfixed, when Malfoy’s eyes flickered open.
Draco woke slowly, a bit groggy, and was pleased to see some tousled brown hair swim into focus, and a pair of green eyes staring directly into his.
He didn’t remember much, but last night must have been pretty good. He lazily flung an arm around the fellow’s neck, dragging him into a long, slow kiss, eyes drifting shut again as he felt his body respond.
A hand threaded through his hair, and Draco moaned appreciatively, sliding his tongue leisurely into the other man’s open mouth, tasting sweetness and alcohol. He wriggled his other hand down between them, rubbing firmly against the other man’s stiffening cock.
The hand tightened in his hair, pulling his head back, as the other man growled. “Mmmpfhy!”
That didn’t sound right; he dropped back onto the bed, and peered upwards.
“Potter?!?” He yelped. “What did we…” Shit, he didn’t remember any of this.
Realization dawned, and he glared at Potter furiously. “Oh my god, you drugged my drink.”
Potter stared at him, brows furrowed. “What were you trying to do, Malfoy?” he asked.
“What in the bloody hell are you trying to do?” Draco spat. “Did you actually attack me?”
“You must have been playing with seriously illegal stuff,” Potter said, pressing Draco’s shoulder into the mattress. “Where did you get it?”
“What?” Draco looked about frantically, taking in the sparse décor of the holding room. “I haven’t done anything- let me out of here.”
“Shut it, Malfoy,” Potter said, leaning back and looking suddenly tired. “We’re testing your flask- whatever illegal potion you used to drug those girls, we’ll know soon. That will be the end of it.”
Draco stared at him for a moment, then began to giggle hysterically. Potter stared at him nervously, probably worried that Draco was descending into a drug-crazed frenzy. Or maybe about snog him again.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” he choked out. “It’s fucking Polyjuice, not some freakish Muggle drug.”
Potter smiled bleakly. “Sounds like you’re ready to see Shacklebolt.”
Draco snickered. “Only if he’s still impersonating a leopard. What time is it?”
“Half-past one,” Potter said with a frown.
“Brilliant.” Draco sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and paused for a moment for the room to stop spinning. He wiped his mouth, and gave Potter a broad smile. “Let’s go. I want to check on the girls, too.”
Potter gave him a suspicious look.
“I’m worried about them,” Draco said innocently, fighting to keep the smirk off his face. “They’ll be scared to death if they wake up to a pack of Aurors.”
“You seemed happy enough,” Potter growled.
“That’s because you drugged and assaulted me,” he said smoothly. “Let’s go.”
“I didn’t…” Potter rolled his eyes and pulled out his wand, pointing it at Draco. “Fine. Just move it.”
Harry followed Malfoy down the hall, wand pointed at the other man’s back, his head spinning.
Malfoy had kissed him, and Harry had liked it. A lot. Fuck.
Malfoy was also drugging floozies with weird modified Muggle drugs smuggled from the continent, and the mess had blown up in his face. Was he trying to manipulate Harry into doing something terminally stupid? If so, it was probably working.
He shook his head, and prodded Malfoy’s shoulder with his wand. “Turn left here.”
Shacklebolt was sitting behind his desk, still dressed in his robes from the club. He looked up from a pile of parchment, and glared at Malfoy.
“Has he confessed yet?” He asked, still staring hard at Malfoy. “The women are still out cold. I want to know what he did to them.”
“Absolutely nothing,” Malfoy snapped, bristling. “I’ve no idea who knocked them out- let me remind you that I was attacked as well!”
“But you were carrying the drug that knocked everyone out,” Shacklebolt countered. “We’ll know what it is shortly.”
Malfoy laughed humorlessly. “That had nothing to do with it,” he muttered. “It’s just Polyjuice, and I didn’t even take any.”
“But you were about to force it on those unsuspecting women?” Shacklebolt roared, rising out of his chair.
Malfoy’s eyes flashed, and he opened his mouth to retort, but Harry stepped between the two men, grabbing Malfoy by the arm.
“Let’s see how they’re doing,” he said, dragging Malfoy towards the doorway.
“What were you thinking,” he hissed. “You don’t want Shacklebolt angry.”
“He’s an ignorant bastard,” Malfoy whispered back. “You all are. I’m being framed.”
“What’s that?” Shacklebolt asked, catching up with them in the hallway.
“I was just admiring your fashion sense,” Malfoy answered with a smirk.
Shacklebolt scowled, and Harry wrenched at Malfoy’s arm to keep him moving down the hall.
They looked up at the sound to see Binks backed into the hall ahead of them, his shaking wand pointed into the room.
“She’s… he’s... ” he stammered, twitching as Harry and Shacklebolt shouldered past him into the room, wands drawn.
Harry stared, appalled, while Shacklebolt let loose a string of muffled obscenities.
Malfoy scooted into the room behind them, and burst into another fit of giggles. “Hi Vince,” he chirped, waving. “Nice blanket.”
Poor Vince was sitting on the bed staring around in shock, bits of red dress hanging off him in shreds, his bits barely covered by the cheap scratchy-looking blanket.
Potter stood gawking like the socially inept cretin that he was, while Shacklebolt looked ready to curse him where he sat.
“See?” Draco said, sitting on the bed by Vince and tucking the blanket in around his hips. “Polyjuice. All consensual, with commercially available hair, so we’ve done nothing wrong.”
Vince nodded, picking at the blanket. “What he said,” he mumbled, looking to Draco for help. “Where’s Greg? What happened?”
Draco put a protective arm around Vince’s shoulders, and looked up at the Aurors defiantly. “Will you let us go now, or will I be contacting my solicitor?”
Potter was still silent, his gaze flickering between Draco and Vince.
“We’ll see about that,” Shacklebolt growled. “They’d better have the results on that potion.”
He stalked out, leaving the Potter still staring uncomfortably.
“Wha…” Potter was never very quick, but this situation was clearly too much for him. Draco smiled.
“Are the two of you…” he paused again, then jumped in with both feet, his brow furrowed earnestly. “Are you two together?”
Draco cocked an eyebrow and smiled mischievously.
“What do you mean, Potter?” he asked innocently. “We’re certainly both going to mount a united front against unjust imprisonment. You won’t be able to split our allegiances that easily.”
Potter looked even more uncomfortable. “Malfoy…”
Draco waggled his eyebrows at him and smirked.
“Greg and I just went out with Draco tonight to keep him company,” Vince cut in, completely ruining the moment.
Draco shot him a glare.
“Forget it, Draco,” Vince sighed, rolling his eyes. “Play whatever games you want later; I just want to find Greg and go home.”
“But why were you Polyjuiced as girls?” Potter asked. “That’s just weird.”
Draco shifted his glare to Potter, who unfortunately didn’t seem to notice.
“We were trying to help Draco fit back into Wizarding society,” Vince explained. “We’re about the only ones he could trust.”
“But… girls?” Potter clearly had a hang-up, and maybe a cross-dressing fetish. Most interesting.
“It makes him look better,” Vince said seriously. “Showing up with his old buddies wouldn’t be as effective.” He grinned. “Besides, it’s kind of hot.”
The glare returned to Vince, who seemed equally unfazed.
“What? It was your idea, back in sixth year, and you know we love it.” He smirked at Draco. “The Weasleys seemed pretty into it too. Maybe we could set up a foursome for next weekend…”
“I did NOT need to think about that,” Draco snapped.
He turned back to Potter, who thankfully looked as nauseated by the idea of potential Slytherin-Weasley liaisons as Draco did.
“Potter. Back to getting us out of here.”
“Right,” Potter said, blinking away the images and focusing on Draco again. “You don’t seem to have done anything wrong…”
“Damn right,” Draco cut in. “We’re being framed. I bet your Shacklebolt is doctoring the potion analysis results right now.”
Potter scowled. “He wouldn’t…” he began, trailing off as Shacklebolt stalked in the door, red-faced and furious.
“Get out,” he announced, tossing Draco and Vince plain black cloaks. Greg shuffled into the room behind him, clutching the edges of his cloak around himself.
“No charges?” Draco smirked.
“It was pure Polyjuice,” Shacklebolt growled, handing them back their wands. “But you’re on notice- we’re watching you.”
“You’ll definitely be hearing from my solicitor about this unjust arrest and mistreatment,” Draco snapped, tossing the cloak about his shoulders. He ripped the badge off his robes and tossed it to Potter, who caught it automatically. “This isn’t the end.”
He collected Vince and Greg, and stormed out of the room. Unfortunately the Aurors didn’t appear to believe in proper signage, so he picked a direction at random, hoping it led to the exit, and stomped away as best he could in his bare feet.
“Malfoy!” Potter stood in the hallway, looking entirely too amused. “The exit is this way, and I’ll have to let you out.”
Life was simply not fair.
Harry dragged himself into work late on Monday to find Shacklebolt sitting on the edge of his desk, his boot heels tapping irritably against the heavy wood.
“You’re late, Potter,” he said, “Again.”
Harry nodded wearily and flopped into his chair, fumbling to conjure a cup of tea. He’d hardly managed to sleep the previous night, between the stress of work and unpleasantly vivid dreams about Malfoy’s hands on his trousers, and his tongue… Harry threw back a gulp of the scalding tea.
“I was here late yesterday writing up a report on that mess with Malfoy,” he said grimly. “What more do you want?”
Shacklebolt dropped the roll of parchment on his desk. “You get to follow up on it,” he said briskly.
Just what he needed- more time spent wallowing in the details of that disastrous evening. Harry eyed the roll with distaste. “I thought the case was closed?”
“We’re issuing a formal apology, which you are going to deliver in person,” Shacklebolt answered. “You’re going to use the opportunity to scout the Manor, and see what Malfoy’s actually up to.”
“Why me, exactly?” Harry asked, his stomach sinking. “Can’t Addams do it?”
“You’re the expert on Death Eaters and the Dark Arts.” Shacklebolt smiled humorlessly. “And Malfoy seems to like you.”
Harry’s head snapped up. “What?”
He didn’t think the holding rooms were being monitored; had someone seen…
“You’re the only one he was even remotely civil to the other night,” his boss answered, eyebrows raised. “Is this going to be a problem, Mr. Potter?”
“No, sir,” Harry muttered, flushing slightly. “I’m leaving now.”
Draco had woken up from a series of disturbing dreams involving heavy snogging and a certain green-eyed git, and it had taken a long cold shower before he was in any state to come down for breakfast. He shuddered, took a swig of coffee, and reached for the toast. At least the dreams hadn’t involved Greg and Vince and the Weasley twins- that would have been a full-fledged nightmare.
He flipped open the Prophet, and winced. The front page featured a picture of Draco slumped across the Polyjuiced forms of Vince and Greg, taken from over Potter’s shoulder as he crouched next to Draco. He watched in tortured fascination as Potter rolled him over again and again, repeatedly bouncing Draco’s head against the hard wooden floor and exposing a nasty bruise on Draco’s cheek.
He winced in sympathy with his photographic double, putting his hand against the back of his head. At least Potter had had the decency to heal his injuries before Draco woke up, he thought.
He flipped the paper shut and shoved it under his napkin as his mother entered the room.
“Good morning, Draco,” she said with a suspiciously sunny smile. “I see Saturday night was more exciting than you let on.”
She sat down at the other end of the table, dropping another copy of the Prophet next to her plate.
Draco sighed and slumped forward, cradling his coffee. “Is it too much to ask for a bit of sympathy?”
His mother smoothed out the paper with a smirk.
“Newly returned from Europe, international trend-setting playboy Draco Malfoy turned heads, appearing at The Ashwinder with a mysterious pair of gorgeous young women,” she read, and sighed. “It all starts out so well.”
Draco rolled his eyes and sank back into his chair, taking another drink of coffee.
“Let’s skip down a bit, shall we?” His mother ran a slim finger down the page. “Ah, yes- the Malfoy family’s association with Dark magic has obviously continued, as Harry Potter and other valiant Aurors arrested the comatose young Mr. Malfoy and his co-conspirators upon suspicion of illegal potion use.”
She looked up at him expectantly.
“Cleared of all charges,” he muttered, eyes carefully closed. He should have stayed in bed.
“But the court of public opinion disagrees,” she said. “Wasn’t that the entire point of the outing?”
“Our solicitor is looking into it,” he said grimly. “Someone attacked us- it’s a smear campaign.”
His mother sighed, stood, walked around the table and sat down next to him.
“Draco,” she said, angling his face toward her with a gentle hand, “Draco. Look at me.”
He opened his eyes reluctantly, meeting her intense stare.
“This is for your own good,” she said, her voice soft. “I don’t care what they think about me, but I want you to have everything you deserve. And that includes a proper position in society.”
“There isn’t much to work with, especially now, but we must do what we can.” She released him with a gentle smile, and stood to go. “I’ll speak with your father. He knows something about these things.”
She paused in the doorway. “You should visit him too- it’s good for both of you.”