Title: Are You There, God? It's Me, Draco - Part 1/3
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Percy/??
Summary: Harry and Draco are straight Aurors. Then they're gay teachers. It makes sense in context.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. 'Cept for where it TOTALLY TOTALLY IS! >:D
Warnings: Fast-n-loose references to "sacred texts" possibly amounting to blasphemy (uh...yeah, Scientologists and Mormons, you might not want to be reading this one. [Though hey, LDS guys, wtf are you doing reading this comm anyway? I'M TELLING YOUR BISHOP ON YOU]); plot taking a backseat to dialogue and minor witticisms; humorous references to bestiality (house elf/politician; caretaker/cat); Excessive Kreacher Alert; slight Ravenclaw-bashing; meandering storyline; Lucius/Stan Shunpike; off-stage minor character death; banshee abuse; little old ladies; Moaning Myrtle; vague references to gay marriage.
Word Count: 23,098. Kill me.
Author's Notes at the end of the story. I'm one wordy mutha.
Cynics and conspiracy theorists and his ex-girlfriends (which constituted a surprisingly high number) said that Minister Weasley had arranged the whole thing: in the wake of Voldemort's death, wizarding journos had of course predicted that Minister Scrimgeour's party (the Saved Your Arses And Don't Bloody Forget It party - wizarding politics was refreshingly direct in a handful of aspects) would trounce the Fudge party (the How Were We To Know?s) in the next general election. And this had, of course, happened.
However, no wizarding journos (not even those for the Quib, which had been the only publication not to predict a landslide victory for Scrimgeour, opting instead to go with the Sex, Drugs, and Music With Rocks In party candidate Stubby Boardman) had had even an inkling of the story that broke in the wee small hours of the morning, only a fortnight into Scrimgeour's new reign.
No one really even knew what happened, not really, though many reporters looking for fame or a quick tumble purported to have the real story. All anyone knew is that it involved an abnormally busty house-elf named Bonken, a longneck bottle of butterbeer, a hastily-written resignation, and a grainy photograph of former Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour disappearing into a Heathrow terminal at 3 o'clock in the morning one Saturday. The press had a field day that Sunday (it launched Colin Creevey's career - he'd taken the Heathrow Photo and promptly sold the rights to the Prophet), especially when they found out that both the Minister and the elf (who'd been checked into the luggage hull as a particularly rare breed of dog) had hightailed it to the Caribbean. By Monday, the Department of Irregular Affairs had managed to translate the governmental policies regarding chain of command out of their original Goblin texts, and so when wizarding England awoke to the start of a new business week, they discovered they had a brand new Minister for Magic.
According to a 900-year-old law, the mantle of Minister was automatically removed from Scrimgeour's shoulders as soon as his aeroplane crossed over international waters (this law was usually circumvented by Apparation), and had fallen to his most senior staff member: his 24-year-old personal assistant, Percy Ignatius Weasley.
The public outcry had been deafening and, amazingly, incredibly shortlived - within a month, Percy had restructured Ministry departments to promote cooperation instead of in-fighting. Then, in a fit of Gryffindor pique, he Transfigured a set of donkey ears onto the widely-criticised and generally insufferable man that Washington's Beige House had sent to head up their "advisory committee" on how best to reconstruct war-torn wizarding London. The Aurors had a bit of luck in locating three known Death Eaters, the Galleon - Dollar exchange rate began to even out, and within six months, Percy Weasley was enjoying the highest popularity ratings of any Minister since old Peasegood had managed to keep Christmas alive during the Interregnum.
Then, on the fifth of November, there was a massive explosion at Gringotts. Twenty-eight people dead, dozens missing, hundreds injured. St. Mungo's was flooded and the Gringotts building itself, which had stood for over a millennium, was in shambles. The official government report, filed two weeks later by the DMLE and a team of muggleborn architects and construction foremen/elves/goblins, said that one of the dragons that had guarded the high-security vaults had somehow managed to ingest a highly explosive amount of nitro-glycerin and gunpowder. A team of dragon experts (headed up by the Minister's brother) had been called in to examine the habitat of the dragon and its remains - their findings corroborated that of the study done by the builders. Not even trace amounts of coal could be found at the site, and no one could account for how a dragon would have managed to eat nitro-glycerin twenty floors below London's streets. The explosion was declared a terrorist attack. Minister Weasley visited the families of victims. The next week, two Aurors found a cache of half-starved former Death Eaters hiding out in a forest in Wales, stocking up on all the potions ingredients needed to make a huge amount of explosives at the local apothecary.
A month later, the same two Aurors foiled a plot to blow up the Underground.
Six weeks later, the same Auror team uncovered a massive Ministry spy ring. Minister Weasley was shocked (and, according to Witch Weekly utterly heartbroken) to discover that his longtime personal assistant Miss Moneypenny had been in league with the conspirators. However, this startling personal revelation about a mostly-reclusive public figure was completely overshadowed by the identities of the two Aurors that had consistently managed to save wizarding England from harm: Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter had been photographed coming out of the Department of Justice, bruised and tired and dishevelled.
And holding hands.
...Of course, they hadn't actually been holding hands. A melting hex cast by one of the spies had bound their wrists together by the skin, and neither of them had had time between briefings and debriefings to get to a Healer to get it fixed. Wizard press had never been particularly hampered by the burdens of proof and truth, however, and so the Evening Prophet headlines had screamed GAY AURORS IN LOVE and much had been made of the epic tale of Harry's and Draco's supposedly-former schoolboy enmity which had, in a long-standing tradition embraced by romance novel readers and writers everywhere, gradually morphed into a deep, passionate, frequently sweaty love. Several of Harry and Draco's old schoolmates enthusiastically offered recollections of heated Quidditch matches and schoolyard duels, and even Ginny Weasley had mentioned how Harry had always seemed very preoccupied with Draco during their brief fling at Hogwarts.
The real truth was much less dramatic, and involved less recreational sweat. After the war was over and life had regained a passing semblance to peaceful, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy had gone into the Ministry's Auror training programme. To their unending chagrin, they'd been the top two graduates and were, by default, paired together. Both of them suspected the whole thing was a monumental prank perpetrated by Mad-Eye Moody and Nymphadora Tonks-Lupin, but as they appeared to be successful at all of their missions, none of their superiors took their transfer requests at all seriously. And after the Prophet broadcast their purported love, Head Auror Shacklebolt was even less inclined to shift them to different partners, citing the potential for increased tension in the department. Harry's insistence that he was, actually, heterosexual didn't seem to faze anyone.
A month, two days, twelve hours, four department meetings, seven Prophet articles and one Witch Weekly spread later, both Harry and Draco found themselves in the young Minister's Oblong Office, awaiting an appointment neither of them had known they'd had til Grawp (the Minister's bodyguard) had shown up at DMLE HQ and stuffed them both in his pocket. Their hair was still wet from an impromptu dip in the Loch Ness (there'd been a plot to explode the lake and expose Nessie and the existence of the magical world to Muggles once and for all), and Draco made a face as Harry dripped all over the Louis XIV chair he was sitting in.
Harry rolled his eyes, and shook his hair out like a dog, sending a spray of dirty water across the shiny surface of the Minister's desk, his rug, and Draco's face. It was, he thought, a vast improvement to the decor.
"Oh, mature," Malfoy drawled, wiping the water off his face and giving him a pinched look. "I take it you'll be explaining to the Minister why his letters have gone spotty?"
"I'll say I saw you in the damp shirt and couldn't help myself," Harry drawled back (his drawl had improved; it was the sole benefit of being partners with Malfoy). "Suppose there's a market for semen-covered government documents?"
"There's always a market for Malfoy semen," Draco said, shrugging a shoulder delicately, shifting uncomfortably on the chair. The cushion made a squelching noise, and he winced. "...Wait, are you implying that I'd ever consider letting your no-doubt-virgin dick up my - "
He was interrupted by Minister Weasley appearing in the office from behind a bookcase-door, and Draco gave Harry a freezing look as he settled back into his chair (there was another squelch). Harry cleared his throat, trying to conceal a laugh, and gave the Minister a winning smile as they both watched Percy glide to the other side of his desk and sit.
"Wotcher, Perce," he said. "Nice carriage clock on the mantel. New?"
"Mm. On sale at Harrod's," Percy nodded, looking a bit annoyed as he took the first letter off the pile of his desk and shook the water off of it. The Minister sighed and spelled the letter clean and dry again, and set it down. "Three-for-two deal with the lamps."
"Fascinating. Lends a touch of elegance to the room, definitely," Harry said, practising the drawl again. ...He quite liked the drawl.
"I'm very pleased you approve, especially as your people are known for their good taste in interior decorating," Percy said placidly, betraying only the tiniest of smiles as Draco was suddenly overcome by a coughing fit. He tilted his head and signed the letter, and began folding it into a complicated paper aeroplane. "My congratulations on your success in Scotland."
"Thank you, sir," Draco piped up. Harry shot him an annoyed look, and somehow managed to look even more annoyed as Draco batted his eyelashes in return. Percy leaned back in his chair, and sent the aeroplane letter floating into the air, out the crack in the door, and down the hall.
"I won't test your patience with further pleasantries," Percy started, ignoring Harry's murmur of those were pleasant? "I need the two of you for a mission. Shacklebolt isn't aware of the nature of our meeting today, I'd greatly prefer it to stay that way."
Harry blinked - he'd never heard of a mission Kingsley hadn't been prepped on before he delegated it to whomever he hated at the moment.
"The Hogwarts ghosts have been sending odd reports. Books and trinkets going missing, and a bathroom was flooded a week ago, I won't bother showing you Mr. Filch's appraisal of the damage and his list of potential culprits," he said wryly, producing a huge scroll of parchment. "Apparently Peeves has been banished to a grandfather clock in the Headmaster's office for the whole of the summer, so it couldn't've been him, and there are no other poltergeists in the whole of England."
"So there's a kleptomaniac house elf. Doesn't seem our line of expertise," Harry shrugged, settling back in his chair. "What d'you want us to do, interrogate the kitchen staff?"
"If needs be. The titles of the books taken are the real cause for concern," Minister Weasley explained, and produced a small piece of paper, which he handed across the desk to Draco, who skimmed over it. Draco's eyes went wide.
"Shit, you can't be serious."
Harry grabbed for the paper, and read over the titles confusedly. "...Am I missing something?"
"Would you like us to write a list?" Draco muttered under his breath.
Harry glared at him, and then glared at the list of books. "I was expecting something like 'Incredibly Dark Spells Volume Twelve', but all of these are standard for NEWT-level Muggle Studies. What's the problem?"
Draco scoffed, and then reached over to snatch the list out of Harry's hands. "Shut up and let the grownups talk, Potty." He turned his attention back to the Minister. "A student or staff?"
Percy's lips thinned. "Most likely staff. Easier to manoeuvre without detection. All of the regular staff are accounted for, however."
"Mm. ...House elves?"
Percy snorted. "Be serious."
"I am, you should see the one he's got," Draco said, jerking his head towards Harry. Harry blinked, then kicked the leg of Draco's chair, aware that he'd been insulted but not exactly sure how.
"Will someone please explain?" he asked, exasperated.
"For God's sake," Draco said crossly. "There's an old legend that says that each of the books on the list contain one of the seven necessary steps for resurrection. No one's yet managed to find all of the steps or put them in the right order, but it means that someone's trying. And I doubt whoever it is, is wanting to bring back Celestina Warbeck."
"...Wait, you can't just resurrect - "
"That Muggle family of yours a pack of atheists, then?" Draco asked interestedly, making Harry go pink as he spluttered indignantly. "There's precedent." He glanced over at Percy. "I'll need a set of the books."
"They'll be in your quarters."
"And full access to the library and every room in the castle."
"Already cleared. The Headmistress has been informed of the possibility of a threat, she'll be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary."
Harry scowled, his eyebrows knitted together. "You're sending us to Hogwarts for a mission?"
"No-oo." For the first time, Percy gave Harry a genuine smile. It was the most terrifying thing Harry had ever seen. "The two of you are handing in your resignation from the Auror Squad this afternoon, as it was proving too stressful an occupation, given your relationship. Headmistress McGonagall will be only too pleased to offer the both of you two recently-absented staff positions at Hogwarts for the new year."
"Wait, what?" Harry gaped.
"Which positions?" Draco asked swiftly.
"Oh, I thought Charms, for you," Percy replied easily. Harry couldn't help noticing how Draco's cheeks went oddly pink at that, and his scowl deepened. "Apparently Professor Flitwick's decided to take up Ancient Runes in the wake of Professor Vector's disappearance. ...And of course, Defence for Harry."
"Hang on, our relationship? You're expecting us to quit and go to Hogwarts because there's a possibility someone's trying to resurrect Voldemort with a set of clues no one's ever been able to decipher, and you're expecting us to be gay to do it?"
"Of course not, Harry, don't be ridiculous."
"...Good. Thought not. Yeah, it did sound completely ridic - "
"I'm only expecting you to pretend to be gay. ...But you do have to make the rest of the staff and the students believe it, or else your target will be alerted to your intentions and retreat back into obscurity. Which would, of course, mean the eventual return of Lord Voldemort and the destruction of our world as we know it."
Harry blinked. Percy blinked back, and gave him a smile. "Good luck. Please, don't let me take any more of your time. I believe you have an appointment with Mr. Shacklebolt, he's expecting the two of you. Do try to break the news gently, it'll be quite a blow to his department."
Harry reeled. "Now, wait just a min - "
"Yes, of course, sir," Draco cut in smoothly as he stood. He offered a hand to Harry, who was distracted enough to take it. "...Thank you for being so understanding, you can see how poor Potter's suffered, torturing himself with the dangers of our present career." He clucked his tongue. "Heaven knows how he'd cope if something happened to me."
Harry's glare could have cut glass. He applied it to Draco, Minister Weasley, the new carriage clock, and the room in general. "The huge party I'd give would only be to help along the grieving process. ...Also the indiscriminate sex," he grumbled, letting himself be turned towards the door and given a little shove by Draco. "...With women," he remembered to add.
"Whatever gets you through the night, sweetcheeks," Draco drawled, smirking as he intentionally invaded Harry's personal space by putting a hand on his back as they walked out the door.
"Get your hand off my knee, Malfoy," Harry hissed, his teeth clenched tight in a rictus grin. Draco only raised an eyebrow and smirked in response, crossing his legs as he cooed over yet another album of photographs of Headmistress McGonagall's grand-niece Alberta.
"You'd think a toddler wouldn't wear tartan so well, and yet," Draco smarmed, handing the album back.
"Oh, I know," McGonagall sighed, beaming at the album as she stuffed it back in a desk drawer. Harry fought the urge to point out Alberta's more than passing resemblance to a set of bagpipes, and squeaked as Draco's fingertips whorled over his kneecap. "They grow up so fast."
"Mm. How time flies. Don't you agree, pumpkin?" Distressingly sharp nails dug into his skin, and Harry jumped in his chair, and nodded frantically. "We were saying on the trip up, how it seems only yesterday that Harry and I were queueing up for our Sorting, and now - !"
Harry couldn't let that lie pass. "Malf - ow - Dra - OW - for God's sake, stop gouging holes me!" he hissed, attempting to dig Malfoy's claws out of his leg. Giving up his attempt to prise four fingernails out of the fabric of his trousers, Harry instead grabbed Draco's pinky and twisted viciously. He gave his old professor a smile, and didn't seem to notice how his partner had suddenly started whimpering. "We Apparated here."
"It was a very short conversation," Draco gasped, whining as Harry twisted his finger further. Rallying, he quickly ground the heel of one very fussy little boot into Harry's toes, and in the next second the both of them were free, glaring at each other as they rubbed their latest injuries.
On the other side of the desk, Headmistress McGonagall blinked. "Yes, well. I'll admit I had my reservations about your appointments, given your age and your...history, but I understand that that's all changed for the better now, is that correct?"
Harry couldn't help rolling his eyes a bit. "Depends on your perspective."
"We do get along much better now," Draco purred, giving the Headmistress an indecently smug look, and if Harry hadn't known it to be physically impossible, he might've thought Malfoy had just made Minerva McGonagall blush.
"I meant your history of teamwork as Aurors, Mister Malfoy," she said severely.
"Oh, that too."
Harry sighed. "I'm sorry, Prof - sorry, Headmistress McGonagall, he swallowed a lot of sea water. Still not quite right. And our boss - our old boss, I mean, was pretty broken up about seeing us go. It's been an emotional day."
(This was, of course, a total lie: after his appointment as Head of the Auror Division, Kingsley Shacklebolt had somehow managed to trade in his compassion, sense of humour, and tact for increased efficiency in the workplace. The transcripts of their exit interview would have read something like this:
HARRY: We have to quit and we can't tell you why.
KINGSLEY: Shame. Can't change your mind?
HARRY: Easily. Make me an offer.
DRACO: Potter, shut up. No, Kingsley, sorry. We'll always have Reykjavik.
KINGSLEY: I liked Reykjavik. Good fishing, there.
DRACO: Precisely. Focus on the good times.
HARRY: ...Really. Kingsley. Anything. I'll take a paycut and I'll work longer hours, just tell me you can't let me go.
DRACO: Well, that's an embarrassingly transparent attempt to make me jealous, isn't it?
KINGSLEY: ...Is this a gay thing?
DRACO: Yes. Very. Incredibly gay. Absolutely flaming.
KINGSLEY: Hnh. Don't expect a wedding gift, we're already over budget.
HARRY: ...Look, Kingsley, I'm begging you. Make me stay, or take my wand and AK me.
KINGSLEY: Accidental deaths are too much paperwork. Good luck with the marriage, kids.
DRACO: Thank you, Kings. You were my favourite supervisor.
KINGSLEY: I was your only supervisor. Don't call me Kings.)
"Ah." McGonagall clucked her tongue, and gave them both a sympathetic look. "Yes, the waters of Loch Ness do tend to make one a bit queasy. Perhaps the two of you would like a lie-down before dinner?" she offered, tidying her desk.
The sudden possibility of a bed (or even a flat surface to lie on) was absolutely irresistible to both men, and they gazed at her in wonder. "God, yes, please," Draco said, recovering first (despite all the sea water he'd supposedly drunk). "I feel like I haven't slept for a week."
"We haven't slept for a week," Harry reminded him. "...Because of missions," he added, scowling at the choking sound the Headmistress had just made. He stood and automatically offered a hand over to Draco (one of their first missions for the Auror Department had left Harry with a crisscrossing series of scars on his back, and Malfoy with vertigo), and tried to ignore the small, approving smile his former professor gave him.
Draco, however, was canny enough to take the gesture and run with it - he gave Harry a calculating smile as he stood, and twined their fingers tight together, knuckles squeezing a little to make him play along. Harry gave a long-suffering sigh, and smiled tightly at McGonagall as she opened the door to her office and began leading them down the unfamiliar, winding corridors of the staff wing of the castle. After five minutes of left and right turns (beside him, Malfoy was beginning to look a bit green), Harry gave up and finally muttered a quick "Where the hell are we?" to his partner.
"Hogwarts," Draco sniped, trying not to open his mouth too much, lest he succumb to his rising nausea.
"Directly above the kitchens and opposite Ravenclaw Common Room," McGonagall answered from five feet in front of them. Harry blushed a bit, embarrassed at her having heard him swear. "The house elves had difficulty finding a suitable space for you, Hogwarts is...unused to the concept of partnered professors."
Draco's quiet mutterings at that made Harry feel a lot better about having only said "hell" in front of McGonagall. She turned and gave Malfoy an unamused look worthy of Queen Victoria, and stopped in front of a door.
"There's no need for such language, Mister Malfoy; your quarters match the specifications you gave the Minister perfectly." She opened the door with a spell, resetting it to a default. "Dinner is in an hour in the staff room, after which, a planning meeting. Punctuality is expected."
If there was any hint of shackles on the walls, Harry thought, he was going to murder Percy. Luckily, the Headmistress was offended enough by Malfoy's admittedly colourful profanity to turn and walk briskly down the corridor, leaving the two of them to push their way inside.
Harry gaped again. Malfoy started swearing again.
" - a dramatic fucking re-imagining of Julius Caesar with a standing ovation at the end, I will wear a toga and strappy sandals and kill him on the steps of the Ministry building on March the fucking fifteenth, this is beyond every pale there is."
"...And you'd know, being a Malfoy and all," Harry couldn't help adding. Malfoy turned and glared at him balefully, if woozily.
"I get the bed, Potter. You're sleeping on the sofa. Forever."
Harry smirked and started toeing off his shoes, heading towards the bathroom door at the opposite corner of the room. "Now, sweetheart, don't go to bed angry," he said, shucking his heavy work-robes off as he walked. He'd barely managed to close the door behind him before there was a colossal thunk, most likely from one of his shoes being hurled against it. He whistled cheerfully as he went to the bathtub and turned on the tap.
Draco stared at the oily, glistening platter of sausages in front of his plate, and swallowed, looking a little green. Beside him, Harry was nursing a mug of coffee (deceptively black, loaded with half a dozen sugars) with his eyes closed. The Great Hall was disturbingly quiet what with only the staff table at the front of the huge room occupied - there were the clinks of spoons in teacups, forks on plates, quiet conversation. Above them all, the ceiling showed a grey, overcast sky.
There was a pointed cough to his right, and Draco glanced over - Professor Sinistra was giving Potter a curious look, holding a pitcher of pumpkin juice expectantly, waiting for Harry to take it. Harry was either dozing or ignoring her, his fingers unsteady around his mug, and Draco sighed. He reached over and took the pitcher, accidentally spilling a little on the tablecloth, and passed it to Professor Sprout. "Don't see why you're tired, you weren't the one who had to spend half the night studying Leviticus."
Harry's eyes didn't open, though he did smile faintly. "Heard that that one has a few interesting things to say about witches," he muttered, lips still pressed against the lip of the mug.
Draco snorted. "It has interesting things to say about everyone," he shrugged, reaching to take a basket of scones and pass it along as well. "Even prawns." The scones had shone with butter as well (everything at Hogwarts was designed to kill you, Draco was perfectly certain - even the food), and so Malfoy scowled down at his empty plate for a bit, before filching an inoffensive-looking piece of toast from Professor Sprout's plate. He spread marmalade on a corner of it and tried to keep his voice casual. "...Nightmares again?"
"Mm." Harry's eyelids twitched, purple-veined and delicate looking, his eyelashes in danger of brushing the lenses of his glasses. "Yours too." Draco flushed pink and cleared his throat, taking a bite off of the corner of his toast. Potter had tried to explain once, during a longer-than-usual stay in St. Mungo's after one of their missions - he'd woken Draco with his screams one night and had babbled something about his final confrontation with the Dark Lord, a crack in his brain that the Healers hadn't been able to Heal, only halfway repair. Occasional memories that weren't his own.
"You should rest, after breakfast," Draco decided, setting his toast down and taking a leisurely sip of tea. "Take the bed."
"M'fine, I'll just - "
"Potter," Draco interrupted, firm. "Don't pretend to be noble, it's only a schedule meeting. I'll make up something if McGonagall asks." He shrugged a bony shoulder. "We both know you're useless if you don't get your beauty sleep, and frankly, you look like shit."
Harry shifted and muttered something about being emotionally abused, which only strengthened Draco's resolve since if Potter were at all in control of his faculties, he'd've managed at least five minutes of that injured air he liked to take when Draco was honest with him. "Go on," Draco nagged. "Or I'll embarrass you by walking with you and making you lean on me."
"...Tell McGonagall I want Friday afternoons off for lesson planning."
Draco snorted. "Contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually a miracle-worker. No promises. Now, goodnight," he said, reaching up and plucking the coffee mug out of Harry's hands. Potter opened his eyes at that, and gave him a sidelong sheepish look.
"You didn't sleep much either."
Draco arched an eyebrow, took another bite of toast. "I'm already gorgeous enough, I don't need sleep for it." He tilted his chin, giving Harry a challenging look. "Unless that was a subpar Gryffindor attempt at subtlety and you're just trying to get me into bed," he smirked.
Harry rolled his eyes, and stood unsteadily. "Goodnight, Malfoy."
"I'll come and wake you for lunch." Draco chomped down on the last corner of toast. Harry shrugged and stooped to give the top of his head a kiss (Professor Sprout and Professor Sinistra had been watching them), and limped off, leaving Malfoy choking on breadcrumbs.
"MALFOY," Harry thundered, stomping into the staffroom, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO OUR ROOMS." Draco glanced up from the Qu'ran he was reading, and gave Harry a bored look. There was a cough from an overstuffed armchair in the corner of the room, and Harry glared over at it til Professor Flitwick clucked his tongue and headed towards the door, a stack of scrolls in hand.
"I haven't done a thing to our rooms, Potter," Draco replied.
"Like fuck you haven't, everything's gone green and silver and tacky, it's like stepping into Bellatrix Lestrange's walk-in closet in there."
"Ah, and there's to be no more living in closets for you, is that it? Admirable," Malfoy quipped, turning a page, unconcerned. He did happen to glance up then, however, and the look of constipated rage on Harry's face was obviously familiar to him because he added hastily "I might have made a few suggestions about giving us a proper living space, I wasn't going to spend the next nine months in that moth-eaten attempt at Victoriana."
Harry recognised the sideways answer when he heard it, and scowled deeply. "Who did it, then? Percy? Did the two of you have fun looking at swatches of fabric together?"
"Jealousy doesn't become you, darling." Draco watched with amusement as Harry's chest puffed with rage. "And shut up, of course it wasn't him, it was that elf-thing of yours."
Harry deflated. "Right. KREACHER," he bellowed, folding his arms in the few seconds it took before the house elf Apparated into the room, followed closely by Dobby. Kreacher (who somehow managed to look more wizened than Pince and Filch combined) glowered at his master, and Dobby glowered at Kreacher. "What the hell did you think you were doing, redecorating my rooms like that?"
"Dobby told him, Harry Potter sir! Dobby was telling Kreacher that Harry Potter would not want those colours!" Dobby piped up, wringing his hands as he gazed up at Harry, his bulging eyes rapidly filling with tears.
"It's not your fault, Dobby," Harry said hastily.
"Of course it is," Draco shot, from across the room. "Dobby, you should be ashamed at letting him down." Dobby squeaked, and immediately stomped on his own toes, and made matters worse for himself by wailing at the pain and hopping one-footed in a small circle on the carpet til he fell.
"For God's sake, Malfoy," Harry growled. "Dobby, stop, he's not your master anymore."
"They are fun, aren't they?" Draco said, smiling happily as he watched Dobby whimper and rock back and forth on the floor. "I missed that one tremendously after Father sent him away."
"Merlin. What were you doing ordering around my house elf anyway? He's not supposed to listen to you," Harry grumbled.
"Draco Malfoy said to Kreacher to make his and my Master's rooms befitting the last member of the House of Black. Draco Malfoy is a good pureblood, and proper," Kreacher muttered, mainly to himself. "Kreacher is glad to have a master with taste," he added viciously, giving Harry a malevolent look.
"Yeah? Well, he's not your master. Only me," Harry spat. "And I say get rid of all of it and put it back the way it was."
Kreacher's eyes bugged in horror. "The lovely drapes and sconces that belonged to my Mistress? The tapestries? The satin sh - "
"Ah, no, keep the bedsheets," Draco cut in again, attempting to look innocent when Harry whipped around to glare at him. "What? Those cotton sheets were horrible, it was like trying to sleep on parchment."
"Draco Malfoy is a good master, a true Black, with an aristocratic bearing - "
"SHUT UP, KREACHER," Harry shouted again, not turning around. Kreacher dutifully kicked himself in the shins and fell over, muttering the whole time. "You can't be serious. You can't expect me to sleep on bloody satin sheets just because you're the Princess with the Pea."
"Certainly I can. And what makes you think you'll be sleeping on them, anyway? Just because you were raised a commoner doesn't mean I should suffer for the duration of our time together. Though it does seem a foregone conclusion," Draco sniffed. "I want those sheets. ...And the sconces, my mother had a set too, they were in our study. And we're getting rid of that awful settee."
"Oi, I like that settee!" Harry protested.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Ugh, you would. Fine, the settee can stay, but only if one of the tapestries stays."
"Well, not the one with the depiction of those goblin rebellions, that was just disgusting."
Draco paused, then nodded. "Agreed."
"Well...fine. And Kreacher, just because Malfoy and I are sharing rooms doesn't mean he's your Master too. You only do what I say from now on." Harry and Kreacher exchanged death glares. "Go back to the kitchens." The elf Disapparated in the next second. "Dobby, you can go too."
"Bring me a new pot of tea when you're finished punishing yourself, would you?" Draco called from near the fireplace. "Earl Grey, not that Darjeeling shit. No milk and two sugars and I don't want it in teabags, only loose leaves."
"What?" Harry gave Draco a disgusted look. "Dobby, you don't need to bring him anything, he can go and get it himself." Dobby was caught between them, his gaze bouncing back and forth like a tennis ball on a court.
Draco gave Harry a glare that somehow forcefully reminded him of Kreacher. "Dobby," Draco said kindly, changing tactics wildly, "Harry won't admit this, but he's the one who really wants the tea, he's just too noble and good to ask for it himself. You'll get it, though, won't you?"
Dobby nodded, mouth slightly open at the prospect of Malfoy doing anything kindly, before he Disapparated as well.
"...Well, I hope you're proud of yourself," was the only thing Harry could come up with to say.
"Mm." Draco flipped to another page of the Bhagavad Gita he'd been studying, and highlighted a couple of sentences with his luminescent quill. Harry rather wished it was a library book, just so he could see the look on Madam Pince's face when it was returned to her.
"How's it going? Got your lesson plans done? First day tomorrow and all."
"Thought the Sorting went all right. Good crop of Gryffindors this year."
"The third years'll like starting off with kappas, won't they? ...I liked kappas. Fun. Easy to locate. And the dispelling charm is all right for their skill level, right?"
"I mean I don't think it's wise throwing them in with a boggart or anything just yet, most of them remember the war. And the professor last term was a joke, I need to get them to swot up a bit before we do anything really heavy."
Harry paused, and then realised he was pouting. Sucking his lower lip back in, he maintained a chilly silence for almost a minute. "...You do think they're ready for kappas, though."
"Potter, stop hogging the blanket, it's freezing in here."
Harry huffed and folded his arms. "Maybe it wouldn't be if we had cotton sheets. And I will if you'll stop putting your feet on my legs, they're like ice."
"Don't start with me, we have a busy day tomorrow and I need to finish this bit before I lose my train of thought."
"Fine." Pouting again, Harry shuffled down against his pillow and turned to switch off his bedside lamp. Behind him, he heard Malfoy turn another page. A few minutes later, the other lamp was turned off as well, and he felt Draco burrow down into the blankets on the other side of the mattress.
"...Yes, I do think they'll be all right with kappas," Malfoy said, half-muffled in his pillow.
Relieved despite himself, Harry closed his eyes.
Despite Madam Pince's strident efforts, the library was markedly louder once the students had arrived than it was in the summer. The effect of pages turning, quiet conversation meant a low-grade hum of background noise, enough to keep Draco concentrating on the pages in front of him. He rather hated real silence; it reminded him of the eighteen months he'd spent with Snape, on the run. They'd been afraid to talk, afraid of who might be listening.
Lulled by the whispers swirling round him into something akin to contentment, he sighed and settled against the side of his carrel, smirking at a particularly ridiculous paragraph of the book Percy'd sent him. He suspected it of being a very subtle joke on the Minister's part.
"Malfoy," an urgent voice hissed. Draco glanced to his right, and rolled his eyes when he saw Potter advancing towards him.
"Hello, Potty," he murmured, twisting in his chair to face him, propping his chin on his hand. "Are you lost? This isn't the kitchens, this is what we call a li-brar-ee."
"Do me a favour and don't be yourself, for a moment, I'm not in the mood. I'm not grading your third years' essays again this week and Flitwick's been harassing me about them because his Ravenclaws are harassing him. You know how they are with their marks, just read the fucking things," Harry spat, earning himself a pointed glare from Madam Pince.
Draco huffed and tugged his book closer to his chest, letting his eyes drop back to it. "When did students get so irritating? I'll get them done, and if Flitwick is having such a problem with his students running roughshod over him about my lessons, perhaps he should talk to me."
"He said he's tried but you always mistake him for a house elf and ask for tea!"
Draco couldn't help it, he broke into a grin. "He does get so red. ...And do you know, the first time I did it, he brought me a cup?" He flipped a page in the book, and started sniggering at the title of the next chapter. "Oh, my god," he murmured, his voice containing no little amount of glee, "Muggles are so weird."
Momentarily distracted, Harry approached the carrel and tilted the back cover of the book up to read its spine. "...You're bloody joking, you're reading Dianetics? Malfoy, the only people who believe that's a religious text think volcanos house aliens, come on. Do your fucking job."
"I am doing my job," Draco said, stung. Two spots of colour sprang high on his cheeks as he closed the offending book, sitting up a bit straighter in his chair. "You haven't asked me once how things are going with" - he dropped his voice to a lower hiss - "the real reason we're here, and I'll have you know I've found three of the steps already. It's because of stupid...essays and lectures that we're still stuck in this bloody castle, and because you won't stop bothering me - "
A very loud cough directly behind Harry made them both jump half out of their skin. Harry turned and shrank under the icy glare that Madam Pince was giving them both, taking half a step back, behind Draco's chair. Draco's eyes had gone wide.
"How. DARE. You," she hissed, melodramatically. "This is a library. A hallowed place of learning, and the two of you are staff. You should be setting an example to your students, not...engaging in some sort of lovers' spat, there is no place for it here. Never in all my life have..." she trailed off, mouth pinching up like she'd been sucking lemons. "You will kindly refrain from broadcasting your own vulgar personal problems to our impressionable youth or I will have you - "
"What, drink hemlock?" Draco snapped, his regular speaking voice carrying long in the quiet of the room. "Thrown in Reading Gaol?"
"Malfoy," Harry murmured, cautioning. He laid a hand on Draco's shoulder, which was promptly shrugged off as Malfoy stood. He watched, horrified and perversely delighted, as Draco closed the two steps between him and the librarian and loomed over her menacingly.
"Do you know, I believe you're the first person in the world, Irma, who has ever dared to call a Malfoy vulgar to his face. And if my vulgar personal problems are indeed vulgar because I discuss them with Potter there - even though you have no idea what we were discussing and we might well have been saying that it looks like rain, or that the asparagus at lunch was a bit overcooked, or that your glorified house-elf of a boyfriend has been diddling his own cat for years - then I suppose you'd only be an authority on vulgar matters because of a close personal acquaintance with them, wouldn't you?"
Around them, Harry could see various students gaping, trying to work out just what Professor Malfoy had said to Pince. Not one of them was paying attention to his books. Madam Pince opened and closed her mouth, looking like nothing so much as a goldfish.
Harry had to stifle a sudden wild shriek of laughter, and he quickly grabbed the stack of books at Malfoy's desk and Malfoy's elbow, and hauled him out of the study space and into the merciful obscurity of the bookshelves. "You've gone mental," he said over his shoulder, trying to ignore the way Draco was giggling.
"Possibly. Fuck, but that felt good, I've wanted to tell that bitch off for years," he said, trying to jog his elbow out of Harry's grasp as they rounded another corner and started down another row of books. "Oh, stoppit, Potter, she's not going to come after me with a letter-opener, let go." Harry ignored him and headed recklessly further down the rows, not pausing even though he noticed the books getting older and thicker and dustier. "Potter," Draco whined, "stopppp, it's making me feel dizzy. ...Ugh, you know, she never bloody let me into the Restricted Section, said I'd had to have forged my professors' notes."
Harry raised an eyebrow and stopped, turning around to regard him interestedly. "Had you?"
"Well, of course," Draco scoffed, insulted, looking at Harry like he was mental. "But she didn't know that; I was brilliant at Snape's signature. Do you know, I got out of nearly three months' worth of Divination lessons during third year, because I kept writing notes from Sev - Professor Snape to Professor Trelawney claiming that my third eye had astigmatism and my readings weren't to be trusted?"
"You did not," Harry said, breaking into quiet laughter, his hand still wrapped around Draco's arm. Laughing quietly too, Draco winced and leaned back against the nearest bookshelf while he waited to regain his sense of balance.
"I did. ...Probably would've got away with the whole year, had that old bat not asked Professor Snape about how my healing was progressing, at a staff meeting," he sighed, smiling crookedly at the memory. Harry winced.
"Can't imagine he took it well."
"...Actually, he wasn't as bad as I expected. Mind, I thought he'd explode. ...And then write to my parents, who'd also explode. And then explode me. ...But he didn't, he just snorted and told me to ask first before putting his signature on something. And to come up with a better story than that third-eye bollocks, he said that was a ridiculous 'tell' in itself."
A few seconds later, Harry realised his mouth was hanging open. "Really?"
"Oh, yes. Said he couldn't stand Divination either, when he was a student," Draco nodded, his eyes losing a bit of their focus. "Though he was cleverer about it, he came up with some potion that made him faint like clockwork, ten minutes into each lesson if he timed it right." Smile going a little pensive, Malfoy dropped his eyes to the floor, shifted his shoulders against the bookshelves more comfortably. "He said he blamed it on the altitude of the classroom."
"...Yeah, that's much better than your plot," Harry agreed after a moment. Without examining why, he transferred the hand on Malfoy's arm to his shoulder, and squeezed gently. "Though both of you were idiots, frankly." He grinned as Draco's gaze suddenly snapped up, back on him. "Hermione got thrown out of Divination for good, halfway through our third year, and all she had to do was tell Trelawney she thought it was a load of shit. ...In so many words."
It was Draco's turn to gape. "Granger did that?"
"Yup," Harry grinned, absurdly proud of his friends. "We thought she'd lost her mind."
"Huh. ...Damn, that had never occurred to me," Draco sighed, leaning his head back against the spines of a few medieval spell indices.
"Gryffindor forthrightness does have its benefits." Harry squeezed his shoulder again, and shifted the weight of the books in his other arm, leaning them against the bookshelf as well.
"Does it," Draco said, sounding amused. "I suppose. Though I'm tempted to use the old 'even a blind niffler finds a knut every now and then' adage."
Harry snorted his laughter, rested his hip on the bookshelf as well. "Budge up, Malfoy, these books are killing my arm."
"Oh - sorry, here," Draco said, shifting to help him move the books to a gap in one of the lower shelves. "Better?"
"Yeah, I suppose. My arm's not so numb, anyway."
"Sounds like a vulgar personal problem to me, Scarhead," Draco said, smiling faintly, and he tilted his head. Harry blinked, sucking in a quick breath as he noticed for the first time that one of Draco's front teeth was very faintly chipped. What was odd about that was not that he'd noticed, but that he suddenly and very desperately needed to know how it had happened - if it had been during a Quidditch match or the fight at the end of sixth year or, incomprehensibly, something not to do with Harry at all.
The space around and between them had twisted, somehow, in the last few minutes of conversation - indefinable and undoubtedly skewed as they both leant against the bookshelf, Draco still a bit dizzy and Harry not exactly stable himself. "...Yeah," Harry muttered, a handful of seconds too late to be effective. "Yeah, I'd say."
"...Well," Draco murmured a moment later, gazing at the floor again, colour high. He cleared his throat.
"You miss him, then?" Harry asked, not really sure what he was asking, but needing to anyway. Draco lifted his gaze (he didn't need to lift it much, because damn him, Draco was three inches taller than Harry), and fixed his partner with a dry Look.
"Like the deserts miss the rain, Potter," he drawled, smirking as he watched Harry flush and hit his shoulder.
"You're such an arsehole," Harry grumped, knocked out of his nervousness by the familiarity of that drawl. "Do me a favour and shut up, for a moment," he murmured, and was incredibly gratified to see Draco tilting towards him, a little, and that the fingertips suddenly on his waist seemed cold and tentative.
"All right, sweetpea." The breath of Draco's words hit Harry's mouth at the same time as his brain, and the twin smirks that it produced meant that once the two men stopped dallying and actually kissed, they nearly knocked their teeth together.
"...Fuck," Harry whimpered a minute later, as he was pressed back into the bookshelf. The word was muffled - not only by Malfoy's mouth, but by his lower lip, which was currently in Harry's mouth and in danger of becoming bruised.
Draco groaned, and pressed Harry harder into the bookcase as he ravaged his mouth, sniggering at the protesting squeak that produced a moment later. "Sorry, pumpkin, m'such a brute," he murmured, breaking into another quick grin as Harry kicked his shin in retaliation.
"Shut up," Harry muttered, flushed. "Bloody...I'm not gay," he added a minute later.
"Of course not," Draco said solemnly, and tilted his head to explore the uncharted territory of Harry's neck. "Entirely heterosexual."
"Entirely - fuck, there," Harry gasped, his knees buckling. "I mean it, I like girls."
"Mmm, yes, girls are nice," Draco agreed, and licked at Potter's pulsepoint, perversely delighted at Harry's stifled groan. He felt his eyes sliding closed despite his best efforts, and sighed. "Tits, long hair, et cetera. Lipstick on one's collar."
"...God, Malfoy, y - shit yes, bite - you don't actually get people who respond to this act of yours, do you?" Harry sniped, eyes rolling back in his head at a particularly vicious suck. "Bloody social graces of a hyena," he gasped, fisting a handful of blonde hair ungently, startled at the shiver that went through Draco at that.
"Oh, and next you'll be saying that that's your wand in your pocket," Malfoy retorted.
"Actually, that is my wand in my pocket," Harry said, after a sheepish pause.
Malfoy blinked, then did something interesting to Harry's ear. "Oh good, for a moment I was afraid I'd underestimated you." He squawked as Harry tugged his hair in response. "Stop abusing me, Potty, you'll give me a bald spot."
"Shut up and do that licking thing again, you girl," Harry hissed, giving his hair another tug as he tried to pull him back down to his neck. He squirmed as Malfoy began to snicker - it was tickling him oddly.
"Pumpkin, what have we said about projecting?" he heard Draco retort a second later, and Harry rolled his eyes until he had to close them, whimpering at a sharp bite. "...You've been using my aftershave," Malfoy groused a few seconds later, slicking a broad stripe of tongue up the side of Harry's neck, to confirm. "My mother bought me that aftershave, it was made specially for me for my sixteenth birthday."
Irritated, Harry tried to press closer. "Bit overfamiliar for a present from your mum, isn't it? Did she pick out your underwear for you too? And tell you which of the Slytherin pussy-posse would make the best wives?" He let out a frustrated exhale as he felt Malfoy's shoulders and back tense at that.
"Don't talk about my mother," came the short answer, Malfoy's cold voice gone colder. Harry was perplexed by a sudden, fleeting feeling of guilt as he remembered reading about Narcissa Malfoy's doomed role in the second attempted breakout of Azkaban. ...It hadn't worked, Lucius had had to stay for another six months before he was let out for good behaviour. He'd watched Narcissa's burial in the Azkaban cemetery from his cell window, since all Malfoy family lands and assets had been seized by the Ministry.
Draco hadn't been allowed to attend. The Order had determined it a security risk; not enough was known about Malfoy's real allegiances since Snape had dropped him off at Grimmauld Place and vanished.
"...Sorry," he murmured, and relaxed his fingers in Malfoy's hair, twisting them gently, almost stroking. "Sometimes I forget."
"Lucky you." Draco muttered a moment later, pulling away just enough so that they could actually look at each other. His grey eyes were harsh and shining. "Even you didn't lose everything."
Something in his chest twisting (always been too bloody compassionate), Harry just nodded and tugged Malfoy forward, so that their foreheads were barely touching, the ridge of Harry's glasses bumping against Draco's nose. His hand had drifted down to the short, soft hairs on the nape of Malfoy's neck and it stayed there, fingers smoothing them over. "Well," Harry murmured, tilting his chin just enough to touch their cheeks together, "I don't know. ...You still had your looks."
Draco blinked, shocked, as Harry pulled away and gave him a crooked smile, raising his eyebrows. "...Insane," he finally decided, a small smile spreading on his own lips since Harry's, it seemed, was contagious. "You're completely fucking insane. You, Potter, are a lunatic and you should be locked away."
"You know you like it," Harry smirked, and craned up, deciding to do a bit of exploring of his own. There was a shadow under Malfoy's jaw that looked like it needed investigating.
"No, no. I'm terrified," Malfoy said, warming to his theme, as he slid both arms tighter around Harry's middle, tugging him in closer. "I'm genuinely afraid for my - ooh, just there - life, given your wildly erratic behaviour," he teased. "You abuse me emotionally and call me a girl and then molest me in the" - he glanced up, taking in a few titles from the books surrounding them - "...the Mermish History section of the - ow, stop gnawing on me - library. You're a mmmmoh, a menace to society."
"Love it when you talk dirty," Harry replied cheerfully, licking down a muscle in Draco's neck until he happened upon a spot that made him yelp interestingly, and grab onto Harry's hips for support. "There?" he asked, already knowing the answer, not lifting his mouth from Malfoy's skin.
"Oh fuck," Draco gasped, his head tilting back, eyes closed. "God, Potter, stay there for eternity."
"Teaching might be an issue," Harry pointed out, lisping since he still hadn't removed his mouth from the side of Malfoy's neck. He sucked interestedly, and grinned at the way Draco clutched at him.
"I'll do your lectures."
"...And meals," Harry added, thinking about the logistics of the idea more than was warranted.
"We'll get you a feeding tube."
"And there's taking a piss," Harry observed, eyes sliding lazily shut as well. He grazed his teeth along Draco's flushed skin, curious.
"Ohhhhhh," Malfoy whined, sliding a hand down to Harry's arse and grabbing a handful to tug him in, his crotch suddenly pressed directly against Draco's, making them both gasp. "Potter, I promise, if you just shut up and keep doing that I will take it and aim it wherever you want."
"...D-dobby was sent by Headmistress McGonagall to find Harry Potter," came a querulous voice from behind them. Draco promptly displayed the discipline of several months of Auror Training by shrieking and trying to climb both Harry and the bookshelf behind him, with limited success. He then whipped his head around, glaring at the cowering house elf four feet away in the corridor.
"He's busy. Go away," Malfoy said imperiously, before being shoved away by Harry, who'd been unable to breathe while Draco had been trying to climb him like a tree. Dobby sniffed and turned his long nose up at his former master, and gave Harry an et tu, Brute sort of look.
"What did Headmistress McGonagall want, Dobby?" Harry asked gamely, flushing as he tried to rearrange his robes to cover both the bruises on his neck and the prominent bulge in the front of his trousers.
"Dobby does not know, Dobby was only sent to find Harry Potter." There was a pause, and Harry blinked, almost certain that he'd just seen a house elf smirk. "Dobby can tell her that Harry Potter is busy researching vampires with Professor Malfoy...?"
"Ooh, yes," Draco said, at the same time as Harry's firm "No." Both of them glared at each other.
"It might be important," Harry reasoned.
"And it might be that another shipment of photos of tartan-clad toddlers and stale gingersnaps has just arrived, Potter, take the chance," Draco snapped back.
Harry blinked at him, then over at Dobby, then back. He sighed and made his decision, and then slid an arm around Draco's waist, hoisting him away from where he was still clawed into the bookshelves. "You still have four steps to find," he murmured quietly, hoping it was quiet enough that Dobby wouldn't be able to hear. "That's at least a couple more weeks of being here."
Draco stilled, raising an eyebrow as he considered the idea. "Hm. ...Augusta Longbottom's been after me to help with her remedial potions tutoring, that might stretch it some more," he muttered back, nestling in. Harry shivered as a few blonde wisps of hair fell onto his cheek.
"Good boy," he smirked, provokingly, kissing Draco's cheek. "Might as well get some fun out of all this, right?"
"I doubt you'll be able to deliver it, but I'm willing to take the chance, I suppose."
"That's very kind of you, sweetums."
"I know. I'm the soul of charity," Malfoy sighed, then turned and gestured to Dobby. "Lay on, Macduff." ...He sighed again, when both Harry and Dobby gave him blank looks. "It means go."