Дженнифер (zhonnika) wrote in hd_holidays,
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Happy H/D Holidays alwayzefree!! | Comfort Food - NC17

Title: Comfort Food 2/2
Story written for: alwayzefree
Author: arsenicjade
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Harry never falls for the nice guys.
Warnings: slight BDSM

Thanks to my beta. For this, and for the fact of her existence in general.



Draco ordered something called a gateau aux amandes for dessert. He ate it carefully, the way he did everything else, but Harry could see the soft shadow of pleasure and reminiscence in his eyes. Halfway through the piece, Draco offered his fork to Harry, handle first. Harry said, "No that's all right, you--"

But Draco said, "Try it, Harry."

"I could order another piece."

"You don't know if you like it yet."

One of Harry's clearest memories was of his first night at Hogwarts, of the food appearing on the long tables and nobody keeping Harry from reaching forward and taking, nobody trying to take anything from his plate. Harry had long since managed to keep himself from hoarding food--something he had done consistently throughout his first year at Hogwarts, and then occasionally for the next two. He still hated sharing his food, though, even with people he loved. "That piece is yours."

Draco sat still for a moment, the fork still extended. "You'd buy me another if I asked, yes?"

"Yes."

"You're not the one starving me," Draco said.

Harry didn't really think that mattered. Ron and Hermione had been the ones to send him food in the summers, and he still didn't like them to eat off his plate. But Draco was holding the fork out, with no indication that he would move until Harry had done as told. Harry took the utensil and cut himself a sliver of the cake.

It was smooth and rich and incredible. "Oh," Harry said.

"Now give me my fork back."

Harry did. He then gestured at the waiter so as to order himself a slice. When the waiter had gone off in pursuit of said item, Harry said, "You share."

"You don't."

Draco sounded every bit as surprised as Harry, who said, "Just with food."

"Don't concern yourself. I'm not generous as a habit."

"I suppose that's all right then."

Draco smiled down at his cake. "This was my favorite dessert, as a child. Mother used to take me to France for it. The elves could never manage quite right."

Harry nodded solemnly. "Tragic."

"Prat."

Harry's cake arrived. He dug into it, unconcerned by the casual insult. "So you've been to France?"

"You haven't?"

"Shortly. Games, you know. I managed to see the Eiffel Tower once, but mostly I'm busy when we go."

"I prefer Milan anyhow."

"What about it?"

"The architecture, the sound of the language." Draco stared off into the distance.

Harry chewed slowly. When he had swallowed he said, "You don't want to talk about this."

"Short of becoming your kept boy, I doubt I shall ever see Milan again. Apparition may not cost much, but everything else involves a certain solvency."

"Why do you do that?"

"Bring up money?"

"Suggest that me paying for your dinner in any way allows me the right to sexual favors?"

"You seem like the type to take advantage."

Harry was offended for a second before he registered Draco's tone. "Ha. Why?"

"It really is none of your business, Harry," Draco said very quietly and ate the last of his cake.

Harry looked down at his own cake. He had eaten much more quickly than Draco, as usual, and was near to finishing himself. "Maybe someday."

Draco looked away. "Finish your cake."

*


Though he knew he should have figured it out earlier, it wasn't until the night he came into Fortescue's to inform Draco of a playing schedule change that Harry caught on. He could have sent an owl, certainly, but that would have meant not seeing Draco. It most likely would have meant not even hearing from him, since Draco wasn't the best at returning correspondence.

Harry walked up to the counter, took a second to decide on the, "Candycopia in a cone, yeah?"

Draco scooped it up and Harry reached into his pocket, but Draco waved at him. "No charge."

"I don't want--"

"I won't be in any trouble."

Harry took a bite. "Well, all right."

Draco flashed him a quick, muted smile before scowling and moving to get the customers who had walked up to the counter. It was the smile that did it. It reminded Harry of that first day, when he had met Draco at Madam Malkin's. Draco didn't smile very often. Even then, he had smirked and laughed--generally maliciously--or even quirked his lips, but he wasn't much for smiling.

Except that he smiled for Harry. In the past week he hadn't even been particularly sparing in his application of the expression. At times, rare moments, he had offered up a full grin, teeth exposed and all. Harry enjoyed being smiled at, but more than that he enjoyed the sense that there was something about him--about the relationship between him and Draco--that could induce mirth and honest pleasure.

Harry spent a long time believing that the only sorts of expressions he could draw from other people were those of exasperation or anger or disgust. On a good day. The fact that Hermione would smile even as she was shaking her head at him was one of Harry's favorite things about her. But Hermione smiled at loads of people.

Draco didn't.

Harry ate his ice cream slowly. He'd come late in the hope that Draco would talk with him a bit before kicking him out to do the paperwork. Working for the Falcons allowed Draco a nap in the afternoons, but he still didn't get nearly enough sleep, so Harry was careful about taking away from that time.

When Draco locked the door Harry said, "My cleaning spells are world-class, you know."

Draco said, "Have at."

Harry had learned the spells by watching Molly Weasley, watching her and thinking about how he would never, never again go to sleep sore from scrubbing and sweeping and mopping. Domestic magic calmed Harry, made him feel safe. Doing it as a favor to Draco made him feel useful in a way he had never felt labouring under his aunt's unappreciative gaze.

Draco smiled tiredly and said, "Thanks."

Harry shrugged and sent more chairs to tuck themselves neatly atop the tables. "The Romania game was rescheduled to fit more neatly with the Ukraine match. We'll be away for most of next week."

Draco nodded. "You're going into Quidditch season."

"Yeah, look, I've been planning to talk to the coach about getting you on payroll in a training capacity but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to before this season."

"Why?"

"Because you haven't been training for us all that long and--"

"No, I meant, why have you been planning that?"

Harry thought about the question. "Because Kurt wasn't hit by any bludgers in our last match. First time all pre-season."

Clearly, whatever answer Draco had been expecting, that hadn't been it. His wand paused as he was about to send more ice cream back into the Freezer Charmed overnight box. "You think I'm good."

"I know you're good. I wouldn't have offered you the position in the first place if I didn't, no matter how sorry I felt for you. I have a team to train, you realize? I do actually have some loyalty to them. Also, I would prefer not to be admired for past glories the whole of my life."

"How sorry you felt for me?"

"Oh, don't," Harry said. "You hate your job, you don't have any friends, what the bloody hell else was I supposed to feel?"

"I manage," Draco said tightly.

"That's obvious. It's not pity, all right? You found a job against the odds, you made ends meet, whatever. Just a bit of sympathy. I know what you did in the war and I know what you didn't do and maybe you deserve to be miserable but that doesn't mean I enjoy seeing it."

Draco didn't say anything, didn't move.

Harry said, "They shouldn't have messed with your head."

Slowly, Draco said, "When I was growing up, it was the done thing, you know, games where my friends and I would run around and point branches or whatever sort of stick we had at each other and throw out curses. We didn't even know what they meant, what they could do, just that our parents had spoken them at one point or another and they were our parents. Whom we were going to be just like when we grew up.

"It was a way of life, to think of a curse if you were mad or hurt by someone. Like saying, 'I'll kill the bastard.' You don't mean it, not in the sense where you plan on following through."

"Sure," Harry said.

"I tried to teach myself not to think things like that. To swear or something, anything beside that. Second nature is hard to erase. And there were times, particularly at the beginning, before I found this job when I thought--"

Harry wasn't sure he should ask, but he couldn't stop himself from prompting, "You thought?"

"You've felt the Cruciatus, yes?"

"Yes." Harry held himself very still.

"Where you want to die seconds in?"

"Yes."

"Once you've had a thought, it's rather hard to make it go away, and the pain intensifies. It's not as bad as that, not at first but it can get to the point where you can't think through it, would do anything, anything to have it stop. On bad nights, when my frustration with customers overcomes any rationale I have and my instinct is to hex everything in sight, it can be enough to bring me to my knees. Given the number of times it's happened, it's really something of a miracle Fortescue has kept me on."

"They shouldn't have done that," Harry said again. "I think he agrees with me. This is his way of helping to right the wrong."

Draco gave him a hard look. "And hiring me for the Falcons is yours."

"There's a difference in skill level, if you get what I'm saying."

After a long pause, Draco nodded sharply and returned to his task of ice cream transference. "I guess I'll see you upon your return, then."

"For dinner," Harry said.

"Sure. Thanks for helping clean up."

"Anything else I can do?" Harry was nothing if not an optimist.

"Know how to settle business accounts? Because I'm more than willing to catch some sleep while you do my job for me."

"Sorry to disappoint."

"Oh, you wouldn't want to change old habits now, would you?"

"You're an arse."

Draco smiled. "But it turns you on."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Good night, Draco."

Draco gave the words some thought. "Not the worst one I've ever had."

*


The Falcons won their first two games, but then proceeded to lose the last two, and lose ugly. Harry managed to make it to Fortescue's less than ten minutes before closing and just stood at the counter, staring at the flavors.

Draco said, "I thought we were doing dinner tomorrow."

"I missed you," Harry said, without really thinking about it.

Draco said, "Here," and scooped out a dense chocolate flavor.

Harry took it. "I'll help you clean."

"Why do you think I'm being nice?"

Harry licked at his ice cream. "I think I couldn't really give two shites, so long as you keep on being nice."

"You're awfully easy, Potter."

"Yeah, but at least I don’t have issues about being that way."

Draco said, "Taken to kicking the already downed, have you?"

"If I had, half my team would have bruises."

"I realize I have a fair amount of reason to hate Caleb, but when I say that he needs to pull his flying together, it's not just me being spiteful."

"He does all right so long as--"

"Nobody gets in his way?"

"I was going to say that he's not fighting off too many threats at once, but sometimes it does seem that way."

"Where did you even find him?"

"Replacement player. We meant to replace him this season but none of the try-outs were all that impressive so we thought we'd give him the season, in hopes of improvement and to allow us to locate a real talent."

"I'd start looking harder."

"Who's kicking the downed now?"

"It's more in character for me."

Harry laughed.

"Better?" Draco asked.

Harry took a small bite of ice cream. "Yeah. Thanks."

Draco tilted his head down so that his hair fell over his eyes. "Mm. Go home. The night isn't getting any longer for me."

"I promised to help."

"It's fine. You look even more tired than I."

"Doubt it." Harry flicked his wand and started in on the cleaning.

"Harry."

"How was your week?"

"Harry."

"This is a good flavor. Excellent choice."

"Go, Harry."

"No. I missed you."

"I didn't miss you."

"But you gave me the perfect ice cream, so you must not have minded me coming back."

"Do you have absolutely no standards whatsoever?"

"Not particularly high ones, really. It's why we work so well."

"We don't work, Harry. We don't do anything."

"Okay," Harry said, and took another bite of ice cream.

"You are such a presumptuous arse!"

"But I think you might find it hot. I don't know, your issues about sex make it hard to tell."

"Will you shut it about my bloody issues? I don't go on about your desperate need to rescue people, even people who don't very well need rescuing." Draco gestured to himself.

"That's probably because you know where it comes from. Takes a lot of the fascination out of the situation."

"Bloody hell. You want-- You know what? Fine. Fine. How do you think, Mr.-You-Do-All-Right-For-Yourself, that I managed after the sentencing? No Hogwarts diploma, a specialized knowledge in spells that were only good to cause me severe pain, no family left, funds rescinded. How do you think?"

Harry wished he hadn't eaten his ice cream so quickly. "I shouldn't have--"

"How. Do. You. Think?"

Harry said softly, "I think you did whatever you had to do."

The answer, surprisingly, seemed to rob Draco of some of his ire. "You say that like--"

"I say that like somebody who's had to do his fair share of things that needed doing."

"Not quite the same is it?"

"No, it was only yourself that you were harming."

"I meant--"

"I know what you meant." Harry shook his head. "Doing what you had to didn't make you a whore anymore than doing what I had to made me a murderer, but it bloody well feels like it, doesn't it?"

Slowly, Draco nodded.

"When you want me, is it because you see the murderer?"

"You're not--"

"My point precisely."

Draco said, "I'm really, really very tired."

Harry said, "Yeah. Me too."

"Maybe after dinner, on Tuesday."

"I don't want to wait that long."

"But you will," Draco said, both a question and a statement.

Harry said, "Guess so."

*


Draco made Harry try his crème brulee. Harry said, "You chose that over tiramisu?"

Draco said, "I can't believe I actually spend time with you."

"Yes, how the mighty, and all that."

Draco ignored him in favor of his dessert.

Harry poked at his. "I know you have to be at work early tomorrow."

Draco looked up at that. "Did you lose a 'but'? Here, have one."

"You ah, you suggested at Fortescue's, when we were talking--"

"Oh relax, I'm going home with you, you complete slut."

Harry grinned. Draco was as good as his word and followed Harry home afterward. He stood in the entry-way and glanced around a bit and said--in a tone that masked none of his surprise--"This is nearly tasteful."

"You don't have to try so hard, we've already established I'm easy."

"Yes, precisely the reason I was having nightmare visions of a red and gold draped bordello."

Harry snorted. He enjoyed Gryffindor colors, they made him think of Hermione's smile and the strength of Ron's arms, but he had lived in a world of peach-and-cream tinted blandness for his first eleven years, only to move into the near over-decadence of Hogwarts' medieval world. When he finally had his own place he was more than happy to chose simple lines and clean colors.

The apartment was largely filled with blues and greys, colors that put Harry in the mind of the sky, and flying. Draco said, "Bet your Hufflepuff liked the color scheme."

"Zacharias preferred bright colors. Telephone booth red, that sort of thing."

"Telephone booth?"

"Nevermind. What, were you reading the gossip columns?"

"The fact that you think a person would have to be literate to know whom you were dating amuses me."

"A lot about me seems to amuse you."

Draco smirked while asking in a completely serious tone, "Did you love him?"

"Yes." Harry had once promised himself never to be ashamed of that emotion, not when he had wanted it granted to him for so very long, had wanted someone to bestow it upon.

Draco blinked slowly. "Maybe I shouldn't have--"

"He's not here, Draco."

Draco curled his hands in his robes, something Harry had never seen him do. After a few seconds, Harry realized that this was Draco's version of fidgeting. "You wanna sit?"

Draco said, "I don't want to be here," but he didn't look at the door or move or otherwise suggest he was telling the truth.

Harry spread his hands, palms up, wide and unthreatening. "I'm glad you are."

"If you want something, you should probably take it because I don't think--"

"I want you to want something."

"You really do have a way of wishing for the impossible."

"Occasionally, they call me The Boy Who Repeatedly Lived."

"No they don't."

"That's mostly my friends making fun of me, really, but I think the point is a good one."

"Potter," Draco said hopelessly.

"You could sit, for a while. My couch is comfortable. We are occasionally good at talking to each other.

Draco said, "You're completely barking," before reaching out, burying the fingers of one hand in the hair at the back of Harry's head and pulling him into a kiss. He still tasted of sweet cream and burnt sugar. The kiss wasn't half so practiced as Harry had expected and he wondered if maybe this was something Draco hadn't done, but he didn't think so. He thought they were just different, and that was good enough.

Harry said, "Yes, please," but it probably didn't make any sense, not with his tongue pressed up against Draco's. At some point Draco pulled away just enough to bite at Harry's lip and Harry stilled at the slight, sharp pain. Draco let go.

Harry said, "Draco."

Draco said. "I have to go."

"Say you'll come back." Harry didn't even care if it was true. Not much. He just needed to hear it. He'd worry about making it a reality later. He really was very good at making the impossible happen. And when he couldn't, Hermione and Ron always came through for him.

"I'll come back, you completely pathetic swot." The words sounded fond.

"Okay, well. You just let go of me when you feel like it."

Harry didn't mind when it took Draco quite a while to comply.

*


Draco showed up on his doorstep the next night at nearly midnight. Harry had already climbed into bed but he answered the knock because, well, it was midnight and he figured it might be important. He was still blinking under the lumos he'd cast in order to get to the door when he reached it. He blinked a few times in a way that had nothing to do with adjusting to the brightness once it was open and asked, "Draco? Everything all right?"

Draco stepped inside. "I am tired. I will be more tired tomorrow."

Harry nodded. "You should be at home."

"I should be," Draco said, bitterness and frustration evident in his tone. "But evidently I needed to be here."

"What do you need?" Harry asked.

Draco was silent. His eyes raked over Harry's torso. Harry generally only wore pajama bottoms to bed.

"What do you want?" Harry tried. Still nothing from Draco, though, so Harry said, "Just. . . Just take."

"I've gotten used to being taken from."

"I used to know what that felt like. I remember it well enough."

"I've been trying to remember what entitlement felt like. It's. . ." Draco shook his head. "It's like that wasn't me, that person feeling it. Just someone I wanted to be."

"Relearn it then. It can be different. It doesn't have to be-- I didn't really like you, then."

"I don't really like me now."

"I'm pretty sure one doesn't have to equal the other, though. You're not the only one who's changed."

"You seem a lot more familiar than me."

"But not wholly."

"Nothing is, anymore."

Harry took a step closer. "Start over."

Draco reached out with his hand near to touching Harry's chest, but not quite connecting. "Anything?"

Harry took a deep breath and reminded himself that trust wasn't always a weakness. "And everything."

Draco leaned forward and his fingers pressed lightly against the surface of Harry's chest.

*


As someone who hadn't gained a measure of control over his own life until fairly well on into it, Harry had no fantasies about giving it up again. What he had or had not desired heretofore seemed to mean very little, however, when Draco transfigured a pair of Harry's socks into thin fur-lined cuffs and hooked Harry to his own headboard.

Harry would have liked to think the difference was in the way Draco left Harry's wand within a length that would barely take a Summoning spell to conquer. He knew that had nothing to do with it, though. It had to do completely with the awe in Draco's eyes when Harry allowed the action, the smile that barely touched his lips and yet suffused the rest of his face, his body.

That smile made everything else, everything unimportant, and Harry gave up trying to be rational about anything involving him and Draco.

Draco said, "You're mine," but without any tone of possession. It sounded distracted, maybe a little surprised, interested in the possibilities presented by this reality. It sounded not entirely sure how such a statement could have come to pass, or be true.

Nonetheless, he lowered his mouth to the sharp ridge of Harry's clavicle and licked along its edge. His tongue drew a neat, thin line, then another from throat hollow to the very center of Harry's chest. Draco lifted his head momentarily and then dropped it again with his mouth directly over Harry's left nipple. He laved and teased at the nipple until well past the point when it stood erect from Harry's chest, long past the point where Harry was squirming in his bondage.

Draco said, "Stay still."

Harry whined, "Draco."

"You said what I wanted," Draco said, sounding not at all commanding, sounding as though he were sure Harry was going to change his mind, now given this chance. Draco's lack of belief, more than anything, stilled Harry.

Draco blinked, but didn't waste time before turning his attentions to the other nipple. When both were hard and achingly sensitive, Draco took them between his thumbs and pointer fingers and pinched. Hard.

Harry arched up. "Ow, Draco--"

"Breathe," Draco said.

"Hurts," Harry accused.

Draco didn't respond to that, just held on a moment longer and then let go. He said again, "Breathe."

Harry did and for a second there was still just soreness but then, as the oxygen ran through his body, heat and a sensation that shouldn't have been pleasant--a soft sort of reminder of the pain--flooded his chest. At first Harry didn't know what to think, but then Draco's mouth was back on his nipples--one then the other, one then the other--and the pleasure was wild, sharper for the contact, for the aftereffects of the pain.

"Still," Draco murmured, and Harry made himself obey. When he was able to think--which was becoming harder--he realized that staying still made the sensations all the more intense, allowed Draco more access and more control.

The last thought didn’t bother Harry even half so much as he had imagined it doing.

Harry started slightly at the feel of Draco's fingers ghosting over his balls. He moaned, "Ow, owow," when Draco closed his hands tightly over them, just this side of too tightly. Unlike before, though, Harry didn't say his name, didn't ask--in any way--for him to stop.

Draco would make it better.

Even as Harry had the thought, Draco's mouth descended over Harry's cock and--as with before--the mix of pleasure and lingering pain was enough to make his brain stop momentarily, completely cease.

It was brought back on line by the feeling of Draco's mouth making its way over the whole of Harry's cock, swallowing the head with one practiced swallow. It was brought back on line just enough for Harry to manage, "Draco, Draco," and remember that he was supposed to be staying still. It was near to impossible.

Harry managed.

He didn't manage not to actually sob, "No, nono, no," when Draco lifted his head.

Draco smiled, the expression a bit amused, but mostly just happy. "Shh. What I want, remember?"

Harry did. He forced himself to nod.

"Stay still," Draco reminded him.

Harry did, but he couldn't take his eyes off the ceiling, where Draco was busy magicking a hook into existence. Draco said, "I'm going to move you. I'll be doing the work. You just let me."

Harry nodded, his eyes promising that he would be good. Draco transfigured one of his own socks into a length of rope, soft but sturdy. He looped the cord through the hook and ran it through so that the two ends were at even heights. Then he pointed his wand at Harry's cuffs and clicked them open, free of the headboard.

Harry didn't even allow his hands to drop.

Draco drew a sharp breath in. Let it out with a murmured, "Oh, good."

Then he lifted Harry up, threading the cord through the cuffs so that Harry was balanced on his knees, ass lifted slightly from the bed, arms above his head. "Bloody hell," Draco said, but didn't elaborate. Harry wasn't a huge fan of being on display; he had too much of that in his every day life. Draco's reaction made him think that maybe, every once in a while, for personal strictly personal purposes, it wasn't such a bad kink to have.

Draco grabbed the lube that Harry had set beside the bed and poured some into his hand. Then he disappeared behind Harry. That wasn't fair, Harry wanted to watch, too, but he wasn't about to say anything. Draco. What Draco wanted.

When Draco slid his first finger into him and Harry swayed forward slightly and then back again, further onto the finger, Harry no longer cared about fair. The combination of his position not allowing him control of his own movement and the surprise of Draco being out of sight was a heady combination. Harry had been fingered a million times, maybe more, by Zacharias and never thought, "Oh holy, yes yes and yes." Particularly not on the first finger.

Harry managed to stay silent--in all but his breathing, quick and wet and eager--until the third finger and then he broke and pleaded, "Please, oh please, I know I said, I know, but please, Draco, please."

Draco said, "Shh," but it didn't sound like an order so much as way to calm Harry. Then he crossed his arms over the front of Harry's chest and pulled Harry into him, onto him, driving himself upward, pulling Harry back and down. "Shh."

But Harry was lost to silence at this point. He bit his lip but small whimpers, small half-formed yes-type words still found a way to escape his hold. He let himself fall further into Draco's.

Draco was whispering things too, things like, "Harry," and, "Brilliant," and "Want? Want."

Maybe Harry was imagining the question in Draco's statement of desire, but he didn't think so, so he allowed one fully formed, "Yes," to pass his lips and then another, "Please," for good measure.

Draco said, "Wait," and although Harry wanted to ignore the command, to pretend he didn't understand, he wasn't going to, not now, when trusting Draco had gotten him this far.

So he waited, even when Draco dropped one arm to wrap his fist around Harry, dropped the other to play with Harry's balls. Even when Draco bucked up in one particularly athletic thrust that hit just right. Even when Draco tightened up against him, his grasp of Harry's cock near to painful. Even when Draco loosened against him, breathing softly, unevenly into his shoulder.

Draco said, "Wait," and Harry whimpered but waited, trying not to move with Draco's hands not to think can't can'tcan't.

When Harry sobbed, "Draco, Draco, can't, Draco," Draco said, "Shh," and "Very well," and Harry came before he had managed to finish the words.

He passed out at some point and woke up lying down, the cuffs gone. Draco was lying in front of him, his eyes open and unsure.

Harry asked, "Was that what you wanted?"

Draco answered, "Part of it," a bit shakily for Harry's tastes.

Harry grinned. "You're going to kill me. That was the plan all along, wasn't it?"

Draco's smile was small, and it came slowly, but it came. "You've uncovered the daring, but well-plotted Death Eater scheme for the New Age."

"I rather like it. Good plotting," Harry said.

"Look, you were out cold, so I didn't want to just skip out, but I have to be at work in about three hours--"

"Sleep," Harry said.

"I shouldn't--"

"Don't I get a little of what I want this evening?"

"I thought that you--"

"It was brilliant," Harry said, because he didn't want there being any miscommunications on that score. "It would be better if you stayed. Like I was-- Like neither of us was just sleeping with the other. For whatever reason. Money or influence or whatever. Like we weren't doing that."

"Those are my issues."

"Mine are that I don't like feeling used."

"I thought yours was a hero complex."

"I have a lot of them."

"Lovely." Draco smiled sardonically, his eyes drooping.

"Our issues sort of fit each others," Harry said softly.

"Whatever, Potter," Draco said, even as he snuggled closer into Harry's side.

*


Draco was gone when Harry's alarm went off, but then, Harry's alarm went off at seven, so that wasn't really a surprise. What was a surprise was that there was a note stuck to the mirror.

Come by on your lunch. We're making a new flavour and need someone expendable to test it out on.

"Charmer," Harry said dryly, but he was smiling. And he dropped in on Fortescue's later that morning. He asked, "What's it called?"

Draco handed him a bowl filled with distinctly blue ice cream. "Not a clue. Fortescue's daughter comes up with the names. She hasn't been in yet."

"What's in it?"

"Would you just try it already?"

"You called me expendable."

"If I promise to kiss you after you've taken a bite?"

Harry scooped up a veritable mound of the test case. Draco caught his hand. "We need you to be able to actually taste it."

Harry sighed and cut down his scoop by over half. "Fine."

He was happier, though, once the treat was melting over his tongue, rich blueberry with just bare hints of orange, apple and possibly grape. Draco tapped his foot. "Well?"

Harry opened his mouth slightly in mute demand. Draco sighed, "Yes, yes," and gave him his kiss. It was, if truth be told, a bit longer than any perfunctory thank you really needed to be. He did pull away though, and re-demand, "Right, well?"

"What did you think?"

"Harry!"

Harry grinned. "It's excellent. Needs a dynamic name and a white-chocolate topped waffle cone to be death-by-fruity-happiness."

"Wasn't that what we did last night?" Draco asked softly, a sardonic tilt at the corner of his lips.

"I thought it was my job to be the unsubtle one in this relationship."

"I thought people in relationships were supposed to help each other out with their duties."

Harry took another bite. "Have you ever, erm, that is--"

"Been in a relationship?"

"Not to suggest that you're not desirable, or anything, but I don't remember there being anything in school and then we were all busy for a bit, and you have some pretty serious defence mechanisms."

"Only to people who are likely to be arseholes."

"No, in general."

Draco glared. "I'm pretty sure people in relationships are supposed to be nice to each other."

"So that's a no?"

"Don't act as if you've so much on me. It was mostly just you and your Hufflepuff."

"There was Ginny."

"A Weasley wouldn't count regardless, but certainly not six months with one."

"Watch yourself," Harry said.

"Can't seem to stop," Draco said and any trace of a smile was gone. There were lines at the corner of his mouth now, but they weren't from mirth.

"Hey," Harry said, because the comment hadn't been unforgivable, not even really unacceptable.

"I don't like your best friends."

"I didn't like yours. But I would have tried."

"Relationship thing?"

"You seem to think I wouldn't know."

"Better than I would."

"Hm." Harry scooped a bit of the ice cream and offered it to Draco, who made a face. Harry shrugged and ate it himself. "I think we'll probably do best making our own rules."

"Little arbitrary, that."

"But neither of us is much good at following other people's."

"True," Draco looked even more troubled at that.

"Tomorrow night's Tuesday," Harry said. He hated the way Draco wore worry, as if stretched through his stomach and throat.

"Have plans for where you're taking me?"

"Thought I'd find out if there was anywhere--"

"You've done a passable job of making appropriate choices in the past."

"Careful, you might overwhelm me."

"Yes, well, you're easy," Draco said and kissed him again. "Want to take me back to work with you?"

That wasn't precisely where Harry wanted to take Draco, but he agreed that it was probably a good idea.

*


Harry found an Italian restaurant that changed their menu daily and only had places for ten couples. Draco said, "Now you're trying too hard," but didn't even bother trying to hide his smile.

"You're high maintenance," Harry said solemnly.

"That's evidently a turn-on for you."

"That and your highly-developed ice-cream churning skills."

Draco laughed at that, a clean, uncomplicated sound. "You're a man of simple pleasures, Potter."

"Evidently a turn-on for you," Harry echoed.

"I'm just using you for your money."

"That works, since all I'm really interested in is your cock." Harry had the pleasure of seeing Draco hold the sip of wine he'd just taken in his mouth, his jaw tightening. Harry said, "Swallow."

Draco managed, but just barely. "Prick."

Harry did his best to look utterly innocent of wrongdoing. "Only being honest."

Draco rolled his eyes and took another sip of wine. This one went down easier. "Potter--"

"Harry. And stop thinking, it never works out well for you."

"You waited quite some time. For someone who only wanted cock."

"I did, didn't I?"

Draco looked at Harry. After a long silence he said, "You're the one who gets stupider the more he thinks."

Harry tipped his wineglass to that and took a sip. "I didn't say anything about your level of intelligence, just that thinking leads you to bad places. I'm hardly the most insightful bloke around, but I know what it means when you start calling me Potter again, all right?"

Draco toyed with the stem of his wineglass. "What would you tell me it means?"

"Either that you really are just using me for my money, or that you think I'll get tired of your cock. If it's the former, I have my work cut out for me, because I've been seducing you for a while and I'm not sure I have any more tricks on hand to get you to actually care about me. If it's the latter we're all right because I never go away. I can give you references to attest to that fact."

"This has been seduction?"

"I've brought you to a restaurant that serves highly-recommended gelato. What else would it be?"

"I don't like gelato."

Harry blinked.

"I work at an ice cream parlour. And there was a while there where the ice cream I could take home at the end of the day was pretty much all I could afford to eat."

"They have tarts. The guy I talked to about the reservation said they were known for their tarts."

Slowly, Draco asked, "Don't you imagine that one day you will get tired of catering to me?"

"The thing is, I like making you smile."

"I know, you're Harry Potter, you like--"

"No," Harry said. "I like making you smile."

"I'm new," Draco said.

"It's sort of unattractive when you underestimate me like this."

Draco made a small, amused sound, but the expression on his face didn't match. "The other night, you let me. . ." He took a deep breath, held it in for what Harry judged to be an unhealthy length of time. Then he let go of it. "Let me do anything I wanted. Even if you weren't sure you wanted it. Not even when I was a child, when I was given everything I asked for, spoiled beyond any measure you could ever begin to comprehend, not even then would someone have done something of that magnitude for me."

"Draco--"

"Don't. Don't make it something less with your bumbling denials."

"Then will you let me say that you were worth it?"

Draco said, "Oh."

"Understated acceptance. I can take it."

"Harry, look--"

"Do you like it? When I make you smile, do you like it?"

"Who doesn't like to smile?"

"I didn't ask if you liked smiling. I asked if you liked it when I caused you to do so."

"And you're assuming that it feels different."

"If it doesn't, I have my answer." Harry managed--just barely--to keep his voice low and even.

Draco finished his wine in a series of--what was for him--undignified swallows. "I'm not using you for your money."

Harry just looked at him. Draco finally capitulated. "It feels good even when you're not making me smile."

Harry said, "I am using you for your cock."

"I'd worry if you weren't." Draco nodded, then broke into a smile.
Tags: [fic], [long/chaptered fic], rated: nc-17
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