Title: Four Paper Dragons
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, some Harry/Ginny
Summary: A series of snapshot scenes from their beginning.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Deathly Hallows compliant? Yes, but EWE.
Word Count: ~7,200
Author's Notes: The wand and Pensieve made it into the fic, but the photograph didn't, sorry. It did, however, inspire the narrative style, so hopefully that's alright. :)
I hope this letter finds you well.
Okay, I know that sounds completely fake, but I actually do. Hope you're doing alright, that is.
Um, the point of all this is,
Actually, no. I'm going to start by saying that I've decided to write a biography about Snape. Don't laugh, I know you are. Hear me out. For reasons I don't really want to talk about in an owl, I want to learn more about him and hopefully help clear his name. Yes, I know he's dead, but it's not fair that everyone thought he was just some evil bastard. So, I'm writing this biography. That's the main bit.
To go back to the whole point of this, I wanted to ask for your help. You knew him pretty well, from what I could tell, and you've got all those connections. Oh bloody hell -- that sounds awful. I don't mean that I think you're evil or something. Just that you know those people. Knew those people. Anyway, I know you're under house arrest and so I thought you might have the time to help me out with this. Not to say that you don't have anything better to do with your time than help me, just that you must have time to
Bugger. Just… my point is that I'd
Yes, you may.
Gee, thanks. When would be a good time? I heard you got a flat of your own. Is that true or do you still live at Malfoy Manor?
Do not call me Gee. I don't know when I could possibly pencil you in, Potter; this house arrest business is so terribly time consuming.
I am indeed at my own flat now. Funny how you're keeping tabs.
I wasn't calling you Gee. It's just a saying, Muggles use it to express dry sarcasm. How about tomorrow afternoon? And I'm not keeping tabs on you.
Muggles use it to express dry sarcasm? What excuse do you have for using it, then? Don't insult yourself, Potter. I shall be busy folding paper dragons tomorrow afternoon, but I may be able to spare you a few moments here and there.
By the way, "saying" should be followed by a semicolon rather than a comma.
Draco doesn't like to admit to such things, but he spends three times as long as usual getting ready this morning. Not that that's saying much. Looking pristine took a plunge on his list of priorities within the first month of house arrest, and now he is on his eighth. Visitors are few and far between.
After lunch, he folds paper dragons and glances out the window. Fold, glance, scowl (mostly at himself), repeat. Potter arrives while he is in the middle of a magnificent Welsh Green, and Draco sets it aside to watch him walk up to the door. Potter is wearing an overly baggy jacket and wire-rimmed glasses, and he has an expensive looking satchel draped over one shoulder. His step has a certain spring to it -- the lively, purposeful step of someone who hasn't been alone in his house for the past seven months.
When Potter knocks on the door, Draco opens it and affects a look of lazy disdain. He isn't actually feeling lazy or disdainful, though, which is a little disgruntling. But then again, when has he ever felt lazy or disdainful around Potter?
He gives the other man a once-over and says mildly, "Well, don't you look spruce."
To his delight, Potter blinks, turns faintly pink, and scratches the back of his neck.
Draco serves Potter tea that hasn't been poisoned and mocks him for his new love of Severus. Mocking people is a pastime he gets to enjoy so infrequently these days, and Potter must sense this because he is very good-natured about it all. When Draco feels like he has temporarily had his fill of the mocking people thing, they talk about Severus.
They also talk about Severus's china and his personal hygiene.
"He did take showers, you know," Draco says wryly. "He even washed his hair, contrary to popular belief. I think the reason it was always greasy is 'cause he puts stuff in it. Otherwise he'd have been a frizzball, and those aren't very intimidating."
Potter chokes a little. "Bloody hell, did he really have frizzy hair? I'd hate to imagine what he'd do to you for telling me that, especially since it's going in the biography." He gives Draco a cheeky grin, and it's disturbingly... well, Draco wouldn't use the word cute — certainly nothing remotely related to Potter could be considered cute — but it is, perhaps, sort of an okay look for him.
Draco clears his throat.
All it takes for Draco to get defensive is an offhand comment from Potter about how body wash seems too gay for someone like Severus.
"Gay?" He is all narrow eyes and indignation. "Who's to say he wasn't gay? You think all gay blokes dress up in tight little clothes and make themselves smell like peaches and go prancing around with their arses wiggling behind them?"
Potter blinks, startled. "What? Um, no, he was in love with my mother, wasn't he?"
"That is not the point."
"Uhm..." Potter looks lost. "What exactly is the point?"
Draco goes off on him, then, not caring that he is being unreasonable. It escalates until Potter tires of it, because Draco certainly cannot storm out, and nor can he bring himself to kick Potter out. So when it is Potter's turn to retort again, he pauses instead, takes a deep breath, and leaves.
And that's it. Draco is alone in his house again, and he mutters angrily, "Fucking Potter."
Sometimes Harry wonders if moving out of the Burrow was a good idea after all. It seems to have caused more problems than it solved.
"I've been meaning to tell you for two weeks now, but we never get a moment to ourselves because you're always off chasing after stories about a dead Death Eater," Ginny is saying crossly, and Harry finds he doesn't really care what she's been meaning to tell him.
Ginny is almost always cross with him, these days. Harry isn't sure which is worse, being nagged at about when they're going to get married or being nagged at about not spending enough quality time with her. The latter involves being sulked at, too. Really he just wishes she wouldn't do either.
I've started researching the years between Voldemort's disappearance and his death. I know your father was in contact with Snape during that period, so I'm assuming that you would have known him. I also know that he spent a lot of time in contact with you and your family after Voldemort's return. Maybe I could come over tomorrow afternoon to talk to you about it?
Despite their argument last time, Draco once again takes the time to look pristine and once again almost looks forward to Potter's visit. Almost.
This time when Potter arrives, he's all business. Comes in, acknowledges Draco, and launches into his questions. It isn't until Draco points out, with some sarcasm, that civilised people usually sit down to have lengthy conversations, that he purses his lips and sits stiffly in Draco's squishiest chair.
It's Draco's favourite chair, but he doesn't object.
Potter can be awfully frustrating sometimes, Draco decides. He sighs. "One question at a time, Potter. You know, this would be much easier if I could just show you rather than try to tell you everything. I've got the Pensieve and all; I just don't have my wand." His lips twist a little as he says this.
For a moment, Potter looks chastened. As he ought to, Draco thinks, since the bastard still has Draco's wand. "I thought you weren't allowed to do magic on house arrest."
This is true, but it's the principle of the matter. Draco makes a face.
In the end, it is Potter who extracts the memories from him. It's a bit of an awkward process during which Potter looms over him and his crotch is close enough to Draco's face that he can make out the faint scent of the other man's musk. Soon they have a small bowl of silvery memories, though, and Potter goes in first.
Draco spends most of his time in the Pensieve watching Potter rather than the scenes. He's already seen those, after all.
He is at Draco's again, the third time this week. Harry tells himself it's just work; he is making excellent progress collaborating with Draco. And he is, even if half the time is now spent not talking about Snape. Sometimes they talk about exotic parts of the world, sometimes they talk about ancient magic, and sometimes they talk about peacocks.
Harry doesn't care, really; he enjoys talking with Draco because Draco doesn't talk about Ginny. Even Ron and Hermione talk about Ginny, these days. They like to ask Harry about his problems or offer him relationship advice or tell him about Ginny's latest display of melodrama. Of course, the person who talks about Ginny the most is Ginny. Usually when this happens Harry starts wishing he was with Draco instead.
Somewhere along the way he has come to appreciate Draco's sharp humour, and they have actually been getting along. Harry has been careful not to make any gay jokes. He wonders, as he listens to Draco talk about cheesecake, if Draco is gay.
Draco is inspecting Harry's finger, and his head is bent so close Harry can smell his shampoo. He watches the afternoon sunlight play in Draco's hair and decides he likes the way it's so thin and blond.
"It doesn't look too bad," Draco says as he releases Harry's finger. He is still sitting awfully close, but that's okay. "Next time perhaps you'll think twice about touching my plants."
"How was I supposed to know such a pretty orchid would bite me?"
"I told you it was a gift from my parents, didn't I, Potter?" Draco asks, and Harry thinks he has a point. He wishes Draco would stop calling him 'Potter'.
There are a lot of paper dragons around Draco's house. Draco is off searching for a book Snape gave him, so Harry entertains himself by animating the dragons.
Half a dozen of them are flying around the living room puffing little flames at each other when Draco returns. The Welsh Green lands on Harry's shoulder, and Draco smiles a small, strange smile. "Enjoying yourself, Potter?"
Harry's laugh is a little embarrassed. "I like them."
"I can teach you how to make them, if you like," Draco says, and Harry thinks he would indeed like that.
Draco is so caught off guard that all he can do is stare at Potter. The other man is scratching bashfully at the back of his neck again, and Draco doesn't even try to prevent himself from finding it endearing. That takes more focus than he has right now.
"It's yours. I--I know you can't use it right now, but I feel weird about keeping it. From you."
Draco drops his gaze from Potter's eyes to the wand held loosely between his fingers, and he feels a rush of giddy relief all over. He doesn't hide his childish eagerness as he reaches out to take it. The familiar weight of it in his palm and the spark of connection nearly takes his breath away. Looking up at Potter again, he clears his throat. "Potter, I—thank you."
Potter smiles at him. "Harry?"
A small laugh bubbles up in Draco and he nods. "Yeah, whatever. Harry."
Harry beams, and it is more than worth the small concession. Draco thinks he will keep that to himself.
"Harry, I love you, I do. But I'm going to be perfectly blunt with you. You're being an idiot about this. What are you doing? It's no wonder you two are fighting all the time. First you move out and leave her here instead of asking her to come with you like she was hoping. Now you never see her at all and you're gallivanting off doing who knows what all day, and--"
"Oh, because you wouldn't know anything about being a workaholic, right Hermione?" Harry asks sullenly. He stabs his fried eggs.
Ron looks like he is about to come to Hermione's defence, but their conversation is cut short when thin, freckled arms drape around Harry's shoulders from behind. He feels Ginny's chest press against the back of his head as she leans forward to kiss the scar on his forehead. "Morning, love."
"Morning," he says neutrally. He doesn't want to start off the morning by upsetting her. "Sleep well?"
Ginny slides into the chair next to him, and one arm is still wrapped around his shoulder as she leans into him. "Unfortunately, yes, as you well know." She pouts up at him for a moment, but then it slips and she smiles at him like she does when she's hoping he'll toss her right back into bed. "But at least I'm all rested up for today, hm?"
Harry nods. "Right. Good. Well...have a good day, okay? I should probably get going, actually..." He gives her a peck on the cheek in hopes that it will mollify her a little. "See you guys."
Her arm slips reluctantly from his shoulder as he stands and picks up his jacket from the rack near the door.
Ginny isn't far behind, and she's got that look on her face. "But it's the weekend, Harry! Forget that stupid book. I was thinking maybe we could go shopping. Madame Malkin was talking to mum the other day and she said she's got a new line of wedding robes in. I just wanted to swing by and see them, you know? Keep up with the fashions."
Wedding robes. Harry's stomach lurches unpleasantly and he wonders why no one can see that he just isn't ready yet. He quickly rushes through his exit line. "Sorry, Gin. I have things to do."
"What the bl-- What could possibly be so important that you can't spend one day with your girlfriend?" It's clear that she's trying to keep her voice down in the presence of her brother and friend, but she's not exactly doing a smash up job of it.
"Draco owled me last night and I promised I would go over."
He's already got the door open when he hears her stomping retreat, but Ron's large hand lands on his shoulder. Harry turns his head slightly to look at him, but doesn't take his hand off the handle.
"Malfoy?" Ron asks carefully.
"Yeah, Draco," Harry responds. As he closes the door behind him, he sees Hermione raise an eyebrow. He doesn't stick around long enough for them to come after him with their questions.
Draco is cooking today, and he is even wearing an apron. Harry has stopped knocking when he comes over, so when he walks up behind Draco and says hello, Draco is surprised.
"Harry!" Draco looks a bit shifty and embarrassed, and Harry thinks it's because of the apron. He also thinks it's sort of cute. "I didn't know you were coming today."
Harry shrugs and feels a little bit guilty for lying to Ginny about Draco's owl. "Just felt like it, I guess. I can leave, if you're busy."
For some reason, Draco smiles at him. "Nah. Stay for lunch, I'm making stuffed mushrooms and lobster." That sounds wonderful, and Harry is feeling better already.
Whenever they talk about Severus, Harry is invariably scribbling in his notebook. It used to exasperate Draco, all that scribbling, but now he kind of likes it. It's such a Harry thing to do, after all. Scribble, scribble, scribble. Sometimes he bites his lip when he does it, or a bit of hair falls in his eyes and he shoves it impatiently out of the way. Draco enjoys watching him scribble.
Then again, Draco enjoys watching him do most things. He likes watching the muscles in Harry's jaw flex when he chews, likes watching Harry's chest rise and fall with each breath, likes watching Harry watch him back.
None of these things are sexual or even suggestive, but Draco has been bereft of human touch for so long that just being in Harry's presence is enough to make him hard sometimes. Harry, who argues with him and smiles at him and who is so alive. Draco just wants to touch him. But he can't, because Harry is straight, Harry has a girlfriend, and Harry might get scared away. Draco can't risk that, so he resorts to touching himself after Harry is gone.
Harry leaves the bar early because he is tired of watching Ron and Hermione cuddle in their booth. They look so happy together, and since being drunk always makes Harry rather maudlin, he feels lonely. He wishes he could have someone like that — a constant companion whom he can be cute and lovey with, and whose presence just makes him comfortable and happy.
It surprises Harry when he thinks of Ginny. Rather, it surprises him that it took so long for him to think of Ginny. He can have all of those things with her, Harry thinks, and it makes him want to find her and make things right.
She'll be happy about that; she'll smile and kiss him and fall into his arms, and they can spend the night being cute and lovey. Harry almost laughs, because he doesn't want that at all.
He wants to wake Draco up and fold paper dragons with him.
"Wasn't she your girlfriend or something?" Harry asks. He wonders because Draco has been telling him about Snape's remorse for being forced to torture her, and he looks stained.
"Not really." Draco shrugs. "We were just good friends."
"Oh." Harry isn't sure why this is so important to him, but he presses further. "How come? I mean, she seemed to really like you."
Draco hesitates. "Not my type, I guess." He doesn't quite meet Harry's eyes when he says it, and Harry wonders again if Draco is gay. He considers asking him, but doesn't want Draco to get defensive.
Harry would be okay with it, of course; it wouldn't change anything. Draco is still Draco regardless of who he likes. Harry wonders how he would feel if Draco liked him, and for some reason the thought makes his cheeks warm.
Draco gets out of the shower and immediately notices that something is amiss. His enormous, sinfully fluffy bathrobe, the one he laid out on his bed just before his shower, is missing.
He expects to see Harry ensconced in his enormous, sinfully fluffy bathrobe when he walks out of his bedroom. And he does, but what he does not expect is to see Harry ensconced in his enormous, sinfully fluffy bathrobe while the rest of Harry's clothes lie in a wet pile on the kitchen floor. Draco can see his bare ankles and feet under the bathrobe. He swallows hard.
Harry looks wet and sheepish. It's a good look for him, as far as Draco is concerned. "It was raining," is all he says, and Draco is glad that the towel he wrapped around his waist is a heavy one.
"Don't you know any drying spells?" he asks before he does something stupid like try to dry Harry's hair with a towel. Or shag him. Both would be nice.
"Your bathrobe looked more comfortable," Harry replies, with some cheek this time. "I couldn't resist."
And Draco can't resist molesting him, but he does anyway.
They are talking about turtles when someone knocks on the door.
It's Ginny, and she looks just as surprised to see Harry and Draco as they are to see her.
Harry frowns. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay?"
"Yes, but I was so sure—" Ginny stops suddenly, shakes her head, and turns to give Draco a charming smile. This annoys Harry for some inexplicable reason. "Hi Malfoy. Sorry to interrupt, but I was just passing by on my way to the store and was wondering if you two wanted me to pick up some lunch for you." She is standing closer to Draco than is necessary, and this annoys Harry even more.
He isn't jealous, of course. For a moment Harry pictures Ginny with another man and the thought doesn't bother him at all. He'll dwell on that later, though, because another image distracts him from it. It's one of Draco with another man, or a woman, it doesn't matter. That thought does bother Harry. He frowns again.
To his relief, Draco merely looks at her, looks at Harry, and lifts an eyebrow. Ginny's smile falters.
After Ginny leaves, Draco begins chuckling quietly to himself. Harry gives him a wry look. "What?"
"Girlfriend problems, Harry?" Draco doesn't sound sympathetic.
Harry rolls his eyes. "Maybe. Is it that obvious?" He thinks it went alright, actually; Ginny was pleasant the entire time. The encounter was just sort of odd, that's all.
"I'd say so. She thought you were cheating on her." Draco says this like it should be obvious, and on second thought, maybe it is. Harry has been spending a lot of time here, after all. And the excuses he makes to her usually involve Draco.
Harry thinks she probably followed him here (how else would she know where Draco lives?), and he is suddenly angry. Perhaps he has been distant lately, but how can Ginny think he would actually cheat on her? He's Harry.
He hopes she feels guilty, now, for suspecting that there was another woman. But then he remembers his flash of possessiveness towards Draco. He isn't a woman, but maybe, maybe Ginny is onto something after all.
When Harry falls asleep on his chesterfield, Draco thinks it ought to be illegal for someone to be so cute. His dark hair spills messily across the throw pillow he's hugging and his mouth is open just enough for his lips to be pursed by the way his cheek is mashed against the pillow.
There are empty cartons of Chinese food scattered over the coffee table, and Harry still has one chopstick clutched in his fist. Draco sits quietly for a long time, watching him, indulging himself just this once.
Finally, once the streetlights have come on and he can't ignore how fuzzy his vision is getting, he gets up and finds a blanket to cover Harry with. One last indulgence comes in the form of his fingers brushing Harry's soft, fly-away hair off his forehead. Then Draco heads to bed himself, a smile on his face at the thought of waking up to Harry the next morning.
Several moments after he wakes up, Harry realises he's fallen asleep at Draco's on a Ginny Night, and that Ginny is probably hacked off beyond comprehension. Strangely, the thought doesn't bother him at all. With a grin, he pulls himself up from the chesterfield, letting the blanket that is draped over him fall to the floor.
"Draco?" he calls, stretching as he wanders into the kitchen. He finds the other man standing at the stove, carefully pouring beans a pan. Harry's stomach growls and he moves to stand behind Draco, who turns back to him with a smile.
"Morning. Beans and toast alright?"
Harry can't help but notice how close they're standing, how softened Draco looks with his hair mussed and fluffy from sleep, how his breath smells sweetly of the chocolate he's obviously been sneaking, how there is a bit of it in the corner of his mouth. Harry licks his thumb and reaches out to wipe the chocolate away. His other hand cups Draco's chin as he does it, though he doesn't quite realise this until Draco blinks up at him. His eyes are wide and he is no longer grinning.
Harry smiles at him. "You had something...just there."
Draco continues to stare at him, and then nods, a pinkish blush tingeing his cheeks. Harry backs up a step and teases, "I think the rule is to kiss the cook, but you're not getting any reward at all if you burn the beans."
Harry just laughs.
It is the first really hot day this summer, and Draco is wearing shorts and a tank. The first thing Harry notices is that it is very tight. The second thing Harry notices is that there is a lot of Draco's skin to look at.
Draco's skin is pale and smooth, and Harry likes it better than Ginny's freckles. He wonders if Draco's skin is softer than Ginny's, too. The only way to find out is to touch it, Harry supposes, so he very accidentally brushes Draco's arm with his own. It's softer and warmer than Ginny's skin, and Harry approves.
He wants to touch Draco's collarbone next, maybe even lick it. The boldness of that thought scares him a little, though, so Harry stops his train of thoughts where they are. It would be awfully difficult to accidentally lick Draco's collarbone anyway.
Draco is either going insane or Harry is flirting with him. He hopes it's the latter. It isn't anything blatant — just a teasing comment here or a look there. It's certainly nothing Draco can act on, but Severus taught him patience, so patient he is.
Still, he decides, it can't hurt to flirt back a little.
The next time Harry walks past him, Draco pats him on the butt. Harry gives him a mildly startled look but doesn't stop on his way to the kitchen. Draco smirks.
"What're you reading?"
"...right. Sorry I asked."
"Hermione dragged us out to this really great club last night."
"I couldn't believe how fantastic the music was. She even got me out dancing."
"...and then she gave me a strip tease, covered me in peanut butter, and licked it all off."
"Could you pay attention? I'm trying to talk to you."
"Quit pouting. If Granger were to see it, I can almost guarantee the end of the peanut butter fun."
"...uh, well. Okay, so anyway. It's a really great place. I think you'd like it."
"Aw, c'mon, don't give me that look. I know you can't go right now. But...I was thinking that when you get out, maybe you and I could go together?"
"Promise to wine and dine me first?"
"Draco! Be serious!"
"I'm being perfectly serious! And don't throw pillows at me. You rip my pages and I'll rip you."
"I'm shaking. Really, though. Would you go with me?"
"Why not go with Ginny?"
"Because I want to go with you."
"...I suppose. If I'm still slumming with you at that point."
"Pfft. Whatever, mate. That's perfect! It'll be a brilliant time, I promise! I knew as soon as I walked in that you'd love it. It was really classy."
"Why, Potter. Did you just imply I'm classy?"
"Don't let it go to your head, Malfoy."
"So are you going to wine and dine me first?"
"You are so much work."
"You love it."
Draco likes mountains, so for his twenty-first birthday, Harry charms his walls, floors, and ceilings to look like an alpine forest. The furniture looks a little odd in the middle of it all, but Draco doesn't seem to mind. He is too busy staring at the trees and the mountains and the sky around him. Harry is busy staring at Draco. He's been doing that a lot lately.
"C'mere," Draco says as he lies down on the blanket Harry spread over his living-room-forest floor. He carefully moves the picnic basket out of the way and pats the spot next to him. Harry obliges and their shoulders brush against each other, but neither of them move to correct the situation.
When they gaze up at the canopy of trees and skies together, it's almost as if they really are in the middle of an alpine forest and Draco isn't just spending time with Harry because he has nowhere to go and nothing to do. Not that Harry has ever really worried about that, but still, he wonders sometimes how often he would see Draco if it weren't for this house arrest thing. Sometimes, he secretly, selfishly enjoys being Draco's only friend.
This is one of those times, especially when Draco turns his head to look at Harry and smiles.
Before now, Harry has never given much thought to how much Draco likes to play with his wand. He never uses it, but he always has it on him, and from time to time he'll pull it out and play with it absently. Harry used to think it was because Draco missed his wand. Now he thinks it is going to drive him crazy.
They are poring over the draft of his biography together, but Harry keeps not being able to concentrate because Draco's fingers are so long and slender and they keep running up and down the length of his wand. Harry would rather they run up and down the length of his cock, but he can't ask for that. He can only ask for Draco to repeat the things he misses and that happens so often that Draco is becoming a little annoyed. It makes him play with his wand more forcefully, which makes Harry more hard, which makes it even more difficult for him to focus on Snape. It's a vicious cycle, and Harry is doomed.
"Sorry," he says finally. "Tonight's just not my night for this. Maybe we can try again tomorrow?"
"Sure." Draco peers at him. "Are you alright, Harry? You've been weird all night."
"I'm okay, just — uhm." Harry shrugs, and it is entirely awkward. "Don't worry about it, I'll see you tomorrow. Bye!"
He Apparates home before Draco can ask him any more questions. It's a little rude and more than a little hasty, but at least he didn't have to stand up and let Draco see the tent in his pants. When he drops his pants and closes a hand around himself, however, part of him wishes Draco had seen the tent in his pants. Harry wonders what would have happened. He wonders if both of them are gay.
The first time Harry hugs Draco, they are both drunk on firewhiskey. It happens for no particular reason; Harry is just an affectionate drunk. Draco is in the middle of saying something about purebloods when Harry leans over and gives him a one-armed bear hug.
"You're my favourite pureblood," he slurs.
Draco giggles, burps, and nuzzles his ear. "The Weasleys are purebloods too, you know."
"You're my favourite pureblood."
Before they pass out like that, slumped together on the floor, Harry hopes he remembers this in the morning. He hopes Draco remembers, too.
"Have you ever kissed a boy?"
There is something very childish about the way Harry asks this. Draco glances at him and shrugs. "Sure."
Harry stops fiddling with Draco's paper dragon and stares at him. "Have you ever kissed a girl?"
"Which do you like better?"
Draco's lips twist a little. "Boys."
"What about me?"
Draco lifts an eyebrow. "If you're asking me which you like better, perhaps you're asking the wrong person—"
"I mean, would you everkissme?" Harry shoves his glasses up the bridge of his nose and turns red.
Of course he would — Draco has wanted nothing else for months. Actually, he has wanted other things, but he won't go into that. He wants to say yes, but what he says instead is, "You have a girlfriend, Harry."
"Oh. Right." Harry frowns slightly, and that is the end of that conversation. Draco wishes he had said yes after all.
"Don't forget your rubber chicken, Potter. I'll see you tomorrow?"
Harry hesitates, a hand on the doorknob. "I can't, actually. The Weasleys have been making plans for my birthday for days now so I can't very well miss it, can I?"
"Oh." Draco wants to say he's been making plans for Harry's birthday for even longer, but his pride doesn't let him. "Well, happy birthday, then."
"Thanks." Harry smiles at him, and a moment later he is gone. Draco crumples up the cheesecake recipe he asked his mother to send him and throws it out. At least he won't have to worry about trying to get a tent up on his rooftop without magic now, he thinks. The thought isn't very comforting.
"I'm sorry for causing such a fuss, Mrs. Weasley."
"Oh, you know Ginny; the smallest thing can set her off sometimes." Mrs. Weasley gives him a warm smile, but it doesn't reach her eyes.
Harry doesn't know what to say to that, so they wash dishes in silence for a few minutes. "I'll go up later and apologise to her," he promises eventually, somewhat reluctantly. He just wants to break the uncomfortable silence.
"Oh, Harry. I know you mean well, dear, but even you must see that Ginny isn't looking for apologies anymore."
"I know," Harry says quietly, because he knows exactly what Ginny is looking for.
Mrs. Weasley sets down the plate she is washing and looks at him. "I don't mean to rush you, Harry, but she won't wait forever. Ginny is becoming impatient." And I am, too,, she seems to add.
Harry looks away, feeling cold. "I know," he repeats. He wishes he had spent his birthday with Draco.
The week after Mrs. Weasley drops her hint-bomb on him, Harry turns introspective. It is not exactly in his realm of experience, so he freaks himself out a little when he flops down on his couch and stares at the ceiling, wondering about how to propose to a girl. But he thinks that's probably normal. And about time. Right?
He knows that Ginny is impatient — that everyone is impatient — with his lack of action, and that he ought to grow up and let her make an honest man out of him, whatever that means. But his ceiling keeps turning into a technicolour video of Draco Malfoy's happy laugh and pale skin and grey eyes and long drawl...
Harry's not an expert on love, but he's pretty sure that thinking about a bloke while considering how to propose to a girl means that he shouldn't be considering how to propose to a girl in the first place.
"I think I'm going to propose to Ginny."
Draco looks like he comes very close to spitting his tea. "Come again?"
"Yeah. I think it's about time, right? I mean, we've been together for a long time. And everyone is getting a little fed up with waiting. There's really no point in putting it off, is there? It's pretty inevitable, so why not now?"
There is a momentary flash of shock and something else across Draco's face, and then his expression shifts fluidly, until Draco is staring at him like he's got three heads, upper lip curled in something like disgust. "You buggering fucker of a jackass!" he spits finally.
Harry blinks. "...Uhm, pardon?"
Draco simply sneers at him. "You're an absolute idiot. Why in flying fuck would you marry that girl? You're obviously not happy with her. Who cares about everyone else and what they want? You're just going to end up a miserable old man!"
Harry figures he ought to be indignant about this, and tries to muster up enough passion to properly deride Draco for disrespecting his relationship with Ginny. When he can't manage it, he tries to affect it instead. "You have no idea what you're talking about! You don't know her! You don't know what it's like between us! You have no ri—"
"I know you! You're miserable with her. But if you want to fuck up your life and be an unhappy old shit with two dozen redheaded brats running around, tying you to a life you never wanted, be my guest."
With Draco looking at him like that, Harry has to force himself to remember that Draco has never cared about him that way. His anger at Harry is because he dislikes Ginny, not because he has any desire to be in her place. That's all it is.
"Why do you even care, Draco?"
Draco remains silent for a long minute. Finally, he takes another sip of his tea and levels Harry with a neutral look. "I don't. Do what you want. No skin off my back."
For some reason, Harry feels that like a kick to the gut. He stands up and towers over Draco, hands braced on the arms of Draco's chair. "Say it again. Tell me you don't care."
Draco remains the picture of calm as he leans closer — so close that Harry can feel his breath ghosting over his lips — and whispers: "I don't care. I have no reason to."
And that seems to be that. Harry nods slowly, then straightens and picks up his satchel from where he discarded it at the entrance to the sitting room they have spent most of the last seven months in.
When he leaves, it is signaled only by the quiet click of the door behind him.
Silence echoes in old houses.
The first day, Draco drowns it out by playing outdated music on the phonograph he and Harry found in the attic. He folds seven paper dragons but is forced to stop after that because his fingers cramp up.
The second day, he decides that the music reminds him too much of Harry and his bright laughter as he watched Draco demonstrate lindyhopping. His look of concentration and contentment as he allowed Draco to guide him through the steps. He closes up the phonograph and buries it in the front hall closet under a box full of the things Harry has left in his house over the months. The box is large and conspicuous, but he has no need for a coat anyway, so he just doesn't bother opening the closet.
By the third day, he is going stir-crazy. He owls Harry three different times, asking him to come over, telling him he's sorry, promising to be more supportive. The letters don't make him feel any better. Harry still isn't there and Draco can't even eat the beans and toast he makes to take his mind off things — even the smell makes him think of early morning breakfasts with Harry.
Draco spends all of the fourth day reading in bed. It's amazing how used to Harry he has grown. The months of isolation that came before seem only a distant memory, and he's having a hard time readjusting to this complete lack of company. More than once, he laughs or starts to read an amusing passage out loud, only to remember that Harry is not leaning against the headboard next to him.
On the fifth day, Draco decides that all of the books in his library about tall, dark, handsome heroes, men with scars, men with glasses, awkward men, and orphans must go. He is sad to pack away the Bronte sisters and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but he can't stand to read their books when all they do is remind him of somebody who is conspicuously absent. When he is finished, he realises that his shelves look barren and that his closet door is bulging a bit. He shrugs and picks up Hamlet — only to throw it down half an hour later when he decides that Harry is Hamlet, only he's deviated from the script and is actually taking action now. He wishes Harry learned to follow the rules somewhere along the way.
Draco lets himself cry on the sixth day.
On the seventh, he pretends it never happened and owls Harry again. But he isn't expecting much. He wonders if he'll be invited to the wedding. The thought of sitting on a punishingly hard chair and watching Harry give himself to Ginny fucking Weasley is enough to make him vomit. Then he remembers that he is Harry's favourite pureblood and it quells the nausea enough for him to eat a sandwich while he folds more paper dragons.
It is the eighth day, now. Draco isn't sure what to do today.
It feels strange to knock on Draco's door, but Harry does it anyway. It is two o'clock in the morning.
When Draco cracks it open, Harry wants to tell him he looks like shit. What he says instead is, "I didn't do it."
Draco doesn't give him the reaction he is hoping for. In fact, Draco doesn't give him any reaction at all for a long time. He doesn't even let Harry in. He just stares at Harry; appraises him. Eventually he asks, "Why?"
Harry is ready for this question. He is done playing games. "Because I want you."
"Me?" Still no reaction.
"I couldn't stop thinking about you. And then when you sent me those owls I couldn't stop reading them. But I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, either, so I ended up folding paper dragons out of all of them." Harry smiles ruefully and pulls four paper dragons out of his pocket. They are covered in Draco's elegant script. He takes a deep breath before continuing. "I bought her a ring and it felt a bit like the Forbidden Forest all over again, walking towards Voldemort so he could kill me." Harry laughs a little, humourlessly. "Then I considered buying a love potion for myself so I could live happily ever after with her. That was about five minutes ago."
Finally, Draco stands back and opens the door wide. He has a strange smile on his face. "Want some tea?"
"I want a kiss," Harry replies, stepping through the doorway and coming to stand very, very close to Draco. "I don't have a girlfriend now."
"She doesn't know that yet."
"I wanted you to be the first to—" Harry is cut off when Draco's lips seal over his in a hard, wet, intense kiss. When it is over, Harry is dazed. All he knows is that he likes kissing boys better than kissing girls, too. Or perhaps he just likes kissing Draco best. Either way, he does it again.