Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Summary: This is a story about mistakes, trust, and maybe even second chances.
Beta: None besides a once-over by goneril. Read at your own risk.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Part II - Irony Loves Company
Harry eyed his pint, which was his fourth and still half-full. "You know, I really don't think I should be drinking any more tonight," he said, with some difficulty.
"Why is that?" asked Draco, leaning slightly forward so that his hair fell around his face in sleek strands.
Harry had the sudden urge to reach out and touch one of those strands, just to see if they would feel as smooth and silky as they looked. He debated with himself for a bit, then realised that Draco was looking at him expectantly, one pale eyebrow raised in amusement. "Oh," said Harry. "Oh. Well, I think I'm getting old. Can't hold my alcomohol--er, you know."
Draco's mouth curled into a smirk, which was so reminiscent of their school days yet at the same time wasn't. This was a playful smirk, not a condescending one, and Harry wasn't sure when he'd begun to understand the difference. He stared at Draco's mouth, wondering what it would feel like to kiss him.
"No, I really don't know," said Draco. "I wouldn't know anything about getting old," he added, effecting a smug expression that looked so comical Harry had to fight to keep himself from laughing out loud.
Instead, he grinned and reached for his drink again. "Well, in that case," he said, "Neither would I." With that, he tipped his head back and drained the pint in several long swallows. As he was lowering the now-empty vessel back to the table, he noticed that Draco's eyes looked slightly vacant, fixated on some point below Harry's chin.
"What is it, Draco?" he asked. "Is something wrong?"
"Fucking hell, Harry," said Draco. "Bloody fucking hell."
"Did I spill some on myself? Ginny's going to kill me," said Harry, and immediately frowned. He didn't want to think about Ginny. They'd had another blazing row before Harry had set off to meet with Draco. Ginny had practically given him an ultimatum -- either Harry stops meeting with Draco or Ginny goes. Harry had told her to do whatever the fuck she wanted and slammed the door on his way out. Enough was enough.
He looked back at Draco, who had in the meantime stopped staring at Harry and was apparently attempting to divine some deeper meaning at the bottom of his own pint.
Draco lifted his head slowly and Harry started. Draco's eyes were half-closed and as though a darker shade of grey. His lips were slightly parted and he looked like he was having some trouble breathing. Harry frowned. "Er, maybe I should go. Ginny and I had a row before I left--"
"Yeah?" said Draco, his voice slightly lower than usual.
The sound caused an unexpected jolt of pleasure in Harry's groin and he blinked. "Yeah," he said, moving closer to Draco as though instinctively. He didn't want the whole bar to overhear him, after all. "She said I had to choose between meetings with you and -- well, her."
Draco made an odd sound in his throat and Harry felt a hand slide up his thigh. It sent a tingling feeling through his leg, resulting in another pleasurable squirm in the pit of his stomach. "Draco, what are you doing?"
"Keep talking, Harry, don't worry about what I'm doing," said Draco in that low voice again. His mouth was so much closer now; Harry could see a neat row of white teeth glinting just behind Draco's lower lip. He wanted Draco to smile, he thought muzzily. "I will, if you smile for me," he said, and promptly shut his mouth, horrified. What was he doing? To his continued horror, Draco's eyes flared with something and Draco smiled -- slowly, lazily revealing those white teeth and was that his tongue between them?
"There," said Draco. "Now go on." His hand continued to slide up Harry's thigh and Harry's eyes were falling shut because it felt good; Ginny never touched him like that, she always went straight for his cock and--
"Harry," breathed Draco into his ear. "You said you'd keep talking."
The hand on his thigh stopped moving and Harry fought the urge to move under it himself. "What was I saying?"
"You and Ginny were rowing," said Draco. His breath tickled Harry's ear. They were sitting side by side now and must have made quite a picture -- a man in a judge's robes and another man in a suit, sitting together like gossiping schoolgirls. The thought sobered Harry a little and he cast about for what he had been trying to tell Draco.
"We were rowing and she said I should choose -- you or her," murmured Harry.
"And whom did you choose?" Draco's voice was almost hypnotic -- so close it reverberated in Harry's chest. Draco's hand felt heavy on his thigh, heavy and warm and so very welcome.
"I told her that if she was so interested in choices, she should make her own," said Harry. It was the truth. Draco's hand moved a fraction of an inch up his leg and it was all Harry could do not to move forward so that Draco would be touching his cock. His head was swimming and everything was sort of blurry; he wasn't sure if it was the alcohol or Draco.
Draco drew in a breath and Harry thought that he'd just barely brushed Harry's balls with his fingers. The thought alone made his cock give a lurch. Draco seemed to have felt it, too, because suddenly he was holding his breath. When Draco spoke, it was in a whoosh of warm air that made Harry slightly dizzy. "So what did you choose, Harry?"
"You know what Dumbledore said to me once?"
"That it is our choices that make us who we truly are, far more than our abilities."
"Mmm," said Draco, and Harry's cock gave another twitch at the sound. He was going to go home and have the wank of the century. He wouldn't touch Ginny, it wouldn't be right--
"Harry," whispered Draco. "Sometimes it's our -- hmm -- abilities that determine our choices. What do you think of that?"
Draco was pressing so close to Harry now that Harry realised he was starting to sweat; he could feel a rivulet of liquid run down his back. "I... I don't know," he stammered.
Suddenly, the pressure on his inner thigh and the heat at his side were gone. Confused, Harry turned to look and found himself almost nose to nose with Draco. They stared into each other's eyes for a long moment, and then Draco tilted his head slightly, leaning in--
Harry lost his nerve. He felt his face flush and he ducked down hastily. "Have you, um, I'm thirsty. Can I have some of your beer?"
"Go ahead," said Draco in a dull voice.
Harry reached for Draco's drink, doing his best to still his hand trembling. He took a deep swig, set the pint back on the table and stole a glance at Draco, who looked pensive and troubled. Dimly, Harry knew that things had changed between them, fundamentally so. He didn't know what to do. Like so many times before in his life, he was torn between what was right and what was easy. The right thing to do would be to say goodbye as usual, pay for his drink and leave. Ginny was at home waiting for him and she didn't deserve the result of Harry's doing the easy thing. Which was, incidentally, to finish what he'd started with Draco.
As Harry sat there, trying to work out what to do with his brains as muddled as they were, Draco's crisp voice startled him. " I've paid for our drinks. Come, I'll put you in a cab. You're in no state to Apparate."
Numbly, Harry rose from his seat and followed, frowning. He was part relieved that he didn't have to make the decision and part annoyed that he had no options left. He let himself be dragged into the backseat of a black cab and registered with some surprise that Draco climbed in after him.
"Where to?" asked the driver in Hagrid's voice.
"Harry?" Draco poked him in the side sharply.
"Oh -- er -- number twelve, Grimmauld Place."
"Right then," said Hagrid's voice.
"You live in the house of Black?" asked Draco. He was sitting on the opposite side of the backseat, as near to the door as possible, with his hands folded in his lap. Harry wanted him to sit closer but he couldn't very well do anything about it, could he?
"Yeah. It belonged to my godfather, Sirius. He left it to me."
Draco's smile was enigmatic. "I suppose I will one day get used to the irony of Harry Potter living in the house of my ancestors."
Harry gazed at him, trying to figure out why he kept seeing Draco with a blurry outline around him. He was reasonably sure he wasn't drunk enough to be seeing double. Draco met Harry's eyes and raised an eyebrow. "What?"
Harry flushed and turned away. "Nothing."
"Really now, Harry. We're not blushing schoolgirls, are we? We can talk about what happened."
"That's right, nothing did. Is that what you wanted?"
Harry turned back around to look at him. He adjusted his glasses and took a deep breath. "No. But this isn't about what I want. It's about what's right. It wouldn't have been right, Draco. Ginny trusts me."
"The hell she does."
"Have you not been living your life for the past month? She thought she could put up with it but apparently her patience is wearing thin, what with her precious hero boyfriend gallivanting with his gay friend every week. If I were her, I'd be jealous, too. She knows I'm queer. She's been trying to get you to get rid of me."
"But I'm not going to get rid of you. We're friends. I don't care if you're queer. I don't care if I'm--never mind."
"If you're what, Potter?"
"Nothing," said Harry and turned away again. Draco had called him 'Potter' -- something he hadn't done since they'd agreed to use first names after that first interview.
"We're here, gents," said the driver with Hagrid's voice.
Draco opened the door and climbed out, ostensibly to let Harry nearer to the house but Harry had opened his own door and got out at the same time.
"You want to see the house?" asked Harry quickly. He didn't want Draco to go. He had a sinking feeling this would be the last time they'd ever see each other.
Draco leant on the other side of the car and gave Harry a long look. His hair was blown every which way by the chill wind that was picking up. Harry shoved some money at the driver without looking at him. He couldn't take his eyes off Draco and he was beginning to regret the invitation.
"Is that enough?" he asked the driver, making an effort to turn and look him in the eye. He looked nothing like Hagrid.
"Oh, I'm just getting your change now, sir."
"Don't worry about it. Treat yourself to a cup of tea," said Harry, waving him off.
"That's going to be one big cuppa! Thank you, and a good night to you!"
"G'night," said Harry. He looked up and saw Draco at the bottom of the staircase leading up to the front door. He waited for the cab to pull away from the curb and hurried over. They walked up the steps in total silence.
As Harry was rummaging for the keys, Draco asked, "Wasn't this place supposed to be Unplottable?"
"Yeah," said Harry, fishing his keys out of one of his numerous pockets. "But after the war we reckoned, why bother? There used to be a Fidelius Charm on it, too, at one point."
"What's the story behind that?" asked Draco, looking suddenly very perky.
Harry grinned. "It's a very long story." He opened the door and put a finger to his lips. "You have to be very quiet. Mrs Black is -- er -- temperamental," he whispered, tiptoeing inside and waving his wand at the chandelier, which lit up the narrow corridor after a few moments.
"You've got my great-aunt's portrait here?" Draco whispered back, manoeuvring past the troll's leg that was on the floor for some reason. Harry picked it up and leant it against the wall.
"Yeah, 'sgot a Permanent Sticking Charm on it." He beckoned Draco towards the stairs and tiptoed up towards the drawing room.
"Do the elf heads have Permanent Sticking Charms on them, too?"
They walked into the drawing room and Harry turned on the lights. "Have a seat," he said, indicating the sofa. "As for the elf heads, no, they could have come down a long time ago, but Kreacher starts wailing so terribly every time we try that we decided to just leave them be."
"What creature?" asked Draco. He had in the meantime settled in the far corner of the sofa and was eyeing the tapestry with the Black family tree.
"Kreacher. Our house-elf," said Harry.
Draco snorted. "You let your house-elf tell you what to do? Only a couple of SPEW-supporting Gryffindors."
"It's not SPEW, it's--oh, hell," said Harry, laughing. "How do you know about that, anyway?"
"Well, Granger hardly made it a secret, did she? We'd actually tried to make a few of them spew Bubotuber pus into the face of the wearer but they were protected by rather tricky shield charms."
Harry smiled. "Yeah, Hermione always thinks of everything. She's still like that. So, you -- uh -- want a drink?"
"Tea, if you've got it," said Draco, cocking his head to one side and once again resuming his perusal of the Black family tree. Harry walked downstairs to the kitchen and turned on the lights. The first thing he saw was the neatly rolled-up parchment on the table. He frowned and walked over to pick it up. It was a letter addressed to him in Ginny's flowery handwriting.
It seems that you have made your choice. I know you thought I was just being dramatic like usual when we were rowing today, but I was serious.
Your outings with Malfoy were bothering me because I saw what he wanted the minute we walked into that pub, back when you took me with you. He couldn't take his eyes off you. Besides, the whole time we were there, you never once kissed me or touched me or gave any indication that we are a couple and we belong together. I was hurt, and I told you I was, but you said I was only exaggerating.
I do understand that you'd like your time away together with your friends, Harry. I do understand that we cannot spend all our time together. But you and Ron have drinks almost every night, you see Neville twice a week, you have Quidditch every Saturday with all of us. I don't see why you need Malfoy so badly. I don't think I was being unreasonable, and I think you were totally insensitive and you don't care that I'm upset that you continue to see Malfoy even though he's obviously trying to seduce you.
So, long story short, I'm leaving, Harry. Tell Malfoy he won, he can have his prize. That's what he wanted, isn't it? To add Harry Potter to his trophy collection. I have already taken all my things and I'm going to move on with my life. I can't live with someone who cares so little for my feelings when it comes to things like these. I'm sorry it had to be this way, but you made your choice today when you walked out that door.
I do still love you.
Harry waved his wand at the teakettle absentmindedly and re-read the letter. It contained nothing he hadn't heard before and it didn't seem any less petty in this form. He lowered the letter and sighed. The kettle began to whistle several minutes later and Harry prepared he tea tray as though in a daze. It was a good thing they had -- used to have -- Molly for tea often, at least Harry had learned how to serve tea properly. When done, he levitated the tray out of the kitchen and up the stairs into the drawing room, still clutching the letter.
Draco had not moved from his spot and he was still examining the tapestry. When the tea tray landed on the low table at his side, he jumped a little and turned around.
"You look like you've seen a Boggart," Draco remarked.
Harry said nothing. He sat down in the middle of the sofa and started to pour tea into a cup for Draco. He felt strong fingers around his wrist, forcing him to lower the teapot back to the tray.
"What's going on?" asked Draco.
With a sigh, Harry handed him Ginny's letter and kept staring in front of himself. Eight years. She'd packed up and left after eight years because she didn't like the company Harry kept one day a week. Eight. Fucking. Years.
"Well it sounds like wonder woman has made her choice, hasn't she?" came Draco's soft voice from his left.
Harry turned to look at him. The look on Draco's face was unreadable. He folded Ginny's letter in half and slid it under the rim of the tea tray, then looked up at Harry. "What are you going to do?"
Harry took a deep breath and shook his head. "I don't know."
Draco cast another glance at the tapestry and rose. "I'd better go."
Harry nodded and got up as well. He felt strangely light-headed and wondered what time it was. Draco made his way out into the narrow corridor leading to the front door. Harry followed him and watched him put on his cloak. After he was done, Draco gazed at Harry for a long moment before saying, "I'll see you next week? Unless you can't stand the sight of me now that I've cost you the love of your life."
Harry looked up at him curiously; the bitter, harsh tone in which Draco had spoken had momentarily jolted him back to their school days. Draco's face was set in a not-quite-scowl and there was a light blue vein pulsing gently in his right temple. As though in a dream, Harry stepped closer and Draco froze.
"Harry," he said, his tone low and urgent.
"Draco," said Harry. His mind was screaming at him to stop, to give it time, to let him go, but his body seemed to be taking executive control of all decisions for that night. Ginny had made her choice; she'd left him. Harry could have kissed Draco there in the pub and it would have been fine because he had already been single then. This was what he wanted. "This is what I want," said Harry slowly, placing a hand on the front of Draco's cloak and moving even closer. "Kiss me."
Draco made a low sound in his throat and reached up to put a hand on the back of Harry's neck, forcing his head down. When their mouths met, Harry's dizziness abated. When Draco's tongue twined with his, Harry's eyes fell shut and he moaned as the sensation made a steady path straight down to his cock. Draco's hands were on his arse, pulling him closer -- this was so different from kissing a woman. There were no soft, round cheeks, no curves -- just the sharp angles of Draco's face and the warmth of his body, a perfectly flat chest that let Harry get so close he thought he might scream. He put his arms around Draco and kissed him, deep and hungry and raw. Draco's shifted his hips to thrust up against him and --
The troll's leg umbrella stand fell over. Immediately, the screaming began.
"FILTHY HALF-BLOODS AND BLOOD TRAITORS BEFOULING MY ANCESTRAL HOME!"
"Meet your great-aunt," said Harry, shaking his head ruefully.
Draco cocked his head to one side and strode over to the painting. Just as abruptly, the screaming stopped.
"But my child," said Mrs Black in a perfectly normal voice. "You've got your father's eyes."
"Yes, I have, Auntie," said Draco with a genial smile.
"A Black? In this house? Why, since my worthless blood-traitor of a son has passed on, I do not think there have been any Black descendants here, unless you count that half-breed Andromeda spawned with that Mudblood beast."
"These are trying times, Auntie," said Draco, still smiling. Harry felt his breathing quicken as he watched Draco standing there, completely at ease, even though he was still wearing his heavy cloak.
"Draco, isn't it?" asked Mrs Black after a pause. Draco nodded. "I remember you when you were just a baby, when Narcissa brought you by to receive my blessing."
Harry could scarcely believe his ears. This was the first time he was listening to Mrs Black speak normally, and her voice wasn't actually half as awful as he would have imagined. She sounded like a kindly but tired old lady, like the ones who feed the pigeons on park benches and tell you to have a good morning when you walk by.
"How tall you have grown! How handsome! Why, you must have children of your own by now!"
"I haven't, yet, Auntie," said Draco, his voice smooth as honey. Harry lifted the umbrella stand back up and leant it against the wall, then gave a little cough. Draco glanced over at him and Harry reached for his belt buckle. Draco's eyes widened and he turned back to the portrait. "Well, I must be going," he said to her. "I'll be sure to come by and chat again soon, Auntie. It was ever so lovely to see you again."
"Oh, I am so glad, so glad," whimpered Mrs Black. "A true child of the Blacks!"
"Will you consent that I draw your curtain, so that your sleep is not disturbed?"
"Yes, dear, please do. I do believe I shall sleep quite well this night. What a pleasure, my dear."
"Good night, Auntie," said Draco, and drew the curtain shut. He turned and walked back to where Harry was standing. "You were just about to show me something, weren't you?" he said in the same pleasant voice he'd just used with Mrs Black.
Harry reached for the clasp on Draco's cloak without a word.
"No, let me," said Draco. "It's a little complicated." He undid the clasp and hung the cloak on the rack beside Harry. "Now, how about some tea?" he said, his voice mellow.
"Fuck tea," muttered Harry, and kissed him again. Draco whimpered and leant into Harry, his hands sliding down to cup Harry's buttocks. Harry broke the kiss and stared down at Draco, whose eyes were closed, his breathing ragged. "Hold on tight," he said, and Draco obeyed, clinging to him as Harry Apparated them both into the third-floor guest bedroom.
Harry pushed Draco up against a wall and whispered, "You're fucking unbelievable. We've been trying to get her to shut up for years. And all you did was wish her goodnight."
"Sometimes it's good to be a Black," Draco said with a slight smirk, and put his hands on Harry's shoulders. "Do you have any idea how long I've waited for this?"
"What, meeting your dotty great-aunt?" asked Harry, who was busy pulling up Draco's robes.
Harry looked down at him, feeling his heartbeat quicken. "How long?"
"Fifth year, October, last week before the first Quidditch match. The one after which you beat me up so badly that I was sporting Ravenclaw colours under my clothes for weeks."
Harry winced. "You insulted my mother."
"We were kids."
"I know. Kiss me."
"I was peeking at you and Weasley in the showers after practice. Weasley may be hung like a horse, but you--" Draco leant in and licked Harry's neck, then reached for his tie. "You're a fucking work of art. I hated you with every particle in my body but I wanted you even more." He tugged the knot free, threw Harry's tie aside, pushed the suit jacket off his shoulders and set to work on the shirt buttons. "What I wouldn't have given to have got you alone."
Harry braced himself against the door and leant down to kiss him. Draco was still holding onto his shirt and he ended up ripping the rest of the buttons right off. Harry shrugged out of the shirt, which caught at his wrists, so those buttons went as well. Draco ran his hands down Harry's chest and Harry hissed at the touch. He stilled Draco's hands with his and looked him in the eyes.
"I was there, you know. At the top of the Astronomy tower, in sixth year."
Draco's eyes went wide and fearful. "But you -- how did you survive?"
"I was in my Invisibility Cloak. Dumbledore immobilised me instead of fighting you. I think he wanted me to see."
Draco closed his eyes. "I'm not proud of it. Any of it."
"You should be. You were fighting for your family."
Draco let his hands drop and looked up, his eyes fierce. "What if I told you that I wasn't? What if I told you that I was doing it to save myself and the fact that the Dark Lord had threatened my family was simply a matter of convenience for me?"
"Was it?" asked Harry.
Draco glared up at him -- a dangerous, glittering stare, just like it used to be back at school. It was all the answer Harry needed. He reached for Draco, but Draco moved out of the way and over towards a corner of the room. Still in his robes but dishevelled, he looked a bit mad.
"Look, Potter -- Harry," said Draco, turning around in his corner and looking straight at him. "If you need to make sure that I'm pure-hearted and noble before you fuck me, we might as well stop right now because I'm neither. I never was, and I have no desire to be. I don't think there has been a pure-hearted Malfoy as long as this earth has turned and look where nobility got my mother."
Harry winced. Draco's mother had been in Azkaban ever since Snape's death. At her trial, she had claimed to have worked alongside Snape but no one had believed her and there had been no evidence. Snape had left extensive documentation proving Draco's innocence but there had been nothing about Narcissa.
"There was evidence for her, you know. She destroyed it, because she knew the wolves at the Ministry would never let us both walk free. Not with Father dead. They wanted a Malfoy in prison. So they took her, even though every word in her testimony was the truth, and they let me go. I was not allowed to testify on her behalf under Veritaserum because it's against the law, as I was being tried along with her." Draco waved his hand to the side, as though to indicate someone who wasn't there. "Snape's evidence in my favour was overwhelming. They were all too happy to set me free, and it was good publicity, I'm sure you read all the papers. Promising Potions Talent Found Innocent! Draco Malfoy Victim Of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! Oh, they had a fucking field day with me. It was what inspired me to go into journalism. Destroy people's lives with a flick of your quill? Wow, sign me up."
Harry was staring at Draco in horror. Lucius Malfoy had died under suspicious circumstances in Azkaban shortly before the war had ended. The Allied Order had suspected that he had been executed on Voldemort's orders, and at the hearings it was counted as more evidence for Draco's innocence.
"But why didn't you tell someone -- a friend, anyone? Your family had powerful friends--"
"My father had powerful friends, because they feared him. They feared Lucius Malfoy. They would not fear Narcissa Malfoy his wife or Draco Malfoy his son. They were not friends, they were lapdogs who got fat on Father's money and didn't care about our family. Snape was the only one who cared about my mother and me. He did everything he could to save us but it was not enough, because the wolves wanted a Malfoy. Mother destroyed her evidence before I could do anything and so it was either we both rot in Azkaban or I get out."
Harry's whole body felt like it was a balloon that was slowly bleeding air from an accidental puncture. "But your mother is innocent. That's not justice."
Draco took a few steps towards him, an ugly sneer playing across his features, the kind Harry had not seen since their school days. "Justice? Have you ever asked yourself, why is Hufflepuff the most-derided house at Hogwarts? Because justice is dead, Potter. Justice doesn't exist. There is only power."
Harry shuddered. "Stop. You sound just like--"
"Yeah, I know. That's because he was right."
Red-hot fury flared up in Harry and he crossed the room towards Draco. "No. Don't ever fucking say that in my presence again. To say he was right is to say it was all right that everyone who fought him died. Dumbledore. Moody. The Longbottoms. Arthur Weasley. Amelia Bones. My parents. Don't you dare tell me he was right."
"What are you going to do, hex me? Cut me up like you did ten years ago?" In one swift motion, Draco removed his robes and flung them aside. He jabbed a finger into his chest. "See these? Snape couldn't heal them. The curse had cut too deep, too far." There were a series of thin, spidery scars running all the way down Draco's chest. "They aren't famous like yours, of course," he added with a sneer.
Harry stared at Draco's chest and suddenly noticed that Draco had been quite naked under his robes. He sighed and walked to the wardrobe, where he took out an old dressing gown of Sirius's and handed it to Draco. "Here. It was your cousin's. Blood traitor, but pure."
Draco winced but took the dressing gown and pulled it on. Harry watched him with mixed emotions vying for dominance in his chest. He wanted to rip Draco from limb to limb for what he had said about Voldemort. He wanted to wrap him in warm blankets and bring him hot cocoa and listen to everything he had to say. He wanted to tear that dressing gown off him and throw him on the bed. Most of all, he wanted to understand.
During these past four months, he'd got to know the Draco he'd never known at Hogwarts and he'd liked what he'd seen, but it had not been enough. It had been enough to make Harry desire Draco in a way he'd never felt about a man, but he realised that that had been Draco's plan all along. Draco had wanted to seduce Harry because it was something he had always wanted, since they were teenagers. He was going after what he wanted, patiently waiting for the right moment, never wavering in his resolve, and doing everything exactly in the way Harry would find agreeable, because obviously Draco Malfoy had done his Harry Potter homework.
Harry really shouldn't have been surprised at this realisation. After all, he knew what Draco was capable of. He was a made man, who had risen from simple freelance reporter to assistant editor and if Harry knew anything about Draco's tenacity, he'd own the Daily Prophet in another few years, and eventually he would control the entire wizarding publishing market. When a man like that wanted something, he got it. Harry suspected that even the initial interview about Tom Riddle's past had been simply a ruse to get noticed by Harry.
But if Draco had simply wanted to fuck him, he could have gone without the reminiscences of Hogwarts, without the confession of his long-time crush. Draco would have known exactly where that conversation would lead, and while he probably was not expecting Harry's revelation about the Astronomy Tower, they didn't end up dwelling on that for too long, all things considered. Draco had deftly steered the conversation to Narcissa -- of course.
"Sit down, Draco," said Harry, feeling suddenly bone-weary. He indicated the bed with a wave of his hand and started to walk that way himself. He sat down and watched Draco, who stood motionlessly in the centre of the room, looking quite alone and confused. "Come on. I'm tired, my girlfriend just left me and I think I'm about to lose a friend."
Draco's head snapped up and he stared at Harry. Harry patted the bed beside him and Draco scowled, but walked over and sat down. Harry cast him a sideways glance, but Draco wasn't looking at him.
"What I don't understand is why you had to go through all this song and dance, Draco. You could have just come and talked to me about your mother and -- shit, you know me. I'm the poster boy for sheer stupidity. I would have helped you anyway. Why the fuck did you have to twist the knife?"
"What?" the shocked expression on Draco's face was so authentic that Harry was tempted to suggest a career in acting.
"You can drop the act, seriously. I wasn't born yesterday and believe it or not, I know you. Did you know I obsessed over you for most of our sixth year? I was skulking around the Room of Requirement at all hours, hoping to bump into you, to see what you were up to? I hated you with every particle in my body," -- he broke off for a moment and winked at Draco -- "but at the same time I was fascinated by the precision and thoroughness with which you worked."
Draco sighed. "While this late-night confessional is endlessly fascinating, I don't see what that has to do with the row we were just about to have." He rolled his eyes dramatically and looked skyward.
Harry felt like a couple of cold iron rings had closed around his chest at once. "I don't understand what you think you're gaining by continuing this. You want to hurt me? Is that what it is? Well, all right. You've already hurt me. I didn't realise what you were playing at until just now -- too late -- and now I don't just want you in my bed, I want you in my life. You're under my skin and you're here to stay and there is nothing I'm going to be able to do about that for a very long time. Congratulations, Draco Malfoy. You win."
Harry dug his fingers into his hair and flung himself onto his back. He stared at the white ceiling above and then he felt the bed shake under him. He looked up and realised that Draco was laughing, but trying to suppress it. There were tears streaming from his eyes as he clutched his sides, shaking uncontrollably. Harry's eyes widened and he felt a bitter burning sensation in the pit of his stomach.
"You--" wheezed Draco. "I can't fucking believe it. Potter, you are such a prat, honestly. I guess the rumours about you being almost sorted into Slytherin were true. Salazar would be proud, Harry, you out-Slytherined your inner Slytherin. You thought this was all an elaborate act of revenge, along with a plan to get my mother out of prison, all framed within a plot to get into your pants? God, you really are something special, Harry Potter."
Harry blinked several times and sat up. Somehow he thought that if he said, "What, are you saying it wasn't?" it would only elicit more chortling, so he decided to wait it out. Eventually, Draco's shaking subsided to hiccoughing until finally, he turned to Harry with a completely serious look on his face. "Well, I hope you don't need me to tell you that tonight will never stop being funny."
Harry bit his lower lip and looked away. "I don't see what's so funny about it."
"You know, you can be really thick, can't you? I think all those years with the Ministry wonks have addled your brains enough so you see intrigue and spies everywhere. That and your martyr complex. I bet you think the interview was a ruse to meet you again, and that we really weren't running a special series on the history and fall of the Dark Lord."
Harry said nothing. He was suddenly wishing he could just crawl under the bed and never come out again. He turned away, feeling his face and chest grow hot. He'd just been had. By himself. How embarrassing.
"Harry," said Draco, touching his arm. "There was no secret plot. Everything I said tonight, I meant. I--I--fuck, why does it always have to be so difficult with you?"
Harry turned around, pulled Draco close, and then they were kissing again, furious and wet, until Harry rolled on top of Draco and stared down at him. Draco's face was flushed and his eyes were darker, and Harry got up to turn off the lights.
"No," called Draco. "It's not very interesting if we can't see each other, is it?" He climbed further on the bed so that he was no longer lying across it. The dressing gown had twisted around in such a way that it wasn't covering very much at all, and then Harry saw it.
The Dark Mark, the sign he'd thought was gone from the world for ever -- there it was on Draco's arm, inky black as the night and as though shining with new blood. Harry felt blood drain from his face as he stared at it.
"Oh, shit," said Draco, but it barely registered against the roaring in Harry's ears. He took a step towards the bed, his fighting instincts kicking in as though they hadn't been on an eight-year hiatus. Where was his wand?
Draco... was rolling his eyes. Harry shook his head. Was this a nightmare? It had to be. He was going to wake up soon, he knew it. Ginny would be curled up next to him and asking sleepily if he had another bad dream. Yes, he'd say, and he'd go back to sleep, and he'd dream of bloody Monarch butterflies next time, not Draco Malfoy and his silver eyes, his forked tongue and his Dark Mark.
Dark. Harry glared at Draco. Voldemort was long gone; there was no way a real Mark would show up so vividly, not unless Draco was Dark Lord Incarnate or something. He sat down on the bed and sighed. "You couldn't have told me?"
"And miss the priceless look on your face? You wish."
"Why on earth--"
Draco shrugged. "It was the Dark Lord's idea. Back when he decided I should become Dumbledore's downfall, or die trying. He obviously didn't want to brand me with the real Mark -- not only would I have been completely useless to him as I couldn't Apparate, it was very likely that I would have died had it not been for Snape. The Mark takes quite a bit of magical energy from the caster -- energy that takes months to regenerate. He didn't want to waste so much effort on a pawn like me." Draco punctuated the phrase with a dismissive wave of his hand, though his eyes were hard and he wasn't smiling. "So he told my mother to take me to a Muggle tattoo parlour -- a vampire worked there, the only one who knew how to draw an authentic-looking Mark. He tattooed it and I was to use it for leverage when someone didn't cooperate. Even old Borgin couldn't tell the difference, and that's saying a lot."
Harry shook his head. "I can't believe you let him treat you like that."
"What the fuck was I supposed to do? Say no?"
"You could have come to me."
Draco snorted loudly and turned to face Harry, propping his head up on his hand. "Right. I would have knocked on the door to the Gryffindor dungeon--"
"Whatever. So I was supposed to walk up there and say 'Hi, may I please talk to Harry Potter? He hates me and will hex me into a many-tentacled creature within minutes, but the Dark Lord is coming to destroy the world and I've come to ask Harry to protect me! Please, won't you help me?!'" Draco was speaking in a high-pitched tone that was by all accounts extremely annoying.
"I think you should shut the fuck up," said Harry, his tone light. He kneeled over Draco, who reached down to Harry's belt. Harry took off his glasses and tossed them onto the bedside table. "You never did show me," Draco started to say, but Harry kissed him, and the rest of Draco's sentence was more along the lines of "mmmprh".
And then they were naked and Harry was on his back, arching up and gasping as Draco rode his cock, his eyes closed and his face screwed up against whatever that place between pleasure and pain was called. Harry's mind reeled as he grasped Draco's thighs, forcing him to stop moving. Draco opened his eyes slowly, a look of mild annoyance fleeting across his features.
Harry sat up slowly, lifting Draco's legs up off the bed, and Draco understood. He lay back against the pillow and watched Harry from beneath his eyelashes, his lips parted slightly. Harry leant forward until they were face to face, and Draco's legs slid crossed behind Harry's back. Harry shivered and tasted the corner of Draco's mouth.
"Are you going to fuck me now or are we going to go back to foreplay?" murmured Draco, shifting slightly beneath him so that his cock brushed wetly against Harry's stomach. Harry pulled back slowly and thrust, then again and again, watching as Draco's smirk faded into a sigh.
Harry gripped the sheets on either side of the pillow and shut his eyes against the slick churning in his groin. His balls were slapping against Draco's arse as Harry pounded into him, his mouth going dry as he felt that final rush approaching. Then Draco cried out and began to thrust upwards, matching his rhythm, frantic gasps and whispered obscenities filling the air between them. Harry opened his eyes and watched Draco, slack-jawed and flushed pink, moving beneath him like nothing else mattered. Harry kept fucking him, hard and relentless, until Draco's arse was clenching around his cock and Harry fought for control because he wanted to watch this. Draco's grip on Harry's shoulders slackened and Harry let go, growling something strange as he came, his knees buckling and his eyes rolling back so fast he thought he went blind.
Harry collapsed, barely aware of the slippery come on Draco's stomach and chest. He pressed his cheek against Draco's for a moment, then pulled out. Draco's legs around him tightened, then let go. Harry felt Draco's heart beating against his chest and he strained his ears to hear it.
"Mine," whispered Draco. It was a strange thing to say, and Harry felt as though he was witnessing something he shouldn't have been, and so he just smiled into the pillow and rolled off Draco.
One other new thing about having sex with a man would be the extra cleaning up.
After he'd put both his memory and the Pensieve back where they belonged, Harry sat propped against the headboard for a long time, watching the window as though he could see through the black curtains. He had never before watched that particular memory from a Pensieve -- the events had always been so fresh in his mind. And yet, now he had trouble picturing himself and Draco. Every time he tried, he'd see scenes gleaned from Hermione's memory and his own imagination, scenes where Harry was not a participant.