Prompt: # 69
Summary: Draco can't remember much of last night. Was it part of some nefarious plot? Or has he forgotten the best night of his life?
Rating: NC-17 to be safe
Pairing(s): Draco/Harry, Theo/Hermione
Warnings: slight dub con (spell/alcohol use), bondage, rimming, and swearing
Word Count: 8,000
Author's Notes: Thank you to Kelcat18 for being an amazing beta. If there are mistakes, trust me, they're mine. I hope you like this, winterstorrm. This is my first HP fest, so you're kind of my guinea pig. Oh, and I am rather impressed that you got prompt # 69 two years in a row.
The first thing Draco was aware of was a shooting pain behind his closed eyes. Something was wrong. His mouth was dry and his head felt fuzzy. If he ever let himself drink too much at Ministry functions, he might have thought he was hungover. But he didn't. And last night had been the Annual Charity Ball, an event far too important for him to even consider surrendering his faculties.
He remembered clutching one flute of champagne as he spoke with various researchers, historians, and philanthropists. But he had rarely even taken a sip, using it more as a prop than a beverage.
He shifted his body and discovered he was not in his own bed. The sheets were cool and sleek, but not his own. Cracking open one eye, he was able to see fuzzy white walls before he closed it again with a groan. The light made his head hurt even more. Bracing himself, he opened both eyes, blinking until the room came into focus and his eyes adjusted to the light.
He was in a hotel room. More specifically, a suite in Qi, the posh wizarding hotel that had hosted last night's affair. He easily recognised the Chinese sculptures, vases, and paintings which comprised the hotel's décor. The question was, how he had gotten from the Victoria Ballroom on the ground floor up to a room.
Sitting up in bed, he tried to recall the events from the night before. He remembered dressing carefully in his finest dress robes, whilst mentally reviewing likely attendees and his priorities in socialising. He remembered Apparating to the Qi arrival lounge. From there he had claimed a flute of champagne from a passing tray and sought out members of the Wizengamot who had not yet agreed to support the proposed Squib Rights Decree.
He had spent at least two hours talking with the most indecisive, unscrupulous, and scatterbrained members of the Wizengamot. One wizard had all but asked what Draco would give him for his support. One witch clearly didn't even know that such a decree had been proposed. After a half-dozen uncomfortable, politically-charged conversations, Draco had been happy to step aside with Jacques Henry.
Jacques was a French philanthropist who, with the aid of Draco's Galleons, had founded an orphanage for Squib children whose parents had abandoned them for failing to show signs of magic. They had met soon after the war, and Draco had offered his support solely to improve his public image. Despite being cleared of any war crimes on a legal level, Draco had known that it would take time and effort before the Malfoy name would be associated with anything other than Death Eaters and the Dark Arts.
Draco had planned to simply use his wealth to buy a new reputation from the comfort of the Manor. The surly Jacques had had other ideas; he had demanded Draco get involved.
When Draco had refused to visit the orphanage, Jacques had brought three of the orphaned children to the Manor. He had repeatedly sent letters and drawings by the children and wrote his own letters that related each child's history and progress. By the time the orphanage moved into its third year, Draco knew every child by name and wrote as many letters as he received.
His conversation with Jacques at the ball had revitalised Draco enough to face the political small talk again. Unfortunately, he had fallen into a particularly painful conversation with the very dull husband of a brilliant potioneer Draco was recruiting for research. When he finally extricated himself, he still had not been able to speak more than two words to the potioneer.
He had been frustrated and decided he needed fresh air. So he had stepped out into the east gardens. It was a mild evening, marking the imminent arrival of spring. He could smell the camellias and see the stars overhead. He remembered finally relaxing. And then it went blank.
Moment by moment, Draco could replay his evening; every calculated gesture and comment was perfectly clear. Until he stepped out into that garden.
Draco frowned in concentration, forcing himself back into that moment, but images slipped away before he could focus on them. His scattered memories appeared as if through thick fog, but he knew the night had been clear.
There was someone. A man. He saw the dark sleeve of a dress-robes dangling from a hand waved in gesture. Long fingers pointed to something beyond them.
There was laughter. His and the other man’s. Light and genuine with amusement. Had he been flirting? His body recalled heat on his cheeks and a thrill through his stomach and groin. Yes, he must have been.
There had been kissing! He licked his top lip as his skin remembered teeth clashing into it painfully. Wet and desperate, he recalled.
Who was it? Draco would have stomped his foot in frustration, were he not still sitting in bed.
It was someone familiar. A former lover? No. No, he remembered his surprise. It was someone he had not imagined would want him. A pleasant surprise; he remembered his delight.
The taste of the man's skin came back to him: the saltiness of sweat with a warm, sweeter flavour beneath it. The smell of the man's hair returned, too. He sniffed the pillow next to him and was rewarded with that same scent of pine wood and fresh-cut grass. He could still see the base of the man's throat, but not his face or hair.
Draco struggled to find any memory of how they had gotten from the garden to the suite, but he did remember having the other man shoved back against a wall. The man had made the most beautiful whimpers and moans as Draco had ground against him.
He liked to lead in his sexual encounters, but his former partners had always failed to respond well. Some men had fought back as if their very manhood were in question. But far more often, in their eagerness to please him, they had taken submission to the extreme. Often they became so unresponsive that they were little more than lifeless dolls. Either way, it had always been unsatisfying, and eventually, Draco had simply stopped trying. Truth be told, it had been a long time.
But the memories from last night were unlike any of his past encounters. The other man had let Draco lead, surrendered to him, but had not been defeated. He had been wild and passionate in his submission. It was as if the other man had needed to fulfil Draco's every wish. It had been beautiful.
It suddenly occurred to him that he should be worried about the failure of his memory. Had he been drugged? Could someone have slipped a potion into his drink? But why? He had not been injured or kidnapped. A glance at his wand and clothing by the bed assured him he'd not been robbed.
He picked up his wand and cast Priori Incantatem. Ghostly ropes flew from the tip of his wand.
“No,” he gasped. Draco felt all of the blood rush out of his face. “No, no, no, no, no...” Yet even as he insisted it could not be true, an image came to him of corded muscle straining again deep red ropes. Draco's stomach clenched, even as his cock twitched with interest.
He could admit to himself alone that he was aroused by bondage. Okay, so maybe most of his fantasies included a man tied up and at his mercy. But he had never, not even once, indulged that fantasy. All that he needed was for it to get out that Draco the Death Eater got off on tying people up for rumours to abound about kidnapping, rape, and general perversion.
He had worked too hard. He had spent the last six years devoting every waking moment to redeeming his family name. He would not risk any of it for his own indulgence.
But apparently he had. And the worst part was: he couldn't remember it.
That was it, then. Someone had drugged him to reveal his sexual deviancy. Now he need only wait to see if it would be used for public disgrace or blackmail.
Monday morning's Daily Prophet made no mention of him. Sunday's paper had only mentioned him as one of the guests of the Ministry's Annual Charity Ball, identifying him as the “founder and CEO of the Malfoy Charitable Trust.”
Draco dropped his head into his hands to avoid the temptation to hit it against the large oak desk that dominated his office. He was frustrated, but he needed his wits about him if he were to get through this unscathed. Blackmail at least gave him a chance to keep his reputation clean, although who knew at what price? He could do nothing but wait until the inevitable demands arrived.
He pushed back his chair and stood up to pace. He walked around his desk to the large Persian rug in the centre of his office and set a nervous stride. Normally the room alone, with its two walls of windows and warm wood furniture, did much to improve his mood.
He paused in front of one window to stare at the wrinkled old tree that grew against the wing of Malfoy Manor devoted to the Trust. The tree had been planted by his great-great-grandfather and usually reminded him that his worries would seem small over the centuries. Today, it only reminded him how many ancestors he would let down if this went to the press.
He tore his eyes from the windows and stared instead at the rich colours of the rug below his feet. He was still wearing down the rug when Theodore Nott, the Trust's Chief Financial Officer and, more importantly, his best friend, strolled in.
Draco might have been annoyed at the intrusion, but Theo was wise enough not to interrupt Draco on a Monday morning without coffee. Draco took it wordlessly, as Theo made his way to the small leather couch in the corner with his own cup.
After watching Draco quietly for some time, Theo finally spoke.
“You know, Draco, I would have thought a good shag would relax you.” Draco’s head snapped up to see Theo's smug grin.
“You-- How do you know about that?” Draco had a horrifying moment in which he thought Theo might have been his mystery lover, but he quickly assured himself that Theo was not the type to be unfaithful. Or be shagged by a man.
Theo shrugged. “I know lots of things.” He was trying to look uninterested, but Draco knew him too well. “So how was it?”
Draco was struggling to incorporate this new information and the implications of it. “So you know who it was! Tell me, Theo. Now!”
“You don't know?” Theo looked genuinely surprised.
“Would I ask if I did? Tell me!”
Theo seemed to consider him for some time before he shook his head. “No, don't think I will.”
“Theo,” Draco warned.
“Theo, some man drugged me and is going to blackmail me!” He did not sound hysterical. At all. And there was certainly no reason for his supposed friend to start laughing as his expense. “Fuck you, Theo! Are you in on this?” The git just laughed harder.
Draco stormed back to his desk, where he sat with dignity and did not sulk.
“Draco....” Theo was struggling to talk between chuckles. “No one is trying to blackmail you, you deluded, paranoid freak.” The words would have seemed harsher if Theo hadn't been smiling at him with fond amusement.
Prompted by a raised eyebrow, Theo continued. “You may have been hit by a spell,” his twirl of his wand at that moment was as good as a confession, “which may have temporarily removed the stick up your arse and allowed you to have a proper shag.” He shrugged as if casting mind-altering spells on one's friends was not a seriously fucked-up thing to do.
Draco shot to his feet. “What the fuck did you do to me? What spell?”
Blue eyes lit up. “Hermione thought it up.” The love-sick glow made Draco feel a bit ill, but he ignored it. “It's a modified Inebriatus spell. It lowers your inhibitions, but without all the slurring and stumbling about. Apparently it still fucks with your memory, though.” He looked pensive. “In this case, maybe a good thing.”
“What do you mean a 'good thing'? Theo, you cast a spell on me at the most important Ministry event of the year that led to me jumping and shagging someone, and I don't even know who!”
Theo rolled his eyes. “You had great, uninhibited sex with a fit bloke, and you're throwing a wobbley like someone ate your last Sugar Quill.”
“And this 'fit bloke', did you cast a spell on him, too?” Draco realised he had started pacing again.
“No, he'd already made a decent start getting inebriated the Muggle way.”
Draco stopped to look at Theo. “So you hadn't chosen him for me?”
“No, no. That was all you. I mean, I had my suspicions. Well, actually, Hermione did.”
“Oh, great. I should have know that all of this could be traced back to your manipulative, conniving, meddlesome --”
“Talking about me?”
Draco turned to see the bushy brown hair and self-assured grin that announced exactly who he had been talking about. People always said that Hermione Granger was so smart she could have been in Ravenclaw. What they didn't say was that she really should have been in Slytherin.
She walked into the room and cuddled up on his couch next to her fiancé. Great, because all his mood needed now was to watch them ogle each other. He never should have let Theo convince him to hire her, even if she did run the Trust's Research and Development department like a dream. Or, more importantly, he never should have hired Theo.
“Is he upset about the ball?” Hermione asked, as if he weren't right there!
“Yeah. He doesn't even know who he shagged!”
“No!” Hermione gasped, flicking her eyes quickly to Draco.
“Yeah, thought it was all some diabolical plan and the bloke was gonna blackmail him!” Theo was chuckling again.
Hermione's brow was furrowed, as she stared at Draco's knee. Theo nudged her, and she blinked before looking up at Draco. A disturbing look took over her features. “Blackmail? Really? What kind of kinky stuff did you do, Draco? Did you ask him to 'play Healer'?”
Draco had thought he liked these people, but he had changed his mind. For friends, they were having way too much fun at his expense.
“I won't tell him who it is,” Theo went on. “I think he should sweat it out. Do him some good.”
Hermione looked like she would object, but unfortunately she just went back to staring at Draco's knee instead. Eventually she looked up at Theo, and the two seemed to have a silent conversation with their eyes. Finally she gave a little nod and a smile.
Draco was angry enough to spit. If spitting were something a Malfoy would ever do. “You're not going to tell me. I can't believe you two.”
Theo turned to him and smiled. “It's like a Muggle mystery novel! The Case of the Missing Shag.
Snorting with laughter like the swine they were, his two ex-friends gathered themselves from his couch and headed for the door.
“Fine. You know what? I don't care who he was. I have work to do.” Draco strode to the credenza behind his desk and pretended to look through a stack of parchment. He heard Hermione murmur something in a nervous voice, but Theo's responding tone was reassuring. A moment later they were gone.
Throwing himself into his desk chair, Draco scooped up his coffee and took a gulp. It was still hot and very strong. Maybe Theo could be forgiven. Someday.
Draco woke Tuesday morning with a raging hard-on. Memories from his forgotten night slipped from his mind, again, as he pulled himself back from sleep. The effect of the memories remained.
Well, he'd like to. But wanking, again, would have to do.
He'd hoped that the dreams would stop after a night or two, but instead they grew more vivid. Not that any of the details withstood the act of waking.
He ran his hand down his chest and conjured up the shadows of memory that remained. Taking hold of himself, he let the sense-memories wash over him. Rough stubble caught at his lips. Wild hair tickled his cheeks and nose. Moans sounded in his ears.
Starting painfully hard, Draco knew he wouldn't last long.
He remembered the red ropes. He saw the cord pull across a toned chest, running just under a pert, brown nipple. He wanted to take it into his mouth. His tongue longed for it.
His mind followed the cord over to where it wrapped around a flexed biceps. The image of struggle made him stroke himself faster. The arm in his memory was extended out across the bed, the distant hand palm-up and clutching at the bindings. His mind's eye followed the pale skin of the underside of the man's arm until it reached his forearm. What he saw in his mind made his body freeze mid-stroke.
He'd thought it was a melting mountain at first. He'd said something to that effect. He heard laughter in his mind: deep, infectious, and distantly familiar. The other man had corrected him, told him what it was. Fuck! He couldn't remember!
Even still, it was a distinctive tattoo. And he remembered noting that it held the exact place Draco's now-faded Dark Mark held on his own body. Surely he would recognise it if he saw it again. He would be able to identify his mystery man.
And then? Why did he care?
Theo was the one who cast the spell on him. The mystery man was just someone who happened to be there. Someone he happened to tie up and fuck. Oh, that. The man did know about Draco's little kink.
So what should he do? Pay the man off? Obliviate him? Maybe he should leave well enough alone.
His neglected cock ached.
Or maybe.... Maybe he could try it again. Without spells or drink or anything else to interfere with his memory. Whoever this man was, he had humoured Draco's desires without running to the papers. If the man already knew, there was no additional risk. And the man had writhed beneath the bonds so beautifully.
It was with that thought in his mind that he stroked himself to completion.
Draco had done an admirable job of using his power of deduction to whittle the Ministry's five-hundred-some guest list down to a mere fourteen potential men. Now all he needed to do was determine which of those men had the melty-mountain tattoo, or whatever it was.
Unfortunately, it was still March, and no one was showing off their forearms. Even inside, most wizards were wearing either robes, with long sleeves, or Muggle shirts, also with long sleeves.
He glared at the door to his office as if the look would carry down the hall to Theo. Bloody interfering prat.
It was annoying, but Draco would solve this little riddle. He would meet and eliminate each man. Working alphabetically, which Draco planned to do, Terry Boot was his first candidate. Luckily, Boot was a Healer, and Draco had easily scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. A painful wrist had seemed vague enough.
He threw on his cloak and stormed out of his office, nearly running into the people coming down the hall.
“Fancy joining us for lunch?” Hermione smiled sweetly, as though she and Theo were not withholding information from him. Theo stood at one side of her, also wearing an innocent smile, and on the other side was Harry Potter. Potter looked nervous and a bit pale.
“We're going to Harry's place,” Theo chimed in.
Potter, to the surprise of wizarding Britain, had buggered off to France to attend a Muggle cooking school. He'd returned two years later to work at an upscale restaurant in Diagon Alley and now had his own French bistro in Hogsmeade. Draco was loathe to admit it, but he loved the place.
“Sorry, but I have a prior engagement.” Flicking his cloak dramatically, he turned and walked ahead of them to the Floo.
Draco was mortified.
His investigations had started promisingly: Terry Boot had rolled up his sleeves whilst examining the wrist Draco had claimed was aching; Reynolds Carter's bragging about his Caribbean cruise had been easily manipulated into an arm tan comparison.
Next on his list had been Richard Edgar, a reclusive, bookish man who had left Hogwarts the year before Draco started. Draco had invited Edgar to Flourish & Blotts, knowing the man could not resist adding to his extensive personal library.
They had browsed together for nearly an hour without Draco getting so much as a glimpse of the other man's wrist bones. He had tried pointing out books on high shelves, but Edgar's sleeves seemed resistant to gravity. Surely Edgar didn't hold to the Victorian tradition of using charms to protect one's modesty. The man was in his thirties!
Finally, Draco had gotten so frustrated, he had grabbed Edgar's left wrist and shoved the sleeve up. It took enough effort; there may have been a charm after all. It was with relief that Draco saw Edgar's flawless, pale forearm.
And then Edgar had screamed.
“Unhand me, you miscreant! I don't know what deluded you to think that I would be receptive to your advances, but... I'm not!” And with that he had fled, leaving Draco frozen with humiliation.
A moment later, messy black hair had poked around a bookshelf, and Draco found himself looking into the wide green eyes of Harry Potter. Wide, at least until they narrowed in palpable disgust. And then, a moment later, they were gone.
Draco had stood there for several more moments before he'd collected himself enough to return to his office. It was from there that he had sent a carefully worded letter to Edgar, begged forgiveness and explaining, okay fabricating, the presence of a spider on the sleeve he had attacked. And it was there that he sat nursing his firewhisky and devising a list of hexes to use on Theodore Nott.
Two glasses later, Edgar's reply came. It was short, but congenial enough that he must have believed the story about the spider.
So now it was only Potter who thought Draco went about attacking men in bookshops.
Much as Draco tried to ignore it, Potter was on the list. And he owned and cooked for Draco's favourite restaurant. Sighing, Draco accepted that he should go make nice.
Draco Apparated into Hogsmeade that evening, dressed in the silver robes that Hermione had once assured him did amazing things for his eyes. It was a mild night, and the stroll to the rustic French bistro was pleasant.
Stepping inside, he knew his luck had changed. Seamus Finnigan and Tom Nichols, two men from his list, were actually sitting at the bar together! Surely that was proof the Fates were on his side again. Of course it wouldn't be in alphabetical order to eliminate Nichols at this time, but Draco was feeling reckless.
As he approached, he remembered what the two men at the bar had in common: they both worked with dragons. Hermione had them invited to the ball to help her campaign to support Charlie Weasley's dragon reserve. Dragon tamers. Yes, Draco could make that work.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” Draco greeted.
Both men turned to look at him. Finnigan gave him a lecherous grin, consistent with the man's reputation. Tom was more reserved; his smile was friendly but shy.
“What are you two doing in Hogsmeade?” Draco pressed on. “I don't imagine there are many dragons around here.”
“No, not when there isn't a Triwizard Tournament,” Finnigan replied. “And then we have to bring 'em ourselves.”
“We're visiting Harry,” Tom supplied.
Potter. Right. He was also not due for his turn, alphabetically, but perhaps he should be dealt with, too. Just to get him off the list. Not that he could be the mystery man. Not that Draco would want him to--.
Draco refocused his eyes to meet the expectant faces of Finnigan and Tom.
“I said, are you meeting someone,” Tom said.
“Huh? No. No, I just thought I'd pop up for a drink and a bite.”
“Well, you're welcome to join us.” Finnigan was all but batting his eyelashes like a common tart.
Tom slid over, allowing Draco to take the stool between them. He wasn't as obvious as Finnigan, but his smile was inviting nonetheless. Thus encouraged, Draco made easy small talk over drinks and appetisers.
An hour later, he was having a great time, but had still not seen a glimpse of either man's forearm.
“I remember that first Triwizard Tournament,” he mused aloud. “It was the first time I'd ever seen a Dragon tamer.”
“Me too!” Tom joined in. “That's when I met Charlie! I was a seventh year and had no idea what to do after school till then.”
“Yes, I remember Charlie,” Draco said. He knew exactly how to lead this. “I remember he had scars on his arms. Very sexy, actually.” A lidded glance at each of them led to a flurry of movement on either side of him. Finnigan got his sleeves up first.
“This was where a Hebridean Black burned me!”
Tom had his arm under Draco's nose. “A Chinese Fireball clawed me here!”
“I rode an Ironbelly out of Gringotts, but I'm afraid I don't have a fancy scar to show you.” The voice was familiar, but cold. Draco felt the disapproval run down his spine, chilling him into his bones. A glance behind him showed Harry Potter's face as if chiselled from stone. The lack of expression from the usually emotive features was disconcerting.
“Harry!” Finnigan apparently had recovered fastest. “We were just reminiscing 'bout ol' times. Join us for a bit?”
Draco looked at Potter more closely and saw the charred and stained white robes of a busy chef. He must have just stepped out of the kitchen.
“Sorry Seamus, I have to get back. I just wanted to see if you lot were going to want any supper.”
“Yes, please!” Seamus gave a brilliant smile. “Everything you make is good. Surprise us, yeah?”
Potter rolled his eyes but smiled back. He kept his eyes on Finnigan, except for a glance at Tom. Draco had thought he and Potter were on friendly - or at least civil - terms by then, but perhaps not.
“Dinner for three?” Potter asked Finnigan.
And then Potter was gone again. Draco couldn't explain it, but the man's absence was almost a presence of its own. He felt it standing behind him. And he was disappointed when the dishes were brought out by waitstaff and not the chef.
There was a unique dish for each of them: Finnigan was handed a steak, Tom got chicken, and Draco was handed sea bass with beurre blanc, mushrooms, and fennel. His heart stuttered for a moment as he wondered how Potter knew he loved sea bass. Then he took his first bite and stopped caring about little things like thought.
His mouth filled with rich, earthy flavour, and the sea bass all but melted on his tongue. This was heaven. No doubt about it. Potter might be moody and peculiar, but he was a brilliant chef. And perhaps odd mood swings fell under the leeway of creative licence.
Draco took his time eating and drinking. He ordered dessert and then coffee after. He couldn't seem to find a reason to leave. Two hours later, Finnigan and Tom invited him back to the Three Broomsticks, but he declined.
He didn't really understand what he was waiting for, until Potter came back out of the kitchen.
“It's a bistro, not an inn,” Potter said by way of greeting. “We can't offer you a room for the night.” Suddenly the man flushed crimson and scurried away. Draco waited for him to return, but he didn't.
He was wondering if he should just leave when he saw Potter's unmistakable mop of hair through the window of the bistro. Having already settled his bill, Draco flew out the door and into the crisp, cool air.
“Potter!” The man froze, his shoulders tense and lifted. “Were you sneaking out on me?” Draco thought his tone was light and teasing, but when he reached Potter, he saw the man looked hunted.
“No. I wasn't sneaking. I'm going home.” Potter's eyes never quite made it up past Draco's lips.
“Fine, can I walk you?”
“No! No. Draco, it's late. I'm tired. Go home.” With that, Potter turned heel and marched down the lane that Draco knew led to the farmhouse Potter lived in alone. Much like Potter's restaurant, Draco liked Potter's house far more than he would ever admit. Not that he got to see it often, but helping Hermione set up Potter's surprise birthday party three years ago had given ample opportunity to admire the rustic, rambling home and its carefully tended gardens without being caught.
Draco shook his head at himself. He had an expansive manor at his disposal. There was no reason for him to be standing in the middle of Hogsmeade waxing poetic about Potter's run-down farmhouse. He focused on his ancestral home, turned heel, and Apparated.
“Have you figured it out yet?” From the way Hermione was twisting her hair, her question was fuelled by more than idle curiosity. There was also the fact that she had been waiting in his office for him to arrive on a Monday morning.
“But you are trying, aren't you? Are you getting close?”
“Yes, I'm getting close,” he snapped. “I have it down to seven men.” He had managed to rule out two more candidates over the weekend. “No thanks to you, I might add!”
“Draco, it's been over a week! You know that you're looking, but he doesn't know that. He just knows that he hasn't heard a thing from you. I mean, I assume that's what he thinks.” The last was said hastily, as though she hoped to cover a mistake. Draco should have reflected on that, but he wasn't in the mood for more hidden meanings.
“Well, you and Theo could just bloody well tell me who it is already!”
Hermione shook her head, but she didn't look happy about it. “I can't. I promised Theo. He says you've been more social this past week than you've been in years. And he's sure you'll get it soon. He thinks this is good for you.”
Draco really wanted to smack Theo. “Well if you can't tell me who he is, you could tell him what's going on.”
Now Hermione looked truly miserable. “I tried. But he--” Her voice got a little softer. “He told me to butt out.” She gave a sigh that led Draco to think that there was a longer story than what he was getting. Finally her jaw set and the determination he knew and feared returned to her eyes. “And if he doesn't want my help, he can just squirm while he waits for you to figure it out.”
“That's the spirit! If one of us is to suffer, all of us should! Plan to throw stones at passing children?”
She gave him a look of disdain that she must have learned from Theo and headed for his door. “Use your brain, Draco. I suspect you already know who it is.”
“I told you--” The rest of his words withered under her look.
“You may not have a clear memory of who it is. But I'll bet you have a feeling. You're just being a stubborn arse and fighting it. Let me guess, you have some neat, methodical approach to your list of suitors. Are you going alphabetically or by age?” He must have let something slip in his features, because she rolled her eyes.
Her tone suddenly gentled. “Draco, you've spent the past week on this. You never devote that much time to something other than work. Look at your list again and ask yourself who could occupy your mind like that. Who can get under your skin.” He was annoyed by the pity in her sad little smile, but she was gone before he could complain.
Hermione Smartypants Granger thought he should just look and know. He marched to his desk chair, pulled the list from his cloak, and set it in front of himself. Even before he looked at it, some of his righteous indignation was faltering.
A little voice in the back of his mind was telling him that he knew exactly who could get under his skin. The man could do it as well now as he could when they were children.
Draco stared at the list as if expecting it to change. Instead, the fourteen names, seven with a single line drawn through them, remained unchanged.
He read the list yet again and felt nothing at all until he reached the name Harry Potter. Then his stomach would tip sideways, his chest would feel tight, and the room would feel at least ten degrees warmer.
Yes. He knew.
A glance at the ancient clock in the corner of his office showed it was just after ten in the morning. He had been staring at that damn piece of parchment for two hours!
Potter. It was Potter. Hadn't it always been Potter?
Potter would not be bribed or intimidated into silence. Nor would Draco need him to be. He knew Potter was far too noble to tell bedroom secrets.
So was that it? Was that the end of it? He had solved the mystery and knew his secret was safe. He could just forget the whole thing had ever happened.
That little voice in the back of his head was laughing at him. No, he couldn't pretend it never happened. And he didn't want to. He wanted more.
Potter's Floo had been closed, so Draco headed to the bistro. He knew that the restaurant wouldn't be open yet, but he hoped Potter would be there.
He went around the back of the bistro and knocked on the small wooden door there. A moment later, a mop of black hair poked out. Bright green eyes shone in the morning sun, and Draco felt lost. He really hoped he wasn't smiling like an idiot.
Potter's face fell a moment later, taking Draco's smile with it. “Draco. What do you want?” He didn't sound angry, just... tired.
“May I come in?”
“I really don't have time. I need to--”
“Please.” He didn't beg. Malfoys don't beg. But he might have sounded a little insistent, because Potter was struck dumb for a few moments. Finally, he dropped his head, stepped aside, and let Draco in.
Potter's kitchen was warm and friendly. Silver and copper pots shined from the ceiling and shelves. Sturdy wood counters held jars of spices and bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables. The whole room was filled with delicious scents of earth and spice.
The chef himself leaned against a counter with his arms crossed in front of his chest as his foot dabbed at a spot on the floor. “What do you want, Draco?”
“I need to talk about that night. The ball. I--”
“It's fine. It's been over a week. I think you've made your position pretty clear.”
“No! You don't understand. I didn't know!”
“Didn't know what?” Potter looked genuinely confused.
“I didn't know it was you!” He saw hurt mix with the confusion but pushed on. “Theo cast a spell on me. It made me more... willing, but it also affected my memory. I knew what had happened, roughly, but I couldn't remember a face.”
If anything, Potter looked worse. In fact, he looked like he might be ill. “So... it was a spell. I... took advantage of you. You didn't know or want...”
Draco shook his head with frustration. “No! I did want! I just... I wasn't doing anything about it on my own, was I? I didn't even realise I wanted you. All the spell did was,” he thought of Theo's words from the week before, “take the stick out of my arse.” Potter gave him a weak smile which he happily returned.
“I've been looking for you all week. I remembered your tattoo. The melty-mountain thing.” That got him a proper laugh.
“The Sorting Hat. You really don't remember? We talked about it that night.”
Draco tried hard to remember. “Something about choices?”
“Yeah. There're always choices, though sometimes they're hard to see. Even the Hat gives you a say.” Draco felt he was missing a longer explanation and took a moment to ponder the insights into Potter that he had been given but lost.
“What else did we talk about that night?”
“We talked about tedious Ministry balls. I said I hate them, but you said they're a good way to talk to annoying, but powerful, people on neutral ground.”
Draco nodded; he did believe that.
“Then you said you also like them because they're a chance to see me.” Potter's cheeks darkened, just as Draco felt his own face flush.
“Did I.” It wasn't a question.
“Yeah. And then you kissed me.” Draco met Potter's eye and saw a hopeful glint there.
“Did I,” Draco echoed, as he stepped right up to Potter. “Was I gentle?” He ghosted his lips over Potter's. “Or was I rough?” He nipped at Potter's lower lip and then soothed it with his tongue.
“Um...” Draco didn't wait to see if Potter would succeed in forming real words. He pressed his mouth against Potter's, until he felt teeth. The kiss was open and wet and messy. Draco felt distinctly undignified, but he couldn't quite muster the urge to care.
Potter broke away, speaking in a breathy voice.
“How did you figure out it was me?”
Draco didn't want to talk. He wanted to get back to the kissing. “Hermione.”
Potter pulled back further, looking disappointed. “Oh. She told you it was me?”
“No.” Draco bit back a sigh and accepted there would have to be some more talking. “She did know it was you, but Theo made her promise not to tell me. Theo seemed to think it was good for me to look for you. Get me out more.”
“So Hermione told you, but she didn't?” The poor thing looked rather adorably baffled.
Draco thought about how to explain. “She said that I might not remember your face from that night, but that I should know who it was. She asked who could get under my skin. When I looked at my list again... well, there was only one name that stood out. Most of the people were colleagues, people I know through work but don't mean anything to me.”
“I don't even know how to describe what you are to me. Technically, you're a friend of a friend. An old classmate. But that doesn't cover it at all, does it? That's part of how I knew it was you. There's just so much...something there.” Draco had rarely felt less articulate, but Potter's smile showed that he understood.
Potter leaned forward and stroked his hands up Draco's arms. “Do you want to know what we did next? At the ball?”
“We kissed for a long time in the garden, until it was getting indecent. Then, you started bragging about how you were a VIP there and could get us a room.” Draco must have looked incredulous, because Potter laughed at him. “Yeah, it was like being back in first year. You went on and on about how you always got the best.” Potter blushed. “Then you mentioned something about how that's why you should have me.”
Feeling idle while Potter was talking, Draco circled his arms around Potter's waist and began nipping and licking at Potter's collarbone.
“You did get a room, and you were very naughty in the lift! There was some nice old couple in with us, and you kept groping me! I nearly screamed one time, you grabbed my arse so hard. They thought I was mental!”
Surely Potter didn't expect an apology for groping that Draco didn't even remember. Or any groping. There would be no apology. But there would be more groping. Draco emphasised that by grinding his hips forward. He was delighted to feel Potter's substantial response through the fabric of their clothes.
Potter groaned before returning to his story. “We got to the room and you pressed me up against the wall and did a lot of what you're doing now. Then you went down on me.” Was that a hint? Potter certainly looked hopeful enough.
“And then?” Draco prompted. He wanted to hear the whole story before they re-enacted it. He really hoped they could re-enact it.
“Then you dragged me to the bedroom, striped me down, and threw me on the bed.” His voice suddenly dropped to a whisper. “And then you asked if you could tie me up.” Potter was blushing beautifully.
“And you agreed?” Draco had a brief moment of panic that Potter hadn't agreed, that Draco had forced the issue. It lasted only until Potter nodded.
“I... I've always wanted to try it. But I've never had the guts to ask.” He was looking down at Draco's shoulder and his cheeks were still stained pink.
“I'd never done it before either,” Draco breathed. “I was worried what people would think of me.”
Potter's eyes were on his in an instant. “Yes! I thought I'd seem like... I don't know. A freak.”
Draco stroked Potter's cheek gently. “No. I remember some of it. I remember you and that red rope. It was beautiful.”
They fell back into kissing. This time it was slow and intimate.
“Then what happened?”
“You prepared me with your mouth.”
Draco felt his eyes widen. He had never done that before, either. Oh, he'd thought about it. But it had stopped there. He always got caught up in concerns about hygiene, even though he knew the spells he cast before sex should have everything clean.
He squirmed with wanting to have the memory of his tongue inside Harry Potter. Concentrating as hard as he could, he conjured up a memory of legs lifting into the air and hands pulling apart rounded globes of firm flesh, revealing a dusty pink hole. He pushed back from the memory before he came in his pants.
“Then you replaced your tongue with something better.” They were fully rutting against each other now. “And you rode me so hard, I felt like I exploded into nothingness. And when I came down, you were still slamming into me. It was too much. Shit, Draco. I thought you were going to drive me round the twist.
“When you finally came... You're really beautiful when you come. You make this--” He made an “O” with his lips. “It's... yeah.”
Draco knew he should be teasing Potter about being inarticulate, but he was too deep into the images Potter was creating in his mind to form a clever comment.
“Then you asked me to breakfast. But I said I was picking Teddy up early to spend the day at the zoo.” He stopped as though trying to decide whether to say any more. Draco stopped moving, concern and curiosity pulling him back from his imminent orgasm.
When Potter finally spoke again, the embarrassment was written on his face. “So you said you would owl me about dinner.” Draco imagined Potter waiting around for an owl that never came.
“And then you didn't hear from me at all,” Draco whispered. He felt shame for having disappointed Potter, even though it had been unintentional. “I'm... sorry.” He'd gotten better at saying those words over the past few years, but it still wasn't easy.
“You must have thought I was an ass,” Draco said.
Potter shuffled his feet. “Nah. I just figured... you... changed your mind.” He looked like he was trying to be casual about it, but Draco could see the tightness in his features.
Draco reached out and gently took Potter's left wrist. Pulling the sleeve up, he ran a finger over the tattoo he'd been searching for. Now that he knew what to look for, he could see the Hat's eyes and the line for the mouth. The Sorting Hat. He chuckled and felt Potter tense.
“Choices,” Draco mused. “What are my choices?” He looked up into the green eyes he hadn't known he'd been missing. “Will you let me have another chance?”
Encouraged by the smile that bloomed on Potter's face, he went on. “I'd like to take you to dinner... Harry.” That felt strange to say. Not bad, but definitely odd. “And to make sure I suffer no memory lapses in the meantime, I'd like to take you to lunch while we wait. And then I'd like to re-enact everything you described. And after dinner, I'd like to do it again.”
Harry's brow furrowed, and Draco worried he'd misread his interest. “I don't know, Draco.” Fuck! He'd buggered this up completely. “I'd rather get straight to the re-enactment.” Harry's smile made Draco's knees tremble. “Then maybe we can see about lunch.”
Harry flicked his wand, and Draco could just make out a silvery stag before it passed through the walls of the kitchen. When he glanced at Harry, the only explanation he got was, “They can handle lunch without me.”
A moment later a hand closed around his wrist and the pull of Apparation wasn't the only thing he felt in his stomach.