Prompt: # 90
Summary: Harry is NOT in a romantic relationship with Draco; no matter what everyone else seems to believe.
Word Count: 10,000
Author's Notes: fyernaice, you asked for humour, and I really hope I managed to provide it. Thank you for an inspiring prompt! :)
omi_ohmy, thank you for making this far better than I ever could have made it on my own.
How Auror Potter Finally Solved the Most Important Mystery of His Career
* * *
Harry stood naked in the snowy wasteland, shivering as the cold seeped into his bones. There was nothing but white ground and grey sky for as far as he could see, so where was that beeping coming from?
'Turn off your damn alarm!'
Harry blinked and the grey sky transformed into the white ceiling of his own bedroom. He sighed in relief until he realised he was still freezing. Looking down over his goose-pimpled arms and chest, he saw nothing but his tartan pyjama bottoms between him and the spring morning air. Late spring, yes, but still bloody cold. Where the fuck was the duvet?
He cast an accusing glare to his side where Draco was cocooned in the duvet with his head buried in a pillow. Bastard! 'Give me those.' He pulled at the dark blue fabric and Draco flailed his arm in protest.
'No! I'm comfortable.' He sounded sulky and tired. 'Go make us tea.'
Harry glared as Draco burrowed deeper into the bedding. 'Fine. Git.' He stood up and threw on a t-shirt and slippers.
'The owl mug,' Draco called after him, as if Harry didn't know that Draco liked the bigger mug on weekends.
Harry's knife wavered over the jam jar. Draco hated when he used the butter knife in the jam, but Harry was the one who'd have to wash up yet another piece of cutlery if he used a second knife. Fuck it. He dipped the buttery knife into the jam jar and breathed in the rich smell of damson plums.
Harry gasped and dropped this knife back into the jar, heart pounding in his chest. Then he realised the voice wasn't accusatory or even Draco's. He turned to the fireplace and saw a freckled face sitting in the flames. 'Hi, Ron! You coming through?'
'No.' Ron's face looked around the room. 'Is Draco around?'
Harry smirked at the thought of Draco being out of bed so early on a Saturday, especially without tea in his belly. Even the Prophet owls knew to deliver the morning paper to the bedroom on weekends. He shook his head fondly at Ron's naivete. 'He's still in bed.'
Ron wrinkled his nose. 'It's still seriously weird that you guys share a bed.'
Harry shrugged. 'The bed is huge and it saves on Warming Charms. Besides, then we can watch late night telly together without falling asleep on the couch.'
'It's still weird. When I lived with you, I bought a bed and put it in the spare room.'
'And we often woke up on the couch with serious neck cramps.' Harry thought it was hilarious how his pure-blood friends fell for Muggle television and couldn't resist watching it late into the night. 'Besides, Draco did sleep in the spare room when he moved in . . .' Harry didn't like remembering those first few months in which Draco had bitterly accepted a place to stay and had made his unhappiness more than apparent in tetchy silence. 'Once the Ministry gave him access to the Manor and its contents again, there was just too much to fit. We needed the spare room just for his Potions equipment and telescope.'
'Because cramming his stuff into your little cottage made so much more sense than him simply moving back to the Manor.' Harry opened his mouth to remind Ron about the horrible things that had happened in Draco's childhood home, but Ron waved him off. 'Bad memories. I know, I know. Anyway, I was calling to ask what the plan was for tonight.'
Harry grinned as he thought about the surprise birthday party he had planned for Draco. 'Hermione is picking him up at five, and they're both going to Padma's. I'll Fire-call when they're gone so you can help me get things ready.'
'Does he suspect anything?'
Harry shook his head, beaming with pride at his own ingenuity. 'No. That's the brilliance of doing it today. If he suspects a party, he'll think it's next weekend.' His grin was pulling at his cheeks almost painfully. 'He's going to love it! I have cases of his favourite champagne and that posh new French place is catering. It will all be delivered once Draco's gone.'
'Did you buy him roses, too?'
Harry wrinkled his brow. 'I did have the florist send a new centrepiece, but it's mainly irises, peonies—' Ron waved him off again. He did that a lot lately.
'That's okay. You can just buy him diamonds.'
'Oh! Did Hermione tell you about the cuff links?'
Harry had searched most of London to find the antique emerald and diamond cuff links that sat neatly wrapped—by the shop assistant, of course—in his desk. He was certain they would go with the tie pin Narcissa had given Draco years before. He looked back into the flames and saw Ron rubbing his hands over his face. He was muttering something about people being clueless. Perhaps something had happened at the joke shop.
Ron looked up again. 'Anyway, I'll be waiting for your Fire-call some time after five. Get back to the boyfriend before he gets suspicious.'
Harry scowled. 'Ron, he is not my boyfriend! How many times—' Ron just rolled his eyes and pulled his head from the flames with a pop.
Harry glared at the fireplace where his friend's face had been. He was teased enough about his friendship with Draco without getting it from Ron, too. What was so odd about being close friends with his flatmate, anyway?
Pushing his irritation down, he returned to the jam and toast. Once he'd arranged everything on a wooden tray, he carried it up to the bedroom where Draco was sitting propped up against his pillows looking at The Prophet. The duvet was now neatly spread across the bed covering Harry's side as well as Draco's. Harry smiled to himself as he stopped at the doorway to watch Draco's face as he read: a dip of his brow, a slight parting of his lips, a widening of his eyes, a hint of a smile. Watching Draco read the news was far better than anything the papers ever printed.
'Anything interesting happen in the wizarding world?' he asked as he finally entered the room. It wouldn't do to let the tea go cold.
Draco folded the paper and tossed it aside. 'No. The biggest stories are Oliver Wood's latest conquest and the release of a new Weird Sisters album.'
'Life changing events, both of them,' Harry deadpanned. He handed the tray to Draco and crawled back into their bed. 'So what shall we do today? Laze around with a crossword? Go to the village for lunch? Go flying?' When Draco had first moved in, they had avoided each other out of fear of shattering their fragile truce. Now, Harry didn't even doubt that Draco would spend the day with him.
Draco smiled as he looked at the window across from the bed. The sky was already bright blue with only one or two small white clouds, and the morning sun was shining against Draco's pale hair and face. He was adorably rumpled from sleep and his hair was still the mess that only Harry was allowed to see. Draco turned his smile on Harry. 'Let's do it all.'
They spent the morning flying over the nearby countryside under strong Disillusionment Spells. Despite Draco being as blue as the surrounding sky, Harry always knew where he was; his presence was too powerful to be masked by any spell. They raced and tried to outdo each other's manoeuvres as they flew over pastures of oblivious cows and sheep.
They arrived home hungry and sweaty, so they each took a shower—Draco first as he needed the extra time to dress and do his hair—before they headed into the village. Harry spent most of his time in the shower wanking; flying with Draco always left him half-hard. It was probably his Slytherin side getting off on the exciting competition.
Their favourite of the village's two pubs had just opened the outdoor seating in the back garden, and Draco gestured to the table they had frequented the summer before.
When the waitress appeared, Draco ordered for them both, more to tease Harry for his predictability than as an act of courtesy. Harry stuck out his tongue as soon as the girl had turned away. 'You think you're so funny.' His smile ruined his attempt at haughtiness.
Draco raised his eyebrow in a more successful attempt. 'Are you denying that you planned to order the roast beef sandwich that you always get?'
Harry blushed and looked down at the scratched wooden table. 'No. But you make it seem like a bad thing.' It wasn't his fault that the beef was perfectly tender and the horseradish mustard had exactly the right amount of kick to it. He looked up into Draco's bright grey eyes that were shining with warm amusement. 'When I find something good, I don't see any reason to give it up.'
Draco's eyes clouded for a moment and the smile slipped off his lips. 'I agree.' He sounded oddly serious for a discussion on eating habits. He did that sometimes, and Harry worried there was something troubling his friend. But surely Draco would confide in him if—
His pondering was interrupted when the waitress returned with their drinks and cutlery. 'Food will be out in a bit,' she said cheerily. She was the daughter of the owner, and Harry knew her by sight if not name.
Hermione would chastise him for not knowing the name of the usual waitress at his favourite pub. How are you an Auror? she would tease. It was a favourite joke amongst his friends. If they weren't teasing about his friendship with Draco, then they were calling him oblivious.
But Harry could be very observant if he needed. Like now, Draco was twisting the paper from his straw. Coupled with his sudden seriousness moments before, Harry knew there was something troubling his friend. If he pried, Draco would clam up—he still hated to show any weakness in front of Harry—so he would have to collect clues on his own. He was an Auror for a reason after all, friendly teasing aside.
'We should have picked up the paper on the way,' Draco said as he dropped the straw wrapping. Harry wondered if Draco was seeking a distraction from his problem. Was he worried about his parents? No, they seemed to love living abroad. And if something had happened at the Ministry, Hermione would have mentioned it. 'We could be doing the crossword now.'
That comment easily distracted Harry, as he still felt rather smug for having addicted Draco to Muggle crosswords. Television had been an easy sell as it demanded nothing more than sitting on (and later in) Harry's bed and staring at the screen. In contrast, the crosswords had all but mocked Draco's ignorance of Muggle culture, and Draco hated anything that made him feel inferior.
Harry had expected Draco to tear up the papers with some choice words about Muggles, but instead he had taken it as a challenge and done a surprising amount of research: mainly watching hours and hours of television.
The Muggle research had led to an interest in football, so Harry had bough him tickets to the European Cup the year before. It had seemed a good idea before the game. Draco had raged as Romania had knocked England out of the cup, and Harry had to assure the nearby Muggles that his friend always ranted about dragons when he'd had too much to drink. After that, Harry decided that Draco was better off experiencing Muggle culture from the safety of their own home.
Draco was looking at him expectantly, and Harry realised he was daydreaming instead of responding. 'No, I like doing the crossword at home.'
Draco gave him a wry smile. 'What you mean is that you like being able to get up and fuss whenever you get stuck on a clue.'
Harry smiled guiltily. He did tend to fidget when he couldn't remember an answer. And drink copious amounts of tea. It helped him think! Maybe tea would help him figure out Draco's problem.
Harry closed his eyes and let Draco's voice wash over him. The Muggle crossword had been completed and the Prophet one abandoned, and now Draco was reading out an interesting review of the latest Dumbledore biography—co-written by Elphias Doge and Professor McGonagall—as Harry rested his head in his lap. It had taken months for them to be able to so much as mention Dumbledore or Snape in each other's presence, but now they could speak generally about the past without fear of an argument.
'So what's your plan for tonight?' Harry asked with all the innocence he could fake once Draco had finished the article.
'My co-workers have decided that, despite all but living at the Ministry during the week,' he grumbled, 'we must spend our weekend reviewing the No Muggleborn Left Behind paperwork, even thought we have another week before it goes in front of the Wizengamot!' Draco spoke in a way that might convince someone other than Harry that it was out of character for him to devote a Saturday night to work. Draco lived for his job with the Office of Magical Law Review and Reform, and the relaxed set of Draco's shoulders as he spoke again assured Harry that whatever was troubling Draco was not related to work.
'Will you be home for dinner?'
Draco smiled down at him. 'Why? What are you making?'
Harry feigned a pout. 'Is that all I am to you? A house-elf without the grief from Hermione?'
All mirth left Draco's face. 'Trust me, that's not . . .' He shook his head and put on a smile that Harry didn't believe. 'Hermione has plenty to give me grief about.' Not work, but possibly related to Hermione, Harry noted.
The thought of Hermione giving grief made Harry laugh. 'Yeah, me too. She thinks we're having a secret romance.' He laughed again as he thought of all the times Hermione had insisted that she wouldn't mind and they needn't hide it from her. He looked up at Draco's stony expression.
Perhaps Draco wasn't yet comfortable enough with Hermione to laugh at her nagging. They were more colleagues than mates, and Draco often seemed nervous about offending her on certain topics, like house-elves. Or maybe this was related to Draco's troubles.
Draco touched Harry's head, and he reluctantly sat up. He stretched his legs out in front of him as he leaned back into the soft couch.
'I should get my things together,' Draco said as he stood. 'And have a snack. Padma refused to make it a dinner meeting. She doesn't even have a ring and she's worried about fitting into a dress.'
Harry wrinkled his brow as he failed to follow the last comment. 'What?'
'A wedding dress. She thinks Boot will propose soon, so she's already planning everything.' Draco sounded amused as he gathered the papers and adjusted the cushions.
'Wait. What? She's marrying Boot?'
Draco stared down at him for a moment. 'Harry. She's been dating Laurence Boot for two years. They met through his younger brother, who was in Padma's year in Ravenclaw. Does any of this sound familiar?'
Harry felt his thoughts rushing around. How had he missed all that? Maybe he'd been told but had ignored it on purpose. He didn't want Padma to marry Terry Boot's older brother; she was supposed to marry Draco! Eventually. Then Harry would marry Parvati and they could all live together. It would be perfect.
'Harry? You all right?' Draco knelt before him and looked at him with wide, grey eyes. Harry forced himself to nod. 'Harry? Do you . . .' Draco swallowed hard as if fighting not to gag. 'Do you fancy Padma?'
Harry threw his head back against the coach and laughed. It was a deep laugh that ran through his muscles and washed his tension away. 'No. No.' He shook his head and wiped a tear of mirth from his eye. 'Not at all.' His breathing slowed again. 'Not that she isn't a nice girl and all, but we don't have much in common.'
Draco had a small smile on his lips. 'And I assume you don't fancy Boot either.'
Harry shook his head. The ridiculous ideas Draco got. It was enough to make Harry believe some of Luna's strange theories about flying creatures that messed with people's heads.
Harry had handed Draco off to Hermione without any sign of suspicion. Draco had grumbled a token amount about working on a Saturday, but by the time he'd put on his travelling cloak, he'd already been nattering away about the possible effects of quotas on hiring practices. Hermione had just winked at Harry behind Draco's back, and then they'd Apparated away.
Three Fire-calls later, the little cottage was bustling with caterers and deliveries, and Harry was grateful for Ron's assistance. By the time the guests began to arrive, Harry's rustic home looked like a French château and two caterers were carrying around trays of champagne and canapés. Harry knew it was still a far cry from the opulence of Malfoy Manor, but he hoped it would provide a taste of the sumptuous lifestyle Draco was giving up by living in a cottage without house-elves.
Harry had invited several of Draco's work colleagues—the one's he knew Draco actually liked—and the four Slytherins from their year who Draco considered friends: Blaise, Theo, Greg, and Pansy Parkinson.
Most of the guests were people Harry liked, but there were some exceptions, the most blatant being Parkinson. The dislike was mutual, as she demonstrated by glaring at Harry as she arrived. Luckily she kept her mouth shut, simply snatching a flute of champagne and walking off to join Blaise in the living room.
The odd thing about Harry and Parkinson's animosity was that it had vanished for a while. When Draco first moved in two years ago, she had apologised to Harry for wanting to hand him to Voldemort and he had willingly forgiven her. She had been almost friendly and had encouraged Draco and Harry to work out their differences.
Yet once Harry and Draco had started to become friends, she had grown hostile again for no reason Harry could discover. He wondered if he'd accidentally offended her or if she was simply jealous of how close he'd become with her best friend. Either way, Harry had been delighted when she'd married a German and left the country.
Given Parkinson's possessive friendship with Draco, Harry wasn't surprised when—within minutes of Draco returning home in shock—Parkinson had dragged the guest of honour away from the party Harry had planned for him.
The cottage wasn't huge, so it didn't take long for Harry to find them; their tenses voices were coming from the small room crammed with bookshelves that Draco teasingly called their library. Having found them, however, Harry couldn't decide whether to interrupt or let Draco fend for himself. It was Draco's party, and he could leave if he wanted to. Undecided, Harry stopped behind the door to listened.
'Draco, it's ridiculous. This relationship has gone on far too long. It isn't healthy!'
'I'd rather have unhealthy than nothing.'
Draco left so quickly he didn't notice Harry rooted to the spot behind the door. Neither did Pansy when Harry heard her heels clop by a moment later.
He was left in silence with his mind stuck on the words he'd overheard. Draco had a relationship? A secret, unhealthy relationship? His stomach began cramping and it was suddenly far too warm. Draco was sneaking out to meet someone and hiding it from Harry. He felt sick with betrayal, which was surely due to Draco hiding something so big from him. And worry too, as the witch presumably didn't treat Draco very well, given how upset Parkinson was.
Harry suddenly remembered Draco's signs of trouble from earlier in the day. This must be what had Draco going suddenly serious and upset! But how had Harry not noticed Draco's relationship? They lived together. They spend most of their time together.
It must be a colleague from the Ministry. The cruel witch might even be in Harry's house that very night. Harry forced his mind back to the party and playing host for Draco's sake. He'd spent weeks planning this party, and he wasn't going to let anything ruin it, but maybe he could use it as a chance to discover the identity of Draco's mystery woman.
He returned to the living room and his eyes found Draco immediately. He was standing near the bar the caterers had set up with Padma and a tall man who must be her boyfriend. Could it be Padma? Was the unhealthy part that she was with another man? Draco had seemed worried that Harry might fancy Padma. Was he jealous? Fighting down panic, Harry forced himself to be still and observe the three.
Padma found every opportunity to touch Boot's arm or chest, as Draco looked on happily. No, Draco would not be able to hide his anguish at watching his lover with another man. Draco turned toward Harry and their eyes met. Draco's smile grew wider and he raised his glass of champagne.
Blushing at being caught staring, Harry smiled and waved before rushing to the kitchen.
He chose a more subtle vantage point when he returned, and saw Draco standing with Jason Flintridge. Flintridge was very handsome with curly brown hair, jewel-blue eyes, and a disarming smile. Draco and Hermione had often commented on the young wizard's popularity in the Ministry.
What caught Harry's attention was that Flintridge was standing too close for a casual business colleague. Far worse: Draco was letting him.
What if Draco's mystery witch was a mystery wizard? So far as Harry knew, Draco hadn't dated anyone since he'd taken Parkinson to the Yule Ball, so Harry didn't actually know his preferences. In fact, Draco was completely silent on the subject of who or what he found attractive. Harry couldn't even name a Quidditch player who Draco thought was fit.
So was it Flintridge? Harry's hand clenched. And if so, what made the relationship so unhealthy? Did he hurt Draco? Harry realised his heart was pounding and he was beginning to sweat. If he didn't step away soon, he was going to punch Flintridge in the middle of Draco's party on pure conjecture. Draco would not appreciate that.
Harry fled to the garden and was grateful for the cold air to clear his head. He found Parkinson alone on the back terrace clutching her purse and a flute of champagne. She was scowling at the sky as if the stars had affronted her.
Perhaps finding her alone like this was a sign. He might not be the most observant Auror—yes, he could admit it—but he was their best interrogator. People either trusted him or were terrified of him, but he always got the information he needed. Time to use that talent on this case.
'Is it Flintridge?'
She didn't even look at him. 'Is who Flintridge?'
'Don't play coy, Parkinson.' He stood up straighter, not that she could see him, and used his most commanding voice. 'Who is Draco seeing?'
'No one.' Her voice was flat and she remained turned away.
'Don't lie to me!' he yelled. His temper was getting away from him, and he really didn't want to make a scene at Draco's party. He forced himself to lower his voice. 'I heard you talking to Draco about his unhealthy relationship. Is it Flintridge? What is he doing to Draco?'
Parkinson turned to look at him for the first time. Her brow was low in concentration as she strode forward, stopping a little too close to him. She stared at his face with her beady brown eyes, and he avoided her gaze by watching the bubbles float up her champagne flute and pop on the surface.
'You really are completely daft, aren't you?' Her tone was surprisingly gentle.
'Just tell me!' Harry barked. He was very close to ripping at his hair.
'It's you, you idiot,' Parkinson spat. 'Draco is giving up any chance at a real relationship because he's content to play house with you. It's not healthy because you clearly have no idea how he feels. In fact, you are such a dullard you probably have no idea how you feel!'
Harry felt as if he had fallen into his own body. All sound was muffled by the rushing of blood and Parkinson appeared far away as if he were watching her from the back of his skull. It's me? What's me? I'm hurting Draco? He felt his heart pounding in his chest and worried about the affect the night was having his health. Working as an Auror in the field wasn't usually this stressful.
He replayed Parkinson's words carefully and realised that everything rested on one issue. 'How does he feel?'
Parkinson's eyes widened and then narrowed to slits. 'Really? You honestly don't know?' Her tone made him feel tiny and very dim. 'He's in love with you! Why else do you think he's so happy to live with you, share your bed, spend every moment out of work with you? You two act exactly like a couple except for the sex! And why anyone would settle for a sexless relationship is beyond me, but he has. Apparently, in his twisted mind, you're worth it.'
Parkinson was ranting about sex, but Harry was stuck several words before.
'He's . . . in love . . . with me?' He struggled to make sense of the sentence. He knew all of the words, and yet couldn't understand that particular arrangement.
Parkinson huffed and crossed her arms across her chest. 'For some completely unknown reason, although obviously not your intelligence, yes. How are you an Auror?' It was more than a little odd to hear Parkinson ask the same question Hermione had repeated so many times, but Harry was too shocked by the earlier information to do more than stare.
Parkinson held her glare even as her voice trembled. 'Yes. He is. And if you care about him at all, you'd stop to ask yourself if you love him, too.' She stepped so close their noses nearly touched. 'And if not, have the decency to let him go, because it will only hurt him more if you wait until you fall for someone else.' With that she pushed by him and returned to the party.
Harry stood alone in his garden staring at the hedge that lined the back fence. He barely noticed the shooting star overhead or the distant barking of their neighbour's dog. His dry eyes stung when he remembered to blink again. He tried to arrange his thoughts, but managed little more than Fuck and Draco loves me?.
When his fingers were completely numb with cold, he stepped back into the cottage to see that the party in full swing without him.
His eyes immediately landed on Draco, who was laughing with Blaise as they stood against the wall. Draco was facing Blaise and appeared completely engaged in their conversation, but Harry saw the little tug on his sleeve which spoke of nerves or distraction. Was Draco worrying about what Parkinson had said to him about Harry? And how had Harry come to know Draco well enough to read his body language without ever noticing his feelings for Harry?
Harry felt he should approach and say something, but what would he say? What did he want to say? His heart was racing and his hands trembled, telling him that this was very important to get right. He chose to heed Parkinson's advice and consider his own feelings before talking to Draco. He certainly owed Draco that much after inadvertently stringing him along.
So Harry watched Draco as he tried to gather his thoughts. He watched as Blaise moved on and Hermione took his place. He watched as Padma joined them with Boot. He watched as Draco spoke and listened, laughed and nodded, but also pulled and twisted the edge of his sleeve. Harry wanted to step forward and embrace him to keep his hands still—Draco always relaxed into his hugs and ceased his fidgeting—but it wasn't fair to hug him if he didn't know what else he could offer.
Harry wasn't sure how long he stood in the shadows by the door before a caterer approached with a question about serving dishes and led him to the kitchen.
When Harry returned, Draco was still against the wall, but his company had changed yet again. Standing far too close, again, was Flintridge, and Harry tensed at the sight of him. Flintridge took a step forward, which would have brought his chest to Draco's, but Draco side-stepped away from the wall. Harry's breath came out in a choked laugh at the manoeuvre.
Anger stirred in his chest as his eyes bore into Flintridge's face. Who did he think he was moving into Draco's space like that? Harry hated it when other people fondled his Draco as if—his stomach dropped as he realised that he thought of Draco as his own. But really, didn't Flintridge have as much right to touch Draco as he did? They were all just friends, nothing more.
But Draco wants me, he assured himself. He smiled to himself at that thought. What was it Parkinson had said? They were already a couple just without the sex. His mind provided an image of what sex with Draco might look like—Draco, pink-cheeked and gasping as he moved over him—and Harry's cock thickened in appreciation. Harry pushed the thought away to focus on his claim on Draco.
Wasn't their close friendship proof of what a good couple they would make? Surely that gave him more rights than Flintridge or anyone else.
His smile faded when Flintridge rested his hand on Draco's arm and Draco didn't shake it off. Jealous heat flared up in Harry's chest until even his cheeks burned. He glared at the offending hand, but it stayed rooted to Draco's body.
Anger quickly turned to panic. What if Harry had taken too long and Draco had given up on him? What if he had already slipped away and was interested in Flintridge?
Harry didn't remember moving, but he found himself pressed against Draco's back with his lips near Draco's ear. 'Having fun?' He was relieved to hear his voice come out lightly despite the possessive grip he wrapped around Draco's waist. He reluctantly let go when Draco turned to face him, but his heart swelled when he saw the huge grin that made Draco's eyes sparkle. He realised that he often noticed the effect of Draco's expressions on his eyes; perhaps he had a bit of a thing for Draco's eyes.
'Yes, thank you. I can't believe you did all this!' Draco gestured around the room.
Harry beamed, pleased to have stolen Draco's attention so easily. Draco had not only dislodged Flintridge's hand, he all but had his back to him. Harry rested his hand on Draco's shoulder, effectively barring Flintridge with his arm.
'I had help, but the catering and champagne was all me.' Harry wasn't usually one to demand credit, but it suddenly seemed very important for Draco to know how much he had done. He had spent weeks racking his brain over each detail and giving up every lunch break to shop or plan for the party.
Only now did he finally realise that it had been an act of . . . love. Maybe he wasn't in love—how would he even know when he hadn't considered it before and was apparently a bit crap in the emotional self-reflection department?—but he knew that the feelings that had driven him to plan this party in such detail were certainly stronger than the desire to please a friend. In a way, he had been courting Draco, romancing him, through—what? A group date? Looking around at the floating candles, flowers, and garlands, he realised the setting he'd created was more appropriate for a candle-lit dinner for two than a birthday party with work colleagues and school friends.
Harry remembered Ron's comments about roses and diamonds and wanted to smack his head against the wall. Everyone had seen it but him. He felt a flash of shame, but much stronger was the driving urge to get it all right now.
Draco lifted his flute in toast. 'My favourite.'
'I know,' Harry whispered. He remembered the weekend they'd gone to the south of France together and shared a bottle of that champagne on the starry beach near their hotel. He had been so happy in that moment, and yet he'd felt as if some tiny piece were missing.
As he looked at Draco in front of him, he allowed his mind to return to that beach and a particular moment in which Draco had bitten his lower lip. Harry'd had the impulse to bite it for him, but had pushed the thought away at the time. Now he embraced it. He imagined pressing his lips to Draco's, nibbling and sucking that lip into his mouth. He felt his cheeks flame before Flintridge's loud voice pulled him back to the present.
'You should have asked me about the catering.' Flintridge had moved to their side and was speaking over Harry's arm. 'I know the owner. I could have gotten you a discount.'
Harry turned to glare at Flintridge. 'I didn't need one. Their food is well worth the gold I paid.' He looked back at Draco, grateful to find Draco still watching him. He looked deep into Draco's eyes, willing him to understand what Harry had only just realised. 'You are worth it.'
Draco's eyes widened, but movement drew Harry's eyes to his lips. Lips. Pink, soft-looking lips. Clever lips slightly parted in surprise at Harry's words. Oh, Merlin. Harry wanted to kiss him. Not just in some memory from a romantic moon-lit beach. He wanted to kiss Draco right there against their sitting room wall and never stop. Giddiness and relief rushed through him as heslowly regained confidence in his own feelings.
He realised he'd moved his face closer to Draco's when he saw Draco's eyes widened further. It was almost comical, except that Harry could see how wide his pupils were. How dark. A shiver ran down his back.
He wanted Draco. He wanted to kiss him and touch him and see him without clothing in the way or the fear of getting caught. He wanted to run his hands over all that pale skin and lean muscle and—his cock was growing hard with each image and he wondered if Draco was experiencing the same reaction. He longed to push their bodies together to see if a hard length would meet him.
What would Draco's cock look like? Was it long and thin like Draco's build? Was it as pale as Draco's stomach or did it flush deep red like Draco's cheeks when he was embarrassed. Harry wanted to see it and touch and taste it until he knew it far better than his own, and wasn't that a surprising realisation for a man of almost twenty-one whose romantic history consisted of snogging two girls years before? He wondered how Draco would look when he came and hated that there was anything about Draco he didn't know.
The evidence was mounting, but it was when his next breath was full of Draco's sweet, soapy scent and the accompanying rush of affection that Harry finally realised he was in love with Draco.
How had he never realised any of this before?
A little voice in the back of his head suggested that perhaps the difference was knowing that Draco loved him first. Even with Parkinson's words and Draco's body language cheering him on, he was terrified it might all be a mistake and Draco didn't want him at all.
Heart pounding, he took the final step so that his foot slid between Draco's feet and their shirts brushed.
They were so close. They were often close to each other, but this was different. Harry could feel the heat of Draco's breath, coming faster than necessary, against his face. He could almost taste him. He wanted to taste him, but he couldn't push without knowing for certain.
He leant forward, delighting in the solid press of Draco's chest against his own, and Draco didn't move away. He should just kiss him, but he needed to know he wouldn't be pushed away. He gathered his breath—and his courage—and whispered in Draco's ear.
'You're worth all of this and more to me. I'd give you anything. Anything you'll take from me.'
Draco was still and silent, so Harry pulled back just enough to meet his eyes. His face was completely blank, torturing Harry by telling him nothing.
Harry bit his lip and waited for his heart to bloom or shatter. He knew that Flintridge was probably still standing next to them and that various friends and colleagues were gathered around the room, but none of it mattered. All that mattered was whatever Draco did next.
'What are you offering?' Draco's hushed voice was laced with hope, but fear shone in his eyes. Harry wanted to kiss it away. So he did.
He leant forward and pressed his lips to Draco's. A catcall sounded from across the room, but Harry ignored everything but the feel of Draco's lips pressing back against his and the dig of fingertips against his hip.
He wants me. It was all his mind could formulate as he ran his free hand into Draco's hair. He wanted to laugh in relief, but there was no way he could take his mouth away from Draco's. He wants me, he wants me, he wants me.
A clanking sound came from their side as Draco abandoned his glass on the table, and then there were two hands grasping his hips and holding him tightly against Draco's groin. The little kisses Harry had initiated turned deeper as Draco pressed forward with his tongue. Harry opened to him, letting him explore and claim his mouth. He'd already promised Draco he could have all of him, and it was a promise he was happy to keep.
He didn't know how long they kissed, but the room seemed much quieter when they pulled back enough to rest their foreheads together.
Draco's eyes were still wary as he searched Harry's face. 'Have you been drinking?'
Harry closed his eyes and gave a tiny shake of his head that wouldn't require him to move away. 'A sip or two of champagne and a glassful of eye-opening honesty.'
Draco glanced to the side to where Parkinson was standing with Blaise and smirked.
Reminded that they weren't alone, Harry surveyed the room. He was happy to see that Flintridge had gotten the hint at some point and walked away. Several guests were looking over at them, but most were smiling and pretending to be involved in conversation. Not too bad given the show they were putting on.
He looked back at Draco and saw the question written across his tense features: what now?
Harry pulled Draco's body flush against his own so he could speak softly in his ear. 'Since we already live together, go to dinner, and know each other's secrets, I figure we really should be shagging, too.'
Draco coughed as Harry flushed at his own words. He'd said what he thought Draco wanted to hear—surely after waiting so long for Harry to wake up to his own feelings, Draco wanted to claim him fully—but Harry now he worried that Draco might think he knew anything about the shagging he'd flippantly mentioned.
'I don't mean now!' His voice sounded a little panicked, so he took a breath before starting again. 'I mean, I worked damn hard to plan this party, and I want you to enjoy it. I know how you love parties, especially ones centred on you.' He'd loved kissing Draco, but he didn't want to rush into too much that night.
He was a virgin. Not just a technical or a with-a-man virgin, he was every kind of virgin. He hadn't so much as snogged since Ginny three years ago. He had no idea—other than his fingers in the shower—what he was supposed—
Draco rested his hand against Harry's cheek. 'We'll take our time,' he promised, and Harry wondered if his panic had been that obvious or if Draco simply knew him that well. The slow slid of Draco's thumb across his cheekbone soothed his nerves until his heart was beating normally again.
'So do you want to . . . give this—us—a try?' Harry needed to hear it, despite everything that had been said and done that night.
Draco's smirk was haughty and smug, and it made Harry want to melt. 'Yes. I think I could be up for that,' he said as casually as one might agree to a cup of tea. He ran a smoothing hand over his shirt and hair and then retrieved his glass from the table beside them. Taking a sip, he winked at Harry before walking over to where Blaise and Parkinson were standing and staring. Harry just grinned at his back.
'Told you he was your boyfriend.' Ron had come up beside him and was looking as smug as Draco. 'And people say I'm oblivious.'
Harry checked on the kitchen yet again. The caterers were clearing the remains of the buffet before they began to serve dessert, seemingly oblivious to the host and the guest of honour having a life-changing moment. Good. He knew Draco would be pleased with the pastries and cakes he'd chosen, and it seemed more important that ever to have earned brownie points.
He stepped back into the hallway and saw Draco waiting for him.
'This party is amazing, Harry, but it's missing something.'
Harry could feel his face fall. He'd tried so hard. He thought he'd done everything to make the party perfect. 'What did I miss? I spoke to the caterers and Hermione and Padma! I even sent the menu to your mother to approve!'
Draco's face went blank. 'You wrote to my mother?'
Oh shit. Time to confess. 'Um . . . well, I sometimes send her an owl when I get stuck on a gift or something like that.' Apparently it was the night to end all secrets. 'And sometimes when you're really busy and I know you haven't had a chance to write yourself. I know she worries,' he all but whispered. He briefly considered confessing to using the butter knife in the jam that morning, but decided that maybe it wasn't such a big deal in light of everything else.
Draco stepped forward and kissed him so hard that he staggered back into the wall. Held firmly in place by the hands on his hips, Harry relaxed into the slide of Draco's tongue against his own and the playful nips on his lips. Draco's body was warm and protecting against his and Harry felt safe.
'Does that mean,' Harry asked when his lips were his to use again, 'that you don't mind?'
Draco kissed him lightly on the cheek. 'You are unbelievably thoughtful,' he said with awe in his voice. 'I always hoped that it meant you felt something more than friendship for me, but I could never be sure.'
'Until I snogged you?' Harry gave a cheeky grin and delighted in the way Draco laughed: the skin around his eyes crinkled up and his head tipped back to show off his pale neck.
'Yes, that was pretty clear.' Draco pressed forward again so that his hipbone dug into Harry's groin. 'And that brings me back to the thing that's missing.' He stepped back and Harry might have whined at the loss. He felt cold and exposed in his own heated hallway.
Draco was standing straight and looking completely composed. 'I have a great party, good food, drink, friends.' He ticked each item off on his long, pale fingers as if discussing a Ministry matter with a colleague. 'All that's missing is a my present.'
Harry thought Draco might mean a gift in a box until he saw Draco's eyes rake over his body.
Some of his earlier panic returned as he wondered how content Draco would really be to wait. 'Presents are after desert,' he teased, tyring to buy some time.
Draco leaned forward with dark eyes. 'But I'm impatient. I think I should get to open this one early.' He ran his fingertips along Harry's belt.
Despite his nerves, Harry's cock was hardening just from the intensity of Draco's leer. Why was he so nervous anyway? This was Draco, who held him through nightmares and made him stay home in bed when he was poorly. Draco took better care of him than Harry took of himself. Why couldn't he just let Draco take care of his pleasure, too?
One of Draco's hand moved down from Harry's belt to press again his cock. No thought was needed as desire ran through his body and Harry's hips pressed forward into the pressure. He could do this. This was instinct, and Harry was rather good at acting on instinct, experience be damned.
He met Draco's hungry eyes with all the confidence he could muster. 'Well, who am I to argue with the birthday boy?'
Draco grabbed his hand and all but dragged him up the stairs. Harry focused on the placement of each foot to keep his mind from what might be expected of him.
Crossing the landing, Draco swung open their bedroom door and looked at their bed. 'Oh, how I've always wanted to defile these sheets with you.' He pulled Harry into the room and locked the door behind them.
They were in a room. With a bed. Alone.
Was Harry supposed to strip? Or was he supposed to take off Draco's clothes? He rather liked the idea of Draco fully exposed for him to admire. Even when he'd see Draco half-naked in the mornings, Harry would force his eyes away so he wouldn't be caught staring at the trail of light blond hair that ran down his flat stomach from his navel.
'Shhh.' Draco stepped close so that his breath ran along Harry's neck and raised the hairs there. 'This is new to me, too,' he whispered, 'so turn your mind off and let me unwrap my present.' He kissed Harry tenderly on the lips and Harry felt himself relax.
Of course! Harry had been so worried about being inexperienced that he hadn't considered that Draco might be too. They were doing this together, both new and unsure. Harry rather liked that idea.
Draco's tongue slid into his mouth and Harry met it with his own. The taste of champagne was gone, but there was a sweetness to Draco's tongue that made Harry want to suck on it forever. Draco hands slid between them and fumbled with the buttons on Harry's shirt. Mirroring him, Harry tried to open Draco's buttons. Their kissing grew fiercer as they competed to open the other's shirt, and Draco moaned triumphantly as he pulled Harry's shirt open and pushed it off his shoulders.
'Git,' Harry mumbled against Draco's lips, but Draco pulled back to look over Harry's chest and stomach.
'Beautiful.' Draco kissed him just above his heart, and the intimacy of the gesture made Harry's cheeks flush. Draco continued kissing a path down his chest, and each soft, wet kiss making his hair stand up on end. Soon Draco was on his knees with his face pressed against Harry's clothed cock. The devilish grin he flashed was enough to ensure Harry was completely hard by the time Draco had his trousers and pants around his ankles.
'Happy birthday to me,' Draco said and his hot breath made Harry's cock twitch. Draco stuck out his tongue and cautiously lapped at the head. The first brush of warm, wet pressure had Harry's knees trembling. Draco pulled back, and the warmth left whilst the wetness remained.
'Cold!' Harry protested. Draco huffed, but then there was so much heat around his cock that all thought left Harry's mind. He was in Draco's mouth and Draco's tongue was caressing him as his cheeks sucked and squeezed. Harry balled his hands into fists to resist the urge to grab at Draco's hair. When Draco started bopping his head and running his tight lips up and down his shaft, Harry was grateful he'd kept his hands to himself. The slice of his nails into his palms was well worth letting Draco feel things out on his own.
It was amazing. It was the best blow job of Harry's life. Okay, it was the only one, but Harry couldn't imagine that anything could be better than having his cock surrounded in the tight, wet, moving heat of Draco's mouth as Draco looked up at him with eyes that informed him that he was Draco's for life.
Oh, and the noise Draco was making. The slurping and smacking sounds were indecent. Harry was trying to keep himself from moaning just so he could hear every noise Draco made.
Draco lapped at his cock and then sucked it down again with an excitement he usually reserved for éclairs. Oh, fuck. Harry would never be able to watch Draco eat an éclair again. At least not in public. It was the image of Draco sucking the crème out of his favourite pastry that had Harry coming in Draco's mouth.
'Fuck!' Draco pulled back and Harry saw his own release dribbling down Draco's chin as he coughed and frowned. 'I think I'd hoped it might taste a bit sweeter.'
Like crème? Harry's tattered mind managed to supply.
Draco grimaced a bit as he ran his tongue along his chin. He wrinkled his nose and looked thoughtful. 'Not too bad, though. Don't know what Pansy was bitching about.' He seemed to realise that he was babbling because he suddenly looked up at Harry with pink cheeks.
'That was incredible,' Harry gasped. He was breathing so hard that he wondered if he'd remembered to breathe at all as Draco had tended to him—no worshiped him. Harry had never felt so adored.
Draco stood up in front of him, flushed and suddenly bashful, and Harry struggled to find words. 'You were incredible. You seem to think it was my birthday.' It didn't begin to explain how Draco had made him feel, but it was a start.
Harry pulled Draco against him for a kiss to demonstrate his appreciation. He could taste himself on Draco's tongue and felt a rush of nerves as he realised it would be his turn next. Surely a blow job was repaid in kind?
He felt his skin flush and his hands felt a little shaky. He hoped he was half as talented as Draco clearly was.
He reached for Draco's half-opened shirt, but Draco stepped back. Draco undid his fly and pulled out his long, hard cock. It was dark pink and almost red at the wet head, and Harry's first impulse was to lick it. His mouth filled with saliva, and he decided that perhaps sucking cock would come as naturally to him as flying had. Yes, he definitely liked men. Or at least Draco.
'You can unwrap me after the party when we have time to do it properly,' Draco said breathlessly. 'For now I just want you to get me off.' Harry pouted at not getting to see all of Draco yet, but relented to the wishes of the birthday boy. This would definitely not be their last time together, so Harry could afford to be patient.
He dropped to his knees and grabbed Draco's hips. The wool twill of Draco's trousers was rough and scratched at his hands in contrast to the gentle slide of Draco's fingers along the side of his face. He pressed one hot cheek into the coarse fabric and rather liked the sting of it against his sensitive skin. He remembered the feeling of rope burn on his wrists from Auror training and imagined being tied down as Draco used gentle kisses and soothing hands to contrast the burn of the ropes. His cheeks grew hotter as his spent cock began to stir at the thought.
Perhaps he was a little kinky underneath his inexperience. He had to admit that he didn't seem to know himself very well in that department if he'd overlooked his attraction to Draco for so long.
Well, time to start learning.
He stuck out his tongue and lapped at the head of Draco's cock. Draco's bucked and moaned. A hot rush of power went through Harry as he thought, I did that. He was going to make calm, collected Draco fall apart.
He eagerly opened his mouth and wrapped it around Draco's cock. It was hot and rested heavily against his tongue, filling his mouth and stretching his lips. Draco's hands threaded into his hair and tugged at him almost painfully. His cock twitched at the discomfort, and he decided that he definitely had a kinky side to discover.
Then Draco thrust his hips hard and Harry choked. He pulled back as his throat clenched again and again around nothing but air.
'Oh, shit! Sorry. Sorry.' Draco sounded breathless and half-mad, but sincere. 'Just felt so good.' He stumbled to the wall and leant against it. 'Here. You can press my hips back.'
Harry swallowed again to calm his throat as he moved in front of Draco's new position. He took Draco back into his mouth and heard, 'Oh, thank god,' muttered above him. He pressed his hands firmly into Draco's hips to keep them in place and then tried moving his head.
He wasn't really sure what to do, so he paired instinct with what he could remember Draco doing to him only moments before. It must have worked relatively well as Draco was moaning and trying his best to thrust his hips. Harry worried he would gag again or scrape his teeth on Draco's sensitive flesh, but despite his concerns, he thrilled at having Draco joined to him so intimately.
'Fuck, Harry. Oh. Gonna . . .' Draco was falling apart, sounding mindless and euphoric, and it was entirely Harry's doing.
Harry knew he needed to pull off soon or Draco would come in his mouth. He worried the taste might make him gag—Draco certainly hadn't looked pleased by the flavour—but the thought of consuming part of Draco's essence kept his lips wrapped firmly around Draco's cock.
Hot fluid filled his mouth, and Harry tried to swallow without tasting with limited success. Draco was right: definitely not sweet, but not too bad.
But it was Draco, and Harry wanted all of him.
Draco slid down the wall and pulled Harry to his chest. 'Brilliant, you.' He kissed the top of Harry's head. 'Brilliant.' Harry's whole body tingled at those words. He hadn't fucked it up. He'd enjoyed it, and Draco'd enjoyed it. This was all going to work.
He sat up, knowing his face was probably as flushes as Draco's and his hair was even more rumpled. There was a stain on the thigh of Draco's trousers that was almost certainly Harry's release, and Harry felt his cheeks grow hotter at the sight of it.
He forced down his nerves, refusing to let things get awkward and ruin the happiness he'd only just discovered. He made sure he had a smile on his face and looked up into Draco's eyes. The hint of nervousness in Draco's features melted instantly.
'We good?' Harry whispered, again needing to hear Draco's own words to believe this was real.
Draco smirked at him. 'It's well, Potter.'
'Pedant,' Harry shot back. Draco raised a brow. 'Yes, I know what it means,' Harry snapped in mock indignation.
Draco's smirk melted into a warm smile, and Harry was glad to see that they could still banter without taking offence. Just because he was serious about Draco didn't mean that he wanted them to be serious all of the time.
Draco pulled him forward into a wet and messy kiss. 'To answer your questions,' Draco said as they parted, 'yes, we seem to be doing very well for our first day as a couple.'
Harry beamed when Draco called them a couple. 'Second year, if you ask my friends,' he teased.
Draco laughed lightly and it charmed Harry completely. 'Yes, mine too. I think Pansy might be nicer to you now that we're together.'
Harry nodded, feeling a rush of shame that he'd been so blind to what was right in front of him. 'I think she was justified.'
Draco wrinkled his nose. 'Don't tell her that. She doesn't need encouraging.'
A silence fell over them, but it wasn't uncomfortable. It was all a little surreal, and would take some to get used to, but Harry couldn't remember when he'd been happier.
'I think I'm ready for the other type of dessert now,' Draco said. 'Shall we return to my party?'
Harry bit back a groan. All of those people were downstairs, and surely they had noticed Harry and Draco's absence. Given the public kissing earlier, it wouldn't be hard for them to determine the cause of the absence. His face burned with embarrassment even as he smiled at the thought of Flintridge knowing that Draco was Harry's. 'Yes, let's go back. People are only going to gossip more the longer we're gone.'
Draco laughed. 'They were gossiping about us long before this. I'll bet everyone down there is saying, finally!'
With fumbling hands and a few mumbles of Tergeo, they were again presentable.
'Ready?' Draco asked as he took Harry's hand. 'One of the caterers told me about the pastries you ordered, and I don't want to miss all of the éclairs.'
'Yes,' Harry nodded as his cheeks heated. 'But . . . um, would you mind saving the éclairs for after the party?'
* The End *