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The worst thing is that it's impossible to draw back from Draco's mouth. It's been too much the focus of hundreds of solid seconds, one bleeding into the next, each increasing the eclipse of all other thoughts, for you to pull away. It's awkward anyway, with you sat on their too-low bed, him chastely in the adjacent desk chair, guest and host respectively. You were here to relay Ministry demands, to get his elusive spidery signature on the contract from Percy. He's signing because Harry's told him he has to listen to you, and because you do, these days, put forth a convincing case.
You've been dreading this meeting for weeks, and now you're here, it's as bad as you ever dreamed. Well, almost. There was a horrible dream where you were both back in school and, instead of pushing you against the mossy stonework to cop a customary post-quidditch feel, Draco shoved past and started up with Percy instead... Stupid, to feel so awful when you weren't even a proper thing to begin with. Stupid and embarrassing.
The worst dream you had about it, Draco was reclining in the bat-silk hammock on his patio, and you were missing the lower parts of your legs. You had to hobble on knee-stumps to hand him the contract, balancing his inkwell on your head, and he mistook you for the gardener's boy. It's not quite that bad.
Draco's antique chair is now leaning on two legs as his hand steals onto your shoulder and his mouth presses firmly, warm, not wet. You don't resist. To draw back would explode the awkwardness into horrible splinters. You don't want that. The consequences drift, cobwebs in someone else's world. Even now, Harry is downstairs, melting cocoa and sugar and vanilla and butter for a fondue. Your hands become hot fists on your knees, and you keep your eyes closed.
The glasses that Harry will be setting out for brandy are etched with the Malfoy crest and edged in Gryffindor gold; Hermione checked with you before she had them customised, and you said yes, good choice, nice touch, they'll love it. You signed the card she passed you. Later, Draco met your gaze steadily, smiling politely as Harry's fingers made short work of Hermione's pristine wrapping. It was strange, seeing him in the flesh after months apart, and you itched to touch him again, hoped uselessly for even just the brush of his mouth across your palm. Harry enthused, "Thanks - Ron, Hermione - that'll keep off the winter chill," and Draco just smiled and murmured, his eyes vague and handsome, his hand at the base of Harry's back. That was just over two years ago. Draco's lips now feel exactly as you imagined them then, and the itch has not subsided at all.
You want - more. You want to open your mouth, at the very least, taste him - but you don't dare. You want to draw Draco onto his bed, down heavily on top of you, stiff-suited angles of his legs pushing yours apart, his hand growing more confident as the momentum of this moment between you grows. But - that would lead to sex. You cannot get him horizontal and not finish it - handjobs, at the very least. You want to know if his stomach still clenches in that particular way before he comes. You won't be able to deny yourself the discovery, if you have the chance.
You're holding your breath, and some of it scrapes out of you as a little noise when his thumb brushes over the crumpled collar of your shirt and onto the bare skin of your neck. He opens his mouth - at last! oh, at last! - and he does kiss like he used to, tongue light and cautious, tasting chamomile-mild. It still flutters shallow, putting you back in mind of a sly-silent stingray, glide-rippling close to a golden shore. You make that noise again, and shiver out your tongue's reply.
"Mmh." That's him, and you exhale unsteadily in acknowledgement, and he tightens his hand on your shoulder, tilting his head delicately in the other direction. You're close to reeling. He kisses as if he could kiss for hours and hours but would very much appreciate you naked right fucking now. Bed, you think, the chaos of frustration rising spikily back out of its temporary dormancy; bed but no sex, you think swiftly, earnestly, pretending that that's what it will be. Bed and snogging but no orgasms, no skin (no crime). His breathing is coming shallower, and he presses on your shoulder. The kiss is growing ragged - slick and dirty and blending into foreplay - and you know that if you were to lay your hand against the side of his throat, he would press harder still.
Your hand starts up from your thigh, and in quelling its rise you lean into his hold of your shoulder. He squeezes and then, with the ease of memory, slides his whole bare palm onto your throat-- you almost grunt with the excitement that seizes you, and then he mutters against your tongue and makes a cross noise and draws back. You think, no no no no no.
The overhead light's incongruously still on, and it's just their bedroom. You're blinking stupidly at him, and only now hearing the hurry of your own breathing. "Bad idea," you say faintly, before he can, and he's watching your mouth, and your cock's full against your thighs. Come back, you think. Come back, now now now.
Back in the day, it wasn't a shock that Malfoy had taken Potter home after the post-exams quidditch knockabout - the fights those two got into, honestly, a blind arithromancy nerd could've seen it coming - but when rumours circulated that Draco had had breakfast made for them the following morning, the grapevine went excitedly wild.
You laughed along with the ones that said Harry was too good for him, and then Draco never owled but that didn't matter because you didn't really think it would carry on once school was over, no. No. You'd always thought it was a convenience thing anyway. You were too busy learning the ropes of your job with Percy.
Ha! You? Looking up too quickly whenever a blond entered the office? Of course not! Something in your eye.
And apparently, Draco didn't owl anyone else either. At all. Within a week, it was official: Lucius disapproved and Draco didn't care. Hermione shook her head darkly and called it a powergame and then, the morning after The Daily Prophet declared them an adolescent on-the-way-out dying flame, she bristled onto their side and started asking why you were so worried if Harry was happy.
After six months, you decided it must be about reputation. It was, after all, perfectly apparent that Harry was going to pick up every award and decoration that a wizard could earn before he finished puberty; for a name like Malfoy, you thought, a handfast with the nation's only darling could hardly hurt.
Ginny's roomful of friends, giggling over a bottle of eel-wine and waving their freshly-manicured hands around, effusively disagreed. Draco was a global catch, they said. Everyone thought so. It was for money, if you were going to be cynical, they said airily, but they personally felt it was true love. Just look at them together, they pointed out. Already so far gone.
Come back, you're thinking, staring at him balanced on the antique chair, his mouth wet, the air as still as if the world is holding its breath. Magazines would pay galleons to take his picture looking like this. You would, if you had a galleon to your name.
"You never know," Draco says, his light voice belied by the blaze of his eyes, "it might be a wonderful idea. In case you hadn't heard, mine often are."
You want to tug him and taste him and leave scratchmarks. You suspect you might need it. His idea? His? You pinch the bridge of your nose. "Harry's my best friend. And he's downstairs." You immediately wish you hadn't tagged that on. Draco lifts his chin.
"You don't think whatever makes me happy will--"
"You pulled back," you interrupt, ignoring the glowing thud that goes through you: happy. Kissing you makes Draco happy! "Don't pretend he'd be good with it. I know he wouldn't."
"I'm that irresistible," Draco says, smiling.
"Sign the damn paper."
Draco signs without looking, with such force that the quill would surely screech if only the ink weren't so expensive. You wonder furiously if he still tastes the same everywhere else, if his cock still curves beautifully when it's fully tightly hard, if he still goes weak at the knees when you can't quite take it all. You want fistfuls of his hair in your hands; you wish he hadn't cut it when he turned 21.
"We should go back downstairs," you say. You fancy that you can smell burnt cocoa tingeing the air, though that might just be the guilt talking. He's watching you; his eyes are the colour of mist shot through with sunshine, and you don't know if he's trying to seduce you or to take the last five minutes back.
He nods, then drops his hand to his lap, making an adjustment without changing expression. Fucker, you think, and you hear your own words - downstairs - and get up from the bed all at once, a tantrum erupting in your feet, storming you towards the door until he says, crisply, "Ron."
You turn back, and he blows delicately on the ink of Percy's contract, then gazes up at you.
"Forget something?" he says.
Your back hits the wall, but gently. He's getting to his feet; your shoulderblades grate into the plaster and you want to 'port out of here - but Harry's downstairs with the blasted fondue - and they've had the house de-keyed, besides - and you want to snatch the paper from his fingers but when he holds it out, airily, you pluck it restrainedly instead. It's almost as formal as the business transaction it's supposed to be.
"There you go," Draco says, and puts his hand on the wall by your shoulder, and you roll away from it, reeling blind to find the way out; you're damp-palming the door handle with its unfathomable lock when you feel the snakeskin glide of his breath on the back of your neck.
"If I really wanted to," he says, soft and sharp as powdered snow, "I could have you, here and now. On your back."
You cannot believe the charge that goes through you. "Probably true," you manage, and he starts to kiss the unforgivable nakedness above your collar, sending chills sweeping over you, sending heat to stiffen beneath your skin. His hand slides over your clenching stomach, then lifts to the doorhandle, thumb poised over the lock-catch, toying. It's the same deft crippling nudge that he used to aim under the crown of your cock. Years of friendship? your brain gasps, as he sways closer behind you. All very well but fuck, fuck, here, fuck--
"I want you," he whispers measuredly, pressing with his body, almost grinding against you, hot all up and down your back, "but elsewhere, and another time."
He twists his hand and the door springs open, and you stumble through it, wrenching belatedly away from him. You feel like your skeleton is on fire. The sweet-singed smell is much stronger here, and at the top of the wide, gleaming wooden staircase stands a house elf, wringing its purple-check apron. "The pans is all ruined," it blurts out, as Draco eases out to stand behind you, his hand idling across your bum and giving you a quick squeeze. You jerk and step away. The house elf pulls the apron violently over its head and starts to shake. "We don't know how he does it!" it yells, muffled, and stamps both feet. "It should not be possible! But Master Potter is a very bad cook!"
"It's okay," Draco begins, but the elf has already rammed its purple-swaddled head between two tight banisters and begun to spasm.
You take a couple of deep, chocolaty breaths. They dizzy you further. "I'll be downstairs," you say, when you're confident of your voice, and you take the broad shallow steps one at a time, skimming your palm down the cool banister, a swarm of zugwasps in your brain.
You got his signature. That's the main thing, yes. A victory! Percy will be quietly thrilled; Malfoy's sent parchment after parchment back, inked and scrawled over but never signed. This time, it will be different. The tidy, stalled, clockwork plots will grind into action, and - Percy will ask for this miracle again.
You swallow, pushing into the dining room. Harry's said point-blank that he won't act as a go-between for anyone, so after today you might have picked up a career for life. Nice and stable, practically. You could be sent back here every time the government wants to negotiate with the most notoriously evasive prince in their kingdom. You--
"Ooh, don't go in there," Harry calls, poking his head out the dining room, and you veer away from the kitchen door and join him at the sturdy glass-top dining table. Your fingers are still trembling a little as he passes you a brandy with a confessional whisper: "Bit smoky in there."
"Yeah," Harry grins, wrinkling his nose and nodding. "Best to leave it a while. Let things cool down. Maybe a week or two? Fancy a reconvene when the, er, smoke's cleared, as it were?"
You chuckle, and all of a sudden cannot comprehend that a tumble on a bed could have seemed so irresistible compared with the wholesome salt-of-the-earth enjoyment of friendship with Harry. You wave Percy's paper at him, then make a show of rolling it back into its sheath and tucking it away, picking up your brandy again. Now your fingers are perfectly steady around the cut crystal. Harry laughs.
"Very impressive. Well done. Take some convincing?"
You nod, then shrug. "To be expected."
Harry offers you a strawberry. "The sauce's sort of all gone tits-up, as your nose might've told you," he says, and then his eyes brighten, and he smiles over your shoulder. "Hey."
There's a squawking noise, and as you turn round Draco tosses a house elf into the smelly kitchen and swiftly closes the door. "Spotless," he calls after it, and you hear the elf's happy gibbering, followed by the clatter of metal. Draco dusts his hands on his thighs. There is no shape to his crotch that hasn't been carefully tailored. "Honestly," he drawls. "I leave you for ten minutes--"
"You should've let me buy plain chocolate," Harry says unrepentantly, and shoots you a grin. "None of this fancy stuff, that's what we like, right?"
You bite into a strawberry. It's very cold and wet. "Mm-hm," you confirm.
"I like things fancy," Draco says, coming up behind Harry and dropping a kiss on his shoulder, smiling at you when Harry leans against him. "I like things complicated. I was just saying to Ron -"
"I was just saying," you interrupt, with what feels like a ghastly smile stiffening your cheeks, "I was going to have to charge through pudding at any rate, what with." The world fizzes in and out because Draco, behind Harry, is biting his lip in solicitous concern. "With Percy on my back. Like ever," you add.
Harry waves a strawberry about. "Deadline schmedline," he says, and Draco catches his wrist, and Harry absently releases the strawberry to his mouth and fingers, his gaze dropping to the bowl again. "You're not going to tell me you've graduated and grown responsible."
There's a note to his voice that rakes at you, and you realise you've spent less than an hour in his house in the last month - with most of that today, upstairs, with business. It would be low to duck out now, you think sickly, and then see Draco licking strawberry juice from his fingertips out the corner of your eye, and have to clear your throat. "Fraid so, mate," you say, setting down your drink.
Harry frowns at your fingers. "Not even dessert?"
Pudding, you think. Dessert's a Malfoy word. You arrange that squirming smile again. "Yeah. Fraid not."
"Take some strawberries, at least," Draco says over Harry's dismayed silence, smooth as melting ice cubes, and you say,
"Yeah, that'd be great!" in your eagerness to get away, and then, "I mean, if there's... enough."
"Of course there is," Draco says, and then, ducking his mouth to Harry's ear, regarding you steadily. "We have plenty, don't we? Mm," and then, before Harry has a chance to answer, "Well, get to it. What sort of host are you?"
"Fuck off," Harry grins, your minor betrayal apparently forgotten as he half-twists to elbow Draco in the stomach.
Draco grunts - it takes you back to a Friday night in Lucius' smoking room, sneaked in while Narcissa entertained lady friends, Draco's breath guttering as you push your cock in hard - and then he's muttering, "Harry," and you can taste how bad that makes you feel, his voice purring protest around his - well - his partner's name. "Behave."
"Yeah, yeah." You almost feel the pinch he gives Harry's waist - mischievous, prompting - and Harry wriggles away from him, laughing, then meets your eyes slightly shamefaced. "Heh, um - strawberries! Wait a sec, I'll grab you a pot."
It's okay, I'll just go, you want to say, but your throat is clogged. Harry shoves Draco's shoulder as he heads past, just more of that blithe semi-violence that's coloured them intimate since school, but this time Draco whips round after him, tugging deliberately, and the seconds grind hideously slow as Draco folds Harry deftly into his arms. He takes a sweet-sharp kiss from Harry's mouth as if deeply, profoundly owed; you count three willing seconds before Harry jerks his head back, eyes bright, body rigid against Draco's from chest to toe.
"Hey," Harry growls, with a short nod at you, and you hear frustration under the irritation in his voice, and you feel its echo in your blood. Harry's voice is husky. "Don't do--"
He sounds unconvincing already - but then, you know how impossible it is to deny Draco anything. Draco once licked your eye, slid the very tip of his wet tongue along the lower lashline, a warm flash of sensation followed by the unexotic press of his lips to your temple. He'd asked, but only as a formality. It was understanding that he wanted from you, not permission.
"It's our house," Draco's protesting, smiling easily, including you momentarily in the joke. "Where else may a man do... as... he... will?" His voice softens with the words, and the seconds grind slower again, and slower, and slower, and Harry's eyes fall closed even as Draco glances at you, sooty grey flash. You shiver, and Draco lowers his lashes demurely and kisses Harry again.
Draco always did as he would in this house. He had you polyjuice into Snape, once, and told his parents you were here for a private tutorial, and he made you live the charade of teaching him potion law for twenty pencil-sucking minutes before the lesson reached its natural conclusion of a swift staggering fuck on Draco's reading room's carpeted floor.
You hated to admit it, but you cherished the marks left on your knees. You were almost angry when Snape's slippery voice faded from your vocal chords - the effect it had on Draco was addictive, startling. You never felt like you had all of Draco's attention before then. Or since.
Apparently, Harry's voice did the trick just as well. You couldn't quite believe it, even as the months rolled into A Long-Term Thing. Draco wouldn't just switch lifestyle like that, he wouldn't, he couldn't. You couldn't. He wasn't the type. He had to be scamming him, somehow.
Money! you thought, and when, a couple of weeks before Harry turned 19, Draco's parents narrowly avoided total disgrace with a swift hush-hush emigration to Paris - leaving their son the estate but surely draining the coffers - you thought nervously of Harry's swollen vault in Gringotts.
Draco promptly presented Harry with a specially-commissioned quidditch pitch, and made a charming speech to the press about his certainties that the newly minted Wiltshire Cup would soon be valued the world over, as long as that Potter fellow didn't mess it up. Ginny's friends touched their throats and sighed dreamily. Fred and George wondered aloud if a sponsorship deal could be put together. Your mum laughed in delighted surprise and then, when the news broke that Harry was moving into Malfoy Manor, said sagely, "well, we all knew it wouldn't be long".
You drowned yourself in work, then wished you hadn't when one night Percy confessed frustratedly that Draco's hand was on all the important documents these days. "Every piece. All the Malfoy stuff, too. Serious allegations of social misconduct for Narcissa," he sighed, "and the green light to go ahead with everything we've got on Lucius already. Everything. Lord knows where he gets his hands on this stuff. Looks to us like he's been waiting for his moment since before you guys finished school."
Oh, you thought. You had a flash of Draco in school, his whisper that you should meet him in the bathroom after the detention he'd just tricked you into getting. You glared, but met him, and he sucked you off until you had to stuff your fist between your teeth to keep from waking the ghosts. He kissed you urgently afterwards. You pulled his hair and teased and threatened to leave and he punched you in the stomach. You fell panting to your knees, kitten-weak, and he stood close to you and stroked your mouth with two fingertips until you lifted your face and sucked him dizzily in return. The demanding slide of his cock on your tongue never failed to thrill, no matter the context. You were pretty sure he'd never touched Harry - like that - in school.
"Waiting for his moment," Percy said, over and over, in your head, all week.
Ginny thought it was romantic. You tended to avoid her friends nowadays. You didn't think it was romantic at all - you thought it smacked of foul play, very foul indeed. Conspiracy! you thought. You wanted to talk to Harry, but he was off training the excited cream of young quidditch players on the bright green new grass; you watched from the sidelines, and afterwards Harry invited you back for tea at the Manor, and you said no, no, sorry - got Ginny's 18th to prepare for, got to run - and left, and felt empty when the card Ginny gleefully received that evening was jointly signed.
They're right in front of you and the forgotten strawberries, and there is nothing to do but helplessly stare. You wet your lips and watch Draco's hand slide up into Harry's hair, the sly cant of Harry's hips in response, the exquisite purpose in Draco's smooth face as he kisses Harry into a swooning wreck, and then on. You hate that Harry won't remember stuffy decorum and pull back. You feel a tightness in your own lips where Draco's touch so recently strayed.
"You're a wretch," Harry mumbles, eventually, and you realise all of a sudden that it was completely unnatural to stare, that you should have joked or groaned or bounced strawberries off their heads, that to stand and stare like you did, oh, that wasn't the right thing to do at all--
"I'll leave you to it, then," you boom, light-hearted, and that does it, startles Harry back to the here-and-now, and he shoots Draco a dark, dark glare, and Draco clears his throat delicately and looks pleased.
Harry covers his face in one hand. "I am so sorry," he declares loudly, relatively cheerfully, in your general direction, "and I will go and get your pot now, with no more hideous lewdness unless something goes horribly wrong with a house elf on the way."
"Sure," you laugh, because it's completely fucking inappropriate to react in every other way your body's suggesting.
"But of course," Draco says quietly, advancing the moment Harry's wandered into the hall, "he'd never touch a house elf. He knows I don't share."
You feel like you're stuck in a nasty current, being wrenched silently downstream. "Fuck off," you say, as he walks right up to you and waits, his body heat flowing insidiously into your consciousness. You look determinedly past him, out the window, where drizzle is toying with light on the servants' lawn. In the distance, the permanent lights of the quidditch pitch paint low clouds a dull bronze. "Stop playing us."
He's got a point. You won't even threaten to tell. "Goodnight, Draco," you say, in a last ditch attempt at self-respect, and he hums softly, gently, and skims a fingertip down your cheek. You turn your face to him, your eyes already half-mast, and he catches your mouth in a kiss that tastes like that night during your exams when he shrugged that of course he was seeing other people.
Also, a chill of strawberries, maybe wreathed in a warmth of Harry, and you're getting lost again; then deft as ever, he's stepping away, and a moment later Harry's chattering back into the room, his wand in one hand, a wooden beaker in the other. Harry takes in Draco's proximity to you - merely a pace apart - without apparently interest; he's far keener on seeing how many strawberries he can fit into the cup.
"...nine. Ten," he says triumphantly, tapping it with his wand before handing it over, and then, as Draco intercepts, "leave him be," and then, rolling his eyes at you, "He's trying to get you all hot and bothered, but like most nuisances, you'll find if you ignore him he'll get bored and go away."
"Oh, now," Draco protests, lightly, "that is simply not fair." His gaze passes over you, heavy with his smirk. "I'm not most nuisances, and I certainly don't give up easily-- where's your coat?" he adds, and you touch your shirt-sleeves stupidly.
"Mm," you hedge. You see it in your mind's eye, draped across the corner of their gleaming bed like a sturdy polyester stain. You bet Draco knows exactly where it is, too. "Might've left it upstairs."
"I'll get it," Harry says quickly, then gives a good-natured, long-suffering sigh, "since I'm designated host for the evening--"
"My regards to the chef," Draco murmurs, and Harry flicks at him with his wand, filling the air momentarily with a faint crackling of magic. "Ouch," Draco squeaks, and Harry laughs, and then Draco's recovered again, haughtily folding his arms. "Crude peasantry of an attack - I daresay I'm not surprised." He raises his voice as Harry, still chuckling, heads out the door. "I imagine you recognise such charms from your own repertoire, Weasley--"
"Watch it," Harry calls back from the hallway, deadpan warning, his footsteps pounding upstairs, and Draco's just standing there, serene-faced and amused, a brightness in his eyes that makes your knees weak.
You grit your teeth. There's only a pace between you, but - "No."
R Malfoy, you thought fleetingly, once, as you drifted tipsily off to sleep, and when you woke up in the morning with the sound of it on your brain, there was nothing to do but scream with laughter.
"Stop it," you say, and Draco shakes his head and leans in and hooks your collar in his fingers, draws you in until your lips collide, his tongue slipping into your mouth even as you vow to yourself that you'll crane away. A sensation like magic grips you and he pulls back far too soon, and a heartbeat later Harry's coming back through the door and you take your coat still unable to feel your fingers. You've lost several seconds and, under everything else, it burns stupidly that he's so attuned to Harry's tread.
"Right, then," Harry says, rubbing his shoulder, then reaching for the brandy. "For the road?"
"I've got to get off," you say, shaking your head, shoving your arms into your jacket and feeling the fabric protest. "I'm, you know. Late."
They show you to the door, and Harry hugs you, tight and swift, and you keep your eyes closed to not-meet Draco's eye. Draco gives you a nod. "Until next time," he says, tucking his arm around Harry's waist, his voice entirely free of the suggestions whirlwinding around your mind.
"Yeah, we should work something out," Harry says, and you promise to check your schedule, and Draco says that you'll probably be back here cringing after more contracts before the month is out, and you say,
"Heh, probably true," and Draco gives you the world's sweetest smile.
"Just a word of warning," he says slowly. "I don't think I'll be so easily convinced, next time. I've missed pushing the Ministry to its knees. You might need to brush up on your rhetoric."
Your ears start to burn. "I'll tell Percy," you say, and Draco's eyes flash like laughter, and you add quickly, "well, bye then," and lift a hand in farewell. As you head off down their shallow stone steps, you have to concentrate to keep from going dizzy. You look back when you reach the bottom, and try not to hate the innocent bulge of Draco's knuckles under Harry's shirt.
"Bye," Harry waves, and Draco gives you another nod, then smiles at Harry and steers him back into the house and shuts the door.
Bye, you think, and try to ignore the call of your imagination to visualise every move Draco will be making right now. You wonder if they'll even bother to go upstairs-- you doubt it. Right there on the floor, probably, Harry's head cradled against the doormat. "Fuck," you say, and then shudder at the timbre of your voice. So embarrassing. You've a five minute walk in the evening air before you reach the portkey, and you're going to need every step to feel presentable again.
The gate chimes softly as you leave, and you blindly hope you never have to hear it again. Never come back, you think loudly. Yes. You say to yourself, fine, just tell Percy to shove his job, just say you're not up for crawling to a Malfoy. You want to never come back, ever. Never, or, or.
You can't quite admit to yourself that you mean, never leave.
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code to link to this page: <a href="http://www.yearningvoid.net/stories/calico/000077.html">Stray</a> by Calico