Your Hand Upon My Chest

~~

Harry wasn't sure where the impulse came from. He didn't want to give any credence to Hermione's 'saving-people-thing' theory, because when Hermione was proven right about something, she could be unbelievably smug.

No, Harry preferred to think of it as a 'I'm a decent human being' sort of thing. He wouldn't have walked away from anyone in the situation he ran across Draco Malfoy in, not even… Well, not even Draco Malfoy, because he was the example Harry typically used for instances like this one.

It was the end of a very long day of Auror training and Harry was weary to the bone. Really, all he wanted was a cup of hot tea and an even hotter bath to soothe some very sore muscles. He'd been vaguely aware that Malfoy was working in the Ministry, the same as several other of his classmates from Hogwarts.

However, while most of Harry's friends were training to be Aurors or working with the Department of Magical Games and Sports or the International Magical Office of Law, Malfoy was said to be the assistant secretary to the assistant secretary to the secretary of the bloke in charge of Broom Regulatory Control.

Harry imagined you couldn't get much lower than that on the Ministry hierarchy and still be considered a part of the Ministry at all.

Merlin knew, Harry still considered Malfoy something of a prat, although most of their interactions these days consisted of a curt nod if they passed each other in Diagon Alley. Still, even a prat didn't deserve to be dressed down by his boss in the Ministry atrium at quitting time.

Harry paused as he realized what was happening. A short, balding man whose belly was protruding from robes that were obviously from a slimmer time in his life, was reading Malfoy the riot act about his performance that day. Harry wasn't sure what he could have done so wrong in the Broom Regulatory Control office, for pity's sake. The man was waggling his finger in Malfoy's face and screaming so harshly that his face was turning red.

Glancing around at the other people streaming by, Harry saw nothing but smirks and sneers at Malfoy's predicament. Malfoy was saying absolutely nothing and his face could have been carved from marble for all the expression it showed. Harry got the feeling he'd probably been told not to make waves, lest he get fired and remove any chance he had for redemption. Looking closer, Harry could see that Malfoy's fist was clenched so tightly by his side that his knuckles were white, but that was the only visible sign of distress.

The next thing Harry knew, he was beside Malfoy and clapping him on the shoulder. Two sets of eyes jerked towards him, both showing about the same amount of shock. Malfoy's eyes darted to the hand still on his shoulder, then back to Harry, and they narrowed dangerously.

"Just wanted to say thanks again for all your help with that, er, thing the other day, Malfoy. Couldn't have done it without you," Harry said, forcing cheer into his voice so hard that it actually hurt a little.

There was a long moment of silence in which Malfoy's boss stared at Harry with his mouth hanging open; Malfoy's expression didn't change at all. Harry wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, and was already starting to regret his impulsive action.

Then the spell on the boss seemed to snap, and he beamed at Harry.

"Mr. Potter! It is such an honor to meet you. May I just take this opportunity to say thank you for saving us all from such unspeakable evil," he said in a gushing tone and then thrust his hand forward.

Harry automatically reached out to meet it with the hand that had been clasping Malfoy's shoulder and he withstood a vigorous shaking by the other man.

"You're welcome, Mr.…?"

"Aubrey. Bertram Aubrey. Oh, it's such a pleasure to meet you in person, Mr. Potter!"

Surreptitiously, Harry tried to pry his hand out of Aubrey's, as it was still being shaken so hard Harry thought he could feel the bones vibrating. The man finally seemed to realize what he was doing and dropped Harry's hand with stammering apologies.

"Not a problem, Mr. Aubrey," Harry said, still forcing a smile onto his face.

"So Malfoy helped you out with something? I thought the two of you didn't get on," Aubrey said, a tinge of suspicion clouding his tone.

"Back in our Hogwarts days, we had a bit of a rivalry. But we've long since outgrown those times. Putting childish things behind us and all that."

"How exactly did Malfoy assist you? I wasn't aware that he was working with the Aurors."

Harry cursed inwardly. He'd never been very good at thinking up lies on the spot. That was Hermione's job. Malfoy turned his gaze towards Harry and raised one brow in a questioning look. Harry could almost hear his snide words. Oh, yes, Potter, do tell!

"Ah, Auror business, highly classified, you know. Can't discuss it, sorry. Just know that Malfoy's help was invaluable to our case." He shoved his hands into the pockets of his Auror robes and rocked back on his heels. Aubrey was starting to frown, and then he opened his mouth, probably to call Harry out for being a massive liar. It was time to go.

If Harry wasn't sure where the original impulse to stop and help Malfoy came from, his next move was a complete mystery, even to himself.

"Sorry, gents, but I must run. Aubrey," he said and gave a brief nod towards the man. He turned to Malfoy and said, "Malfoy," and put his hand out there for Malfoy to shake.

The git hesitated for a fraction of a second before clasping Harry's hand. Rather than just give it a quick shake, which, honestly, was all that Harry had intended, he instead pulled Malfoy towards him and gave him a one-armed hug, slapping his back three times before he let go of his hand and stepped back.

Both Malfoy's and his boss's eyes were as wide as saucers, and Harry was certain that his own face was probably flaming red, so he gave a last jaunty little wave of his hand and got the hell out of there.

The murmurs around him sounded as shocked those of his Hogwarts days when he'd done something the student body found inappropriate. Harry felt sure he was cursing himself more than any of them were capable of, however.

He was moving quickly towards the Floos and muttering to himself. "This is going to be all over the Ministry by tomorrow morning. Ron will have an absolute fit. What the hell was I thinking?"

"That's what I'd like to know, Potter."

Harry startled at the words suddenly hissed right beside him and turned his head to see Malfoy matching his steps.

"Malfoy," Harry said, intending to explain, but he didn't get any further than that, because he didn't know how to explain what had just happened.

"You just hugged me in front of the entire Ministry, Potter. Hugged me! As if I don't get enough grief, now everyone is going to think that I've got the Boy Wonder under an Imperius."

Harry stopped walking and turned to face Malfoy, who somehow made their abrupt loss of motion look much more elegant than Harry could ever hope to.

"I'm sorry. I really didn't intend for that to happen."

"What exactly did you intend?" Malfoy asked, arms crossed and a suspicious frown on his face.

"I just…I didn't think it was right, him reaming you out in front of everyone, and I just wanted to stop it from happening, that's all," Harry said. He kept his voice low, because even now people were trying to eavesdrop, all without getting too close, of course.

"So that was just your good deed for the day, is that it?"

"Pretty much, yeah," Harry said. "Look, I'm sorry if it pissed you off, but it wasn't right. Now, if you don't mind, I've had a long day, and I'm starving, so I'd really like to get out of here."

Malfoy kept his expression blank as he stared at Harry for another long moment. Finally, just as Harry was about to say 'screw it' and head home for some dinner, Malfoy dropped his arms to his sides and said, very quietly, "Thank you."

"Sorry, what?"

Malfoy huffed at him and said, "Don't be a prick about it. I said thank you, okay? I really wasn't enjoying that scene, as you well know."

Contrary to what Malfoy thought, Harry wasn't being a prick; he simply couldn't believe that Draco Malfoy had thanked him! That probably explained the next bizarre impulse his brain decided to throw his way.

"Do you want to go to dinner with me?"

Malfoy blinked in surprise, his eyebrows nearly disappearing into his hairline, and Harry belatedly realized what his invitation must have sounded like.

"I mean…I'm going to get something to eat anyway, and if you, you know, wanted to join me and we could catch up since we haven't seen each other much since Hogwarts…" Harry stammered.

Malfoy's mouth curved into a smirk, and Harry stopped talking, getting the distinct feeling that he was only making things worse with every word that came out of his mouth.

"Sure, Potter, let's go get something to eat. I'm certain we can find lots of interesting things to talk about."

As the two of them turned and headed towards the Floos together, Harry could hear the buzzing around them increase. He sneaked a peek at Malfoy out of the corner of his eye. If the mutterings were bothering him, Harry couldn't tell.

It was just going to be a simple dinner, right? But somehow, Harry had the feeling that he was about to step into a snake pit.

HDHDHDHD

Draco turned in front of the mirror in his bedroom to give himself a view of the back of his ensemble. With a satisfied nod, he spun back to face the mirror. He certainly did love the way a good pair of Muggle denims looked on his arse. Draco had been slow to embrace the idea of wearing Muggle clothing, but if they could produce things that made his arse look that spectacular, then he was all for it.

What made it even better was how much Harry loved the way he looked in Muggle clothes. He pulled the collar of his shirt away from his neck just enough to reassure himself that the mark Harry had left the other night was still there. Draco smirked as he ran one finger over the love bite, shivering lightly, his mind and senses instantly returning to the moment that Harry had put it there.

Sometimes, Draco could hardly believe his good luck. Things had drastically improved for him at the Ministry since it had become known that he was a friend of Harry Potter. They had lunch together in the Ministry cafeteria at least once a week, and Harry made it a point to stop by Draco's cubicle in the Broom Regulatory Control office every now and then to say hello.

That prick Aubrey was snide about it at first, making not-too-subtle remarks about Harry 'lowering' himself to associate with Death Eaters. After it became obvious that the Boy Who Lived to Save Us All was serious about a friendship with Draco Malfoy, the taunts and nasty remarks had finally started to subside.

Of course, no one knew that while the friendship had started as just that, the two of them hesitantly trying to overcome years of animosity, it had quickly evolved into much more. Draco smiled and touched his fingers to his lips as he recalled the first time Harry had kissed him. They'd both been a little tipsy, and Harry had just leaned over and planted one on him. Naturally, two seconds later, he'd backed off and started stammering an apology. Draco hadn't given him time to get through more than a word or two before he'd tackled Harry.

That first time had been rushed and awkward, but it had still been some of the best sex Draco had ever had. Until that point anyway. As he and Harry had learned each other's bodies and rhythms, it had only gotten better.

Draco had been looking forward to tonight all week. It had been six months since they'd started this affair, and Harry had promised something special for the evening. Keeping everything that was between them under wraps was the only sensible thing to do, but it did have the unfortunate side effect of the two of them not being able to see each other nearly as much as they both would like.

Finally satisfied that he looked amazing, Draco headed downstairs. He paused at the bottom of the staircase, listening for his parents. They usually took their evening meal in the small salon that had always been Narcissa's domain. They all preferred to avoid the formal dining room and other areas the Dark Lord had taken over during his tenure at Malfoy Manor. That, and the fact that the Ministry had claimed a good portion of the Malfoy fortune as wartime reparations, meant there were quite a few rooms of the Manor that went unused.

Draco felt a small twinge of guilt at avoiding his mother and father, but stacked against seeing Harry, it quickly dwindled away. Lucius had been hinting that he had something of great importance to discuss. Draco had a pretty good idea what that discussion would entail, and he was determined to put that conversation off as long as possible.

He slinked past the doorway to his mother's salon, and made his escape out the front door. Still worrying about getting caught, Draco hurried rather inelegantly to the edge of the wards so that he could Apparate.

"Yes! Another successful getaway," he said, as he appeared in the alley beside the Muggle restaurant where he and Harry had agreed to meet. He sighed as he thought about the conversation his father wanted to have. He'd made a few noises about the continuation of the Malfoy line already, but Draco had been successful in ignoring him thus far.

As much as he was enjoying this thing with Harry Potter, Draco had no illusions about it lasting. Draco knew that he would have to marry and provide a Malfoy heir, there was no getting around that. Besides, Harry would eventually settle down with some witch, probably the Weasley girl, and they would give the Wizarding World half a dozen little Potter babies. Then, and only then, would Draco do his duty as a Pureblood, and sire an heir of his own.

The tricky part of Draco's life at the moment was putting his father off long enough until Harry decided to end things and move on. Because Draco wasn't giving Harry Potter up one day before he had to. He let a smirk cross his lips as he stepped into the restaurant, catching sight of Harry in a booth at the back, waving at Draco with a huge smile on his face.

Knowing full well that many eyes were on him – he did look damn good, after all – Draco let a little strut into his walk as he crossed the room to where Harry was waiting. Greeting his lover with a quick kiss, one which promised much more fun later, Draco was amused to overhear a woman grumbling from the booth behind him that the 'good ones are always married or gay'.

"Not often that you get called one of the good ones, eh, Malfoy?" Harry murmured near his ear.

"And why should I care, when being bad is so much more fun, Potter?" Draco teased back.

Harry's eyes lit up in appreciation and he leaned forward to kiss Draco again, lingering a bit longer this time. They enjoyed a delicious meal, complete with plenty of gentle teasing, and a few more kisses. Draco had firmly pushed any thought of his father or heir discussions or Potter marrying the Weasley bint out of his mind.

It was still the furthest thing from his mind later that evening, when he was flat on his back, happily watching Harry come closer to orgasm as he pounded Draco into the mattress. His heart was still racing from the amazing climax he'd just had and Draco squeezed himself around Harry's cock, anxious to pull his lover into ecstasy with him.

"Oh, fuck, yeah, that's good," Harry moaned and increased his pace, his eyes shut tightly.

"Look at me, Harry," Draco whispered.

Harry's eyes opened immediately and he stared into Draco's eyes. Draco reached one hand up to his own chest and ran a finger through the mess of come, sweat, and chocolate that was cooling there. He sucked that finger deep into his mouth, humming with pleasure.

Harry gasped and shuddered, even as he continued to drive into Draco's body, so obviously right on the edge. "God, Draco!"

"Now, Harry! Come for me right now!" Draco said.

Harry cried out loudly as his hips slammed home one last time. His eyes rolled back in his head as his cock pulsed deep within Draco. Moments later, he collapsed carefully onto Draco, panting with exhaustion. Draco nudged Harry's ear with his nose, and Harry turned his head obediently to meet Draco's mouth in a deep, appreciative kiss.

After a few seconds, Draco pushed gently against Harry's shoulder. "Heavy," he murmured.

"Sorry. Just love being so close to you afterwards," Harry said, smiling as he rolled over to lay on his back beside Draco.

"I am quite irresistible, aren't I?" Draco said, a satisfied smile crossing his face.

"You definitely are," Harry murmured as he shifted onto his side and moved his head to nuzzle Draco's ear. "Did you enjoy your present?" he asked, his voice dropping to a seductive whisper.

Draco shivered, both from Harry's voice low in his ear, and from the memories of the last couple of hours. Harry had obviously been reading up on seduction techniques somewhere because he'd done things to Draco that neither of them had ever tried before. Draco had never known that he would enjoy being blindfolded and tied to the bed, but as Harry had teased him with feathers, ice, food, and his tongue…

Merlin! Draco felt his cock stirring even now, and considering the fact that he'd come three times in the last hour and a half, that was saying something.

"Mmm, yeah, very much," Draco said, and turned his head to meet Harry's mouth in another slow kiss. Draco sighed with lazy bliss as they eventually pulled apart and just lay together with their eyes closed, enjoying the afterglow.

"Come to the Poinsettia Ball with me," Harry said suddenly.

Draco's eyes flew open in shock, and he found Harry looking earnestly at him. "Are you mad? We can't go to the biggest social event of the year together." The Ministry's annual Christmas ball was attended by everyone who was anyone in the Wizarding world.

"Why not? Everyone knows we're friends now. Why not let them know that we're more than friends?"

"Potter," Draco said, trying to keep his patience. "The backlash if we came out as a couple would destroy the both of us. Well, maybe not you, seeing as you are who you are, but I would be ripped apart by the public and the press."

Harry's eyes flared with anger, and Draco braced himself for an argument. Just because they'd discovered that they loved to fuck, didn't mean they still didn't fight almost as frequently. But then Harry's face settled into a familiar stubbornness and he turned to lie again on his back.

"Fine. If that's what you think," he said, staring up at the ceiling.

Draco sighed loudly and flopped over to lie on top of Harry, who grunted in surprise. "Potter, are you really going to spend the rest of our weekend sulking about a stupid ball? When there are so many more fun and interesting things we could be doing?" he said, and ground his burgeoning erection down onto Harry's own thickening cock.

Harry maintained his stubborn expression for a few more moments, but Draco knew he wouldn’t be able to hold out for long. Sure enough, a reluctant smile curved Harry's lips and he reached up to grab hold of Draco's arse, grinding their hips together even stronger.

"S'pose not."

Draco smirked inwardly as he and Harry became consumed with each other once more. Crisis averted, he thought smugly.

HDHDHDHD

Harry was still thinking about that weekend a couple of weeks later. It wasn't often that he and Draco could take two whole days to be with each other, and he'd loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute. He was a bit perturbed at the way Draco had shot down taking their relationship public.

He wasn't an idiot. Harry well understood that things would be much more difficult for Draco than for him if they were out, but he had hoped that Draco was starting to feel the same way that he did. He had hoped that Draco would consider Harry worth it, just as Harry was beginning to feel about him.

Oh, hell, there was no 'beginning' anymore. Harry Potter had fallen head over heels for Draco Malfoy. It was crazy, but there it was. He thought about Draco every minute of the day. He longed to be able to walk down Diagon Alley with Draco's hand in his, not caring what the rest of the Wizarding world thought.

It was a struggle every time he saw Draco to keep from blurting out his feelings. The only thing that did stop him was that he had no clue how Draco felt about him. Oh, Harry had no doubt that Draco enjoyed the sex, but was that all it was for him? A twinge of pain pulsed in his chest at the thought that Draco might not care whether Harry loved him; that he might, in fact, be annoyed by Harry's feelings and break things off.

Harry honestly didn't know how much longer he could do this secret affair thing. His friends had all noticed that something was up with him, and had started asking questions. Harry had no idea what to tell them. It helped somewhat that Ron and Hermione were expecting their first baby in only a few months. Hermione was distracted enough that she wasn't giving him the third degree as she normally would.

"Morning, Harry," Ron said as he came into the small office that he shared with Harry and two other Auror trainees.

Harry barely kept himself from jerking in shock. He'd been so deep in his thoughts about Draco he hadn't even heard Ron come in. He mumbled something like a greeting, but thankfully Ron was so intent on his first cup of coffee that he didn't notice.

It was a long day, filled with classes from experienced Aurors on hexes and curses and tracking techniques, practical exercises wherein they tried to beat other trainee teams in dueling, and paperwork. Loads and loads of paperwork. Harry had never known there was so much paperwork involved in stopping Dark Wizards. He'd certainly never had to deal with it when he was fighting Voldemort.

His day was brightened a bit by having lunch with Draco in the cafeteria, but it was also an exercise in torture. Harry longed to be able to lean over and kiss his boyfriend, but of course, wasn't able to do so. Then he'd freaked himself when he realized he'd thought the word 'boyfriend' in relation to Draco.

By the end of the day, he'd managed to get on Auror Robards' bad side and now had even more paperwork to do. He was going to have to stay until it was done, as Robards had said it had better be on his desk by eight AM or he would be dismissed from Auror training, and no, he didn't care that Harry was the Boy Who Lived. Harry wasn't absolutely certain he would carry out that threat, but he didn't want to take the chance.

Ron had left around half-five with a sheepish wave in Harry's direction. Harry couldn't really blame him; if he had someone to go home to, he wouldn't want to hang around this place any longer than he had to either. Luckily, he and Draco hadn't made any plans for this evening.

In fact, Draco was no doubt still a little peeved at him as Harry had brought up the Poinsettia Ball again. They'd spent the last ten minutes of their lunch together having a vicious whispered argument about Draco's selfishness and Harry's stubbornness.

Heaving a great sigh, Harry shook his head. He had to stop thinking about Draco for the moment, or he would still be here at eight in the morning, probably still not done with these reports. It was nearly nine o'clock, but thank goodness, he was nearing the end. A sudden noise in the corridor had him standing with wand in hand in an instant.

He wasn't aware that anyone else was staying late this evening, so whatever that sound was, it couldn't be anything good. Cautiously, he crept around the edge of his desk and moved towards the door. Once at the doorway, he eased his head out slowly, just enough to see down the hallway.

"If you're going to use your wand on me, I'd really rather it was the other one," a voice said from behind him.

Harry shouted in surprise and whirled around. Draco shimmered into view, obviously undoing a Disillusionment charm, and smirked at him.

"Draco! You berk, you scared the life out of me," Harry said, letting his wand drop to his side.

"I know. That was the whole point. You're far too tense, Potter."

"If I am, it's probably your fault. What are you doing here this late, anyway?"

Draco sauntered over to him and leaned into Harry, giving him a soft kiss. Harry let his eyes fall closed, enjoying the intimate touch.

When their lips separated again, Harry asked quietly, "Aren't you afraid someone will see?"

"There's no one here to see," Draco whispered back.

Harry smiled. "Well, maybe not on this floor, but there's a skeleton crew of Aurors just one floor up, and you know, I don't think the Unspeakables ever leave."

"Hmm, perhaps you're right. We should go into your office. I'm pretty sure there's no one else in there, correct?" Draco said, in between kisses to Harry's neck.

"Nope, no one in there," Harry said, a small gasp escaping him as Draco found a sensitive spot.

They stumbled into the office, as Harry flicked his wand at the door, closing it and tossing a few locking charms on it at the same time, before he let it fall absently to the floor. Draco's mouth left Harry's neck to find his lips again, the kiss deepening and getting much more intense.

"Which one is your desk?" Draco asked breathlessly as he pulled his mouth away from Harry's. He was already starting to work on the buttons to Harry's shirt, and Harry couldn't answer out loud, he was so turned on already. He gestured vaguely in the direction of his desk.

Draco grinned and began to move Harry over to the chair Harry had been sitting in earlier. He pushed Harry none too gently into the chair, but before Harry could think to protest, Draco dropped to his knees in front of him. Harry's breath caught in his throat at the intense look on Draco's face as he slowly drew down the zip of Harry's denims.

A moment later, he threw his head back and moaned as Draco took Harry's already half-hard cock into his mouth. God, but Draco was excellent at giving head. His tongue was the most amazing thing Harry had ever felt. It wasn't long before Harry could tell he was on the verge of coming.

"Gonna come if you keep doing that," he managed to gasp to Draco.

To his dismay, Draco pulled off and smirked at him. "Can't have that yet." Draco quickly pulled Harry's shoes off, then reached up to grab the waist of Harry's jeans and tugged. Harry lifted his hips to let Draco pull his jeans all the way off. His pants followed swiftly and then he watched eagerly as Draco undressed himself.

When he saw Harry watching, Draco turned around and wiggled his arse as he dropped his trousers. Harry gaped when he realized that Draco wasn't wearing any pants. He'd probably been walking around like that all day, the bastard.

Harry couldn't stop himself from reaching out and squeezing Draco's bum, and Draco cooperated by pushing it towards him. Harry leaned forward and pressed his lips to Draco's cheek, before sliding his thumbs in between and spreading them apart. He groaned when he saw that Draco's hole was already loosened and gleaming with lube.

"Oh, you slut, you came prepared for this, didn't you?"

"A Slytherin always takes advantage of opportunities, Harry. When I found out you were going to be working late tonight, I went to the loo and fucked myself on my fingers until I would be able to do this," Draco said over his shoulder. He reached one hand behind him and pushed Harry back against the chair. Then he used that same hand to guide Harry's cock into him as he sat down on Harry's lap.

"Ah, fuck! Draco!" Harry cried out. His hands latched onto Draco's hips as the other man began to move, sliding up and down, and then rocking back and forth, over and over again.

"Working on it," Draco gasped as he continued to fuck himself on Harry's cock.

Harry lifted one hand to the center of Draco's back and nudged him forward just a little. He wanted to be able to watch his cock sliding in and out of Draco's hole. Harry bit his lip to hold back the words he longed to say, but it was the most incredible sight, watching Draco take every inch of him.

"Mmm, I love your cock, Harry," Draco said.

Harry's heart skipped a beat. For half a second there, he'd thought Draco was going to say something else. It was exquisite agony, being buried deep in Draco's body, when where he really wanted to be was in Draco's heart.

Blinking back unexpected tears, Harry leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Draco's waist, pausing his movements. Draco started to look over his shoulder in question, so Harry spoke up quickly before Draco could notice his emotional state.

"Stand up. I want to fuck you across my desk."

"Yeah, that sounds good," Draco said with a nod. Together, the two of them stood from the chair, Harry managing to stay inside, and then Draco leaned forward to brace his elbows on Harry's desk.

Harry reached up with one hand to clasp Draco's shoulder, the other gripping his hip, and thrust hard into his lover. He grinned at Draco's appreciative moan and started pounding him even harder.

"Oh, yeah, just like that, Harry. God, that's good!"

Harry was able to forget, for the moment, all that he really wanted from Draco as he lost himself in the pleasure of driving as deep into Draco's body as he could go.

"Touch yourself," Harry ordered, as he could feel his orgasm getting closer. "Come with me."

"Yes, oh yes," Draco said, panting as his hand eagerly began fisting his own cock.

They didn't manage it quite at the same time, but Draco was only a few heartbeats behind Harry as he shot come all over Harry's desk. Harry pulled Draco up from his elbows, seeking his mouth desperately. Draco turned his head and met Harry's kiss readily. They stood there for a few moments as the kiss gradually wound down from frantic to more relaxed.

They collapsed carefully back into the chair, Draco leaning back on Harry's lap. He squirmed a little as Harry's softening cock slid out of him. Harry nuzzled Draco's neck as he let his hands stroke down Draco's chest, gliding through the light sheen of sweat their lovemaking had brought.

"That was delicious. I do have the best ideas, don't I?" Draco practically purred.

"You definitely do," Harry murmured in agreement.

"How close are you to finishing up here? Maybe we could go for round two back at your place."

"That sounds good. I was on the last one-" Harry broke off as he looked over at his desk. The desk that was covered in the reports he'd been working feverishly on for the last three hours. The reports which were now covered in Draco's come.

"Draco! You came all over my work!"

"Hey, it's not my fault! You're the one who wanted to fuck me over your desk," Draco retorted. He reached over and snagged one of the pieces of parchment. "It's only a few spots here and there. A quick cleaning charm and it'll be good as new."

He summoned his wand from the trousers crumpled on the floor and waved it at the parchment in his hand. Whatever spell he used vanished the come beautifully. Unfortunately, it vanished all the ink on the parchment as well.

"Oops."

"AH! Draco! Robards is going to kill me if I don’t have these done by morning!" Harry said in a panic.

Draco twisted around sideways on Harry's lap and took his chin in hand. "I will help you, of course, you idiot."

"You will?" Harry asked, blinking in surprise.

"Of course I will. It's in my own best interests to get you done and home as quickly as possible. I just need to use a more specific cleaning charm."

Harry beamed at Draco, and couldn't help but think surely this meant that Draco must feel something for him stronger than lust. After all, he didn't have to help Harry finish his task, no matter what he said about his own best interests.

They cleaned themselves up, got dressed, and then set to work on the reports. By the time Draco had finished cleaning the come off the ones he'd splattered, Harry had the one that he'd vanished almost redone. Thankfully, it was the last one he'd been working on that Draco had made disappear, so it was the freshest in Harry's mind and he was able to recreate most of it fairly easily.

Once they were all done, Harry used a spell to send them straight to Robards' desk. Draco Disillusioned himself as they left Harry's office and headed towards the lifts, just in case anyone was wandering the Ministry at this late hour.

As they stood in the lifts, unable to talk just in case, Harry felt Draco's hand slide into his where it was hidden by his robes. Harry couldn't keep a small smile from his lips. Maybe Draco didn't love him right now, but Harry could always have hope.

HDHDHDHD

Draco sat stiffly across the room from Astoria Greengrass and her parents. His own mother and father were on the settee next to him, all of them drinking tea. He'd been unable to slide by his mother's salon today, and to his dismay, his parents had company.

He had been on his way out to meet Pansy for their weekly dinner together, but had been trapped by his mother as she slid expertly between him and the front door. By the look in her eyes, Draco knew there was no getting away this time. He was presenting a good front, he hoped, but inside panic was surging through him.

Apparently, his father had grown weary of waiting on him to discuss the future Malfoy bride, and had simply started the betrothal proceedings with the Greengrasses on his own. They had everything completely planned out! His mother and Astoria's mother were gleefully discussing wedding robes and showers, while the fathers were talking about money.

They had a date of June 14th of the following year set. They would announce the betrothal at this year's Poinsettia Ball, only two weeks away now, which Draco found entirely ironic. Harry had only brought up that blasted ball a half dozen times, wanting to go together with Draco, and now he was going to have to take Astoria Greengrass.

Astoria kept looking at him hopefully from behind her cup of tea, but Draco couldn't bring himself to engage in conversation with her. Bitterly, he wondered why he should have to make nice now if the deal was already done?

He endured another hour of pleasantries before he was able to escape. Lucius gave him a stony look, which meant a lecture later, Draco was certain. At this point, he couldn't care. They may have mapped out the rest of his life for him, but he didn't have to jump every time his father barked.

Pansy was extremely peeved at him being two hours late, but once Draco explained, she was properly sympathetic. They were sitting in the flat she shared with Tracey Davis. Pansy's father, a Death Eater, had been killed in the war, and her mother was in St. Mungo's long-term care ward as she'd lost her mind when her husband died. Tracey's mother had died not long after she was born, and her father, also a Death Eater, had fled the country during the second war.

The two women had met while working at St. Mungo's. While Tracey was training to be a Healer, Pansy could only find work in the cafeteria after volunteering to hand Harry Potter over to the Dark Lord during the Battle of Hogwarts. Draco helped her out as much as he could, though considering his own circumstances, there wasn't much he could do. But she was his best friend, and Draco would never desert her.

Draco poured out the whole story of the betrothal and the plan to announce it at the Poinsettia Ball and how much he really hated his life at the moment.

Pansy gave him a knowing look. "You've known that you would have to marry eventually. Are you this upset now because it means the end of your little fling with Potter?"

Draco's mouth dropped open in shock and he simply stared at her. "How did you know?" he asked, too stunned to even deny it. He'd thought they had been so careful.

"I wasn't sure until just now," Pansy said smugly.

Draco groaned and dropped his head into his hands. He couldn't believe he'd fallen for that old trick. It was strictly first-year level Slytherin training.

"Everyone in Wizarding England heard about Potter saving your dignity from that fat bastard Aubrey, and then the lunches with Potter soon followed. Not long after that, you were walking around with a smile on your face like the cat that ate the canary. It wasn't a huge leap from there."

"Fuck," Draco muttered.

"Too right!" Pansy said, as she started laughing. "So, share with me, darling. How is he? Worth all those fantasies you had when we were still in Hogwarts?"

He glared at her briefly for bringing up the stupidity of his youth, but then he couldn’t hold it in any longer.

"He's fucking amazing! And amazing at fucking, I should say," Draco said with a smug smile of his own. He spent the next several minutes giving Pansy way more detail about his sex life than Harry would probably ever be comfortable with, but Draco didn't care. This was Pansy! She'd been his fag hag since third year.

Eventually, he ran out of energy and just slumped on Pansy's couch, feeling very sorry for himself. Pansy reached over and patted his hand, looking at him with utter sympathy.

"Is there no way you and Potter could, you know, continue even after you marry? You know I would never tell a soul."

"I wish, but no. Potter's way too Gryffindor to go for that," Draco said glumly.

"Have you asked him? You don't know unless you ask," Pansy insisted.

"Pans, trust me when I say I know the man a little better than you at this point, and the answer would be a resounding no," Draco bit out. "Besides, he's probably almost ready to end it anyway. I heard that Ginny Weasley is back in town from playing with the Harpies."

"That would be a major step down from you, darling," Pansy said with a disdainful sniff.

Draco grinned in appreciation at the support. "Obviously, but then anyone would be."

The conversation turned to what some of their old classmates were up to, and Draco could tell that she was trying to keep his mind off his upcoming heartbreak. He was truly thankful that the both of them had made it through the war. Some of their other former friends weren't so lucky.

"I do have some other news, if you're interested," Pansy said. Draco could tell by the tone of her voice that this was something important to her, and that she was apprehensive about it.

"I'm all ears, my dear."

"I've…sort of been seeing someone," she said quickly, as though she needed to get it out before she lost her nerve.

"Really?" he said, with a surprised raise of his eyebrows. "Anyone I know?"

"Yes," she said quietly. "And I want you to keep in mind, that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, or however that stupid saying goes."

"Okay, now I'm confused. You're dating a goose?" Draco said.

She smacked him with one of the throw pillows on her sofa. "Prat!" she shouted, but Draco could see her grin and knew she wasn't too angry at his joke.

"No, I'm seeing a Gryffindor," she said.

Draco was rather surprised. Pansy had been quite vociferous in her scorn for Gryffindors back in school. "Do tell," he said.

"It's only been a couple of dinners so far, and I'm not sure where it's going, if it's going anywhere. He's been so wonderful to me, though. Set a few waggling tongues straight about a few things at St. Mungo's."

"Does he work there, then?"

"No, he's just up there all the time visiting relatives," Pansy said, and flushed a little.

Draco was very intrigued as to who this mystery Gryffindor could be. "All the time? Someone in Janus Thickey?"

Pansy nodded.

"So, I would guess you've run into him from going to see your mother," Draco said gently.

"Yes," Pansy said, with a sad little sigh.

"Any improvement there?"

"No, not really. And the healers don't feel confident there will be. It's like she's just given up."

Draco took her hand and squeezed it gently. "I'm so sorry, sweetheart," he whispered.

Pansy sniffled and lowered her head for a moment. When she looked back up, she was trying to smile. "The wonderful thing is that he understands. After all, his parents have been there for twenty years."

Draco's mouth dropped open again. "Longbottom!?" he said in disbelief. "You're dating Longbottom?"

"Yes, and you had better be nice to him when you see him," Pansy said, her eyes threatening violence if he didn't obey. "I'll have no teasing from you whatsoever. I'm still not too bad with a good Furnunculus spell."

"How in the world would I have room to tease? I'm sleeping with Harry Potter!" Draco scoffed. Then his face fell in despair as he recalled his current circumstances. "Or at least I was."

"You've got 'til June, right?" Pansy asked. Draco nodded and she tugged on his arm, pulling him towards her so that he could lay his head in her lap just like he used to do when they were still in school. "Maybe we can figure something out before then."

She ran her fingers through his hair, and Draco closed his eyes, enjoying the tender touch. He adored that she was trying to be so optimistic, but Draco knew the cold, hard truth. His affair with Harry was over.

HDHDHDHD

Harry gulped down another glass of champagne and tried to keep his eyes from straying to the corner where the Malfoys stood…along with the Greengrasses. He was confused as hell about what was going on with Draco. Every time he'd tried to talk to the man in the last two weeks, he'd been brushed off. They hadn't had sex now in sixteen days! They'd never gone that long in the time they had been seeing each other.

When they'd spoken last, before Draco had begun to avoid him, he'd said he wasn't attending the Poinsettia Ball. Yet, here he was, and obviously Astoria Greengrass was with him as his date. Harry could understand if his parents had pressured him into it. Hell, he was here with Ginny because Molly had laid a guilt trip on him the size of a hippogriff.

Ginny was only in town for a couple of weeks; she so wanted to attend the ball; Harry wasn't seeing anyone at the moment, was he?; why don't the two of them go together!

He'd never been able to say no to that woman.

So here they were, and Harry had actually been having a nice time, until the Malfoys had walked through the doors. Fashionably late, of course. Ginny had excused herself to the ladies room, and Harry had made a beeline for the bar.

Harry was beginning to feel pleasantly numb, and pondering whether he should just go confront the git, to hell with what anyone, including said git, would have to say about it. He nodded to himself, gathering his confidence. He'd never been afraid of confrontations, and this was important, damn it!

Just as he turned, a melodic ringing sounded through the large room. Everyone turned and looked in the same direction Harry was looking, as it was Lucius Malfoy who was tapping his champagne glass, obviously enhanced with something similar to a Sonorus charm.

"My fellow Wizards, and Witches," Lucius said, with a charming smile towards the ladies in the room. "We, the Malfoy family, are honored to be among you this evening, celebrating both the Christmas season, and the continued vitality and success of our community. Soon, Narcissa and I, and our good friends, Hector and Primrose Greengrass, will have even more to celebrate. It is with greatest pleasure and deepest pride that we announce the betrothal of our son, Draconis Abraxas Malfoy, to the lovely daughter of Hector and Primrose, Astoria Delphine Greengrass."

A polite wave of applause rolled through the room. Harry wanted to tear his eyes away, as he felt like he was going to vomit any moment, but he couldn't make himself stop looking. Draco and Astoria stood in between their parents. She was blushing prettily at all the attention. Draco's eyes were fastened firmly to the floor. A subtle elbow, and what looked like words whispered through clenched teeth, from Lucius, and Draco raised his head to look over the crowd.

Inevitably, his eyes immediately zeroed in on Harry, who was sure that his look of horror was quite plain. Draco had the good grace to look incredibly embarrassed, and turned his gaze away. After a few moments, the applause faded and attention drifted back to the party and away from the Malfoy-Greengrass party. A few people were going over to give their congratulations, though probably not as many as Lucius Malfoy would have liked.

Harry watched, still unable to look away, as Draco leaned over and whispered something to Lucius. A disapproving look instantly followed, but Draco must have ignored it as he turned and started to make his way toward one of the exits.

Harry's shock had begun to melt into anger. That bastard! If he knew this was going to happen, the least he could have done was break things off to Harry's face, the little coward. Well, if Draco thought he was going to somehow avoid a confrontation, he could think again.

He set his champagne glass down a little forcefully, causing the witch tending bar to look at him oddly, but Harry barely noticed. He began moving through the crowd, and if there was one good thing about being the Boy Who Lived, when he scowled people tended to move out of the way.

He reached the door that Draco had gone through and glanced up and down the hallway. The ball was being held at someone's manor, Harry couldn't recall whose at the moment, but that meant there were plenty of rooms for him to have to search.

"Fuck that," he muttered. He yanked his wand out of his robes, placed it on his palm, and said, "Point me, Draco Malfoy."

The wand spun a couple of times and then pointed Harry towards his left. Grimly, he marched up the hallway, watching the wand and glancing into the rooms he passed for a glimpse of blond hair. Finally, his wand jerked and abruptly pointed to a room on the right side of the hallway. Moving to the door and finding it partially ajar, Harry pushed it the rest of the way open.

It was a small sitting room, lavishly decorated, and containing a couch and several chairs surrounding a small coffee table. Draco was sitting on the couch, arms resting on his knees, and his head hanging forward. Harry stepped in quietly and then made the door slam shut, throwing locking and silencing spells as a matter of habit, before pocketing his wand. He was afraid he'd be too tempted to hex Draco if he kept it in his hand.

Draco looked up when the door slammed, and when he saw Harry, he leapt to his feet. He stared at Harry, a look of wariness on his face. He was right to be worried, Harry thought to himself spitefully.

"So I guess congratulations are in order," Harry said.

"Harry-" Draco started, looking miserable.

"I know now why you've been avoiding me for the last few weeks. Couldn't just say it to my face?"

Draco stiffened and a sneer curled his lips. "I figured I'd be on that end of the conversation soon enough myself. Couldn't wait to jump back into bed with Ginny Weasley, could you?"

"What the hell are you talking about? I'm not sleeping with Ginny! Clearly, at the moment, I'm not sleeping with anyone since you're too much of a coward to break it off with me face-to-face!"

"You brought her to this ball with you. This event which you've been begging me for months to attend with you and you brought her instead!"

"Fuck you!" Harry snarled. "You do not get to play the wounded party here, not when your father," Harry said, sweeping his arm in the general direction of the ball room, "just announced to the entire world that you are engaged. To a woman! She's gonna get a hell of a shock on your wedding night, isn't she?"

"Shut up. You don't understand anything, Harry. But you never have. Always been the Golden boy, haven't you? Just blithely wandering through life, thinking you can have your way all the time, just because you're you!"

"I understand that you are gay, Draco. You are gay now, you were probably gay back in Hogwarts, and you will be gay when you marry Astoria. You will always be gay! And a liar, but we won't go there."

"I'm the liar? That's rich! Whom have you brought to this affair again? Oh, that's right, your ex-girlfriend, and yet you enjoy nothing more than plowing my arse every chance you get. Who's the liar then?"

"Ginny and I are here as friends, and I'm sure as hell not going to marry her!"

Draco backed up a step, blinking in surprise. "What do you mean, you're not going to marry her? Of course you are, everyone knows that."

Harry screwed his face up in disgust. "Nobody told me about it. And like you, I am also gay. Unlike you, I will admit it and not hide behind a farce of a marriage."

"Oh, so you're willing to out yourself to the Wizarding world? Let them all know you're a poofter and you like fucking men?"

"Yes! Why do you think I wanted to come to this stupid ball with you? I'm in love with you, you idiot!" Harry snapped.

Draco's face paled so sharply, Harry was worried he was going to pass out. He took a step forward, but Draco forestalled him by holding a hand out and stepping behind the couch.

"You're what?" he finally asked. His hands were gripping the back of the couch so hard, Harry could see his knuckles turning white.

Harry's anger softened, just a little. "I love you. I can't believe you didn't know that. I was so obvious, wasn't I?"

"No," Draco said, and he still sounded like he was in shock. "No, I never knew. I thought…I thought it was just sex, just us having fun before we had to settle down and be grown-ups."

Now Harry was the one to pale. "Is…is that all it was for you?" he asked faintly.

Draco stared at him intently for so long, Harry wasn't sure he was going to answer. "No, it was more for me as well."

He let out a short laugh, and raised his gaze to the ceiling for a second. Harry wasn't sure, but he thought he could see tears in Draco's eyes. When he looked back at Harry, the devastation on his face sent a pang of hurt through Harry's chest.

"I've been in love with you since I was fifteen, Potter," Draco said hoarsely. Harry's heart soared to hear the words he'd so longed to hear. "But we can't do this. We can't be together."

And Harry's heart crashed back to earth, feeling like it was shattered into a thousand pieces. No, he refused to accept this. The fates couldn't be so cruel as to show him such happiness and then snatch it away again. Hadn't he paid his dues already? Hadn't he earned his happily ever after?

Before Draco could dart away, Harry ran around the edge of the couch and grabbed him, kissing him fiercely. Draco resisted for a second or two, but then melted into Harry's arms like he belonged there. And he did, Harry thought stubbornly.

When they finally separated, they were both gasping for breath. Harry held on, not willing to let Draco try and get away, and pressed his forehead against Draco's.

"Why does this have to be so difficult?" Draco murmured.

"It doesn't have to be. Break the engagement. Be with me. Simple," Harry whispered.

Draco started shaking his head, and Harry sought his mouth for a kiss once more. If he could just make Draco see, then they would be together, and they would be happy. Forcefully, Draco pushed Harry away and stepped back.

"I do love you. I mean that. But I have to marry Astoria, I have no choice."

Just like that, Harry's anger flared again. "Of course you have a choice. You say no!"

"You don't understand, Harry! It's my duty as a Malfoy, and my father-"

"Your father can go fuck himself. You're twenty-three years old, Draco. I think that's old enough to make your own goddamn decisions."

Draco's eyes flashed furiously at Harry's insult to his father. "I cannot turn my back on generations of tradition, and if you were in my situation, you would know that."

"Well, I'm not in your situation, because my parents are dead, killed by the madman whose feet your father kissed for years before he finally realized what a fool he was. And you know what? If my parents were alive, I'm pretty sure they would care more about my happiness than some sodding tradition!" Harry shouted.

Draco's face did that bit where he wiped all emotion away, and Harry thought he looked like a statue. Harry hated that face. Neither of them moved for a long moment, facing each other like some obscene diorama of love, hate, and anger.

"I have to go. My parents and my…fiancé will be expecting me," Draco said, his voice like ice.

Harry would bet that he hadn't meant to show that tiny hesitation before the word fiancé, but it said volumes to Harry. Draco was just as stubborn as Harry was, and even though it would mean misery for the rest of his life, he would do his duty as he saw it.

Draco turned and started for the door. Harry felt like his chest was about to explode. Everything, every nerve, muscle and bone in his body ached with the pain of seeing Draco walk away, and he couldn’t resist one last jibe. He wanted Draco to know how much damage he had done, and he wanted to damage him in return.

"If you walk out that door right now, I will never speak to you again. If you come crawling back to me in a month, I will fucking slam the door in your face. Do you understand that?" he said, the intensity in his voice sharp.

Draco jolted to a halt, his entire body freezing. Harry held his breath. Please turn around, please turn around, please turn around! he thought, trying to send the message telepathically, if such a thing existed.

For an instant, he thought Draco was going to do it, and a tremulous smile started to cross Harry's face. But then Draco pulled his wand out, undid Harry's charms on the door, and walked out of the room, quietly closing the door behind him as he left.

Harry felt a trembling begin throughout his entire body, and it felt like every bit of air was sucked out of his lungs. He couldn’t breathe and he was sure he was going to die, right that minute. Eventually, a choking sob forced its way up his throat, and his sight blurred as tears filled his eyes. He collapsed onto the floor where he was standing, and sobbed as though his heart was breaking. Because surely it was.

HDHDHDHD

Winter melted into Spring, and the wedding plans were moving along at a furious pace. Draco didn't contribute anything, he simply showed up when and where he was told to, smiled when he needed to, and generally let all of it flow over him like water.

He felt numb to all of it, and honestly, he thought that might be the only way he was going to make it through this. If Draco started to feel, if he let himself experience the pain of giving Harry up…well, he probably would bury himself in his blankets and never emerge.

His mother had begun to give him lingering, worried looks, but Draco tried to ignore those, too. He hoped that she was putting it down to wedding jitters. He avoided Pansy as much as possible, because he knew she wouldn't let him get away with this moping. She would have the story out of him in two shakes, and then she'd probably have stupid advice, like 'call off your wedding, and go after Potter, you idiot!'

He was sitting in the library, pretending to read, when his mother finally cornered him.

"Draco, darling, may I speak with you?"

"Certainly, Mum. I'm afraid I don't have much of an opinion on orchids versus calla lilies for the reception," he said, as he closed the book and placed it on a table beside his seat.

Narcissa moved over and sat beside him on the small settee. With a gentle smile, she reached up and smoothed a hand over his hair. Draco allowed it, knowing that she was probably having a few child-leaving-the-nest anxieties.

"Darling, are you happy?" she asked quietly.

Draco's jaw clenched, and he had to keep himself from screaming in frustration.

"I'm fulfilling my duty as the Malfoy heir, Mother. That pleases me."

"That's not what I asked. I look at you, and every day, it seems that your spirit dies a little more. No matter what your father thinks, my only desire is for you to be happy," she said, then gave a sigh. "And I fear you are not at all happy."

"Mother, there is no point to this conversation," Draco said.

"You're in love with someone else, aren't you?"

Draco jerked his gaze to her in shock. "I…no, I'm…I mean…"

"And it's not another woman, is it?" she asked, meeting his gaze steadily, but there was only compassion there, no judgment.

Draco looked at her, and then dropped his head, grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes in frustration. "No. It's not," he said.

"Oh, my dear one," Narcissa sighed and wrapped her arm around his shoulders, pulling his head to her to place a soft kiss on his temple.

"How did you know?"

"I've long suspected your preferences. I hope you don't think you were fooling anyone with all those Quidditch magazines," she said wryly.

Draco chuckled weakly, too wrung out to be embarrassed at his mother guessing his adolescent wanking habits.

"I was reluctant to push the issue with Astoria, but your father insisted. And I wasn't sure if you were involved with anyone at that point, so I thought perhaps you and she might make it work." She squeezed him close to her and said, "But then I began watching you. And I could see you growing more miserable by the day. And I've also seen the way you scour the Daily Prophet for pictures of Harry Potter."

Draco shuddered in agony at just hearing the name, and to his horror, a couple of teardrops hit the floor in front of him. A low sob escaped him and his mother murmured soothing sounds as she began to rock him gently back and forth.

"I do love him, Mother. I really do, but I did the right thing. I broke it off to do my duty to the Malfoy name, and Harry will be able to get married and have children, because I know that's something that he's always wanted. I did the right thing," Draco insisted. He looked up at his mother hopefully. "Didn't I?"

"I can't tell you that, Draco. Only you can decide what the right thing is," she said. She gave him one more kiss on the cheek, before she stood. Reaching into her pocket, she offered him a handkerchief. Draco automatically went to take it, but Narcissa didn't let go, and Draco looked up at her in confusion.

"But if you want my opinion," she said, with a tiny smile. "Then I think you might have made the biggest mistake of your life."

Draco gaped as she turned and left the room. He took a deep breath and directed his gaze out the window, looking over the extensive Malfoy estates. He had a lot of things to think about.

And he did think, about a lot of different things over the next couple of weeks. Every so often, he would look up to find his mother giving him an encouraging smile. Knowing that one person was behind him made things a little easier.

He also finally went to see Pansy. After listening to her blistering lecture on what a piss-poor friend he was, he unburdened his heart to her, as he had so often in the past. He told her what Harry had said, that even if Draco changed his mind and went crawling back, he would be rejected. Pansy scoffed at that idea, stating that Harry Potter would never be able to resist Draco Malfoy for long. Draco rather liked the sound of that.

It had taken him another week to build up his nerve, but Draco walked into his parents' salon and braced himself for any argument his father might choose to give.

"Mother, Father, I have something to discuss with you."

His mother smiled at him and to his surprise, gave him a quick little wink.

"What is it, Draco?" Lucius asked.

"I will not be marrying Astoria Greengrass. I am gay, and I'm in love with Harry Potter. We had been seeing each other for months before this engagement, and I broke it off with him so that I could be a good son. But I can't sacrifice my happiness for the Malfoy name, so if he'll have me, I will be begging him to take me back," Draco said, practically all in one breath.

Lucius didn't say anything during this speech, he simply held his tea in front of him. Once Draco was done, he took a sip and then set the cup down.

"I do hope you weren't serious when you said you'd be begging. Malfoys don't beg, Draco. You will demand that he take you back."

"Uh…" Draco said uncertainly. "You did hear what I said, didn't you?"

"Of course I did. There's nothing wrong with my hearing," Lucius said sharply.

"And you're…not upset?"

"Well, I'm certainly not thrilled, but your sexuality has never really been a mystery to me, what with all those Quidditch magazines when you were a teenager," Lucius said with a raised brow. "I was perfectly willing to discuss things with you, but you kept avoiding me. Therefore, I took matters into my own hands." He picked his tea up again, and took another sip.

"You're all right with me being in love with Potter?"

"Does he care for you as well?" Lucius asked.

"Yes. Well, maybe. I'm not sure if he still… We didn't part on the best of terms."

"Annoying though he may be, he does have an enormous amount of political and social clout at the moment. I do wish you'd had your epiphany before we announced your engagement at the Poinsettia Ball, but that can be dealt with. As long as you figure out a way to provide a blood heir for the Malfoy name, I will be satisfied."

"What about the Greengrasses?" Draco asked.

Lucius set his cup down once more and waved his hand dismissingly. "I'll deal with them."

Draco could hardly believe his good fortune. His father wasn't a total arse, and he did care about his son's happiness! He ran forward and wrapped his arms around his father in a tight hug.

"Good heavens, Draco! Some decorum, please," Lucius complained.

"Thank you, Father!" Draco whispered. Releasing Lucius, he turned to Narcissa and embraced her as well. He had the feeling that Narcissa may have been working on her husband for a while as Draco gathered his courage. "Thank you, Mother!" he said.

He flew out of the room, anxious to get to work so he could see Harry and start his campaign to win him back. He had calmed down by the time he stepped out of the Floo in the Ministry atrium. Draco knew that he had hurt Harry badly, and that it might take some persuasion to get him to listen. Probably a lot of persuasion, as Harry was the most stubborn man Draco had ever met.

He ignored the speculative looks he got as he made his way towards Harry's office on the Auror training floor. Gossip had been flying fast and furious that Harry no longer spoke to Draco, but feeling the armor of his parents' approval, Draco couldn’t care less what the rest of the Wizarding world thought.

As he approached the office Harry shared with Weasley and a couple other trainees, he had to restrain himself from remembering what had happened the last time he was here. It wouldn't do to meet Harry with a raging erection. That would put them on unequal ground, and Draco didn't intend to let that happen.

Carefully, he poked his head into the tiny office, his eyes going immediately to Harry's desk, which was frustratingly vacant.

"Malfoy, what are you doing here?"

He turned to look at Weasley and was shocked at the man's appearance. His hair was a mess, his eyes were rimmed with red, and he looked exhausted.

Choosing to ignore it as it couldn't possibly be interesting, as it was Weasley, Draco said, "I'm looking for Potter. I need to speak with him."

"Trying to get back in his good graces, eh?" Weasley said with a smirk that looked completely wrong on his face.

"It's not your business what we need to discuss."

"Whatever. I know Harry's been glum since you had your little spat. Anyway, he's not here."

"Yes, I can see that, Weasley. I thought you might let he know where he is, since I can see for myself where he's not," Draco said.

Weasley stood up from his desk next to Harry's and came around to loom menacingly over Draco. When had the Weasel gotten so tall, Draco wondered, as he leaned back a little. The man then had the nerve to poke Draco in the chest with his finger.

"Don't know why I should tell you anything, Ferret. Harry doesn't have a lot of people he can truly call a friend, and whatever happened with you two, I'm sure it's your fault."

Draco paused as he considered that. Harry did tend to be wary around most people, and it was only a select few that got past those outer barriers. Draco had been fortunate to be one of those few. Well, with some luck and Malfoy charm, he would be one of those few again. It wouldn't hurt to start with Weasley. After all, if this worked and he won Harry back, he would have to deal with both him and the Know-It-All on a much more frequent basis.

"You're right. Our spat was my fault. I need to apologize to him, and I'd appreciate it if you could direct me to him so I can do so."

Weasley blinked, a dumbfounded expression on his face. Draco tried to keep his nose from wrinkling as a nasty smell drifted past his nose from Weasley's general person. Did the man not bathe before he came to work this morning?

"He's at St. Mungo's."

Draco frowned. "Why is he there?"

"Because that's generally where people go when they've been injured, Malfoy."

The bottom dropped out of Draco's world and he had to grab the doorframe to keep from falling over as his head began to spin. "Harry's been hurt?" he asked.

"Yeah, he went on his first mission last night, and was ambushed-"

Draco didn't wait to hear another word, as he took off running down the hall. He didn't bother to turn around when he heard Weasley calling his name. People were leaping out of his way, and he didn’t care. His entire focus was to get to Harry as fast as he could.

By the time Draco exited the Floo at St. Mungo's, he had convinced himself that Harry was probably in a coma, and he'd missed his one opportunity for happiness because he was an idiot. That was no doubt why Weasley looked like he'd been hit by a train. He'd lost his best friend.

He snuck past the witch at the front desk with a Disillusionment spell, because he doubted she'd let him up to see Harry Potter. He headed to the Fourth Floor, figuring that Harry was probably suffering from spell damage. Once there, he made his way down the hall, checking every room for Harry. His heart nearly stopped beating when he finally found him, lying pale and quiet on a bed in a private room.

There was a mediwitch standing over him, flicking her wand in quick motions that Draco thought must check his vital signs. She nodded to herself, made a notation on the chart that was hung on the end of his bed, and then left the room. He lunged to the side to avoid being run over by her and then made his way into the room.

Draco cancelled the Disillusionment spell and sat in the chair beside Harry's bed. Hesitantly, he reached out to brush a lock of hair off Harry's forehead.

"Oh, Harry, you idiot," he said, tears choking his voice.

Harry's eyes opened and he stared at Draco in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"Harry! You're awake!" He started to lean forward to kiss Harry, when a hand on his chest stopped him. Draco's heart ached at the wary, distrustful look in Harry's eyes.

"I said, what are you doing here?" Harry said, his voice flat.

"I was a fool to think I could marry Astoria. I've told my parents I won't do it, and astonishingly, I wasn't immediately disowned. I went to the Ministry to find you and tell you that I love you and I can't live without you. Weasley said you were hurt and that you were here."

"That's…a lot to take in at once," Harry said, still peering at Draco with caution.

"I came in here thinking you were at death's door," Draco said, with a nervous laugh. "Weasley looked a wreck."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Ron looked a wreck because he has a two week old baby at home. He and Hermione haven't had a full night's sleep since Rose was born."

"He must not have had a chance to bathe either, as he was quite pungent."

Harry chuckled, and Draco's heart lifted at the sound. "That was probably spit-up. Rose won't let him out of the house without vomiting on him at least once, apparently."

"So what happened? Why are you here?" Draco asked. He hoped he could keep Harry talking and then maybe he wouldn't immediately throw Draco out of his room.

"Two little Death Eater wannabes," Harry said with a derisive snort. "They had a trap set up for us when we went to take them. We caught it at the last minute and got out of the way. A huge rockslide, but unfortunately, I didn't get completely out of the way," he said and gestured to his ankle, which was in some fancy looking brace. "Course, I still managed to get one of 'em while flat on my back, which impressed Robards, thank Merlin. They had to give me Skele-Gro, and they always make you stay overnight with that stuff."

Draco took Harry's hand in his. Harry allowed it, but Draco sensed that he was ready to pull it away any moment. "It killed me to think that I might have missed my chance to tell you how wrong I was, and that I'm so sorry that I hurt you."

"You did hurt me. Very much. I was pretty much the wreck for a long while there."

"I'm so sorry, Harry. All I can say in my defense is that I'm a fool, and I would promise that I'll never hurt you again if you take me back, but you know I'm a selfish berk, and I probably will. But I will never mean to, and I swear that I will never stop loving you."

"How can I trust you not to leave again, Draco? Because if we do this, we're going public. I want to walk down the street holding my boyfriend's hand. I want to do more than have sex in my house, which is hidden from the world. I want to go out to dinner, and hang out with my friends with my boyfriend beside me. There will be repercussions if we out ourselves, but I'm willing to put up with it. Are you?" Harry asked seriously.

"As long as I have you with me, I can deal with anything. You are everything to me, Harry," Draco said, as earnestly as he possibly could. "Everything."

Harry eyed him and Draco held his breath. It seemed an eternity, but then the ice in Harry's eyes thawed and he grinned at Draco. He shot his arm up and yanked Draco down by the neck to kiss him enthusiastically. When they broke for air, Harry whispered, "I missed you, you arse. Don't ever leave me again."

"Never," Draco said with a smile and kissed him again. "Budge over," Draco said, and when Harry did, he crawled into the bed beside him. They lay there whispering plans and dreams back and forth, sneaking kisses every few minutes.

"So, what happened to the 'I'll slam the door in your face if you come crawling back to me' plan. Not that I'm not happy you didn't stick with that, but you sounded pretty serious. That's sort of why I waited so long to try this. I didn't think you'd ever forgive me."

"Gryffindor bravado," Harry said. "I'm so pathetic, I would have taken you back ten minutes after you left, or ten years. You had me at 'oh, Harry, you idiot'," he said with a smile. At Draco's puzzled look, he muttered, "Never mind, just put Jerry Maguire on the list of films we need to watch."

"All right, Mr. Potter, time for…oh, my!"

Harry and Draco looked up at the door to see the mediwitch who'd been in earlier gaping at them in astonishment. Her hands were flapping uselessly in the air, and then she turned and ran up the hallway. "Healer McGowan! Oh, my goodness, Healer McGowan!"

Harry grinned ruefully as his gaze met Draco's once more. "And so it begins. Are you ready?"

"For anything," Draco said and took Harry's hand in his, holding on as tightly as he could.

THE END

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