Word Count: ~14,000
Warnings: Language, copious drinking
Summary: The sentence, for all it was not the outcome Draco would have preferred, was hardly something he could complain about.
Author's Notes: This was both really fun and really difficult to write, but I'm pretty pleased with it over all. I tried to fit as many of the things you wanted to see in here as I could and still have it work, and I think I managed! I hope you like it. Thanks to S for her beta job, and thanks to the mods for running this. (Also, the scotch Draco drinks in this is real, and can be found on the list of some of the most expensive scotch in the world. I thought it was fitting.)
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
"What happened to you and girl Weasley?"
Harry sipped at the amber liquid in his glass, eyebrows going at up the taste. It was different than Firewhiskey, smoother and without the burn, and he could feel it going to work on him already. "Hm?" he asked, having missed the question.
"Girl Weasley," Malfoy repeated. They were sitting in the freshly cleaned parlor on opposite ends of the couch. The curtains were pulled back, letting in sunlight through the cleaned windows, and all of the glass and broken furniture had been vanished. "I look at the paper from time to time, and there's been no announcement of your engagement."
"So that means there isn't one?" Harry asked, raising his eyebrows.
Malfoy shrugged. "Either that or you've killed Rita Skeeter because that seems to be the only way to get her to stop writing about you."
Harry snorted. "Yeah, you're probably right. We...didn't get back together. After the war."
He considered telling Malfoy to mind his own business, but after being vague when Ron and Hermione and Mrs. Weasley had asked, Harry found himself wanting to talk about it. "We just...we came out of the war as different people than we went into it, you know? She lost a brother, and I...well. I was different. I didn't want the same things anymore."
Malfoy nodded. "That makes sense." He took a large gulp of his drink and leaned back against the couch cushions.
Harry lifted his eyebrows. "Really? That's it? No mockery or jokes about how maybe the Boy Who Lives can't satisfy in bed or something?"
"Why in Merlin's name would I make jokes about your prowess in bed, Potter?" Malfoy asked, looking confused.
"For one, that's completely off topic. And for another, everyone knows you're a virgin."
Harry choked on his next sip of scotch. "What is that supposed to mean?" he demanded. People couldn't just...tell that. Could they? It wasn't that he was ashamed of it, it was just...
Malfoy was laughing, and Harry noted that it was the first time he had seen him look something other than drunk or miserable. "I was taking the piss, Potter, calm down. I spend literally no time thinking about what goes on in your bed, I can assure you. And if you are in fact a virgin, which your reaction leads me to believe is true, then I rather think you have a good excuse."
Harry just gave him a blank look and Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Voldemort, you pillock. You had other things to do."
"Oh. Right. I suppose you managed to fit in it, though. The sex thing."
Malfoy snorted. "Listen to you, 'the sex thing'. Yes, Potter, I have had sex. If you recall, Voldemort didn't become an issue for me until I was sixteen. I had plenty of time for fun before that."
As much as it startled Harry to be thinking about Malfoy and sex at the same time, he had to wonder what it was like. Someone like Malfoy who was good at pretty much everything probably got no complaints in bed. Realizing that this conversation was taking an alarmingly personal turn, Harry took another swallow of scotch and sought to change the subject.
Draco had thought that having Harry Potter tromping through his house and trying to put things right would have been something akin to torture, but it was actually more entertaining than anything else.
"That's not where that goes," he drawled as Potter pushed a wing back chair into a corner, apparently forgetting that he had magic and could move it without working up a sweat.
"Well, you apparently thought it went in the middle of the floor," Potter shot back. "So I'm not really concerned with its proper place, Malfoy. You don't like it, move it yourself."
"You call that mirror clean, Potter?" Draco asked, looking over Potter's shoulder.
"Do you want to do it?"
Draco wrinkled his nose. "No."
"Then shut your face."
"What's down there?" Potter asked, peering through an open door.
"Dungeons," Draco said flatly. "You've been there."
Potter paled and shut the door. "We'll just... leave that as it is, then."
"Fine with me."
"What do you mean you can't cook?"
Draco shrugged. "I've never learned. Why is it a big deal?"
"Because it is, now come here."
"I'm going to teach you something."
And so it went.
Harry didn't know when he'd stopped dreading making the trip to Malfoy Manor, but at some point it became less of a chore and more of a break. In September, Auror training started in earnest, and it was a relief to have Fridays to drink at the Leaky with Ron and Hermione and then Saturdays at the manor after a long week of being put through his paces.
Every Saturday saw him cleaning a different room in the massive house with help from Mippy, while Malfoy watched and made snide comments. But even those had lost their malice. On one memorable occasion, Harry had even tried to teach Malfoy how to actually use his kitchen. Harry found himself wondering if he and Malfoy were actually becoming friends, and then he wondered why that idea didn't bother him as much as it would have before.
When it came down to it, Malfoy wasn't that bad. He was sad and lonely, that much was obvious, and maybe that had changed his personality some because Harry never saw him as the massively unpleasant boy from school. He was still sarcastic and overly posh, but Harry found those things more amusing than annoying these days.
There was a calendar with his checklist, and Harry marked off one week whenever he left the manor, noting that time was moving much quicker than he was accustomed to. Already eighteen of the fifty-two weeks had been marked off.
He was in a good mood when he walked up the drive to the manor on a cold Saturday in early December. The grounds were frosted with snow and ice, but they looked better than usual. He and Mippy had done some grooming where they could back in October, but there were still plenty to be done once the snow melted and Spring arrived. Maybe he would try to talk Malfoy into going out into the yard for a snowball fight or something, just for a change of pace.
Harry put his hand on the ornate doors of the manor, remembering how surprised he had been when he'd realized that Malfoy must have changed the wards to let him in without Mippy's help. They'd never spoken of it, but Harry was pleased that Malfoy seemed to trust him.
"Malfoy?" he called as he walked in, hanging his coat and using a quick spell to get the melted snow off of his boots before he passed into the entrance way. "I know you're keen on the scotch, but it's bloody cold out, and I was thinking..." He trailed off when he saw Malfoy sitting at the bottom of the giant staircase that led up to the second floor and then split off to the separate wings of the manor. Malfoy had his head in his hands, and his sleeves rolled up enough that Harry could see the bottom of his Mark. "What's up?" he asked, walking closer.
When Malfoy lifted his head, his eyes were red rimmed, and Harry could see a bottle of the scotch on the step next to him. Malfoy had gotten much better about the drinking over the last month or so, but something seemed to have pushed him into a relapse.
Wordlessly, Malfoy held out a piece of parchment. Harry took it and looked down, reading the elegant script that covered it.
I do wish that I could come back for the holidays, truly. Nothing would make me happier than to see you again and spend Christmas with you like we used to. Unfortunately, it isn't possible. England is a hostile place for someone like me at the moment, and I'd rather not risk it. I hate to think of you spending Christmas alone, darling, but think of next year. You can join me here, and we'll celebrate properly.
Harry made a face and looked up. "Oh." He remembered Malfoy writing to his mother, since part of Harry's job was to approve all of Malfoy's correspondence while he was there, to make sure that he wasn't sending letters to people he shouldn't have been.
Malfoy snorted and looked back down at the step he was sitting on. "Oh indeed."
"I'm sure she'd come if she could, Malfoy."
He shook his head. "No. It was stupid of me to ask her in the first place. I just thought...the place looks less like a mausoleum now, and I wanted her to see it. I wanted it to be like..." Malfoy closed his eyes. "But it won't be like that anymore, will it? She's moved on."
Harry frowned. "No, she hasn't. She's your mum, Malfoy."
Malfoy raised his eyes and gave him a flat look. "Just because your mother loved you enough to sacrifice herself doesn't mean all mothers are like that, Potter."
Harry ignored that since it wasn't an insult. "Listen to me, Malfoy. I know it hurts to read something like that, but you have to trust me when I tell you that your mum loves you. More than anything."
"And why do I have to trust you?" Malfoy asked, more hostility in his tone than Harry had heard for a while. "How would you know anything about what my mother feels for me?"
"Because I've seen it. I..." Harry let out a breath and then kept talking. "Your mother's love for you saved my life."
Malfoy gaped at him, eyes wide. "What?"
"Fuck." Harry said and then dropped down to sit next to him. "You can't tell anyone this, okay? I don't want it getting around. It's not something that I just tell people."
"Then why are you telling me?"
"Because I think you need to hear it." And from there Harry proceeded to tell Malfoy all about the forest. About him going to die, and about Narcissa Malfoy asking after her son, emotion and something like desperation in her voice as she whispered to Harry. And then how she had looked Voldemort in his eyes and lied to him, saving Harry's life all because her son was still alive. "I'm pretty sure if I'd told her you were dead, she would have just let Voldemort take another crack at me," he said, ending the story and shrugging, waiting for a reaction.
Malfoy was sitting there, looking at him with some combination of emotions warring in those grey eyes. Harry couldn't tell if one of them was disbelief or awe, and it made him uncomfortable to think about Malfoy of all people being awestruck because of him. That wasn't how this worked. Malfoy was meant to sneer and tell him that he wasn't special.
Harry was considering prodding him to see if that would get a reaction when Malfoy leaned forward and kissed him.
Draco was horrified at himself. He was horrified and appalled and...and...a lot of other big words that meant shocked and disgusted.
He was also drunk. Again.
It had only been a few days since he'd fucked up so royally, and he didn't think he had been sober for more than five minutes since it had happened.
Of course Potter had been the bigger person about it. He always had to be like that, didn't he? The bloody...the fucking...
Bloody buggering hell.
It was no use. His brain was having a hard time coming up with good insults, and Draco lamented the fact that he was probably going mad.
He'd kissed Potter.
He'd kissed Potter.
He'd kissed Potter.
The voice in his head that sometimes sounded like Pansy was calling him melodramatic, but really Draco thought it was warranted. What on earth had possessed him to do something like that? The problem, he supposed, was that he knew exactly why he'd done it.
For one, he found that he actually liked Potter. Quite a bit, actually, which was alarming in itself. Potter was funny and thoughtful, and most of the qualities that had seemed so irritating when they were at school were less so now.
The other reason was because Potter had cared. Or at least he'd seemed to. Potter was under no obligations other than to make sure Draco wasn't trying to escape or take over the world, and instead he had come in and made everything – well, most things – better. He had cleaned up the manor, made Draco endless cups of tea, drank Lucius' scotch with him. And then he had told that story about Draco's mother and the Dark Lord and coming back from the dead.
If it had been anyone but Potter, Draco would have called them a liar, but things like that seemed to happen to the great idiot, and Draco believed it.
It was obviously something that Potter didn't tell many people, and the fact that he had shared it with him, simply because he had been feeling sad (and pathetic) about his mother's absence had made Draco more overcome with feeling than he had been in a while. And apparently his brain had decided that the best way to show that feeling was to kiss Potter.
To Potter's credit, he hadn't flipped out. There had been a lot of staring, and then he'd cleared his throat and gone on with his checklist, renewing the spell on Draco's bracelet and making the ball of light zoom around before claiming a prior engagement and leaving with a shaky smile that didn't reach his eyes.
Draco knew for a fact that Potter had been lying. After weeks of the same routine and listening to Potter while pretending not to, he knew that Fridays were for drinking at the Leaky Cauldron with Granger and the Weasel and Sundays were for dinner at the Burrow.
But Saturdays were his. Or at least they had been before he'd gone and ruined everything. They were supposed to drink and make snide comments at each other, but instead, Draco was working his way through the scotch on his own.
"Master Draco," came Mippy's hesitant voice. "Master Draco, you should be drinking something else."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I don't want to drink anything else, Mippy. There's no point." He had been drinking since noon when he'd woken up, and it was after five now. Somehow he'd crossed over drunk and was becoming clear headed again, much to his dismay. He liked the fog that had been obscuring his thoughts. His thoughts were maudlin, and they made him sick.
He was supposed to be better than this. He was Draco sodding Malfoy for fuck's sake. But here he was, mooning over a boy like love sick Hufflepuff.
Mippy must have left at some point because she popped back into the room, tugging at his sleeve. "Mippy has run Master Draco's bath," she said.
"Fine, Mippy," Draco relented, getting to his feet and swaying dangerously. "I will take the fucking bath if it will make you stop bloody nagging at me."
He managed to make it to the bathroom and get undressed, slipping in the deliciously hot water without falling and cracking his head open. The water was soothing, and he tipped his head back against the tiles behind him, closing his eyes just for a moment.
When he opened them again, everything was different. Well, he was still in the bath, but he had sunk further down in it, the water up to his chin. There were...hands? Under his arms, squeezing tight and uncomfortable, and he struggled to get away.
"Malfoy! Malfoy! Stop kicking you fucking- It's just me!"
The voice was familiar, and Draco blinked to make himself focus, the face of a Harry Potter unblurring as Potter leaned over him, looking anxious.
"Are you trying to drown me?" he mumbled, unsure of what was going on.
Potter closed his eyes and took a deep breath, still holding him up. "No, you idiot. I'm trying to save you from fucking drowning. Mippy showed up at my house talking about how you'd gone into the bath and she couldn't wake you up. She was frantic."
Draco looked around and saw that the elf was nowhere to be seen, though he felt a pang of guilt for worrying her like that. He opened his mouth to say something, and then realized that he was in the bath still.
"Get out," he rasped, trying to get out of Potter's grip.
"What? Merlin, you really are a first class prat, aren't you? I get dragged out of my house to save your arse, and you-"
"No, moron," Draco cut in. "I'd like to put some fucking clothes on if that's quite alright with you." Suddenly he felt more sober than he had in days, and he could practically feel the blood rising in his face.
Potter didn't look like he was faring any better, and Draco didn't think he imagined the split second glance down that Potter tried to cover up by letting him go and stepping back quickly. "Right. I'll just...er...go. Since you're...not dead and all."
"Yes, yes," Draco snapped, waving him towards the door. "You've saved the day, and you're free to go. Goodbye."
He refused to look up until he heard the door close, and then he let out a heavy sigh. He didn't know why he was kidding himself. Potter was not his friend. He was just someone who was currently obligated to keep him from losing his mind. Once the fifty-two weeks were over, Potter would go back to his life and Draco would...
Well, he'd do something. Move to France with his mother. Learn how to bake bread or pastries and blend in with the French people.
Draco peeked into his bedroom and saw that it was empty, so he grabbed his dressing gown and pulled it around himself before padding down to the kitchen to make tea. He felt like he needed it, especially now that his head was pounding from the alcohol.
"Master Draco is not going to be happy, Harry Potter," Mippy was saying as he pushed into the kitchen.
"Yeah, well, I sort of don't care how 'Master Draco' feels about it," Potter snapped back, and Draco blinked, surprised that he was still there.
Potter turned to look at him, holding an empty bottle of the scotch and pointing to the row of full ones on the counter. "I'm emptying your stash, Malfoy," he said, voice firm.
"And what gives you the right to do that?" Draco asked, his mouth going a bit dry at the sight of Potter in a veritable rage. Merlin, but he looked good angry.
"You're ruining yourself. You're scaring the hell out of poor Mippy, and you keep...you're doing things that you don't mean or want to do because you can't fucking control yourself, and I'm sick of it." Potter grabbed another bottle and opened it, dumping it down the sink.
Draco supposed he should have been more upset about the waste of such expensive alcohol, and he was sure he would feel the loss later when Potter was gone, but at the moment he was confused.
"I will admit that I've not been...in the best place of late," he said slowly. "And Mippy, I'm sorry I keep worrying you. Truly I am."
She squeaked and bowed before disappearing, clearly overcome with emotion.
Draco shook his head and looked back at Potter. "What have I done that I didn't mean?" he wanted to know.
"Just leave it, Malfoy."
"I will not. I want to know what you're talking about."
Potter gripped the bottle and then dropped it into the sink where it shattered, making Draco wince. "You kissed me," he said, voice barely audible. "And you were probably too drunk then to remember it."
Draco blinked, surprised. He had assumed Potter didn't want to bring that up. "I remember it," he said softly. "I hadn't had very much then."
Green eyes lifted to his. "Then why? Why would you do that? Do you know how long it took me to fall asleep that night? Hell, every night since then? I've been lying awake trying to figure out what the hell you could have been playing at, and I still don't fucking know!"
"Stop shouting at me!" Draco snapped. "Why do you think I did it? Why do people kiss other people, Potter?"
"I know why people do it," Potter replied, voice even. "I just don't know why you would."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you're...I don't know! A fucking Slytherin. Nothing's ever straight forward with you. There's always a motive or a plot, and...and I won't be used, Malfoy."
Draco's eyes narrowed, and something that might have been hurt rippled through him. "That's what you think?"
Potter raked a hand through his hair. "I don't know what to think. You're stuck here, and maybe...maybe you're just bored and you think I'm entertainment. Let's fuck with Potter's head or something."
Instead of answering, Draco just turned on his heel, no longer in the mood for tea or scotch or anything but his bed and the oblivion of sleep.
The rest of Harry's week did not get better. He couldn't stop thinking about Malfoy kissing him and the sight of the prat still and sinking down in his bathtub and the look of carefully masked hurt on his face when he had opened his mouth and made an idiot of himself.
Practically every time he closed his eyes, he could see the vulnerable look on that pale face and feel the ghost of those soft, dry lips against his. He didn't want to think about it, mostly because it just made him feel worse, but he couldn't help it, and it was driving him mad.
On Friday morning he was called out of training to Kingsley's office.
The large man was sitting behind his desk, holding a rolled up piece of parchment. "This came in yesterday evening," he said. "From Draco Malfoy."
Harry's heart sank, and he sat down in the leather lined chair across from the desk.
"What...what did he have to say?" Harry asked, wringing his hands in his lap.
"Basically he wants a new official. He didn't go into detail, but he just says that it would be best for the both of you." Kingsley sighed. "Normally, I would have to oblige his request, or at least follow up on it, but since it's the two of you, and I figure it has something to do with your history, I'm going to give you the chance to address this with him. If he still wants a new official, though, I'll have to grant it to him."
Harry nodded. "Yeah. Okay. Thanks, Kingsley. I'll...talk to him."
After the things he had said the last time he was there, he didn't know if Malfoy would even listen.
"Oh, Harry," Hermione said predictably later that evening at the Leaky when he finally broke down and told her and Ron why had had been so quiet. "How did you think that was going to make him feel?"
"Then you think he meant it when he kissed me?" Harry asked, swirling his pint around.
"Merlin," Ron said, cutting in and shaking his head. "I would have run for the hills."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "That's because you don't have a curious bone in your body, Ronald," she replied.
"And there's nothing wrong with that, but this is about Harry." She turned back to him. "I don't know if he meant it, Harry, but I know that you've seemed happier for spending time with him, and I think...I think if you're at all invested in whatever it is the two of you have built over the last few months, you owe it to him to hear him out."
Harry sighed because she was right. Of course she was right. He should have just asked Malfoy what the hell the kissing was about instead of jumping to conclusions and getting offended.
"I'm such an idiot," he said, letting his forehead thunk against the table.
"No argument there, mate," Ron returned, chuckling.
Harry frowned and looked up at him. "Why aren't you freaking out about this? You hate Malfoy. And...he's a bloke. Who kissed me."
"Dunno. I mean...it's none of my business, is it? Who you're kissing. At least since it's not my little sister anymore. And if you want to kiss Malfoy, and he's serious about it, then..." Ron shrugged. "You deserve to be happy."
"Thanks," Harry said. "I should probably talk to him."
"Sooner rather than later," Hermione pointed out in her no nonsense voice.
It probably would have been smarter to have waited for Saturday than to be trudging up the path to the manor in the biting cold at eleven on a Friday night, but Hermione's words were still ringing in his head, and he didn't think he'd have been able to sleep anyway.
Harry had barely touched the door when it was opened by a wide eyed Mippy. "Harry Potter," she breathed. "Master Draco was being sure you would never be coming back."
Harry sighed and raked a hand through his hair. "Yeah, I'll bet. I'm sure that's what he wanted."
The elf shook her head violently, floppy ears flapping. "No, no, Harry Potter. Master Draco was seeming sad when he was saying it. Master Draco is liking Harry Potter."
"Probably not anymore," Harry mumbled. "Is he...he's not drunk, is he? Right now?"
Mippy shook her head. "No. Mippy is being...Mippy has..." she hesitated and then seemed to draw herself up. "Mippy has poured it all out, Harry Potter. All of Master Lucius' alcohol is gone."
Harry grinned at her. "Good for you, Mippy. How did Malfoy take that?"
"Master Draco is not knowing yet."
"Don't worry. I won't let him hit you or anything."
Mippy looked scandalized. "Master Draco would never-"
"Okay, okay," Harry said, holding his hands up. "You know, I'm beginning to realize how little I actually know about Malfoy. D'you...do you think I could see him? I just want to apologize to him for what happened the other day."
"Come in," Mippy let him in and pointed up the stairs. "Master Draco's bedroom is being to the right of his parlor."
Draco was dreaming. He had to be in order for the image of Harry Potter sat on the edge of his bed to be real. Potter had yelled at him and then disappeared in a huff, and Draco was never going to see him again. At least not in any meaningful way. Sure, once he was free to leave this wretched place, he would probably run into him in Diagon Alley or something, but they wouldn't talk. Not like they had been talking before.
So when the image looked at him and licked its lips, Draco thought he could be forgiven for the shiver that went through him. It just wasn't fair.
"Malfoy? You with me?"
Draco blinked harder and frowned, sitting up. He didn't feel like he was still asleep, and when he nudged Potter with his toe under the covers, he felt solid enough.
"Is this not a dream?" he asked.
Potter gave him a crooked grin. "Nope. Sorry."
"Oh. Then get the fuck out."
"Malfoy, I just want to talk to you."
Draco scowled. "Do I look like I care? You...you insulted me and accused me of...and I was only trying to..."
He shook his head. "Get out."
"No," Potter said firmly. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? I'm really, really sorry. I know I was an arse to you, and you didn't deserve it, and I'm sorry."
"And you think that's good enough, Potter?" Draco asked, shaking his head. He was acutely aware that he was shirtless, and he crossed his arms over his chest.
"I...I dunno. I mean. I'm still really confused, Malfoy. I still don't know why you kissed me."
And that was the last straw for Draco. He threw the covers back and jumped out of the bed, hands fisted by his side. His hair was wild, and his eyes blazed with anger. "I already fucking told you! I kissed you for the same reason anyone kisses anyone. You came here and you spent time with me, and put my house to rights, and you...you made me feel like...like you might actually fucking give a shit about me. Like we could start over and be friends at least. And I shouldn't have kissed you. I understand that now, but for fuck's sake. You could stop making me feel like shit about it!"
Potter was just left blinking in the wake of his outburst, and he bit his lip before speaking again. "We...we are friends, Malfoy."
"Oh, fuck you. No we're not. I'm your latest charity project, and when the year is over, you're going to fuck off back to your life and forget all about me."
"No, I won't!" Potter said, getting up and moving closer. "Malfoy...Draco..."
"Don't," Draco said, and his voice was anguished even to his own ears. "Don't. Please go? Just go."
For a moment it seemed like Potter was going to do what he had said. He stood up and headed for the door, but instead of leaving through it, he closed it and then turned around. "I'm not leaving," he said softly. "Draco, I don't think you understand how confusing this is for me. I've kissed two people in my life. My whole life. One of them was Cho Chang. It was wet and awful, and it probably never should have happened, and the other was Ginny. And looking back, that probably shouldn't have happened either. I wanted her, but in the end that wasn't enough because I didn't want her, you know? I wanted what I thought she represented. Family. Stability. A last chance at being fucking normal."
"Why are you telling me this?" Draco asked, not lifting his head eyes from his carpet.
"Because. Because...I'm so...I don't even know who I am half the bloody time, Draco. I don't know what I want. If you're waiting for me to make this all clear, then you're going to be waiting for a long time. What I'm saying is, if you know what you want, you should tell me. Please."
Hearing it like that made Draco look up, and he saw the open honesty on Potter's face. He looked conflicted and vulnerable, and Draco let out a messy breath. "I kissed you because I wanted to. Because you mean something to me. Because you came here and you made me feel less like my life was over and because I look forward to every Saturday and seeing you and knowing that...that I'm not going to be alone for a little while."
"You always have Mippy," Potter pointed out.
Draco rolled his eyes. "That's not the same, and you know it."
Potter quirked a smile at him, and it made something in Draco's chest flutter. "I know," he said. "Do it again."
"Kiss me again."
Well, when he asked like that. Draco took a step forward and then another and another, pushing Potter against the door and kissing him firmly. It was less tentative than the first kiss, but still nowhere near as much as he wanted. He didn't want to scare Potter off, though, not when those lips were moving against his.
Potter tasted like beer and mint and Draco licked his lips slowly, sliding his tongue along the seam between them and then pressing forward when Potter gasped softly. Potter's hands came up to grip at his shoulders, and Draco rested his hands at Potter's waist, fighting the urge to rub against him.
His heart was pounding, and he could feel Potter's beating rapidly as well, and he pulled back before he could let this go too far, still afraid of rejection.
"Wow," Potter breathed. "I...wow."
Draco smirked. "It's a talent."
"I...that felt...really good," Potter said. "Really, really good."
"Shut up. So...just to be clear...this isn't just because I'm the only one around, right? If Ron or Neville or someone had been assigned to be your official, you wouldn't be kissing them, would you?"
Draco shuddered. "Potter, if you ever mention kissing and Weasley in the same sentence again, I will hex your bits off. As for Longbottom, despite his rather stunning transformation over the last couple of years, no. I wouldn't kiss him."
"Oh, come on," Draco said rolling his eyes. Now that it seemed like things were going to be alright, he was feeling more like himself. "Don't tell me you didn't notice."
"Well, yeah, I guess I did. Just didn't think you would notice. I thought Gryffindors were beneath your notice."
Draco met his eyes. "Not all of them." He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "What now?"
"I dunno," Potter replied. "I guess now we see what happens."
33 weeks later
"Draco Malfoy, you have hereby completed your sentence, and it is my pleasure to proclaim you a free man. Congratulations," Harry said as he tapped the bracelet around Draco's wrist. It glowed for a moment and then disappeared in a flash of light.
Draco stared at his bare wrist and then grinned. Freedom. He was free.
The year hadn't taken as long as he had thought it would to go by, and most of that was down to Harry being there for him and keeping him from going mad. He'd also had plenty of time to think on his own. To decide how everything was going to be different and how he was going to live. Now it was August first, exactly one year to the day that he had been sentenced to house arrest, and he was practically giddy.
"What do you want to do?" Harry asked, smiling at him and rubbing his fingers over the skin of his wrist.
"I want..." It was a big question, but he thought he had an idea of what he really wanted. "I want to go to yours," he said. "I want to go to a restaurant or the park or any place that isn't here."
Harry laughed. "Yeah, I can imagine that you're sick of looking at these same walls by now. I was actually going to talk to you about that..."
Draco arched an eyebrow. "About what?"
"Well. I know you were thinking of joining your mother now that you're free, but...I wanted you to know that you have another option."
"Another option?" Draco's heart was racing, and he folded his arms, unwilling to get his hopes up just yet. If asked, Draco would probably admit that he loved Harry Potter. Probably. Maybe. He could have had anyone that he wanted, but instead he had stayed with Draco through long weeks of confinement. As much as he'd thought he wanted to go far away and rejoin his mother, the thought of leaving Harry now made him feel ill.
"I thought maybe... you might...want to live with me." Harry shrugged. "I mean, the house is still sort of a mess, even after a year, but I think I've proven that I know how to clean up and make a place livable. So. What do you think?"
Draco hesitated for a moment, but then a smile broke over his face and he tugged Harry closer to him, his lips hovering just a breath away from Harry's. "I think I'd like that very much," he murmured and then kissed him, feeling that same familiar swoop in his belly that had kept him afloat for the last seven or so months of his sentence.
Harry pulled back and laughed. "Yeah?"
"Yes. I can't leave Mippy here, though."
"Well, of course not," Harry said. "There's plenty of room for Mippy, and you'll probably be horribly dissatisfied with my house anyway, so we'll need her." He hesitated and then spoke on. "You know that means we're going to have to tell people about this."
That made Draco wrinkle his nose, but he nodded. "I suppose it's about time. We have been at this for a while." Nearly a year, which was unheard of but no less wonderful. Draco was happy.
And then they were kissing again. Draco didn't think he was going to get tired of that, ever, but he pulled away, pressing a hand to Harry's chest to hold him at arm's length. "Oh, no you don't," he teased. "I'm not getting distracted now. Not when there's a whole world out there that I haven't seen for an entire year. Come on. You can have the privilege of buying me my first ice cream."
Harry shook his head, but took Draco's hand and didn't protest when he was dragged towards the door. "Whatever you want," he said.
"That's an excellent mantra to have."
"You like it."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Maybe."
Draco beamed and headed out into the sunshine.