Recipient: The Community
Word Count: 20,000
Summary: Draco is home for Easter during his 7th year at Hogwarts when he notices strange noises coming from the basement.
The next day, Potter had another episode in which he clutched onto his head in pain, then walked out of the bathroom as pale as a ghost a few minutes later. Whatever was happening to Potter had something to do with You-Know-Who. But why would something that was bad for the Dark Lord cause Potter so much pain?
Despite the attack, Potter was in a better mood than Draco had ever seen him in.
In fact, the smiles he'd been giving Draco all throughout morning were creeping him out. It was like Potter thought he knew Draco's secret. That Draco was on their side, all along. And, really, how deluded did Potter have to be to come up with an idea like that?
Draco should exploit it, really. Use it to gain Potter's trust and then hand him over to the Dark Lord . . .
It seemed like a good idea to consider, until Draco remembered that he could hand Potter over to the Dark Lord right this very second but was, instead, buttering a piece of toast for him.
"You know, Potter," said Draco. "Since your hands haven't been bound, I really don't see why I'm still preparing your meals."
Potter laughed and took the toast from Draco, as comfortable as can be. He crunched into it and dropped down beside Luna who was reading some romance novel she'd found in the guest room. "I wanted to see how long it'd take you to notice," he admitted.
"You manipulative little shite." For some reason, Draco wasn't actually all that mad. "You'll do the cooking from now on."
"I rather liked your cooking," said Potter.
"Draco does make a fair sandwich," Luna added.
Inexplicably proud—no one had ever tried Draco's food before—Draco sat down at the table, momentarily mollified.
A few days later, after Luna had gone to bed, Potter was busying himself by organizing the books on the bookshelf.
Draco had told him not to bother—that as soon as the house-elves came, they'd simply undo everything he was doing—but Potter was insistent that he could come up with a better style of organizing the books.
Amused, Draco watched Potter from the kitchen. Potter would take a handful of books, organize them by color, set a few on their side and then set a vase or a pulsating light orb on top. After a good hour of this, Draco got up and stood next to Potter to survey his work.
"Why are all these books sideways?" Draco asked.
"It's a style," Potter replied. He reached forward and angled a picture of Draco in baby robes slightly to the left. "I saw it on a television program once."
"It doesn't make any sense," said Draco. "What if I want to read—" Draco paused and read the title of the book on the bottom of the pile, "'Dances with Dementors?' I'd have to knock over this photo and disrupt all of these books to get to it."
"You could use magic," Potter said, bitterly.
"But you can't," said Draco.
Potter grit his teeth. Draco was disappointed when he let the barb slide. "That's why I put rubbish like 'Dances with Dementors' on the bottom."
"Oh, ho!" said Draco, looking more closely at Potter's work. "It seems you've used a bit of thought after all."
"I did." Potter smirked.
"Which makes it all the harder," said Draco, waving his wand and setting all of the books back to rights, "when I have to do this."
"Arsehole." Potter shoved him. Draco was about to cast the Full Body Bind in retaliation, when he realized that Potter was laughing. The look on Potter's face—like they were friends or something—made Draco feel oddly comfortable. He returned the shove with his shoulder and called Potter something like a 'git.'
For the rest of the evening, Potter would try to fix the books and items when Draco wasn't looking. Draco continued to the return the books by using magic. At some point, Draco Accioed 'Dances with Dementors' and set it on the end table beside Potter. Neither boy mentioned it and neither boy moved it and, somehow, 'Dances with Dementors' became an acceptable part of the decor.
The next morning Potter made toast.
Surprised, Draco took a piece without thanking Potter—it was about time, really—and sat down at the table to eat it. When he moved to cross his feet, he kicked Potter under the table by accident. "Sorry—"
"Sorry," said Potter, at the same time. Draco pulled his feet back quickly, baffled by the sudden tension that had sprung up between them. He could feel himself blushing, and could not understand why.
Luna peeked her nose over the top of her book. She looked at Draco blushing and then at Potter who was staring at his toast. Without a word, she sank back down behind her book again.
Even still, Draco thought, it could only work to his benefit to be nice to Potter. Right?
"So, listen," Potter began during what had become their post-lunch reading time. He set his book to the side and fixed his face into something borderline pleasant.
Draco raised an eyebrow.
"I was thinking . . . it isn't doing anyone any good for me to be here, right?"
Draco's eyes narrowed.
"So," Potter continued, scratching his neck, "you should probably just let me go."
Without a word, Draco picked up his book again and pretended to read.
"Well, why not?" Potter asked. "You don't have to leave. I won't tell anyone you're here, I promise."
"A promise from Harry Potter," mused Draco, "now, that's something I'd trust."
"Come on, Malfoy," said Potter. "I know you don't want V—"
"Sorry. You-Know-Who to win."
Irritated, Draco tossed his book down and stood up. "Have you forgotten who I am?" He flicked his wand and sent his book—and Potter's—flying back to the bookshelf across the room.
"How many times do I have to tell you?" Draco ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "I am not on your side."
Potter scowled. "Then why haven't you turned me in?"
Potter just wasn't getting it. And, really, it was Draco's fault. He'd been too fucking accommodating. This was why prisoners were kept in locked cells and not vacation cottages—they'd get a warped sense of superiority. Potter needed to know his place.
With a growl of frustration, Draco cast the Impediment Jinx on Potter, binding both of his hands to the armchair he'd been sitting in.
"Malfoy!" Potter looked appalled and Draco found it satisfying.
"Do you need the bathroom?" Draco asked in a cold voice.
Potter only glared, thrashing in his restraints.
"Good," said Draco. He flicked the lights off in the living room and stalked off to bed, leaving Potter bound to the chair in total darkness.
Hours later, Draco could hear whimpering coming from the living room. With a surge of guilt, he remembered how he had left Potter alone, bound in the dark.
Serves him right, he thought, but the justifying words did nothing to stop Draco from climbing out of bed to check on him.
Creeping through the dark hallway with nothing but a pair of pajama trousers and a wand, Draco felt vulnerable, which was stupid, because he was the one in charge.
In the living room, Potter's voice was much louder. He was breathing heavily and pulling on his arm restraints. Draco cast a faint Lumos so as to not startle Potter and cast the light over the twitching boy's form.
The skin around Potter's wrists was cut, red and raw, from the magical bindings. Draco didn't even know that could happen with invisible bindings but apparently it could. He bit his lip and tried to think about what to do. Unconsciously, he reached forward and touched the bindings—they felt like rope—and then ran a finger over the skin on Potter's arms that hadn't been irritated.
If he removed the bindings, Potter would think he'd won. He'd think Draco was weak and that he was in charge. He might try to get Draco to let him leave again.
And, really, what would be so wrong with that?
"Everything," Draco whispered aloud to himself. He had Potter right where he wanted him. And he was thinking about just letting him go?
Draco pulled his hand off Potter's arm as if he'd been burnt. He scrambled away at the sudden voice, pressing himself into the wall.
"What are you doing?" Potter whispered, his voice slurred with sleep.
"Go back to sleep," Draco choked back. "You're dreaming."
There was a shuffling sound on the couch and then a groan. "No, I'm not."
"I'm not letting you go," Draco said, even though Potter hadn't mentioned it again.
"Yeah, I know," snapped Potter. A slight movement made him hiss in pain. With a deep breath, Draco stepped out of the shadows and held up his wand light again. He moved toward Potter and squatted down before him, next to the armchair.
"Hold still," whispered Draco. He wasn't sure why he was whispering, but it seemed the thing to do in a dark room in the middle of the night. Draco pointed his wand at the bindings and muttered a healing spell that he knew would help with irritation.
Potter let out a sigh of relief.
"Better?" Draco asked.
"It'd be better if you just took the damn things off."
"Shut up if you want me to do the other one."
Potter did and Draco, elated with the fact that Potter had listened to him, reached up and healed the irritation on his other wrist.
"Thanks," Potter said, grudgingly.
With a rush of generosity, Draco released the bindings completely from Potter's right arm. What he hadn't expected was for Potter to be pushing against the bindings with all of his might. As a result, Potter's arm shot into the air and whacked Draco under his chin, causing him to topple down into Potter's lap.
In the confusing darkness, Draco wrestled his way off of Potter's body until he rolled off the chair and onto the floor, landing on his back. Somehow, he had dragged Potter with him and he sat in a crumpled heap, half on Draco's stomach, with his other hand still attached to the arm chair.
For a very odd, rather long moment, they stayed there. Draco could feel the rising of his own body as he breathed in and out, and the comforting, heavy presence of Potter's head, warm on his stomach.
Potter picked his head up slowly. There was just enough light in the room for the two to see each others' faces clearly. Potter had a strange look on his face that Draco was struggling to read. Either Potter was about to laugh, or he was about fight Draco, or . . .
Draco waited. Despite the fact that he was still in charge, he wanted to know what Potter would make of things.
More time passed. And they were still staring at one another. Draco had done nothing to remove himself from the situation and Potter's eyes were beginning to narrow with a look of determination.
Was he going to attack Draco?
And why the hell was Draco lying there like a paralyzed moron, waiting for it to happen?
"Yeah?" Potter's voice was hushed, whispered. And suddenly Draco thought he knew what Potter was going to do. And Draco really should get up and put an end to this right now, but . . . it was so absurd. He had to know if Potter really meant for things to go . . . like that?
"Um . . . "
But why wasn't he doing anything? Suddenly it seemed like Potter was pulling away and maybe Draco had read him wrong.
No. No. He hadn't.
Potter was blushing now and starting to move back. In an instant, Draco reached an arm around Potter's neck, pulled him back towards him and kissed him.
Potter said nothing. Maybe it hadn't registered yet. So, Draco kissed him again.
This time, Potter inhaled sharply, then scrambled off of Draco, giving him a hard elbow in the gut. "What the fuck, Malfoy?" he breathed, trying to swing himself back on the chair with one hand still tied to it.
Angry, Draco climbed to his feet, too. He hadn't imagined it. Potter was a liar and a fucking tease. "You wanted that to happen."
Potter said nothing.
Draco didn't need to be a Legilimens to read Potter's mind— his silence said it all. He had wanted it.
Humiliated at the rejection, Draco fled from the room, berating himself for his own stupidity.
After speaking with Luna, Draco knew what he needed to do. As much as he didn't want to—and wasn't that saying something?—Draco had to let Potter go.
Draco was single-handedly making the war longer by keeping Potter here. People were dying, the Dark Lord was quickly taking over and, loathe as he was to admit it, they needed Potter.
Swallowing hard, Draco approached Potter in the living room of the cottage. Potter was looking away from Draco, his mouth pressed into a tight line.
Draco shut his eyes for a moment, then released Potter completely from the binds.
Potter looked up, his face pinched with confusion, as he rubbed the spot on his wrist where he'd been bound.
Draco flicked his wand to the front door. "There's a path you can follow down the hill to an Apparition point near the stream."
Potter's face was awed. "That's it?" he asked. "Just like that?" He climbed up slowly off of the couch and took a step toward the door. "What about Luna?"
Draco looked over his shoulder in the direction of Luna's room. He turned back. "She's staying here, with me."
Potter gave a slow nod, trying to comprehend. "She's a prisoner?"
Draco shook his head. "She's safer here. She needs to get well." He narrowed his eyes. "I'm not going to hurt her."
"I know." Potter frowned. "Thanks . . . I guess." He looked at the open door, then turned towards it, hesitant. "Um . . . I'll see you, Malfoy." Potter started walking. Draco caught him by the arm and stopped him.
"Potter, wait." Draco grit his teeth and tried not to think too hard about what he was doing. He held out his wand, handle forward, toward Potter. "You might need this."
Potter froze. "You're giving me your wand?"
"Just take it," Draco spat, pressing the hawthorne stick firmly into Potter's hand.
Potter pulled the wand back and looked at it. A small grin crept onto his confused face. Then he held up Draco's wand. "Lumos." A ball of light lit the tip of the wand and Potter's whole body seemed to relax for a moment.
"Real nice?" Draco asked, bitterly.
"Yeah," said Potter, fiddling with the weight of the wand in his hands. "Feels good."
"That's because it is good," said Draco, ushering Potter and his wand from the room. "Don't fuck it up and don't break it."
Potter turned back from the door, the grin slowly fading from his face. "I won't," he said, seriously. "I'll bring it back when I'm done."
"If you win, don't bother," said Draco. "I'll be in Azkaban, anyway."
"Well," Potter frowned, looking torn, "I have to win . . . "
"It was a joke," said Draco. "Sort of." With a frustrated sigh, he gave Potter a small shove. "Just go."
Potter nodded quickly, his head bouncing up and down. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah. Okay. Okay, this is it." He looked up at Draco and gave a formal sort of nod. "Malfoy."
Draco returned his nod. "Potter."
Potter nodded again and then, "Okay. Bye." Before Draco could continue the awkward, stilted conversation, Potter was racing down the hill toward the Apparition point with Draco's wand clutched in a death grip. With a feeling of finality, Draco shut the door, resetting the cottage wards. A crippling sense of dread washed over him and he pressed his back against the door, swallowing convulsively and trying to keep the feeling buried down.
"That was a very brave thing you did."
Draco's head shot up and he blinked rapidly, clearing his vision. "Now I don't have a wand." He walked across the living room, trying to ignore how strange it felt without Potter's ever-constant presence on the sofa.
Luna gave Draco a little pat on the shoulder and handed him a cup of tea. "Harry will be fine. You'll see."
Draco accepted the cup, then sat down at the table. He pushed the cup several inches away from him and suddenly he couldn't hold it in anymore. "I don't know what I'm doing," he admitted, burying his face in his hands.
Luna sat beside him.
"I'm fucking up all over the place," he choked. "The Dark Lord wants me dead. Potter is . . . " Draco rushed on before Luna could say something embarrassing, "he's run off with my wand. And I let him. I gave it to him. When the Dark Lord finds out I . . ."
"Don't you believe that Harry can win?"
"No!" Draco let out a snort of derision, but it sounded more like a sob. "He doesn't have a fucking chance. When this is all over . . . I'm dead."
"And would that be so different than what you are now?"
Draco looked up. "Yes. I'm alive."
Luna shrugged. "If you say so. My father always said the difference between the dead and the living is that the living can make a change."
Draco resisted calling her father a nutter and waited for her to continue, as he knew she would.
"If you are dead, then things happen to you. But if you're alive, you can make things happen." Luna took a sip of her own tea. "You've been dead until today."
"I can never leave . . . "
Luna stood and dumped the last few drops of her tea in the sink. She began rinsing out her cup. "You know, I rather like it here."
"You would," huffed Draco. "You're the only person I've ever met who seems to enjoy captivity."
"I do not enjoy captivity," said Luna. "But I am fully aware, even if you haven't realized it yet, that I am not a captive here."
Draco looked at her. "Trust me that much, do you?" he spat. "Just like your pal, Potter?"
"I'm not on your side," Draco insisted for the hundredth time. "I know what it looks like, but . . ."
"What does it look like?"
"Like—" Draco stood and dumped his tea out with a splash. "Like I'm helping you!"
"You are helping me."
"But I wasn't helping Potter." Draco started to panic. "He's going to die out there, you know. I just sent him to die."
Luna nodded. "Yes—with your wand."
Draco's eyes widened and he brought a hand up to his mouth. "What have I done?"
"Harry is going to win, Draco."
Draco wasn't sure why the words calmed him. He only knew that their calming effect confused him even more. "Would it offend you greatly," he said, "if we got a subscription to the Prophet?"
Months had passed since Draco sent Potter off with his wand.
The only word he'd received from Potter was an anonymous Owl that came a few weeks after he'd left.
Found H. and R. H. says you're an idiot and you need to take the stitches out. Secretly, I think she was impressed. I expect you're still working out how to fry an egg. Good luck with that.
Please stay where you are. V. still looking for you. Parents are safe, as far as I know. L- dad knows you're safe.
I strangely miss it there.
Draco had tacked the letter to the cooling cupboard, next to Potter's failed attempt at completing a crossword puzzle and set about removing the stitches from Luna's leg. She'd seemed disappointed that she wouldn't get to show anyone the rainbow stitches that Draco Malfoy had created for her, but he could tell she felt much more comfortable once they'd been removed.
He and Luna had settled into a sort of routine at the cottage. Luna would make him tea with extra lemon rinds—to ward off Wrackspurts—and Draco would make breakfast. They'd read . . . maybe play some games. It still felt strange without Potter there.
Draco—and he would never admit this out loud—was grateful for Luna's company. For some reason, she made him feel safe. And she cared about him. Draco found himself thinking of her as a "friend" in his head, but he was hesitant to place his full confidence in her. He thought he could trust her, but the fact remained that she was sort of still his prisoner. And the only reason she wasn't clamoring to get out was because Potter had told her to stay.
Even still, Draco tried to pretend he and Luna were only flatmates. And it was easy to, when she was constantly asking Draco to test her on random school facts or challenge her with mental math double-digit arithmetic. It was easy to forget that he was supposed to have turned this girl back over to the Dark Lord, and was instead asking her things like, "What are the five steps one must take to become a legal Animagus?"
But his nights were filled with doubt. Doubting Luna, doubting himself. Most of all, doubting himself in regards to Potter. What had happened between them? Why had it happened? Perhaps Potter had done it all just to trick Draco.
If he had, it had worked. Draco had let him go.
With his wand.
Wandless, in a war, and the Dark Lord—and possibly Potter, too—wanted him dead.
Draco was so bloody stupid.
One morning in June, Draco heard Luna let out a gasp. Her hands shook as her eyes raked over the newspaper.
"What?" Draco demanded, jumping out of his seat. The front page of the newspaper had a picture of Potter, covered in blood on his knees. Around him was absolute destruction, families he sort of recognized were in groups, crying, and they were standing in . . . in . . . "Is that the Great Hall?" he whispered.
Luna answered his question by skimming through the article and picking out various phrases. "Victory for Potter. . . Wizards rejoice . . . Battle of Hogwarts . . . death toll climbs. . . "
Draco nearly tore the paper from her hands in his haste to flip to the obituary section. Along the left was a column of names of the deceased. Beside that was a list of people missing. Draco's name was on the list.
Draco read and reread the list multiple times. Death Eaters were on there . . . but his parents were not. They were alive. He was alive.
Luna made a small sound of distress. Her finger was pointing to the name "Fred Weasley." "Ron's brother," she murmured. Then, "Professor Lupin. Auror Tonks." She paused at the next name and looked at Draco. Severus Snape. "I'm sorry," she said.
Draco stared at the name, numbly.
"It's over now," she whispered.
It was. It was over.
Draco had imagined this moment for months. He'd open the door and Luna would run to the Apparition point. Then his parents would somehow know he was here and they'd Floo over and hug him and apologize and take him back home to his old life.
But his old life was gone.
Draco carefully passed the paper back to Luna. "I'm going to go for a walk," he told her. "Shall I . . . leave the door open?"
Luna answered, "That would be lovely."
Draco gave her a tight nod. "Just—don't tell anyone I'm here."
"I won't," she said. "If this land is unplottable, how will I find my way back?"
Draco just stared at her. She obviously didn't understand. "No. You can go now. You won't need to come back."
"But I like it here," Luna said. "I have to go see my father, of course. I'm afraid he's been all alone for some time and I do miss him terribly. And I should probably check on the Dirigible Plums." She looked up. "But if you're staying here, then I'd like to come visit you."
"Why?" Draco was baffled.
"Because you're my friend, of course." Luna said it without hesitation and stated it like it was a fact; like Draco had no say in the matter whatsoever.
"Oh," he said. "I'll just—I'll just set the wards to accommodate you."
Luna looked sad. "Oh, but you don't have your wand."
Blushing, Draco looked away. "Actually, they're already set to you."
"So, I could have left a long time ago?"
"I suppose you could have," said Draco.
"But you knew I wouldn't?"
Draco shook his head.
"You didn't want me to?"
Draco scowled. "Well, it's boring enough here as it is. Go off and have fun with your father and your little Gryffindor friends. You can all rejoice that the Dark Lord is dead and then lock up all the Death Eaters in prison."
"Oh, Draco," said Luna. "I will come back and see you. But I won't tell anyone you're here if you don't want me to."
"Thanks," Draco muttered. He turned and walked out the front door quickly, not wanting to watch Luna leave.
He knew she wouldn't be back.
The funerals had ended and the trials were coming to a close. Harry had attended Narcissa Malfoy's trial as she had lied to Voldemort on Harry's behalf. At the final battle, Narcissa had checked to see if Harry was dead. When she'd bent over him she'd whispered, "Where is Draco?"
"Safe," Harry had said.
"You have his wand."
Harry gave an imperceptible nod. Narcissa declared Harry dead and he'd gone on to win the battle.
When Harry had Apparated to Shell Cottage with Malfoy's wand, Ron and Hermione had nearly flattened him in an attempt to find out what had happened. When Hermione noticed it was Malfoy's wand, she told Harry of a conversation she'd had at Shell Cottage with Ollivander about wandlore. As it turned out, it was extremely lucky that Malfoy had given him his wand to use.
As the end of summer neared, and the post-battle ends were being tied together one by one, Harry received a desperate letter from Narcissa Malfoy.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Since we are both aware of the sacrifice I made for you during the final battle, I think it is fair to ask you to do something for me. Tell me where Draco is. I know that you know. If he is hiding, tell him it is safe. Tell him to come home. Please.
It is one thing to be told that your son is alive. It is quite another to see it with your own eyes.
It has crossed my mind that Draco may be angry with us. Please, tell him we are both very sorry for any pain that we caused him. Tell him that we love him and miss him.
I realize that this letter must strike you as highly inappropriate, but Mr. Potter, I am out of my mind with desperation to see my son.
"Are you sure this is it?" Harry asked. Luna spun in a circle and then pointed at a path.
"Yes," she said. "It's this way."
"I can't believe you two are living together," Harry muttered.
"Draco is doing much better now that he's warding off Wrackspurts with lemon and meditation. He'll be happy you came. I think he misses you."
Harry snorted. "I doubt it."
"Take a look at the cooling cupboard if you don't believe me."
"Um . . . okay?" Harry followed Luna up a vaguely familiar path. At the top of the hill was a cottage. "I thought I wasn't supposed to see it."
Luna looked from the cottage to Harry. "So you do see the cottage," she said with a smile. "I thought you would."
Confused, Harry walked up to the door. "I thought it was unplottable."
"It is," said Luna. "Draco must have keyed the wards to recognize you."
"Did you tell him I was coming?"
"No," said Luna. "I'm going in the back to garden. You can walk right in, if you'd like."
Luna gave Harry a small wave and then followed a stone path that led to the back of the house. He looked back at the door in the front of him. Despite Luna's reassurance, he didn't think barging into Draco Malfoy's cottage unannounced was a very good idea. He knocked.
A few moments later, Malfoy opened the door. The casual expression on his face morphed into something intense, yet unreadable. He took a step back, his grey eyes large and wary.
"Er . . can I come in?" Harry asked.
Malfoy took another wordless step backward. Then his posture suddenly switched from terrified and timid to his usual careless confidence. "Congratulations on not dying, Potter." Malfoy said. "This is, what? The fourth time?"
Harry went to give Malfoy a pat on the shoulder, but Malfoy completely misinterpreted the move and instead wrapped his arms around Harry in a suffocating embrace.
"Er . . ." Harry reached his arms out and gave Malfoy a hug back. Things were not going the way he'd planned. But . . . they were going alright . . . "Glad to see you're not dead, too."
Malfoy shoved him back and crossed his arms tightly around himself. His face was bright red. "What are you doing here?" he asked the floor.
"I brought you this." Harry held the wand out for Malfoy to take it. "Thought you might need it."
Malfoy glared. "It hadn't occurred to you that I'd need it until now? The war ended two months ago."
Potter shifted, uncomfortably. "I know," he said. "There was just a lot going on . . . and a lot to think about."
"So that's the thanks I get, hmm? I give you my wand to use in the battle and you just run off and play the hero and forget all about me."
"I didn't forget all about you," Harry said with a laugh. Malfoy's behavior was confirming what he had suspected for a long time. "In fact," he said, "I have a proposition."
Malfoy narrowed his eyes.
"First of all," Harry said, "your mother is dying to see you." Malfoy's eyes lit up at the mention of his mother and Harry quickly handed over the note she'd sent him.
"Sacrifice?" Malfoy almost dropped the note. "What sacrifice?"
Harry told Malfoy all about the Final Battle and his mother's role in it. Malfoy assured Harry that he'd go see his parents soon, but Harry was having a hard time believing him.
"Also," said Harry, "I was thinking about waiting a year before finishing school." At Malfoy's blank stare, Harry asked, "Didn't you get your Hogwarts letter?"
"No." Malfoy frowned. "Isn't the school in ruins?"
"Yeah, but . . . well, anyway, they're trying to clean it up to re-open in September, but I'm not sure I want to go."
"Why didn't I get a letter?" Malfoy asked with a huff. Harry could think of a thousand good reasons why he shouldn't have gotten a letter, but the most obvious reason was that he staying on unplottable land.
"I'm sure it's at your parents' house."
"Whatever," said Malfoy. "What does your little emotional conflict have to do with me?"
Harry frowned. Fuck, but Malfoy was an arse. "I wanted to know if I could stay here with you and Luna."
Malfoy blinked. "Stay here."
"For a bit, yeah," said Harry. "I can't go to my aunt and uncle's, I don't want to go to Hogwarts and I told Ron and Hermione they could stay at my other house . . ."
"And it'd be weird at the Burrow and," Harry shrugged. "I knew Luna was staying here and I kind of wouldn't mind being out of London for a bit."
"So, you decided to come here," Malfoy said. "Where I kept you as a prisoner."
"Eh, you were on our side," Harry said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "I was not."
"You were so," said Harry, taking a step closer. "I knew it for sure that one night."
Malfoy swallowed. "Which night?"
He shoved away all traces of doubt, grabbed Malfoy by the fabric of his robes and kissed him. "That night," said Harry. Malfoy stared at Harry. When the awkward silence got to be too much, Harry pointed at the chair he'd been tied to. "Remember? In the chair?"
Malfoy looked in the direction of the chair and then back at Harry.
"Or on the floor, really?" Harry added, for clarity. "That night?"
"Did you just kiss me, Potter?"
"Yeah—but," Harry stuttered. "You did it first!"
"You wanted it," said Malfoy.
Harry was about to protest. He certainly had that night. But after four months of destroying Horcruxes and living in a tent and watching his friends and family die, he was tired of the stupid games between himself and Malfoy.
There was something there—something between the two of them. Harry had thought so, Malfoy had seen it, too. But it took Luna pulling Harry aside at Florean Fortescue's to convince him that it was something he could actually have. She had tilted her head as she sometimes did and said dreamily, "Your old room is still open, you know," and Harry had laughed in her face. But then he couldn't stop thinking about it.
"You're right," Harry said, finally. "I did." He shrugged. "I still do."
Malfoy smiled the tiniest smile. Then he stuck his nose in the air and his expression turned smug. "I knew it."
"So," Harry said, walking past Malfoy and dropping his bag on the sofa, "can I stay?" He continued on toward the kitchen, and Malfoy made a sudden urgent move, as if to stop him.
"Where are you going?" Malfoy asked, his voice far too nervous to be casual.
"Kitchen," said Harry.
"No, sit down," said Malfoy quickly. "I'll get you something. What do you want?"
Harry blinked innocently. "I just wanted to see something." He walked into the kitchen, ignoring Malfoy's feeble protests.
The cooling cupboard was completely covered in newspaper clippings about the war, but more specifically, about Harry. In the center was the note he'd written to Malfoy during the war. Beside the note, Malfoy had tacked up every one of Harry's failed attempts at completing a crossword puzzle.
He turned to look at Malfoy. The blond's cheeks were bright red. His arms were crossed tightly over his middle and there was a deep frown on his face.
"Um . . . " Harry began.
"Go on," said Malfoy, "spit it out, Potter. I'll bet you're just dying to know why I've got pictures of you on the cooling cupboard. I'm sure you think you've earned yourself another little fan. Well, you're wrong, you know. I'm living in isolation here, Potter. I need to know what's going on out there." Malfoy made an awkward move to convey "out there" with a swipe of his hand, which he quickly pulled back to the safety of his chest.
Harry pulled one of the articles off the cupboard door. "Harry Potter's Top Ten Favorite Products?"
"Shut up, Potter," Malfoy snapped, pulling the article out of Harry's hand and shoving it into the nearby silverware drawer. "Maybe I wanted to know the best way to poison you. Ever think of that?"
"You didn't know I was coming."
"I'm always ready for you," said Malfoy.
Harry smirked. "That's what I hoped." He stepped forward and kissed Malfoy again and this time Malfoy kissed him back.