by Ishafel

They saw each other so rarely these days, and all too often it was in passing. There were never enough hours in a day for work and families and friends as it was; for all three of them to manage six hours of free time, at the same time, and not because of some emergency--. Which was why they never seemed to talk about anything but the past, that now was all they shared. "Do you remember Gilderoy Lockhart?" Hermione asked dreamily, taking a big sip of her latte. "And Arthur had that big fight with Lucius Malfoy? It was right there--." As she pointed, her voice rose, and Harry fought the urge to quiet her. She went on, "And Draco Malfoy, too. What a prat!" She knocked a book off the table with her elbow, and bent to pick it up, and Harry did not need his Auror's training to know that everyone in the shop was staring at them. Ron laughed, apparently unbothered, but Harry was so uncomfortable he felt physically ill.

Ron's mobile phone rang and he fumbled to answer it. "It's Luna," he mouthed, making I'll take it outside then shall I, since it's bound to get ugly gestures with his hands. When he had gone Hermione turned back to Harry.

Her eyes were curious, but not unkind, as she asked, "What is it, Harry, what's wrong? I haven't seen you so--outside yourself since the war ended. Has something happened?"

Harry felt shamed by her generosity. How could she still care so much, when he had stopped caring so long ago? He lit a cigarette carefully, to cover up his shaking hands.

"Malfoy," he said finally, and despite himself he lingered on the word as if it were a caress. "It's Draco Malfoy. The prat."

Hermione's face changed slowly, as she took in his words. "Oh, Harry, no! What do you mean?" She put her left hand over his, but gently. "Harry--."

He felt trapped, but he knew that she meant well. Harry turned, scanning the shop. Through the glass front he could see Ron on the phone, waving his arms in the air. He had clearly lost his temper; his divorce was an unpleasant one, and the custody issues made it worse. Harry felt as if there was something he was missing, some threat that had failed to catch his eye, but it might have been only nerves. He stubbed out his cigarette, grateful that Hermione had not mentioned what nicotine could do to his teeth.

He had seen Draco Malfoy in Hogsmeade, very early in the morning. Draco had been coming from a woman's bed. He had come out of a blue door, seven doors away from the house Harry was watching; he had pulled the door quietly shut behind him and turned his overcoat collar up to keep the fine misting rain off his neck. Harry, in the car across the street, had raised his binoculars and noted the faint swelling around Draco's mouth, the lipstick marks on his shirt collar, the missing cufflinks. Draco shoved his hands into his coat pockets and began to walk slowly, head bent, up the street to the train station.

Harry had followed him, in the car, abandoning his stakeout. Had driven very slowly, and with his lights off, using a silencing spell to mask the sound of the car's engine. He had lost Draco for a moment when he'd had to park the car, picked him up again with no trouble inside the station, buying coffee and a copy of the Wizarding Times. Had trailed him to the Gents, and waited outside for ten minutes. When he'd realized Draco was not coming out he'd gone in, angry at having lost him, angrier still because he cared.

Draco had been waiting for him, lounging against the wall, hidden by the door. He caught Harry by the wrist and threw him. Harry landed rolling, bruising his hip on the radiator. Draco kicked him hard in the hand, and Harry dropped his wand and curled into a ball. Draco hauled him to his feet and threw him back against the wall, and Harry stared up at him and waited to die.

"Were you following me, Potter?" Draco demanded. "From my mother's house? You were, weren't you? You were following me!"

"Your mother's house?" Harry asked. "You must have some kind of fucked-up family, Malfoy, if that was your mother who kissed you goodbye."

"Shut up about my family," Draco snarled, closing in on Harry. "Leave them the fuck out of this!"

Harry stepped away from the wall, cradling his bruised hand against his chest, and kissed Draco hard on the mouth. Draco kissed him back, his mouth brutal on Harry's, almost too rough. This was only another kind of battle, after all. He smelled of lily-of-the-valley and he tasted of orange and coffee, his hair under the fingers of Harry's good hand still faintly wet with mist and rain. He pressed himself hard against Harry and his body was a warm, reassuring weight.

"We shouldn't be doing this," Draco said, but his breath caught on the last word and made it a question. Harry fell back against the wall and Draco leaned into him, sliding a hand around to touch Harry's back, his fingers very gentle as they worked their way up under Harry's shirt. He was being careful now, almost tender, kissing Harry as he would a woman. Harry was almost surprised to feel his penis hardening against Draco's leg, his damp jeans suddenly too tight. Draco had a hand in the back of his jeans and a hand in his shirt, over his heart.

The pain in Harry's hand, the feel of Draco's body pressed against his, made Harry lightheaded. There was no other way to explain what he said next, otherwise. Not, fuck me, or even, make love to me. But, "I love you."

Draco didn't say anything back. He was too busy undoing his belt, sliding his pants down, yanking at Harry's jeans. There wasn't any lubrication but they were both so ready, and going so slowly, that it wasn't really necessary. There was nothing but Draco, pushing himself so lightly and softly into Harry that it felt like a dream come true. He lay against the wall, and against Draco, and when he came he bit Draco's shoulder just hard enough to bruise, to leave a mark.

Draco finished, and gulped for air, and Harry could almost feel him pulling away even as he pulled out. Before he left, he said, "Potter, this was a gift. Don't make more of it than it was, all right?" Harry watched the door slam and tried not to feel lost.

"But, Harry," Hermione said gently. "Malfoy is dead. We saw him die."

"I remember," Harry answered, getting up to go. He did remember. It just didn't change anything.


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