by Ishafel

"And I'm sick of it," Harry said, and he sounded so near tears that Draco's own throat burned, even though Malfoys never cried. "Fuck, Draco, why are you doing this?"

Draco sat on the couch and stared at the dingy carpet and didn't say anything because he didn't know why.

"I'm going to work," Harry said, in the defeated voice Draco hated. "Do you think you can manage not to sleep with anyone else before I get home?"

"Don't go," Draco almost begged him, but Malfoys didn't beg and instead Harry swept out, slamming the door behind him. And Draco was left with eight hours in the tiny, filthy flat, eight hours to fill with wanking and television and whatever it was Muggles did to pass time.

Immediately the walls began to close in on him. He tried to think of an excuse to go out, somewhere to go. The problem was that Harry generally ran the errands, since everything--the credit cards, the car, the bank account, and the clothes that had to be dry-cleaned--belonged to him. Draco couldn't drive, and he sometimes suspected that Harry kept him deliberately short of cash to discourage him going anywhere on his own.

He had jogged for a while, not religiously but faithfully, spending an hour or two every morning at it, then getting coffee, before coming home to shower. He had jogged with the other housewives, slept with one of them. Until, eventually, her husband came after him and Harry found out. There had been tears, that first time; Harry crying for his lost illusions and Draco wishing he could cry. Wishing he could explain that he hadn't loved her, but that she'd been there, had understood what it was like to spend ten hours of every day alone and bored.

He had promised Harry it wouldn't happen again, and he'd meant to keep that promise. But on their anniversary Harry had called and said he'd be late, that he had a meeting he had to be at. Could Draco change their reservation? And Draco changed it, and then spent an hour and a half waiting alone at the table, before he went home with one of the waiters.

He had never really managed to make Harry understand that it wasn't about sex, and it wasn't about revenge, it was about not being alone anymore. Somehow he never felt more alone than when he was with Harry. But he'd told Harry about it, because having the lie between them was like having a sword in their bed. And he'd hurt Harry, and himself, and solved nothing.


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