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Title: After Hours at the Ministry of Magic
Author: birdsofshore
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Prompt: #124 - Co-workers trapped / stuck alone together on Christmas Eve. Griping leads to something better. Dear fantasyfiend09, I loved your wonderful prompt and hope you don't mind that I took a few liberties with it.
Word Count: 11,500
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thank you to who_la_hoop, amorette, and most of all omi_ohmy for the astonishing amounts of help you cheerfully gave me with this. I was flailing around in the dark, ladies, and you turned the lights on.
Summary: It isn't precisely how Harry planned to spend Christmas Eve: trapped in a lift with his ex-boyfriend, somewhere between the third and the fourth floors of the Ministry of Magic.


It isn't precisely how Harry planned to spend Christmas Eve: trapped in a lift with his ex-boyfriend, somewhere between the third and the fourth floors of the Ministry of Magic.

"Well, this is awkward," says Harry cheerfully as Draco jabs at the button again.

Draco treats him to one of his best withering looks. "I'm glad you find it so entertaining. Why isn't this thing moving?"

"I think you might have broken it. You were a bit impatient when you pressed the button."

"If I was a little overzealous, it was merely because I had no desire to spend a second longer in this lift after you got into it, Potter."

Harry's grin falters, but only for a moment. It's so easy to get Draco worked up. He supposes it isn't particularly mature of him to enjoy teasing his ex so much, but it's an awful lot more fun than pining over him. Draco – Malfoy, Harry mentally corrects himself. He really should be thinking of him as Malfoy now, rather than the more intimate Draco he sometimes, still, annoyingly slips into. Malfoy has moved on, is getting married, in fact, and Harry is fine with that. He is so absolutely, completely fine. But there is something deeply gratifying about seeing Malfoy get all pink and tight-lipped. Like now, for example.

Jab. Jab. Jab jab jabbbbbb.

"Does this approach usually work for you, Malfoy? Doing the same thing over and over, despite it not showing any signs of success?"

Malfoy shoots him a masterfully venomous glare. "Are you being especially poisonous on purpose, Potter? I don't think dragging the battered corpse of our relationship into this is helping anyone."

"I wasn't— I didn't mean anything like that," says Harry, dismayed. "I was just joking around. You know, trying to lighten the mood? Here, let me try." And he leans across to press some of the other buttons, more to show willing than because he genuinely thinks it will help.

"Don't do that! You'll confuse it! You know these lifts are temperamental at the best of times. Just press the correct button, for floor eight, here, and we'll soon be on our way."

Jab. Nothing happens. "Oh for Salazar's sake." Draco draws out his wand and raps the button smartly with it. "Reparo. REPARO." He pauses to examine his wand. "It's not working," says Draco in disbelief.

"Maybe the lift itself is broken, not just the button?"

"No, I mean my wand isn't working. I can't feel it responding at all."

Harry snorts. "Most unlike you, Draco. I've never known your wand to be anything less than ready for action at all times. Does your fiancée know about this?"

"My what? Merlin, Potter, if this is your crass idea of an attempt at humour, please stop. I'm telling you I can't get my wand to do anything. Get yours out and see if you can persuade it to perform— Oh for goodness sake, stop sniggering!"

Harry smirks unrepentantly, but draws out his wand nonetheless and casts Lumos. Nothing happens. He tries again, more vigorously this time, but without success.

"Something's weird in here, Malfoy. Can't you feel it? Everything's kind of... stifled. Dead. Not just the wands. There's no magic at all."

Malfoy looks around impatiently. "Yes, that's what I've been trying to tell you. Most peculiar. I suppose we had better shout for assistance."

"Er, Draco, didn't you notice the complete lack of anyone else around when you left the office? It's Christmas Eve. Everyone's either gone home early or in the pub. I wouldn't mind betting we're the last ones here."

"Oh, how marvellous. We're stuck, then. How absolutely bloody perfect."

"I'm sure we'll come up with something," says Harry, trying to ignore the growing unease creeping over him.

"Like what, precisely? Expelli-bloody-armus isn't going to help you now, Potter. We're trapped in a metal cage with no magic, and no-one else is in the Ministry. I would say we're pretty much fucked, wouldn't you? And, unless I am mistaken, the air conditioning isn't working, either – no Cooling Charms in here." Draco removes his thick winter robes and, after looking round for somewhere to hang them, tosses them crossly on the floor.

Harry follows suit and uses his robes as a makeshift cushion to sit on. "Might as well get comfortable if we're going to be here for a while. Fancy joining me?" He pats the space beside himself.

"Thank you, I prefer to stand."

~~~


It was a warm evening, the Three Wands stuffy and packed with revellers. He had been half-pissed, bored and lonely until he saw a familiar lanky silhouette standing between him and the light. "Fancy joining me, Malfoy?" Harry smiled broadly and patted the seat beside him.

Malfoy perched his drink on the wonky table and slid in next to Harry. "Thank you. It's terribly crowded, isn't it?" said Malfoy. "I'm waiting for some friends, but I don't think they can have arrived yet."

"And mine have gone home already and left me here, all alone. I haven't seen you in here before; do you come here often?"

Malfoy's lips twitched into a smirk. "Are you attempting, in your clumsy way, to chat me up, Potter?"

"Why, would you like me to?" said Harry, laughing and wondering why he had never noticed before how astonishingly bright Malfoy's hair was. It was swept back from his face and shone like a halo in the grimy pub. Funny lights they have in here, he thought.

Malfoy didn't answer, just looked at him consideringly, his eyes grey as storm clouds.

Harry suddenly became very aware of the press of Malfoy's thigh as they sat squashed together, a hot lean length alongside Harry's own leg.

Malfoy just looked, and looked, and a most extraordinary commotion began in Harry's chest, like water about to come to the boil. Then Malfoy bent to speak quietly into his ear and Harry sat motionless while Malfoy told him, quite clearly and succinctly, exactly what he'd like Harry to do, and what he, in turn, would like to do to Harry. The silky, confident voice seemed to almost hypnotise him. Harry knew without question he would agree to whatever Malfoy suggested.

They left together before Malfoy's friends arrived, his breath hot on the back of Harry's neck as they Disapparated.

~~~


Malfoy attempts to pace up and down the lift, impeded by the fact that he can only go two steps in any direction. "Magical Maintenance are a rabble of piss artists. I'll have their bollocks for this when we get out of here."

"I expect they're down the pub with everyone else," says Harry, somewhat wistfully, thinking with longing of the pint that Ron will have waiting for him.

Pace, pace. Halt. Swivel. Pace, pace. "Why is our magic not working? And what are you even doing in the Ministry, Potter? Is playing for the Wasps not keeping you busy enough, these days?"

"There was a bit of a mishap yesterday when I was in Diagon Alley. A young witch managed to explode the counter at Florean Fortescue's. Nobody was hurt, but there was a hell of a mess; it took me forever to get the ice cream out of my hair. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes wanted any witnesses to come in and give them a statement about what happened. "

Draco looks unamused. "Being stuck in here with you is a magical catastrophe in itself. Look, there surely is someone left in the building. Who was on level three when you got in the lift?"

"I'm pretty sure I was the last one there. They were locking the offices as I left, but I needed to visit the gents. When I came out there was no-one else around at all. What about you? Anyone left in the DMLE?"

"Is there buggery. Most of them sloped off around lunchtime. I'm sure there are still people out on patrol, but that's of little use to us. "

"And things were so thrilling down in the Department of Intoxicating Substances that you couldn't tear yourself away?"

"I was staying to finish drafting some legislation on the recreational use of Euphoria Elixir. I wanted to get the wording just right, if you must know."

Harry doesn't bother to hide his eye roll. Malfoy's hair-splitting attention to detail when at work is legendary. It has always intrigued him how someone could be such a straight-laced perfectionist in public and yet so uninhibited in private.

~~~


They arrived at Malfoy's flat with Malfoy snug against Harry's back, pressing his erection into Harry's arse. Malfoy began to grind against him, sliding his hands into Harry's robes and groping his chest and stomach, Harry moaning and shockingly turned on. Malfoy whispered hot and dirty into Harry's ear, telling him how fucking gorgeous his body was, how he had been wanting to do this for so long, how he was going to lean Harry over the back of that sofa and fuck him into the middle of next week. It made Harry whimper with helpless arousal, his legs suddenly so boneless that Malfoy had to help him walk to the sofa, undressing him as he went.

Harry asked him, weeks later, "Why me? Why that night?"

"You were sitting there with your hair all in your eyes, looking as if you'd been recently shagged. Big shit-eating grin on your face. And for the first time ever, you looked pleased to see me. Years of my bloody life I wasted, trying to fight how I felt about you, but I saw you that night and I knew the days of fighting were at an end."

"But... did you know I was gay, even? How did you have the front to just sit down and proposition me like that?"

Draco laughed, but his reply was in earnest. "You know what it was like during the war. We all nearly died. Several times, in some cases. It took a while, but I decided I was done with feeling too scared to live my life – to live the way I wanted."

He fingered the Mark on his arm unconsciously as he spoke. "It's like a prison, being that way. I'm never going back to it. Living, instead of dying... it felt like being given a second chance. I never want to be frightened to say what I want again. Whether that's, 'No thanks, I'd really rather not have the Dark Lord living in my house and killing my teachers at the dinner table,' or, 'Yes please, I'd very much like Harry Potter's tongue up my arse.'"

~~~


"Is it me, or is it getting awfully warm in here?" Malfoy asks. His forehead looks uncomfortably damp, while Harry can feel his own shirt sticking to his back. "I propose we shout for help. I'd wager there'll still be someone at the security desk, at least. Do you think they'll hear us from four floors away?"

"It's worth a try. You've always been a bit of a screamer."

"Potter," grinds out Draco from between gritted teeth, face reddening, "don't make this any harder."

Harry feels a twinge of guilt. He knows he is being unfair, but sparring with Malfoy is still a perennially intoxicating pastime. And what other way can he make contact, now? He wants to wipe the perspiring brow, kiss the tension away, but that’s impossible.

"Go on, then. Together, after three."

They both yell, rather self-conscious at first, but building up to shouting as loudly and as long as they can. It begins as: "Hello?" and ends as a kind of desperate: "Help!"

Then, in silence, they wait to hear if an answer will come.

~~~


Harry loved to hear the noises Draco made in bed. It was as if being buttoned up all day at work made it necessary to release everything in one passionate burst when he had the opportunity. While being kissed, he let out small breathy moans. If Harry pushed down his trousers and took his cock into his mouth, he made throaty, sensual cries. When Harry pinned him to the bed and ravished him with his tongue, he would thrash and make guttural sounds deep in his chest. And when Harry pushed his way inside and fucked him thoroughly, he cried out as if mourning for something lost.

"God, have I hurt you? Hell, I'll stop!" Harry blurted the first time, horrified.

"Merlin, don't stop," said Draco shakily. "I need it, Harry, I need you. Don't ever stop." Harry carried on, cautiously at first, then listening in wonder as Draco howled his way to a blistering orgasm.

Harry soon learned to cast double-strength Muffling Charms, or else deal with concerned neighbours coming round to enquire about the poor animal they were obviously torturing in the flat.

~~~


They wait impatiently, straining to hear any noise at all outside of their own breathing. It becomes clear that no answer is coming. They are either alone in the Ministry, or, at least, out of earshot of any other occupants.

"Does anyone know you're here, Potter? And... is anyone going to miss you when you don't return home?" Draco seems tense asking the question, but perhaps it's just the heat.

"I'm meant to be meeting Ron for drinks before he heads over to his parents' for the holidays. Hermione will still be at work, , but Luna and some of the others might be at the Leaky, too." Harry tries to cast Tempus before remembering the disconcerting absence of magical energy in the lift. "I don't know what time it is, but I'm fairly sure I'm late by now."

"Did Weasley know you were coming here first?"

"Yes, I mentioned it to him. He laughed himself sick thinking about everybody covered in ice cream. Percy was there, too, when the explosion happened." Harry grins, remembering Percy's outraged expression as melted raspberry ripple dripped off his rather long nose.

Draco tuts impatiently. "Try and focus, please. I am trying to establish whether anyone is likely to come and look for you, when you fail to arrive."

Harry considers this, before nodding. "Yes, I think there's a good chance Ron will. It's probably our best hope, to be honest, if we can't use magic and the lift doesn't start working again."

"Quite. In that case, I suggest we save our energy and wait quietly until help arrives." Draco sits down on his robes, fussing with them a little, in the opposite corner from Harry.

"Don't want Her Indoors to get annoyed if you come home with your robes all wrinkled, eh, Malfoy?"

"If you mean my mother, I'm not six, you know. I can take care of my own clothes."

"I didn't mean your mother," Harry continues, but then their legs brush together accidentally, and somehow the jibe dies in his throat. Draco glares, shuffling against the wall, as far from Harry as he can get, before closing his eyes and breathing deeply.

~~~


"Breathe deeply, Draco, it's OK, just calm down, come on, nice and slow." Harry rubbed small circles on Draco's back. His pyjama top was soaked with sweat. "Was it the fire, again?"

Draco shuddered and gasped another uneven breath. "No— Not the fire— Was – was the – the—" His chest rose and fell frantically. Harry smoothed his hair, instinctively making shushing noises as if soothing an infant, and Draco's breathing began to calm a little. "It was the cupboard," he was able to stutter out at last. "I dreamt I was in the cupboard."

Harry had been horrified to learn that he was not the only one who had been confined in a small space as a child. Draco's father used an empty wardrobe as a punishment device when his son had displeased him. Draco would huddle in the corner, making up stories in the dark, or playing with one of the small figures he often kept hidden in his pockets.

Harry wanted to rage against the horrible irony of Draco having suffered in this all too familiar way, despite his privileged upbringing. Instead he held Draco close, murmuring words of reassurance to him, till sleep came to them both again.

~~~


Harry yawns, beginning to feel deprived of oxygen and longing for some fresher air.

"My condolences if this is boring for you, Potter. Must be a bit tame compared to what I see you getting up to in the paper."

Harry sighs. The Prophet always did love to print pictures of him in the most compromising situations they could find. All he had to do was smile at another wizard in public, or give someone a friendly hug, and it would be splashed across the front page, complete with lurid headline.

"You know they make it all up, Draco. What was it they printed about us? Boy Who Lived to Elope with Death Eater?"

Malfoy wipes his forehead irritably, clearing the perspiration that was collecting there. "Yes, that was clearly an out and out fabrication. God knows how they could ever have imagined such a ludicrous impossibility, eh, Potter?"

"I didn't mean that. I just meant... We both know they exaggerate stuff and print any old gossip."

"Yes, well. The photos seem fairly inarguable, though. You're certainly the hot young wizard about town."

"I thought you hated reading that kind of newspaper? You said it wasn't fit to wipe the Malfoy arse, if I recall correctly."

"It's hard to keep that type of rag out of your sight line when every pleb on the street is clutching one in their grubby paw. Ever-so-helpful colleagues make sure to show me the best ones; wouldn't want me to miss a moment of your exciting lifestyle, now, would they?"

~~~


"Harry, perhaps you'd be so very kind as to tell me why I woke up to find a photo of you draped around Peregrine fucking Derrick on the front page of the Prophet?" Draco's voice was tight with anger.

"What? Christ, not again. We went out for a meal after the game last night, I told you, remember? What do you mean 'draped'? Let me have a look," said Harry, trying to grab the paper from Draco's trembling hands.

"I thought you could have confined your indiscretions to the changing rooms, rather than have it splashed it all over the press."

"Indiscretions? Draco, you're bonkers. Look, Perry was pretty shaken up last night; a Bludger hit him early on, and his play went to pieces after that. He needed a bit of moral support."

"I see, so this," Draco said, shaking the paper in Harry's face, "is just you consoling him because he was upset? You must think I'm a complete idiot."

"I can see what it looks like, Draco, but you know they'll print anything that might look incriminating! It had been a hell of a match for him, and he knew he'd let the team down. He was virtually crying into his soup. I just put a friendly arm round him."

"Oh, and what a hardship that must have been, to get your hands on those famous Beater muscles. I always suspected you liked them brawny and thick as pig-shit."

"Come on, Draco, it was over in seconds and that was all there was to it. I was just trying to cheer up a team mate. You know they have photographers following me around, waiting for a moment like this."

"Indeed." Draco was almost hissing now, his face pinched as he spoke. "Which begs the question of why you would allow yourself to behave like this in public, when you know perfectly well I am going to have it rubbed in my face over breakfast the next morning? I can only presume you wanted me to find out."

He threw the paper to the floor and Disapparated with a pop.

Harry felt a painful lump in his throat. He hated it when they argued. He moved to pick up the loathsome Prophet, but was startled half out of his wits by Draco Apparating back to the same spot.

"God, Harry, am I just being a tosser? You're not having a thing with Derrick... are you?"

"What do you think, you git? Of course I'm not!"

Draco's body slumped with the release of tension. "Ah, I knew it really. I think I shall cancel my subscription to that tawdry publication. I pity them, if their readers are really of the intelligence to believe that you would stoop to suck that – that troglodyte's penis, when you could have divine Malfoy cock instead." Draco's smirk was back in place, but Harry did not miss the tremor in his voice and treated him with extra tenderness.

~~~


Harry feels a change of subject might be kindest. It's getting hard to think clearly in the airless and overheated space. "So, how is work going? Ron said he'd been over to consult with you about an illicit potions case?" He thinks it best not to mention that Ron had described this situation as "that prissy wanker, giving the Aurors grief again, because we concentrate on getting results, rather than following correct bloody procedure".

"Yes, I had the pleasure of his company. As edifying as ever," Draco says, tight-lipped.

Perhaps not the best choice of topic. "How is Narcissa?"

"She's well."

"That's good. And your father?"

"Still a callous bigot, thanks for asking, Potter. Is there a particular reason that you're pursuing this inane conversation?"

Harry frowns. "I just thought it might help to pass the time. This isn't exactly easy on either of us. What would you prefer to talk about?"

"Sometimes there are moments when silence is the best option. Discretion is the better part of valour, and all that."

That's bloody unfair, Harry thinks, clamping his mouth shut so as not to automatically bite back with an insult. Contrary to what people expected, it had often been Draco who was the risk-taker in his personal life. Or perhaps that was just where Harry had been concerned. It certainly seems to be in the past now, anyway. The face Draco shows him today is very nearly as stuffy and repressed as the one he wears for his colleagues at the Ministry. Harry feels an irresistible urge to try and crack the facade and get underneath, to the secret, shining Draco he knows is buried there.

Draco grimaces and pulls at his shirt collar with an uncomfortable wriggle, as if he resents being confined by the stiff fabric. His face is noticeably flushed, with trickles of sweat running down his temples. His hair is curling in the heat, behind his ears and at the nape of his neck, turning a darker blond with the moisture from his skin.

~~~


One sultry August day, they ate peaches for breakfast, sitting in Harry's kitchen together in their pyjama bottoms. Sweet juice dribbled out and coated their lips, Harry laughing (and aroused) to hear Draco's noisy appreciation of the delicious, ripe fruit. Harry licked the juice from his chest, circling over his nipples with a pointed tongue before persuading him, peach-sticky, back into bed for a while.

Later the same day, Harry returned from a visit to Ron's, stepping out of the Floo to find Draco sprawled naked on his sofa in the now stifling heat. His face was running with sweat and his hair coiled in damp tendrils. It was all too clear how he had been occupying himself while Harry was out. His erection jutted out needily, red under Draco's long pale fingers, his fingertips stroking up and down the shaft.

Harry gaped. "How long have you been... lying there... doing that?"

"Oh, an hour or so... It was so tedious waiting for you to come home, and it was fearfully hot. I got undressed, and then, well..." Draco gestured, with a sly smile.

With a growl, Harry fell on him, snatching off his own clothes as if they had personally offended him. He held Draco down and licked a greedy swathe from collarbone to jaw, swiping at the salty rivulets. He still tasted of peaches.

~~~


In the lift, Draco leans forward and a drop of sweat falls onto the floor. They both stare at it.

"It's getting hotter," says Harry flatly.

"Never one to shy away from stating the bloody obvious," Draco says.

Harry impulsively pulls off his T-shirt and dumps it on the floor. It feels like throwing down a challenge. Draco turns away, wincing slightly. Harry knows Draco shouldn't have any complaints on aesthetic grounds – he's in as good shape as ever, if not better, in fact. Working out is a fantastic stress-reliever, he's found. He loves the satisfying feeling of swinging the heavy weights, exerting himself to the limit, the buzz of adrenalin as he strives to make just one more lift. The beneficial side effects are, of course, bulked-up shoulders, a honed chest and tight stomach.

"Do you... have to?" asks Draco faintly.

"It's hot. Too hot. We'd both feel more comfortable with fewer clothes on."

"This situation is uncomfortable enough without either of us disrobing," Draco says tightly. His eyes move over Harry's torso in three quick flicks – from nipple, to biceps, to navel – and hastily away to safer territory.

"Suit yourself," Harry says, trying to ignore the tingling sensations left behind from Draco just looking at his bare skin. "Personally, I'm not going to sit here and melt, just because you're a prudish old baggage."

Draco lets his face fall onto his knees, and he speaks under his breath to himself. "This is like some kind of nightmare. And to think today seemed to be going so well."

~~~


The evening seemed to start jovially enough, the four of them amused by the tipsy antics of the hen party at the table next to them and the happy, flushed face of the bride-to-be. Ron and Hermione were exchanging reminiscences about their own wedding, they'd all had a few drinks, and Harry sat in a warm glow, holding Draco's hand under the table and only half-listening to the conversation. He kept stealing glances at Draco; the exquisite lines of his face made Harry's breath catch in his chest. He could hardly believe he was sitting here with this beautiful man at his side.

"Of course, back then, Harry," Ron said, "I thought it wouldn't be too long before I'd be watching you and Gin go up the aisle."

Harry felt Draco's hand twitch convulsively in his lap before his brain caught up with what was being said. Harry was pretty sure Ron hadn't actually meant to sigh out loud and frown like that after he spoke. Had he?

Draco's face twisted into an ugly sneer. Ron's face was reddening, his hands making fists on the table in front of them. Harry looked helplessly from one man to the other, clueless as to how things had gone wrong again so suddenly.

"If you don't mean any offence, Weasley," Draco said, the sarcastic response dripping from his mouth, "then try not to be so blatantly insulting. Or is that too much for the family brain cell to grasp?"

"Yeah, well, that's typical of you. You know we only make the effort for Harry's sake, but you're so prickly, it's impossible," said Ron, jaw clenched despite Hermione's calming hand on his arm.

Draco stood, a little shakily. "It's mutual, I assure you, Weasley. Next time I'll be careful to stay at home and save you the trouble. It certainly won't be any hardship to miss out on these little get-togethers."

"God knows what he sees in you, anyway, Malfoy," spat Ron. "In my book, once a Death Eater, always a—"

"Ron!" interjected both Harry and Hermione, but Draco was already leaving, his back stiff with rage and humiliation.

~~~


Harry watches as Draco stretches, rolling his shoulders under the tailored shirt and lengthening out his spine, raising first one shoulder, then the other.

"Do you mind not staring?" snaps Draco. "I'm trying to convince myself this is not, in fact, happening, and it's immeasurably harder with you... looming over me like this."

"Looming over you? I'm just sitting here. There's nowhere else for me to go, you know?"

"Just sitting here, with no shirt on," mutters Draco. "Can't you take up a bit less room or something? I'm stuck here with you, that much is undeniable, but I don't have to like it, or be bloody rational about it, do I?"

~~~


Back at Harry's flat, Draco was almost senseless with anger and hurt. "Of course he's disappointed you're not marrying his sister. He wants you lawfully tied to his miserable tribe, they want to swallow you whole, those Weasleys... Go and marry that titless bint if you want to; at least she wouldn't show you up by having one of these to mess up the wedding photos." He brandished the Dark Mark in Harry's face like a weapon. "You could marry her, and give her a whole litter of ginger vermin, and you can all play house in that rats' nest they call a home. Meanwhile the Malfoy name can die out with me, my father can rot in hell for all I care..."

Harry tried to calm him, but Draco raved on, lashing out with words until Harry could take it no longer and started to argue back. It ended with Draco storming out, saying they were finished, too angry even to trust himself to Apparate. Harry felt as if he had stood in the way of a hurricane, but was cautiously hopeful that when the dust settled, they could put things back together. They had fought like this before; it seemed that sometimes this was the only way Draco was able to communicate his desperate neediness.

~~~


"I just need some space. Are you deliberately trying to bedevil me?" Draco grumbles.

"I'm not doing anything! The only annoying one in here is you. You're getting us both wound up over nothing."

Draco's hands grip his knees and the knuckles blanch. Harry gets the impression of something ticking a countdown.

~~~


The headline in the Prophet hit him like a wrecking ball.

"Malfoy Heir To Wed Greengrass in Spring."

Of course. It made perfect sense. Coming, as it did, two days after Draco had walked out, Harry realised that part of him had always been expecting this. There was a nauseous inevitability to it. Draco had never got over wanting to please Lucius. There was still a small boy inside of him who wanted to be taken on his father's knee and told he had done well. Harry couldn't blame him for acquiescing to his parents' wishes at last. He knew as well as anyone what it was like to yearn for approval from your family. He couldn't – wouldn't – blame him, but, by god, it felt like something was being ripped out from his very core.

The next morning, Draco was there at the door. His face looked haunted, pointier somehow. Harry was suddenly reminded of those dark days in sixth year.

"Harry, I need to talk to you. I—"

Harry took his courage in both hands and tried to keep his voice steady. "Draco, it's all fine. Everything's good, don't worry."

He looked startled. "Harry, I want to tell you how sorry—"

"No, really. It's all cool, there's nothing more to be said. You've done the right thing."

Draco's face screwed up as if in pain. "But Harry, please, won't you let me—"

"No, Draco, leave it." He somehow forced himself to smile. "I don't want to hear another word. You've made a good decision. It's better for both of us this way. I have to go, you've caught me in the middle of something right now, but I'll see you around."

Shutting the door quietly, rather than running after him and hanging on for dear life, felt like the most difficult thing he had ever done.

~~~


Harry stands up abruptly. "I can't bear this waiting. There must be something we haven't thought of. Come on, help me out here."

"There is absolutely nothing we can do, Potter. Can't you get that into your stubborn Gryffindor head? We just have to be patient. I know it's not a strong point of yours, but please, sit down and stop using up oxygen." Draco glances up at Harry's bare chest again, his gaze skimming unwillingly over his body. "I'm feeling a little light-headed, to tell you the truth."

Harry immediately crouches by his side. "Are you OK? You don't look too well." Draco's complexion had changed from red to a sickly pallor.

"It's the heat. And... possibly the confined space. You know I'm not fond of... feeling trapped."

"Draco, I really think we need to get you out of some of these clothes. It's stupid to feel embarrassed, or whatever, about it. You're going to faint if we don't cool you down somehow."

Draco's head rests weakly against the side of the lift, his eyes closing. He doesn't disagree. Harry takes a deep breath and begins to unbutton Draco's shirt. His fingers are slippery with sweat and his hands shake slightly as he tries to grasp the buttons. Gradually, Draco's pale, lean torso comes into view. The fragile collarbones along which Harry liked to run his tongue. Pink nipples, the most responsive Harry's ever encountered. The scars, which Harry has kissed, over and over again. The slim waist, the jut of hip bone, the flat navel, the sprinkling of blond hair... Fuck. Harry's staring, and he feels his cock stirring determinedly in his boxers.

He unbuttons Draco's cuffs and slips the shirt off his shoulders. Shit. So beautiful. He removes one sleeve, then the other, noticing sadly how Draco automatically turns his arm to hide the Dark Mark. He uses the shirt to fan Draco, smiling tensely as a more healthy colour returns to his face. His hair moves gently in the breeze. Pale lashes resting on those heartbreaking cheekbones. Just want to...

Draco's eyes open, and he absolutely catches Harry's intense look of longing. He looks as if he's been struck, and then, bizarrely, blushes.

Harry stammers an apology. Draco's feeling ill and probably scared, and here he is ogling him, like some sort of creep. "Sorry. It's just... it's difficult being stuck in here like this. You know?"

Draco nods, almost imperceptibly.

"Let's – let's try to talk about something. Take our minds off it. Have you, er, have you got any plans for the weekend?"

Draco shakes his head. "Just me and my family for Christmas. I'm going over to the Manor in the morning."

"Well, that's nice," says Harry brightly.

"Is it?"

"Hmm. Maybe not. Is she not— Is there not anyone going with you?"

"With me? No."

"Ah, that's... a shame."

"Yes, well, I must admit dealing with my parents on my own is not the easiest thing. Just one of the many regrets I have about fucking things up with you. God, I'm babbling. I have no idea why I said that. I'm really not feeling too good, Potter, I apologise."

There was a short silence. Harry's head is swimming. "Do you mean— Are you telling me you regret – us splitting up?"

"Of course I bloody regret it! I regretted it straight away, but seeing as how you were so bloody fine about it all—"

"I—? Draco, I could not have been less fine about it! I was about as far from fine as you can imagine. But I didn't want you to feel bad about your decision, and I did understand, it's not easy—"

"My decision?"

"To marry Astoria. I know it's what your parents always wanted."

"Astoria? Harry, what the—?"

"It... it was in... I saw it in the..."

"Let me guess. You saw it in the Prophet," finishes Draco grimly.

"Fucking hell. Do you mean you aren't—?" Harry's eyes open wide. He can hardly believe what he is hearing.

"No, Harry, I am not getting married to bloody Astoria. Are you insane? I thought the time we had together, cut short as it may have been, might have alerted you to the fact that I am bent, Harry. I like cock. I like arse. I'm not getting married. I'm certainly not getting married to Astoria 'Crup Breath' Greengrass."

"Oh," says Harry. He can't think of an awful lot more to say, at that moment. Draco is sitting up straight and looks far more like his usual self.

"So can we get this intolerable muddle cleared up? When I left, you were – you were not fine? You were unfine, in fact. But you hid this, to spare my feelings? Because you thought I was getting married – to a woman? And when I came round to, to ask you for another chance, you said that everything was much better like this and not to mention it again, because – because why, exactly, Potter?"

"Because I thought you had come to apologise for hurting me, and I didn't want you to. I couldn't bear it." Harry swallowed uncomfortably. "I didn't know what else to do. I wanted to pretend I was ok. Er, apparently I was quite convincing about it."

"Too bloody convincing, Potter. I recall a certain piece of information about the Sorting Hat wanting to place you in Slytherin, am I correct?" Draco raises an eyebrow. "But your deceit is coupled with a hideous gullibility. I can't believe the irony of you taking the Daily Prophet's word as gospel, after lecturing me about it countless times."

"It just seemed so likely!" Harry shifts guiltily as he remembers how easy it was for him to believe the bogus article. "I knew how Lucius felt about us – and about your being gay in the first place. The constant jibes, the pressure; it would get to anyone."

Draco blinks once, twice. "Do you really think so little of me? That I would turn my back on you, that I would be so untrue to myself, just to curry favour with my father? You think I'm a coward, is that it?" Draco's bare torso is still pale, but his cheeks are flushed with a healthy pink colour and he juts his chin defiantly as he speaks. All Harry can think is that he looks more beautiful than ever.

"No, not at all. God, Draco, I think you've got more guts than half the people I know put together. If it wasn't for your nerve, I'd still be sitting in the Three Wands, thinking how bloody gorgeous you look and waiting for something to happen."

Draco snorts. "Too true. Sometimes I even surprise myself. Well, this is quite the turn-up, Potter. You see, when you sent me packing that day, I presumed you'd seen the light and realised consorting with nasty old Death Eaters wasn't for the likes of you, after all."

Harry thinks Draco's mocking tones mask anxiety – or, of course, he could be just being a git. He wants to reach out... if only he could be sure. His impulse is to touch him, try to stroke away the self-doubts... but maybe he doesn't know Draco as well as he thought he did.

"I'm sorry. That must have been horrible."

"I was a little... offended, yes." Draco's lip trembles, and Harry's hand is already stretching out before he reins himself in again.

"I'm sorry – it's just so hard to resist touching you. Oh, god—"

"Then... don't," Draco says softly.

"What?" Harry breathes. "What do you mean, don't?"

"Don't... resist." Draco's voice is so quiet that Harry still isn't sure he's heard correctly.

"You mean...?"

"Touch me." Draco looks at the floor. "Please," his grey eyes lift up to meet Harry's, "touch me?" He sees the ache which is written all over Harry's face. The hint of a smirk twitches the corner of his mouth. "After all, I would say you have a lot of making up to do, don't you think, if I am to forgive you?"

Harry swallows heavily and gazes in awe at Draco's surprisingly shy, uncertain smile. He reaches out a tentative hand to gently stroke his cheek. Draco exhales and leans into the caress, rubbing his jaw against Harry's hand, catlike. He turns to press a delicate kiss into Harry's palm, lips soft and breath hot.

Harry groans and reaches with his other hand for Draco's hair. His fingers wind around the damp curls to cup the back of Draco's head and pull him nearer. He leans forward with parted lips, eyes on Draco's mouth, hungry for this kiss, tasting it already, before they have even made contact. And then their lips are together, mouths open, eyelids fluttering closed. Draco sighs softly, one hand threading through Harry's hair, fitting his mouth together with Harry's as closely as he can.

Harry inclines his head and his tongue is reaching out to Draco's, desperate to get closer, to be joined with him again. Draco's mouth is hot and sweet, and it's so very, very good. Draco's hands grip his shoulders, running greedily over the muscles of his back, his breath coming fast into Harry's mouth. Blood rushes to fill Harry's cock, making him ache with desire as his tongue explores Draco's mouth. "Fuck, Draco," Harry says breathily into Draco's open mouth. "Missed you... want you... want you so much."

They don't register a metallic clanging, followed by the tingle of a Transparency Charm over their heads, but then a woman's voice floats down the lift shaft. "I can see them. They're in here, about four floors down."

Another voice, this time male, too far away to make out the words. Luna's lilting tones come calmly in reply, "Oh no, I don't think we should do that. They seem quite happy. I think we should leave them here for a while."

Harry and Draco scramble to their feet, shakily. Their voices sound unsteady as they call up to the smiling face: "Luna! We're stuck!"

"Don't leave us! Get us out!"

Ron's head joins Luna's to peer down at them, flinching slightly at their state of undress. "Bloody hell, Harry, what are you doing down there with Malfoy?"

It seems everyone is speaking at once: "Ron! Thank god! We're stuck!"

"Get us out, Weasley!"

"They were kissing, and then we unfortunately interrupted them," explains Luna. "You carry on if you want, boys, we don't mind, do we, Ron?" she continues, completely oblivious to Ron's appalled expression.

A third head joins the faces at the top. Reginald Cattermole, head of Magical Maintenance, a party hat askew on his head, squints down at them. "Alright down there, lads? Sorry about this. We'll get you out of there in a jiffy. Hold on while I set the lifts working again; there might be a bit of a jolt at first."

~~~



GO TO PART 2

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
josephinestone
Feb. 10th, 2014 06:11 am (UTC)
Ah, this is super cute. On to part two.
alexicyn
Mar. 1st, 2014 12:35 pm (UTC)
Found Raitala's excellent illustration which led me to this... LOVING IT so far! On to part 2!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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