Word Count: 4,914
Author/Artist's Notes: Draco/Harry is my OTP, but I haven’t written it for a very long time. It was fun to try my hand at it again, and I hope you enjoy this! ♥ Among screaminglungs’s requests were children, one night stands with morning after consequences, bonding, angst, and happy endings. I hope I’ve managed to include a little bit of everything.
Summary: Working with Draco Malfoy on a difficult case and spending a lot of time with him is no walk in the park, no matter how used to it Harry gets. It becomes especially so when it becomes evident that the only tension between the two is sexual. Things don’t get easier when neither know what they want nor how to express it if they do.
“This is impossible!” Harry threw the paper down on the desk and tugged on his hair in frustration, making it almost too messy to be allowed. He threw a glare across the room at his “partner”. Draco was sitting with his legs crossed, scanning the documents in his hand. He looked calm, collected, and unperturbed as always. “I can’t believe I have to spend the night with you instead of going out to dinner with Al,” he growled.
Draco gave him a bored look. “Could you do us both a favour and concentrate on your work instead of fruitlessly trying to get a rise out of me, as you’ve been trying and failing for the last four hours? I promise you that when we get this done, I’ll have a very big row with you.”
Harry opened his mouth to make a retort and then chuckled and shook his head. When Kingsley had a brilliant idea to get the head of the Auror Department to work with the head of the Hit-Wizards Department, the whole Ministry gulped in apprehension. Harry and Draco fought like cats and dogs the first two months of their partnership, screaming insults and firing spells left and right, and terrifying the interns. Eventually, however, they came to a grudging truce. They worked well together, and they had to admit that the previously considered unsolvable case was cracking under their joined efforts. Their rows became half-hearted and without broken limbs, and were now a convenient way to blow off steam.
Harry would never call what he and Draco had friendship, but the truth was that both men being divorced, their work and, occasionally, their kids, were the entirety of their existence. Harry didn’t know of many other people, except for maybe Percy Weasley, who spent as much time at the Ministry as he and Draco did. They were each other’s main source of companionship for quite a few months now, and that fact did carry some consequence with it. Harry had come to know that when Draco was frustrated, he touched his nose. That when he was very angry but tried to keep his cool, he wrung his hands and meticulously cracked his knuckles. That he whistled very loudly when he went to the loo and thought no one was in there to hear.
Harry knew that Draco must have learned his own peculiarities by now as well. Subconsciously, he knew he’d be offended if Draco had not. At the same time he kept reminding himself that to come to know another that intimately no care or special attention was required. He wanted to believe that the only reason he knew Draco as well as he did was because they spent so much time together. Harry surely had no control over it. He was good with details, but he never paid close attention to Draco. Draco was just that obvious in his behaviour. No other explanation would be acceptable.
“So, which one is Al again?” Draco asked, putting down the papers and stretching.
“Al? Which one is he?”
“The middle child, youngest son.”
“Albus Severus. Of course.” Draco smirked. “I like him the most.”
“Since when have you met any of my children for longer than a second, Malfoy?”
“He’s a Slytherin,” Draco replied calmly. “Besides, he visited Scorpius a few times.” Harry gave him a sharp look. “Ah. The fact, I see, that he’s forgotten to share with you. They used to spend a fair amount of time together when they were at school. Weren’t around enough to learn that rather well-known fact, Potter?”
Harry was out of Draco’s office so fast the papers were still settling where he threw them when he slammed the door shut behind him. He fought when he was irritated. He fought when he needed to blow off some steam. He obliged and fought when Draco needed to blow off some steam. He ran, however, when he was really furious. When blood pumped in his ears and he was angry enough to do things he’d regret later.
And Draco knew. They never really attempted to make their relationship something it wasn’t – they made stabs at each other constantly, and for that reason had both become immune to the other’s constant sarcastic onslaughts – but they both knew the lines they should not cross. They weren’t friends, true, but they were no longer enemies. They didn’t wish ultimate pain and death on each other, regardless of how much fun they had egging each other on.
The guilt of the divorce and sharing custody was one thing that had haunted Harry for years. Even now, when his kids weren’t kids anymore, he still looked back on those times with worry, wondering constantly whether he’d been around enough. Every time a little piece of the puzzle about his children’s lives came together unexpectedly, he felt a tug in his chest. He should’ve known that. He should’ve been there for that. Did they not tell him that because it wasn’t important, or because they didn’t feel as close to him as they felt to whoever they did tell it to? Draco knew this insecurity more than well enough. He had to have known.
Harry stood breathing deeply in his office, not bothering to turn on the light. He was sure that if Al and Scorpius were very close friends, Harry must have known about it. It’s been a little while since Al had graduated, so perhaps it had just slipped Harry’s mind. That must have been it. Or it could have just been that Al wasn’t that close with Scorpius after all, and went to visit him only once or twice. Then it wasn’t important enough to mention at all. Harry liked that option even better.
The light came on sharply and Harry shut his eyes and then opened them slowly, whipping around. Draco was leaning on the doorframe, his hands crossed on his chest. He looked slightly irritated.
“What’s with the dramatics, Potter?” he asked, strolling inside and kicking the door closed.
Harry glared at him. Draco knew.
“Since when are you so sensitive, anyway? We have a lot of work to do and almost no time to do it, so it’s kind of a bad time for it to sink in that I’m an offensive git who isn’t here to coddle you. Also,” he took another step towards Harry and eyed his clenched fists apprehensively, “it’s a rather belated realization, don’t you think?”
“How dare you accuse me of being a bad father?”
Harry felt his anger seep out of him with every word, and the realization of how stupid he sounded took over slowly. Perhaps Draco didn’t know, didn’t understand, and didn’t care enough to understand. He certainly didn’t owe it to Harry to know, understand, or care. Draco was also divorced, but Scorpius lived with him in the Manor and saw his mother on the weekends when he was a kid. How would Draco know what it felt like to worry about not being an adequate father? Could Draco’s proud mind even comprehend that kind of self-deprecation? But no. Draco must have figured that to call Harry a bad father was to feed on his biggest and most painful insecurity.
“You’re mad at me because I said it?”Draco was standing right in front of him now, clearly trying to show that he wasn’t scared to come within arm’s reach. “Or are you mad at me because I said something that you’re afraid is true?”
“I am not a bad father!” Harry snapped.
“And you’re completely sure of that?”
“Then why the bloody hell does it matter? How much importance do you put into my opinion, anyway? Why is it that when I call you a bad Auror you don’t bat an eye, but when I call you a bad father you throw a tantrum?”
“Because I know I’m a good Auror!”
Draco stared and Harry sighed and closed his eyes. There it was. Draco was imparting wisdom is his own back-handed way, and he was right. Harry didn’t get offended at things he didn’t believe or wasn’t afraid to be true. When he opened his eyes, Draco was still staring at him intently. Harry couldn’t comprehend the stare. It didn’t seem accusing or mocking, though it definitely didn’t exude understanding or pity, either.
Suddenly, the silence rolled over into uncomfortable and charged. Harry knew this wasn’t normal. He could sense it wasn’t leading to anything “normal”, either. He wished Draco would make a sarcastic comment and back away. He wondered why he wasn’t backing away himself, either continuing the argument or dismissing it. What was happening?
“I see,” Draco said quietly when Harry’s stomach started flipping familiarly.
He was going to take a step back and say something, Harry decided, as his feet took a step forward instead, bringing the two face to face. Draco had done the same. He knew what was happening now without a shadow of a doubt. He knew also that he shouldn’t and that he was going to.
Their noses were almost touching, their eyes locked on each other’s.
“Potter, what are you doing?”
“You’re doing it.”
“You’re not stopping me.”
Their lips met sooner than Harry expected, stumbling against each other awkwardly as if neither was quite sure of the kiss’s intentions. Draco’s taste was overpowering.
Harry had jumped away so fast he caught Draco’s lip with his teeth, pulling roughly before releasing, making Draco gasp loudly.
Al’s head was floating the fireplace, looking highly uncomfortable. Harry couldn’t wager how much his son had seen.
“Um, sorry to interrupt. I know you’re working.”Al bit his lip as he often did when he was flustered. “Good evening, Mr Malfoy.”
Harry glanced back to see that Draco didn’t deem it necessary to turn around and look at Al at all. Or perhaps it wasn’t Al’s eyes he was avoiding. Harry would give anything to see the expression on Draco’s face. Would it be one of regret or disgust? Should he care if it was? The temporary insanity was over. Neither meant for it to happen, and why it happened Harry didn’t even want to think about.
“You didn’t really tell me whether you were coming over for dinner,” Al explained after staring expectantly at Draco and getting no further acknowledgement. “I know you’re busy with this case, but I made a little extra just in case you had time to take a little break?”
Harry glanced at Draco and then nodded. He needed to get out of there, fast. He grabbed the Floo and Al grinned and disappeared. Harry felt like he should say something and could think of nothing, so he threw the Floo into the flames and stepped into them when they turned green. Before his office blinked out of view, Draco’s eyes suddenly met his. Again, Harry couldn’t read his gaze, but there was decidedly no hint of regret or disgust in it.
“Scorpius Malfoy?” Al looked at Harry thoughtfully. “Yeah, we used to be relatively close friends at Hogwarts. He’s in America for his internship now. He doesn’t write often, but we keep in touch.”
“Oh.” Harry nodded and poked at his steak. He couldn’t stomach a bite. His stomach was still doing flips from the event of earlier that evening. Harry felt foolish feeling like an adolescent after his first kiss. He found the feeling grossly inappropriate in relation to Draco Malfoy. “You never told me you were friends.”
“I...” Al looked thoughtful. “Well, you and Mum were great, really, but not all of our relatives were as thrilled I got sorted into Slytherin as you two pretended to be. Not at first, anyway. I knew how you all felt about Mr Malfoy, so I guess I wanted to keep the feelings of our parents towards each other out of Scorpius’s and my interactions. We all did. He’s a good person, though rather hard to get through to at first. We were all friends with him. Rose, James, Lily. The others perhaps more by association than anything else, but we all got along great.”
“And Scorpius wasn’t afraid to upset his parents?” Harry was trying to tread lightly. It was evident to him now that Al didn’t tell Harry about Scorpius out of concern, and didn’t really lie, either. In his typical sensitive way he just chose not to mention to his family something that may have upset them. He had no doubt convinced his siblings and cousins to do the same. “Draco told me you’ve visited at the Manor.”
Al chuckled almost affectionately. “I’m afraid Scorpius does have a pretty predominant selfish side. He doesn’t intend it, but I doubt he ever stopped to think that he being friends with me would bring his parents any kind of discomfort. He’s not really used to “no”, either.”
“Oh.” Harry cut a little piece of steak and forced himself to swallow it.
“If he ever had any problems, Mr Malfoy never showed it. He treated me very well.”
For some reason hearing that made Harry’s stomach clench. The taste of Draco’s lips overpowered the taste of undercooked steak in his mind. Hearing that Draco had treated his son well made his desire to continue their “temporary insanity” even stronger. He wasn’t even trying to justify it to himself anymore, or deny it. It was the way it was, and the why, perhaps, was utterly irrelevant.
Al was fidgeting uncomfortably. He was always the most empathic one in the family, and shared the closest bond with his father. Harry knew he could feel something was off.
“Well, I’m glad you and Mr Malfoy had worked through your difficulties now.”
“We’ve been forced to spend a lot of time together because of this case.” Harry shrugged. “I don’t think we’ll ever get along or be great friends, but we’ve kind of had no choice but to find common ground. We’ve found a couple of ways to keep off each other’s back long enough to get everything done up to both our departments’ standards.”
Al choked a little and turned beet red, almost burying his face in his plate. “Um... Dad. I know you don’t want to talk about it yet because you’ve obviously decided not to even bring it up... But...”
“Al?” Harry put down his fork sharply and looked at his son with concern. Al hadn’t had that much difficulty getting out words since he lost his wand back in his third year at Hogwarts and was too ashamed to tell his parents about it.
Al took a deep breath. “I really really don’t have a problem with this I really support this it’s great really it’s great but I am really not ready to hear what you and Mr Malfoy do on your backs... On each other’s backs... I mean behind... I mean not because I think it’s wrong or anything because I think it’s great but you’re my dad and you’re both old and it’s very very gross not because it’s gross that you two are you know but because it’s you and –”
“Al!” Harry was on his feet. Faintly, the understanding of what Al was saying was dawning on him. “Wait, what? And slowly, please,” Harry warned when Al took another deep breath.
“I saw you and Mr Malfoy kissing tonight,” Al said slowly. Harry stared at him dumbly and then buried his face in his hands, groaning. “Oh, no,” Al almost shouted. “I’m not saying it like it’s a bad thing! It’s ok. I didn’t know, but you’ve been talking about him a lot lately, and you spend a lot of time together. I kind of suspected. It’s good for you, you haven’t been in love since Mum –”
“In love!?” Harry moaned. Could this get any more embarrassing or bizarre?
“I’m sorry,” Al mumbled. “Didn’t mean to bring any of this up unless you did, really. You probably weren’t ready to tell anyone yet. I promise I won’t say anything.”
Harry tried to steady his nerves. Two hours ago, he and Draco Malfoy were colleagues who didn’t really get along and shared a comfortable amount of animosity towards each other. An hour ago his whole perspective on everything was turned inside out and upside down with no reason and no viable explanation. Now he was standing in front of his son who had seen him and Draco kiss, who assumed they were in a relationship and in love, and who was supporting him one hundred percent. Embarrassingly enough, his son was also under the impression that his father had attempted to share something highly inappropriate with him and was now utterly grossed out, though still supportive.
Harry had to pull himself together and fix it. Except he didn’t know how, and he didn’t really even know what it was that he had to fix, exactly. What he needed was to either wake up or take a walk, and he hoped for the first alternative. When the first alternative didn’t present itself, however, Harry opted for the latter.
“I need to leave for a little while,” he murmured, grabbing his cloak off the back of the chair. “Would it be ok if we talked about this some other time? I need a little... time.”
He felt lame and guilty as he escaped his flabbergasted son’s flat. Al probably deserved an explanation. Al would probably understand no matter how complicated or unclear that explanation would’ve turned out to be. But Harry just had to explain it all to himself before he could explain it to anybody else.
Harry knew that it was probably about the worst idea he’d ever had. It seemed a night for reckless decisions. He didn’t give himself time to analyze and reject before he plunged into something absolutely unreasonable.
It was a long time walking before Harry had suddenly realized where his feet were carrying him. He knocked until his hand felt numb without even thinking about what he could possibly say when the door swung open and he was faced with dishevelled, furious looking Draco wearing wrinkly trousers. His expression turned from angry to surprised when he recognized him, and then his eyes became weary and suspicious.
“I don’t know why I’m here,” Harry said honestly.
“Um.” Draco was recovering from his surprise quickly. “Do you know what time it is?”
“Not the time for fruitless visits. Unless you’ve come here to finish what you started and then so selfishly abandoned, kindly bugger off.”
“Can I come in?”
Draco touched his nose and searched Harry’s face with a few sweeping glances before stepping aside. When Harry didn’t make a move and threw Draco an unsure look, asking for reassurance, Draco grabbed hold of his cloak and pulled him in with an irritated sigh.
“Please tell me I didn’t.” Harry cracked open one eye and took in the unfamiliar decor, the huge windows, the green silk drapes, and the sight of his clothes strewn haphazardly around the room. Someone shifted beside him and Harry turned around to find Draco sitting up in bed, glaring at him angrily.
“Tell you you didn’t?” Draco’s eyes were cold and unreadable. “We’re naked, I’m sore and you better be, and we’re in bed together. I’m thinking you should’ve thought a little harder before you jumped my bones yesterday if you’d like me to tell you you didn’t.”
“Actually, you jumped my bones</i>,” Harry snapped.
“Yes, you had nothing to do with this at all, keep telling yourself that.” Draco jumped out of bed, wrapping the sheet around his waist, and rounded on Harry. “The next thing you’ll be saying is that I forced you? May I remind you who showed up on whose front step at four o’clock in the morning?”
“Would you back off, Malfoy?”
Harry pressed his fingers to his temples. He felt like he was coming off a hangover. He had to admit that he would’ve felt a whole lot better if he was. It wasn’t like him to not think. He was the one who always overthought. He wasn’t the one who shut his brain off and did whatever his impulses were telling him to.
He had done something – initiated something – that he doubted he’d ever be able to recover from with any grace or dignity.
He tried desperately to gauge Draco’s expression and go by it, but Draco’s usual impartial mask had snapped tightly back into place, laced with evident irritation and anger. Did Draco regret it? Was he expecting Harry to leave and never bring it up again? Was Draco waiting for him to state his intentions and then play off of them, the way Harry hoped to do?
Undoubtedly, however, Draco was expecting something, and the longer Harry sat gaping at him and rubbing his temples, the angrier Draco seemed to become. Harry had had sexual interactions after Ginny. He’d had relationships and one night stands alike, though not so many of the latter. But with all of those, it was clear. When he had a one night stand, he rarely questioned himself or his partner. He got dressed and left, thanked them for a good time, and doubted he’d ever see them again. This didn’t feel like that. But it wasn’t as if Draco and he were dating. They’d kissed and then they’d slept together. It definitely followed the one-night stand formula.
Finally, Draco’s patience came to an end and his anger seemed to boil over.
“Potter, grab your clothes and get the hell out of my house,” Draco growled. He turned and stormed off to the shower, slamming the door behind him.
Stunned, Harry gathered his clothes. Whatever Draco and he had just had, Harry had undoubtedly mucked it up.
Harry resented the fact that when he needed to be alone most, everyone he knew decided to visit all at once. He knew it was selfish of him to feel this way. He had lied about having a fever in order to take a few days off work and unscramble his brain, but after his third day off, his friends and family had become concerned. He knew it was unfair to blame them for expressing it. He was worrying them for no reason, and he was lucky enough to have that many people worry about him at all. He knew very well that his actions weren’t only selfish but, his Gryffindor courage aside, rather cowardly.
He didn’t want to admit he was running away from or avoiding Draco. He just didn’t know how to face him, and hoped that getting some time alone to sort out his thoughts and make sense of what happened would make things clearer. But, if it was possible, it made everything seem even more complicated. There were no conclusions to come to and no solutions to realize. No matter how much time he spent away from work cooped up alone in his room, he didn’t know what happened, why, or what was the most natural thing to do now. He felt embarrassed to find himself in that situation.
Ron had promised to visit after work and “check up on him”, and Harry spent the day tidying up his flat and reading the documents on the case, having really fallen behind. He knew he would have to go to work the next day. He didn’t have the kind of job where he could afford to take as many personal days as he already had. Besides, it was pretty evident that he was getting nowhere in his isolation. He would have to face Draco, and he would have to face whatever came with it. Perhaps Draco would go on as if nothing happened. Out of all typical and reasonable reactions Harry imagined Draco to produce, that one would be the least harmful to both of them.
He was pouring Butterbeer when he heard Ron stumble out of the fireplace. He was way too early, but Harry supposed Ron got out of work as soon as he could out of concern for him. His stomach did a guilty flip.
“I’ll be right there!” he shouted, wiping his forehead and turning around to find himself face to face with the last person he had ever expected to see in his kitchen.
Draco scowled as Harry dropped the mug and it shattered, splashing both of them with the warm liquid.
“Malfoy, what are you –”
“Doing here?” Draco gave Harry an angry look. “I’ve come for the documents on the case. I know you couldn’t care less about it, but I’ve had to present it to Shacklebolt yesterday without your part, and he was less than pleased. We should have finished it by now.”
“Oh.” Harry couldn’t keep the disappointment out of his voice. Draco raised a brow. “Nothing,” Harry added quickly. “I’m coming back tomorrow. We’ll discuss it then.”
“Right. Well, it’s nice you at least haven’t decided to quit because of me.”
“I didn’t do anything because of you.”
“Yes, because you’re not here pretending to be sick in order to avoid me?”
Harry didn’t want to give Draco the satisfaction of being able to read him like a book, but he couldn’t deny the fact that Draco got it right on. Draco wasn’t pretending it never happened, but he was still completely blank as far as Harry could see. He wanted to fight and scream and insult. But it was a lost battle.
“I give up,” he said. “I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know what you want from me. And I don’t know what to say, either.”
Draco scowled again. “I’m guessing you’d like to pretend it never happened? Then let’s, but at least don’t play this stupid dodging game. We’re not in school anymore, Potter. At least handle this like an adult.”
“I’d like to pretend it never happened? Malfoy, you kicked me out of your house after it happened! In an angry rage!”
“Oh, excuse me for not being thrilled when someone I had spent the night with and who made me believe he wanted to sleep with me woke up and immediately proclaimed loudly that he wished he hadn’t done it.”
“I never said I wish I hadn’t done it!”
Draco made a face and put on an unflattering impersonation of Harry. “Please tell me I didn’t!”
They were both shouting now.
“I wished it didn’t happen the way it did, I never wished it didn’t happen at all! I came to your house. I wanted it.”
“Now you got it. Happy?”
“I didn’t only want it for that one night!”
Harry closed his mouth without another word at Draco’s stunned expression. He shook his head and looked down at the shards of glass and the puddle of Butterbeer at their feet. He was still hoping to wake up a week ago and start fresh. If he did, perhaps he’d ask Draco out for a pint sometime and somehow make it work. As it stood, he doubted anything was ever going to get worked out. He felt like he was at Hogwarts again, not knowing what he was doing when it came to relationships. He was convinced that things like this didn’t happen when one was over forty. But now it seemed things hardly got any easier with time. If anything, they got more complicated, with much more at stake.
“Let me get this straight,” Draco spoke finally when the silence had become overbearing. “You wanted to sleep with me and I wanted to sleep with you.”
“But you wanted more than a one time shag?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes or no, Potter?”
“Yes. And you didn’t.”
“I asked you,” Draco snarled. “Return the favour and don’t put words in my mouth.”
They stared at each other again, both weary and tired. Suddenly, Draco rolled his eyes, took a step forward, and crushed their lips together. The kiss was possessive, not leaving any shadow of a doubt that it was intended, real, and final. When Harry started to kiss back, Draco leaned away.
“Everything is backwards with you,” he said, irritation evident in his voice. “I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do. We could forget this and move on, because frankly, you’re a git and I hate you for completely screwing with my head. But I doubt that is going to be possible because it hasn’t been working so well so far and I don’t have the patience to continue this. So we’re going to shag, then get up in the morning, shower and drink coffee. Then we’re going to finish the case and not get fired.”
“And then?” Harry whispered, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Then we’re going to have this conversation again. See if things become clearer.”
“Now you take off your clothes.”
Harry smiled and obliged, pulling Draco out of the kitchen towards the bedroom. Everything was backwards with him. Really, it was backwards with both of them. But, he supposed, Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter attempting to be lovers couldn’t be expected to be normal or conventional. It was a ridiculous thought. As far as Harry was concerned, he didn’t have anything to lose. Except for maybe his mind, but with Draco, it was pretty much a guarantee anyway, and it was, perhaps, a price he was willing to pay.