Pansy sneered nastily as she walked over. Draco felt his stomach churn more violently, the closer she got. “Draco!” She said in mock enthusiasm “How have you been?” Draco knew she was up to something but didn’t have the heart for the games anymore. “And Harry, how lovely to see you, How is Ginevra?” Draco watched Harry carefully, wondering whether he knew it was a trap.
“Hello Pansy, how are you?” He replied coolly.
“I am wonderful thank you. Just getting some Christmas gift shopping in for the family. What are you both up to?” She asked. Draco could feel the muscles in his shoulders tensing with anxiety. Harry was about to answer when she interrupted “Oh never mind, it’s not like I care.” She smiled, her pug features creasing together. The years had not been kind to her as fine wrinkles had appeared around her eyes and mouth and Draco could see silvery threads appearing in her hair.
“When I walked in I was surprised to see you both sitting together, especially after all the drama at school” She smiled nastily and Draco felt sick.
“That’s Lady Nott. We’re not friends Mr Malfoy, You will not address me as such!” She spat.
“Well, Lady Nott. If you wouldn’t mind, you are actually intruding on a private conversation, and we would appreciate it if you would leave” Harry said as he stood up. Draco watched as Pansy sneered. He wondered whether he had looked like that as he had been growing up and he felt ill at the memory.
“Harry Potter, the chosen one, Saviour of all the wizarding world. Obviously what you say must be obeyed so I will not waste any more of your precious time” She nodded “However, before I banish myself from your presence, I just wanted to give you a tip. If you and Mr Malfoy are planning on getting cosy I would reconsider. There isn’t a wizard in Hogwarts that doesn’t know him intimately. I’d also move him from that seat as he may be sitting with you be he’ll be looking at every other piece of arse that walks through the door.”
“Lady Nott, I think you should leave while you are still able to move under your own steam,” Harry said sternly. Draco felt too anxious and shocked as he watched Pansy smirk out. Harry slumped down in the chair as Draco slowly lowered himself down. He was too surprised to even blush. He glanced at Harry and wondered what he was thinking.
“I’m sorry about that” Draco said finally.
“It’s alright” Harry smiled. “She was always so pleasant at school,” he said sarcastically. Draco did a small smile, wondering whether her outburst had ruined anything.
“What she said isn’t true,” He said quickly, leaning forward in earnest.
“I know” Harry smiled.
“You know? How?”
“Well I know Ron doesn’t know you intimately, and neither do I” Harry winked “So not every wizard in the school does” He laughed and Draco felt something in his chest loosen.
“True” Draco smiled
“So just most, then?” Harry winked again
“I don’t kiss and tell” Draco replied blushing.
“Good to know” Harry replied with a cheeky smirk. They fell into a comfortable silence before Harry spoke again “I was never really conscious of who was going out with who at school, too much going on, I didn’t know you’d dated anyone other than Pansy” He said without looking at him. Draco paused, trying to think of the best way to answer.
“I didn’t,” He said quietly.
“Didn’t what?” Harry asked
“Date anyone” Draco replied.
“Oh,” Harry replied quietly
“You could just ask me,” Draco smiled as he took another sip of his chocolate.
“Ask you what?” Harry asked still avoiding his gaze.
“How many men I’ve slept with” Draco smiled as he watched Harry chock on his tea. “Don’t be such a prude, Potter!”
“Harry!” Harry said through the coughs.
“Don’t be such a prude Harry!” Draco smirked as he corrected himself.
“I’m not being a prude” He grumbled still coughing. Draco smirked again as he sipped his chocolate and waited for Harry to stop coughing.
“You’re cute when you’re embarrassed,” Draco said finally. He felt his excitement spike as he waited for Harry’s reaction.
The coughing stopped, and his face flushed red. Draco smirked into his cup. Draco waited for whatever he was about to say.
“I’m not a prude!” He said again.
“Of course, you’re not” Draco replied sarcastically.
“I’m not!” Harry protested.
“I believe you,” Draco said again smiling harder the more harry felt he needed to protest. “There were six”
“Six?” Harry raised his eyebrows. “Really?”
Draco nodded avoiding his eyes for a moment. He looked up straight into those emerald orbs. “Since school and that’s Including Charlie”
“Just six?” Draco watched as Harry’s brows furrowed and he was transported back to their potions class. He remembered that he would sit there and when he thought no one was watching he would steal glances at Harry. He remembered thinking how easy he was to read. Almost every emotion played across his features. He used to love seeing his brow furrow when he was struggling with a particularly difficult potion. Sometimes he’d even bite his lip sending Draco’s heart fluttering. As Draco watched his older counterpart he felt the familiar flutter and smiled again. He had missed being able to Potter-watch. “Hardly the whole school body, is it?” Harry said finally. “I’m actually surprised I thought the number would be higher”
“And why exactly would you think that?” Harry grinned in embarrassment before replying.
“Sorry, I just realised how that may have come across, What I meant was you’re not exactly ugly, are you? I’d have thought that anyone who likes boys would’ve been falling at your feet trying to bed you” Draco watched as the blush crept up his cheeks.
“Are you saying you think I’m good looking Potter?”
“Harry!” Harry laughed as he looked away.
“Sorry, Do you think I’m sexy Harry?” Harry laughed nervously as Draco leant closer.
“Are you fishing for compliments?” Harry replied.
“Got to get them where you can” Draco smiled widely and looked at Harry who seemed to be studying him. “What?”
“Nothing” Harry replied, looking away
“No, really, what?”
“It’s going to sound really stupid,” Harry said as he scratched his head.
“I promise I’ll try not to tease you” Harry narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
“Ok, I was just thinking, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile properly until now.” Draco felt his face drop, taken aback by the comment.
“I smile,” Draco said defensively.
“Not like that smile just. You usually smirk, sneer or grin, you don’t smile”
“I do” Draco protested.
“‘I’m not poking fun, it was just weird to see a genuinely happy smile!” Harry looked away as he rubbed his neck.
“Weird good” Harry smiled. Draco returned the smile. There was a slight pause where neither man knew what to say.
“So, do you think Lister’s will be the same as Fitrei and Griggs?” Asked Draco. Harry pulled a face as he considered it
“If I’m honest, they might, It’s like you said, who is going to want to live with or rent to an ex-death eater? Even one as charming and gorgeous as yourself” Harry added rolling his eyes and laughing.
“That’s the nicest backhanded compliment anyone has ever given me” Draco laughed. Harry smiled and nodded
“Do you want me to pretend that I’m looking for the flat instead? Or we could keep pretending we’re a couple, see how many eyebrows we can raise” Harry laughed.
“As great as it would be pretending to be your gorgeous better half, I think this is something I have to do on my own,” Draco said with a sigh. “Being a responsible adult isn’t what I thought it would be cracked up to be”
“Says he who’s been gallivanting all over the show for the last decade!” Harry laughed again. “But seriously, it wouldn’t make any difference if I said I was the one looking for a place, Your name would go on the paperwork and you’d be paying for the rent if you found somewhere you liked, It would just mean a little less hostility towards you during the viewings.” Harry shrugged.
“And you wouldn’t mind? Cause I can be very particular, and we might be at this for a while” Draco tilted his head sceptically.
“Well it’s not like you can get rid of me now, is it?” Harry laughed as he repeated Draco’s words back to him.
“I guess not” Draco smiled again. “Well we’d better get going otherwise we’ll be late.”
“I thought you said it was at eight?” Harry said sitting up
“It’s not that late already surely?”
“Time flies when you’re having fun” Draco smiled.
“Wow,” Was all Harry replied with. “So where is the next place?”
“A few streets over in Horizont alley, are you finished?” Draco asked as he motioned to Harry’s teacup. Harry nodded as he sipped the last few dregs and stood up.
“So what is this place? 1 bed? 2 bed? Studio?” He asked as they walked out, Harry waving and smiling to the witch behind the counter.
“1 Bed” Draco replied as he pushed through the front door.
The noise and commotion outside caught him by surprise as flashes of light blinded him. He heard Harry’s name being called and he immediately knew that the reporters had caught up with him. The mass of bodies around him jostled him as he tried to push through.
“Harry Potter? What would your wife say about your affair with a known death eater?”
“Harry? How long has it been going on?”
“Harry, How long have you been gay?”
“Draco? What spell did you use?”
“Harry, have you paid your outstanding child support to Ms Vane?”
“Mr Malfoy, how much did it cost to avoid Azkaban?”
“Draco, where have you been hiding all this time”
Draco kept pushing through until the bodies finally parted before him, he felt his heart hammering in his chest. He blinked against the blinding white spots in his eyes, blotting his vision.
He turned to see Harry right behind him. Their eyes met and Harry nodded. As if knowing exactly what Harry meant, Draco disapparated.
His feet touched the solid floor as he looked around him. The streets were empty in comparison to Diagon Alley. He leant against the nearest building and breathed deeply as he waited to hear the following crack. He took a deep shaking breath as he fought off the panic attack. His breath was deafening in his ears as he tried to fight off the waves of fear. It was all flooding back to him, the stress around the trials, and the threat of the dementors kiss. He felt his heart pounding in his chest as the world swam in front of his eyes. His breath rushed in and out, so fast. Too fast. He couldn’t breathe, his throat felt too tight. He tried pacing to try and run from it, to feel like he’s doing something. He felt his chest screaming for air. He knew he was losing it. He closed his eyes and sat on the ground putting his head between his legs. Trying to get a handle on the breaths. He thought, absently, that at least if he did pass out he’d have less distance to fall. His breath was still too fast, inout, inout, inout. His stomach knotting painfully. He felt hands either side of his face. Warm hands on his neck. He could hear someone talking to him, calm words that seemed to seep into his psyche and slowed his breathing. His mind couldn’t make sense of the words but they seemed to help. He glanced up and saw green. Green, the colour of a meadow in summer; Green like the sunlight through trees. He felt his chest stop screaming as he breaths got deeper and slower. He felt the pain in his head slowly evaporate. As his heart started to beat normally. He continued to breathe, slowly and carefully enjoying the ability to take deep, slow breaths. He could understand the worlds now.
“It’s ok Draco, you’re safe, I’m here. Nothing can happen to you, Just breathe. I’m here. I’m staying here. Calm down, that’s it. Breathe slowly. Don’t worry. I’m not leaving you. Deep breaths” Draco closed his eyes as he felt the sobs coming to his head. His breathing had returned but the anxiety remained. He tried to hold to sobs in, but they tumbled out like a wild animal through a half-open door. The calming mantra continued, and the meadow green eyes never wavered. “I’m here, It’s going to be okay, I’m here. Just breath. That’s it, don’t hold it in, let it out. Think calm thoughts, Breathe, just breath. I’m here Draco, Harry’s here. I’m so sorry, They’ve gone. I’m sorry.” It felt like forever before the sobs stopped ripping their way through his throat and his breaths came normally. He hiccupped slightly as his body slowly relaxed. Harry had proceeded to make calming shushing noises as you would to a newborn you were trying to soothe.
“I’m alright Potter,” He said breathily. His eyes seemed to focus properly as he found that Harry was kneeling between his legs. He started to move, not familiar with such a vulnerable position. Harry slowly pulled away, the warmth of his hands fading away. Draco grabbed his hands and just held them as he leant his head back.
“I’m so sorry Draco,” Harry said. Draco felt his eyebrows furrow.
“Why? What?” Draco asked groggily as he tried to reassemble his brain.
“The reporters. They haven’t swarmed me like that for years now. I don’t know how they knew where we were either.” Draco felt Harry’s hands in his and smiled slightly at the sensation, trying to listen to what Harry said but not being able to.
“I did realise you suffered from Panic attacks too, I’d have never risked it if I had known.”
“Not me, Neville used to while we were at school, and Hermione did after the war” Draco nodded as if that made sense.
“Sorry for being so weak”
“You’re not weak for having a panic attack, it just makes you human.” Draco could hear the smile in Harry’s voice “That was the worst swarming I’ve ever gotten. Someone really put a chimaera up their wands”
“Pansy” Draco said finally. “It’s the only way” He took a deep and almost steady breath as he stood up. He lost his balance and fell backwards but Harry caught him bringing their bodies close. Draco looked down at Harry. He’d never really noticed their height different before. He looked down into those emerald eyes and could count every eyelash. He noticed the famous scar just peeking out from under the greying hair and Draco thought that it was odd that it was their first time he’d noticed it.
“Are you alright?” Harry asked, their faces inches apart. Draco nodded, not trusting his voice as his eyes kept dropping to the plump pink lips. Harry’s cheeks were pink and rosy from the cold.
“I’m alright, are you?” He asked his eyes rising slowly to meet his again.
Draco nodded once and began to straighten up. Harry slowly slackened his hold as Draco took his own weight.
“I guess we had better find this flat” Draco said hesitantly as Harry’s lips seemed to get closer. Harry nodded slowly as he reluctantly released him,
“So which house is it?” Harry asked turning back down the dark street. The warm glow from windows made the street feel almost cosy.
“I think it’s that one,” Draco replied as he pointed to the darkened building ahead. “Doesn’t look like the Lister’s agent is there yet.”
“So do you want me to take the lead on this one?” Harry asked not meeting his eyes.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?” Harry shook his head.
“Is there anything you want me to ask?” Harry asked.
“Nothing springs to mind,” Draco replied still feeling weak and unsteady.
There was a crack that seemed to fill and bounce from off the walls as an older gentleman appeared from nowhere. His grey hair was tied back into a tight ponytail and his suit was dark and pinstriped. He smiled gently upon seeing both of them.
“Good evening. I expect you are here to view this property?” He asked, his accent very stiff and proper. Harry nodded and offered his hand.
“Good evening, Mister?” Harry paused.
“Mr Dench-Reese” he replied as he offered his hand.
“Good evening Mr Dench-Reese, I’m Mr Potter”
“I am well aware” He smiled politely “You’re reputation, as I am sure you know, precedes you.” Harry nodded.
“This is my friend, Mr Malfoy” The wizard went to offer his hand but faltered. Draco watched and noted that good manners and good breeding won out as his hand continued to extend to him.
“Mr Malfoy” He nodded.
“Good Evening” Draco replied. The agent released his hand as soon as was polite and proceeded to turn to the property in question. With a swish of his wand the door swung open and the light within illuminated the night.
The hallway was large and welcoming. The paint had been refreshed recently and everything looked in good condition. The agent led them upstairs and Draco noted the lack of creaks and thumps as he ascended the stairway. Once they reached the landing they were faced with a large, white traditional door. With another swish of his wand, the door swung open and he stood to one side and allowed them entry.
Space was large and airy, with bright walls. It had quirky alcoves in the walls the perfect width apart for bookshelves. The windows were large and clean, overlooking the streets below. He walked around, aware he was being watched by the agent.
“Undetectable extension charm?” Harry asked as he looked at Mr Dench-Reese. The silent man nodded his head once and Harry nodded his head, impressed. They looked around the room, Harry looking at the windows and the walls. Draco heading to one of the doors at the far end of the room.
“As you can see this room would be the obvious choice as a parlour/reception room. The door there leads to a small hallway which opens out onto the kitchen, bedroom and washroom. Everything has recently been fitted and refurbished. I will wait outside. Please summon me if you need any further information.” The man nodded his head again as he stood outside.
Draco turned as he was about to push through the door at the end. He saw Harry examining the fireplace. Harry looked up and nodded.
Draco left the room and began to search elsewhere. The kitchen was large enough to fit a family size table and chairs and looked like the windows would allow lots of light into the room. Next was the washroom which looked neutral and clean, He mentally placed all of his furniture and toiletries around and felt he had much more space than he needed. He turned to enter the last room, feeling slightly apprehensive. He pushed the closed door and peered in. The room, like the rest of the flat, over-sized. The walls were painted a deep green with wood panelling around the bottom. It should have looked dark but Draco stepped in and imagined his furniture all around.
He heard a noise behind him and turned. Harry stood leaning in the doorway taking in the room. Draco felt himself blush at the sudden intimacy they had.
“So? This will be your bedroom?” Harry said innocently. Draco felt his heart begin to thud in his chest at the thought of Harry being there. “It’s a good size!” He said as he stepped over the threshold. “It’s even in your colours, what do you think?” Harry looked at him. His green eyes matching the colour of the walls.
“It’s marvellous,” Draco said enthusiastically.
“I certainly can’t see anything wrong with it.” Harry shrugged. Draco shook his head, stealing a glance at Harry.
“Do you think I should go for it without viewing anywhere else first?” Draco asked as he looked at Harry. Harry shrugged.
“It’s up to you, do you think this is perfect?” Harry asked.
“I think I do, However, I’m not sure about the bedroom” Draco replied.
“Oh? How so?” Harry asked.
“I’m not sure I can fit all the men from Hogwarts in here…” He paused for a moment and then winked at Harry.
Harry barked with laughter as they let the bedroom. As they entered the living room Harry turned to him.
“What did you want me to do? Did you want me to say I was interested? That we’ll let them know?” Draco shrugged.
“I’m not sure, what do you think?”
“If I told you that this place was sold tomorrow, how would you feel?” Harry asked. Draco paused and thought for a moment.
“I’d be gutted I think”
“Then I say go for it.”
“Ok,” Draco nodded determinedly.
He watched Harry move through the flat as he followed close behind. He could get used to the sight of Harry in his flat. He smiled a small private smile to himself as they left the flat.