“How do you do it?” Draco asked as the found themselves back in Horizont Alley.
“Do what?” Harry asked with a wry smile.
“People don’t give you any grief, they just do as they’re told.” Draco threw up his arms, exasperated. Harry smiled and shrugged in reply. He knew that his celebrity status had some perks but didn’t say anything. He watched the blond step into the street, his skin lit by the warm light of the windows lining the road.
“How did you manage it?” Draco asked “The agent didn’t even raise an eyebrow when you said that the flat was for me,” Draco shook his head and Harry watched as the blond hair ruffled around his face. He sighed happily. He was trying desperately not to look too closely at how he was feeling. Ignoring the meaning behind the jolts of adrenaline when Draco looked at him, or the thrill of excitement when they touch. He tried not to compare the emotions and sensations rushing through him with the ones he had felt previously. He felt totally mismatched with the blond when it came to relationships of the senses. He thought of the six men Draco said he had bedded and wondered how he had gotten to the intimate stages with them. He remembered that Ginny had just thrown herself at him and he’d had to do very little work. He glanced back at Draco again and regretted all the secret rendezvous in the dark corners and deserted corridors of Hogwarts they could have shared and blushed.
“Are you listening to me?” Draco asked turning to him.
“Yes,” Harry replied to quickly as he looked around startled.
“Then what did I just say?” Draco smirked as he crossed his arms over his chest. Harry looked around for something to help him but knew that there was nothing. He smiled apologetically.
“What exactly were you thinking about so hard?”
“Nothing,” Harry said quickly and cursed himself.
“Nothing? Really?” Draco chuckled, clearly not believing a word of it “What’s up Gryffindor? All your courage abandoned you?”
“What? No!” Harry said standing straighter.
“Then what’s got you so distracted? You’ve not said a word since we left the flat”
“I was thinking… about school” Harry said finally.
“What about school?” Draco asked.
“About how long ago it was and how everything has changed so much” Draco raised his eyebrow in the dim light.
“Chicken!” He smirked as he turned around looking down the street “So what did you want to do now?”
“Well, we can’t go back to Madam Melchetts,” He said glumly. “Not sure we can go to the leaky cauldron either, not with the swarm about at any rate”
“Should we call it a night?” Draco asked reluctantly.
“I guess, we have both got work tomorrow,” Harry replied sadly.
“Well, I had fun” Draco smiled, the wide genuine smile “Thank you again for your help. Tonight would have been a complete disaster had it been left to me, I didn’t take into account my reputation being a barrier” He shook his head as he looked away. “Thank you, Harry”
“Thanks for letting me tag along,” Harry smiled “It really took my mind off things.”
“Well, if you ever want anywhere to crash if things get too much, you now know where I live” Draco smiled, his lips showing the smallest hint of neat white teeth.
“Draco, you only have one bedroom and I’ve got my own sofa,” Harry said rolling his eyes.
“I know” Draco smiled. He laughed before saying “Goodnight Harry” He disapparated before Harry could say anything more.
Harry stood speechless for a moment as the cold filtered into his feet. He felt a warm smile slowly spread across his lips as he pulled out his wand and did the same.
Harry cursed, taking in the time and flying from the bed. He was running late for work. He rushed around his kitchen as he stuffed the toast into his mouth. He heard the fire roar into life behind him and he turned.
“Madam Dayholt, Good morning,” Harry said around half eaten toast, “I am sorry, I am running late, I will be there momentarily.
“No matter, no matter,” She said matter-of-factly. “Mr Potter, what you do in your own time, no matter how… peculiar is your own business, however, when it affects this office it becomes an issue and therefore I must speak up.”
“Sorry, Madam Dayholt I don’t understand what you mean?” Harry continued to dress as he stared at the disembodied head of his boss.
“If you were any other person in the world Mr Potter, I wouldn’t have to make this call as the reason for which you are in this position is not uncommon or unusual, but due to your… history, you are unfortunately a source of entertainment and interest for the rest of the wizarding world” She took a deep breath as she regarded his state of undress “I take it you haven’t seen a copy of the daily prophet this morning?”
Harry shook his head as the realisation hit him. “I’m in the Prophet, again aren’t I? What’s the headline today?” He sighed unhappily as he sat down.
“Take a look for yourself,” She said as she pushed her copy of the paper through the fire. Harry leant forward and took the materialised paper. On the front cover was a photo of Him and Draco smiling and laughing at one of the tables in Madam Melchetts. The headline read “Cheating Potter Dines with Death eater” Harry covered his face with his free hand and cursed profusely between his fingers.
“Have they bombarded the hospital looking for me?” His boss just nodded her head.
“I am not one to tell my employees how to live their life Mr Potter and you are no exception, however, I think it might be prudent that you stay home today.”
“But Madam, what if I used Polyjuice?”
“Not today Potter, they’re baying for blood and I don’t know what would happen if they realised it was you. Stay home today, we’ll re-evaluate tomorrow.”
“Is there any work I can do at home?”
“Not today Potter, Good Day” Harry watched as the witches face disappeared from the fire, leaving the logs bare. He cursed loudly sending his toast and plate flying across the table. He hit his head on the table several times lightly as he cursed anyone he could think of who would be even slightly responsible.
He looked at the paper again and read the article.
“Harry Potter, the ‘boy who lived’ has been known for the last three decades as someone who stands for goodness and justice. After he defeated Lord Voldemort at the tender age of seventeen, life looked set for the teen as jobs within the Auror department opened up for himself and his classmates who took part in the dark Lord’s downfall. But alas, the Auror department was not right for the boy-who-lived and from there Mr Potters life seemed to take a different direction. He married the Holyhead harpies’ Chaser Ginevra Weasley and life seemed to settle down for the chosen one and a normal life seemed certain.
However last night, our sources reported that the boy-who-lived was seen dining and flirting with the known death eater Mr Draco Lucius Malfoy, a former Hogwarts rival. Mr Malfoy, Son of convicted Death Eater; Lucius Malfoy and Mrs Narcissa Malfoy (nee Black) was tried within the Wizengamot for his crimes during the second wizarding war but was acquitted along with his mother. Questions were raised at the time regarding bribes however no evidence was uncovered.
Believed to be rivals during their time at Hogwarts it appears that recently the rivalry has shifted to something more… sinister.
Our source, who requested to remain anonymous, told The Daily Prophet that the behaviour that was witnessed was indecent.
“They were all over each other and it was clear that they had been involved intimately for some time. They insinuated their love of lewd acts and bragged about their time together behind Mrs Potters back. It was sickening to behold”
Mr Potter and Mr Malfoy left the scene together with no comment to our reporters.
We at The Daily Prophet, as most of our readers, are sure to be shocked at this sudden change in character. It appears that the Boy-who-lived should now be known as the Man-who-cheated. What sort of role model is this man? Can he be trusted ever again? And will the relationship between Harry and Ginevra survive? Where ever he is we hope that he is disgusted with himself and his behaviour. This article was brought to you by Atlas Stringer.”
He threw the paper on the floor angrily and watched as it separated into dozens of sheets, covering the table and the floor. He cursed loudly with feeling as he began to collect them up. He would unleash the bat bogey hex on Parkinson the next time he sees her. At the thought of the curse, he thought of Ginny. He looked up and saw the lack of evidence that Ginny used to live here. Gaps where mugs and ornaments used to live. Spaces in the cupboards and wardrobes where her clothes used to be. He tried to feel sad about the parting, but he felt like he could breathe again. He pulled himself up ready to go back to bed when his owl flew through the window. Pepin was a great horned owl with stunning black white and brown feathers. He dropped the post on the table and glided to perch on the welsh dresser the other side of the room. He looked down at him with a tilting and bobbing head as though he was trying to work out what had happened in the room.
Harry sat back down and began looking at all the letters. A red envelope caught his attention and he closed his eyes with dread. He heaved another sigh as he opened it and waited.
“HARRY! DRACO OF ALL PEOPLE? DRACO MALFOY? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING ON? I KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH HARD TIMES AND THAT WHAT I DID WAS TERRIBLE, BUT THIS IS DISGUSTING. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!”
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose as he waited for the tirade to be over. “I HAVE GOT AN ARMY OF REPORTERS OUTSIDE MY DOOR WANTING TO KNOW WHAT MY REACTION IS TO YOUR CHEATING. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”
The red envelope disintegrated before his eyes as he covered his face with his hands.
What was he thinking? Why did his heart start pounding again when the blond’s face crossed his mind? Why did he long for the moment that they could get together again? Why did his heart betray him? He cursed again as he considered the ramifications of his actions. If he were to continue down this course, then the media would hound them all over again. He paused, maybe he was getting ahead of himself, maybe Draco didn’t feel the same way in which case it didn’t matter, and it would blow over.
He heard someone moving upstairs and waited for the heavy footfall down the stairs that only a teenager could muster. He looked up with what he knew would be a tired smile, as the boy appeared at the door.
“Was that Aunt Gin, I just heard?” Teddy Lupin asked as he sat at the table, His turquoise hair sticking up in every direction, reminding Harry of his own. He carried a textbook which Harry recognised to be a copy of Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms. A book Harry recognised from its blue and silver cover. He had seen Hermione use it many times and smiled at the memories.
“Afraid so,” Harry said glumly. “Studying your runes I see” He countered
Teddy glanced at the book and smiled before returning to the conversation at hand, refusing to be side-tracked “What’s up?” He asked calmly.
“The Prophet has been printing stories about me again”
“I don’t know why anyone ever reads that rag,” Ted said in disgust as he turned his nose up at the sheets lying on the floor “What are they saying this time?”
“That I’m cheating on Gin with Draco Malfoy”
“Uncle Draco? It’s been years since I’ve seen him, I didn’t realise he was back in the country. He always sends me a birthday card, how is he?”
“Yeah, He’s good, a lot different from what I remember from school” Harry smiled a small secret smile.
“So are you two dating?” Ted asked. Harry looked up but there was no accusation in his tone.
“Me and Gin only signed the papers on Saturday Ted…”
“Don’t avoid the question! You know us kids like the fact you tell us the truth and tell it straight, not like the other grown-ups”
“to be honest Ted, I’m not sure what’s going on, I’m trying to figure it all out”
“Yeah, despite what all the other adults tell you, Life doesn’t get simpler, you just get better at pretending you know what you’re doing” Ted laughed as he grabbed an apple from the table and stood up.
“Well that’s encouraging” Ted smiled, and Harry’s heart hurt at how much he looked like both of his parents. “Well I’ve still got more studying to do so I’ll go back to my room.”
“Alright Ted, see you later, Dinner will be about 7ish alright?”
“I thought dinner was at the Weasley’s tonight?” Harry rubbed his face and nodded.
“You’re right, I might need to pop out and do a few things before then so I’ll meet you over there alright?”
Ted nodded and smiled as he took a huge bite out of the apple, and turned from the room. Harry watched him go and wondered where that young man had appeared from. Harry could remember him as a baby with tufty rainbow hair and large brown eyes. He shook his head with a smile as his eyes skimming one of the pages of the Prophet again. His mind reeled back to his issue as he considered what the media really had?
A few photos of two men sitting and talking, that didn’t mean anything, did it? Harry sighed, he needed to talk this through with someone but wasn’t sure who. He immediately thought of Ron and Hermione but knew that their opinions of Draco Malfoy were less than neutral. Luna Lovegood. He smiled, she was always very good at being neutral and unbiased. He launched himself at the welsh dresser as he grabbed his quill, ink and parchment. He would owl her straight away and see if she was free to talk. He paused for a second as he thought, he hadn’t actually met the twins yet so it would be a great opportunity to take their belated presents around. He smiled as the plan unravelled in his head.