“Sonnet 29 – William Shakespeare –
The irrepressible, rebellious smile was back; back with a vengeance. Like a puppet master yanking the strings, the corners of his mouth would quirk up. He managed to keep the smile partially at bay as he traversed the atrium, lift and office but once he got to his desk it was like a caged animal released. Part of his mind scream at him, horrified at the thought that this smile was mashing all of his features together, shrinking his eyes behind his cheeks but his heart seemed to have grown to encompass his whole chest, taking up the space and role of his lungs as with every breath he felt it swell and tingle. He sat looking at his papers reading them through, paying no attention to the world around him as he busied himself with his work. A random tune from the radio in Harry’s kitchen danced around in his head as he sorted his papers.
“Mr Malfoy!” Came Cosima’s stern voice as it pierced his bubble.
“Good Morning Cosima, how are you today?! He asked joyfully, his eyes not sparing a glance in her direction. He almost heard her bushy eyebrows narrow as she looked in his direction
“I do not need to be serenaded this morning, please refrain” She sniped as she turned back to her work. Draco felt himself blush, his smile slipping slightly for a moment. He hadn’t even realised he’d been humming,
“My apologies, Cosima, I will indeed refrain” He replied as he coughed, the smile escaping from behind his hand.
“What are you so happy about?” She asked curtly.
“Nothing really, What about you? Did you do anything last night?” He asked, smile in place, still without sparing a glance in her direction.
“It’s Harry Potter, isn’t it? He’s fallen under your spell, hasn’t he?” She asked and Draco could almost hear the fear in her voice. He looked up at this, eyebrow raised sceptically.
“Dearest Cosima, you make it sound like we’re back in the middle ages, I can assure you I have not bewitched Potter in any way. By wand, remedy, potion or curse.” He smiled a patronising smile now before looking back at his work, his triumphant smile returning.
“You charmed him, didn’t you? You charmed him in love with you?” He stopped what he was doing and looked up at her. He really looked at her. Her pinched eyes and blotchy skin, her bushy eyebrows and the furious look in her eyes. He looked at her with sympathy for a moment before he answered.
“Now, now Cosima! You know there is no such charm, there is only my Malfoy charm” He winked at her and his smile widened at the horrified look on her face and he had to control a snort as she practically fell back into her chair.
“I’m going to report you, I’m going to go to the prophet, tell them what I know!” He heard her voice drone on as he focused on his paperwork the smile still playing on his mouth. His thoughts drifted to Harry and his smile deepened.
He knew now why he was the only one who could have defeated Lord Voldemort. Voldemort was the absence of love where Harry was a being made from it. His very skin breathed with it. He had felt it in every touch and caress. He felt his cheeks warm as he caught a hint of Harry’s smell on his shirt. It felt naughty knowing that he was wearing the very clothes that Harry had ripped off him. He had to clear his throat at that thought lest his mind get away from him.
“You’re not listening to me at all are you?” Came Cosima’s shrill cry, dragging him from his revelry. He looked up surprised as if he hadn’t realised she was still there. There were other people in the office looking at them now. He remained still with his quill in his hand and his wand nowhere near his hands. “You’re going to kill him, aren’t you? Kill him for the dark lord, Finish his work. Just like Cedric Diggory!” Her voice was getting higher and shriller, but Draco dared not move. He could see the glares from some and quizzical looks from others and he knew that if anything happened, he would be the one to get hexed.
“Ms Pruitt? Is everything alright?” Rolf came over and Draco could see that even the witches and wizards at the desks over by his office could hear the commotion.
“He’s going to kill him!” She screamed “He’s got him under the imperious curse. He’s going to finish the darks lords work, The Prophet said-” Draco stayed very still only his eyes moving as the office held him under scrutiny.
“My dear Cosima. Please calm down,” Rolf interrupted.
“The Imperious curse I tell you, He’s charmed him!” She screamed. Draco didn’t know where this level of hysteria was coming from.
“Cosima, stop this right now. As most people are aware as it is public record, Harry Potter has been able to resist the Imperius curse since his fourth year at Hogwarts.
“It’s dark magic he’s using, I know it!” She cried. Her blotchy face turning all the way to a uniformed red.
“Calliope?” Rolf called as a petite, blonde witch appeared behind him, her wide and dark eyes regarding both Draco and Cosima with bewilderment “Calliope, please can you take Cosima to get a cup of tea in my office, I’ll be in to talk with her in a moment.” The blonde witch nodded as she led the shrieking and sobbing witch away. Rolf watched her go before turning back to Draco and sitting on the edge of his desk.
“Are you alright?” He asked gently.
“I didn’t do anything, Rolf,” He said feeling the bile rising up within him as he felt the fear of returning back to the courtrooms below.
“Don’t be silly, I know you didn’t, I saw you come in” He smiled and Draco felt the fear leech out of him slowly. “Are you alright?”
Draco looked around the room, aware that the eyes of the office were on him and Rolf. He nodded as he looked down at his work again, “If you need to talk you know where my office is” Draco nodded again as Rolf got up from his perch and turned back to his office with a sigh.
The urge to smile had been utterly buried by this point. Draco shut his eyes and remembered the warmth and comfort Harry could provide. The memory settled his insides and gave him strength as he bent to finish the reports and forms on his desk. He was so consumed, he didn’t know when Cosima returned back to her desk.
It was about lunchtime when the memos came sailing through the office. Draco had to stifle down his smile when one skidded onto his desk. He looked around before he opened it and felt a warmth blossom in his chest again as a small and gentle smile came to life, like a flower opening.
He read the poem a couple of times as he felt each word resonate with him. It was true, they had both been through fire only to find each other on the other side. He folded the paper up and put it in his back pocket, wishing the hours away so that he too could be with Harry again.
He wrote a short response not quite sure how to portray how he was feeling. In his youth, he had read the entire works of many muggle poets including Shakespeare, unbeknownst to his father, and had fallen in love with the bards’ turn of phrase above all others. He knew of one sonnet which had never really struck a chord with him in his younger days but in the years since had become more and more relevant.
“When I think of you, Sonnet twenty nine sings in my heart. All my actions, all my choices, have brought me to you”
He smiled a small private smile, before darting his eyes around the office, lest he be discovered. He folded the paper and off it went, caught on an invisible wind. He cursed himself lightly as he pondered his own words. Everything had brought him to this very moment in time. For a moment, he was close to forgiving himself, feeling as though he had been exonerated by the universe. He caught Cosima’s eye as she shuddered away. The universe may have exonerated him however, wizards were less forgiving, he thought grimly as the opening line from the sonnet rang in his mind. “disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes” He sighed as he went back to work.
He was daydreaming in the lift as it trundled up, he was blissfully unaware of the other occupants until the lift stopped on the second floor and Ron and Hermione climbed aboard. He smiled slightly and nodded as he acknowledged them. After a brief shared look them, the stepped into the gap between him and the others on the lift. There were a few hisses and sharp intakes of breath that anyone had dared close the distance. Ron rolled his eyes as he pushed his unruly hair out of his face.
“Alright, Malfoy?” He asked cheerfully.
“Weasley, Granger, how are you both?” He asked cordially.
“Good, thanks, you?” Hermione replied, and Draco felt his smile broaden as he heard the double meaning in her words. He looked at her and let more of his real smile show.
“I’m well thank you” He replied as he noted the blush and smile on Hermione’s face.
“Been up to much recently?” Ron asked, and Draco noted the slight grimace on Hermione’s face.
“This and that,” He responded again, he smiled smugly at Ron. Ron nodded approvingly as he smirked.
“Got much planned for this evening?” Hermione asked, her bushy brown hair bouncing on her shoulders as she moved.
“I’m currently moving to a new house, I’ve got a friend coming over to help me” He smiled again as he pushed the hair back from his face.
“What a great friend” Ron exclaimed with false innocence “It’s good to have friends like that and I’m sure you’d be hard pushed to find any better” He smirked as he looked away.
“indeed” Draco replied.
They travelled the rest of the journey in silence, each sharing the private smiles and smirking as the other occupants of the lift looked around, obviously desperate for the gossip.
Finally, the lift arrived at the atrium and the others were quick to escape and disperse into the throng of people. Ron and Hermione hung back, looking around to make sure they wouldn’t be overheard.
“So things are going well?” Hermione asked eagerly. Draco couldn’t help the smile that possessed his mouth and he nodded. Hermione seemed to understand the weight of that one unschooled gesture.
“I’m going to be away on business for a little while but once I’m back you ought to come over to my new place.”
“Oh, what’s Harry got to say about that?” Ron asked.
“I haven’t told him yet, didn’t exactly get change last night” Draco admitted feeling the blush spread across his cheeks and down his neck.
Draco saw Hermione tense up with the biggest smile on her face as she gushed over how cute they were.
“I really want to ask for details but at the same time I don’t,” She said with a lopsided grin on her face. Ron opened his mouth to say something before his knee gave out and he staggered.
“Oi!” Ron cried as he turned to the empty space behind him. Draco felt a hand slide behind him from nowhere. He felt his heartbeat begin to race and hoped that his face was neutral.
“Harry, stop being such a stalker!” Hermione whispered just so the four of them could hear. There was a low chuckle to Draco’s left.
“I couldn’t help myself, I’ve been told that my boyfriend has been going out with other men on his lunch break!” Draco felt his heart skip a beat at the use of the title. Hermione’s face lit up
“Boyfriend?” She whispered
“Merlin’s beard” Ron echoed.
“Potter!” Draco warned in a hiss “Be careful, I almost incited a riot this morning in my office over you,”
“A riot?” Ron repeated. “What did you do?”
“One of the women seems hell-bent on me having Potter under some sort of spell or charm, she started getting hysterical, I felt like the office was going to stun me at one point”
“No!” Harry gasped “Are you alright?” He must have been worried as the cloak parted slightly giving Draco a slim glance at Harry’s face.
“How awful,” Hermione said, “Who was the witch?”
“Cosima Pruitt” Draco replied.
“Oof, no wonder! Be careful of her” Ron said sympathetically “You’ll never guess who she’s related to” Ron said as he raised his eyebrows.
“Myrtle Warren,” Ron said nodding.
“Who?” Harry and Draco said in unison.
“No!” Said Hermione astonished “How did I not know that” Ron looked smug at that.
“Who’s Myrtle Warren?” Harry asked from thin air, his fingers drawing circles on Draco’s back.
“Moaning Myrtle!” Hermione said, her eyes wide.
“What?” Harry said shocked.
“Exactly, No wonder she’s sensitive about the whole death eater business, No offence,” Ron said, raising a hand to Draco.
Draco nodded thanks feeling less shaky as the warmth of Harry’s arm radiated through his jacket.
“How about we all go out for a quick drink before we go home? Molly and Arthur have got the kids tonight” Hermione said with a grin. “And I want to know about almost all of last night.” She wiggled her eyebrows making Draco snort with a chuckle.
Draco looked into empty air as he tried to check with Harry.
“What did you want to do love?” Harry asked
“It would be nice” Draco ventured, unsure whether he wanted to be spotted out in public so close to their last adventure.
“Did you have anywhere in mind ‘Mione?”
“There’s a muggle place around the corner from here, The old shades, It’s less than a two-minute walk”
“Oh, I like that place,” Said Ron with a smile.
“Come on then, let’s go,” Harry said.