All the wrong choices – (Ch17 – Old Habits, New Habits)

The old shades pub looked like it could have been an extension of the ministry with its olive-green tiles and brass metalwork. Each booth, upholstered with tired, sage green leather could hold the four of them comfortably, and the brass metalwork which held curtains around them meant they were in private. Harry shed his cloak as he entered without raising so much as an eyebrow around him. They ordered their drinks and cast a privacy charm on the booth. And there they sat, Harry’s entire thigh touching Draco’s, the heat burning through their jeans.

“Aww, you two look good together!” Hermione said finally. Harry blushed as he looked at Draco who merely smiled.  It was so new in their relationship that they hadn’t worked out exactly how to just sit together. Draco was the taller of the two by a good three inches, but Harry was broader, Draco leant back against the leather looking around the place when Harry leant back too. Resulting in Draco’s arm being across Harry’s shoulders. As Harry sat there, he tried to work out whether it was comfortable. It was certainly, weird. He’d never had anyone’s arm around him before. He shook his head as he leant forward, taking Draco’s hand in his own, interlocking their fingers. Harry looked at Draco, hoping not to see any hurt or rejection there but just saw a serene smile and he felt his insides melt slightly.

“Uh,” Ron moaned “If you two start snogging, I’m gone!” He said a small smiled twitching at the corner of his mouth.

“Sorry guys, But I had to endure the two of you through school, believe me, I owe you a few.”

Hermione blushed as she pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear. Ron had also turned a similar shade of pink.

“I’m not an exhibitionist anymore,” Draco said suddenly with a small smile “You should be safe” Harry looked at him to taste the truth but from the small tug at the corner of his mouth Harry knew that Draco was just making a joke.

“Well, that’s a relief!” Said Ron heartily, missing it completely.

“So what are you two up to this evening?” Hermione asked with a raise of her eyebrow.

“Draco’s bought a flat, and we’re moving him in.”

“Oh yes, you did say,” Hermione said as she took a sip from her glass. “Do you need any help?”

“’Mione, let the guys have some time to themselves!” Ron said with a laugh as he sipped his pint.

“It’s ok, I don’t have a lot to move,” Draco said with a small, graceful shrug.

“What about all the stuff from the Manor?” Ron asked

“What are you doing with the Manor?” Hermione asked at the same time. They all laughed. And Harry squeezed his hand, Draco’s soft grey eyes looked at him for a moment, before looking back to Ron and Hermione.

“There’s not much I need from the Manor, it not been my home for the past decade and I’m still not sure what to do with it. Not sure whether to sell it, rent it or just hold onto it just in case I ever have someone I want to pass it on to.” He gave another gallic shrug.

“How come you don’t want to live there anymore?” Harry darted a look to Draco as he kicked Ron under the table making the other man howl in pain. “Bloody hell, what was that for?” He shouted.

“It’s ok Potter,” Draco said with a small grin, “I want something closer to the office”

Harry looked at Ron and smiled apologetically at the glaring redhead.  “What are you both up to tonight?” Draco asked as he pulled Harry’s arm across him as he held it with his left and stroked ghostly circles on the back. Something about the movement, which was in no what sexual seemed to be stirring something within him. He felt himself blush slightly as he tried to pull away from the temptation. As if sensing it, Draco tightened his grip, stopping Harry from moving. Harry felt a shiver go down his spine, Draco exploiting his fetish again. He became aware that they were all looking at him. He looked around awkwardly as if he had just woken up.

“Harry?” Hermione queried.

“Sorry, What did you say?” Harry asked, his face blazing as he felt Draco continue with the circles on the back of his hand.

“Mum wants to know whether you’re coming over for dinner on Sunday?” Ron was looking at both of them suspiciously now.

“Um, yeah, sounds great” Harry tried to sound easy and light when all he could do was tear his thoughts away from the incessant circles. Hermione grinned.

“Come on Ron, we need to get home, you said when you had a free evening, you’d help me paint the spare room” Ron looked up confused.

“Huh?” He asked gormlessly, and Harry caught the sideways glance Hermione made with her eyes. Eventually, Ron caught on and nodded vigorously, even if it meant agreeing to do decorating.

“See you soon Harry, See you tomorrow Malfoy” They smiled as they left the booth, leaving them alone. Harry sighed as he fell against his lover pressing his lips into the blonds.

“That was unfair!” He said finally with a sigh.

“Hello? I am a Slytherin,” He smirked, “So are you going to help me move?” Harry nodded as he looked up at the grey eyes. Their faces closed and soon they were kissing again, slow and seductively.

“I think we need to go back to yours and transfigure a bed first!” Harry said against his lips, not baring to pull away to speak. He felt Draco’s lips curl up at the corners.

“I don’t think so, Potter!” He smirked. “I think that’s the last thing we should do, otherwise we’ll get nothing done!”

“Good point” Harry sighed, not liking the idea “I really want you.”

“I know” Draco smirked again as he began to pull away to leave the booth, His hand never breaking contact with Harry.


They were outside the Malfoy manor gates and Harry shivered in the fine cloud which had descended around the grounds like a fine mist. It had been over a decade since Harry had last been to the Manor and so many things had changed. He had visited briefly after the trials to return Draco’s wand. He couldn’t remember whether he had ever thanked the blond for throwing his wand at him as he fell from Hagrid’s arms, but he knew without it, he wouldn’t have been able to fire off that spell as a distraction before getting away.

Harry looked at the blond beside him and noted how his face had become his usual blank and disinterested mask. That was the first hint that Draco was apprehensive about moving forward towards the house.

“Hey,” Harry said quietly causing Draco to spin his head towards him. Harry smiled softly and offered his hand. A small twitch at the corner of Draco’s mouth twitched and He accepted the hand. After taking a deep breath Draco opened the gates and pressed ahead drawing Harry with him.

The dying light around them made the low cloud eerie, adding to the saturnine atmosphere around them. Harry could feel the heat leaving him as they got closer to the house, the only heat coming from Draco’s hand. As Harry looked around at the formally neat and orderly gardens he noticed that brown overpowered the greenery in the plants. He wasn’t sure whether this was due to the time of year or whether the gardens had been neglected, but it almost felt like they were moving through a graveyard towards a mausoleum. Brown and sludgy leaves coated the floor along the once neat and trim pathways giving the whole property a thorough look of neglect.

They reached the door without more than a look. Draco gave another small twitch of his lips before pushing the grand, thick set door without so much as a creak. Draco led as Harry held the warm hand for dear life.  He hadn’t wanted to admit it to Draco, but coming back to the manor had not been something he had looks forward to. As if hearing what he was thinking, Draco gave a small squeeze of his hand and Harry felt emboldened slightly by the support.

The stark marble and the lack of colour made the place fell alien as if it was trying to leech the warmth from everything around it. As Harry looked around, there was nothing to offer comfort.

“It’s so cold,” Harry said after a few moments. Draco inclined his head slightly as Harry watched him. It was as if he too were uncomfortable and afraid stood in the grand hallway. Draco stood gazing at the stairs for a long moment before walking into the room to their left, their hands coming undone.

Harry too looked at the stair but saw nothing. He turned to follow Draco, the leeching sensation creeping into the warm hand that Draco had vacated. He felt as though unseen eyes were watching him. It took all his strength and will not to run after Draco.

As he entered the reception room he noticed a blanket and pillow folded neatly on a chaise which shouldn’t have been there. He looked to Draco who had turned to the fireplace, encouraging the embers with his wand, his back to Harry.

“Draco?” Harry whispered, not feeling brave enough to break the silence in the cavernous room.

Draco turned slightly, looking at him over his shoulder. With his face in profile, the light from the fire painted him in a warm amber light, highlighting his striking and angular features. He looked arresting and he almost stole Harry’s breath. Harry gazed at him as he felt a hidden warmth flow through him from his heart. As he walked closer to the amber-painted blond. Hundreds of emotions played across his face and the vulnerable look in his eye made Harry hurry his steps.

He was close enough now to hear the blond’s voice hitch as their gaze remained unbroken. Draco suddenly looked down and away as if ashamed.

“Draco?” Harry whispered again. “What’s wrong?” Harry could see the edge of Draco’s face and could almost see his building his mask back together again.

“Nothing, Potter” just with those two words Harry could hear the arrogant boy he had known all those years at school. Harry closed his eyes, he couldn’t bear it. He grabbed the blond’s face and pulled him close.  He noticed the wide-eyed look of shock as their lips met. Draco was stiff for a brief moment before he melted into the kiss.

Even though Harry had started the kiss, Draco vied for dominance and so began their power play. Harry’s hands found their way into Draco’s hair and Draco’s hands kneaded the small of Harry’s back bringing a groan to his lips. Slowly the fire between them cooled as Harry pulled away gently. He looked unfocused into the golden-tinted grey eyes in front of him. “I don’t know what it is about this manor but you are not the arrogant prick you were at school, and I am not your enemy.” He panted. Draco nodded, his mask gone.

“I’m sorry, Pot-Harry” Harry released him reluctantly “force of habit. I spent so many years having to hide everything here that it’s difficult to be myself here” He sighed.

“I understand” Harry smiled “Come on, let’s get your things and go, you don’t need to be here any longer than you need to”

Draco nodded but made no move to begin. “Is there a problem?” Draco started to shake his head but then stopped.

“I’ve not been upstairs since I’ve been back”

“You mean you’ve been sleeping down here?” Draco nodded. “Why haven’t you been upstairs?”

“Remember I said there were too many ghosts?” Harry nodded, wondering what Draco was hiding. “My parents had their portraits painted and enchanted and they hang on the stairs. I’m not sure I can bear to see them again.”

Harry felt a drop in his stomach, understanding the reluctance.

“They’re your parents Draco, I would offer to come with you, but that may be making an awkward conversation even more difficult”

“You would?” Draco asked, his eyes wide. “You would actually stay with me?”

“Of course, but did you parents know about you and liking boys?” Harry asked, a lopsided smile coming to his face at how pathetic that description was how he felt about the blond

“Mother knew I think, Father tried to ignore it or encourage it out of me”

“Oh Draco” He pulled him forward into a hug.

“You’d really come with me?”

“You really want to present me? Harry Potter? To your parents as your lover?”

“As my boyfriend” Draco corrected as he pulled away to look down into Harrys eyes. Harry smiled at the title.

“If you’re sure, I’ll come with you!” Draco actually smiled, a wide, warm and genuine smile and Harry felt it warm him to his toes as Draco towed him out of the room.

Accio Next Chapter

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