“Come on Draco, He’s been out there for hours, I don’t think he’s going to leave until he finds you” Cosima sighed quietly as Draco rubbed his temples. Draco didn’t know how much longer he could stand it either. Harry had been outside calling for him for four hours or more. Sometimes he just called Draco’s name, other times he would plead to the hillside hoping for someone to hear it. Draco crossed his arms on the desk and rested his head on his arms as he heard his name again.
“Draco, It wasn’t me” Harry shouted again. Draco felt the picture dance over his eyelids again of Harry pressing himself against that other man. How could it not have been him? He had spent years watching him at school, years thinking about nothing but him, He thought he would know if it hadn’t been him. “Please love, let me explain”
“Merlin Draco! Please just let him explain, and then maybe he’ll go away and we can actually do some work” Cosima complained again.
After a second Draco sighed and stood. He knew he was not ready to have this conversation but knew that it needed to be done so that he could actually do his job. He could feel his heart beating so hard it threatened to erupt from his chest. He slowly walked towards the mouth of the tent, his limbs feeling like they were made of lead.
“Call if you need me” She called quietly after him. He took a deep breath before he plunged himself into the frigid air beyond the heating charms. He blinked against the light and after a moment saw Harry in the distance. His back was turned, and his hand raised to run a hand through his hair.
Draco felt a tug at his heart and almost turned and bolted back for the safety of the tent. He stopped himself with a firm talking to. He was supposed to be working. He slowly stepped forwards and felt it when he had passed through the wards like stepping through a veil. Suddenly the cold air seemed hostile and frightening, and every fibre of his being wanted to turn and run for it. He almost did when he realised that he had been seen. Harry’s face spotted him, slack for a moment and then a relieved smile appeared as he ran at full pelt towards him. Draco remained still, holding one arm close to his chest with the other. Harry stopped a few paces away his smiled slowly fading into a serious expression.
“I’m so glad I found you” He started, taking a step forward. Draco mirrored and stepped back.
The rising hand Harry had stretched out stilled and lowered again as they stared at each other.
“What do you want, Potter?” Draco asked, trying to remember his sneer from school or his father’s emotional detachment.
“Oh,” Harry started looking down at the floor, his disappointment palpable. “Back to Potter, huh?” He asked sadly.
Draco wanted to say Harry but that was a backtrack he wasn’t willing to make. He nodded once as he crossed his arms, he was sure he looked stronger than he felt. A fine tremor has started somewhere at his core and it took everything he had to still his quivering hands. “What do you want?” He repeated.
“I needed to see you, I needed to explain. That photo-”
“I need nothing from you, Potter. That photo explained everything. It was good while it lasted, but I guess now that you’re free, its time to play the field. I understand perfectly” Draco sniped, cutting off Harry sharply.
“No, That photo, it wasn’t-”
“Please, Potter? This is really beneath us, isn’t it? The only thing we’ve ever been to each other is rivals and enemies, why should that change?”
“Draco, please! Please listen to me, It wasn’t me” Draco stopped for a moment. He narrowed his eyes.
“Wasn’t you?” He said flatly. “Are you really saying that someone pretended to be you?” He raised a sceptical eyebrow before waving his hand dismissively. “You know what Potter, I thought better of you, this is such a Slytherin stunt to pull. Please leave, I have work to do” He turned to go, hoping that the tears threatening to trickle from his eyes weren’t obvious.
“Draco!” He felt Harry grab his arm as he was pulled around sharply. Harry grabbed his face and kissed him. The kiss was salty and rushed and it took Draco a moment to register what was happening. He pushed Harry away angrily raising his wand at the dark-haired wizard. His breath was rushing out of his mouth in small gusts of steam.
“How dare you!” Draco cried, the tremor becoming a near-violent shake. “No Potter! It’s too late. You made your bed, now sleep in it!” He shouted. “Once this assignment is over I’m going to leave and never come back, If I never see your face again, it’ll be too soon.” He turned his back again as he returned his wand to his pocket.
“Please Draco!” Draco almost stopped as he passed through the wards, the sound of heartbreak clear in Harry’s voice. “Don’t! Don’t give up on us, let me explain” Draco shook his head and disappeared back beyond the invisible barrier. As soon as he was through the barriers and he knew that Harry couldn’t see him anymore, he let the tears escape his eyes. Cosima was waiting for him in the doorway of the tent.
“Are you ok?” Draco didn’t answer as he retreated back to his bedroom. The silence spanned for a while, Cosima stood at the door watching through the wards. Her small dark eyes staring out into the day “Are you sure he wasn’t telling the truth?” Draco turned his face to her slowly without answering. “Because he’s taking it almost as badly as you are! That’s a bit weird if he did pull that guy in the bar!” Draco stood slowly and sauntered over to where Cosima was peeping out of the doorway. He glanced out and saw Harry kneeling in the grass, head bowed and shaking.
“Maybe he realises he’s lost the best he’ll ever have,” Draco said flatly turning from the pitiful view outside.
“So you don’t think the prophet would try and sabotage him?” Draco felt his heart skip a beat.
He looked at Cosima for a moment before replying. She looked sincere and nervous as if she was stepping over a line.
“What makes you say that?” Draco asked raising an eyebrow at her.
“I’m old enough to remember all the things they used to print in the prophet when He-who-must-not-be-named was lurking in the shadows, saying Harry was crazy and that he was in league with Dumbledore to overthrow the Ministry. I’m adult enough now to say I even believed some of them before they began to get too outlandish. Harry has just never struck me as the person the Prophet is currently describing.” Cosima shrugged and stepped away from the tent entrance and back towards her bedroom. She paused and looked at him before she disappeared “If I was well known, and I was going to cheat on someone I cared about, I certainly wouldn’t do it where I could so easily get caught by a rogue camera.” She disappeared into her room, leaving him to think it over.
He looked back out of the tent and sighed. Harry still knelt there, His head still bowed but it looked like the shaking had stopped. Draco stepped out the tent again and watched. Harry’s head looked up directly at him and Draco paused, his heart in his throat before he remembered that Harry couldn’t see him inside the wards. Harry’s eyes, even hidden by the glasses, were red and bloodshot. His hair looked even messier than normal and his clothes were sodden and covered in mud. Draco wanted to run to him and hold him, to surround him in warmth and run his hands through his hair. How could he be sure of anything now? He had seen with his own eyes Harry with that man. He felt a desperations and panic rise up inside of him at the memory of the picture. He began to walk forward towards Harry, as Harry pulled out his wand. With a final glance towards Draco, he disapparated.
Draco stood alone staring at the space where Harry had been. Doubt was worming its way into his mind. He took a deep and shuddering breath before turning around and entering the tent again. He looked around for the newspaper which he was sure he had brought with him. The offending paper lay on the ground next to his crumpled green jacket. He bent down and picked his jacket up and cast a scouring charm on it. Once it was clean he hung it up and gave it a gently caress before turning back to the paper. He felt his gut twist as he settled down at the desk and read the headline again. It still made his insides contract and shudder. He took out his notepad and quill as he began to write points for and against Harry.
As his eyes skimmed the article he tried to ignore that it was about Harry.
“Once again this week, Harry Potter – the ‘boy-who-lived-twice’ has been spotted out and about in the Diagon Alley area. This time, however, Draco Malfoy is suspiciously absent from his arm. In some exclusive photos taken by an amateur photographer on the scene at the time, Potter could be seen in the arms of an unnamed man outside the exclusive “Sacred28” club late Tuesday night. Reports have confirmed that the Malfoy heir and former death eater was unaware of Potters transgression.”
Draco Wrote down the word Tuesday followed by a question mark. Where had he been on Tuesday? It occurred to him that actually, they weren’t together at that point. Harry hadn’t asked him out until Wednesday, so technically that already let Harry off the hook. Draco started to relax a little bit as he read the rest. It was still uncomfortable to read but a tightness in his chest seemed to have loosened.
“Former Husband to Ginevra Weasley, It was reported just days ago that the Holyhead harpies chaser demanded divorce after Potter cheated with Malfoy 33. Now Draco is the second in what is sure to become a long list of spurned lovers.
Our sources reported that the “saviour of the wizarding world” was seen behaving lewdly and indecently with the unknown man in plain sight of club goers. Our anonymous source told The Daily Prophet that the behaviour that was witnessed was offensive and course for such a high-end establishment. Potter has since been permanently banned from the club.”
Draco wondered what kind of lewd behaviour Harry would’ve had to do to get barred from that club. Draco had been there years before and it was very lax on the rules back then. He read on
“Things are clearly on the rocks in Potter and Malfoys lurid affair as Potter was overheard saying that Draco’s performance was lacking after spending a night at Malfoy Manor.”
Draco felt a cold chill rush down his spine. Harry hadn’t spent a night at the manor since he had been captured by the snatchers. Why would Harry, if it was indeed Harry, say something that wasn’t true? He decided not to read into the comments about his performance as he smiled slightly at Harry’s confession of Draco being the best he’d ever had. Draco knew that Harry wasn’t a very good actor, and those tears had been real. He looked back down to the article and continued to read.
Mr Potter and Wizard’X’ left the scene hand in hand and refused to comment further, Potter getting physically violent towards our reporter.”
Draco threw the rag on the floor and rested his head on his fist as he looked at his list. So on Tuesday, they weren’t actually together. Harry had never stayed over at the Manor with Draco, and they hadn’t done anything there besides cuddle. Finally, Harry had never been physically violent with anyone not brandishing a wand at him and he had been in the public eye since the tender age of eleven. He remembered his own scars and sat backwards in the chair. He had said it himself, this was almost too Slytherin for Harry. He sat silently pondering what to think when Cosima reappeared.
“Has he gone?” She asked Draco nodded silently. He knew he had to fix this, he may have made a terrible mistake.
“I need to write a letter for my owl to taken when he gets here, once that’s done we can get to work if you’re ready?” Cosima nodded as Draco pulled out more parchment.