Erecting the tent was a quick affair, though explaining the need for it to Neville and the others was not.
“Just poke your head inside and give a shout if you need anything, yeah? And if Hermione and Ron get back before we’re up again, send them in after us straight away.”
Neville had frowned. “Are you sure you don’t feel like kipping on one of the hammocks? It’s silly for you to have come all this way only to hide in your tent—”
“We aren’t hiding,” Harry had said, before realising how defensive he sounded and explaining, “Just, Draco’s exhausted from his flight, and he’d never be able to relax surrounded by so many people who either outright hate him, don’t really care about him, or just dislike Slytherin on principle.”
Neville hadn’t seemed entirely convinced. “And…you’re tired too?”
“Well you try breaking into and then back out of Gringotts on an empty stomach.” Neville had laughed at this, and Harry had clapped him on the shoulder. “We’ve got our rooms in there, and it’ll be nice to have a little quiet time before our next round of risking our necks, y’know?”
Neville had at last relented, shooing Harry off and vowing to keep any nosy parkers from interrupting their afternoon nap. Harry had felt a little guilty, skiving off for a bit or privacy when Neville and Seamus and the others were clearly aching for more stories of what Harry had been up to, but Draco needed reassuring more than Neville’s feelings needed coddling just at the moment, so Harry’s mind was settled.
As soon as the last peg had been pinned to the Room’s flagstones with a Sticking Charm, Draco slipped through the flaps, crossing the tent’s sitting room in three long strides.
“You want some tea or something?” Harry asked, making a beeline for the kitchen to put a kettle on. “Or are you hungry? Feels like those sausages and chips were hours ago…” He wondered if the Room might oblige them with a back-door to the castle’s Kitchens. Or could they Summon house-elves in here?
Draco ignored him, though, arrowing mutely for their bedroom and slamming the door shut behind him. Harry winced and quickly cast a Muffliato on the tent; no sense in giving the group milling around out in the Room gossip fodder.
Abandoning his efforts with the kettle, Harry followed Draco into their bedroom at a more sedate pace. He eased the door open again, hanging in the doorway as he watched Draco shuck his trousers and shirt and combine their beds with a flick of his wand.
It was hardly a subtle invitation, but when had Draco ever shown himself to practice delicacy? This was par for the course, and they were all stressed and on-edge, so Harry decided that perhaps he ought to lower his expectations.
It wasn’t as if he was entitled to any sort of romantic overtures, after all.
“Are you coming or not?” Draco snapped accusingly, and Harry’s expression must have shown some offence, for he gentled his tone a bit as he drew back the covers. “…I’d rather the former.”
Harry reached for the zip on his cardigan. “Of course. Why do you think I came in here?” Draco just shrugged. “…You sure you didn’t need any time in the Sanctuary? This might be our last chance for…for a while.”
“I think I’ve spent more than enough time as a dragon today.” He extended an arm, beckoning impatiently. “Hurry; you’re taking for-fucking-ever.”
Harry raised a brow. “What’s the speed of my disrobing got to do with you going to sleep?” Draco just fixed him with a needling glare, and Harry nodded. “Right, right—budge up, then.”
He quickly dropped trou and tossed his shirt into the corner, where it joined a growing pile of dirty washing that Harry had been too busy saving the world to deal with.
Draco practically dragged him under the covers, sliding up close behind him and pressing his forehead to Harry’s nape. He took several deep, bracing breaths, filling the silence of their bedroom with soft inhalations. Harry imagined him like a battery, slowly recharging himself from the draining effort of worrying that Harry might lose his life the moment he dared looked away.
After a few minutes, Harry wondered if he was asleep. They really ought to sleep, even just a quick cat-nap. Somewhere out there, Voldemort was frantically checking his Horcrux hiding places and realising with mounting dread that Harry nearly had him. Once he came looking for the Horcrux here in Hogwarts, everything would come to a head. It might even happen tonight—perhaps this was all almost over.
He knew the thought ought to fill him with relief—at least a little—but it somehow didn’t, not at all.
The tick tick ticking was growing louder with each passing breath, until it was deafening and he could hear nothing beyond the sound of his own mortality creeping up on him, the moment of kill-or-be-killed, when he would either strike Voldemort down or be struck down himself, and he didn’t feel at all prepared to manage the former.
“They all hate me out there,” Draco pouted against the back of Harry’s neck, distracting him from musing over his impending doom with the ridiculous frivolities of social status.
Harry did not dispute this, as Draco hated pretty words about as much as Harry did. “…Well, you’ve kind of been a git to a lot of them. And nowhere in that lovely speech you gave did you even attempt to apologise or suggest you’d reconsidered past actions or—”
“Yes, well,” Draco interrupted with a sniff. “It hardly seems the time to whinge and moan about who did what in Third Year.”
“Third Year. First Year, Second Year, Fourth Year, Fifth Ye—” Draco made to pinch Harry’s waist, but Harry twisted around, making a grab for his wrists. They wrestled for a bit until Harry snaked his arm around Draco’s waist and held fast, smiling with flushed cheeks. “They don’t know you. What you’ve done, what you’ve been through. They just don’t know you, that’s all.”
“And you do?”
“A little bit,” Harry said. “More would be nice, though.”
Draco’s lips quirked up at one side in a poorly disguised grin of abject superiority. “Does Harry Potter want to be my friend?”
“Well considering I just told a room full of our schoolmates that we already were, then yeah sure.” He shrugged. “Why not make it official?”
Draco stared at him in a way that made him feel very uncomfortable after that—lips parted and blinking slowly, not even breathing. Harry thought he probably ought to move his arm from where it was wrapped around Draco’s midsection, but doing so now would only draw attention to it.
Draco swallowed, arching a brow. “Too bad I don’t want to be your friend.”
And now he was just being pedantic. Harry rolled his eyes, poking Draco’s bare chest, right between the pectorals. “Oh no? What do you want to be, then?”
All humour faded from Draco’s face, leaving behind a pale mask that seemed thoroughly wrong-footed by what Harry had meant to be casual—if unnecessarily flirtatious—banter. Clearly he had trod out of bounds, though, and he quickly shifted topics.
Harry cleared his throat softly. “…‘S weird, being back here. Feels like we ought to be throwing Hexes at one another, or trying to get each other saddled with detentions. Maybe arguing about who’s going to kick whose arse in Quidditch come the weekend…”
Draco seemed to appreciate the distraction. “Now why would I waste my breath arguing about a given Slytherin win?”
“Hm—remind me, when was the last time Slytherin won while I was Seeking…?”
“I think I’ve a slight advantage now.”
Harry frowned. “You mean you think you can cheat your way to the Cup now.”
Draco raised a finger, tutting. “Show me where in the Standard Rules of Quidditch it says a word banning transforming into a dragon in the middle of a match.”
Harry rolled onto his back and stared up at the canvas ceiling, settling his arms across his stomach and sighing in a much put-upon way. Draco shifted onto his side, elbow braced and head propped up in one hand as he grinned most irritatingly at Harry.
“They’d instate one, just for you.”
“Let them try; my father will hear about it.”
Harry had to snort at the notion of Lucius Malfoy, cowed Death Eater, throwing a wobbly because his unregistered Animagus offspring couldn’t incinerate the opposing team’s starting lineup.
But his smile too quickly faded into a wry kind of melancholy. “…Kind of sucks we’ll never be able to do that kind of stuff again.”
“What, drive each other mad? Trust there’s always opportunity for that.”
“No, just—normal kid stuff.”
Draco frowned. “We aren’t kids.”
“Yeah, but…it doesn’t feel like we ever really were, even. There was always something, you know?” Like mad professors trying to kill him or haunted diaries trying to manipulate ravenous beasts into eating him or deadly misunderstandings with long-lost godfathers or second comings of megalomaniacs or Umbridges or Horcruxes.
Draco extended a finger to brush along his bicep, tracing the swell of his muscle down to the divot in the crook of his elbow, then back again “Wishing you could turn back time, then? Don’t go maudlin on me now, Potter.”
“It’s not me being maudlin; it just would’ve been nice for a bit of normalcy. Even just for one year.”
“We’re wizards, Potter—”
“Harry, honestly. I’ve had about enough of ‘Potter’ for today.”
“We’re wizards, Harry,” Draco obliged, without making a face for once. “We don’t get to be ‘normal’—whatever that is. It sounds dreadful.”
“Surely we deserve ‘not fearing for our lives,’ though? There must be some version of reality where You-Know-Who doesn’t exist, and I grew up in Godric’s Hollow and maybe even had a baby brother or sister. Where I wasn’t so scared to be sorted Slytherin I asked not to be—and we were dormmates. Where you always called me ‘Harry’ and I always called you ‘Draco’ and we just…”
He trailed off with a defeated sigh, closing his eyes. He was rambling now and not making a whit of sense.
“Where you knew me…” Draco mumbled. His thumb was rubbing hypnotically over the knob of Harry’s elbow, though he didn’t think Draco even realised he was doing it, lost in thought as he seemed to be.
“Mm. I just…” He cocked his head to the side, seeking understanding in Draco’s eyes. “I wish it didn’t feel like…there’s never any time. Like there’s always something we have to do. Even if we somehow come out of this alive, I feel like it still won’t really be over. There’ll just be something else to attend to, some new obligation, and there’s never enough time to…” He caught himself, just before he bungled everything. “To see.”
Draco was watching him with a dangerously fragile tension that made Harry tremble—he could muck this up fifteen ways from Sunday if he didn’t watch himself.
“…To see what?”
“To see…” Harry swallowed. “To see whatever.” He knew it was a cowardly answer, though, and he recalled Draco’s fears made manifest by the Locket—that Other World where he did the kinds of things with Ron and Hermione that made his toes curl.
A dark part of him that he kept well tamped down, the part that the Sorting Hat had latched on to and that reared its ugly head at the worst possible times, made him want to pick apart what evidently amounted to Draco’s worst fear. To see how much of it rang true, what it really meant.
But they didn’t have time—no time for them, at least. There was no time for two people: just a wall. A wall that could not have chinks or weak points, because they couldn’t afford to fall, not this close to the end. Not with so much riding on their not fucking things up.
Still, Draco at least deserved more than ‘whatever’.
“To…look, you know. Explore.” It still came out flat and clumsy, and with an irritated huff, he tried to roll away, placing his back to Draco—
But Draco grabbed his arm, stilling him, and fixed him with a look in his eyes that screamed manic desperation, helped none by the way his pink tongue darted out to wet his lips and his breath stuttered in his throat. His skin seemed to vibrate, and Harry worried he’d just said something very wrong.
“What?” Harry spit out reflexively, and it took a moment for his brain to catch up and process just what Draco had said. “I—what?”
Draco’s fingers on his arm tightened, like he feared Harry might leap from the bed and beat a hasty retreat back into the Room, his state of déshabillé be damned.
“I’ll ask again, if I have to—but I think you heard me.” Draco closed his eyes, tight, and swallowed around a thick lump that made his words come out with a nervous warble. “Just—I want you to—” He released an unsteady breath and opened his eyes again—just grey, just grey. No tell-tale flicker, no riot of colour. “Please,” he whispered through grit teeth, then with a tight smile, he added, “You still owe me the favour I won.”
Harry had to take a beat—and then another, and another after that, still not entirely sure he’d heard right, that Draco was actually asking him what it sounded like he was asking, because there were the things they’d done…and then there were the things they’d deliberately not done, because that was….that was another thing entirely.
But then, Draco was in a right state—he’d had to masquerade as a psychopath half the morning and spent the other half flying for his life over the better part of England. He’d then been rudely reminded of the dire consequences of magic that wouldn’t listen to its wielder and suffered a (decidedly earned) rude welcome on their return to a place that had once meant sanctuary.
Why shouldn’t he be grasping for reassurances like this, actions that were so intimately entwined with the concept of commitment they’d been enshrined into Muggle wedding vows?
“Wait—does…does, you know, the dragon…er, are you saying it needs—”
“Forget the fucking dragon,” Draco whined with strident irritation. “Just—I’m asking. In a rather mortifying setup, too, as you’re making me ask several times.”
But how could Harry forget the dragon? He didn’t dare—it was the only thing he had to left cling to if he wanted to keep this whole thing from becoming…becoming bigger than they could let it, something wholly unmanageable, and didn’t Draco understand that?
He’d let this go too far, he could see it now, and look where they’d wound up: curled around each other in a glorified pup tent with only their underwear keeping them decent.
But he couldn’t say that, couldn’t say any of that, so he just groped for the first excuse he could manage: “I’ve…I’ve never…”
“I don’t care,” Draco grit out. “This isn’t about—” He bit back a frustrated groan, closing his eyes to force a deep, bracing breath. Perhaps he thought it might calm him. “I just want it,” he said, adding in a quiet rush, “Please, Harry—please, just…”
“I didn’t—say no,” he reminded firmly, feeling his cheeks heat. He certainly wasn’t saying yes, either, but he didn’t know what hearing Draco literally begging him for—that—might do to him, and he didn’t want to find out.
Draco’s eyes opened again, and they’d lost a bit of the frenzied haze, to Harry’s relief. He didn’t seem to be under the influence of any potion—and when could he have possibly been dosed, really?—nor did he look to be being driven by the dragon’s nigh-insatiable subhuman urges. But…that hardly gave them permission to…indulge.
“It’s only that,” he tried again, “I mean, that’s something…I’ve never—”
“I told you: I don’t care.” Draco locked eyes with him, and Harry told himself that the flicker he caught in their depths was only the light from the lamps. If Draco was going to maintain this wasn’t about the dragon, he would humour him. “…It’s not as if I have, either.”
It came out bitter and acrid, like it left a nasty taste in Draco’s mouth, and Harry felt a thrill run through him, some muddied amalgamation of relief and excitement and arousal and abject terror.
He trod down hard on that feeling. “Then maybe we shouldn’t,” he said, in soft suggestion so as not to work Draco into a desperate froth again. He didn’t think he was terribly old-fashioned, but this really didn’t strike Harry as the sort of thing you were meant to dive into for the first time in a hurried encounter in a tent while a wanted man.
It was…something you were supposed to take your time with, to relish and enjoy. What had Draco said? Savour. And more to the point, it was something you were meant to do with someone you really loved—not someone you were unavoidably entangled with because of wayward magic and hormones and the ever-present threat of a tortured demise if you didn’t submit.
Neither of them deserved that.
“If—if the dragon doesn’t need it, then maybe—”
Draco shoved him away with a frustrated growl, falling back onto his pillow and rubbing the heels of his palms in his eyes. “It’s not always about what it wants! I’m allowed to want things too!”
And of course Harry knew that. Draco was only saying out loud the things they’d neither one of them ever really acknowledged: that so many aspects of this…thing had stopped being about what Draco or the dragon needed—really physically needed to satisfy, like a hunger—quite a long time ago.
There was a wealth of difference between the simple, base measures of reassurance the dragon had sought in those early days…and what Harry had felt compelled to offer, greedily accepted in return.
Harry shifted upright, drawing his knees toward his chest and resting his arms on them as he tried to process where they went from here, how they got around—this.
“And…what you want—is that?” Draco lifted up onto his elbows, pursing his lips and nodding quickly. “…I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but seriously: I don’t—really know…erm, how to…”
Draco rolled his eyes, scoffing in disgust. “It’s not fucking Divination—it’s sex.” He then added in soft entreaty when Harry flinched reflexively at the word, “You managed the other times decently enough.”
Harry had to laugh a little at that. “High praise, indeed.” He coughed, and he could feel his heart racing in his chest. “Don’t we…don’t we need some—stuff?” He’d caught enough of Dudley and Piers’s racy conversations and naughty posters papering the walls of Knockturn Alley to know that the business of blokes with blokes was more complicated than it seemed at first blush.
Draco’s expression slackened, losing some of its bitter anger, as if he hadn’t honestly expected Harry to actually agree to this. He raked his eyes around the room, then grimaced. “There’s…spells. I don’t know them though…”
And an already bad idea was starting to sound worse and worse. “Draco, if we don’t even have the knowledge or materials we need, we probably shouldn’t—”
Draco’s hands were on Harry’s shoulders in a flash, gripping roughly and shoving him down, onto his back. In one smooth movement, he slid on top of Harry, straddling his waist and holding Harry firmly in place with his weight. “People fucked—” he said, punctuating his words with a sharp roll of his hips, “—before there were spells and salves, you know.”
He leaned in until his nose was only an inch from Harry’s, then canted his hips more slowly, gently dragging his cock alongside Harry’s. The angle caught the fabric between them, rubbing with delicious friction, and Harry bit back an inelegant yelp. He slammed his fist on the mattress, desperately swallowing down any sounds. He really didn’t want to test that Muffliato.
“…You said more would be nice. Knowing me.” Draco’s breath was hot against Harry’s cheeks, and he had to close his eyes against the intensity of this assault on his senses. Draco shifted forward, resting his forehead against Harry’s until their lips brushed on every word spoken. “I want to show you. What might have been.”
His words were soft and raw and so painful, Harry felt it as a physical ache when he didn’t say what could be.
Because there was no future, nothing beyond this moment—nothing they could promise each other, not when they knew full well they might not live to see another sunrise. If it came, it came, and perhaps they would have a whole new set of problems to deal with then, but now was guaranteed, at least, and Draco seemed intent on capitalising on that fact.
Harry’s cock was painfully hard by now, caught between the rocking drag of Draco’s own cock alongside. Harry’s hands went to grab his hips, unsure if he wanted to shove him off or hold him closer. He fought down the urge to writhe, knowing it would just make deciding how he wanted to play this more difficult.
“I—I want to, I do—” He released a huffed chuckle despite himself, wincing. God, did he want to—or at least a part of him really wanted to. “I just—” He snapped his hips up, then tried (most unsuccessfully) to cross his legs when a particularly powerful wave of arousal washed through him. He threw his head back, trying to sink into his pillow, and heard Draco snicker at him, the prick. “Fuck,” he hissed.
“That’s what I’m asking,” Draco said, canting those hips too damn slowly for Harry’s taste. Forget fucking—they could do this all night, right through Voldemort raiding the castle, and Harry thought he’d probably be all right with it. Maybe this had been Draco’s devious plan all along.
Draco shifted back, drawing upright and braced his hands against Harry’s chest. He ran them down his rib cage and then up again, brushing over the peaking, dusky nipples with a caress that was only teasing for its brevity. It felt amazing, bloody fantastic, and Harry could feel himself careering toward the point of no return, that moment when Draco would ask him for the last time, and he’d give a resounding yes because it was finally a need as strong as anything the dragon had ever made known.
He lifted a knee and unseated Draco, sending him toppling to the side with an offended squawk. “What the fuck, Harry?!” he snarled as he collapsed onto his back, and Harry spared only a moment to run his eyes appreciatively over Draco’s tented briefs before he twisted around to crawl over Draco, snaking his way up the arching body trembling beneath him.
Draco quickly quieted when he realised he was getting his way, and he was smiling far too self-satisfactorily when Harry met his lips with a kiss full on the mouth. He tried to slake some of his arousal with the kiss, going deep and hard and demanding, and he ran his hands down Draco’s sides, touching the jutting balls of his hips before running back up.
Perhaps to ensure Harry didn’t try and back out of whatever he was committing himself to, Draco brought his legs up to bracket Harry in place, effectively trapping him—claiming him, and Harry wondered silently if maybe the dragon had some say in this after all.
“It’s not as if I have either,” he’d said in petulant, defensive admission, as if this were something to be ashamed of. So many firsts, and he was spending them all—wasting them all—on Harry. Maybe he heard the ticking as well, maybe it had grown too loud to ignore, and there was a part of him, secreted away, finally admitting that there was a real chance that Harry was going to die very, very soon.
That this might be his last chance to have Harry—or maybe his only chance ever.
Harry dipped a finger under the hem of Draco’s briefs, sliding along the edge and meeting Draco’s eye in silent request for permission. Draco gave a sharp, shocked inhalation, worrying his bottom lip and nodding quickly.
“Lift up,” Harry said, certain he’d never heard his voice sound so gruff, and Draco canted his hips upward to allow his briefs to be peeled off. They fell by the wayside, and Harry wrapped a trembling hand around Draco’s half-hard cock, giving a few experimental tugs.
Draco hissed softly, thrusting up into the loose channel Harry had made with his fist, and licked his lips, looking quite the most wanton thing Harry had ever seen in his life. He felt a sudden urge to look away, like he wasn’t meant to see this manner of smut unfolding before his very eyes.
How could he possibly be expected to turn this down? To refuse what Draco was so eagerly offering? It wasn’t like that business with the virility potion; Draco wanted this, he really did, this Harry believed. He’d seen that desperation in his eyes before, a vain hope that betrayed just how much he ached for something he knew well he neither deserved nor was likely to receive. And yet still he wanted, nakedly and fiercely.
Perhaps, then, Harry wasn’t meant to turn it down at all. Wasn’t a little better than none? Wasn’t a few minutes—if that—better than never?
Harry thought he wasn’t interested in what might have been, because there was a certain bliss in ignorance, but…this might be the last thing he could give Draco.
He hadn’t been a very good M word, mostly because he hadn’t had much choice in the matter and Harry did not take kindly to such situations, as Ron and Hermione (and now Draco) well knew, but still.
No one wanted to die a virgin, right?
He mouthed a colourful oath to himself, closing his eyes and shaking his head, and pressed two fingers to Draco’s lips—sliding them in, and then out again, covered in spit.
Part of him still recoiled, a refrain of Gross! ringing in his ears, but the better part of his mental faculties had by now been given over to sheer terror or clouded by arousal, so there wasn’t exactly much room left for disgust.
Besides, it wasn’t as if they hadn’t already had their tongues down each other’s throats—among other things.
The saliva was better than nothing, and his strokes to Draco’s cock came more smoothly now as the shaft plumped and grew in his grip. Maybe if he could get Draco off first, then he could use the slick to…to make the next part easier.
Or at the very least, he could flood Draco’s veins with enough endorphins to make him forget any pain this ill-advised fucking was likely to engender. Cock-sucking he could handle, though he’d balked at the notion initially, and he was an old hand at wanking by now, but buggery was…well, a quick glance at Draco’s cock, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anything like that anywhere near his arse.
Was it really the dragon after all, then? That had Draco begging Harry to…well?
God, this really was a terrible idea. He felt a wave of nausea lap at the fraying edges of his mind, and his grip went slack.
“Pick up the pace, Potter,” Draco growled in reminder, and Harry gave him a sharp squeeze as he fumbled to catch up to his earlier pace. “Easy! I still need that!’
“Sorry, I—sorry,” Harry mumbled. Perfect, just perfect—and now Draco looked cross with him again, his expression no longer quite the wanton abandon he’d shown in their earlier liaisons. Indeed, he seemed no more thrilled with the situation than Harry—which he probably wasn’t. After all, who wanted their first time to be had under threat of imminent doom?
No one, of course—but Draco was still asking, and Harry reflected he was being a right prig by dithering like this and not making a damn decision one way or the other.
Harry leaned in, sidling smooth and with intent, to kiss Draco again, as gentle and attentive as he could possibly be under the circumstances.
For whatever reason, Draco did want this. Maybe even needed it, perhaps subconsciously. So…if it was something Harry could give, then he wanted to. They had enough to stress about right now, enough shit hanging over their heads, that they ought to have what they wanted while they were around to enjoy it.
Sure, this was hardly how he’d envisioned his own first time going, furtive and unsure if he was going to live another twelve hours—and Draco Malfoy had certainly never factored into his wildest of fantasies, this he wanted on record. But Draco had complied when Harry had begged him for something he shouldn’t have, so Harry could stand to do the same, he figured.
He could do this—so he would.
He bumped against Draco’s arse, rubbing himself through his tenting briefs along the crevice of the cheeks. He imagined sliding in, tight and slick and warm, burying himself inside Draco, imagined the sounds they would make with their voices and bodies, imagined—
Draco braced his hands between them, palms against Harry’s chest, and gave a great shove with a frustrated grunt. Harry’s arms pinwheeled comically as he struggled to keep his balance, and Draco slid out from under him, cursing violently. He was out of the bed and tugging his briefs back on before Harry’s mind caught up with what had just happened.
There was no response; Draco only snatched up his wand with trembling fingers and gave a swipe with it, bringing the rest of his clothes floating after him as he stormed out of the room.
Harry watched him go in bald confusion, then gave a violent start when he heard a door slam elsewhere in the tent: the Sanctuary.
Oh, he’d fucked this up somehow. He knew he shouldn’t have been surprised, and yet he was, because he’d well and truly committed there, at the end. His cock was certainly still in the game.
He ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it with a sigh, and took a moment to collect himself, as it was damn awkward wandering around with a hard-on (though Draco had made it look effortless). Once down to half-mast thanks to a vivid fantasy of Dudley’s conception, he pulled on his pyjama bottoms and a shirt and followed Draco out into the Sanctuary, wand at the ready in case he was in a snit.
The Sanctuary was in a curious state; perhaps because of the magic of the Room, it didn’t seem capable of reflecting the environment outside the tent, instead showing a rather drab Scottish moor cast in waning sunlight, not entirely unlike the mindscape Harry had first found Draco trapped within all those months ago.
He expected to see the dragon once he entered, but Draco had not bothered to transform, instead having Transfigured a low hedge into a blue-and-white-checkered loveseat that looked comically out of place against the scrubby landscape.
He was leaned forward, his elbows settled on his knees and his head in his hands, the very picture of a pout.
Harry sleeved his wand, confident that at least he would not have to parry fireballs and dodge whipcracking tails.
“…I’m getting some really mixed signals from you, you know,” he said. Draco turned to glare at him, mouth sharply downturned and suggesting he was in no mood for levity. Harry sighed, rubbing his eyes. “What do you want from me, seriously?”
“I thought I was pretty explicit.”
“Then why did you storm out?” It felt like there was some joke being batted about, and Harry just wasn’t getting the punchline. Every step he made seemed to be absolutely the wrong one, and he was tired of standing in place.
“Because it was rapidly becoming clear you didn’t want it.”
Harry opened his mouth to protest this—then closed it again, because well, Draco wasn’t wrong. He simply hadn’t thought about it in terms of his own pleasure. He’d made the decision to go ahead with the whole thing because it had been what Draco wanted. He’d been so focused on making Draco feel good, he hadn’t really been worried about enjoying it himself—though he’d not realised his reluctance had been quite so obvious.
He wiggled his toes in the short-cropped grass. It felt odd, standing “outside” in only pyjama bottoms and a button-up shirt hanging open. “Well can you blame me?” he asked, unable to avoid sounding overly defensive. “This hardly seems the time for—for that kind of thing.”
Draco gaped at him. “Really? All we’ve done already, and you can’t even say the word?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “I don’t really want a lecture from someone who makes me say ‘M word’.” He frowned at Draco. “And if you think it’s no big deal, why the sudden insistence we do it now?”
“Because—” Draco started, then promptly buttoned up, looking lost. Harry was glad of it, as he didn’t think he could quite handle hearing his reasoning. Mostly because he thought he had a fairly good idea of what it was.
It was only, it would become real if either of them said it out loud: I think we’re going to die and you’re my last request. I don’t want to die without having known you in a way no one else ever has or ever will.
Harry stepped closer, slipping his hands into the pockets of his pyjama bottoms.
“…I don’t know what I want, Draco,” he said. “You may have it figured out, and bully for you, but—I don’t. I…I have to think about stuff like this. About steps like this, because for me, it’s a bloody big step. And I can’t do that. Not right now. I can’t afford to be distracted from what you know we’ve got to do. I have to concentrate on what’s at stake.”
Draco was resolutely not looking at him now, but the muscles in his jaw were as tense as drawn bowstrings. Harry was one false step away from blowing this—well, blowing it more than he already had.
“If you want to…erm, keep doing th—the kind of things we’ve already done, then…” Harry nodded to himself. “I can do that. I’d…I’d really like that.” It felt like a scandalous admission, but there was no sense in prudish behaviour now. He took a bracing breath, then continued: “But if it’s got to be this…if you really want me there, present…committed…then can you just—maybe wait?”
Draco’s head snapped up, steely gaze connecting with Harry’s in wide-eyed confusion. “Wait?”
“Yeah, just—” He shrugged. “Deciding to do this…it’d mean something. For me. So I’d want to give it some honest thought.” He didn’t elaborate on what that meaning was, or when he was supposed to find the time to give sleeping with Draco ‘honest thought’ if they were truly about to die, but Draco blessedly didn’t ask. Harry softly cleared his throat. “I don’t…I don’t want to screw it up, is all.”
A tug was easy enough, and while sucking cock hadn’t been easy by any means, Harry hadn’t seen it as something associated with the same baggage as sleeping together carried. He would be 150% in or not. All in or not.
Draco made a petulant little noise. “That is a risk with you, admittedly.”
“Oi,” Harry said, a touch defensive. “You said I managed the other times decently enough.” He let his lips curl into a ghost of a smile, just to show he wasn’t being entirely serious.
Draco was not so easily placated, though, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “…We might die, though. What if there’s no time for ‘waiting’?”
And fuck, evidently they were talking about this.
Harry dropped down into the seat next to Draco, leaning back against the cushions that still poked and pricked with half-Transfigured twigs.
“…We might, yeah. But we can’t. We can’t afford to. We have to come out on top of this, understand?”
“That hardly has any bearing on whether or not we will—”
“If you don’t believe in the cause the way Hermione and Ron and I do—”
“Oh fuck you, Potter!” Draco snarled. “You think I’ve just been arsing around with you lot because I’ve got nothing better to do?”
“You didn’t exactly have a choice for most of it.”
“Well I’ve got one now!” He leapt to his feet and began to pace. “And I’m here. All in. I’m here for Granger and Weasley and you and the rest of your sycophantic horde as much as I’m here for myself or my parents. I’m here because I want to be.”
“And why is that?”
“Because—!” Draco caught himself, the words stalling in his throat, then he took a breath and continued more sedately, “Because I don’t want you to die. Or is that not a good enough cause to believe in? Must I give two shits about the whole of the wizarding world and all the mulish, moronic Muggles under the sun, or can’t I just want you?”
Harry’s heart gave a shuddering jolt, and he tried to swallow but failed. His voice broke when he said, “N—no, that’s…that’s fine. I suppose. If you—if that’s what…” He nodded. “Then use that. Use that to give me time…to acquaint myself with the idea.”
“Acquaint yourself with the idea,” Draco repeated, unaccountably bitter. “Work up the nerve, you mean.”
“Draco,” Harry said firmly, and he flinched. “Nerve’s not the issue. I can assure you. But I’m a Gryffindor, and for once, I’m thinking before I act, yeah?”
This wasn’t a quick tug, or even their fumbling attempts at head. Harry would give this step its due consideration with a clear mind—no Dark Lords riding shotgun.
Draco gave him a long look, then shunted his gaze to the side, looking chagrined. “…That’ll be an exciting change, I suppose.”
“One thing you can’t say about me is that I’m predictable.”
“If one likes the fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants sort.” Draco rubbed his nose, then softly cleared his throat. “So…we can still do—all the other business, then?” He hastened to add, “If I need it.” Harry nodded, stifling a smile, and Draco sighed in relief, rubbing himself through his loose pyjama bottoms. “Thank Merlin, because I’m hard as a rock here. It’s fucking torture.”
Harry settled his arms along the back of the loveseat and threw one leg over the other, the picture of relaxation., “Are you, now? You could have taken care of it yourself, if it’s such a bother.”
Draco fixed him with a nasty glare, then smoothed his features, working his cock through the soft fabric, slow and languid, enough to keep himself interested but not enough to get off.
He stared Harry down with a heated gaze, long elegant fingers pinching the tip of his cock and staining the front of his bottoms with a wet spot. Harry felt his mouth go dry, and Draco jutted his chin out proudly, lips lifting in a lilting smirk.
“Now why would I do that, when you’re right here?”
Harry released a shuddering breath, tongue darting out to wet his lips. “I’m—ah, right where? Here?” He nodded to the loveseat, then eased to his feet, taking two steps to bring him right into Draco’s personal space. Their noses brushed, and Harry traced Draco’s bicep, down to the jut of his elbow and the fragile bones of his wrist. He laid his hand across Draco’s, giving his—god, he really was rock-hard—cock a teasing squeeze. “Or…here?”
Draco lifted up onto his toes with a sharp gasp, free hand coming up to grab Harry by the shoulder to steady himself. His legs trembled, and Harry worried for a moment they might give out, so he slipped his other arm around Draco’s waist. “Easy. Don’t want you down on your knees unless you just feel like it.”
“Think I’m just gagging for your cock, do you?”
“I did say ‘unless you just feel like it’.”
Draco hmmed. “Well, charitable donations will go far in restoring my family’s good name after all this Dark Lord business has been resolved.”
“Fuck you, Malfoy,” Harry laughed, taking him by the wrist and leading him back into the tent.
They’d barely made it over the threshold before Draco was on him, kissing with a slowly mounting intensity that made Harry’s head spin. They backed into the bedroom, nearly knocking a lamp to the floor in the awkward shuffle, touching everywhere they could. Hands on hips, wrists, necks, sparing their cocks until they tumbled onto their bed.
They brought each other off with lazy, languid strokes, stretching out their satisfaction, making it last as long as possible.
Harry let himself slip back into his guilty fantasy from before—imagining that this was something that had come about organically. The fruits of a relationship tended carefully, with wide eyes and open hearts.
Harry’s attempts at romance in general had been…pretty abysmal, and it still felt downright absurd to think of Draco Malfoy in such a context, but…well, if this whatever-it-was between them had happened once in this reality, who was to say that it might not happen again elsewhere? To a Harry and Draco who had all the time in the world and the desire to indulge? Surely they weren’t this fucked in every possible universe, right?
He recalled Hermione saying, months back, that this wasn’t something new. That it was something that had always been there, lurking just under the surface, and that it had only taken this extraordinary event to allow it to break through. So maybe in another life, with another version of himself…maybe this could have happened on its own. Maybe that Harry might have a better idea of what ‘this’ actually was.
But he wouldn’t waste his time thinking about that right now—the liminal space between what might have been and what could be. Draco had agreed to wait—one crisis at a time—and they could still use their bodies to speak the words their mouths didn’t dare.
“Harry…” Draco breathed against his lips, and the air was too close, suffocating and hot as they worked each other off with increasingly frenetic jerks and tugs. “Harry…”
“Yeah…” Harry said, “I know…” He kissed Draco, full and sweet, and didn’t try to tell himself he was doing it because of the dragon or out of any ‘M word’ necessity this time. He would kiss Draco, if only once, because he damn well wanted to before he died.
His orgasm crested, and he let it wash over him, making no effort to hold it back, as he was through denying himself the things he wanted. If Draco could indulge in his own desires before he died, then Harry felt equally entitled. Draco was quick on his heels, though, pouring eloquent oaths into the air between them, filthy words on a silver tongue.
Draco lay boneless, limbs akimbo, after, and Harry Vanished the evidence with a lazy flick of his wand. Draco burrowed into his side with a mumbled draw the covers you berk, and Harry obliged.
Harry hadn’t thought he was very tired at all, and yet somehow, sleep claimed the both of them all the same.