Prompt: PROMPT #94
Word Count/Art Medium: ~6.800
Contains (Highlight to view): *borderline non-linear story telling*
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: first i want to thank the awesome and truly amazing curiouslyficfor her quick, nice and supporting beta, when i for myself really couldnt care about the fic anymore, even though i adore the prompt and was very excited to write the story. thank you so very much for your hard and amazing work! you helped me tons! and it is thanks to you, that this fic turned out as good as it did! really, thank you so much
and next i have to thank the amazing mod-team. their patience, their forgiveness, and them never giving up on me, made me stick to the story, and helped to keep my creativity alive. thank you so very much for making it possible that my fic can be part of this amazing fest. i am forever grateful, because i'm aware you amazing folks will never understand how much you really helped me. THANK YOU most honestly.
Summary: It started with a picture and it ends with a kiss.
Since Draco has been little, he is told, that to be an Animagus is a pride for each wizard. Mainly because it takes lots of practice, determination and focus to become one, and as such many wizards never even try to learn the skill as they know it's beyond their capabilities. So, the fact alone that one is able call oneself a Animagus, Draco has learned, speaks a lot about one's character, strength of mind and determination.
The only downside ought to be that since the war, it's downright criminal to remain unregistered, leaving all one's intimate details open to anyone who cares to look.
Well. anyone with 'good cause', which mostly means Aurors in their 'crime fighting' ways.
Draco scowls, while his eyes stay put on the parchment before him.
He never had thought that fate could be so cruel to him.
At least not again.
He has after all, suffered through a time in which the most evil madman alive had taken up residence in his own home.
So really, he didn't believe he deserved more chastisement. But fate had seen it necessary that all his life should be a punishment.
When he began to learn how to become an Animagus it was mostly out of boredom. It had been fun and rather intriguing, learning all the theories, trying to practice, getting in touch with the animal he was destined to become. And finally making peace with the animal.
The last one had been a rather big challenge because really, who would want to be a ferret? And with all he had suffered through the years- he can't stand ferret jokes, never could, never will.
The particular step of accepting his animal and getting to know it had taken the longest, until he managed to accept what he is. And he is a ferret. If he is honest, at least with himself, Draco doesn't mind being a ferret. It's fun the most of the time and he enjoys the fact that as a ferret he has no trouble sneaking into somewhere or roaming around in the wild, playing with other animals. Ferrets after all are very social and very playful creatures. He can live with that.
What Draco can't live with, is that apparently when he is a ferret and he sniffs out Harry fucking Potter's scent his brain just shuts down.
According to Blaise, the ferret would be in Harry's lap, let himself be petted, play with Harry's fingers and make very pleased noises until it went to sleep.
Draco's frowns deepen and his fingers griped the quill even tighter, while the other one is forming a fist.
Of course the story about bloody Potter's pet ferret has been a rumour for a while, and Potter denied it vehemently, saying he didn't have a ferret and that said ferret just showed up out of nowhere. No one had believed him.
Draco can't believe his own stupidity at failing to make the connection between the long lapses in his memory as a ferret and Potter's ferret. Draco huffs at himself. If only he does give more of a damn about all the rumours. He mostly disregards them, not that anyone tells him about them in the first place.
If it isn't for Blaise working with the Aurors he would never know what is going on.
Blaise being Auror-partner of the saviour himself makes Draco cringe again.
In true Slytherin style Blaise had managed to take a picture of Harry and his ferret once and stuck it to their door accompanied by the words: Harry Potter and his beloved pet.
It's all that picture's fault, which makes it all to Blaise's fault. Blaise owes him big time.
The picture in question, shows a white ferret with beautiful brown rings starting from his neck, first climbing all over Potter, before Potter catches it, and plays a little bit with it. The ferret even bites down softly on Potter's finger! And then it lets itself be petted, long whiskers clearly vibrating in what can only be a loud purr. It curls itself up on Potter's lap and goes to sleep, not only looking incredibly smug but also content. And the look Potter has when he watches the little menace sleep speaks for itself, before there is a cut and the loop starts again.
The first time Draco sees it, he just dropped what he's holding right in front of said door: at the time it had been a 5,000 year old Egyptian vase with a very nasty curse on it. He not only ends up cursed, and with a tirade from his boss, but also with a horrible feeling in his stomach that's completely unrelated to the curse. Weasley send's him home, more out of pity than anything else, but Draco's happy to lock himself away for the day.
Two days later, it seems clear that of course his reaction had made him suspicious. This morning someone within the Aurors has made sure, everybody knows that Draco is the ferret. But while Potter is merely teased and mocked about it, Dracois utterly humiliated, cursed messages coming in from all over the ministry, cruel jokes going around, not to mention the mean posters, which suddenly show up all over the place.
Blaise has taken the picture down from his and Potter's door, but by then it was far too late.
"Disciple Malfoy! Are you even listening?" Master Bill Weasley towers over him. No matter what Draco's thoughts about the younger Weasleys or their parents are, the eldest son was a fierce looking, powerful man and the scars from where Greyback got him only adds to that impression. It's even worse because Draco knows that Weasley is aware of that, and playing it to his favour.
"No, sir," he answers quietly still not daring to take his eyes from the parchment in front of him. He has no clue what is written there, but being idle in the presence of his Master does not go down well.
Normally he would study with others, go to class with them learn from the best Masters there were, maybe become the next renowned Potions Master himself. However, the school of 'International Advanced Potion Theory and Brewing' has refused him point blank, despite their eager early acceptance of him two years ago.
For a time he'd feared there would never be anything he would be able to do, wich was what had gotten him into this mess, because that was when he'd picked up learning how to become an Animagus.
Draco groans as he notices his thoughts going in circles. This is all really very, very bad.
"I don't see any reason for you to groan, as it seems you are having a rather lazy day," Weasley says and Draco straightens in his seat.
"I'm sorry, sir, I was lost in my own thoughts," Draco answers sounding rueful to his own ears.
"I can see that, what I can't see is you working, like you are supposed to," Weasley bellows.
Draco hates to admit that he is fighting with tears. He can't afford to lose his apprenticeship with this Weasel but at the same time the whole Ministry was making him into a laughing-stock and soon all of Britain's wizarding world would know, and he really doesn't believe that his pride can take another hit like that.
He tries to pull himself even more together as he hears a deep sigh next to him.
'Please don't fire me, please don't fire me, please don't fire me,' is all Draco can think, so that misses the first few words.
"... go, take a break. I highly doubt you staying here will get any more work done. So you better use the time to study the books I gave you on Monday and come back next Monday knowing all the important information" the voice sounded unforgiving and still slightly displeased, but at the sideway glance Draco dares to take he clearly sees the pity in the man's face.
Draco only nods in reply before he packed his things and leaves their office. If Weasley only still worked for the goblins instead of the Ministry, his life would be so much easier as goblins just don't care about the things going on between wizards.
On his way to the lifts the loud whispering and conversation of hushed voices follow him, and Draco tries to walk faster, his head still held high.
He wants to vanish, disappear and be left alone. He wants to scream. Instead of being complimented for having achieved becoming an Animagus, they all make fun of him turning out to be a ferret. Worst of all are those who were with him in school in fifth year. Do they really think he would have forgotten what Moody or better to say Crouch had done? Just because he was his father's son?
In the end his whole life will always come back to the fact that he was his father's son. And why shouldn't it. It was his pride as a child, his burden as a teenager, his torment when he came of age, so of course it was allowed to be his torture even now that he had not seen his father for years. He is after all still a Malfoy, even if his name means nothing to anybody else these days. And it's not like he can deny the fact either.
He has to only wait for a moment before the first elevator appears and the doors opens. He sighs in relief as he takes in the empty cabin before he gets on. He sags against the wall, fighting the urge to just slide down and be a defeated pile of human being. He has more dignity than that, even if this is probably exactly what will happen once he closes the door to his room.
"I'm sorry." Draco hears from the left of him and turns his head so fast, that something is his neck protests. His eyes widen in shock as he sees a very strong Dissilusement- charm falling away, to reveal the bane of his existence.
"What are yo- why are you- How come- Potter, what do you want" Draco stutters completely thrown with Potter's appearances.
"I'm sorry it got out. I tried to reason with Blaise, I even went for bargaining but he wouldn't stop teasing me," Potter says, roughening through his hair."I guess he was also a bit jealous, because you know, the one time he tried to pet and take you away you bit him and scratched him rather hard. So hard he was bleeding."
Draco takes it all in, thinking it through and trying to figure out what Potter is saying. But only one fact is getting through, and starting to kindle a fire of pure anger in Draco.
"You" he starts and has to take a deep breath again before he could continue: "You knew it was me!" His voice betrays his mortification much more than his anger.
Potter knew all this time. He has been sitting on Potter's lap, has been playing with him, and the git has known it was him. How? Why? Why had the stupid wanker never said a word?
"Yeah... well... you know" Potter starts to reply, shuffling his feet. "Youhaveamark, it's not fooled by changes of your appearance, be it Polyjuice or Animagus." Potter said the first few words so fast, that Draco can only piece them together by the rest of the statement. His right hand grips his left forearm tightly. He is aware of what he looks like as a ferret, but he never has thought about checking for his mark. And even if he would have done it, what difference would have made it in the long scheme of things?
"I..." Draco starts but he has no clue how to really reply.
"You don't remember any of it," Potter simply states and Draco nods, puzzled how the other man could know that.
"Normally when you look an Animagus in the eyes they still look human and alert, but yours were always glossed over, so I figured you might not remember and really what should I have said to you anyway? We're not really on speaking terms most of the time" Potter sounds rather irritated.
"Well, we are talking now, aren't we?" Draco feels the need to point out, but Harry only huffs at that.
"Yes we are, but only because you can't leave and I stopped the lift." Harry points out flatly and Draco notices for the first time that indeed they aren't moving anymore.
"What did you do?" he asked Potter, eying him with suspicion.
"I know the maintenance spell for the lifts, I can always stop them. I was given them by one of the workers of the Department for Magical Maintenance. He thought I might be in need of a silent place sometimes and as a matter of fact he was right," Potter shrugs.
"Oh of course everything for the bloody saviour" Draco huffs. It is so much easier to focus on the favouritism Potter gets then on the mess his Animagus had gotten him into. At least Draco knows what he feels about that. Knowing that Potter knew he was petting and playing with him simply blows his mind.
"It comes in handy at various points of life knowing that I have saved all our arses from a maniac. For some I did even more than simply that" Potter's voice is so cold and so matter of fact, that Draco can feel how with each word his regal posture collapses more and more.
There is a loud sigh.
"I... You were a stupid brat, but in the end you had no choice and I truly believe everything I said in that courtroom."
Draco stares. He knows of course that Potter had spoken for him and had even vouched for him, but he truly can't remember what had happened in that courtroom.
He remembers being told that his father has been sentenced to prison for life. He remembers that one of the guards said he deserved the same. He remembers sitting down on the chair in the middle of the room, raised by some stairs. He remembers starring up at the faces of the witches and wizards, who would decide his fate. He still hears the charges read in that monotone voice of some wizard he never has seen since then. He remembers saying: "Guilty" and then he remembers Potter voice, coming from somewhere behind him. But he can't recall a single word Potter had said. He also can't recall the vote. It's all a blur; what he remembers clearly is his mother's arms hugging him tightly, telling him that all will be well with time.
"I can't recall any of that either," he answers defensive, crossing his arms before his chest, trying to hide his embarrassment.
Potter nods, without any other reaction. making Draco's temper flare. If Potter had known that too, why has he brought it up in the first place?
"I'm sorry, again. I shouldn't have brought it up" Potter mumbles and leans himself against the back of the lift.
"Potter," Draco sighs in resignation. They have a lot of 'I should not bring it up'- topics between them, it would lead to nowhere to go over all of them. "What do you want?"
"Well" Potter drags the word on. "I really... I know... Bill told me you are a very coordinated and a great planner, but you must know by now that I'm no-"
"What do you mean Bill told you?" Draco cut in lowering his arms and straightening his back, while his eyes narrow.
"You know Bill sings your praises to everybody and everyone who'll listen," Harry replies staring at Draco as if he is the one stating unbelievable things.
"Are you saying that Bill Weasley, master curse breaker and my current boss, is speaking to you about me?" His voice is pitched very low and he can feel his anger starting to boil over.
"Not to me alone, but to everyone. Didn't you hear me say that just a moment ago? He always talks about how good you are, and how swift you work. And your 'incredible ability to take on new information so very fast'" Potter makes quote marks in the air for the last part. "Never to mention how he praises you for your Latin and your excellent research skills. Really, it's rather sickening when I think about it," Potter shudders for good measure, before he grins at Draco widely.
"Are we talking about the same Bill Weasley? The one that mistrusts me on nearly every task he gives me, but somehow still employs me? The one that has scars across his face from a werewolf attack I am mostly responsible for? Because from what I hear you must be talking about someone other Weasley, not that I can imagine any of them singing my praises" Draco huffs. He is absolutely goose bumped by what Potter is saying. It simply can't be true.
"Yeah well. He is your instructor and your boss. He can't say all that to your face of course. That's why I tell you, he says it to everybody else. Some days when he comes back from a mission with you he nearly busts with pride for what you have learned in such a short time," Potter goes on.
Draco slumps against the wall now too.
"I told you: It's truly sickening" Potter laughs in good fashion at Draco's startled expression.
"So he isn't punishing me with all the translation work and the reading and research?" Draco asks very carefully. He doesn't even dare to look at Potter, still afraid it's all just a bad joke.
"Is that what you are thinking? Of course he isn't. He teaches you the stuff you have to know, and when he figured out that you do much better when you are well prepared he changed tactics. You see, nearly all of his brothers, including him and me we are more of a 'hands-on avoid theory at all cost'- kind of learners so he needed some time to adjust to you being so different. As I heard him say all his other students also rather preferred the hands on learning" Harry tries to explain.
Draco snorts: "That is a stupid and foolish notion. How can one defend oneself, if one is not prepared" he shakes his head not understanding.
"And that's why we are Gryffindors and you are Slytherin," Potter says in triumph, making Draco rise his eyebrow.
"Only noticing this now, are you?" he inquires, then he prompts again, "Potter, you still failed to tell me what you want from me."
"You keep asking questions making me go off topic all the time. Really," Potter throws his arms into the air. "For a Slytherin you have no patience at all," he huffs some more.
"I have way more patience than you do" Draco drawls crossing his arms once more.
"Yeah well, that is not really anything special, seeing as I don't have any patience at all," is the swift reply that comment earns him.
"You are going off topic again," Draco feels the need to point that out, seeing as he really wants an answer to why Potter is essentially holding him hostage.
"I want to invite you over, for Saturday lunch." Potter states without preamble making Draco loose his footing and slide down very undignified, barely managing to move back into a standing position.
"You what?" he asks, his voice coming out very shrill and high pitched.
"Lunch at my place, you and me," Potter smiles warmly, while there is also a very sheepish look on the young man.
"But why?" Draco's question isn't even starting to express the puzzlement he feels.
"Ah right, I forgot that you haven't figured it out yet," Potter says in a very casual way, making Draco frown.
"Figured out what?"
"Well, you have all of tomorrow to find the answer to that question yourself. Seeing as I had to research it for myself, too, I think it's only fair. As fair as it can get at least, because you of course like research" Harry grins broadly.
"Research what? What are you talking about? Potter, either you start making sense or at least start moving this lift so that we don't inconvenience others further and I can finally go home, because out there is hell waiting for me" Draco finally snaps, having lost all his patience.
"Oh, you're right." Is all Draco gets to hear before the lift starts to move again.
As it lands in the Atrium and the doors start to open slowly, Potter must have stepped closer, because then he whispers in Draco's ear:"Figure out, why your ferret searches me out, and come by on Saturday, I'll be waiting. And with all the praise Bill has for you, I'm sure you will have the answer by then."
Before Draco can reply anything Harry steps past him and leaves the lift.
Draco feels the flush he is spotting and grumbles as he hurries out of the lift himself and goes to floo home.
It's already late night, when Draco decides that no matter how often he tries to read the same lines, the words are not sinking in. He shuts the book and leaves the library to return to his room. It is time to go to bed anyway.
Draco knows that all the officials he had to talk to are aghast with him still living in the Manor. Some because they think the ministry should have seized it, never understanding that with old properties like Malfoy Manor or the old Black house the ministry simply can't. But the others were affronted that he would choose to live where the Dark Lord has lived.
Even now Draco has to huff at that. Don't they understand that this is his more? No matter what had happened here, this house is all he ever really knew. He often heard some of the Hufflepuffs say that Hogwarts was their home away from home, but Hogwarts never felt like home to him. His home was this manor. Here he flew for the first time, down in the big ball room, when he got a sleigh for Christmas he tested it out on the big marble staircase. Here hung the portraits of his ancestors, his grandmaman Malfoy, who not only instilled his love for the French language, cuisine and the occasionally French wine, but who also taught him the basic understanding of potions. This house was more than just a house and Draco had promised himself that he would make it shine and come alive once again.
As a child he always believed the Manor was alive, not so much unlike the moving staircases at Hogwarts, providing him with shortcuts to the garden, the kitchen or his room when he wanted to go somewhere. Always helping him when he was sneaking around, not only with providing an adventure or some sort of noise he could investigate, but also with hushing up his steps so he didn't disturb his father.
Draco now knows that it had been some of the more ancient wards, looking out for the heir, but still he feels very fond towards the magic and this house. So when he has the time, he tries to remove the burden of the Dark Magic the Dark Lord brought with him.
But tonight Draco's mind is full of Potter's words and the task Potter has appointed him. It is only in the shower that he realizes that due to Potter he has totally forgotten to freak out any more about all the gossip that is going around in the ministry. Maybe that has been Potters plan all along? Maybe there is nothing he can find out?
It isn't that he was not intrigued, and Potter had told him, that he had researched it too. But what is there to research?
His Animagus form goes wild when it comes close to Potter, but none of his research about the magic ofAnimagi or the science of ferrets has really helped. He finds a small reference suggesting that animals with mating periods, may involve a feeling for the need of a mate and a family, but because not much is known, no one can be sure.
So what has Potter found, that he isn't able to find?
Draco falls asleep over his thoughts about Potter, ferrets and odd behaviours.
Friday morning starts much more pleasurably than he had thought yesterday, when he left work. The knowledge that he doesn't need to return to the ministry until Monday is more than just a relief. They can talk all they want behind his back, he never cared much about that, but being told how worthless the world thought him to be in his face, comes with pain and with shame. It isn't that he doesn't understand the sentiment, but really what could he do?
He enjoyed his drawn out breakfast, with the sun shining into the room and the Quibbler to amuse him. It is rather interesting reading about Lovegood's adventures and the offhand comments she makes about Longbottom's astonishment or joy, depending on what they find on their journeys.
He also enjoys the serious lack of gossip in the paper, it may not be that exciting and it may not always speak about real creatures or plants, but at least id doesn't ruin people's reputations for a living.
After his breakfast he first decided to study one of the books Weasley has given him, because he knew from experience come Monday morning, and he would step into Weasley's and his office he would be grilled with questions about the material. And no matter what Potter told him Weasley is saying about him, to face the man is still very imposing and demanding.
However even while reading, what really turned out to be a very fascinating book about objects set up with more than two curses at the same time, his thoughts still strayed to what Potter had said and the next day's lunch appointment.
And then suddenly, while he was trying to memorize the incantation and its wand movement for detection of layered curse work he was hit with a hammer of realization: Potter had said he had figured it out! Not researched it and then knew but figured it out, like it's a puzzle. Of course he had made a reference to research but maybe that was only meant as a joke.
But what had the prat figured out, that he can't seem to understand?
Draco looks at the door with a very mixed feelings. For one Potter had failed to set a precise time, when he should show up for lunch, so Draco decided on twelve o'clock sharp. For the other he had managed to figure out what Potter had known, which filled him with satisfaction... and embarrassment at the same time.
He takes a look at his pocket watch again. Four minutes. He has been starring at the door for four minutes. Most probably Potter knows that too, having for certain some sort of proximity wards. Draco is just not sure he wants to go in and face Potter. And it makes him even more nervous because he is why Potter suddenly had invited him for lunch. Maybe Potter wants to .tell him off? Except that explanation simply doesn't feel right, even if Draco knows that his instincts always fail, when it comes to Potter.
Draco rings the bell more out of annoyance with himself than that he really wants to. He allows himself to act in a way of drama, he was raised with privilege and entitlement, but there are boundaries and Potter by simply being who he is, makes Draco reach those boundaries easily, ever since the first school night.
The door opens just as he is putting his hand down again, leaving no doubt that Potter has been waiting on the other side, but at least the git doesn't comment on that, not that what he says really puts Draco at ease either: "Well Malfoy, good to see you, even if a little bit early." Potter steps aside and Draco enters.
"What do you mean early, it's noon. You invited me for lunch," he states his voice already very defensive, but he fights the instinct to cross his arms in front of his chest.
"Draco, it's Saturday, most normal people around our age don't even have their breakfast before 10 o'clock. I just put the leg of lamb into the oven. It'll need at least one more hour to be done nicely" Potter shakes his head, but the strange smile stays firmly in place.
"And how was I to know that? I have you known I was raised by a proper family. We had our lun- wait, did you just call me Draco?" Draco hates the fact that Potter can always manage to throw him off. It's just that no one Draco knows would ever treat him in such a manner. Simply using the first name, just because. Although maybe Potter has some reasons, but Draco refused to think about that now. This is already going badly enough.
"Yes, Draco. As you just entered my home, and i have invited you for lunch, and we know each other for nearly thirteen years now, I think it's time we call each other by our first names" Potter says in a very calm but firm voice.
"If you wish so" Draco forgoes that argument. Being on a first name basis with Harry bloody Potter can only help him at large, but especially with all this Animagus business.
Potter- or should he call him Harry now? Even in his thoughts? No, that would be too much. - Potter looked at him as if waiting for something, so Draco raised an eyebrow in question. The only reaction that got him was a small shake of the head and a shrug.
"I should have told you a time, but I'm sure we can find something to amuse ourselves with" the prat than smiles at him and directs him deeper into the house.
Draco looks around with wide eyes. The place has nothing in common to what he remembers the place to look like: The windows are clean, the air in the room smells clean and fresh, there is a soft carpet, that makes it comfortable to stand on it, and Draco can only imagine the cosy feeling it must provide when sitting on it.
"That's right, you were here before. I always forget that you are a Black too. I mean I know your mother is, and you are on the tapestry, but somehow you seem more Malfoy than Black to me" comes from next to him and Draco turns his head.
"I'm not sure if you're intending to compliment or insult me" Draco huffs in reply.
"Might be because it's a little bit of both, you pure-blood-brat" Potter grins and nudges his shoulder against Draco's.
"Well, that's alright then," Draco snorts. He can't be really insulted with being called a pure-blood-brat because that is what he is.
"So wanna take a look around? I changed it all. Your mother thinks it looks rather stylish, Andi says, it looks like 'it's the playground of a Lion, who has snakes for friends'" Potter sounds rather found at that statement.
"So you do like the snakes?" Draco inquires, trying to figure out, when exactly his mother had visited Potters home.
"Comes with the ability to speak to them. Snakes are entertaining, no matter the form or size they come in" Potter grins suggestively, and Draco can feel both his eyebrows shoot up.
"Are you sure you are Harry Potter, Gryffindor to a fault, hater of the house of snakes?" Draco asks in suspicion. Maybe this is after all just a prank, set up with the Weasel and Blaise together? But he can't really believe Blaise would pull such a mean prank on him.
"I didn't really hate you lot. You just irritated me, and..."
"And what?" Draco feels like he finally might get the answer he has been searching for since his first school day.
"And I was angry. I just learned to months before that I was a wizard, that there are good and bad wizards and that my parents were killed by a bad wizard, who wanted to kill me and whom I had to kill, not that i knew that back then. And then you were all I am better than you in the train, and Ron, the first kind wizard I met said that all Slytherins turned out bad. Of course I wouldn't choose you for a friend back then. I was just as much of a stupid brat than you" Potter says in an exasperated voice.
"I will have you know that Merlin himself was a Slytherin. It's not about..."
"Good or bad, it's about the way we see and perceive situations. I work with Blaise, more often he is the reason we survive," Potter states in a form of self humour.
"You also are aware that the Weasel was not the first kind wizard you ever met," Draco goes on. Somehow he feels this conversation should be held over tea, with more decorum and at least a table between them."
"Thought that might come back to haunt me," Potter mumbles. "Yes, oh dear Draco, I was intimidated and fascinated by you. The way you used big words easily, had an opinion about everything- most of the things I have never heard of, and i got pissed off later, when you insulted Hagrid. Blaise told me you usually refer to insults, when you are nervous. So tell me, all those years, did I make you nervous too?" Potter grins again, and Draco can only roll his eyes.
"Potter, I hated you," Draco says before he remembers to add, "I still hate you."
"Right, and now try to say like you mean it, and you know first name" there was the nudge again.
"Pot- Harry, quit making fun of me and show me your bloody house, we have been standing here for long enough!" Draco scolds at the wanker, feeling the blush spreading form his cheeks.
With a warm sounding laugh Pott- Harry lead the way.
It's a little over an hour later, when Draco steps into the absolutely lovely looking garden, while Harry is checking on his leg of lamb. Harry has told him about all the work and the magic he has done and the house really looks great. Draco also had asked why Harry has kept the tapestry, since he has gotten rid of dear Walpulga it should have been easy to get rid of it, too. The honest answer surprises Draco: "It's not my family, but it is proof of a very long family history, and members of this family are still alive. I don't have the right to destroy it. However it also refuses to be mended."
Draco thinks he can persuade his mother to repair it, since she is the last Black on it, who is still alive, he would guess that with the right spells it should be quite easy.
Draco also has to agree with his aunt: This house screams Gryffindor now. Not uncomfortably so, but still obvious. It has its charms.
He starts to make a slow turn through the garden, and is looking over the herbs planted neatly when Harry catches up to him.
"I must say, I'm glad you like the house. I was worried at first" he starts the conversation again.
"Why did you invite me here then? And really should have been more worried about my mother. I was only here for a few times, when I was little. I hated it" Draco replies, barely whispering the last words.
"Yeah, that's what your mum told me, too, but then I've seen how protective you can be when it comes to the Manor so I was unsure." And there was the sheepish smile again.
"The Manor is my home. I have spent all my life there," Draco shrugs.
"Yeah, I can understand that", Harry says softly. But what Draco is really startled by, is the intense look, that conveys some sort of understanding, admiration and something akin to longing, which Draco isn't sure about.
"So, have you figured out, why you behave the way you do?" Potter suddenly really beams at him, and Draco groans.
"Don't mock me. Potter" he snarls defensively.
"I'm not mocking, I'm just very happy about it," is the answer he receives, which makes him look back at Harry again.
"Happy about it? Why?" he asks his suspicion raising once more. The chance of this being a prank still not fully dismissed.
"Because Blaise is no fucking help what so ever" Harry huffs and crossing his arms in front of his chest, startling Draco with that remark.
"Not all that long before you just told me Blaise is saving your life more often than not. Can you make up your mind?" Draco turns more around, to face Harry.
"Not that, you git. Really I see why you don't choose detective work," Harry shakes his head. "Blaise gets very protective and tight lipped each time I try to talk about you. It's really hard to get any information out of him," he pants, throwing his arms around, before dragging them through his unruly hair once more.
Draco watches Harry for quite some time, before he states:"You felt it too" not as confident as he would like, but he believes he's right in his observation.
"Of course I did. You not being in my face is odd, especially when we are in the same building. And ever since the war... I thought after the trials, but then you hide out in that Manor of yours, that really, isn't that easy to get in. Then I thought maybe when you started working with Bill. You are aware that you are only one floor down form us? But you never even visited Blaise. Fuck Malfoy, you truly are infuriating." Harry kicks the grass, with no effect except that he loses his footing and lands on his arse.
Draco has to hide a smile.
"Are you quite finished?" he asks in as much of a neutral tone as he can manage.
"Well, as I am sitting in the grass I think I am," Harry scolds up at him.
"If you ever call my anything like a drama-queen again, I will point out this moment you are aware of that" Draco replies, before he steps closer to Potter, to sink down and knee on top of the surprised man. He reaches out, to cup Harry's face between his hands, before he softly kisses those beautiful lips. The relieved sigh he feels, makes him grin into the kiss.
"Bloody wanker. You got me all worked up and play nicely into your hand," Harry mutters when he first breaks the kiss.
"That's the way we Slytherins do," Draco smiles, before he leans in closer.
"Harry Potter, I think my Animagus form has a very unhealthy attachment to you, because really I might miss you, to you know wrap around my finger, rile you up something fierce, and maybe even more" Draco confesses softly. Now that he knows he isn't the only one feeling it, and that Harry is already aware what he feels, it's quite easy to actually say it.
"Good. Because I somehow missed you too. Don't know when it happened, but that's how it is." To Draco Harry sounds like a impetuous child, but at the same time it also sounded very endearing.
"So do you want to play with the ferret or are we going to have lunch first?" Draco asks, his eyes sparkling with humour.
Two days ago he was in living hell all over again due to a picture. But now, being on the soft stares, which he finally can interpret, of Harry Potter, he feels like he owes Blaise the biggest present money can buy for taking it.
"Lunch first, then some ferret-playtime and then we shall see" Harry decides, making Draco laugh.
"Potter, I'm not a girl, but I am raised with proper manners intact. There will be no sex, on the first date. If you want in my pants, you will wait for the second and you will invite me properly to dinner," Draco demands, before leaning down and kissing Harry all over again, just because he can. Because he is the Animagus who Harry likes to pet.