Chapter 3


Draco stood nervously outside the small block of flats in a pleasant residential street in Caledonian Road, twisting the bottle of wine in his hands and staring at the buzzer panel like it might come to his rescue. No matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise, this wasn't a business meeting. This was a date, a proper, grown-up date. And for some reason, despite a lifetime of unshakeable confidence (and not to mention a recent avalanche of cash) he was worrying himself into a bit of a state. All because of one slightly clumsy, rather doddery, dark-haired beauty with a penchant for books written for adolescents.

"Courage, Malfoy," he hissed to himself, and rang the doorbell.

There was a responding buzz and the lock clicked open, allowing Draco to push inside the front entrance into the dim corridor. The stairwell it led directly onto spoke of the council building these flats had probably hosted in a former life, and it made Draco a little uncomfortable. It had occurred to him that he could have offered to take Harry out to dinner somewhere extremely extravagant, but he had seemed so keen on cooking Draco had let it slide. Now, as he made his way up to the fourth floor, he was wondering if he'd made the right decision.

He shook himself and halted outside Harry's door. He was being a snob. Just because the exterior was a bit shabby, didn't mean the inside wasn't lovely. Much like a certain book publisher…

He rose his hand to knock, but the door flew inwards before he had a chance. "I was starting to worry you'd got lost," Harry grinned, standing aside to let him in. He was wearing brown cords and a cream shirt with the sleeves rolled up, over which he'd tied a splotched apron, and, oh dear lord, he was wearing a pair of battered old slippers that for some reason made Draco's heart flutter like a damn hummingbird.

"Sorry," he said bashfully, but Harry was still grinning.

"Come in come in," he said, ushering him over the threshold and taking the bottle of red wine Draco held out to him. "Oh, wow, this is very nice," he said, inspecting the label as he closed the door. In front of them was a small but long kitchen with a serving hatch opening out to a relatively large sitting room and dining area to the left. To the right down the hall Draco could see a bedroom, study and bathroom. It wasn't large, but the piles of books scattered literally everywhere gave it an immediate sense of cosiness that relaxed Draco somewhat.

"I'm assuming we have Parkinson to thank for this," Harry said with a wink, shaking the wine.

Draco arched an eyebrow. "Actually," he said honestly. "That's one of my favourites, I had to track down a specialist wine shop in Blackheath to find somewhere that stocked it."

Harry's grin faded into something more intense as he looked back up at Draco, like he was studying him. "Really?" he said, looking back at the label. "Well, I approve."

He placed it on the counter top and went back to the hob at the end of the kitchen, stirring a sauce bubbling in one of the several pots he had on the heat. Draco shrugged his jacket off and looked for somewhere to hang it.

"Here, try this," said Harry before he got a chance, spinning around with a wooden spoon dipped in the creamy looking sauce, holding it up for Draco. Goose bumps flurried over his skin as he looked between Harry's green eyes and the spoon, feeling like this was overtly intimate, but Harry just looked happy and relaxed, eager for Draco's reaction, so he leant forward and touched his lips and tongue gently to the wood.

"Blimey," he said, and blinked in surprise. "That's amazing." He licked his lips and swallowed the remnants of the peppercorn sauce.

Harry smiled in relief, then spotted Draco's jacket in the crook of his arm. "Oh, sorry," he said, taking it hurriedly from him and opening a door to a utility closet to hang on a peg. "Kick your shoes off too if you like," he said, heading back into the kitchen to tend to the stove and oven where the delicious smells of dinner where gently wafting from. "There's spare slippers if you'd like a pair," he added, waving at the collection of footwear discarded haphazardly by the front door. "I hate being barefoot."

The kind of people Draco had hung around for most of his life would consider slippers to be the height of uncool, and the idea of wrecking your own kitchen with the flurry of activity Harry was currently employing in his quest to make their dinner positivity uncouth. But Draco was feeling a squirming in his insides at this simple, unabashed intimacy. Testing Harry's homemade sauce and swapping his £300 shoes for Harry's worn-in slippers felt special in ways a fancy restaurant could never manage.

He was nervous all over again, his heart thrumming in his chest. He could do this, he wasn't an average nineteen year old, compared to his peers, he was an adult in more ways than one. And honestly, what could he do to embarrass himself in front of Harry, who seemed as unpretentious as they came? But still, he struggled to find anything to say, so slipped his hands in his pockets and leaned against the doorframe of the kitchen. "Did you want to start with a beer?" Harry asked, turning and pulling the fridge door open on Draco's left. "I've got this Belgium stuff that' just delightful."

"Sure," said Draco, and watched as Harry spun back around with two cold bottles, popping the lids off and decanting them into tulip stemmed glasses.

Harry took a breath and stilled as he offered one to Draco. "Cheers," he said, clinking their drinks. "Thank you for coming over."

"Thank you for the invitation," Draco replied, taking a sip and hoping for some Dutch (or Belgian) courage. "Like I said, it's not exactly been easy trying to meet new people."

Harry was already back adding butter to a hot griddle. "You're life's changed quite drastically I guess," he said sympathetically, tipping the pan so the sizzling butter ran over all the ridges.

Draco laughed and wandered into the sitting room area. He could still see Harry through the serving hatch in the wall above the corner sofa hiding under a couple of dozen throw pillows and fluffy blanket that looked so soft Draco couldn't help but reach down and touch it. It sent shivers down his spine.

"That's a bit of an understatement," he admitted, letting go of the blanket reluctantly and glancing over Harry's floor-to-ceiling, room-length book cases. He immediately thought of the famous John Waters quote: "If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em…" This made him blush and gulp down another mouthful of beer.

"Morwenna must have seen something in you though," Harry said thoughtfully, as he carefully added the two steaks that had been resting on the counter to the hot butter, making them hiss and spit in a mouth-watering way. "I'm guessing you've not had much experience running a company before, so there must have been another reason?"

Draco sighed. "I only met her a few times," he admitted. How much did he want to admit about the nature of his family's dubious business arrangements? "I guess she thought a lot of this company, and wanted it to go to someone who would give it their full attention."

Harry leaned his elbows on the partition between the two rooms and nodded. "That sounds like her," she said. "She didn't care about things like a person's age, she cared about their heart, what she liked to call 'gumption'. She liked people with fight and integrity." He glanced at Draco, suddenly shy, and ducked back into the kitchen to poke at the steaks and stir his sauce again.

"Sounds like you knew her pretty well?" Draco asked, sipping his beer. It was quite strong, but he didn't really mind that just then. He was already feeling looser.

Harry shrugged. "Pretty well," he said. "I was an intern when I first met her. She wanted to know why someone who hadn't bothered to get a degree thought they knew better about book trends. I told her I just did, and she supported me with my first pitch."

"That went well I take it?" Draco asked, pulling out an interesting looking volume below a framed photo of Harry with a proud looking older man and a big, shaggy dog. His dad maybe?

Harry was smirking when Draco glanced back, eyes firmly on his stakes. "If you consider several million pounds as successful then, yeah, not bad." Then he did give his attention to Draco, a marginally more sober look on his face. "I was about the same age as you I think when that happened, so if I can survive in that shark tank, so can you."

That left an opening for Draco to ask a question he'd been dying to know the answer to; Harry was frustratingly absent on social media so the usual stalking channels hadn't helped Draco thus far. "How old are you now then?" replacing the book.

"Twenty three," said Harry, flipping the steaks, then laughed at the obvious surprise on Draco's face. He'd been thinking at least twenty seven. "I know, I know," Harry said with an eye roll. "I think I've secretly been forty since I turned thirteen, I keep hoping this middle-aged chic will pay off, but so far it's just making me consider getting a cat."

Draco laughed, but once he'd got over his shock he'd realised this was actually brilliant. There wasn't so much between them age-wise after all, and suddenly he didn't feel so nervous.

"Well, I'm the trust-fund brat who everyone seems to expect to blow the company's riches on hookers and cocaine or whatever little Chelsea fuckboys do these days," he said, coming back to rest on the kitchen doorframe again. "Honestly, re-writing your budget was the only useful or interesting thing I've been able to do since I got pulled from uni."

Harry leaned against the worktop and sipped his own beer. "I can't thank you enough for that," he said. Draco tried to wave him off but he shook his head earnestly. "No, they've been looking for a chance to bully me out since I joined, and with Morwenna's passing-" he swallowed in genuine remorse. "They didn't even allow a minute to grieve before they were conspiring how to pull my funding. And I may know about books, but finance – ptsh!" He laughed. "Not a chance. So, yeah, thanks."

He chewed the inside of his cheek and glanced coyly at Draco, before going back to the hob. Draco rubbed the back of his neck and finished the last of his beer. "Well, if it weren't for you I think they'd have a good case for arguing I have about as much value as a garden gnome, and if they ran me out how do you think my great aunt's company would fare then? I think we both owe you for giving me something to care about."

Harry opened the oven and pulled out some heavenly smelling potatoes. "Alright," he conceded, pleased. "We're even. Now make yourself useful and open up that obscenely expensive wine you brought us."

"Who says I brought it for you?" Draco joked, finding a cork screw and wine glasses with ease in the small kitchen. He didn't mind if they were going to brush over what they had already done for one another, he felt like rehashing it would sully it almost. "I just didn't want to end up drinking cheap plonk from Sainsbury's."

"Hey," cried Harry, untying his apron and dishing up the potatoes around the steaks and steamed veg. "There's nothing wrong with Sainsbury's I'll have you know."

Draco pretended to gag and Harry swatted him with the oven gloves.

They had dinner on Harry's little table at the end of the living room, once Harry had cleared off enough piles of paper to find the place settings that was. He put on some music that Draco didn't recognise but that was pleasant and unobtrusive as they tucked into his truly scrumptious meal. Draco wasn't much good at cooking, but Harry obviously took great delight in it, and Draco savoured every bite as they chatted merrily away, slowing working their way through Draco's wine.

On Harry's recommendation, he had read a couple of the books Harry had refrained from spoiling for him on their last lunch meeting (date), and they spent a good hour or so hashing over their merits before the conversation naturally wandered off into other areas. Draco found out Harry's parents had passed away when he was a baby, and he'd been raised by his godfather (the man in the photo with the dog, so Draco had been close). Draco had been troubled to discover his orphaned status, but Harry seemed resigned to it.

"I don't really remember them," he said with a sigh. "But Sirius and their other friends did a really good job keeping them alive in spirit for me. So, I don't know, I guess I feel like they're still here in a way." He got up and found another photo frame amidst his sea of books, and showed Draco another dark haired man with a red-headed woman holding a small baby.

"That's you?" Draco asked, a lump threatening in his throat. He didn't like to think of Harry being left alone before he was even old enough to walk.

But Harry leaned over him, resting one hand on Draco's shoulder and touched the frame with the other. Draco's breath hitched. "It's okay," he said. "I mean, I wish I could have met them, but I know I was loved."

Draco gave the photo back, and Harry took the opportunity whilst he was standing to venture back into the kitchen for another bottle of wine and for a cheesecake that helped drag Draco's thoughts back into a much happier place.

"I think you're probably still loved," Draco said, emboldened by the wine as Harry cut them healthy slices of dessert and doused it with cream. Harry smiled and bit his lip.

"Well, I consider Sirius my family, and I've got a lot of great friends back home in Exeter, but," he trailed off, shrugging as he began opening the next bottle of wine. "It's not been easy in London, especially at work. I'm…well a bit of an oddity as I'm sure you noticed."

"Why do you think I was drawn to you," said Draco playfully, holding up his glass for Harry to refill. "We're both weirdos." Harry chuckled, a lovely sound over the wine glugging from the bottle. "How did you manage until now though, if it was so lonely?" he asked, hoping he wasn't pushing too far. "Why not change jobs, move back home?"

Harry placed the bottle onto the table and regarded Draco from under his coal black lashes. "Come here," he said with a jerk of his head, picking up his glass and moving to the balcony door, opening it into the night.

Draco picked up his glass too as they stepped out into the nippy air and leaned side-by-side on the small balcony's rail. The view didn't exactly contain any landmarks, but it spilled out for miles and miles, the rambling city streets stretching out until the light twinkling from windows and street lamps blurred with stars visible on this unusually clear evening. "It's beautiful," he said.

"This is why I can't leave," said Harry warmly, sipping his wine. "London may be messy and huge and a shambles, but I feel so at home here, it's like it sings to me." He raised an eyebrow at Draco, as if daring him to challenge him. "There's so much history seeped into these bricks, so many stories to be told by so many people in so many tongues, I feel like, even though I've been a bit adrift, the shore is there in sight. I just needed a lifeline to pull me back in, and then I'd really be a part of it all."

"And you think book publishing is your lifeline?" Draco asked, thinking maybe Harry's words made sense. But he shook his head.

"No," he said, turning from the city to look at Draco. "I think you are."

For the second time that night, Draco was pretty sure his shock showed clearly on his face as his stomach did the loop-de-loop. Harry quickly looked away, biting his lower lip and taking a too-big gulp of his wine. "Oh gosh," he said, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, that, that really wasn't appropriate, I keep forgetting you're my boss, and you're younger than me, and I'm not quite sure what's worse, and, just forget I said anything."

Draco's heart was thumping like a jackhammer, but the part of him that was terrified was far outweighed with the part that was elated. "You know what's worse?" he said, bumping shoulders, then feeling extremely pleased when Harry looked up, his green eyes like orbs behind those thick black frames. "What's worse is if you wasted these past few making fall me head-over-heals for you, got me all alone with all this romance, and then didn't kiss me. I think that would be quite the travesty."

Harry had sort of frozen with a look of disbelief on his face. Draco grinned wickedly, and leaned in, as if his words weren't crystal clear enough. Harry's breathing had increased, and Draco was seriously worried about the grip he had on that wine glass he was dangling precariously over the balcony edge. But really, what did it matter, when they were only inches away, then closer, then…

Oh fuck it had been worth teasing him. Draco fell into Harry's kiss with the fervour of any of his favourite book protagonists, revelling in everything it had taken to bring them to this moment. His lips were soft and his tongue was strong, and before he knew it Harry was dragging his hands through his hair, pulling him in deeper and stumbling them both back into the living room.

"Are you sure?" Harry panted, coming to a stop in the middle of the room. "I don't want to take advantage of you?"

Draco hauled him over and pulled them both onto the couch with the impossibly soft throw rug, dislodging several cushions as they landed. "How about I take advantage of you then?" he suggested, grabbing both their glasses to set them safely on the nearest shelf, and hungrily pulling Harry back into him, tangling them together as he rolled his body along Harry's, seizing a fistful of his shirt, and massaging their lips together so ferociously he was slightly fearful of drawing blood.

Harry said London made his heart sing. Well Harry made Draco's heart sing. He was a breath of fresh air through the smog, an electric kick in a dusty landscape. He couldn't seem to get close enough, wrapped in the fluffy blanket, ensconced in squishy pillows and soothed by Harry's dulcet choice of music, Draco felt like he was drifting, pulsing, pinned satisfyingly under Harry's weight as hands explored and kisses wandered.

"I want you to make love to me," Draco whispered. Sure; he'd shagged, he'd fucked, he'd been pulled into other boys rooms and he'd been blown in back alleyways, but he was pretty desperate in that moment for Harry to love him. This felt spiritual, essential, warm, soft and downright delectable.

Harry gasped and pulled away, his pupils smashed wide with want that spurred Draco on. "Please," he murmured, taking full advantage of Harry and not caring one bit.

Harry grabbed his hand and yanked him upright, crashing into another kiss as they fumbled down the corridor, clothes being tugged out of place and strewn with disregard, the bedroom door kicked shut behind them, the last of the clothes removed hastily under the moon and streetlight winking through the open curtains and they dropped onto the bed.

"Yes," Draco breathed as Harry's hands found his arousal, as their bodies gyrated as one. His mouth began working down Draco's body, his wet kisses leaving a cool trace down Draco's skin that made him shudder as a warm mouth found his cock, and he shouted out with disregard for the neighbours. He fisted the bed sheets, worshiping silently as he built and built, grabbing Harry's hair at the last second, gnashing his teeth and coming with a jerk and a twist.

He panted, eyes up to the ceiling as Harry slowly crawled back up his body, more kisses laced tenderly on his skin, until they were snuggled back under the duvet, so much skin pressed together as Harry's mouth gently found Draco's once more. Boldly, Draco pulled back slightly to reach for Harry's glasses and remove them, bathing in those eyes still so emerald in the pale light beyond the window. "Can you still see?" Draco asked, his voice a little shaky.

Harry gave him his sweet smile. "I can see enough," he whispered demurely. Draco didn't tear his eyes away as he fumbled and deposited the glasses on the bedside table, praying he didn't scratch or break them. He ran his hands over Harry's arms and chest, up his neck and through his hair as they fell back into their kiss, soft, slow, tender. Their bodies were pressed flush against one another, undulating at a tortuous pace that nevertheless had Draco's pulse increasing again and his blood pumping back down to his groin.

"Do you want more?" Harry asked, hands caressing up the back of Draco's thighs, cupping the curve of his backside, pulling them impossibly closer together.

Draco wasn't sure he could quite form proper words. "Yes," he managed to rasp, dizzy with desire. "God, yes, please."

But Harry just carrying on kissing him, rocking their bodies in one, fluid motion, like the gentle lapping of waves on the beach. A lifeline, pulling them into shore. Then, slowly, he nudged his shoulder and kissed down his neck. "Turn around," he whispered, and Draco did as he was told, whining like a puppy as their contact was briefly broken, cold air whooshing in under the covers as Harry arched his body and groped for a the drawer on his side of the bed. But Draco could see what he was reaching for, so turned back around and cuddled into the pillows, waiting patiently for the warmth to return.

Sure enough, Harry's chest rubbed back up against his back and the duvet was wrapped around them once more. But a new, slippery coldness found its way between Draco's cheeks, making him gasp a little then laugh and bite his lip.

"Sorry," Harry breathed hoarsely into his ear, his fingers massaging Draco's entrance. "It'll warm up in a sec."

"S'okay," he said, lifting his head a few inches so Harry could slide his other arm under and cuddle them closer. Draco took that hand with one of his and squeezed it tight, his breaths coming out short and heavy as Harry began to push with one of his fingertips. "Yes," he begged. "Yes, yes like that."

Harry pushed further, until he was fully inside, and Draco pushed back against him, loving the sensation. Harry was kissing up and down his neck and shoulders, the tip of his own erection brushing softly against Draco's back as a second finger was added and the slow, magnificent rhythm continued. He was rock hard again, and Draco couldn't help but touch his own arousal, just holding it as Harry worked him tenderly.

"Hmm," Harry hummed, sucking his earlobe. "You look incredible."

"Feels so good," Draco rasped, shuddering as pre-cum slicked his hand.

A third finger managed to squeeze in beside the others, and Harry gradually picked up the pace. Draco restrained himself, keeping his own strokes slow, wanting to hold on for as long as possible. "Can I have you, Draco?" Harry asked, and if he didn't just come at the sound of his name from Harry's mouth.

He nodded in the dim light, eyes screwing shut as he concentrated. "All yours," he gasped. "I'm all yours."

The fingers slipped away and Draco throbbed with longing for their replacement. Harry didn't waste any time now though. He hitched Draco's top leg over his own hips, spreading him wide and guiding the tip of his hot cock into Draco's wet and waiting hole, filling him up gently with a burning fullness that made Draco drop his own arousal and clutch the bed sheets in his fist. Harry's now free hand snuck round though and began to caress Draco's stiff erection as he pulled in and out, working Draco back and front into a writhing mess.

Draco couldn't see straight, spots of light were dancing in front of his eyes as he moaned and shuddered and pleaded for Harry to never stop. Their bodies ran with sweat that drenched the sheets and duvet, sticking every possible inch of them together as their climaxes built. "I can't," Draco cried, unable to hold on any longer, and Harry responded with a deep and hard assault that had Draco screaming his name into the pillow, his orgasm shooting into the blankets cocooned around them.

Harry pounded him for a few thrusts more, before digging his fingers into Draco's hips, holding him tight as he found his own climax deep inside Draco, nestling his face into the nape of his neck as he came down from his release.

Draco was so spent he almost dozed off, still full of Harry, tangled in his limbs, soaked in the aftermath of their lovemaking. "Are you okay?" he asked though, slipping free and nudging Draco awake until he turned round and let Harry cuddle him face to face.

Draco grinned sleepily and rubbed their noses together in an Eskimo kiss. "Sticky," he teased, and Harry laughed.

"Come on," he said, pulling Draco and trying to get them out of the wet bed. Draco whined and pouted in protest, but Harry was having none of it. "Come on," he instated, tugging at Draco's hand and successfully removing him from the saturated bed sheets.

The flat was still mostly dark from where they'd had diner by lamplight, and Draco liked that. It kept up the magical element to their evening as Harry ushered him into the bathroom, draping a towel over his shoulders and sitting him on the closed toilet seat. "Wait here," he said, turning on the shower and planting a kiss on Draco's forehead. He was very comfortable in his nakedness as he went back out into the flat, and Draco was happy to eat up the image of his glistening skin as he disappeared from view.

He didn't have to wait long before Harry was back with a lighter, and he made short work of the dozen or so candles that Draco hadn't even realised were scattered over the surfaces. The room was hot with steam now, and Harry closed the door so as not to set the fire alarm off (that would have been a most disappointing end to the evening.)

"Come on mucky pup," he said, taking both of Draco's hands and standing him up again, letting the towel fall to the floor. The water was just the right temperature as they slipped under it, washing away the mess they'd happily made of each other between Harry's sheets. Harry was a bit shorter than Draco, but it seemed easy for him to take charge of both their bodies, soaping up the pouf and lathering every corner of their skin with warm, slippery bubbles. And then there were the kisses, the light, tender kisses that never stopped. Unlike before though there was no urgency, these kisses were calm and sweet, sure and possessive. An unspoken certainty that whatever this was between them wasn't going anywhere.

Draco let Harry wash his hair, massaging the shampoo into his scalp as he closed his eyes, allowing the water and suds to just run in rivets down his wonderfully aching body. He was pretty sure he was in heaven.

Afterwards, Draco enjoyed letting Harry fuss, towelling them both dry, a process hindered by the many stops for long kisses and soft fingertips trailing along skin. If they had been any more awake it might have led to a second round, but unfortunately that wasn't on the cards just then. Draco could be patient though. At least by the time Harry went to fetch them boxers and t-shirts, their hair was dry again.

Finally, when Draco thought he could no longer stand from exhaustion, he found the candles being blown out and himself being pulled back into the living room, wrapped up again in the impossibly soft throw rug and cushioned by the pillows Harry had piled back up on his expansive sofa. Harry flitted around, closing the balcony door from where they'd abandoned it earlier, warming the room instantly. He turned off the music and the rest of the lights, leaving them in almost total darkness as he snuggled back in beside Draco in their pillow nest, spooning himself in beside Draco's longer form.

"You think we can be a little late tomorrow?" Harry asked, already dozing off from the sounds of it, and Draco squeezed him in his arms.

"I'm the boss," he assured him, stroking his hair and rocking them slightly. "We can take the whole day off if I fancy."

Harry hummed in agreement, before his breaths became steady and deep, and his grip on Draco slackened. Draco knew he wasn't far off sleep himself, but in the late night gloom, he could just about make out the lines of Harry's beloved books, and the edge of the curtains that hid the far-reaching view of London.

A few weeks ago he had become utterly lost, floundering with no direction, unsure if he would be able to survive this unexpected transition.

Now, nestled in Harry's arms, he was pretty sure no place had ever felt more like home.

The End

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