On Monday Harry woke up. He couldn't get his mind to be quiet.
Malfoy. He fought the thought during his shower, breakfast, and his walk to the floo.
He arrived early, to miss the other students, and headed to the eighth year dorms. He listened to a morning show until Pansy arrived.
Was she with Malfoy? Does she have breakfast with him every morning?
Over the next week, Harry and Pansy put the finishing touches on the 8th year dorms.
I wonder where Malfoy is working.
On Friday, they followed Professor Loire around during her inspection. She noticed the hidden liquor cabinets in the closets but didn't say anything about them, only gave a look and mumbled something about being of age.
Does Malfoy drink anything that's not vintage firewhiskey?
After Loire and Luna congratulated them on the work, they were assigned to take a week off-
Will Pansy see Malfoy during her week off?
-and then return to repair a hallway and 3 classrooms before the beginning of the school year.
What classes will Malfoy and I have together?
On Monday morning, Ron sent an owl letting Harry know that he and Hermione were coming back Thursday, one day early. They hadn't told Mrs Weasley, and asked if they could stay at his place for the night, before going back to the Burrow.
Harry could see exactly where that was headed. He sent back an owl stating they would have dinner at 5pm and then Harry would be busy the rest of the night, so they would have the place to themselves. In return, Ron had a box of chocolate frogs sent to him from Honeydukes.
Harry and Kreacher spent a few days clearing the Voldemort paraphernalia out of Regulus' room and making it comfortable, so that his two best mates could have some privacy. He was happy to have something to occupy the time.
Wednesday evening he collected the needed groceries for Poulet Vallée D'auge. He wanted to make something really special to celebrate with Hermione, and Fluer had personally taught him how to make this dish.
He unpacked the food and explained the prep work to Kreacher. They had worked out a way to work together in the kitchen after the first month of incessant fighting. Kreacher let Harry cook breakfast every day, and dinner three times a month as long as he could do the food prep. They got take away twice a month, and Kreacher made the rest of the meals.
Harry washed his hands, as he talked, to remove the chicken stock that had leaked through the packaging. He looked through the window above the sink when a beak tapped the glass. A majestic eagle owl sat on the ledge.
Malfoy. Damn. I was doing so well.
He opened the window and the owl swooped in to land on the table and let Harry untie the letter from his leg. Of course, it wasn't a letter. Once he opened the envelope, it was a postcard from the Weasley that slipped out. Harry spared a moment to scowl at the picture of himself before flipping it over.
I have tomorrow clear from Hogwarts. Would you be able to meet me at Diagon to see the falcons? Luna has requested that you meet them while they are still in the eyas stage and have "floofy baby bird magic."
Please meet me at Diagon's entrance at 11am if you are able.
ps - since this picture came out, I've seen you photographed with 3 other blonde blokes. Your hair looks atrocious in all of them. We can get you a hat tomorrow too, since you can't seem to figure out how to utilize a hairbrush.
"Prat," Harry mumbled to himself as he looked around the kitchen for a scrap piece of paper.
Have they really all been blond? He thought.
After slipping the postcard into the back pocket of his denims, he located a piece of parchment and scratched out a response.
Spoiled Slytherin Prat,
I will meet you there at 11. I was also given a recent lesson on "floofy baby bird magic," and Luna made it very clear that she was not going to give up this business about me seeing the falcons with you.
ps - sod off, Malfoy.
The next morning, after breakfast, Harry instructed Kreacher to have all of the prep work done by 4 pm. Then he left to meet Draco in Diagon Alley. He found him casually leaned up against the brick with a book in his hand. Draco was dressed in a black button down, grey trousers and black leather shoes.
Harry looked him over and thought, How does he always look so edible.
Then he took a moment to beg his mind to STOP thinking about Malfoy. By the time he was done tamping down his inner turmoil, Draco was looking back at him.
In lieu of saying hello, Harry cleared his throat and made a show of looking over the blonde's outfit and said, "What is this, your attempt at casual wear?"
Draco closed the book and turned to tap on the brick. "I assumed you would show up in muggle grunge wear," he drawled, motioning behind himself towards Harry. "I didn't want us to look more ridiculous together than we already do."
Harry looked down at his faded Canons t-shirt, dark jeans, and red sneakers. When he looked back up Draco had already started through the entrance and down the street. Harry hurried to catch up with him. "Where did you learn the term grunge?"
"Pansy," Draco replied. "She took me to a muggle club last week and I met a pretty boy who was dressed like a homeless person." He shrugged, a sly smile on his lips, "Eventually, I was able to see past the clothes."
Harry didn't say anything at first, trying to untangle the anger he suddenly felt. To choke down the wave of jealousy he didn't want to admit to, he focused on the insult. "I am not dressed like a homeless person," he said through clenched teeth. "Are you going to be like this all day?"
Draco's smile grew just a bit, "Probably, yes. I like to rile you up."
Harry huffed and decided to let it go. They turned a corner and stepped up to the shop. There was a guy standing out front blocking the entrance. When the boy turned around Harry recognized him as Zacharias Smith.
The moment Zach spotted Draco his eyes went narrow. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he asked.
Draco didn't say anything in return, merely sneered and tilted his chin up.
"You have a lot of nerve walking around like you're welcome. They don't want you here, Death Eater," Zach said, spitting out the last two words.
Harry angrily shoved in between them and got right in Zach's face. "Fuck you Smith! You have no right to have any opinions about him or the war!"
Katie Bell appeared behind Zacharias, apparently drawn by the commotion. She grabbed his robes and, in a surprising display of strength, maneuvered him past the other two boys and onto the street. "I told you to get out of here. Don't come back," she said in a way that suggested he'd been told that before.
Harry looked at Draco who was watching Zach as he walked away. "Just forget him," Harry said.
When Draco turned back to meet his eye, Harry couldn't get a read on his expression. "Perhaps," Draco said, "you would like to tell me what that missorted Hufflepuff did to cause you to protect me over him?"
Harry shrugged, still feeling the tense anger in his shoulder blades. "Nothing. He did absolutely nothing. That was the problem," he said, honestly.
Katie came back up to the store front. "Hello boys, sorry about that" she said sweetly. "Luna said I should be expecting you two. Come in and I will show you the new birds."
Harry watched as she walked past them, shocked by her friendliness. He looked back to Draco, "How!?" he demanded, the memories of her tortured cries were flooding his mind.
"Potter," Draco said darkly with narrowed eyes, "don't ruin the moment."
Harry no longer cared about the moment. He couldn't let this go. He put his hand on the other boys chest to stop him from moving past, "No. I have to know why she's ok with you."
Draco looked down at Harry's hand and then, slowly met his eye. "Is that really where you want to touch me during this interrogation of yours? I'm still scarred there you know," his words were cold and barely audible.
Harry jerked his hand back as though it were burned. He stared at Draco, gobsmacked, until the blonde reached up and closed Harry's jaw.
"Not that I owe you an explanation," Draco spoke in clipped tones, "but I spent a couple of weeks with her and Rosmerta before the trials. That's as much as I'm telling you." He lifted his chin, "Now get out of my way before I'm forced to hex you."
Harry stepped aside and leaned against the doorframe taking deep breaths as the blonde walked in, memories of the bathroom taking the place of Katie's torture. By the time he was collected enough to go inside, Draco was seated in the back room with three of the baby Merlin falcons.
"Malfoy, I-" Harry began.
"Now's not the time Potter," Draco said, as he scooped up one of the birds and pushed it into Harry's hands.
The moment the bird touched him Harry could feel the difference. It was almost as calming as a patrons being cast. He felt the tension seep out of his shoulders, and the headache that he hadn't realized was starting, faded as well. Harry looked up to find Draco's sharp grey eyes watching him carefully.
"You can feel this too right?"
"Yes, of course. That's one of the reasons these falcons are so prized," Draco replied. He leaned back in his chair, a tiny bird nuzzled into his arm.
"Luna was right," Harry said, reverently.
"She usually is."
Harry offered a smile, "Should I buy all of them?"
"No Potter," Draco smirked back at him, "one bird is enough for you."
They pushed through the door at Grimmauld place at 3pm that afternoon. Harry was carrying a birdcage, food, and a bag full of too many bird toys. Draco followed him in with Pax, the baby Merlin Falcon, who had refused to leave the warmth of his arms.
Both boys were smiling when they reached the kitchen to find Hermione, Ron, and Kreacher, all staring at them with wide concerned eyes. For the first time since they left Diagon Alley, Harry was happy that Pax had wanted to stay with Draco. Even with the bird, Draco tensed up.
The house elf broke the silence, "Kreacher didn't know your guests were coming early."
Harry snapped out of his shock, put everything down on the table and pulled Hermione up for a tight hug. "I'm so proud of you," he whispered in her ear.
"Thank you Harry," she said, and hugged him back.
"Harry... mate...." Ron said slowly, "what's going on here?"
Harry turned and grasped Ron's shoulder. He motioned to Draco, "Malfoy was helping me with getting this perfect little pet," he said, desperately hoping the deflection would work.
Draco seemed to pick up on his cue, as he offered up the bird to Ron who took it in a daze.
The bird worked it's magic and Ron seemed to relax slightly. He still cast Harry a disbelieving look.
"Weasel-ly," Draco began, cleared his throat and started again. "Weasley," he said clearly, "I appreciate your part for the outcome of my trial."
Ron looked at him as though he'd declared himself to be a flying cow. Harry laughed at the face and gave the redhead a slight shake on the shoulder.
"Er…" Ron replied.
Draco rolled his eyes and looked to Hermione, "You far outclass them both Granger."
"Yes, I'm aware. I outclass you too Malfoy," she replied with a sweet smile.
Much to everyone's surprise, Draco laughed. He met Harry's eye, "See you around Potter," he said, and let himself out.