blue shadow

Fic: Stories in E Minor

Author: huldrejenta
Title: Stories in E Minor
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters & Pairings: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Harry/Draco
Rating & Warnings: NC-17
Word Count: 8,700
Summary: Draco has found his place in the Muggle world. He's got his music, he's got his neighbours and he is content. Until a certain someone from the past enters his life again.
Notes: Lots of notes!
1. This was written for the 2014 Harry/Draco Career Fair at hd_fan_fair, and it's been an amazing fest!
2. Part of the fun in writing is trying out new things, right? Well, I did that with this fic, not only because it's my first time writing a Harry/Draco fic, but because of the rating. In a pairing with plenty of high rated stories, this is pretty tame for a NC-17 fic. But for me, it really was to challenge myself. I can read a lot of different stuff, but when it comes to writing it, I practically sit underneath the table, blushing, when the characters decide to take their clothes off. It felt like an important part of this story, though, so I ploughed ahead, and had a surprisingly good time in doing so.
3. There's art!! Art for my story!! The lovely digthewriter has, in addition to submitting the great prompt that inspired me to write this story, made some fabulous art. It made me so, so happy ♥ You can check it out here: Magic Without a Wand.
4. A few people have asked about the music in this fic, and I'm not at all difficult to ask when it comes to making lists with music :) A few songs from the story are inspired by real songs:
The woman in Lisbon playing not-jazz on her guitar: Raquel from the Pedro Almodovar film "Hable con Ella" ("Talk to Her"), which also happens to be a fabulous film.
The girl in Stockholm singing about things that don't last: Be Still My Heart by Silje Nergaard.
The song Draco plays for Harry on his piano: Don't Ever Leave Me by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haiden.
I also listened to a lot of Jan Garbarek and Saint Germain, among other things :)
5. Thank you so much to gilpin25 for a wonderful beta job, I'm so glad you came with me to yet another pairing I'm certain you didn't think you'd have much to do with! It's always such a joy to work with you. Thank you ♥
Also, thank you so much to dustmouth for being the best whinging partner, for listening to my whining, and for being so nice to me ♥

Phew - now I'm done :D



This is what it feels like to be alive.

He doesn't find it where he might have expected to. It's not in the applause. It's not in transforming the atmosphere in a dark, smoke-filled club from inattentive listening to devout silence. All eyes fixed on him.

That part is nice. Very nice, if he's to be honest with himself, and these past few years have been annoyingly persistent in telling Draco that yes, being honest with himself is a good thing.

But still.

What makes Life bubble like a dancing river inside, what makes this real and, for a while, enough, is something else.

It's in disappearing for long moments, in getting absorbed by something bigger than himself. It's in the quiet rush when his long fingers don't land on the C major everyone expects, but instead fly across the piano keyboard to form an E minor. It's in creating this on his own, something unique and free from expectations and strict standards.

Tonight is no different.

The jazz club is only half full, but it's still early. Fridays are usually the best night of the week - the crowd is young, easy to please and have just got paid.

Draco knows he's good. It's as if the magic he can't perform in a Muggle jazz club finds its way from his fingers into the piano. In tune with his instrument, he creates a different kind of magic. The kind that makes people listen, makes people feel.

He finishes his piece and leads the melody into a soft Ritardando before he lifts his hands, letting the final chords linger in the air. Then applause erupts.

As usual on a Friday, there are lots of fairly young people in the crowd. Twenty-somethings with an unmistakeable air of invincible youth. Dressed-up couples in their thirties, opting for a night out instead of dinner parties and Trivial Pursuit.

His eyes are drawn to a table where two kids are clapping politely. Kids in the audience aren't a rare sight this early in the evening, but he keeps on looking. Something about them is vaguely familiar. A feeling of unease he can't locate or explain creeps through him. It's not until he notices the man sliding in next to them that the pieces click into place.

It's Harry Potter.

Draco has learned to trust his poker face. Like any good Malfoy, he can hide emotions and reveal nothing. Years of practice is the only thing that keeps him from staring at this ghost from his past and letting his mouth fall open in a most undignified way. It's the only reason why he doesn't get up and run, looking for a place to hide and curl up.

But he doesn't.

He nods back when Harry lifts his hand and waves, before turning back to the piano and starts to play. He is smooth and calm. And if he's playing an easy melody he could do in his sleep instead of the complicated one he'd meant to, or if he's wiping his hands on his thighs before starting - well, no one needs to know.

*** ***

"Draco Malfoy!"

He's taking a quick break, not quite certain how he made it this far with a pair of green eyes on him. And now Harry is standing there, closely followed by two ginger kids.

"I couldn't believe it was you. Wow! Here you are. A jazz pianist."

Black curls dance as Harry talks, he's so bloody cheery, as if seeing Draco after all these years is the best thing that could possibly have happened.

"I'd love to catch up," Harry says. He doesn't seem to think that's a strange thing to say at all. Because after all, what could be more natural than some friendly catch-up between old enemies?

"I have to take the kids home," Harry says. Of course. These are probably Harry's children. Their colours scream the Weaselette. "This is Rose and Hugo," Harry says, and isn't that nice. "You know, Ron and Hermione's kids. Or maybe you didn't know. They're married now, sickeningly happy with a white-painted cottage and good jobs and two point three children." Harry's smile is wide. "I'm lucky enough to borrow Rose and Hugo here from time to time. We do all sorts of things together. This is the first time we've been to a jazz club, though. And this isn't very interesting for you to listen to."

Indeed.

Harry clears his throat. "Anyway. When do you finish? I'd love to hear you play some more."

Draco hasn't talked to Harry in anything but his dreams for what seems like forever. Now Harry is here, in the flesh, waiting for a reply. So Draco opens his mouth and says "uhm, yes, I'll be playing until midnight, more or less."

Smooth, Malfoy.

Damn it.

Nothing about Harry suggests he's aware of this moment's magnitude. He simply smiles. "Great," he says. "I'll be back."

Draco is lost all over again.

*** ***

He never drinks when he's playing. But now he's finished for the night, Harry Potter sits beside him by the bar, his denim-covered knee touching Draco's. They talk and they drink. Draco is halfway through another whiskey, and there's no way that three will be enough.

"So," says Harry. His lips are moist from the whiskey, and his eyes never leave Draco's. "I'm sure you've got an interesting story, Malfoy."

Draco empties his tumbler and tries not to get distracted by the warmth of Harry's arm close to his own.

"I could tell you many stories, Potter, but I'm not certain any of them are interesting." Okay, so he isn't able to keep his voice as calm as he would've liked, but at least he doesn't forget himself and say "Harry". On evenings that turn his world upside-down, he'll take whatever small mercy he can get.

Harry smiles. Draco has seen that sort of smile before. On a Slytherin, Draco would say it was a smile dripping with hidden agenda. On Harry, there's no telling what it means. Draco is not fond of leaving a puzzle unsolved.

"Well," says Harry with a shake of his curls and a hand that is closer to Draco's than it was a minute ago. "No words of your whereabouts for years. Now you're here, in a Muggle jazz club, playing Muggle music. Oh yes, Malfoy. I'm interested."

"Have you been keeping an eye out for me, Potter?" Draco says, because thank Merlin, there's still some sense left in him, and he doesn't completely give in.

Laughter is the only reply he gets. A deep, melodious laughter that does nothing to ease Draco's already shallow breathing.

"Could you tell me one of your stories?" Harry leans in, bringing with him a scent of pine and fresh air. "Somewhere more quiet, perhaps?" and the room starts to spin. "I wouldn't want to miss anything you have to say, and this place is rather noisy."

Draco swallows and tries to gather his wits.

On one side of the scale there's having to hide himself more than ever tonight, never letting anything slip. On the other side of the scale there's the possibility of feeling Harry Potter's skin close to his own. The decision is made.

Draco gets up. "Let's go."

*** ***

Around the corner and to the end of the little street, Draco's building looks out of place amongst the well-kept, low houses, like a stubborn shadow of the past with its crooked windows and peeling paint.

He leads Harry up the stairs and past the doors hiding Draco's neighbours and their lives. The parrot lady on the first floor is home, judging by the loud chatter back and forth between the woman and her birds. Weird smells seep from the hobby chef on the second floor, and for once there are no sounds of fucking from the art teacher's flat on the third. He's probably out hunting for yet another substitute for the opera singer on the fourth.

"Nice neighbours?" Harry asks as they stop outside Draco's door. Draco pries up the keys from a bag the opera singer gave him after a wet night of jamming.

"They are," he says truthfully, quite pleased with himself when his hands hardly shake at all. "Can I get you a drink?"

Harry stops just inside the door and looks around. "Yes, please."

Pouring them a generous amount of whiskey, Draco tries to see his flat through Harry's eyes. White, bare walls. A kitchenette in the corner. A sofa and a table. One saxophone, two guitars and an enormous piano. And that's it.

Harry smiles. "Nice. Do you play all of these?"

"Yes, Potter," Draco says between sips. "They are not a part of my decorating."

Harry looks at the white walls, but doesn't comment. He walks around the room, sipping his whiskey. Walking and drinking. His clothes embrace every muscle movement, the liquid pours past his bobbing Adam's apple.

He stops and turns towards Draco. "Will you play for me?"

And Draco does. Harry asks for the saxophone, so that's what he gets. He stands right in front of Draco when the music starts, sometimes closing his eyes, sometimes watching Draco with a look that burns.

Draco chooses a smooth melody, one that he's played a hundred times in front of audiences of all sizes. Playing it for Harry is brand new. Wonderful. Terrifying.

"Why did you disappear back then?" Harry is even closer, and Draco has no idea how to reply.

"I couldn't stand the wizarding world anymore," he ends up saying. Coming up with a lie really is beyond him right now.

"Running away, were you?" Harry arches his eyebrows.

Draco clears his throat, not at all certain where to look. "I suppose that's one way of saying it. On one side of the scale there was the desire to show that yes, a Pureblood Slytherin on the wrong side of the war is capable of conscience and being a decent human being. On the other side of the scale was starting all over again. Somewhere people would see me for present actions instead of past sins. After months of closed doors and not so subtle glaring, the decision was easy."

Harry steps close enough for them to breathe each other's air, close enough for Draco to see the many shades of green in Harry's eyes.

"Do you always make decisions based on which side the scale lands on?"

Draco shrugs. "It seems to work rather well."

Harry has starred in his dreams and crept into his desires so many times it has become a part of who he is. And yet it's nothing compared to having the real Harry here, in his flat, one small step away.

"On which side does your scale land now?" says Harry. "You know. This." Harry points between them. "This thing that might or might not happen. I want to. But. Well. It's not like we've been pining away for each other or anything like that, and I don't know how you feel about being more... casual."

"What really made you want to come home with me?" The question leaves Draco before he can stop it.

Harry closes the gap between them. "I fell in love with your music."

And that will just have to be good enough.

Harry glides his mouth against Draco's, slowly, breathing hot air full of whiskey and desire. He coaxes Draco open, pushes firmer, using only his lips. Draco kisses back, and he drowns. His hands tighten around Harry's shoulders, he doesn't know when he put them there, and if being able to breathe means an end to kissing, Draco is perfectly fine with drowning.

But Harry steps back, the bastard, his eye-lids heavy and his cheek flushed.

"Draco Malfoy," he says. "Look at you."

The words push Draco into action. Merlin, he's about to live his dream. This will probably be the one opportunity he'll get, and he'd better make it count. Less time spent pining after what he can't have. More time spent on grabbing what he actually can have, which is a hell of a lot more than he ever thought he'd get.

He leans in again with a mouth that means business. It's half open and eager to use teeth and tongue as well as lips. There's a small sound from Harry, but Draco doesn't stop.

"Potter," he says, and Harry swallows it.

Draco pushes Harry against the wall, he wraps his arms around him, he bites, pours everything he's got into the kiss. Harry returns it, and Draco has no idea how he's been able to live without this.

One hand lands in his hair, glides through it, pulls until it hurts. A warm body pushes against his, strong and eager, searching for more. Draco sneaks his hands underneath the sweater Harry is wearing, letting them wander over soft skin and strong muscles. He tries to enjoy the sensation, but the constant pounding of more - more - more that screams through him, makes it hard to focus. Harry must hear a similar scream. He grabs Draco and turns them both around, pushing Draco against the wall. Somehow he manages to pull off Draco's tie and shirt with little effort.

"Potter," says Draco again. It's the only word his brain comes up with, besides the ones he can't say.

"Merlin, Malfoy." Draco tears Harry's sweater off, it gets stuck before finally giving in, but neither of them cares. "I had no idea you would be so..." The rest of the sentence disappears. Draco's natural curiosity to get a glimpse of Harry's thoughts, is nothing compared to the rush created by a naked chest pressed against his, hands firmly placed on the wall on both sides of his head, and a mouth biting down on his neck.

"Need!" roars Draco's mind, and he pushes his thigh between Harry's legs. Hardness presses against hardness, but the friction isn't nearly enough. Draco can't stand it.

With a growl he would deem most undignified had he cared at all, he lowers himself to his knees. It's awkward, he's so close to the wall, but he manages to find a position. He has no idea how he's able to remove Harry's belt or what possesses him to flap it into the air, making an echoing sound, before throwing it away. No Malfoy acts on instinct alone, but right now, kneeling in front of Harry Potter, instinct is all that's left. Instinct makes him tear open the zip in Harry's jeans. It makes him yank the jeans down. It makes him kiss Harry's erection through his pants, inhaling his smell, listening to the soft whimpers that escape Harry as Draco wets white cotton with an eager tongue.

"Dear fucking someone." Harry's voice is hoarse. The knowledge that he is the one making it so, is more intoxicating than anything he's ever experienced.

This evening will serve as food for his future fantasies, and he pulls down the remaining fabric, slightly short of breath. "Of course," he mutters.

The rest is a blur.

Harry is in his mouth. Harry moans his name. Harry lets go of the wall and clings to Draco's hair. Draco strokes Harry's back, he tastes and licks and sucks. He's never been more turned on in his life than he is in this moment. And he'll be damned if he'll let this end without having seen everything, touched everything, known everything.

"Bed!" Draco scrambles to his feet, happy, but not surprised when Harry takes it as the command it is.

Seconds later the world is this - wide bed, satin sheets and warm skin, sweaty hair, and dear Salazar, the weight of Harry's body covering his. A chest with scattered black hair against his smooth one. Strong thighs settling halfway between his. There are feet snuggling around his ankles and a drop of sweat running down Harry's throat. Draco licks it. Moaning, Harry lifts his neck to give better access, and then his mouth is everywhere. Panting, hot, wet. It's on Draco's shoulder and chest, lingering on almost too sensitive nipples. It's on Draco's stomach, it dances around his navel and moves towards his aching cock. Draco leans on his elbows and watches.

"Malfoy," says Harry.

"Yes," says Draco.

"You are one gorgeous man. Do you taste gorgeous too?"

"Do you plan on giving a speech, Potter, or are you going to find out?"

Harry takes him in. Draco whines, too overwhelmed to hold it in. He's vaguely aware of throwing Harry around, and that he gets them both ready. When he finally pushes into Harry, the joy running through him is just barely stronger than the sadness whispering that this might be their last time together.

Get a grip, Malfoy, and move!

And Draco does. Harry does too - the fair skin against the darker one the only thing telling where one body ends and the other begins.

When Harry comes, he does it like he does everything. No holding back, no second thoughts, fully into the moment. He lets go completely, and Draco can't help but follow.

"Potter," he moans, giving himself to the waves.

Harry, Harry, Harry.

*** ***

It's almost dark, but neither of them has the energy to cast Lumos. They share a cigarette, passing it back and forth, while Draco decides how to answer.

"What's most astonishing," he says after one deep drag, "is how quickly it happens. You try not letting it get to you, and at first it doesn't. Not enough to change the way you look at yourself. But it goes on and on. When contempt is all you meet, at some point you get tired of fighting it. You get tired of reminding yourself that yes, parts of what they're saying are true, but who you are and where you come from is still worth something."

Harry opens his mouth, then closes it again, and Draco continues.

"With my parents abroad and the Manor confiscated, there didn't seem to be much reason to keep fighting."

He passes the cigarette to Harry.

"Why the Muggle areas, though?" Harry asks again, blowing smoke into the air.

Draco shifts and pulls the pillow under his head. "The wizarding districts made me nervous. You know the feeling of leaving everything people think they know of you behind? How liberating it is?"

"I didn't know people's opinions mattered much to you," Harry says instead of answering.

"Neither did I. Not until I escaped them. In the Muggle world I was just this odd bloke with fancy habits and a funny name. I loved it."

"Lots of things have changed since we were eleven, then," says Harry, something close to laughter in his voice.

"No expectations, Potter. It's amazing what that can do."

They finish their cigarette and relax against each other. Harry's hair is impossibly black against the white pillow, and he looks smaller than Draco remembers. Still, his presence fills the room.

"So tell me, Malfoy, where did you go?"

"Lisbon. At first I was just glad to be away, and I mostly stayed in the flat I rented. Didn't speak to anyone."

"Sounds boring."

"I grew up in a manor, Potter, where house-elves did everything but wipe your arse and chew your food. And they would've done that as well if I told them to. Doing nothing is something I'm very good at."

Harry smiles and looks at Draco in the soft light from an outside lamppost. They can hear cars driving by, and the muffled sound of someone laughing. "It sounds lonely, then."

"Oh, it wasn't so bad. Once you've tried having no one to confide in but a ghost, or never sharing any thoughts because they might get back to the Dark Lord, this was easy. And I did talk to my landlord from time to time."

The following silence is deafening. Harry blinks, and Draco looks away.

"Anyway," says Draco, because really, this silence needs to be filled. "I had no idea what I wanted to do. I began spending time walking around in Lisbon. I discovered all the quaint little alleys, I chatted with the housewives as they hung their laundry out to dry on the lines across the street. I watched the kids play football in any space available, and the old men spending their days smoking pipes and solving world problems over a strong cup of coffee. I met this bloke who wanted to educate me on the finer points of Fado, and kept asking me why I had all that cash and no credit cards."

Draco closes his eyes. "One evening I was out walking late in a quiet street full of barred windows and cats sleeping in doorways. Then, around midnight, it turned into an explosion of bistros, wine-bars and cafés, full of party-clad people with loud voices and endless energy. My tired feet led me to a dark pub. As I sat down, a woman began playing her guitar on the tiny stage. The melody flew from her instrument and filled the air. It was a song made of melancholy, but also hope. I felt as if the woman played for me alone, caressing me with her music. Every breath I took was full of it. It wasn't quite what I later would call jazz, it was something soft, indefinable. Beautiful. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt alive. I felt the desire to enter my own life again, to accomplish something. The next day I bought a guitar and hired a tutor to teach me magic with no wand."

Harry has lain still while Draco talked. Now he stirs, looks at Draco and smiles. "You speak just like you play. Beautiful and intriguing. You're fascinating, Malfoy."

He sits up, a sigh leaves his lips, and then: "I have to go."

Somehow Draco isn't surprised. It doesn't make the hurt any easier to bear. "I wouldn't have thought one offs were your thing, Potter," he says despite himself. "You're the guy who dives into everything with all you've got, aren't you?"

"Well." Harry swings his legs off the bed and winces when his feet reach the cold floor. "That method is all well and good in some areas. Not so brilliant in others. So I'm trying this new thing. Think before I leap. Take smaller steps. You know."

Of course. Draco meets Harry again, and now he's started to go slowly. Just his luck.

Harry gets out of the bed and towards the main room where his clothes lie scattered. Draco wraps a sheet around himself and follows, watching as Harry is getting dressed.

Finally Harry turns towards Draco. Their eyes lock. Draco swallows hard and closes his mouth.

"Thank you," says Harry. "Thank you for sharing this with me. All of it. For showing me your home and... everything. It's been..."

He takes three steps before continuing. "I really do have to go. See you around, Draco Malfoy." And then he leaves.

Draco glides down against the wall until he sits on the floor, chin resting on his knees. His chest rises and falls in a slow rhythm. He rubs his eyes with the back of his hand before it falls into his lap.

"Goodbye, Harry Potter."

*** ***

"He was very handsome."

The parrot lady on the first floor browses through her mail while adjusting heavy grocery bags. "You know. The lad who came home with you yesterday."

Draco sighs, but he knows better than trying to avoid the subject. He's not certain he even wants to.

"Yes," he says, putting his keys into one large coat pocket. "He is, rather."

The parrot lady sticks her mail into an enormous handbag and peers at him over narrow glasses. "I'm not one to snoop, you know, but I couldn't help noticing that you came out of your flat this morning all alone. Not the tiniest whiff of pretty brunette. What happened, my dear?"

Everything. Nothing. I have no idea.

"You're a woman of vivid imagination," Draco says, tying his green scarf. "I'm certain you have a fairly good idea. He and I both knew what this was. No promises broken. No hard feelings."

The parrot lady looks at him for long moments. Her arched eyebrows scoot up even further. "Silver eyes, sweetie," she says. "They always tell the most interesting tales, and yours aren't as steely as you like to think. Anyone who doesn't see you for the lost treasure you are, does not deserve you." She heads for the stairs and winks at him. "If I were thirty years younger, my dear, I would've had a go at you myself."


Draco smiles and leaves through the front door. Thank Merlin for good neighbours.


*** ***

Draco skips the ribbon tonight and lets his hair fall down upon his shoulders. He adjusts his tie with calm hands before picking up his instrument. Saturday is saxophone night, and he walks onto the small stage with certain steps, not at all thinking about when he last played his sax to someone. As his fingers move and music fills the room, he waits. The familiar sense of meaning, of contentment, of life, will start washing over him any second now.

But it doesn't happen.

He keeps playing. It's no good. With a heavy sigh that never leaves his mouth, he wills himself to focus.

This is no longer enough. Something is missing, someone is missing. Someone with no interest in seeing him again.

He plays a lot of songs in minor that night.

*** ***

But Draco is wrong.

Next Friday, Harry is in the audience again, this time with no kids.

The past week has done nothing to ease Draco's longing.

Fantasising about Harry has been a part of him for years. Images of Harry flying through the air like gravity doesn't exist. Black curls that would never behave, wondering what they would feel like to touch. The fire in his eyes when duelling or fighting or standing up for what he believes in. How he met Draco's eyes when few others would.

Now Draco knows what he's missing. It's no longer fantasies based on little else than schoolboy memories. He knows what Harry tastes like, he knows how he moves, he knows the sounds that leave Harry's mouth when he comes.

Their evening together might have been many things, but the beginning of a relationship wasn't one of them. They both knew that.

And yet.

It's been a while since he's got his glasses adjusted, but even in the semi-darkness of the club, there's no way he wouldn't recognize this man.

Harry sits with a half-empty pint in his hand. If possible, he looks more delectable than the week before, dressed in grey. Draco catches his eyes, it doesn't take long, and Harry lifts his glass in a silent greeting.

The sweet, up-beat song Draco likes to start a set with, is forgotten. When Draco lifts the saxophone to his lips, the melody that leaves the instrument is the soft, smooth, and yes, sexy song he played to Harry.

His fingers move over the sax with little effort. He keeps looking at Harry, and his mind reaches out, saying what he cannot tell Harry with words.

The quiet intro - Harry looks back at him - having one taste of you didn't make anything better

- speedy transition to the main theme - Harry's eyes widen in recognition - having you again would only land me in more trouble still

- low, vibrating tones all but whispering hot words to the audience, meant for only one - Harry closes his eyes and leans his head back - why are you here, why do you seek me out again?

- an insistent crescendo - Harry moves his glass against his lips - I'm falling so hard, but I can't show you, you'd run away screaming

- the final chords linger - Harry opens his eyes and catches his - but I don't care, you're here, and I'd be a fool to let you go.

*** ***

"What brings a guy like you to a place like this?"

Draco is quite pleased with himself for using a Muggle pick-up line, being in a Muggle club and all. Until he remembers the odd collection of people using that line on him.

Harry just smiles and starts jiggling his foot. "I told you. I fell in love with your music."

"I'm not playing anymore. Yet you're still here."

Harry's jiggling foot picks up speed while he leans a fraction closer to Draco. "Is there any hope of an encore? I really love your music."

He leans back, but his hot breath lingers on Draco's cheek. "I might be persuaded to give you one," Draco says. "I really love playing." He gets up without finishing his beer. This time he's going to soak up every moment with a clear mind. "Let's go."

*** ***

"Do you often play the guitar?" Harry walks over to the guitars placed in one corner of Draco's main room.

"I play, but not well enough to play it in the club."

Harry turns around. "Well enough to play for me?"

"Always," Draco says without thinking.

He picks up the guitar with sure hands, placing it in his lap. Ever since that night in Lisbon, guitars have been his secret love. Like a curvy woman, the guitar caresses his thighs, ready to be stroked, to be played with, to make the sounds his fingers evoke.

Draco gets about half-way through the intro before Harry shifts closer on the sofa. He sneaks an arm behind Draco's back, around his waist and exhales into his ear. "Keep playing," he says before sucking an earlobe into his mouth. "Hhpht," says Draco, trying to focus on the intricate finger play that comes next.

"Beautiful," says Harry, and there's no telling if he means the music or Draco's neck as he loosens the black tie and licks exposed skin. He bites down just hard enough to land on the thin line between pleasure and pain, and Draco misses a chord. Harry is smiling against his shoulder as the tie falls to the floor and deft fingers start working on the buttons in his shirt.

"Keep playing," Harry whispers, and Draco tries to, he really does, and for the most part he succeeds. His shirt has been pulled up from his trousers, all the buttons are undone. The guitar feels cold against his stomach. He skips the complicated theme he's never really mastered anyway, going back to the soft melody while Harry eases the shirt down pale shoulders. His hands reach for Draco's cufflinks. And then he stops.

"Is this okay?" Harry bites his lip. "I know this was supposed to be a one-time thing, and no one was more surprised than me that it happened in the first place. I don't want to presume anything..."

Harry's voice falters as Draco plays louder. He doesn't want to hear Harry's ramblings, he doesn't want to think about what it means. Not right now. "It's okay," he says.

The guitar strings stop their vibrations for a minute as Draco shakes off his shirt. Harry lets out a low, breathless laugh. "Good," he says. There's a soft thud as Harry's knees fall down onto the floor. He removes Draco's socks, one at the time. Feet have always struck Draco as a particularly uninteresting part of the body, but sitting barefoot while Harry starts sucking his toes, he's about to change his mind. It makes him feel naked, exposed.

"You're really good at this," Harry says as he drags one trouser leg up Draco's shin, kissing the inside of his ankle. "I love hearing you play."

Draco licks his lips and finishes the song, while Harry works his way up Draco's leg. Moist breath meets a soft spot beneath Draco's hamstrings before Harry lifts his head. Green eyes meet grey.

"I can't get your trousers any higher," says Harry. "I can't play any longer," says Draco.

Carefully he puts the guitar down and gets to his feet in one, elegant movement. If Harry can't get his trousers further up, he will get them down instead. Harry's eyes are on him, Harry's hands are all over him, Harry's mouth meets his. Desire screams from every corner of his body, and he takes off his remaining clothes, letting them fall onto the floor.

Draco stands naked in front of Harry Potter. Harry's eyes roam over him, starting at his feet, working their way up. Draco's hands hang loosely by his thighs, they're these heavy and awkward things he has no idea where to put. Never has he felt this exposed, and sweet Merlin, he likes it.

"Beautiful," says Harry again. This time there's no doubt what he's referring to. He steps closer, his hands find Draco's, still hanging by his side. Their fingers link together, and they meet in a soft kiss.

"Turn around." Harry's voice is dark and breathless. Without thinking, Draco does, getting dizzy when Harry wraps one arm around a pounding chest, leaning his chin on Draco's shoulder.

"Have you been thinking about this?" Harry whispers into his ear.

Yes, Harry, every day since you pulled me out of the fire, every day since you asked me how I was doing after it was all over, every day since I didn't have the courage to ask you the same. And most nights too, Harry.

"Have you?" Harry asks again. Draco closes his eyes and leans in. "Yes," he says, and Harry moans. His hands start wandering, they move across smooth sides and narrow hips. They tickle long thighs. They curve around his arse and find their way to his belly button, they follow the trail of fine hair to an erection that's painful, pounding, full of need. One calloused hand closes around it, sending hot waves through his entire being.

"Potter!" Draco sobs and sinks down to his knees, taking Harry with him. "I want you inside me." He leans forward, letting his arms rest on the sofa, and his arse pushes against Harry's still denim-covered cock.

"Fuck, Malfoy, you have no idea how gorgeous you look like this." Harry's breath is warm and moist against Draco's back as a firm hand touches, explores, prepares. And finally, finally, after an eternity of teasing, Harry starts undressing. There's the sound of cotton fabric being pulled off and a zip being pulled down. Draco wants to look, but he's incapable of moving from his position. A scream leaves his mouth at the sensation of Harry pushing into him, stretching him, filling him with hot flesh.

"Come on, Potter! Is that the best you can do?" Clearly, it isn't. Harry thrusts harder, he tightens his hold on Draco's hips, he starts talking nonsense. And when Draco is certain he can't stand staying in this pool of desire one moment longer, Harry sits back on his heels. He snuggles one arm across Draco's chest, pulling him down onto him. Again, Draco leans his head against Harry's shoulder. Dark, sweaty hair falls onto his forehead, it smells like fresh air and Quidditch and salt. They move together, Harry fills him, and Draco is getting closer, closer. He's moving on the edge, licking Harry's neck, laying his arm over Harry's.

But he can't reach the edge. He needs... something. Harry pulls him closer and whispers into his ear. "Come for me, Draco, come for me." And Draco comes. He falls, maybe he screams, he bites his lips until they start hurting, and sometime before he reaches the ground, Harry must've come too.

"Ssh," says Harry. He holds him through the aftershock, letting both of them land. "Ssh. I've got you."

*** ***

The room is silent.

They half sit, half lie on the sofa, legs tangled into each other as they share a blanket and a bottle of beer. Draco opens his mouth, but no words are right.

This thing between them is supposed to be only fucking. Meaningless curiosity, and good heavens, step back and have a good look at the two of them. How could it possibly be anything else?

But this was like making love to someone he's been with forever. Draco has no idea what to make of it.

"So, Lisbon." Harry clears his throat. "Where did you go next?"

Draco smiles. "Stockholm. Did you know that Stockholm is built on a lot of islands? I found a tiny flat in a building from the eighteen's century, and I used to play the guitar on this square close to the royal castle. Have you seen the Muggles do that? People stop to listen to the music, and they throw a few coins into your open guitar case. Or at least some of them do. I didn't really need to do it, I still have access to enough of the Malfoy money the Ministry couldn't lay their hands on, but it's great practise. And no one batted an eyelid at the heir to House Malfoy and House Black playing in the street like a vagabond. I felt free every time I did it."

Harry turns to look at him, pulling the blanket further up. The room is quite cold. "It makes sense. Doing something unexpected and no one there to judge you for it. I would've loved to see you."

Draco takes another sip and finds a better position on the rather small sofa. "There was nothing spectacular about my performance. But someone must have liked it, and I was asked to play in a little café close by. Only a few tables could fit in it, so with me, the bloke who run the place and one girl serving coffee, there was practically more staff than customers. The three of us hung out quite a lot. The girl was German and the guy was from Italy, so when we weren't working, we discovered Stockholm together. The canals and the medieval areas. The diverse nightlife. There's this intriguing mix of northern freshness and continental elegance to the city."

Someone is walking by in the corridor outside. The sound of arguing gets closer before disappearing down the stairs. "One evening, I remember it was very cold and very dark, we found a lovely jazz club, and we went inside. A young girl was singing and playing the piano. I've always known how to play the piano, having sat through endless lessons with strict discipline. But this girl... She made music of a kind I'd never known. Her voice formed words speaking directly to me. I was mesmerized."

"What did she sing about?"

Draco hesitates. "Things that don't last."

It's possible that Harry's intake of breath is a little sharper, a little deeper than usual. Draco can't say for certain.

"Anyway, we started talking, and we ended up planning for her to teach me. I've been in love with jazz ever since."

Harry takes the bottle from Draco, but doesn't drink. "So, what did you learn in Stockholm?"

"Pardon?"

"You said you learned how to enjoy life again in Lisbon. Did you learn something new in Stockholm? Besides playing the piano."

Draco nods. "I started letting myself believe that I could be more rather than less. I learned I could get close to people because of who I am, and not because they wanted something from me." He reaches for the beer bottle in Harry's hand and drinks the rest of it. He doesn't say anything more, neither does Harry, and silence settles around them.

*** ***

"How's it going, mate?" The art teacher from the third floor stops on his way out, zipping up his coat. "Any luck with the gents these days?"

Draco steps aside, letting the hobby chef from the second floor pass. They all greet each other in the cramped foyer before the hobby chef continues up the stairs.

"Well," Draco says. "There is someone. But any luck... I don't know."

"Is it the guy that hardly says anything?" The art teacher steps closer, he's interested now.

"He talks," says Draco. "Just not about things that matter. And I don't ask."

"Ah," says the art teacher. "Do we ever, about the important stuff? Oh well. At least there is fucking."

Yes. There is that.

*** ***

It's Friday again. Draco makes an effort not getting his hopes up. He's been working at it all week, searching inside for survival skills he hasn't needed for years.

It's no good.

No one sees him, and thank fuck for that, when he opens the door leading from the back rooms to the club itself. He leaves it ajar, peeks inside and scans the audience for black curls and the man they belong to.

He exhales with a soft sound. Harry is there.

Harry is there the next Friday as well. And the next.

"Do you love my music enough to keep coming back?" Draco takes his usual seat besides Harry, clutching his drink.

Harry hesitates, but his voice is steady."I did fall in love with your music. And I have fallen in love with your stories too."

Draco empties his drink in one go and manages to stop himself before the persistent voice of hope makes him say the wrong thing. It's all a matter of staying practical. Taking what is offered. Forgetting the rest. It's still enough for the scale to keep leaning towards Harry.

Before long they've fallen into a pattern. Friday night Harry shows up at the club. Sometimes before Draco has played one tone. Sometimes he doesn't come until the first prickles of nervous energy have found their way through Draco.

Harry doesn't come every Friday. When he isn't there, Draco has no idea why the audience doesn't greet him with booing, or starts complaining about the complete lack of interest from the piano player.

But most Fridays Harry is there. Listening to Draco play. Watching him. Drinking beer, or sometimes whiskey, licking his lips when one drop of liquid stays there. Draco joins him for a drink when his set is done. They talk, they flirt, they walk in comfortable silence, air full of anticipation, to Draco's flat. Once inside, they tear each other's clothes off. Harry asks "is this okay?" Draco says "of course". They fuck. They make love. They kiss and explore and moan. And well before the night is at its darkest, Harry leaves.

He never leaves, though, until he's lain curled up next to Draco on the sofa or in the bed. One time on the kitchen floor when neither of them found the energy to move. He listens to Draco's stories. Sometimes he asks questions. Most of the time he listens.

Draco can't quite explain why he's telling Harry all these things. Maybe he has missed the company of wizards more than he thought. Maybe he really is as fond of his own voice as everyone used to think. Mostly, though, it's because it's Harry.

And Draco talks.

He tells Harry about staying in Warsaw, about the girl he met there with a laugh like a mountain stream, but with a singing voice like she'd grown up above a bar in one of Havana's seedier alleys.

He talks about time spent in Budapest. A group of loud students more interested in staying out, playing, than getting any closer to finishing their studies, introduced him to art galleries, electronic jazz and drinking vodka straight out of the bottle.

He talks about learning all there is to know about red wine, blowjobs and playing the saxophone from this one man in Paris. Draco had fallen for his French accent and his enthusiasm for music, but most of all for he'd fallen for his messy, black hair and burning eyes.

"Draco," he used to say between saxophone lessons, making café au lait and slicing some bread. "You must remember to add feelings to everything you do. Passion! Love! Tears! You're always holding back, mon ami. Feel the music. Feel the love. Feel life. Oui?" It took him some time to convince Draco. But sometimes, when playing his sax, or pretending he didn't think of another man when closing his eyes and leaning in, Draco had to admit that maybe he had a point.

*** ***

"There you are, Draco," the opera singer on the fourth floor says while balancing a stack of old records. "What's happening with you and this guy you're crushing on?"

Draco shrugs. "I'm not really crushing on him any longer."

"Oh?"

Draco catches a record as it's about to fall down. "I'm afraid it's grown way beyond a simple crush," he says, as always unable to hold anything back from this distinguished man. "It's become much more. And I don't want it to. He hardly sees me as boyfriend material."

"Why do you say that?" The opera singer nods gratefully as Draco puts the record back into his arms. "He obviously likes you, the way he keeps coming back. And quite honestly, what's not to like?"

Draco laughs despite himself. "He and I go back a long time. I have made mistakes, and he has seen them all. He has seen me at my lowest. Even if he could get past all of that, there's no way the world he lives in - his friends and family and colleagues - would ever approve of him being with someone like me. It's not a good foundation for a relationship. It would wear us down. Eventually."

"Oh, I don't know. In my experience, people are often willing to forgive when enough time has passed. Especially when they see how happy you make him. I don't know what kind of mistakes you've made, but I do know what kind of man you are now. His friends might want to move on from the past just as much as you do."

"That's just it!" Draco's annoyance seeps into every word. "It's not really forgiveness, is it? They want to see you bow your head and crawl and say that everything you've ever believed in is wrong, everything they've ever done is right, and you've realised that you need to turn your back on your whole background, and then they'll accept you. Maybe. They get to say "Okay, now you've confessed to always doing the wrong thing", and they can feel so good about themselves and how they've always been on the right side of things, even when it wasn't their own choices that put them there. They can clap themselves on their backs and congratulate each other on being such marvellous, forgiving people." He crunches up his nose. "I don't want that."

"Well." The opera singer gives him a small smile. "I can see why you wouldn't. But you don't know if it would be like that, do you? Is being with the man of your dreams worth giving it a shot?"

Draco sighs. Yes. It probably is. If Harry would want him enough to try.

*** ***

Early morning light flows in through the narrow window. Draco opens his eyes, immediately hit with the realisation that something is different.

It's Saturday. He's got a slight headache, but nothing more than he often does this time of the week. He played at the club yesterday, trying out a few new pieces he's been working on. Harry was there, and they followed their usual routine of drinking, fucking, talking. Or rather, Draco having his monologue.

Draco shakes off the leftover sleep and turns over in his bed. He's about to sit up and head for the bathroom when his movements freeze.

Harry is still here.

Still in his bed, still beside him. Harry's eyes are closed, but his breathing tells that he's awake.

Draco says nothing, doesn't move, he simply watches.

Then Harry opens his eyes, looking everywhere but at Draco.

"After the war," Harry says, swallowing and clearing his throat before trying again. "After the war, I lost something. I don't mean the obvious, like all those people who died, or trying to find my place in a world where everyone had their own opinion on what would be best for me. I didn't lose my sense of purpose when Voldemort died, like I was told could happen. I still had my friends, who'll always be there for me, and I started working."

"What is it that you do?" Risking stopping Harry talking might not be the best idea, but Draco really wants to know.

"I teach. Not at Hogwarts, but the smaller children."

"Really?" The beginning of a laugh comes bubbling from Draco's belly. "I never would've guessed."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. I assumed you'd become this hot shot Auror. I wouldn't have thought you'd be much good at teaching."

"Trying really hard not to get offended here."

Draco smiles. "I'm just surprised. Now that I think about it, it actually makes sense."

Harry turns over, resting his head in his hand as he leans on his elbow. Eyes still not meeting Draco's.

"I like what I do. I have a lot of things in my life that I care for. But I couldn't... Someone once told me that my ability to love was what would give me an advantage. Maybe it was back then. But afterwards... At first I told myself that I hadn't met the right person, but that there was plenty of time, and it would happen soon enough. As time passed by, the idea obsessed me. That I wasn't able to feel it. About someone else. It became comforting, in a way. I was Harry Potter, part of everyone's lives, always there for those around me. And then you showed up. From nowhere. It didn't make sense, not any of it. That I could... With you, of all people."

He looks up. Burning eyes meet Draco's, and Draco blinks.

"It scared me more than anything has in a long time, and I have done some crazy shit in my life. But the voice that kept urging me to get solid ground under my feet, met another voice. This one told me to seize the good things in life from whatever unlikely place they might show themselves." A shaky laugh fills the air between them. "On one side of the scale there was me, wanting to hold back. On the other side of the scale there was you, being nothing like I thought you would be. The scale kept leaning more and more to that side. To your side."

Harry sits up, laying one hand over Draco's. "I did fall in love with your music. I did fall in love with your stories. And now... Now I have fallen in love with you. And maybe I should just let myself stay."

Draco doesn't say anything. No words can capture what he wants them to. So he lifts one hand and touches Harry's hair, lets pale fingers glide over Harry's cheek, the thumb following the shape of red lips. The hand moves to Harry's shoulder, holds it close, and Draco leans in, letting his forehead come to rest against Harry's. He closes his eyes, and the two of them breathe. Quietly. Almost exploding. And for no particular reason, they begin to laugh.

The sheets have crumbled up by their feet, and Draco notices goose-bumps on his skin. He's cold. Or happy. Possibly both.

"Do you want some breakfast?" He straightens, dizzy by hearing his own words.

Harry's face bursts into a wide smile. "Please. I'm starving." He reaches for his glasses and jumps out of bed, more cheery than Draco has seen him since that night with the Weasley kids. "Could you play for me first?"

They sit down by the piano, thighs resting against the other's, and Draco starts to play.

"This is nice." Harry leans his chin on Draco's shoulder and hums.

"Don't ever leave me," Draco says.

"What?" Harry looks up, and Draco laughs. "It's the name of the song, Potter. Harry."

"Oh."

The piano music continues to fill the room. Harry leans in again. "I like that. The song, and the name of it."

So Draco says the word he's said every time Harry has been here.

"Stay."

Only this time he says it out loud. And this time Harry stays.
(Anonymous)
(I'm someone you know, but I'm too paranoid to leave a signed comment on a high-rated fic, so I'll be anonymous for a minute here!)

This was so powerful -- Draco's longing, and the sensations when he is with Harry. And the way your descriptions of the music make it so, so sensual. Beautifully done.

I also really like the way Draco feels he's learned something new from each of the cities he's lived in -- both about music, and about life.

Draco makes an effort not getting his hopes up. He's been working at it all week -- Oh. Ouch. Poor Draco.
I'm so happy you enjoyed this (despite the rating, haha ;)).
I'm really pleased that you found the story powerful and sensual, I really wanted it to have a sensual atmosphere, so I'm glad it felt that way to you!

Thank you!
This story has so much of the elements that make me love your writing <3
It's gorgeous!
And the author's notes are the sweetest I've seen in a long time :-) Art for this fic, how cool! I'll be checking the music as well.
Really beautiful work!!
Hon, I really loved your fic. Just read it again after I've seen your post this morning and it's been such a wonderful read again. <333
The art by digthewriter is absolutely lovely. Gorgeous colours.

I'm so glad you came with me to yet another pairing I'm certain you didn't think you'd have much to do with!

Just never take me to Ronks. ;)
Yes, the art is fabulous, and it was such a great surprise to see it!

Just never take me to Ronks. ;)

I think you can safely assume that's a deal, lol :D