Brutally Beloved

BY : Tnteacups
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 2464
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the characters named here. I make no money from this writing.

An Unwelcome Surprise

 

“Harry, make sure you stop by the Leaky Cauldron after work. Neville owled that he has something for you.” Ginny called through the kitchen as Harry hurried to button his Auror’s robes. He was running late, as usual, and was already in a poor mood, from his bad dreams.

“Why couldn’t he just send it with the owl?” Harry grumbled, pulling on his boots, and running a hand through his messy hair in a futile attempt to tame it. 

“Too big. What’s with the temper?” Ginny responded, setting two plates of toast and eggs on the kitchen table. Harry shook his head, and forced a smile as he stood.

“Sorry. Just didn’t sleep well. No time for breakfast.” He lamented, checking the clock on the kitchen wall. He gave her a swift peck on the cheek, and headed for the Floo, dissolving into the flames with a handful of powder before he could even hear her farewell. It was one of the rare days when he could hardly look at her, for the rage twisting in his gut. Not at her, she’d done nothing wrong, of course. But at himself. The days had been coming more and more frequently where he couldn’t meet his own eyes in the mirror. Where Kingsley spoke to him about being too aggressive with his suspects. The days were becoming rare when he felt happy, and satisfied. 

He couldn’t stop thinking of HIM. And he hated that his thoughts were pulled like gravity, constantly falling back to what he had given up…

“Morning, Potter.” 

“Auror Potter.” 

“Morning!” 

It was the usual assorted greetings he’d gotten, every day, for the past six years. And this morning, he hated them. They were evidence of how predictable, and mundane his life had gotten. Even chasing down Dark wizards, the occasional magical battle, he felt simply bored. His life, exciting as it may seem to the wizarding public, had grown dull. ‘Colorless’ someone had once said. He’d rather liked that expression. He could clearly see that that lampshade was a hideous shade of green, that Ginny’s hair was as red as ever, that his office was lined with colorful quidditch and wanted posters, but the world just seemed faded. 

So he did all he could to trudge forward, every day, keeping what little happiness he had grasped firmly in both hands. Ginny, for all he wasn’t in love with her anymore, was still someone he loved. Sunday dinners with the Weasley family were always happy. Ron and Hermione had a baby now, and he enjoyed holding her. 

But still, when he walked through the Ministry corridors, he felt as if his face was made of cardboard. A fake half-smile rationed out to every coworker, but he couldn’t force the expression onto his face when his work took him to the courtrooms. They always brought up memories. It was, afterall, where it had all started going downhill.

Harry mechanically did his Monday paperwork, and went for his noon lunch. He was eager for the afternoon. It all seemed to go faster after lunch. Then he could go home. And… and when he thought about it, he wasn’t sure why he was in such a hurry to get home. Nothing terribly exciting would happen. But it was a goal, and he could achieve it.

* * *

By the time his workday ended, Harry had nearly forgotten about his business at the Leaky Cauldron, and was eager to at last escape the seeming neverending buzz of paper whizzing into his office with new memos. He rushed through the corridors, taking the less populated route, knowing the main lifts would be so crowded, it would be faster to take the long route, and the out-of-the-way lifts. It was also a perk that he hardly ever saw anyone going this way, and didn’t have to pretend he’d enjoyed his day trapped there with them. He’d almost made it, when his senses told him something was off. He was being followed. He stopped, but before he could pull his wand out, his stalker spoke up.

"Potter."

The familiar voice sent an automatic shiver up his spine, and a matching wave of sheer panic through his chest. It couldn't be.

He turned, looked into familiar, burning eyes, and was thrown headfirst into memories. He'd hoped to put all recollection of this man from his mind, but at the sight of him, he could nearly still feel the warm hands on his skin, the short nails digging into his lower back, and slow, wet kisses that had left him breathless, and aroused.

"Malfoy… I thought you'd left the country?" He narrowed his eyes, and kept his voice steady, conversational, and a touch unwelcoming.

"I had. Disappointed it wasn't permanent?" Malfoy sneered back. Harry struggled not to let his face show any disappointment, or the excitement that was suddenly welling up in him.

"I don't care what you do. " He asserted, even as he looked the other over, inspecting the changes that his three years away had brought.

His hair had grown out, and Harry was nearly reminded of Lucius, except that Draco wore his hair loose. His face wasn’t the same haughty expression that his father wore, either. It was still hateful, but differently so. More personal. Harry felt his heart squeeze painfully with both guilt, and resentment for the man that stood before him. He looked healthy, minus the dark circles under his eyes. He held a folder in one hand, and Harry noted that he must have had business in the Ministry.

“Clearly.” Malfoy said in a chilly tone, his eyes darting to the lift just behind Harry. He’d had the same thought of avoiding the crowds. Harry didn’t like that. Harry also didn’t like how the look insinuated that he wanted to escape. As if he was somehow the one mistreated by his showing up here. Harry tried to think of a nonchalant way to turn, and run to the lift, slamming the door closed so Malfoy couldn’t join him. There was no possible way. So he’d have to suffer. 

“I was just on my way out. Excuse me.” Harry finally said, turning to head to the lift. Malfoy scoffed wordlessly, but he heard the soft footsteps follow him. Harry swallowed nervously. Why was he here? Why now? It was almost as if he’d been summoned by Harry’s dreams. But that was silly. He probably just had some estate paperwork to file, before he fled back to France, to hide with his wife. Harry felt a twist of jealousy at that thought. He’d married Ginny first, but somehow, Malfoy marrying a woman that had dark hair and green eyes had seemed like a pointed stab in his direction. He remembered letting the wedding invitation he’d received burn over a candle as he watched it smoulder. Ginny had been upset over the scorch mark it had left of the table, and Harry had had to tell her it’d been a howler.

Harry punched the button for the Atrium on the old elevator wall, and stood to the side, clearly leaving room for Malfoy to stand away from him. He rather liked the feeling of shoving the button in as hard as he could. It was much more satisfying when he was upset than politely telling the lift what floor he wanted. Malfoy entered the lift, checked the button, and stood aside, taking the space Harry had left him. As the grate closed, and the walls began to slide past, they stood, surrounded by a heavy silence. Harry felt the same lump in his throat and shortness of breath as he’d felt when he’d seen the wedding invitation. He wanted to say something, but there was nothing to say. He refused to exchange banal pleasantries with Malfoy in lieu of real conversation. With the air heavy with unspoken words, Harry couldn’t help recalling what he liked to think of as ‘the first incident’. The beginning of his downward slide, and the last time he and Malfoy had really fought.


He’d been in the courtrooms, after the war, testifying on behalf of the Malfoys, explaining how Narcissa had lied to keep him alive, and the Malfoys had all switched sides…. He hadn’t even realized Malfoy was there, until he’d been exiting the courtroom…

He’d known people would be angry that he’d kept the Malfoy’s out of Azkaban, so he’d done his best not too look at the stands of onlookers. So he’d missed that the Malfoys themselves were in attendance for his speech. He was surprised when a hand caught him outside the courtroom, and yanked him around angrily to face Draco Malfoy.

"What the hell, Potter? What was that?" Malfoy had demanded angrily, looking incensed.

"It's called a testimony. " Harry replied blandly, unimpressed with Malfoy’s anger. 

The blond in question opened and closed his mouth angrily, trying to respond several times before he finally did manage to speak.

"I don't need your pity or your charity!” He spat. Harry was impressed by the sheer self-centeredness of the statement.

“It wasn't about you at all! Your mum saved my life, so I owed her." He explained, feeling his own anger rise. He hadn’t felt so truly angry since… since Ron had left them in the woods. It’d been months since the war was over, and he’d already been having problems. He’d been paranoid, always on edge, waiting for the next evil to pop up. He’d entered the Auror training program as soon as they’d let him, but it never seemed like enough to keep him occupied, or peaceful.

He couldn’t remember everything that he and Malfoy had shouted at one another, only that they’d earned nasty looks from other exiting witnesses of the trials, so they’d retreated into a nearby men’s room to argue about whether Harry’s testimony was a way for him to humiliate and offend Malfoy. But the privacy the locked door the toilet provided was too much of an invitation for them to fall back into rowing schoolboy habits. He wasn’t sure whether he or Malfoy had been the first to lash out, but one of them had, and without the limelight on him, without worry of being seen in such a state, Harry had thrown himself into the scuffle with the careless brutality of someone who was unbothered by the public eye. Someone who didn’t care if he was seen as the hero. Someone who was feeling raw, and desolate after a catastrophic end to his childhood.

It had started as an old-fashioned fistfight: a punch to the gut, an elbow to the nose, and a handful of hair, but as clothes were torn, bruises formed, and blood dripped, the tenor of the struggle had changed, and Harry had found himself liplocked with Malfoy, still fighting against one another as they kissed. It had been vicious, brutal, and unlike any kiss Harry had had before. It had taken a few moments for them to come back to themselves, and when they both seemed to realize, they shoved away from each other. Harry had wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, and Malfoy had pulled a face of absolute disgust.

Harry had let Malfoy scurry from the men's room in a fast escape, too shocked over what had happened, and too afraid it might recur, if he tried to stop Malfoy.


But that had been seven years ago. He closed his eyes, and tried to push the inconvenient memory away. He felt as if he was suffocated, trapped in the lift with Malfoy, and when it stopped, he knew it was cowardly, but he rushed from the confined space, toward the apparation point. He apparated straight home, and was through the door, calling out his arrival for his wife before he slowed. The house was silent. He paused, and listened. He could tell Ginny wasn’t home. He had no idea where she might be, but then, he remembered what she’d asked of him. Shit! He’d forgotten to stop by The Leaky Cauldron! He felt a brief stab of relief that she wasn’t home, that he’d be able to go and come back before she realized he’d forgotten. He didn’t want another row with her. Especially when he felt so troubled after running into Malfoy. He was sure he’d say something across the line of bickering, and right to hurtful.

He left the house, and apparated to the pub, barely noticing that it had started to drizzle. He came in from the back to an unusually full bar. It seemed to grow louder as he entered, and it took his ears a moment to register the cheer that went up.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” The entire pub seemed to shout. Harry took a startled step back, eyes darting around the crowd, recognizing every single face. He mentally checked the date, and realized with a profound level of stupidity that it was his birthday. He dutifully plastered a wide smile on his face.

“Ginny?” He found her easily, and she, followed by what seemed to be the whole room, congratulated him as she suctioned herself to his side as he started through the crowd. He was slowly headed to the bar. He needed a VERY stiff drink. It seemed like some horrible carousel of people wanting his attention, spewing pleasantries, and clapping him on the shoulder. He did love his friends. He enjoyed spending time with them all. But today was not a good day…



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