Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: Not mine. Blah blah.
Summary: Old enemies meet again.
Notes: anuanu, I don't know what happened! Did you even get my letters? Anyway, I thought I'd just post it like that since it's nothing all that special :-)
The bell rings gently as I come from the cold, wet street into the warm, brightly lit shop. The mirror wall in front of me reflects headless dummies wrapped into sheets of dully shimmering cloth. My own reflection is slightly hazed by a thin veil of raindrops held away from my robe and hair by 'Impervius'. It disappears when I flick the wand, and I breathe in the familiar, slightly dusty smell.
I remember it so well; all those hours spent here, on the floor, playing with my broom models, while my mother was trying on new garments. Being here is a bit like stepping back in time... and in more ways than one.
He stands before the mirror, his back to the door - and I can see how his shoulders tense a little when he hears someone coming in. Madame Malkin is doing something with the sleeve of his robe; there are pins clamped in her mouth and she gives me a slightly crooked smile.
"Good afternoon, dear. Come in, come in," she says a moment later, having used the pins to adjust a fold on his robe. I smile back. I have been 'dear' to her as long as I can remember; just like everyone else, I presume. But there is still something nice in her manner, especially taking into account how others treat me nowadays.
"I need a new evening robe," I say.
He doesn't flinch hearing my voice; doesn't turn. For a moment I see the line of his jaw harden and know that his teeth are clenched.
"Of course," she says. "Just a moment, I'm almost done."
She smoothens the robe over his shoulders, and her palms stay on his upper arms for a second, hugging him slightly in an almost maternal gesture. I look away and say airily:
"That's all right, no need to hurry."
As I walk to the armchair at the wall, nearly as if in afterthought, even though there hasn't been other thought in my mind since I've come in here, I say: "Potter."
He doesn't turn back, his shoulders stiff, but his voice as he answers is as serene and unconcerned as mine.
It sounds quite civil. Right; why shouldn't it be? We don't like each other, true (an understatement of the century) - but we both are grown-ups, surely we are capable of maintaining an illusion of proprieties.
Three years; three years since I've seen him for the last time. Three years since my parents died and the Boy Who Lived reaffirmed his status of the hero by killing the latest Dark Lord. Sometimes it feels it's been much longer. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime passed since then.
Ten years ago... I met him for the first time. Here, in this very shop. I was standing on the chair as my robe was fitted, and he came in, and mumbled something, and was so skinny and wide-eyed, and didn't know simplest things, like what Quidditch was or what House he was going to be in. And yet he looked at me as if *I* was sprouting a second head. Quite an annoying little brat.
Strange thing I remember it so well.
Potter is tall now, although still quite thin. His hair is the same messy black as it used to be, in a dire need of a haircut. His hands stick from the sleeves of the robe and seem too big for the thin wrists. His right hand is clasped on the wand tightly.
"How does it feel, dear?" Madame Malkin asks.
"Okay, I think," he answers thoughtfully. His voice hasn't changed as well, still sounds the same husky and as if deliberately restrained as it used to be at school. He raises the wand. The end of it flickers slightly as he moves it up and down in front of the mirror. "It looks good," he says.
"Wonderful," she beams. "Now let's hem it and it's ready."
He smiles back at her and pulls the robe off. His hair gets even more messed up in the process and his glasses are pushed askance. He resettles them with a quick movement but it's enough for me to see red angry scars. Then they are hidden again behind the dark-tinted glasses.
"A moment more, dear," Madame Malkin turns to me.
"It's fine," I say. "Potter can have all the attention he needs."
Now that is not the cleverest thing to say; it's not the cleverest thing to drag him into the conversation at all, even indirectly. We're not children any more; surely we can keep away from baiting each other. Well, *I* should've kept away from baiting him.
Potter snorts. "I can't believe it. Malfoy is actually going to survive not being the center of the universe for a few moments."
"I'm quite contented with watching you getting lightheaded when the universe turns around you," I say.
"Boys, boys," Madame Malkin chides, looking at us with a frown on her kind face. It seems she's trying to figure out how serious we are. We probably look ridiculous, squabbling like this. "Please."
"Lost your manners, Malfoy?" Potter asks. "I always knew it was just a thin veneer, all your aristo ways."
"Potter, watch out!" I shriek in an alarmed voice.
He loses his balance for a moment, whipping up the wand, scanning his surroundings. His lips go white in anger, and he doesn't say anything. In a short while his face smoothens, becomes composed again, but I see it takes him an effort.
"Mr. Malfoy," Madame Malkin says angrily. I observe the ceiling above me like it's the most fascinating thing here. She sighs loudly and then I hear her steps as she walks out. I don't feel guilty.
Bloody Boy Who Lived. He has no one to blame. He wanted to be a hero - so, he became a hero. The newspapers are still full of him, especially on the anniversary of his *victory*. April 22.
It's also the day when my parents died.
Sometimes I dream about it. About their dry, withered bodies left after Voldemort had sucked out their life. Sometimes I dream about being as dead as they are. I would have been - if there had been more time, if I had taken the Dark Mark, as I was going to. Sheer luck on my account, I suppose.
Potter finds his way to another armchair, as far away from me as possible. The tip of the wand moves up and down in his hand almost imperceptibly as he walks.
The curse that the Dark Lord threw at him destroyed his eyes. They couldn't even give him an artificial eye, like that madman Moody had. There is just this spell that allows him to see things when he needs it.
I read about it in newspapers. Well, there is nearly impossible not to know things about the Boy Who Lived, even if you don't want to know them.
I know that he declined an honorary position at the Ministry - saying he wouldn't be of much use there and that he didn't want to occupy someone else's place. All right, with the money he inherited he doesn't need to work at all. Unlike me. The Ministry appropriated my own inheritance faster than you can say: 'Lucius Malfoy is dead'. It's good my father had some hidden vaults, otherwise I don't think I would be able to afford Madame Malkin's robes, with the salary I'm getting.
I know about Potter's personal life as well. For a while, there was that Weasley girl next to him, and the newspapers were drooling over what they called 'a beautiful and tragic romance'. But then she disappeared from their pages and judging on the unceasing speculations there is no one else around him now.
In a way I understand him. It's easier to be alone sometimes. If my parents were alive, I would've already been engaged, or even married, no matter whether I would like it or not. Left to my own devices, I enjoy my freedom.
Apart from the times when it gets too lonely. I wonder if Potter feels the same way sometimes.
I wonder what he thinks when he sits there, not seeing me.
"An evening robe, Malfoy?" he says all of a sudden, and I almost jump on my place. He sneers slightly and without seeing his eyes, it's a strange sight. "One would think you have enough of those."
"One would think it's none of your business," I answer and add. "But for your information, I'm going to attend the wedding of my cousin once removed in France next month. I have to dress properly for this occasion. Not that you would understand it."
I cast a disparaging look at his Muggle clothes - loose pants and a many-pocketed jacket - realizing a moment later that this look is wasted on him.
"On the other hand you did attend that wedding of your friends, right?" I continue. "You couldn't have your usual out-of-trash-can look then, could you? Well, if you did, no one would notice anyway. I dread to imagine how the newly-weds looked."
"Oh shut up, Malfoy," he says lazily and slides deeper in the armchair, lolling his head against the back of the seat. "Your voice gives me headache."
"I wasn't the one who started," I answer.
Madame Malkin is back, with my customer file. She checks my measures that haven't changed since the last time, and then we discuss the cut and the material. All the while I'm aware of Potter's presence behind me, as he sits slumped in the chair, his ankle on the knee of the other leg.
Can he not get his robe and get out of here already?
"This shade of green is not your color, dear," Madame Malkin says; she seems to soften towards me again when we discuss the robe. "You need something colder."
"Green again, Malfoy?" Potter asks. "I didn't know you still wear the colors of your House."
"What makes you so sure that *your* voice doesn't give me headache?" I drawl. I don't need to turn, I can see him in the mirror perfectly, his face pale, bored and placid. His upper lip curls as I answer.
"See?" Madame Malkin says waving her wand and changing the sample of the material. "That's what I mean."
"Fine," I say, "it will do." My mother wouldn't be happy with me for agreeing so quickly but I can't care less.
She bends over the desk, scribbling down my order, and I turn and look at Potter. There is the wand in his hand, directed at me.
"What are you staring at?" I snap.
Potter grins and settles back in the chair. "Don't worry, I won't see how unbecoming any shade of green makes you. I don't see colors."
"No colors?" I ask, puzzled, before having time to stop myself.
"No. It's a bit different. Like lines... of light, in the darkness."
For a moment I don't know what to say. It's almost a shock when he answers, and there is no usual sarcasm in his voice. Quite stunning, isn't it, to have something almost resembling a conversation with him. I think we haven't been actually *talking* since that time in Madame Malkin's.
"Then you don't see any details at all?" I say.
"No. Just silhouettes. And motions. Something like blurry etchings."
"Here it is, dear." I'm handed the receipt for my robe. "It'll be ready in two weeks if you don't need it earlier."
"No, it's perfectly all right," I say.
There is a sound of steps, and a girl appears from the workshop, carrying a package. Potter gets up and takes the parcel.
"Thank you." His smile is brief but bright, addressed first to the assistant, then to Madame Malkin.
"You're always welcome," the woman says affectionately, and the girl blushes. What a foolish wench, as if he can see her batting her eyelashes at him.
Potter shrinks his package and puts it to his pocket, and I know that's all and he'll leave now. He'll leave just like that, probably without even saying 'good-bye' to me.
I don't know why suddenly it seems that I don't want him to go. But I don't, and I have to do something.
"Potter," I say, "wait. I need to... need to tell you something."
His hand on the door handle freezes and he turns to the sound of my voice, frowning.
"Thanks, in two weeks then." I shove the receipt into my pocket and nod to Madame Malkin. And then hurry to the door catching up on Potter.
We walk out together. The door closes softly behind us. And now we stand on the porch of the shop - and there is silence. The wand in Potter's hand is on the ready. He doesn't flick it yet but I almost can imagine him doing it, turning to me and saying: 'You don't really have anything to say, right, Malfoy? And I don't have the whole day.'
There are people walking past, a steady, unceasing flow of them, the sound of their voices merged into a constant, indecipherable noise. Perhaps that's why he lingers. It's probably a bit difficult for him to orientate, despite everything.
His face is focused and thoughtful as a small frown trembles between his eyebrows. The drops of rain fall on his dark glasses that seem very out of place in this weather.
"Do you need anything else to buy?" I ask. Damn, why would I want to know it? It's not like I'm going to accompany him while shopping. Even if he invited me to.
"No." He pats his pocket. "Everything's already here. And you?" he adds after a pause.
"No," I shake my head, and there is silence again. He still doesn't move. I wonder if he feels me staring at him. I don't want to stare, it's not like I don't remember how he looks. He licks his lips with a brief, absent-minded flick of his tongue.
The silence gets quirky. He will go now, can't stay any longer, if I don't say anything, don't explain. But what can I say? Why did I even ask him to wait?
Invite him for a drink? It's idiotic. We aren't friends to share a drink. We are... well, 'enemies' is a bit harsh word. I don't hate him. There are degrees of hatred... hatred to someone who annoyed the hell out of you during your school years - and hatred to someone who killed your parents in front of your eyes and destroyed your whole world.
On the other hand, Potter still can quite hate me, why not?
But anyway, sitting with him in the pub, drinking - it is not what I want.
What a fool I am. I sigh exasperatedly. Potter turns to me. His face has a shut, almost hostile expression, as if he expects something potentially dangerous from me.
"What do you want, Malfoy?"
"What I want... " I start - and finish with something I haven't intended to say. "There is a hotel, right over the corner."
It sounds obscene and as blunt as it possibly can be. I almost can't believe I have said it. And Merlin, Potter is going to make me pay for these words.
The only justification I might have is that yes, I know, he's alone now, and I'm alone, and why not - but I don't think he'll give me a chance to justify myself.
I raise my chin, preparing to fight back.
He turns to me. His glasses stare at me, and there is something very hard in his face, I can see his jaws clenched, contoured white under the skin. His nostrils are outlined white as well, flared. The wand trembles in his hand.
Damn it; he'll probably simply hex me. Or, better yet, call Aurors and tell them I was soliciting him. And they will believe him, a war hero and everything.
How could I get myself into this situation? I should have run when I saw him through the window of Madame Malkin's shop...
Then he nods and says: "Fine."
And all I can do is stare at him. What was it? Didn't he understand what I said? Even Harry Potter can't be so daft.
His face gets tranquil again, the tension is gone and he stands facing me. What does he think about?
He probably thinks it's some prank. And he's going to stomp into this prank and deal with it. So sure of himself; so brave. Always a Gryffindor.
"Fine?" I repeat.
"Yes." There is a note of defiance in his voice. "Shall we go?"
"Sure." I won't get back on my word. Besides, I'm alone, he's alone, why not?
He moves quite deftly through the crowd, his wand swaying slightly in his hand. People stare at him, recognizing him, and step away diffidently. Strange... I wonder for the first time if he enjoys it all that much, this deference, this obvious never forgetting who he is and what he's done.
"Here," I say. The porch is narrow and in disrepair. Tall columns look out of place here, no idea what they are supporting, and their stone is cracked and dull grey. I push the heavy door and we enter.
Potter stays in the shadows as I pay for the room. Thankfully there are no comments from him as to how I got to know this place, and whether I'm a frequent visitor here. I'm not, the place is quite sleazy. But what else could I offer? It's not like I can invite him to my place, or he would invite me to his.
And I want him. I want him so much that my teeth ache because I clench them so hard. I wanted him almost since the moment I entered Madame Malkin's, since I saw his big hands and thin wrists and thought I wanted to feel his palms on my chest, wanted to hold his wrists above his head while he would writhe under me. The heat in my groin is a steady and heavy pounding, and I'm grateful for the loose cut of the robe that hides it.
We walk up to the third floor, enter the room, still in silence. I close the door behind us. His wand is down.
There is grey, dim light filtering in through a small window. Two beds with dark-blue, not easily soiled coverlets. I swallow with difficulty, and the sound is quite audible, almost like a gasp.
Potter stands there, just a few steps into the room, not moving. His face appear almost serene, his forehead smooth under the long messy bangs. The rain left sheen of moisture on his face, and on his hair there are little drops. His calmness doesn't deceive me; he can't quite hide his apprehension.
What is he afraid of? That I'm playing some game? That I might have lured him somewhere to cause him any harm? Is it so impossible? I might be a secret Death Eater bent on revenge.
Suddenly this thought adds to my arousal in a strange way. Potter in my power, tied to the bed, his legs drawn apart, his lips trembling as he tries to contain a moan, shivers going through his body as he struggles to break free and can't... begging, begging me...
Alas, I'm not a Death Eater. I would be very daft to become one after seeing what being Death Eaters did to my parents. Sometimes I wake up smelling the sharp, slightly sickening tang of oxygen in the air.
I wonder if Potter wakes up seeing the flash of the curse that took away his sight.
But he's here and he waits. Suddenly I feel something like nervousness as well. Yes, I know what is going to happen between us. But do I know *how* it will be? I'm not sure how to touch him, what to do... it's nothing like I'm used to. No pretence of courting... no anything.
The fragile truce between two enemies, that's all, and after that who knows...
And then I step towards him, as if something shoves me forward, and there are no questions, no hesitation any more, and everything just happens - just as if has to, just as I would like it to. I feel his face in my palms, his slightly rough, warm cheeks, and I press my mouth to his, and his lips are hot and supple and hard just for a moment, then opening pliantly for me.
I kiss him, and his tongue finds mine, and it is wet, hasty and insistent, and there is the heat of his breath meeting mine. And it's just right, it's as if I always knew how he would taste, Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the boy I met ten years ago. As if I somehow always knew it would come to that. I didn't know, of course, didn't know even an hour ago, but it just feels... feels right.
He kisses back, in the same fervent, impatient way as I do, and his palms lock on my upper arms, pulling me closer. Perhaps he just hasn't had sex for a while, like I haven't... all this hunger, one shouldn't abstain for so long. I take his glasses and pull them off his face. The scars are bright red and looking inflamed, despite the years that passed. His eyelids look burned, the eyelashes almost gone.
It is bad; it is almost as bad as I imagined it would but even a bit worse. I put the glasses away blindly, hearing them clatter on the nightstand. Potter's jaw is clenched but he doesn't move, doesn't try to break free from me.
Always a Gryffindor... I pull him closer.
Without the glasses his face is much more convenient to kiss. His mouth is half-opened and his breath comes out harsh and ragged as I hold his face and kiss it, and his hands are clenched so tight he's hurting me. But I don't care, it's all right.
He gasps and lets me go, and his hands fly to the collar of my robe, fumbling with it, and his tug is bold and impatient. Our kisses are almost like bites, short and breaking quickly and our lips joining again, as our hands struggle with the clothes.
And finally... finally - his chest is hot, naked skin almost burning as he's pressed to me, his nipples hard. His arms wrap around me, pulling me closer. For a moment the motion is almost like he's cradling me. Then some more fumbling with the pants, and I yank him to the bed that is closer to us.
In the grey light his skin is white and smooth, his body skinny. I can see the contours of his ribs, his belly concave, the bones of his pelvis jutting out. There is some hair on his chest and a bit more going down in the middle of his belly, and I can't stop touching him, all of him, all those bones and hard muscles under the pale skin, and he arches, his throat moving as he gasps. His nipples are small and brown and very hard as I squeeze them between my fingers.
I want him. I want to love him, to trail my half-opened mouth over his chest, from his sternum to the curls in his groin. I want to see his chest heaving, his muscles straining because he wants more.
He's there, in bed with me, Harry Potter - the boy, the man I hated, my enemy... the savior of the wizarding world. He's beautiful.
He shudders when I clamp my mouth on the soft skin of his belly. His hands are on my shoulders, stopping for a moment on the collarbones, then traveling again, over my chest. Exploring my body. I wonder what he sees with his hands, his palms, what he will remember with them when it's all over. I bite his nipple slightly and he arches, a harsh cry caught in his throat.
"Malfoy," he says. "God."
Oh yes, God... and he's hard, my beautiful, his shaft is straining, drops of fluid sliding over it. And the touches of his palms get almost frantic, seeking over my body in an odd, blundering way. There is no precision in his touches, no deliberate guess as to what to do - and for some reason it's what makes me bite my lip and moan, unable to keep control. And I want to say something equally meaningless - something like "Potter" and "fuck".
He smiles when hearing my moan - an absent-minded, fluttering smile, and then, with my lips sliding over the inside of his thigh, he throws his legs apart, pushing towards me. Now I smile. He probably can feel it against his skin.
"You want it, Potter," I say, "don't you?"
My voice is unexpectedly hoarse, and the remark doesn't come as lightly as I intended it to. I can't help it. But whatever way it's come out, he just bucks again, seeking my mouth with his body.
I wrap my hand around his shaft, guiding it to my mouth, and his fists clench on the coverlet, his chest rising, his breath almost sobs.
My mouth goes up and down his cock and my hand slides with it, over the moistness of my spit and his pre-come. And he thrashes, wanting more, pushing into my mouth. He tastes very warm and slightly salty, and he is... he is so real. Not something out of my memories, not black-and-white figure from the newspapers - but a thin, warm, gasping man. So... simple. So close. So breakable.
So easy to please. I can please him - and I want to, and as I take him deeper, he starts moaning, and his breathing becomes odd and shallow, and then he sounds almost pathetic, pained when he thrashes, and my mouth is filled with the bitter and salty thick fluid of his.
He freezes, arched, for a few moments as I continue to suck and lick - and slumps on the bed. His face is wet with sweat, looking almost mesmerized. He shudders when I lean and lick his cock one last time.
"Oh God..." he says again. Not particularly rich vocabulary he has, doesn't he?
I lie down, stretching next to him. Sweat is drying on his body and his skin feels very hot against mine. There is a little frown between his eyebrows as he feels me looking at him. Does he wonder what kind of look it is? Does he remember the way I used to look at him at school? It was quite an elaborated look - as if he was something I scraped from my shoe.
"Malfoy," he says and chuckles. "Just give me a minute and I'll..." He tries to sound humorous but he's out of breath. And I like hearing it.
"Only a minute," I say in the same tone.
He pants - and then he moves, and rolls over me, and he kisses my face and my chest, and I wouldn't believe he'd just been so exhausted a moment ago. His face is hot pressing to my ribcage. I can feel, barely perceptible, the slight roughness of the scar on his forehead - and the scars on his fluttering eyelids.
I think I'll just come now, just from it, just from feeling him so close, from it being undeniably him. My hands lock on his face, fingers twining into his hair. I don't know what I want him to do - oh, I need him down there, his mouth, but at the same time I almost want him just to stay like that, kissing me.
And what does he want? I don't know. His palms slide over my ribs, go lower. I suck in breath as the fingertips touch my belly. Does he even remember that it's me in bed with him - or it's just another body for him, that's all?
"Malfoy," he says suddenly. Yes, he remembers. I'm not sure whether it is good or bad. He sounds almost... bewildered. "Malfoy."
Then he takes my cock into his mouth... and I try to focus hard on the thought that Potter doesn't give good blowjobs. His teeth scrape once or twice on my shaft. Is he inexperienced? Or just more used to being with girls? I cling to the thought of the flaws in what he's doing - to stop myself from coming right now, to make it last for a little while longer.
It works - for a minute or two. His careful, wandering fingers trace over my belly, sliding down, his palm cups my balls - and that's it, I can't help it, I shiver and tremble and it goes on and on, the spasm shooting through me. His mouth tightens on my shaft, and it's even better, even more...
He swallows. I feel so weak. My spine seems to be mushy. My thoughts are lazy and distant, no matter how I try to think something coherent.
And then another thought comes and ousts all other ones.
What now when we both are satiated, and my body doesn't feel as if I'll die if I don't have him, if he rejects me. He's not aroused any more as well. What now when we both recall who we are - and that a three-minute conversation is really not enough?
I don't want to think about it.
But it is reality, let's face it. We've fucked. And?
Potter sighs. His hands are warm on my thighs. I touch his sharp shoulder and pull him slightly, and he follows it pliantly, stretching against me. His face is in inches from mine; he looks tired.
I want to kiss him but I don't know how he'll take it, when there is no frenzy of upcoming sex between us. I know even less why I want to kiss him. I just keep my arm around him.
There is almost nothing we can talk about. What do you do the whole day? Where do you live? Can you see when you dream? Do you have nightmares? I don't think he would be interested in anything about me, and I'm not sure I'm interested as well.
Then he shifts a little and says:
"I hate pity."
And I know it is an answer to the question I've never asked. Why? Why he agreed? Because pity is the last thing he's going to get from me.
"And who's pitying you here?" I ask.
Just honest sex, no commitment, no romantic involvement, no *feelings*, right?
There is a cold draft coming through the slit in the window, chilling the small of my back.
"I like this place," Potter says.
The words free to interpretation.
"They always have rooms," I say cautiously and when he doesn't say anything, I add... since I've started it in the first place. "How about next Friday?"
His face is blank for a moment, turned to the ceiling. I watch him, holding my anger at bay, for a while. No commitment, remember?
Then he nods slowly. "At seven?"
"All right," I say.
It's darkening behind the window. The coverlet seems almost black now, in contrast with his skin. I can feel how his body slumps a little against mine, as if some tension is gone, the tension I haven't even noticed before.
Soon one of us will have to say something - about things we have to do, about having to go... even if no one waits for him or for me at home. But... next Friday.
At least it's what we've agreed about. No one says that we'll keep it. I don't know what happens behind this forehead with a red scar. But maybe, maybe...
I think I'll be here. I'll wait for him.