Here's a Galleon, Buy a Clue
"You'll never guess who I pulled for my Auror trainee," said Ron, flopping into the booth where Harry was waiting. "Ta," he added, lifting the pint Harry had already ordered -- first to arrive always bought the first round.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Do we even know any of the current crop? I thought they were all too young by now."
"Not this one," said Ron with a smirk, though it was wiped away by the thought of the difficulties to come. "No, this one's our age, just took a long time to, shall we say, come into this career choice."
"You don't mean... Draco Malfoy? He really is a trainee? He's your trainee?" Harry had to take a big gulp of ale at that thought, and the bullet he'd dodged by being out of the country when trainees were assigned.
"Got it in one," said Ron mournfully. "He's calmed down some from school, but still bloody arrogant." He paused for another swig of beer, emptying half the pint. "And of course the git came out top of his class so he's every cause to be."
Harry shook his head sadly and signalled for the barmaid; it was going to be one of those nights, he could tell, so he ordered some fish and chips to go with their next round. "Well, at least you'll always have one person on your side, even if all his instructors love him."
"Cheers to that, mate," said Ron with a grin, and they clinked glasses and finished off the first of many pints that night.
In the weeks that followed, Harry had cause to regret his promise of solidarity, not because Ron complained too much but because Malfoy managed to win even Ron over to his side.
"You should've seen that curse Malfoy got off today, it was a little bit like a body bind, but really specific, and it froze his opponent's wand hand right in place no matter what he did," said Ron, attempting to demonstrate with his beer.
And, the next day at lunch, Ron crowed, "Draco got 99 percent on his potions practical, Harry. Ninety-bloody-nine!"
And over the weekend at the Burrow, Harry heard nothing but, "Draco's making me look like the best mentor ever," and, "You should've seen Draco in duelling practice."
It made Harry wish he was anywhere else, or maybe just for a repeat of the accident last year when Ron had nearly been permanently Silencioed.
"I wish you'd come with us," said Ron, for about the millionth time. "Draco asked me to invite you, I'm not just-"
"No," said Harry sharply, and then he sighed. "Look, just drop it, okay? You two have fun, I'll stay here and try to untangle seven countries' worth of jurisdiction paperwork."
"Yeah, all right," said Ron sullenly, but he let the invitation drop, for now.
The next day brought a tentative knock on Harry's open doorframe, and a familiar blond head peeking in. "Potter?"
"What is it, Malfoy? Ron's not here," said Harry. He'd nearly managed to figure everything out last night, but the last few stubborn loose ends were still plaguing him. Bloody Belgium.
"I wasn't... I was looking for you," said Malfoy, edging into the cramped office like he thought something might leap out and bite him. Or force him to wear off-the-rack robes.
Harry snorted at the thought, then pulled himself together and snagged his teacup. "What is it?" he asked, making a face when he found it stone cold and largely empty besides.
Malfoy leaned against the doorframe, posing like some supermodel, his robes draping to annoyingly good effect on his annoyingly fit body. Every bloody thing about the man was annoying, just like it always had been. Even his perfectly styled hair was annoying.
"I was hoping you might come have a coffee with me?" asked Malfoy, with a smile that might have been shy and hopeful on anyone else.
Harry wasn't fooled.
"Why would I want to do that?" countered Harry. "I've got work to do. Besides, I drink tea."
Malfoy deflated a bit, arms crossing over his chest in a pose much more like the boy Harry remembered. "Well, your best friend is my mentor in the training program, I just thought maybe..."
"Well, you thought wrong," interrupted Harry. He sighed as a half-dozen memos came swooping in past Malfoy's head to crash-land in Harry's inbox. "And I'm busy, so if there's nothing else?"
"No," said Malfoy, looking oddly defeated. "Nothing else."
Harry had to suppress a surge of guilt as Malfoy slunk off, which only added another level of annoyance to the encounter. And he still didn't have any tea.
"It's always 'Draco this' and 'Draco that' with you these days. What is he, your trainee or your boyfriend?" said Harry irritably, interrupting Ron's story.
Ron just grinned disarmingly. "Don't be jealous, Harry, you know if I was going to get myself a poncy life partner, it'd be you."
Harry laughed, a bit mollified, and took another swig of his pint.
"What is it with the two of you, anyway? I swear he said the same thing to me a couple of weeks into his training," said Ron with a grin. "It's like you're both still pulling pigtails after all these years."
Harry had no answer for that, so he settled on changing the subject.
"Look, he's really matured, Harry. He's really dedicated to being an Auror now! You should hear some of the countercurses he's been teaching the..."
"Fine," interrupted Harry. He couldn't imagine that going out for a pint with Ron and Malfoy could possibly be worse than being subjected to yet another list of Malfoy's supposed virtues.
"Junior Aurors after- wait, what?" said Ron, stopping in the hallway.
"Fine, I'll come, but not our usual night. Tonight," said Harry, wanting it out of the way as soon as possible. "And you have to promise me that if I don't hit it off with this amazing new Malfoy, you won't pester me about it again."
Ron grinned disarmingly. "Tonight, with no future pestering. It's a deal," he said, slapping Harry on the shoulder.
Harry just wished he felt half as good about the decision as Ron did.
Harry took a deep breath and uselessly rearranged his hair one last time before stepping into the pub, eyes going immediately to their usual booth. Ron had, thankfully, taken the middle seat, and there was even a pint waiting in front of Harry's empty spot.
"Ta," said Harry tiredly, saluting them both with the pint and taking a long drink before attempting any conversation. "Sorry I'm late. Belgium again."
"Still?" said Ron sympathetically. "What is up their arses?"
Harry sighed, but it was Malfoy who spoke up. "The Bulstrodes are Belgian originally, and one of their Minister-equivalents is a relative."
"Yes," said Harry, after a nice long swig of beer, "that."
Ron shook his head. "Nepotism, ugh."
"How many times have you bailed out one brother or another for disorderly conduct?" asked Harry teasingly.
"Oi, that's different!" said Ron, punching Harry in the arm. "I still made them pay their fines."
Malfoy chuckled. "I'm afraid familial favouritism is a long and beloved wizarding tradition that's not going away any time soon. Not that you need it, Potter."
"Good thing I don't, given you're one of my godfather's few living relatives," said Harry, a bit more snippily than he'd intended.
"Oh, I don't know," replied Malfoy silkily, "I might be persuaded to help you out, depending on the trouble you got yourself into and the favour I'd be owed as a result."
"Bollocks to that, I'd help him first," said Ron, punching Malfoy in the arm this time. "Now finish up, it's my turn for a round and you ponces are holding me up."
"Lush," said Malfoy fondly.
"Git," added Harry, who still had most of his pint left, given he'd just sat down. "I'm not chugging this unless you're buying me bangers and mash."
Ron laughed and hefted his package under the table. "I'll give you meat and two veg," he said with a ridiculous leer.
Harry nearly snorted his drink. "As if any self-respecting poof would want a taste of that, I do know where it's been."
"Ew, essence of Granger," said Malfoy, pulling a disgusted face.
That cracked them all up laughing, and Harry found himself sipping his beer and thinking that for once, damn him, Ron had been right. It was sort of fun to outnumber Ron, two gays to one straight, even if they were both pathetically single at the moment.
Or so Harry assumed, anyway.
After that they did get dinner to go with rounds two, three and four, and only the threat of three truly massive hangovers the next day at work kept them from a fifth.
"So," said Ron, arm around Harry and steps none too steady as they headed out to the Apparition point, "I was right, wasn't I?"
Harry resisted the urge to give him a sharp poke, given the object of their discussion was only a few paces ahead. "Yes, Ron, you were right. Now, can you remember how to get back home without splinching yourself?"
"Yes, Mom," said Ron all singsong. "I'll bring some of Hermione's hangover potion tomorrow, just in case."
"I thought she was going to stop making that for you?" asked Harry, amused. He had his own remedies that worked pretty well, but he had to admit Hermione's outshone them all, like a remedy and energy boost in one.
Ron grimaced. "She got a taste of me without it, and decided it made her life as pleasant as mine, since I obviously wasn't going to give up drinking with my mates. You're my mate, right, Harry?"
"Best mates," said Harry.
"Oi, you're my mate, too, aren't you, you ponce?" yelled Ron, far too loud for the three feet separating them from Malfoy, who had become Draco (and started calling him Harry) somewhere between drinks three and four.
"As long as I don't have to mate with you, I'll agree to anything that'll shut you up," said Draco, far too composed for having drunk just as much as them. "Sober-up potion?" he offered, turning to face them once they reached the secluded little niche where they usually Apparated.
"Oh, you cheater!" said Ron accusingly, though it didn't stop him from taking a swig and passing the little vial to Harry.
"No wonder you stayed so clever," said Harry with a laugh, then he took a swig of his own, feeling the warm fuzz of alcohol replaced by a cool clarity. He was slightly dismayed to realise he still liked Draco just as much without the cushion of beer.
Draco capped the bottle and slipped it into his robes. "You might be capable of Apparating after four drinks, but I'm not," he said sheepishly. "See you tomorrow." He gave Harry a look that was almost hopeful before vanishing with a crack.
Ron chuckled. "We'll never get him out of our office now, you know, he hates it down in the cubicle farm with the other newbies."
Harry laughed and shoved Ron upright on his own. "As long as he brings me tea, I won't mind," he said, and then Apparated away before he could say anything more incriminating.
Draco flopped down in the booth, saluting Harry with the pint Harry had optimistically ordered him before taking a long draught. "I thought you might cancel," he said, once he'd wet his throat.
Harry shrugged. "It's tradition now, right? Even if Hermione won't let Ron come all the time."
They shared a laugh over that, though Draco had to get in his own dig. "I wasn't aware two occurrences made a tradition."
"This makes three, Ron or no Ron," Harry retorted, then he took a swig of his own half-drunk beer. "Going to stay and have dinner with me?"
"Of course," said Draco, smile warming. "It's not as if I cook at home."
"Still no house elf, either, huh?" asked Harry, which started a bachelor's lament about their living arrangements. Kreacher had stayed with Hogwarts even after the battle, and Hermione wouldn't hear of Harry finding a replacement.
They shared a big order of fried everything, fish, chips, black puddings, and even fried pickles, along with several more drinks apiece. Harry was surprised to find that he enjoyed Draco's company even without Ron there to act as a buffer, and after their fourth beer they even managed a bit of reminiscing about their days at Hogwarts.
"I was so mad when the great Harry Potter wouldn't deign to shake my hand, you know," said Draco, leaning in conspiratorially.
Harry laughed. "Yeah, but how could I after you were mean to Ron? He was my first and only friend, back then."
"And he still is, so you obviously made the right choice," said Draco, and Harry winced at the bitterness there.
"I shake your hand now, don't I?" pointed out Harry, laying one warm hand over Draco's cold fingers. "Merlin, does your heart even beat? Your fingers are like ice!"
Harry couldn't help but feel a little surge of something when Draco blushed, cheeks going from the pink of too much beer to bright red embarrassment. "Cold hands, warm heart, isn't that the saying?" he replied, after ever so slightly too long of a pause.
Harry gave the hand a squeeze. "Seems like it so far," he said, voice soft and a bit guilty for how long he'd stonewalled against Draco's genuine offers of friendship.
Draco's answering smile was bright and blinding, and Harry had to push down the urge to kiss it, kiss him right there in the pub. "I think four's my limit," he said suddenly, taking the last swig of his pint and pulling a glass of water close instead. "I'm going to have a headache tomorrow as it is."
"You know I've got potion," said Draco, amused. "I should make you two start paying for ingredients, you lushes."
Harry laughed. "You use it, too," he pointed out. "I'd offer to help brew, but I'm still not that great."
"Not without that book from Sixth Year," said Draco, teasingly. "It's too bad you lost it."
Harry shrugged. "I do okay, you've always been better at potions, though. Lately I'm starting to think an Auror's real primary job is bloody paperwork, anyway."
"Are you still dealing with that thing with Belgium?" asked Draco curiously, and that started Harry off on a long and somewhat disjointed rant about the fallout from his last international escapade. He'd done a few domestic things since then, but nothing with the absurd levels of red tape offered by his three-hour stay in Belgium while in pursuit of a suspect.
Somehow a fifth pint made its way in front of Harry, even though he was pretty sure he'd said he'd had enough and it would've been his round to buy, anyway. "How come you even still want t'be my friend anyway?" asked Harry drunkenly.
Draco blinked; up until then they'd still been talking about Belgium. "Um, I just do?"
"S'not an answer," said Harry, leaning rather sharply toward him. "You made friends with Ron! You offered me tea. You're buying me extra pints, I think, but my maths could be off."
Draco laughed and pulled out a pair of little blue bottles. "I think it's officially time for these, Harry, you're plastered."
"First you get me drunk, then you want me sober," said Harry, snagging the phial with good-natured grousing. "Guess there won't be any drunken advantage, um, thingy. Merlin, I need this." He uncapped the bottle and downed the contents in one swallow, feeling suddenly cool, collected, and minty-fresh.
Draco took his own dose, then tucked the empties away for future refilling. "I only take advantage of sober, willing blokes," he said with great dignity and just a hint of mischief. "Why, are you wanting to be taken advantage of, Harry?"
It was Harry's turn to blush red as a tomato, or at least that's how it felt. "I'm not just some drunken tart, you know, I require wooing," he said, avoiding the question with their usual banter and a lopsided grin.
Draco grinned back, which made Harry more relieved than he really wanted to analyse. "I'll put it in my calendar," he said dryly, and they both laughed and sipped the last of their lager, now that they were safely back to sober.
"Not that I'd recognise it if it happened," said Harry with a wry chuckle; he'd never been very good at romance.
Draco smirked. "You really wouldn't," he said, with just enough certainty that Harry wondered just what he'd been missing, from whom and for how long.
Harry was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find a cup of tea steaming on his desk in an ever-warm mug from Fortescue's, the scrollwork F on the side giving off a gentle glow to show the contents were being kept at ideal drinking temperature.
"Did you get us mugs finally, Ron?" asked Harry, taking a sip to find it already had the perfect amount of milk and sugar.
"Nope," said Ron, smirking like he knew something Harry didn't. "Draco did."
"Oh," said Harry. "Where's yours, then?"
"He didn't get me one, just you," said Ron, not looking nearly as put out about that as Harry would've expected.
"Oh," said Harry again, sitting down. He was going to try to figure out what it all meant, but a barrage of paper-airplane memos and inter-office mail pelted both of them with news of a Death Eater sighting in North Hampstead, and that was that.
"Lunch?" said Draco, leaning in his familiar spot against the doorframe.
Harry looked up from his paperwork. "Please!"
Ron laughed. "Yeah, sure, Hermione's busy today... If I'm invited?" he added teasingly.
Draco stuck his tongue out. "Of course you're invited, berk."
"Prat," said Ron good-naturedly, gathering his own paperwork into haphazard piles for later.
"Tosser," shot back Draco. He stepped up to Harry and gently stroked his wand along Harry's cheek, leaving a tingle in its wake. "Ink," he explained.
"Poofter," said Ron cheerfully. "C'mon," he added, nudging a rather stunned Harry.
Harry blushed and waved his wand at his papers, which neatened themselves considerably more than Ron's, getting up and coming around to join them. "Oh, hey, thanks for the mug," he said to Draco with a sheepish grin. "It's been brilliant."
"Your tea's always going cold on you," said Draco by way of explanation. "I got one for me, too, with my initials on it."
"We wouldn't want anyone mistaking your mug for theirs, after all," said Ron with a roll of his eyes.
"Which is why you didn't get one, you pillock," said Draco, amused.
Ron laughed. "I didn't get one because Hermione's mad at Fortescue for using house elves to expand his business and she'd only throw it out," he retorted.
"C'mon," said Harry, standing and stretching, his paperwork mostly done and his fancy mug sadly empty. "I'm dying for another cuppa."
"Nah, I'm almost done here, take Malfoy. He's always poking his nose in... See?" Ron pointed to where Draco was sauntering casually toward their open office door.
Harry laughed. "Watch out, you're developing gaydar."
"Only for you two nancies," said Ron, waving him off good-naturedly.
Harry spelled his cup clean and snagged it, intercepting Draco. "C'mon, Ron's in one of his moods," he teased.
Ron just flipped them off and went back to his paperwork.
Draco grinned. "Tea for two, then?" he asked, falling into step at Harry's side, close enough that their fingers brushed as they walked.
"Just this once," Harry teased. It took him a moment to realise that Draco had taken his hand, and another to figure out that he rather liked it.
Hand-holding aside, it took several more small gifts and a whole lot of tea and sandwiches for Harry to finally ask, at another of their Ron-less pub nights, "Draco, is this wooing?"
Draco stopped with his pint most of the way to his mouth, lowered it carefully, and started laughing. "Oh, oh god, you, Harry, you bloody," was all he managed to get out for several minutes.
Harry sulked. "If it's not, you just have to say. There's no need for all this."
"Of course it's wooing, you oblivious prat," said Draco, finally coming up for air. "I can't believe it took you this long. I held your hand!" He dissolved back into the quiet laughter.
Harry was surprised out of his sulk enough to laugh along with him. "You did, at that, several times, and... Wow, I really am an idiot, aren't I?"
"You really are," said Draco, looking at him fondly. "Now, will you kiss me?"
Harry blushed, then grinned. "Yeah, but only if you'll take me home after and feed me some of that sobering potion."
Draco scooted closer, mouth practically on Harry's already when he said, "It's a deal."
The kiss wasn't neat or chaste at all, but hot and messy, both of them three pints in and a bit loopy, tasting of beer and the curry they'd shared and somehow absolutely perfect for all that. "Yeah, sobering, then shagging," said Harry, pulling away with a grin.
Draco laughed and pulled out the familiar blue bottles, and they saluted one another before drinking. "To shagging," said Draco for their mock-toast.
"To getting a bloody clue," countered Harry ruefully, and then they had to stop laughing before they could take their potions.
For once, the Sober-Up didn't vanquish all the heat pooling in Harry's belly. It did lift the fog of alcohol, but that only sharpened the desire he felt for Draco, and added a slight edge of panic.
"I know," said Draco, watching Harry's face intently.
Harry blinked. "Excuse me?"
Draco chuckled. "I know just how you feel, but we'll be good together." He leaned in and pressed a much different kiss to Harry's lips this time, warm and soft and sweet.
Harry kissed back, and when he sat up in the booth again he was breathless and grinning for entirely new reasons. "Yeah, we will be," he said. "C'mon."
Galleons were tossed on the table and they linked hands as they walked out, finding their way to the alley and its Apparition point. "Yours or mine?" asked Harry, uncertainty tightening his chest.
"Yours," said Draco. "D'you feel up to Side-Along, or do you know the coordinates?"
Harry relaxed, pulling Draco into his arms. "I'll bring you along, I'm ace at Side-Along, even with an unwilling partner."
"And I'm very willing," said Draco, voice low and sensual. He stole a kiss while Harry fumbled for his wand, pressing their bodies together in a very distracting manner.
Harry finally pulled out his wand and then gave Draco one more kiss. "Just let me concentrate for a moment, I'd hate to leave anything important behind."
Draco laughed, but kept his hands to less-distracting areas for just long enough. Harry Apparated them right into his own bedroom, and they'd barely materialised when Draco began undressing him.
"Eager," said Harry, his laugh mixing breathlessly with Draco's answering giggle.
"Been waiting forever," said Draco, pausing for a kiss. Harry began to help, with both Draco's clothing and his own, and it didn't take long for a scattered puddle of fabric to form on the floor around them, leaving them naked. And awkward.
"So, um, bed?" said Harry, feeling stupidly shy. He hadn't had a lot of sex, but he'd had enough to know what went where. "D'you want to, um, I mean, are you more of a top, or...?"
Somehow Harry's nervousness made Draco visibly relax, and when he kissed Harry it was full of affection and warmth, both hands cupping Harry's face gently. "We can do whatever feels good tonight, Harry."
"Definitely bed, then," said Harry, tugging Draco's hand. There was more awkwardness, but this time it came with more laughter and a lot of kissing, until they were tucked into Harry's bed together, legs tangled and Draco's usually-neat hair already mussed beyond hope.
"I really want to see you come," said Draco, hands roaming proprietarily over Harry's body.
Harry kissed him hungrily, unsure what to say to that. "Um, how d'you want me?" he asked, once the kiss finally broke.
Draco grinned, and it was just a touch feral, as though Harry were the prey he'd just been given leave to hunt however he liked. "Lay back, I have an idea," said Draco, slipping out of bed, much to Harry's disappointment.
"From way over there?" he asked, though he did as he was told and lay back against the pillows, snuggling a bit under the covers, feeling self-conscious despite Draco's casual display of nudity.
"Wand, silly," said Draco, coming back with both of them, Harry's going into its groove on his bedside table. "This is better with a little Lubricus." The spell made Draco's hand shiny with oil, and then Draco's wand took up residence in the empty second groove as though it was meant to be there. Draco fit equally well between Harry's thighs, nudging them wider and using his slick hand to get both their cocks nice and slippery.
"Oh, that's good, I like your idea so far," said Harry, grinning and arching up into Draco's touches.
Draco grinned right back. "Of course you do," he said with a trace of his old arrogance. Which Harry forgave when Draco lined up their cocks and leaned in for a kiss and started thrusting. Harry's prick glided in the slick, hot space between their bodies, kissing and rubbing against Draco's in an echo of their bodies moving together under the covers.
Harry didn't bother with more words, other than the sort of half-moaned things men say in such situations. Instead he concentrated on holding Draco as close as possible and kissing him breathless, then doing it all over again a second later. Their bodies rocked and moved the whole time, and it was a little like having Draco inside him but less intimate. More like a promise of what was to come, testing the waters instead of diving in the deep end, and oh, the water felt very fine indeed.
He wasn't sure how long it took, but Harry was the first to find his peak, to break the kiss and gasp out Draco's name and come in hot spurts between them, adding to the slick mess of lubricant, sweat, and precome they'd already made there. Harry could feel Draco's eyes on him, watching just as he'd promised. Harry kissed him hard as soon as he had enough control over his limbs to pull Draco's head down to meet his own. "Liked it," he said roughly, "You'll come?"
"Merlin, yes," said Draco, hips speeding up again where they'd slowed so he could watch Harry come. Draco threw his head back and Harry watched as he came, held him as his hips jerked and he spilled his own seed between them. Harry thought he'd never seen such a beautiful sight as Draco in the throes of ecstasy, and then he thought he'd better never tell anyone or he'd never live it down.
Draco grinned at him like he knew, anyway, and kissed him hard. "You're gorgeous when you come, too," he said, just as though Harry had complimented him aloud.
Harry laughed. "Vain prat," he said affectionately, pulling Draco down for another, much more languid kiss. He reached out for his wand and cast a quick cleaning spell, then settled in for a proper postcoital snog. Or possibly mid-coital, if his body's continued interest was any indication.
"Oblivious ponce," said Draco in the same warm tone, nuzzling at Harry's neck. "I do like to top, but I don't mind bottoming, either."
"To answer my earlier question," said Harry, amused, kissing Draco's baby-soft hair. "You know, I don't think I've ever seen your hair this messy."
Draco laughed and came up for another, proper kiss. "Does that mean I can have you?"
"Mm, maybe tomorrow, I think I'd rather suck you tonight," said Harry, musing on his options. "I do like bottoming, though."
"Well, we're young," replied Draco, pausing for a lovely long interval of snogging before adding, "Blowjobs first, then we'll see."
"I do like that that's plural," said Harry. He got his hands into just the right position, then flipped them over, surprising a laugh out of Draco.
"Oof! You've been taking hand-to-hand combat." Draco melted into the pillows, thighs spreading to accommodate Harry between them, hands finding Harry's messy hair. "I take it you're going first?"
"Definitely better at clues than me," teased Harry.
It might take him a while, but at least when Harry finally put together all the facts, he knew just what to do about it. And Draco was much more pleasurable a puzzle than usual.
Title: Here's a Galleon, Buy a Clue