"Some Enchanted Evening"
To Rach, who told me that just because you can’t right now, doesn’t mean you don’t.
With inspiration from Coldplay’s song “Yellow,” because every time I hear that song it makes me want to drop what I’m doing and write H/D slash. So finally, today, I did. This is the result.
In the end we all survived. All of us. Even Professor Dumbledore. And Lucius Malfoy, who’s currently burning a hole in a cell somewhere in Azkaban, and good riddance to Pureblood rubbish, I say. The best part of that whole thing? Watching Draco testify against his father. The prosecution had said they had a surprise star witness, and everybody naturally thought it was me. But it wasn’t me, and I wanted to know who it was, so I went to the trial. I was there the day they called Draco. He’d stayed away until that day, the last day of testimony, but that day I understood why. He looked haggard and drained, as if he’d been up all night, every night. I hadn’t seen him for about three months and I was surprised at how much I was glad to see him, and glad to see that he still carried himself like an annoying smarmy git.
He came into the courtroom and looked past the heads of every person in the room, including his father, who had gone red, absolutely livid with anger. There were gasps everywhere at his appearance, and every camera went off. I kept trying to catch his eye, and later I realised I’d been hoping he’d come. Though I hadn’t been planning on seeing him like this.
His testimony against his father was horrific and electrifying. Draco had always been a good storyteller, and even though now he took no pleasure in the story and there was no exaggeration, only facts, he still had his audience mesmerized.
His father didn’t stand a chance.
When he stepped down from the witness stand, he left the courtroom, and I jumped up and went after him, like everybody else. The cameramen had to gather their equipment, though, and I got a head start, shoving my way through them and grabbing the hem of his robes. Someone took our picture like that—me clutching into his sleeve, he just turning around in annoyance to see who had the audacity to lay hands on his person. He had started to snap but his jaw shut when he saw me.
“Malfoy,” I blurted, his eyes fastening onto mine in surprise and expectation I felt I could never possibly merit, “I just—I wanted to—to say that I’m—“
And then he was bombarded, swallowed up, literally engulfed by the reporters just now reaching us. His lawyers were dragging him away from me, from the barrage of questions, away from me, and I was sort of hurt, because if he had wanted to, he could have broken through them like I had done—he could have stayed; but I was mostly relieved, because I really hadn’t known what I was going to say yet anyway.
That was the last I ever saw of him. Ever since that day I’ve always remembered him like that, those grey eyes arrested in surprise as they looked at me. It was the kind of look you always want somebody to give you, but when they do, a part of you screams in terror and runs away, because it means you mean something to them, and how could you let them go on harbouring the delusion that you’re worth such a distinction?
I tried, once, to visit him after that. I apparated to a Floo location a few miles from Malfoy Manor, but I heard he didn’t live there anymore, that after the death of his mother (suicide, and nobody was saying a word about it, not even the ministry officials) he’d left for London.
Well, then. London. I live in London, now—I work for the Ministry of Magic in what they call the Wizard Integration Program, which is a fancy way of saying I teach wizards how to live like Muggles and use Muggle things. You’d think it’d be boring, but it’s not. Science and technology seem to be endlessly fascinating subjects for wizards—I’ve taught quite a few who’ve gone on to make absolutely ingenious items for Muggles to use, like Florence Sparrow, who developed a best-selling sellotape roll that’s designed so you always know where the end of the new roll is. I hear she’s working on a similar line for toilet paper.
My day consists mostly of filling out lots of paperwork and teaching classes. It’s a lot like being a social worker if you’re a Muggle, only less drama; and it has the added advantage of paying in Muggle pounds, which is a really good thing if you want to live in Muggle London, as I do. A lot of wizards are going Muggle anymore; sociologists think it’s a natural integration as part of the war aftermath; for may part, I was just tired of having to act and feel special. I mean, living at Hogwarts was great, but it was always a whole other world, and that made me uncomfortable. The spring of my seventh and final year there, I figured out how to defeat Voldemort and basically save the planet only to come back to Privet Drive and be ridiculed for having no clue who the Spice Girls were. The bloody Spice Girls! Anyway, when I moved out of there, a few week’s before Malfoy’s trial, I made up my mind that I wouldn’t keep moving in-between two worlds. I’d have both at once.
I went to Fudge, who was full of hem-haws and ‘surely the Muggle Studies program at Hogwarts is sufficient, harrumph,’ and generally totally against the idea of forming an Integration Department. Thankfully, after Draco elaborately described the way Fudge used to kiss his father’s death-eating ass, Fudge was deposed, and Arthur Weasley elected the new Minister.
I had my department within the week.
It’s far and away the most popular and successful department at the Ministry. I really think it has nothing to do with who started it, but because it’s a good program.
Still, sometimes I wonder. Like when I pass the railway crossing on my way to work. There’s a billboard beside the track that says, “For the People—All of Us!” in huge glowing letters. It’s a general endorsement of Weasley’s ministry, but instead of Mr. Weasley, it’s my picture they’ve got up. I didn’t authorize that billboard, and I have no clue where they got that picture. Mostly, I just wish they’d put it somewhere where I wouldn’t have to see it—but that just makes me wonder how many more there are around the city that I haven’t seen.
This is usually when I grumble and look down and fiddle with the radio. (That’s my favourite part about my car—yes, it’s a sports car, and no, its’ not because I want to look good, it’s just because I like the way she handles under my hands—it’s as close to flying as I’ll ever get on the ground. Anyway, my favourite thing about my car—she’s got a great sound system.) Today, though, when I fiddle with the knob, I get that everystationplayingthesamesong situation. So I’m forced, after switching the dial three times, to listen to some cheesy rock ballad with the weepy string section and the desperate piano accompaniment. Cheesy.
But suddenly, before I know it, the song has snatched hold of me, calling up all kinds of images I can’t shake—the most powerful and persistent being that look, that stupid surprised look on Draco Malfoy’s face over nine months ago.
And I’m pulled over to the side of the roadway with my head on the steering wheel, letting the memories sweep over me, overwhelmed by them, wondering what on earth to do with them, when the deejay intones happily, “And there’s the surprise hit that’s racing up the charts, ladies and gents—it’s called “No Choice.”
I hear the song five more times before I make it to the office. He wasn’t lying, it is a hit song. I don’t recognize the name of the singer, but that’s not surprising. When I get to my office, my assistant, Sally-Anne Perks (she hates her name, and I don’t blame her; I always tell her she ought to be grateful she’s not called something really wretched like Mary Sue, or Draco) is humming the same bloody song.
“Who sings that song?” I ask, hating myself. It’s not even that catchy a tune.
Sally-Anne perks sighs, in that ‘oh, he’s so dreamy’ way. “Jett Taylor,” she says on another sigh. “Did you know he writes his own stuff?” And a second later I’m being shown some pop culture glamour issue magazine with this Jett guy’s picture all over it.
Jett Taylor is gorgeous. He looks at the camera with knowing winks. I want to meet him. I imagine he has all kinds of depth behind his pop-star exterior. I imagine he feels deeply about things and is stifling behind the bright lights.
“Get me an introduction,” I say casually. Sally-Anne Perks draws in a breath of disappointment.
“Oh, I don’t really think he’s—“ she can’t do it. She can’t bring herself to say ‘gay’ in front of me, even though she regularly says ‘Voldemort’ in front of me.
I turn on the charm, and smile. Controlling people, I’ve found, isn’t really that hard. It’s like speaking Parseltongue—I just have to imagine they’ve trained a wand on me and I’m resisting Imperius. In this case it’s easy because I want what I want. Sally-Anne doesn’t stand a chance. “Please?” I say, and manage to blush a little, as if I’ve just imparted some deep secret to her. She turns pink and nods, and I know I’ve got it.
By the time I attend a thing at the home of a friend of a friend of a mutual friend two weeks later, “No choice” is number one and gaining airplay in the states. I keep expecting it to grow old—that I’ll get tired of it one day and suddenly start hating it. So far, it’s not happening. I keep getting further sucked in by the words. It’s as if the song is speaking to me, to me directly, except it’s only part of the message and I need to know more. Part of me is hoping Jett Taylor will supply the rest personally.
In person, Jett Taylor still looks like a rock star, even though you get the sense he’s the kind that’ll still have big hair when he’s fifty. I sip a cocktail and watch him from a distance. Yep, still gorgeous. I’m stupidly waiting for me to lock gazes with me across the room of about seventy people and come sweep me off my feet when I feel another gaze on me. Who knows from where, but it’s there—I scan the room but see nothing, and I’m too embarrassed to turn around and look over my shoulder. But I stiffen involuntarily, and the gaze slides over me and away.
That was… odd, I think. By the time I’ve downed the next drink I’ve gained the courage to go over and introduce myself. Do it for Sally-Anne, I pep, and for all the readers of Teen Witch Weekly.
He’s gone out on the balcony with another man, and for a moment my heart sinks: of course he’s involved with someone, why wouldn’t he be? He’s Jett Taylor. But then the man gives him a friendly kiss on the cheek and joins someone else who takes a very territorial grip on his hand. Trying not to sigh audibly, I join him.
I’m still awkward when it comes to meetings like this—oh, who am I kidding, I’m awkward at everything. But this is different. This is the man who wrote that song, I think, and I think I might be a little breathless.
“Hi.” Already my face has gone red, I can feel my cheeks burning. “I’m Harry Potter, I work for the Ministry.” Helpful around London not to say which Ministry you work for.
Jett Taylor quirks an eyebrow. “For Blair?” he says sceptically, like, ‘who invited the conservative to this party?’
I look down and grin. “Well—I’m not a supporter,’ I stammer. “I work with…foreign cultures.”
“Oh.” Jett Taylor nods, and shakes my hand. “Pleasure.” He then looks me up and down, unmistakeably rating my body, and I wonder with a desperate caged feeling, ‘how did he know about me?’ before reckoning that probably he assumes everybody at this party is some sort of gay.
“Er,” I manage, “I really like your song, the one that talks about—“
Butt Jett Taylor has already waved the bumbling compliment away. I bet he thinks I’m a geek. “Thanks, man,” he says, stirring his martini. “I wrote it myself.”
“Yeah—that’s what I heard. Those lyrics, they’re really—“
Another wave. I keep wondering how this man can stop me talking with his hand when I’m supposed to be able to defeat Imperius. “No, man, I didn’t write the lyrics. My boyfriend did.”
I feel a weird sense of surreality hitting, and it’s not because of the boyfriend comment but because of the first thing he said. I’m searching for a way to casually ask, ‘so can I meet your boyfriend?’ when his eyes dart behind me and I turn around to see—
My heart lurches, and I feel queasy, and why is there moonlight everywhere at once? I’ve never felt weak-kneed before—I didn’t know if a person actually could; but I have. I can’t take my eyes off him, and can’t stand to keep looking because he’s never looked this good before, and I can’t believe I haven’t seen him in nine months because I feel like I’ve been seeing him every day in the back of my mind, and missing him.
Oh god, I think.
He gazes back at me, and suddenly it feels like there’s no room between us at all, like there’s nothing at all except the two of us, and then Jett Taylor clears his throat and says pointedly, “Should I leave you two alone?”
The room seems to have slowed to a crawl as Draco moves around past me and circles an arm around Jett Taylor’s waist. My heart is firmly implanted in my throat now. “I see you’ve met,” he says, his eyes still on me. They don’t move over any part of my body, but what I am feeling is ten times more intense than when Jett Taylor (look at him. I should have known) was lavishing his gaze on me.
For the first time that evening I push my glasses up on my nose, so hard I think they probably leave a red mark on the crease between my eyes. Draco is leaning back against the railing of the balcony, no, slinking back, no part of his body touching the other man’s except for his hand, which has come to rest possessively at the small of his back.
I try not to stare but I think I do, and I think he can see me doing it. I am glued to the sight of his fingertips, perfectly manicured as always, lingering there like they know a secret I don’t, and I want his hands to tell me all his secrets and slide over me like they own me, and touch me—
It’s taken me a long time for it to all start making sense. Back when I was first starting to realize how much I noticed guys, how much I liked to touch guys, I’d always think that as long as they didn’t turn me on the things I thought about didn’t matter. And they didn’t. But as I’ve grown up, as I’ve grown old enough to look at the evidence, there’s always been one person I’ve come back to. I’ve worked it out in my head: it was a latent schoolboy crush that I couldn’t sublimate, so I took it out in hatred. Everybody gets those. Everybody grows past them. Except that my body apparently didn’t get the memo.
Then again, my body normally reacts this way to the sight of a tall thin blond with sleek muscles and high hollow cheekbones and a long arched neck that’s begging to be licked and hands as smooth as petals and fine thin lips smirking at you and eyes that take you in and hold you trapped while you squirm and thrash under the gaze without being able to look away. Did I mention he’s wearing Armani? Or that his hair is shorter than it’s been in a long time and falling down in jagged wisps across his face like some kind of veil, just giving me glimpses of his eyes and brow and jaw line and driving me crazy?
This—I’d thought this made sense. I’ve never been this affected before, and I know I’m letting it show.
I swallow and pry my eyes away from him, back to Jett Taylor, who’s looking at me with faint animosity. I can’t believe suddenly I was ever infatuated with him for a second. His hair is teased and I think he’s wearing eye shadow and lip liner. And who drinks martinis anymore anyway?
“I assume you two know each other,” laughs Jett Taylor harshly. He steps closer to Draco, who infuriatingly slides his hand down and lets it come to rest on the other man’s upper thigh. I feel so small and scrawny and ugly suddenly I want to jump off the balcony.
“This,” says Draco silkily, eyes still on mine, “is Harry Potter.”
That’s all. And there’s something about the way he says it—simply, like, like he knows very well it could have been “this is my archenemy,” or “this is the one I hate,” or even “this is the boy whose life I made miserable every day for seven years”—but it’s none of those things and somehow all of them at once.
I really wish I’d carried my drink out here with me.
Jett Taylor raises his eyebrows, and I stammer to explain. “Uh—we, er, went to school together. We weren’t in the same house or anything, we just, er, played—sports together.”
“Oh, right. You went to that school for gifted artists? I didn’t know they had sports at those kinds of things.”
While I am registering confusion Draco breaks in. “Oh, they did, they just weren’t your kinds of sports.”
“Right,” I add, “they were, uh…sports for the—“
“—gifted,” finishes Draco. He looks back at me sharply and I suddenly feel like he is French-kissing me with his eyelashes.
“Potter’s a painter,” he says simply, somehow managing to look me over without ever travelling from my face. “What is it you paint again?”
“Landscapes,” I babble. “Still lifes.”
I’ve never had so many fantasies at once, about one person.
“Ever do any portraits?” Draco says.
“A few.” I am a few syllables away from stammering haplessly. “I probably painted a few of your housemates and all.”
“Did you ever paint me?”
I catch my breath at his inflection and straighten to suppress a shiver. “No.”
“But I bet you wanted to,” he says.
At this point my cheeks are burning and I think my hands are trembling where I have just shoved them deep in my pockets, and Jett Taylor starts to break in, but I’m not quite ready to let go of this moment.
“And you, you were there for—poetry?” I give him as sceptical a look as I can manage under the circumstances, and he—holy god, he smirks, and I’m starting to think I might have had more than a schoolboy crush.
“Right,” says Draco, crossing his legs and leaning back again. “Poetry.”
I swallow. “I—I think I used to come to hear you at open mike nights.”
“Oh, yes, you were the one in back throwing the tomatoes.”
“Only when you sang.”
“Nonsense, I have a lovely singing voice.”
“It’s better than your poetry.”
“What did you throw when I read poetry?”
“I never figured you for a fan of coconuts.”
“I never figured you for a fan of poetry.”
“Well, you’ve never seen me cut a rhyme in iambic pentameter.”
“You’ve never seen me handle a coconut.”
I don’t realise that I’ve been inching towards him until Jett Taylor clears his throat and I see the growing annoyance in his face as he looks at Draco. It’s not until that moment that I understand: Draco really is his boyfriend. And if he’s his boyfriend that means that…
It takes another few seconds for the significance to sink in, and it does, just as Jett laces his arms around Draco (jealousy has never felt like this) and says, in that smooth-as-the-blade-of-the-knife way, “Harry was just telling me how much he liked our song that we wrote together.” He leans in to kiss Draco’s cheek, and my stomach plummets. Draco looks at me, suddenly totally alert, and with something that looks like misgiving tugging at him.
He isn’t saying anything, just looking, and his eyes are passing messages to me that I can barely fathom, because it couldn’t be that simple. I look at his hands where the other man has casually entwined them and suddenly it hurts to breathe.
This was a mistake. All of this was a mistake.
“Is that true, Potter?” Draco says in a strange voice. “You liked the song?”
I nod once, briefly, and then excuse myself, barely aware of what I’m saying, what I’m doing. I have to get out of there, the heat of Draco’s gaze and the proximity of him after all this time is making me feel things I’m not possibly prepared to feel, not now, not this strongly, and least of all, not for him.
The house is a large one with a large veranda for a front porch and I’m halfway across it and almost down the steps to the street when Draco calls out to me. Embarrassed and ashamed and feeling a lot like Cinderella I pause at the top of the steps, torn between running and staying and embarrassing myself even further.
“Potter,” he says, and then, sharply, as if the word is a command and not an entreaty, “Harry.”
What can I do? I turn and he’s there, right in front of me, and in my mind his hands are on my face, rough palms scratching my cheek; in my mind he is leaning in to take me and I am offering my lips to him without hesitation, fingers splaying through his hair and moaning as we kiss.
I stare at him, breathing hard, and he stares at me, breathing equally hard, and finally he says, “I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“I…” I have no response to make to that. I can’t say I’ve missed him, because I haven’t; thinking about someone every day in a million different ways isn’t missing them. He doesn’t have anything to say either. Perhaps because there’s too much.
“You’re… living in London,” he says, pinning me with his gaze.
“Yes. Since last July. I work in the—“
“Yes, I know. Muggle Integration and all.”
I chew my lip. “He doesn’t—does anyone know you’re—”
He shakes his head quickly. “No. They just know I’m his manager.”
“Oh.” I have questions but I don’t feel right asking them.
“Although it helps to have a manager who knows the Imperius curse,” Draco says with a smirk, judging my reaction carefully.
It really doesn’t matter, I think dizzily. Right now he could casually AK one of the other guests and I’d think he hung the moon. What’s come over me? Has this always been something I’ve felt this strongly?
“I wondered why the song was getting so much air time,” I smile.
He shrugs gallantly. “There’s been a shortage of horse’s heads. One must make shrift.”
“I think you should go inside.” My voice is shaky.
He arches his eyebrow. “Why?”
“Because you—you have a boyfriend.”
“He’s not attached to me.”
“It doesn’t matter, Malfoy,” I snap, and he’s hurt, oh, he’s hurt by the way I have used his last name and I wish I could take it back but now that it’s out it feels good—it feels safe, familiar.
“I just came out here to talk, Potter,” he says with the old familiar snarl, and somehow it hurts more than anything, more than Cruciatus, and I want to kiss him until he breaks.
“I—I have to go,” I say miserably.
“Then go,” he sneers, crossing his arms and stepping back away from me.
“I—wait,” I say, even though I am the one driving him away. “Where are you staying?”
Draco gives me a look. Oh. With Jett Taylor, of course. I don’t even want to think about how hard I’m blushing.
“Will you—would you like to meet me for lunch… er, tomorrow?”
“Potter, we’ve had lunch every day for the last seven years, don’t you—”
“Not like this,” I say seriously, willing my voice to stop shaking. “Not like this.”
Draco regards me with scrutiny so sharp it could cut glass before he nods once, curtly. “Lunch. 1:00 tomorrow?”
“At Diagon Alley.”
“The Leaky Cauldron?”
He leans in and kisses me.
I have never been kissed like this and I never want to be kissed any other way, and that is probably why I break away from it so quickly, squirming out of his arms.
”Tomorrow then,” I say, breathless and making no attempt to hide it. He looks extremely self-satisfied, the git, and it’s all I can do not to break into a grin.
“I’m glad you came tonight,” he says softly. I stammer out some sort of reciprocal response, reeling from the impression of his lips on my mouth, and turn, dazedly, to make my way down the steps.
“Potter,” he says when I reach the bottom. I turn automatically and see him standing at the top of the railing, his hands in his pockets and a trademark smirk on his lips, this one glimmering with affection.
“How’d you like the song?”
I let the silence that I give him be my first and best answer. “Thought it was all right,” I finally say, the grin escaping despite my best efforts.
“I never write from experience,” he says flippantly, with another elegant shrug. “Nothing to draw on.”
I almost, almost charge back up the stairs and kiss him again. But behind him Jett Taylor appears in the double doors, and I know he is about to call out for him. He has that right, I think with a sudden new bitterness. I do not.
With all the reluctance I have ever felt I turn away, wondering if Draco has ever kissed Taylor as if he’s been thinking about nothing else for nearly eight years.
The pavement feels barely there under my feet, and I’m relieved when I reach my car.
For once I’m sure I really will fly home.
Will there be more? Eh. Probably. There is in my head. We'll have to see where it goes. :D