Draco can feel the tension in his body twisting and turning, slowly ebbing away as he and Harry leave Robards’ office in a hurry. He’d been dying to get out of that meeting from the moment it had begun this morning.
It had been a mandatory review of all of their cases from the last six months. Apparently the head of the department had decided that no one was exempt from the intense scrutiny they’d just faced over the last two hours. Hell he had expected it to be brutal based on the chatter around the Auror office from those who had already faced their own review, but even he couldn’t have anticipated the kinds of questions they would ask.
“And do you feel your relationship with Mr. Potter is completely professional?”
“Mr. Malfoy, have your feelings for Mr. Potter ever gotten in the way of your ability to make an unbiased call in the field?”
“Mr. Potter, there is a history of rash decisions in your case file. Do you believe yourself of sound mind and judgement in the heat of the moment?”
“Gentleman, have you ever had more than a professional working relationship with your Auror partner?”
They’d claimed the questions were standard, and would be the same for all partners regardless of gender or sexual orientation. A necessary precaution they’d called it. But Draco had felt his insides churning at the questions, his mind over run with thoughts and desires which he usually worked very hard to keep below the surface. He had answered them with a cool and calm countenance that had betrayed nothing of his true feelings.
Harry on the other hand had begun to get agitated the second they’d questioned his personal life.
“I’m a damn good Auror and what I do off the clock is none of your business.”
They were partners. Friends. And yet Harry had bristled at the insinuation they were more, refusing to answer the questions which Draco was sure only made things about a hundred times worse.
By the time they finally reach their office Harry is in a right mood, ripping his Auror robes off and flinging them on the chair in the corner. He takes his glasses off next, setting them on the desk and rubbing his face with both hands. He looks tired, stressed. It’s not the first time Draco has wondered why Harry is still an Auror. He’s good at it, damn good in fact, His reflexes are excellent and his experience with Dark Wizards invaluable. But even after three years working together Draco can see that he still has trouble taking orders; he’s brash and though his instinct are usually right he follows them blindly. Mostly though, despite how good he is at his job he just doesn’t seem happy.
Draco watches with curiosity as Harry just drops to the floor, as if he truly cannot take another moment of anything, running his hands through his hair before laying down. He feels guilty for the thoughts that run through his mind, the way he can’t take his eyes off the strength in Harry’s forearms, or the space between his legs. H knows he shouldn’t be thinking those things when Harry is clearly struggling. But the questions had been too much, had brought too much to the forefront of his min, and though he might not be showing it outwardly Draco feels just as close to exploding as Harry looks.
“Do you regret it?” Harry asks quite suddenly, startling Draco out of his thoughts.
“Becoming an Auror?”
Of all the things Draco thought the other man might say that is not one of them. He thinks back on the brutal years in training, of the distrust and harassment he had faced when he first joined and the hard work and determination it had taken to get anyone to take him seriously. He thinks back to when they had first become partners and the way they had argued and clashed just as intensely as they had in school, until one day after a bad case when they’d both ended up at the same bar and gotten pissed after work together. The next day he couldn’t remember what either one of them had said or done, and truth be told he still has no idea if Harry ever remembered because they never discussed it, but things had changed after that. They had begun working as a team, and before Draco had known what was happening they weren’t just two people being forced to work together they were partners; a well functioning team that both trusted and relied on one another.
He looks at Harry now, sprawled out on the floor looking tense and unhappy, something Draco now knows he hides from almost everyone else and he wonders what it means that Harry trusts him with the ugliest sides of himself so implicitly.
Draco doesn’t usually stop to think about his own feelings, not after having worked so hard to push them away. He regrets many things in his life, but becoming an Auror is not one of them, not when it has led him this. Whatever this might be.
“No, I don’t.”
Harry’s shoulders tighten and Draco wonders when exactly he learned to read the other man so well. He looks angry, at himself Draco thinks, and guilty.
“You know its ok to hate your job.”
Harry jerks his head up in surprise, his brow crinkling in confusion. “But you just said-”
“I know perfectly well what I said. I answered your question honestly. You just didn’t ask the right question.” Draco crosses his legs, leaning back in his chair and watching Harry throw his hands in the air before dropping his head back to the ground with an audible thud.
“Well what the bloody fuck was the right question?”
Draco can’t help it, he laughs. Harry shoots him an angry look.
“I’m so glad you find this so funny.”
“Always so fucking melodramatic, Potter.” Draco knows exactly what to say to get a rise out of him and Harry is on his feet in seconds.
“That meeting was a load of shit. We’re the best Aurors in the department and they know it.”
“Are you angry because they questioned your work ethic or because they questioned our relationship?” Draco says, and is surprised at how good it feels to say something. To acknowledge them in some way, even if they have no idea what they are.
Harry opens his mouth to speak and then stops as if he’s thought better of it. He suddenly looks so unsure, and so much younger than his twenty seven years. He rubs his hands on his shirt almost unconsciously and just stares at Draco.
“Do you want to know what I think?” Draco asks, rising from his seat and closing the small distance between them. He can practically feel the tension in Harry’s body, the air nearly crackling with it. “I think you’re tired of all of it; of the protocol and the bureaucracy and the phoniness. You’ve spent your entire fucking life saving everyone else and being who they needed to be and I think you’ve finally had enough. Today. Right now, Harry. You’ve had enough.”
Harry sucks in a deep breath, and Draco has no idea what to expect because he knows he’s crossing that forbidden line that says neither one of them will acknowledge real feelings but he doesn’t care because he can’t stand another day of pretending either.
“Aren’t you tired of being what everyone else needs you to be? Don’t you want to get what you need for once?”
Harry licks his lips, still unable to move from his spot as if his feet have been spelled to the floor. “And what exactly is it you think I need?”
Fuck it Draco thinks, he’s come this far already. Instead of saying anything he reaches out, his hands sliding into Harry’s hair and gently urging him closer. He presses his lips to Harry’s, afraid for a moment he’s made a mistake and gone too far but then Harry is nearly clawing at him, his hands grabbing onto Draco so tightly it almost hurts.
The kiss is almost brutal, desperate, and so fucking good Draco stops trying to hold it in and just moans into Harry’s mouth which only spurs the other man on even more. Draco’s hand is sliding down Harry’s back when there is a knock on the door and they spring apart just seconds before the door flies open. It’s Robards. Draco has never wanted to curse someone as badly as he does right in this moment. His heart aches and he just knows the moment has been ruined, that this interruption has shattered whatever fragile thing they were beginning.
“Listen, Potter, Malfoy, about before I-”
“I quit!” Harry shouts and Draco’s mouth falls open in the most un-Malfoy like display of shock he’s ever shown.
“Excuse me, Potter, you can’t quit!”
Draco doesn’t even look at Robards, because he can’t take his eyes off Harry. Harry looks giddy, euphoric even, and it reminds Draco of the way Potter used to look after he’d caught the Golden Snitch.
“Yes, Sir, I can. I quit. I hate my job,” he shouts, and then he begins to laugh. Robards looks like he thinks Harry might have lost his mind. “God that felt good to say out loud. I FUCKING HATE MY JOB!” he screams even louder, making several of the other Aurors peek their heads down the hallway and through the open door to their office.
Robards holds his hand up to silence him but Harry is paying him no mind.
“I hate the paperwork and the assignments and the bloody protocol that makes no sense sometimes and I hate the awful hours. Fuck I hate everything about it except that I get to work with you,” Harry says, turning to look at Draco with a look so pure in intensity Draco is glad he’s sitting down already.
“And what about you, Malfoy?” Robards asks, sounding equal parts confused and helpless.
“Oh I quit too. I detest this job.”
“I thought you said you didn’t regret becoming an Auror?” Harry asks suddenly, as if he’s forgotten Robards is just standing there watching them.
Draco shrugs, almost nonchalantly. “I don’t regret it, not at all. But I still fucking hate this job.”
“Then why don’t you regret it?” he asks, and Draco wonders how it’s possible that other man really doesn’t see it.
“Because you oblivious idiot, I’m in love with you. Pretty sure if you jumped out this window right now I’d follow you like a lovesick puppy. It’s absolutely pathetic,” he answers in the most self deprecating tone possible.
“Well, that’s rather good then isn’t it. Because I’m in love with you.”
“Right, well I’ll just be leaving now,” Robards mumbles awkwardly before shutting the door behind him. Neither Harry nor Draco pay him any attention.
“So, before….when you said you knew what I needed,” Harry begins to say, crossing the room until he’s standing directly in front of Draco with his hand outstretched. “What if you showed me instead.”
“I can’t think of anything I’d like more,“ Draco answers, taking Harry’s hand in his own and thinking that maybe what they both want and need might just be the same things.