Tags: auror!Harry, potions consultant!Draco, mud, and bitching, so, so much bitching.
“You know I’m just a consultant, right Potter?” Draco said acidly, trying to scrape mud from his arms and legs, “I am not a mad auror with more adrenaline than sense.”
“You have mentioned it before,” Harry said tersely, taking deep breaths. It was, after all, his fault Draco had ended up in the swamp following up a lead on black market dittany growers. It was also Harry’s fault that when he tripped on a root he had grabbed for the first thing in reach, which had been Draco, and pulled them both into a mug bog with the consistency of quicksand that had taken them twenty minutes to get out of.
Now they were both coated in mud up to the chest. Draco had somehow managed to scrape most of it off and didn’t have any on his hair or face, other than a small blob on his cheek. Harry had it in his hair, face, and just about everywhere else.
He just, really, really wished Draco would shut the hell up.
“What kind of absolute idiot can’t identify dittany?” Draco muttered.
His wand clutched so tightly into his fist he could feel every groove and notch in the wood. “Why can’t we just cast scourgify?” Harry groaned, ducking under a branch Draco let go, nearly smacking him in the face. Draco was watching the ground for signs of the tiny herb but he had to have done it on purpose, Harry just knew it.
Draco shot a look back at Harry what reminded him of Snape, “I have explained, Potter, dittany only grows in soil that contains mercury and propagates moondew flowers, do you really want to know what happens when you introduce magic to that combination?”
“Ok, ok,” Harry conceded trying not to think about the places mud was now making its home.
“Are you certain?” Draco said mockingly, “Because it involves your skin turning yellow and slowly melting off. Sounds like a right jolly Gryffindor thing to do.”
Harry took another deep breath and slowly let it out, “I understand, Draco.”
“I sincerely doubt that,” Draco said.
“Just shut up!” Harry snapped, “I swear, I get it!”
Draco stopped in his track and spun around, his expression furious.
Harry went on, “I’m sorry about everything that’s happened but you’re not the only one that’s uncomfortable or unhappy about all this!” He threw up his hands, “I swear sometimes I think you only care about yourself!”
Draco stalked over to him, stabbing his finger into Harry’s chest, “You egotistical, fucking arsehole, I can’t believe-” he stopped and shook his head, “I fucking hate you.”
Harry smacked Draco’s hand away, “Yeah, well, I hate you too!! Fucking wanker.”
Draco jerked back like Harry had hit him, his eyes widening, “You-” his words choked and died in his throat, “-You what?” He blinked rapidly, his head turning away to try and hide the tear that had slipped down his cheek.
Harry stared in shock, then caught Draco’s chin, tugging it back round to face him. He brushed the tear from Draco’s face before he had even realized what he was doing.
“You’re covered in mud,” Draco sniffed, looking down at the ground, another tear blinking free.
“Sorry,” Harry said softly, wiping the other tear away, smearing the mud on Draco’s cheek, “I don’t hate you.”
“Like I care,” Draco muttered.
Harry sighed and smiled ruefully, “Alright.”
“I don’t,” he insisted with a faint pout, finally bringing his eyes up to meet Harry’s, a faint pink flush colouring the tops of his cheekbones.
Harry leaned forward, chancing a brief kiss, tensing in anticipation for the worst.
“This is awful,” Draco groused, “We’re disgusting.” he sniffed again and blinked his tears back.
“Can I try again when we’re cleaned up?” Harry asked.
Draco glanced away and shrugged, his cheeks flushing further.
Harry smiled, “How about dinner then?”
Draco pulled away suddenly, his eyes fixed at where he had glanced away. He stalked through the trees to a small clearing surrounded by scrub and strange pale flowers. “Here it is.” Draco gestured.
Harry followed. The clearing was full of tiny dittany plants. It was a king’s fortune, especially at the obscenely high prices the growers were charging for them, and the final evidence they needed to convict the group they had arrested a few days ago. Harry activated his tracking medallion and sent his patronus back to tell them he had found it. Soon the collections team would be apparating on Harry’s location.
Draco shifted his weight, his arm brushing Harry’s. He cleared his throat nervously, “Dinner would be nice.”
“Yeah?” Harry looked up with a hopeful smile.
Draco smiled faintly back, “Yeah.”