The landscape rolled like lush, green waves in an ocean called Scotland. Tiny white, pink, and violet flowers dotted the area, prettiness disguising the harmful weeds. Broken, weathered stone marked an outline where the land was gutted, the heart dug out in an appropriate metaphor.
Lex Luthor snorted at his thoughts, kicking at a stone with disregard for his genuine Italian shoes. Dust speckled the shined black toe, as the stone sailed over the edge into the former dungeon of the Luthor “ancestral” castle (land and residence bought at auction in the 1970s). Over-grown weeds and lichen covered the chipped rock floor and walls. A stagnant pond filled several cells, a visible stench rising in the summer heat under the nearly cloudless blue sky.
Lex’s suit coat was in his car, parked at the edge of the property. His white dress shirt, unbuttoned at the collar and rolled at the sleeves, clung to the sweat-dampened skin under his arms and between his shoulder blades. Driving to the estate had been a whim; his business in The City having had concluded early, leaving Lex at ends – again.
Tired of the same scenery, Lex had packed a bag and left his flat within an hour of finishing his meeting. He’d made reservations at a Bed and Breakfast in Braemar, the closest town to the old Scottish estate, on the drive north. London had abruptly become claustrophobic after six months of living there trying to forget his broken heart.
His heart hadn’t healed, as evidenced by his maudlin thoughts. The hole in the ground where the castle had been was just that, a hole in the ground, and not an ironic jibe at the sad state of his emotions. Clark Kent’s marriage and the permanent end to the illusion of a future between them had nothing to do with the scenery, other than by sending Lex fleeing overseas.
The twenty-nine year old circled the ruins of the castle’s remains and walked slowly across the property. The countryside was beautiful, the air freshening the further he moved from the castle. He let his thoughts drift, rebuilding a manor of his own design on the property in his mind, one in which he’d inevitably live alone.
It was relatively pathetic, in his opinion, that he still moped over Clark. Lex had run the gambit of alcohol, anonymous sex, and overworking in an attempt at stopping the hurt, but time would be the only cure. He was much better now than he had been when he’d climbed into the private plane the night after Clark’s wedding, having barely stopped from doing himself irreversible harm. He could wish Clark begrudged happiness from an ocean away.
Lex found the low, rock fence that divided the Luthor property from the neighbor’s, pulled up his trouser legs, and sat on the weathered wall. The sun beat on his bare scalp and he squinted behind his sunglasses as he surveyed the land. A gently sloping hill on the neighboring property blocked his view of the manor house. The peace and quiet was broken, however, by an irritated British-accented conversation on the other side of the rise, getting louder as the arguers approached.
“A spark in the air is all you were.”
“A drunk squib can maneuver better than you now, Potter.”
“How you didn’t see that flock of birds with me screaming about them in your ear—”
“It was your screaming that caused me to run into them.”
“Don’t blame me, blind boy. It was a flock of birds.”
“Shut up. Why we couldn’t have just Apparated…”
“That would defeat the purpose of sneaking up on them. Though with your steering skills—”
“After I check my sources and verify it isn’t too late, we’ll take the bus. Hold still.”
“Hey! Why did you do that?”
“Mordred, haven’t you learned anything in your Department? We’re heading into a Muggle town on foot, dimwit,” Malfoy said as they crested the hill. “We should at least try not to draw attention to ourselves.”
“Too late.” Potter, Lex presumed, gestured at Lex, coming to a halt. Malfoy stopped, too, and stared at Lex.
Lex’s sharp gaze catalogued the two men about his age. They were equal in height and lean build, dressed nearly identical in short-sleeved polo shirts and dark trousers. The similarity ended there. Potter had black messy hair and a healthy tan. His square-jawed features were partially obscured by a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles.
Malfoy, on the other hand, was as pale as porcelain. His pointed features bespoke of aristocracy in the tilt of his chin. The sunlight made his pure white-blonde, shoulder-length hair glimmer with silver. As the two began down the hill towards Lex, he could see Malfoy’s eyes were true gray and unsurprisingly piercing.
“Hello,” Potter greeted pleasantly, though Lex could hear suspicion in his voice.
“Afternoon.” Lex stood and extended his hand. “Lex Luthor.”
“Harry Potter.” Potter shook and released Lex’s hand. “This is Draco Malfoy.”
“Mr. Malfoy,” Lex said, offering his hand again.
Malfoy clasped Lex’s hand, holding it longer than appropriate, catching Lex’s attention. His gaze was unwavering, as he corrected, “It’s Draco.”
Lex felt a flare of attraction in response to the subtle probe of interest from Malfoy – Draco – and a slight flirtatious smile curved his lips. “Call me Lex.”
“You’re American, if I’m not mistaken.” Draco released Lex’s hand with a caress of his fingertips against the palm. “What brings you out here, Lex?”
“Business. Although I am currently taking a leave of absence to pay a visit to my ‘ancestral’ estate,” Lex said, gesturing widely at the property behind him.
“You drove out here?” At Lex’s nod, Draco asked, “Would it be presumptuous to request a ride to town?”
“Not at all.” Lex stepped back and Draco climbed elegantly over the wall. Potter nearly fell on his face doing so. He reminded Lex of Clark when he smiled sheepishly, and Lex turned quickly away. “My car is parked on the drive.”
Heaviness settled on Lex’s shoulders again, and the walk to the car was made in silence. He wanted to be out of Potter’s presence and his unintentional reminders as soon as possible. Upon reaching the car, he moved his suit coat to the trunk and waited as Potter scrunched into the tiny backseat, with Draco beside Lex on the passenger side, before starting the vehicle.
The ride to town was short, no longer than ten minutes on the twisting, unpaved road. Lex remembered hearing that they’d planned to take the bus, and parked the car in front of the station that doubled as the post office.
“Thanks for the lift,” Draco said. He got out of the car before Lex could speak, shifted the seat, and let Potter out. After pushing the seat back, he ducked his head in the open doorway and added, “It was much appreciated.”
“If the wait is long, you’re welcome to join me for a drink,” Lex invited suddenly, without thought. “I’m staying at the Mead Bed and Breakfast two streets over.”
Draco’s smile was regretful. “I doubt it’ll be that long. Perhaps when we meet again.”
Lex hid his disappointment with well-practiced ease. He’d hoped to recapture that fizzle of attraction from earlier, but it didn’t seem likely. “Perhaps then.”
Draco nodded, straightened, and shut the car door without a word of goodbye. Lex watched for a moment as Draco strode away before chastising his girlishness, putting the car in gear, and driving off.
That night, Lex answered a surprise knock at his door, to find Draco standing casually in the hallway.
“I know I agreed to a drink,” Draco drawled, a seductive smile hovering on his lips. “But why don’t we skive off and move directly onto where this evening is going to end.”
Lex didn’t have to think long. He stepped aside, allowing Draco to saunter into the room, and closed and locked the door behind him.
Lex watched from his perch on the bed, his robe wrapped around him, as Draco finished dressing. Draco’s wet, pale hair clung to his shirt over his shoulders, making damp spots.
“Right,” Draco said, sliding on his last shoe. He checked his left pocket, and then looked at Lex. “I’m off. See you tomorrow night?”
“I’ll be here,” Lex agreed, as he had for the past five evenings.
Draco tipped his head and then left without any awkward goodbyes.
Lex stood and stretched. He went to lock the door and then wandered past the chest of drawers to the small table near the window. Good sex deserved good Glenfiddich afterwards, and Lex had both.
He sipped his drink, parting the curtains slightly to peer outside. The streets of Braemar were dark; the lateness of the hour promised everyone was asleep. Lex would be joining them shortly and sleep the heavy sleep of the well-fucked.
Lex smiled to himself and let the curtain fall. A glance at the bed showed its extremely rumpled and stained condition. His room smelled headily of sex. Tied-off condoms, condom wrappers and tissues filled the trashcan, and an open lubricant bottle and unused condoms cluttered the bedside table. The room had been in the same state for the past five nights, most likely to the morning maid’s dismay.
Lex was certainly enjoying his newfound lover. Yesterday and this evening, they’d ventured out first for drinks down at the pub before returning to Lex’s room at the Bed and Breakfast. Draco had a sharp wit and equitable aristocratic tastes to go with his good looks and better sex skills. Lex was beginning to like him outside of bed, too.
Draco, Lex decided, was exactly what he needed to get over Clark and back into the game. The whim that had brought him to Scotland had been definitely worthwhile.
“Malfoy, what are you doing?”
“Paperwork. Again.” Draco didn’t look up as Harry wandered into his cubbyhole. “You know why they call us Unspeakables? Because we’ve said it all already in words on parchment. In triplicate.”
“I meant with that Muggle,” Harry said.
“Lex?” Draco’s mouth twitched in a satisfied grin, as he glanced up at Harry. “I’m shagging him rotten. Why, jealous?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “You wish.”
“Sorry, but no. You’re not my type. I prefer redheads.” Draco went back to his writing. “Better tell your pet Weasel ‘back to the wall’ next time I’m around.”
“Don’t call him that.”
“Oh, so you’re the pet?”
“Will you take your mind out of the gutter for one second and explain this Muggle?”
“I can’t do that if you want my mind out of the gutter.”
Harry huffed in his usual put-upon manner and threw himself into the second chair in the small room. Draco smirked and continued his paperwork.
Harry was silent for a bit. Draco’s quill scratched against the parchment as he wrote his latest report. He had been sent to retrieve a Dissembler from an old friend of the family, without that person’s knowledge. It put Draco in an awkward position, but he was used to it. The Department of Mysteries tended to use him for his name and his parents’ former Death Eater connections.
“A Malfoy and a Muggle, that’s not on,” Harry said finally.
“He’s a redhead.” Draco blotted a mistake. “Though you have to look real close to see that, and I most certainly have.”
“For Merlin’s sake, I don’t want to hear about your sex life.”
“But I thought you wanted to talk about Lex,” Draco said innocently. Well, as innocently as he could pull off.
“He had a sad aura,” Harry said.
Draco lifted his eyes from his parchment, jaw tightening. “I see where this is heading. You’re protecting the Muggle from the big, bad Malfoy.”
“That’s not true—”
“Stuff it, Potter. I’m twenty-nine years old and who I shag is my business,” Draco said, irritated. “Lex is an adult and not under any spell. So, get back on your high Pegasus and fly off.”
Harry pushed up his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Fine. Whatever. I didn’t come down here to argue with you anyway.”
“Then, why are you here?”
“Your source in Bristol,” Harry said. “We have an Auror Alert for someone suspected to be in that area. Think you can persuade him to give us a hand?”
The name of Malfoy was needed again. Draco sighed silently. “Give me five minutes to finish this, and I’ll be up.”
Draco was propped on his forearm curled behind Lex, fucking him. He held Lex’s bare leg, opening him for penetration. Draco thrust into the tight grip of Lex’s body, watching over Lex’s shoulder as he stroked his swollen shaft, the blood-darkened, cut head poking through his fist again and again. The low light from the bedside lamp in Lex’s room at the Bed and Breakfast allowed Draco to see every delectable inch of the man he’d been shagging for nearly three weeks.
Lex didn’t look sad. His face was slack with pleasure, fair eyelashes casting faint shadows beneath his closed eyes. He breathed heavily through his open mouth, defined chest rising and falling at a quickened rate. The corded muscles in his arm bulged with every pull on his hard cock.
Draco brushed his lips against Lex’s neck and ear, and ordered huskily, “Save that for me.”
Lex’s breath hitched and he grasped the base of his erection tightly on the downstroke. Draco nipped Lex’s earlobe, hips moving faster at the anticipation of being filled, feeling that thick shaft penetrating him…
Draco’s fingers bruised Lex’s leg as he came with a hiss. He quaked as pleasure washed over him, pulsing out of his cock and into Lex.
He sucked a kiss on Lex’s neck as his body calmed, but not hard enough to leave a mark. He pulled out of Lex carefully, skinned off the condom – an annoyance, but a Muggle necessity – tied it, and tossed it in the bin.
Lex rolled onto his back as Draco fetched a new condom from the bedside table. Lex watched with heavy-lidded, hungry eyes as the condom was rolled on him and as Draco used the slippery lubricant on himself. A spell cast before Draco had arrived kept him stretched for sex, keeping preparation down to a minimum, and as he straddled Lex’s waist and lowered himself on Lex’s cock, he was self-satisfyingly grateful.
Lex’s strong hands rubbed up and down Draco’s thighs, as Draco rocked his hips. Draco’s head lolled, reveling in the pleasurable sensations centered in his arse. Sex sounds filled his ears. His fingernails scratched Lex’s sweat-glistened chest, leaving parallel red lines, stark against the faintly tanned skin.
Lex didn’t last, coming snugly inside Draco with a twist of his features. Draco hadn’t re-hardened, which was fine, and he sat for a moment, drinking in the lingering feeling of being fucked. Lex licked his lips and opened his eyes. Draco shot him an appropriately cocky grin. He shifted off Lex with a satisfied moan and flopped onto the bed beside him.
“I’m hungry,” Draco declared a moment later. He glanced at the clock. “It’s early enough. Care to grab a bite?”
“Sure,” Lex agreed. He tied off the condom and dropped it in the bin. He rose fluidly and strode unselfconsciously for the en suite bathroom.
They showered and dressed. Draco used the comb he’d left at Lex’s a week ago. He examined his reflection in the mirror and then Lex’s. They were similarly wearing pressed trousers, Lex in black and Draco in beige, and button-down shirts in lavender and pale blue respectively. They looked like a couple of poufs.
Draco smiled to himself. If the wand fit…
MacConnelley’s Pub was more family oriented than the pub they usually patroned. Lex and Draco sat across from one another at a plain wood table. Around them, wait staff bustled, serving delicious-smelling meals and drinks to the other guests.
Draco set down his tall glass of stout, and continued, “Sometimes I’m on assignment for days, or weeks even, and other times I don’t do anything at all.”
“What about your partner?” Lex said, wondering at the irrational surge of jealousy.
“Who?” Draco looked confused.
“Harry Potter,” Lex said. He chased a tomato around his plate of salad. “Isn’t he your partner?”
“Potter? No, he’s not. He’s in a different Department entirely,” Draco said. “He’s like one of your – what do you call them? US Marshals? Anyway, at times we work together, but not often, which I’m happy about.”
“Potter is an annoying, unknowingly egotistical, ungroomed martyr with a horrid taste in friends,” Draco replied, gesturing with his fork in emphasis. “I’ve known him since we were eleven and he’s been nothing but a pain since, even if I now call him ‘friend.’ If it weren’t for the fact that he’s one of three people who trust me unquestioningly, I’d probably have nothing to do with him.”
“Three people, that many?” Lex smirked self-deprecatingly. “You have me beat.”
Draco appeared curious. “What did you do to deserve the lack of trust? Me – I was born a Malfoy.”
“I was born a Luthor.”
Draco chuckled. “We’re both rich, affluent, work in some form of acquisitions, are bogged down by our names, have exceptional fashion sense, and are terrific lovers. If we get any more alike, things will become boring.”
Lex picked up his glass and raised it slightly. “Well, we’ll always have Braemar.”
Draco laughed without restraint. Lex was pleased with himself to have caused it, and he smiled widely.
“Yes, we’ll always have Braemar,” Draco said, picking up his glass and clinking it against Lex’s. He took a draught and set it aside. “Speaking of, how long are you planning on staying?”
“I suppose until things get boring,” Lex said off-handedly. Draco rolled his eyes and Lex continued to smile. “Actually, I have a place in Chelsea and don’t know when I’ll return to the States. My welcome at the Bed and Breakfast is up at the end of the week, so I’ll be heading back to London.”
“Good,” Draco said with a wicked twinkle in his gray eyes. “We’ll be able to continue this, then.”
Lex tipped his glass towards Draco, a new sensation swimming in his belly. It felt a lot like happiness. “I’ll look forward to it.”
Lex hit the snooze on the alarm clock, rolled over, and buried his face in Draco’s hair. Draco flailed his hand back and smacked Lex upside the head. “Geddup.”
Lex grunted and shoved himself into a sitting position. His yawn cracked his jaw and he rubbed his eyes. Groggily, he climbed out of bed and stumbled naked into the bathroom in his Chelsea flat.
Squinting against the light, Lex relieved himself, brushed his teeth, and splashed cold water on his face. The alarm sounded in the other room, followed by cursing. Lex slapped on deodorant and dodged a grumbling blonde on his way out of the bathroom.
Lex dressed in sweats, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and running jacket. He laced his trainers and began stretching, using the bedpost as a support. Draco wandered out of the bathroom, stretching up on his toes, arms high about his head. Lex observed with blatant appreciation, earning a wink and a wiggle as Draco went into the walk-in closet. A minute later, he returned, dressed similarly to Lex, and took up the spot at the opposite bedpost.
Routine had them out the door, jogging up the street before the newspaper was delivered. They ran in silence in the early morning mist. Other runners were out in the gray light of dawn, nodding a greeting as they passed. It was cold outside, their breath visible and their feet kicking up slush.
The route was the same as it had been for months, an easy five-mile circuit. They cooled down on the steps to Lex’s flat, stretching their muscles before heading inside. Mrs. Rubenstein, Lex’s housekeeper, had arrived fifteen minutes earlier, like clockwork, and fresh breads, pastries, and hot coffee was on the dining room table, along with two bottled waters.
Lex sat at one end of the table with Draco to his right. They shared breakfast and the newspaper in silence. Half an hour after they sat down, Draco rose and left the room. He returned shortly, wearing the same clothes from the night before.
“I’m off,” he said, bending to press a quick kiss on Lex’s upturned lips. He slid an open portion of the newspaper closer to Lex and tapped one of the pictures. “Dickey Jerome is playing at the 100 Club on Friday. Do you think we could get tickets?”
“I’ll be sure to,” Lex said.
Draco smiled, rapped his knuckles on the table, and left without another word. Lex heard the front door open and close, and returned to his reading.
The day continued as normal. Lex dressed in full suit and tie and retreated to his in-home office to work. At lunch, he met and brokered a deal for LuthorCorp and had further meetings in The City. He picked up tickets at the 100 Club and returned home around seven. Changing into more comfortable clothes, he headed back into his office to kill time until Draco arrived.
Mrs. Rubenstein had put Lex’s mail on his desk. At the top of the short pile was an envelope with only his first name on it. Inside, on the odd paper that Draco favored, was a note in exceptionally neat penmanship.
Went on assignment.
See you when I return.
Lex felt disappointed, but not overly so. It wasn’t the first time one of them was gone on business; Lex had made several trips to Germany in the five months they’d been lovers.
Mentally shifting gears for the evening, Lex went downstairs to find out what Mrs. Rubenstein had left for dinner.
Lex hadn’t realized how quiet and lonely it was in his flat with Draco gone. Perhaps it was because it’d been at least a full month since either of them had been unavailable for more than a night that left him feeling at ends. John Watson said behaviorism was about prediction and control and humans were creatures of habit. Comfort and security were found in routine. While Lex and Draco didn’t live together, Draco spent the night nine times out of ten, and went running with Lex each of those mornings.
(“If your bloody alarm is going to wake me up at the arse-crack of dawn anyway, I may as well get up and go with you.”)
Lex tried to engross himself in the science program on television, but was having trouble. The show seemed boring without Draco sprawled beside him on the sofa, sock-clad feet propped on the low coffee table in the living room. Lex was unsettled. It wasn’t just tonight, either. Getting up and running the last four mornings had been a chore by himself. The second cup set out at the breakfast table stood as an empty reminder that he was alone. Though they barely spoke a dozen words to each other in the mornings, without Draco there, the silence had been deafening.
Lex shut off the television and dropped the remote on the sofa cushion beside him. He leaned his head on the backrest and looked up at the stippled ceiling. It was ridiculous, he thought, watching a spider make a web in the corner. He was lonely. The last time he’d felt like this was in the first few weeks following Clark’s wedding, nearly a year ago.
Lex started, jerking upright as he connected the dots. He stood abruptly, crossed to the wet bar in the corner, and poured a triple-finger of scotch. He slammed it down in a manner insulting to the scotch and poured another. His knuckles whitened with the tight hold on the glass.
Somehow, when he wasn’t looking, Draco’s presence had become as comfortable as Lex’s favorite cashmere sweater and equally as cared for.
Now, what was he going to do about it?
The door opened, and Draco stepped into a kiss. He cupped the curve of Lex’s skull, walked him backwards, and kicked the door shut. Lex’s hands gripped the front of Draco’s winter coat, as they snogged passionately in the entry hall.
Draco turned them, bumped into the hall table, and pressed Lex blindly against it. He pushed Lex’s hands away and shoved the unbuttoned coat off, never parting from Lex’s mouth. He bit hungrily at the lips beneath his, mouth sliding roughly against Lex’s. His thigh wedged between Lex’s legs, bringing them closer. Splaying his hands on Lex’s lower back, Draco rocked against him, eliciting a pleased sound. Lex clutched Draco’s hair, holding him captive as the ravaging kiss went on.
Draco came in his y-fronts with little warning, making a choking noise in the back of his throat. Rutting in the hallway like a teenager was déclassé, but Lex was bucking against his thigh, breath hitching and mouth slack beneath Draco’s as he came, too, and no one was watching them anyway.
Draco rested his forehead against Lex’s, eyes closed, listening to Lex’s heavy panting. “Six days without sex is too many.”
Lex chuckled, still trying to catch his breath. “I agree.”
Draco dropped a kiss on Lex’s lips, stepped back, and picked up his coat. He tossed it on the banister and the two headed upstairs.
Lex’s two-story flat was in a posh neighborhood in Chelsea. Tastefully decorated in pale blues and beiges, a living room, dining room, and kitchen made up the first floor, with three bedrooms and two baths taking up the second floor. One of the bedrooms had been converted into an office, though it rarely was used when Draco was around.
“When did you get back?” Lex asked, as they entered the master bedroom.
“Just now.” Draco toed off his loafers near the tall chest of drawers and unfastened his trousers.
Lex gave him a sidelong glance. “You came directly here?”
Draco frowned. “Why? Am I interrupting something?”
“Not at all.” Lex stripped out of his trousers and y-fronts, and retreated to the bathroom.
Draco was confused and a bit hurt. Contrary to the evidence staining both their trousers, Lex didn’t sound happy to see him. He had missed Lex more than he’d admit and it had been a long, lonely week. A concealing charm hid the circles under his eyes from sleeping poorly the past six nights.
Draco went into the walk-in closet, pulled his wand from his bespelled, expanded left pocket, and cast a cleaning charm on his soiled garments. “Abstergeo.”
He set his wand on the shelf holding his running clothes, removed his trousers and y-fronts, and slipped on a pair of track bottoms. His wand returned to his pocket – all his running clothes had been previously charmed with an expanded pocket – and he left the closet.
He bypassed Lex on the way to the bathroom, looking appreciatively at his half-naked lover dressed only in a dark v-neck cashmere jumper. Draco washed quickly and examined himself in the mirror. His reflection didn’t comment on how tired he appeared even with the concealing charm, which was a bonus for the Muggle object.
Lex had left the bedroom already and Draco found him downstairs in the living room. He stood at the wet bar, pouring two drinks, still in the dark jumper and a new pair of trousers. Draco accepted the glass of bourbon handed to him and took a seat with an audible, pleased sigh. “It’s good to be home.”
“Robert Frost once said, ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there/They have to take you in.’”
The glass halted partway to Draco’s mouth. He lowered it slowly and looked over at Lex. “Do you not want me here?”
“I want you to consider this your real home.” Lex faced Draco, glanced down at the drink in his hand, then at Draco again. “Move in with me.”
Draco was gobsmacked. There was also a fluttery feeling in his belly. He hoped he wasn’t coming down with a case of Butterflies, because he had no potions and getting ill would ruin what might be the best night ever.
Lex took Draco’s stunned silence wrongly as a negative and turned away. “I understand if you don’t—”
“Yes!” Draco blurted embarrassingly loud. He set his drink on the coffee table and leapt to his feet. He stopped midway to Lex, his features twisting in painful realization. “Wait. No. Bollocks. Don’t move. I’ll return shortly.”
Draco changed course, heading towards the rear of the flat, into the empty kitchen. He made certain Lex hadn’t followed and Apparated with a pop to his own flat in Rowena Glen. The Malfoy family portraits watched down their noses, making disparaging noises at his state of dress, as Draco rushed upstairs of his cramped one-bedroom home, barely dodging his house elf, Twinkles.
“Master Malfoy is home. Master Malfoy is wanting supper?” Twinkles said, following Draco.
“No, I’m only here for this.” Draco grabbed the book he’d purchased a month ago from the shelf on the wall and went back downstairs, to where the wards ended. He Apparated with another pop, reappearing in Lex’s kitchen.
Lex still stood at the wet bar, with his elbows on the surface, rolling the nearly empty glass between his palms. He straightened as Draco came into the living room, lines of strain at the corners of his mouth.
“Here,” Draco said, handing him the softcover book.
Lex set aside his drink, accepted the book, and read the title with upraised brows. “‘A Muggle Guide to Wizardry.’”
“Yes. You are a Muggle,” Draco said, sliding his hands into his pockets. He fingered the handle of his wand with sudden nervousness. “And I am a Wizard.”
Lex studied him intently for a moment, and then walked over to the sofa, sat down, and opened the book. Silence prevailed, making Draco uncomfortable. He occupied himself by fixing Lex another drink, as he waited for Lex to say something. He brought the drink over, set it beside his unsipped one on the coffee table, and perched on the edge of the sofa beside Lex.
Most of Draco’s job as an Unspeakable consisted long periods of time waiting and he’d learned patience because of it. He’d also been in spotty situations before, but this was a corker. He really liked Lex, so much that he enjoyed Muggle activities when done with his lover.
“Do you have a wand?” Lex asked suddenly, causing Draco to jump, startled. Lex’s lips twitched as he looked up from the book.
“Yes. Of course.” Draco shifted and pulled his wand from his bespelled pocket. He balanced it on both palms in presentation. “Rosewood, twelve-inches, rigid, with a single unicorn mane hair.”
Lex seemed rather unimpressed as he glanced at it. “The book says for you to demonstrate wizardry, something difficult for me to explain away.”
“All right. I’ll transfigure my clothes into what I normally wear to work.” Draco aimed his wand at himself, pictured clearly his black robes with the silver clasps down the front, and cast the transfiguration. “Transformare.”
Lex reacted finally, his blue eyes widening and lips parting in wonder. One side of Draco’s mouth tilted up. “Do you believe me now?”
“I’ve seen many unbelievable things when I lived in Smallville years ago, so for some reason, this isn’t inconceivable,” Lex said slowly. “I have no reason to distrust you.”
Draco was relieved. He wouldn’t have to obliviate Lex now. He put his wand on the table. “Does your offer still stand?”
“I would never have asked if there was a chance I’d rescind it.”
“Then, your answer is yes.”
Lex appeared briefly off-center, then a smile curved the corner of his lips. “Good,” he said. He set the book aside, shifted closer to Draco, put his hand on Draco’s leg and rubbed in a sensual circle. “So tell me, what does the sensible Wizard wear under his robes?”
Draco smiled seductively, lay back on the sofa, and raised his arms above his head. “Why don’t you look and find out?”
“What?” Harry started stupidly at him from behind a desk at the Ministry. Around them, other Aurors came and went about their business, memo planes flying above their heads.
“Do you want my house elf?” Draco repeated. He perched on the edge of the desk and picked up a charmed figurine of a Hungarian Horntail dragon. “I’d give Twinkles clothes flat out, but she’s been with me exclusively for the past decade and I don’t want her telling tales in a household I don’t trust.”
“Why are you getting rid of her?”
“Lex already has the Muggle equivalent to a house elf,” Draco said. He smirked self-amusedly. “Though Twinkles is taller than Mrs. Rubenstein.”
“Malfoy, you’re not making sense.” Harry took the figurine from him and set it on the opposite end of the desk. “What does Lex have to do with Twinkles?”
“Potter, try and keep up,” Draco said. “I don’t need a house elf because Lex has a housekeeper already. Once my belongings in Rowena Glen are boxed for the move, I won’t need Twinkles any more.”
Draco looked ceilingward with an exasperated sigh. “Have you been paying any attention? Yes, I’m moving. To Chelsea. To live with Lex.”
Harry goggled. “You’re moving in with the Muggle?!”
Nearby Aurors stopped suddenly and stared at Draco. Draco glared at them. “Piss off.”
When they left whispering with each other, Draco aimed his glare at Harry. “Thanks a lot. Now everyone will know my business.”
Harry pulled out his wand and waved it at Draco. “Febris deprehenere.”
“I’m not ill.” Draco shoved the white glowing tip of Harry’s wand aside.
“Then, you’ve gone spare,” Harry said. He tucked away his wand and grabbed a quill and piece of parchment. “I’ll owl St. Mungo’s and see if they have an empty bed for you.”
“Will you quit.” Draco snatched the quill and bopped Harry on the head with it. “Lex and I’ve been lovers since June. This shouldn’t come as such a shock.”
“Living with someone is way different than casual sex,” Harry said. He frowned. “Does he know you’re a Wizard?”
Harry slumped back in his chair. “Bugger me, this is serious, innit?”
“Serious enough,” Draco admitted, twirling the quill between his fingers. “Besides, his home is posh. My flat in Rowena Glen would fit in one room.”
“I never understood why you lived there. The Ministry didn’t take your money, and I thought Malfoy Manor had been returned to you,” Harry said.
“It was, but I’d rather not run into memories of my parents around every corner. Their portraits are well enough,” Draco said. “I don’t need all that space, either, it just being me and one house elf – which you still didn’t agree you’d take on.”
“You sure you don’t want to keep her?” Harry said. “This Mrs. Rubenstein knows how to clean robes, accept mail owls, and answer firecalls, I gather?”
“Er… hmm.” Draco frowned slightly. “I didn’t think about that. Perhaps I should hold onto Twinkles and instruct her to stay invisible while Lex’s housekeeper is around.”
“Good idea,” Harry said, taking his quill back from Draco. “Hermione would kill me anyway if I got a house elf.”