- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Challenge Response
- Fix It
- Future Fic
- Time Travel
October 12, 2003
Draco sighed and looked up from the simmering cauldron. As much as he loved potion-making, there were times when the process left him bored out of his mind. He could probably brew Pepper-Up potion in his sleep. Unfortunately, not even a mastery apprenticeship with Master Silas Bedford in the Department of Mysteries allowed him to skip out on the monthly restocking of the basic potions provided to all Ministry employees. Draco added the powdered bicorn horn to the bubbling mixture and glanced at the other potion batches in the multiple cauldrons scattered around the lab, to monitor their color and consistency. All seemed to be progressing perfectly, so he started to make his way toward the small pewter cauldron sitting in the corner.
“Oi, Draco!” He turned toward the familiar voice at his door.
“Bryan,” he smiled at the dark haired wizard standing just outside the door. “What brings you to my little lab this afternoon?”
“Just making sure you’ll be joining us at the Leaky tonight,” grinned his colleague. “It’s the DMLE’s turn to pay for drinks, and we want to make sure our department takes full advantage of it.” The older man’s eyes lingered on Draco as he moved between the cauldrons in the crowded room. Draco absently registered Bryan Crawford’s tall frame leaning against the doorway along with the flash of interest in his blue eyes before realizing what the other man had said.
“The DMLE?” he queried, hiding his sudden nervousness behind a slight smirk. “Well, I sure wouldn’t want to miss having a drink on their tab.”
With a quick wave of his hand, Bryan proceeded down the corridor toward the other potion labs. Draco heaved yet another sigh at his departure. The DMLE meant Aurors, and Aurors meant Harry Potter. And for Draco, Potter meant heartache.
Draco first realized that he was in love with Harry Potter three years, four months, and seven days ago at his 20th birthday dinner. It had been an intimate affair, consisting of just Harry, Theo, Pansy, and his mother. Draco remembered mentally comparing that year’s quiet celebration with the extravagantly lavish ones he had growing up, and to his surprise, greatly preferred the modest dinner and chocolate cake his mother had made for him in their new flat to the indifferent formal festivities his father had arranged for him.
He had raised his glass to accept his birthday toast, his eyes wandering over to Harry as it had been doing all evening. He had done something different to his hair, Draco mused absentmindedly. It seemed a bit more subdued than its normal state. The realization hit him in the middle of deciding that he actually preferred the typical wildness of Harry’s hair. Merlin, I think I’m in love with Harry Potter. He had immediately shut down that particular line of thought and quickly covered up his shock at this sudden awareness by taking a large gulp of his wine.
The rest of the evening had been a bit of a blur. Draco must have said the right things at the right times because no one called him on it. But the entire time, he was trying to figure out how things had gotten to that point, how Harry Potter had gone from rival to beloved. His thoughts kept returning to the Death Eater trials, which began just days after his 18th birthday. All throughout the trials, he had been resigned to the foregone conclusion of being sent to Azkaban, and yet when the trials had concluded with only one Malfoy sentenced to Azkaban, Draco had been in shock. He had found his sudden release with only a year’s house arrest to be confounding and almost unbelievable. His mother had taken charge then, and quickly located a decent flat in a small muggle village outside of London. With new lodgings attained, she had subsequently closed up the manor and turned over the majority of the contents to the Ministry for war reparations.
Once established in their new flat, Narcissa’s first order of business had been to invite Harry Potter over for tea. Draco had protested vehemently upon learning of the invitation. His protestations died a quick death as Narcissa coldly reminded him that without Mr. Potter’s testimony, both of them would have joined his father in Azkaban. When Harry had arrived at their flat looking a bit apprehensively at his hosts, his mother’s steely glare kept Draco on his best behavior.
Over the years, tea with Harry had become a weekly affair that all parties looked forward to. The two young men had quickly realized that without other individuals influencing their attitudes and conduct, they actually managed to get along. And when Draco’s house arrest was over and he casually mentioned his desire to pursue his N.E.W.T.s, Harry had offered to help him with his revisions. Neither of them had returned to Hogwarts to resume their education, Harry because he hadn’t wanted all the attention that would have followed him, and Draco because… well, the same. Harry had offered up the revision guides that had been diligently collated by Granger last year for his own N.E.W.T.s, and Draco had grudgingly accepted. Between the guides and his study partner, he had managed to sit for and obtain seven N.E.W.T.s.
After Draco’s birthday realization, he had managed to hide his feelings for Harry rather successfully. It was the only way he could keep the other man in his life. Harry was happy in his relationship with Ginny Weasley, and on top of that, there was no way he would ever even consider being in a relationship with a former Death Eater. So Draco swallowed his feelings and settled for camaraderie. It had been working for the most part for the last three years, four months, and seven days, but there were days when the ache in his chest would almost overwhelm him, especially whenever they would unexpectedly run into each other.
Draco took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Now that he knew Harry would be there tonight, he would be prepared. As long as he watched what he drank and didn’t overindulge. Or sit too near Harry. Or have to watch him with his girlfriend. Right.
He turned back toward his research potion in the corner. Under Master Bedford’s tutelage, he had been trying to create an improved Mopsus potion, which gave the user seer-like power for a brief period of time. A small number of users found that they also gained the ability to manipulate objects telekinetically while the potion was in effect. Draco’s project was two-fold: to increase the length of time the potion was active, and to increase the possibility of gaining telekinesis while on the potion. He had managed to identify key ingredients to replace which would improve the chances of gaining telekinesis, as well as potentially increase the strength of the potion.
He added a dragon claw, two eyes of newt, and two drops of bouncing spider juice to the mortar next to the pewter cauldron, and began crushing the ingredients into a smooth paste. The Tempus charm above the cauldron chimed softly, notifying Draco that the potion finished its six hour simmer. He immediately added five measures of the smooth paste to the cauldron. Carefully counting, Draco stirred counterclockwise then clockwise before adding two measures of lacewing flies and five drops of dragon blood to the cauldron. He relaxed as he lowered the heat under the cauldron. Now all he had to do was let the potion brew for the next 18 hours, and he could begin testing his modified potion.
Draco turned his attention back to the remaining potions brewing in the room. There was no way he would be able to complete them all before he had to meet everyone at the Leaky Cauldron, so he set a stasis charm on all of them with a wave of his wand. The blond began to clean his instruments and put away ingredients. As he moved around the pewter cauldron with his hands full of unused ingredients, his robe caught on the handle. Draco felt the tug and turned just in time to see the cauldron tip toward him. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as he dropped the ingredients and reached forward in an attempt to stop the potion from spilling.
The light blue, slightly viscous liquid flowed onto the floor, covering his shoes and splashing up to cover most of his clothes. Draco froze in horror. He immediately initiated emergency spill procedures, locking the door to his lab before vanishing his soaked clothing. He stood in the pool of spilled potion, clad only in his pants, and tried to keep his composure.
Merlin, I’m going to need that drink.