It was always Joaquin, Harry reflected, with a sigh. All the other students seemed to be capable of managing even the more complex of defence spells on their own, without having to request Professor Potter's assistance. But Joaquin Haverson was another matter altogether. It was a miracle he could keep his wand straight half the time, Harry thought morosely, staring at Joaquin's raised and flailing arm.
With a sigh he rose from his desk and approached the luckless student. Joaquin flushed at his professor's advance, and pointed wordlessly into the midst of the cage on his desk.
Today's task had been simple they were dealing with woodland pixies. Tiny, wicked little creatures they might be, but it wasn't particulary hard to coerce them to do one's wizardly bidding. They were notorious for their love for shiny objects, and if a wizard or witch had one such object ( today, they were using tin-foil ) and could manage to keep it tantalisingly out of reach, the pixie would become transfixed. Joaquin, however, had managed to muddle things up, yet again.
Harry peered into the cage. Joaquin's pixie had rolled itself up in Joaquin's tin foil as if it were a cloak and stared boldly out between the bars, challenging Harry with its beady eyes.
"Didn't I say " Harry began.
"Sorry, sir. I don't know how it got away from me," Joaquin blushed, obviously repentant.
The pixie chittered defiantly, and hugged itself.
Harry sighed. Taking his wand, he stunned the creature with a word, and then pulled the tin-foil out between the bars. Joaquin turned an even brighter shade of red as Harry passed him the foil.
"Haverson," said Harry, dully, and then thought better of it. He'd learnt over time that chiding Joaquin for his mistakes only made him more prone to accident in the future. Sighing again, he walked back to his desk and in order to look busy started to ruffle through the papers which littered it. But his thoughts weren't on teaching today; indeed, when were they ever? In his mind, Harry was constructing a speech a speech he promised himself he'd tell Draco later.
Draco, listen. It's not working like this..
Look, I don't know if you've noticed, but..
I'm not happy, Draco..
Harry massaged his temples with his fingers, stifling a groan. It didn't matter what he wanted to say, it never came out the way he intended. And Draco would just get defensive, as he always did, and Harry would end up whimpering apologies to the closed door of Draco's study.
How did I become so pathetic? Harry wondered. I'm the Boy Who Lived, I've faced Voldemort and all other breeds of evil and yet I can't muster the courage to tell Draco I'm on the verge of leaving.
Not exactly leaving, Harry quickly ammended, chewing the end of his wand. Just taking a hiatus.
Thank goodness it was Friday today and this was the last lesson he had to teach. Harry had the weekend to spend with Draco so long as Draco wasn't planning to busy himself with work. Perhaps they might work out some sort of truce then. Draco always said that the only reason Harry became neurotic, as he called it, was because of the distance that separated them during the week.
Draco had even offered to get Harry a job at the Ministry of Magic, but the idea of working under Draco turned Harry's stomach. Having Draco order him around under the guise of adoration was enough to rankle Harry's sensibilities but to have Draco order him around at work, too? Harry was fairly sure he'd snap within a day, and turn everyone within a five mile radius into frogs.
The sound of the students figeting woke him from his introspective stupor. Glancing at the time, he realised he'd kept them in an extra ten minutes. They were staring at him some were cruelly smirking. Once again, dopey Professor Potter had zoned out mid-class.. Harry knew all too well what they thought of him. Originally he'd been offended the idealist in him imagined he'd always be a perfect tutor but after seven years in the establishment he'd become jaded; he no longer cared, so long as his salary remained constant.
"Dismissed," he muttered.
They scrabbled for their books and dashed out the door, en route for the dinner hall. When they were gone, Harry opened his desk drawer and thrust in his hand swiftly before the object inside could escape. For once, however, the tiny ball his fingers set about didn't offer much resistance. Curiously, Harry withdrew the snitch, frowning as he turned it over in his palms.
He'd never told Draco he'd found the snitch. Almost three years after their graduation he'd caught a glimpse of the glittering golden orb hovering just outside his window almost as if it was waiting for him. Without thinking he'd reached out and grabbed it from the air; it resisted a little, but finally acquiesced. Since then he'd always brought it everywhere with him, either shoving it into the bottom of his bag or keeping it safe in his locked desk. Fantasist as he was, he'd imagined that things would be better once he'd reclaimed Draco's gift but that, like all Harry's dreams, turned out to be wishful thinking.
Tossing the snitch between his hands, he noticed that one of its wings seemed to be hampering it's flight. A closer inspection told him it was broken funny, that, he'd never known you could break a snitch before.
He didn't have time to think about it, though. Stuffing the snitch into his pocket, he made for the door. Time to saddle up and return to the Manor, he supposed. It would be too much to expect Draco would be waiting for him with open arms Harry wasn't going to hold his breath on that account. He'd learnt quickly that Draco only showed affection when it suited his purposes to do so.
"Okay let's talk about damages here. How many Muggles witnessed the explosion? One? Five? Ten? One hundred?"
"We aren't sure if anyone "
"Well, Weasley, don't you think you should get onto it?" Draco hissed. "This is a crisis. We can't waste time shuffling around. I need numbers. And I need someone down there who's adept with memory spells right now. One of those little squits gets to the papers and I swear, it'll be our ruination. I thought I told you to take control of this I didn't expect you to come bothering me for the answers to this bloody problem."
"I have taken control of this," snapped Ron. "I'm simply reporting the issue as I believe you told me to. And what are you doing anyway, Draco? Let me guess: sitting on your arse in your damned study, giving orders?"
"No. As a matter of fact, I'm on location dealing with a nasty matter involving a witch, a broomstick, and Muggle telegraph poles," Draco lied. "Listen, when I'm finished with this mess, I'll be right over. How does that sound to you?"
Ron was mollified. "Okay," he muttered. "I'll speak to you when you get here."
"You do that."
Draco cut the telepathic link before Ron could think up any more protests. Sipping his claret, he reclined back into his bath his good mood completely vanished. Work was such an insufferable bore, and he wondered now why he'd ever considered joining the Ministry. Of course, Lucius had insisted Draco wrinkled his nose. A son in the Ministry was sure to deflect attention from his father's less than moral activities, Draco figured.
Downstairs he heard a door open. Harry, home early again. Draco closed his eyes and, leaving his glass on the side of the bath, submerged himself in the suds.
Draco grunted. "I'm here," he called. "But not for long. Got work."
The bathroom door opened, slowly, tentatively, and Harry stuck his head through the gap. He looked ruffled, dog-tired, really his dark hair was awry, and far too long. Draco made a mental note to find Harry a hairdresser as soon as possible. It didn't look good for him to be seen cavorting around with a man with less fashion sense than that mud-blood Granger.
"Work? Now? It's Friday night," Harry protested, unable to hide the disappointment in his voice. He leant heavily against the wall, exhausted.
"You know how it is," said Draco, making a disarming motion of his hand, and dripping suds onto the floor. "It never stops."
"Draco " Harry began, then looked away. His fingers pressed to his face for a moment, Draco thought Harry might actually cry. "I just thought we could have some time together, work a few things out."
"What needs working out?" Draco peeled himself from the bath and, immodestly naked, reached for a towel. If Harry was going to end up in tears, Draco didn't want to see it he'd rather divert the issue with the lazy promise of sex. He rolled the scruff of the towel inbetween his thighs, casual and sultry.
He'd lived with Harry long enough to know exactly how to take Harry's mind of more important issues. A little ass, a little coquettish wave of his hips, and Harry would come drooling to his knees. It never failed.
"Draco.. don't." Harry's voice was strangled, hapeless. Draco glanced up Harry was biting his lip, his fingers bunched into fists. Oh, what willpower, Draco thought, smugly. He stepped out of the back, bending from the waist to run the pale towel along his calves.
"I don't have to go right away, you know," he said. "We should have a little time for a reunion. If you could call it that."
"I'm not happy."
Draco yawned, prettily, showing very white teeth. "I'm not happy either, Harry," he said. "Here I am, all wet, and only a towel to dry me. I would have thought that someone special could to the honours for me. Apparently not."
"I'm serious," Harry said his voice pained.
Draco smiled. "So am I, Harry." He beckoned the man with the crook of his finger, the other hand resting on his hips. "Don't be stupid, Harry. Of course you're happy. And you'll be happier still making me happy. Isn't that right, Harry."
Harry struggled, gulped. "Y-yes."
"Good boy, Harry. Good boy."
It was all too easy, really.
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