The Dark Arts
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Mystery Slash
Multiple Eras
Order of the Phoenix
Published: 11/04/2003
Updated: 01/06/2004
Words: 40,796
Chapters: 17
Hits: 231,087

The Goodness of Their Hearts


Story Summary:
Malfoy Security Inc. is hired when Chudley Cannons' star Seeker Harry Potter starts receiving disturbing letters.

Chapter 06

Chapter Summary:
Malfoy Security Inc. is hired when Chudley Cannons' star Seeker Harry Potter receives threatening letters.
Author's Note:
I would like to thank those who have joined the original crew of faithful supplies of feedback (who have been commenting on every chapter, which I really appreciate.) The recent recruits include Peeves, GentlelRose, obolshoi, freya, Siobhan, bluevanilla, dnwq and Lady_DeathAngel. I love the encouragement. And Bailey James gave me the incredible compliment of comparing the quality of my work to that of Cassie Claire and Rhysenn.

There was no explosion. In the minute it had taken Draco to catch up with Potter, the Seeker had calmed down. Or lost interest. He didn't say anything when Draco jogged up to his side, but Potter rarely did say anything, except to answer a question or let him know where he was going. Draco didn't feel like he was being frozen out or punished with silence, only that, at the moment, he didn't matter to Potter.

As he had never mattered.

The corner of his mouth quirked up in a tiny smile as he acknowledged the temptation to trip Potter, just to get a reaction.

Potter went straight through the locker room to the showers. Draco watched, because Potter didn't bother telling him not to. "I thought you were supposed to see that physiotherapist fellow." He leaned against the wall just inside the entrance of the communal shower, admiring the sudsy water that flowed over the muscles lining Potter's frame. Nice arse. Prick of an encouraging size.

"Don't feel like it."

"And the Boy Who Lived doesn't do anything he doesn't feel like doing?"

"Not anymore." Potter turned off the water and shook his hair out of his eyes. "Enjoying the show?"

"Too early to tell. I haven't seen you dance yet."

Potter frowned as he approached him, and Draco forced himself to look him in the eye, though he didn't know why he bothered. It wasn't as though there was anything professional about the encounter. "You've seen me dance at the club."

Yeah, and quite the entertaining sight it had been, too. "There'd been no brass poles there."

Potter seemed to catch the reference, but was apparently still puzzled. "Do male strippers use brass poles?"

Draco rolled his eyes. "It was a joke, Potter."

"Yeah, I got that." And Potter passed him to go to his locker.

"Apparently not a very good one," Draco muttered.

Potter pulled on a pair of charcoal trousers. "It's probably not what you're thinking, you know. It was probably a mistake."

"What was?" Potter had a perfectly flat stomach.

"Part of our training, during practise, is to have brooms that stop suddenly, to help prepare for collisions or even sabotaged brooms. Usually they're careful to keep practise brooms separated from the game sticks, and even then they're not always charmed to stop, but mistakes happen." Potter shrugged into a tight knit, and tight, low collared grey sweater.

Draco mourned the loss of bare skin. "The timing of the mistake is a little too convenient for my taste."

Potter grunted, shoving his feet into his trainers. Styling his hair consisted of slicking it back from his face with his hands. And then he was walking, and Draco was once more put to the indignity of scampering after him.

The Seeker did not head to the stands, or the more exclusive boxes, but to an exit. "Don't you want to watch the rest of the match?"


"If you're not in it, it's not worth bothering about, is that it?"

That garnered no response.

"Doesn't your coach like to dissect the game afterwards, tell you where you screwed up?"

"Feel free to stay for the rest of it if you want, Malfoy."

"No thanks. I've outgrown Quidditch."

It turned out that Potter's ultimate destination was a pub that Draco hadn't been dragged to before. The rather dingy entrance was almost hidden by the flashier fronts of the surrounding restaurants. Inside, the wooden floors creaked under their feet and the unending bar snaked through a labyrinth of small rooms. It was not shiny and stylish. It was not, in fact, dank or dirty. It was comfortable, and it felt like a secret of the good kind.

"Hey there, Harry," said the bartender, who was in the process of pulling a Guinness. "What'll it be?"

"Pint of Smithwick's."

"And your friend?"

"Orange juice," said Draco.

"Oh, come on, Malfoy. Live a little."

"Orange juice," Draco insisted.

Potter headed for a small table by the front window. Draco grabbed his elbow and steered him in the opposite direction towards a table by the wall, well away from any door, window or fireplace. Potter gave him a look but acquiesced without complaint.

"So tell us all about it, then," Potter said as they settled into their chairs.


"Why the wealthy Draco Malfoy is bothering to work. Surely you find it beneath you."

"What is that expression? Money doesn't grow on trees?"

"But I'm sure it breeds in Malfoy coffers."

"Which belong to my father." Draco spoke lightly through the flare of annoyance. "Who is in Azkaban with his assets inconveniently frozen."

"Oh." Potter frowned as thought he had forgotten. Forgotten what? That Lucius was still incarcerated? Or still alive? "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Because if Potter tried to claim he was sorry Lucius was in Azkaban, Draco would have to clock him after calling him a liar.

"I don't know. It just seems the thing to say. So how did you get the funds to start your enterprise?"

"Trust fund. With Severus as the trustee. Kicked in when I was twenty-one. There wasn't anything I could do about that."

The bartender arrived with their drinks, and once he'd left Potter asked, "How did you get into this sort of business?"

"Too noble for a Slytherin, Potter?" Draco asked dryly.

Potter shrugged.

"Breaking into each other's stuff was a fact of life in Slytherin." Draco sipped at the juice and longed for a shot of vodka. "If you can't protect what you have, you don't deserve to keep it. IF you can break in and take something without getting caught and without anyone figuring out who did it, then it's meant to be yours. Pilfering was a treasured talent, warding an essential skill, and I was a master at both of them."

"Ah, it's all coming back to me. Your excessive humility."

"Blaise started paying me to ward his stuff from fifth year. He was hopeless at it."

"Weren't Crabbe and Goyle hopeless at it?"

Pretty much. Vince and Greg hadn't been nearly as stupid as so many had liked to think, but their magical talent, like their intelligence, had been strictly average. "If either of them suspected that someone had been into their stuff, they didn't bother trying to find out who. They just grabbed the closest unhappy bystander and beat the snot out of them, as an example. That was effective, too."

Potter snickered.

"By seventh year I had a nice little stable of customers within Slytherin, paying me to ward their trunks and what all. After Hogwarts I had to work" and he had no intention of telling Potter where "and my employers would give me a little extra for warding their business and personal property. And it all grew from there." Draco noticed Potter had drained most of his pint already.

One thing Draco had recognized in himself was poor impulse control. He had an urge, he followed it. That was why so many of his schemes at Hogwarts, poorly planned in the first place, had always blown up in his face so spectacularly. That was why he could have never lasted as a Death Eater.

He'd worked on it. Learned to get a handle on it. But sometimes .... "Beer is so plebeian, Potter."

Potter rolled his eyes.

"Hey there!" Draco called to the bartender. "Bring two fingers of fifteen year old Dalwhinnie with his next pint."

"Dal - what?"


"I don't like scotch."

"You'll like this scotch. It's not too harsh or peaty. Wait. I have a better idea." Draco went to the bar himself and returned with a tray of six glasses, each containing a different scotch, as well as another pint of Smithwick's.

Potter eyed the tray with suspicion. "What are you up to, Malfoy?"

"If I'm going to spend the next however long in your orbit, then you're going to acquire some class. Especially as you can't be bothered to try shortening my incarceration by providing any co-operation."

"I'm co-operating. I'm letting you crash in my flat, aren't I? I'm letting you tag along everywhere I go."

Draco felt his left eye twitch. Letting him tag along. "Some things never change, Potter." He picked up a glass. "Try this one."

Potter took a careful sip. And grimaced. "That's vile."

"You have no taste, Potter."

Potter shot the rest of the glass back. In some ways, he was so predictable. His cheeks flushed a little.

"Try this one," Draco handed him another glass. "So what is all this shit, Potter? You really think because you avoided Voldemort for so many years no one can touch you?"

Potter looked at him, his expression serious and his eyes slightly unfocused. "How's your orange juice?"

Draco looked down at it, puzzled. "Fine."

"Did you check it for poison before you tasted it?"

"Of course not."

"So how do you know it's not poisoned?"

"Of course it's not poisoned."

"How do you know?"

"Why would the bartender want to poison me?"

"Because he doesn't like the colour of your eyes."

"There's nothing wrong with my eyes." There was nothing freakish about them.

"No, they're very pretty eyes. But he could easily have poisoned you, if he felt like it. Or there could be, I don't know, a herd of football hooligans lurking in the toilet who'd love to bend a lovely lad like you around a lamp poll. A woman walking down the street might have a brick in her purse and decide to crack your skull open with it. Some construction worker might - "

"Alright, alright. I get the point." Anyone might be a threat, if they choose to be, and one couldn't ward against everything. It was impossible and the attempt would drive a person crazy. "Try this one." Potter didn't even taste that one, the peasant. "But you know that you're facing a particular threat right now."

"I'm not going to start watching every single person I work with, Dra - Malfoy. I can't." Potter placed the emptied glass on the table and slid it back and forth between his hands. "It's not one of my team-mates. They're all normal."

"What's normal?"

"They'd have no problem speaking to me if they had a ... thing for me."

"Just because they get to see you every day doesn't mean they're suddenly going to have the confidence to proposition you." Though Draco had a hard time accepting that himself. It didn't fit. "Maybe they find you intimidating."

Potter laughed.

"You'll like this one better," Draco said, handing him the fourth glass. "It's lighter and smoother."

Potter really had no head for scotch. Or alcohol at all, really. Draco realized he had never seen him drink much in all his socializing. And he definitely had no tolerance for hard liquor.

"So," Draco said as Potter dropped the glass back on the table. "Where are Granger and Weasley? Or is it Weasley and Weasley?"

Potter blinked. "Her-mi-on-ee wouldn't change her name if she got married," he said thickly. Then he laughed, though it was more of a giggle. "Hermione and Ron? You think they'd get married?"

It wasn't that ridiculous. "They seemed to be joined at the hip at school."

"Crikey, Malfoy! They were kids at school! You think we all froze at Hogwarts or what? You changed. Why wouldn't the rest of us?"

Draco didn't know why he felt that pathetic little glow at the notion that Potter had recognized he'd changed. Really, what did he care what Potter thought of him? The prat had had no taste at all. He'd like everyone.

Except him, of course.

Potter seemed to be watching him closely. As closely as he could with scotch dilating his pupils. He reached out with a careful, slow hand, placing the tip of his index finger on Draco's forehead, right between his eyebrows.

Draco let him, watching the finger until crossing his eyes hurt. "What the hell are you doing?"

"You're too serious, Draco," Potter told him. "You always were. At school the only time I saw you laugh, you were laughing at someone. Now you don't even do that much. I'm right here, Malfoy. You can laugh at me."

"Oh, I do." He took Potter's wrist and pulled the Seeker's hand from his face. "I just do it on the inside. It's more professional."

"Life's too short to be professional." Without any prompting, Potter took up the fifth scotch sample and shot it back. He grimaced and downed a quarter of his pint. "Do you know how many times I was supposed to be killed, Draco?"

"Three or four, I guess." If one counted only the Voldemort-related activities.

"At least. So I should be dead, right?"

"Lots of people almost die."

"Lots of people actually do die."

"Everyone, in fact," Draco said dryly.

Potter did another one of those blinks, like he was performing a physical effort to rearrange information in his brain. "Oh yeah. Oh, yes. Of course. Everyone dies. That's why you can't take life too seriously. It could all end tomorrow."

"I suppose it could."

"And that's why you have to grab every opportunity."

"Every opportunity for what?"

"To feel good."

Oh. Bastard. That was a terrible thing to say. Under the circumstances. Because Potter knew how he felt, at least a part of it, and wasn't above teasing him about it. And now the very suggestion of feeling good had his mind going in a dozen different directions and his heart picking up pace to facilitate his blood flowing south and Potter was an unfeeling son of a bitch. "You're drunk."

"You should know. You got me drunk."

That hadn't been the plan. He'd just want to loosen him up a little, in order to find out why Potter was so apathetic about everything. And like all the plans he came up with at the spur of the moment, it had spun off in a bad direction. And he was a coward, too afraid to really push for answers.

Potter was reaching out again, towards his face, and Draco wasn't sure where he was reaching for. Draco grabbed his hand and ordered a coffee. He had the feeling he was letting a golden opportunity slide by. He didn't have the balls to do anything else.