Angus was there the next day, mercifully not in the company of any of his sisters. Draco would have liked to glare at him, but Potter was watching.
“Angus has been keeping me company all morning,” explained Potter, ruffling the urchin’s hair. Angus looked greatly affronted at such treatment, but he kept his peace.
“How sweet,” said Draco. “Children are such a balm to the soul, are they not?” Angus made a sceptical face, and Potter laughed.
“I wouldn’t go that far. Babies can get a bit tiring. But Angus could pass for someone ten years older.”
“If it was dark, anyway,” muttered Draco. He was surprised to hear Potter laugh again.
“I drew a picture,” offered Angus. “You’re in it.”
“Show it to Michel,” urged Potter, before Draco could decline the pleasure. Gritting his teeth, he took the neatly cut piece of parchment from Angus’ paw and studied it.
The drawing was quite skilfully executed. All the bodies were in proportion, if stiff-looking. They were far from being stick men with balloon heads, such as Draco had secretly hoped for. There were even small labels for ease of identification.
A man in black robes, with yellow serpents for hair, was 'Daddy.' Granger was easy to recognize, even without her printed name, for small children were crawling all over her figure. Potter was lying in a bed which, due to the lack of foreshortening, was shown in the round. He had black hair and black shoes but not much else. His lightning scar was down the length of his body instead of on his forehead, presumably because its pictorial equivalent was so small as to prevent it being seen at all.
'Ginny' was on one side of the bed, her hair coiled around her feet. Draco was pretty certain it did not reach such Rapunzelesque proportions in reality. That, and her hand -- on which she was wearing a ring big enough to double as a bracelet -- were her most distinguishing features. The hand was resting beside Potter’s head.
Draco spotted Michel's name on the other side of the bed. He dragged his eyes up, eager to see what rendition Angus had made of him. Undeniable vanity drove him on, for he knew Stefano was stunning.
Angus had made much of Draco’s hands, not being very proficient with positioning of the body or describing the fall of cloth. One hand was on the other side of Potter’s head, which was an odd place. Draco supposed it was for balance or something.
His other hand gripped a bottle, and his hair was yellow.
The bottom dropped out of Draco’s stomach and he looked up. Angus was smirking.
“You got my hair wrong,” he said.
“And my scar, don’t forget,” said Potter, pulling up his pyjama shirt. “See? No scar, Angus.”
Angus regarded him with a steady gaze. Draco was more interested in the child, although he did notice that there were creamy hollows beside both of Potter’s hips and coils of dark hair around his bellybutton, standing out like scrub on a bare mountain.
“Yeah, and my hair’s black.” Draco thrust the parchment back at Angus.
“Not really, it’s quite a dark brown,” observed Potter, pursing his lips. “And Dudley -- my cousin, that is -- used to paint people with orange and purple skin. I think it’s a kid thing.”
Angus waited until Potter wasn’t looking and shook his head at Draco. He tucked the parchment into his pocket.
“So,” said Draco, “every artist has a motivation, Angus. What’s yours?”
“I draw what I see,” replied Angus placidly. He was absorbed in tidying away his colouring pencils, stacking them in rainbow order in an old tin. This completed, he took up the bits of toys on the floor by tugging on the end of a string. For a moment they took on an odd, almost familiar shape, then Angus tugged the string and it fell apart. In a moment, he set a top to spinning as if there were nothing else in the world worth doing.
Potter shifted in the bed, clearing his throat. Draco obediently transferred his attention. Potter was still in pyjamas, although they were now a dark green silk. They suited him, Draco supposed. At least, they made his skin distinguishable from his clothing.
“Still no sign of you being granted grounds privileges?” asked Draco abruptly. Silk had always been his favourite material, although of late he hadn’t been able to afford it. Seeing it on Potter’s back was somehow a travesty. Potter paid his clothing scarcely any attention. He gave off the impression of someone who regarded clothing as a place to put pockets in, as he always had done.
“There are no grounds,” observed Potter, with a faint smile. He rapped his knuckles on the windowpane. “It’s all an illusion. What you’d really see out there is rows and rows of house roofs, I think.”
“You must be going stir-crazy in here.” Draco leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs in such a way that his robes fell beautifully. “All this activity going on around you, for you, and you don’t know why and you can’t do anything.”
“Thanks, I needed that reminder.” Potter ruffled two hands through his hair, a styling it truly did not require. It fell all over his forehead when he released it -- wispy strands dancing on the faint air currents -- but Potter paid it no mind.
“You could do with some clothes,” Draco told him. This provoked Potter to colour and look down at his pyjamas, as if afraid they had disappeared from his body. “It’s only encouraging you to be ill if you’re dressed in bedclothes all of the time.”
“I haven’t got anything but these, and they were bought for me,” said Potter. Draco gave silent thanks that one person, at least, knew what looked good on Potter, as it for sure wasn’t him. “All my other robes are too small.”
“Well,” said Draco, slowly, as an idea formed in his mind, “I’ll get some made up for you.”
“I couldn’t ask you to do that,” protested Potter. He worried at his buttons as though Draco were going to forcibly extract them from him.
“Potter, you’re doing me the favour. I always feel like I’m interrupting your convalescence. Which I am, considering how you fainted yesterday.”
“I did not faint!” Potter narrowed his eyes. “I overreached my strength. I’m not sick.”
“You’re well enough to fly that broom, then?” Draco made eyes at the Firebolt in the corner. “Make up your mind.”
“Fine.” Potter sounded sulky. “I’ll give you some money for robes.” Draco smirked. Potter would soon believe it was his own idea. “But I don’t know what my measurements are.”
Draco shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. Madame Malkin’s will have them.”
“How do you know?” asked Potter. Draco backtracked.
“Isn’t that where most British wizards go? I, er, sometimes chip in on the fashion supplement of the newspaper --”
“The Daily Prophet has a fashion supplement? They’ve kept that under their hats.”
“It does in Spain,” said Draco, taking charge of the conversation. “So there you go. I’ll pay her a visit this evening.”
“Madame Malkin was killed by Death Eaters,” stated Potter. “Her niece runs the place now. They may well have saved some records from the fire in 1997, but even if they did, I’ve grown about five inches since then.”
“Ah, that does present rather a problem.” Draco tugged at his lower lip.
“You could measure him,” Angus piped up, from the floor.
“I could what?” Draco's voice was low with danger. Angus, as the preferred prey, remained obstinately unperturbed.
“Measure him,” repeated Angus. “Conjure a measuring tape and take his measurements. Mum does it for us.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” agreed Potter. He sounded -- for someone who’d been against the idea only five minutes before -- suspiciously eager. “Isn’t it shoulders, waist and hips?”
“And inner leg,” admitted Draco, after a reluctant pause. “They use the, ah, groin area as the drop for the skirt part.”
“Go on, then,” encouraged Angus. “It was your idea, after all.”
Draco glared at him, because he’d just been thinking that and wondering how he could get out of it without losing face. There were some things that he would never do on any account. Touching Harry Potter wasn’t one of them, but it still wasn’t something he could sally into without a qualm.
“You’ll need to stand up,” he told Potter at last. “If you’re sure you won’t faint.”
“I didn’t faint,” said Potter in an irritable tone of voice. “I told you already -- God, you’re a pain in the neck at times, Michel.”
“Oh, you haven’t known me very long, Potter. Wait till you have, then you’ll know that I’m a pain in the neck at all times.”
“I could chuck you out for this, you know.”
“You always were power-mad,” muttered Draco, and then louder, “You’re getting a bit of a God complex, Potter. You’d want to watch that.” He turned away to conjure a tape measure and encountered Angus’ wide, frog-like grin. Draco pulled a hideous face at him and started unwinding the tape measure.
“How do you want it?” asked Potter, standing beside the bed with arms akimbo. He didn’t look like he was about to collapse, at least.
“Hard and fast, usually,” said Draco without turning a hair. It was just too easy to make a seventeen-year-old blush. “But for you, stay still.” He took a breath and tugged Potter’s arm upwards by his sleeve. “In fact, that’s something I say quite a lot, too.” He grinned into Potter’s ear, delighted to see that it too was turning red.
“You might want this,” interrupted Angus. He held out Draco’s notebook and quill. Draco made another face at him over Potter’s shoulder and reached under his arm for the articles.
And felt Potter tremble, just the tiniest bit.
Draco drew back under the excuse of putting the quill and paper on the bed, his head spinning. Even the back of Potter’s neck -- the place where his hair was clipped close to his skin, running short and bristly from the shells of his pink-tinged ears to the hollow nape of his neck -- was flushed. Potter’s arms were still in the air and he was flexing his fingers compulsively.
“What’s keeping you?” he demanded. As soon as Draco heard the telltale quiver in his voice, he knew.
Potter wanted him.
Feeling lightheaded, Draco mumbled an inane reply and stepped forward to run the measuring tape from Potter’s shoulder blade to his wrist. The tips of Draco’s fingers pressed against Potter’s hot skin and his hip dug into Potter’s. When Draco looped the tape around Potter’s chest, he had to stop himself from pulling Potter back into the curve of his own body, which unfortunately made no distinction between the eligible males and the Potters of the world.
By the time Draco came to Potter’s hips, his breathing was audible. Draco spun him around so that he was facing the bed, but Angus was observing them with altogether too deep an interest.
“Kid!” barked Draco, horrified to discover that his voice was hoarse. “Get Potter some water, will you?”
“What? Why?” protested Angus, but a simple “Please” from Potter sent him scuttling off to the door.
Potter begged very well, Draco reflected hazily. Pity he couldn’t exploit it. Because there was no way he was ever laying a finger on Potter.
Aside from the ones touching him now, that was.
Draco dropped to his knees, swallowing quickly. With a light touch on Potter’s left inner thigh Draco got him to brace his legs wider. Making himself a promise to ignore any direct consequences of his actions, he held the tip of his measuring tape at Potter’s bare ankle and drew it upwards. Through the thin fabric, Potter burned like a brand.
Draco whipped around as soon as he was done, scribbling measurements like a fiend and with a great deal more diligence than he had ever taken notes in school. He heard the rustle of sheets.
Potter had his knees tucked tight against his chest when Draco next viewed him. Draco’s brain had slumped into the consistency of neuron porridge; the only clear thought he could entertain was one of immediate escape. It would be extremely dangerous to allow Potter time to put words around what had just happened. Speaking only made it real.
Of course, Potter didn’t realise who it was he was getting weak-kneed over, which only made it triply dangerous. If Potter ever found out, the retribution would be swift and terrible.
Angus clattered through the door bearing a pitcher of water and a glass, just as Potter opened his mouth. Draco seized the opportunity.
“There’s some water,” he almost gasped. “I’ll go off to Malkell’s now. I mean, Malkin’s. I’ll go to Malkin’s. For some mobes. Robes! I’ll get robes! For you.”
Potter mumbled something in reply, but it was so indistinct that it was as unintelligible as Draco’s latest speech. While Angus distracted Potter with his careful water-boy service, Draco slipped away.
He paused near the door, defenceless against the temptation to look back. Potter was ruffling Angus’ hair again, but this time the boy didn’t look offended. Potter’s pyjamas hung on him like rags on a scarecrow and his hair was crazier than ever, due to the rough treatment he’d given it during Draco’s visit. The sun was blazing in the windows, picking out indiscriminate golden highlights in Potter and Angus’ hair and skin and folds of clothing. The beachcombing light favoured Potter’s glasses, which beamed out sparks like fireworks.
Draco blinked away the aftershocks and the rogue thought that questioned if he could seduce Potter, should the chance arise.
He turned around and, with Potter’s halo still blazing in his mind, bumped straight into Rosaline.
She was alternately embarrassed and keen and Draco wished she wouldn't cling to him so, even when she wasn’t touching him. “Hi, Michel,” she whispered, acting coy despite the way her breasts were billowing in his direction.
“Rosaline,” he acknowledged her.
“You’re still coming to see Harry Potter?” she breathed. Hardly you, thought Draco. “You’re so sweet. The poor boy.” She heaved a lugubrious sigh and Draco wondered how old she thought he was, to be calling Potter a 'boy.'
“Why d’you say that?” he asked, although he’d already made up his mind that she was a bleeding heart and probably rescued baby birds and drowning kittens and thought everyone who wasn’t upper middle class merited her eternal pity.
“Oh, well, you know.” She dropped her eyes. From an Auror, that was as good as a huge sign saying 'Mystery: do not question.' Draco had never had had much respect for warnings, as they too often warned him not to do something he wanted to do.
“No, I don’t, but I think you do,” he wheedled. He strummed her elbow to draw her closer and thanked his private deity that he’d said a Freshening Charm on his breath before coming to see Potter. “You can tell me, Rosaline, you know.”
“You didn’t firecall me,” she said, in a voice that was, for her, accusing. In anyone else it would have been toneless to the point of catatonia.
Draco looked at the floor, then dragged his gaze up, biting his lip as he did so. “I’m a bit shy when it comes to that,” he said, doing his best attempt at 'confiding.' Judging by her expression, it was an award-winning, five-star attempt. “But I was sure I’d bump into you here, you know …”
“Really?” Her shapeless face lit up. How someone this gullible had made it past the Auror guidelines was a mystery to Draco.
“Really,” he lied. “And I know you finish your shift soon, so I was hoping I could take you for something to eat.”
His eyes said more and he clutched the Butterbeer bottle of Polyjuice like a security blanket. He was taking more and more each day and stocking up with speed, but it was too important to do otherwise. There was enough to get him through the evening and, for his sanity, the darkness as well.
He’d need to pull another night in Blackweather to get Rosaline’s taint off his skin.