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A Recipe for Happiness

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The robe Draco was wearing was dark and silky. As he leaned forward, the silk clung to his body, and when he leaned back, the robe gently slid, revealing a pale bare shoulder. A mischievous glow lit his grey eyes, full of need and lust, and the melodious sound of his voice became the constant, deafening pounding of …

Pots?” Harry groaned, pressing his face against the crumpled pillow.

His full bladder and respectable morning erection were informative of the current situation. With warm blankets wrapped around his body, surrounded by the bedroom darkness, Harry tossed and turned until he decided to use the pillows as a barrier for the noise coming from the kitchen.

Ignoring any contrary physical stimulus, he tried to fall back asleep. As he patted the other side of the bed, he realised it was empty, although still tepid.

The nightstand where his wand was lying was too far away to reach. Harry muttered, pressing the pillow against his ears. The noise made it impossible to close his eyes again.

*

Harry had seen a lot in his nearly twenty-five years as an Auror. Nothing, however, was comparable to this.

Draco Malfoy organizing a gala dinner.

Their kitchen had become a trench, crossed by agile house-elves engaged in the preparation of side dishes, creams for stuffing and various sauces that were bubbling inside pots as high as cauldrons.

“Good … morning, I think?” Harry muttered, standing in his underwear.

Draco had already put on his black three-piece suit with a golden pocket watch on the side.

“Good morning, dear. I believe you came down to have your usual breakfast?”

“That was my intention, yes,” Harry replied, scratching his belly like a lost puppy.

Draco nodded and leaned forward to place a kiss upon his eyebrow.

“The elves have started with the sauces and it’s crucial that you refrain from interrupting them,” he explained, caressing Harry’s hipbones. “I believe you can renounce your full English one on this morning, right?” he asked with a magnanimous tone.

Harry opened and closed his mouth like a fish.

“I guess so.”

“Perfect! I’m going to have you served in the other room. Don’t worry. You’ll have your tea. The one that doesn’t make you grumpy or too restless.”

“Huh.”

“I was expecting this,” Draco added, still clutching Harry’s sides. “You’re not a planner and you lack attention to detail.”

Was that an offense?

“I’ll help you get dressed once I finish supervising the house elves’ work. Nothing to worry about. Hermione is coming in about twenty minutes and everything will be perfect. What would you do without her?”

That was an insult, right?

“I …”

“Why don’t you go upstairs and take a shower, while I prepare your meal?”

*

Harry could definitely stand tall amongst his peers. With countless resolved cases, the vanquishing of aspiring Dark Lords and the victory during the Second Wizarding War, the world laid itself at his feet.

The first proposition for the cabinet of Minister of Magic came when he was in his early twenties, a young Gryffindor starting to work for Kingsley Shacklebolt.

He didn’t take the proposition too seriously, since he was put forward by the same employees of the previous Minister—Fudge—who desperately wanted to maintain their visibility. He had even laughed a little, before trashing the letter in the bin, where it belonged.

Then, his marriage to Ginny Weasley failed before they could even celebrate their first anniversary. Harry had found love with a man with a dark past who was decidedly unwelcome to the Ministry.

For ten years, there were no more offerings. Harry had ignored gossip and headlines, slanderous accusations and pure products of imagination, and with the determination of a blinded bull in an arena, he continued his work, saving one life after another.

He had the support of his old friends, Neville, Luna and the others, who had understood even before he could find the right words. The Weasley family kept on saving a place for him, even next to Ginny, who became a dear friend once again.

Above all, he had the support of Hermione and Ron, his truest friends, and the love of Draco, who was always by his side. He could have faced more than stupid chats with that power.

The promotion offers had started to arrive again at the dawn of his thirty-first birthday and ministerial ambitions four years later. Harry had refused them all, continuing on his path. Absolute power had an acquired taste and he was not sure he had developed a suitable palate for it.

Being next to Draco, kissing his lips and tasting the sweat on his skin, drinking in each and every one of his moans, savouring his tears was everything he had ever wanted, even before he knew. The rest ceased to exist.

*

Dressed and sitting at the table, with a cup of hot tea before him and a portion of treacle tart with side biscuits, Harry was about to eat his breakfast, when Ron and Hermione appeared in the Floo.

“Oh damn it! We should have used the Portkey! Check out my cloak!” Hermione moaned, gently shaking the embroidered ivory cloak on her shoulders.

“Maybe if we try a brushing spell …”

“Don’t you dare, Ronald! This cloak is Chanel for Witch and it cost more than our house! And it was tailor-made … for me!” she lamented, pointing a threatening finger toward her husband.

Ron made a gesture of surrender. Harry giggled.

“How come you’re so early this morning? The hearing is scheduled for …”

“Oh Harry!” Hermione cried out, throwing herself into his arms. She tried to fix his hair and kissed his forehead like an anxious mother. “How are you feeling? Are you ready? Are you nervous?”

“I’m really not.”

“Don’t you see he’s still half asleep?” Ron said, sitting down next to his best friend and stealing a cookie from his plate. “Is Draco busy in the kitchen?”

“Has been since dawn, I think.”

“Ouch!”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake you two!” Hermione snapped, adjusting cloak and skirt and marching towards the kitchen. “Draco is the only one capable of decent planning in this family!”

Ron and Harry were exchanging an amused look, when Draco emerged from a cloud of cooking vapour.

*

The offer made by the Ministry included the title of Minister of Magic and the availability for the largest reform of the Ministry since the days Rowena had worn her diadem. Everything was left in the hands of the Wizengamot, meeting in extraordinary session.

“The official speaker is ready, the seats are assigned …”

“At nine o'clock, dinner will be served no matter what. The invitations have been sent and the program for the evening is established.”

Draco and Hermione were walking side by side, exchanging notes and finalising arrangements. Draco’s brushing spell had been effective and most suitable to the precious fabric of their robes, making the golden embroidery on Hermione’s cloak shine.

In addition to his pocket watch, Draco had chosen to wear the ring with a rare pink diamond that Harry had given him during their official engagement. “The undeserved envy of all the respectable British witches”, as it was promptly announced by Rita Skeeter.

Hermione stopped right before the entrance to the special session room. She turned to Harry and Ron.

“All right, here we go! Now I’ll go and ask the President for the hearing of my motion. Ron, I need you to manage the Aurors in the room, and I need Harry to …”

“To remember his lines. I know, Hermione. It’ll be fine, you see. It’s just politics, we’ve seen worse.”

Hermione nodded, though she was not at all convinced. With a final kiss to her husband, she marched towards the door. Ron followed shortly after.

Harry and Draco stood alone in the hallway.

“Here we are, at the peak of your career …”

“It’s not the peak of anything,” Harry said, squeezing his husband’s hands. The pink diamond glowed on his fingers like a long-made promise. “I’m fine, Draco. Whatever they decide, it won’t change what matters most.”

Draco nodded, returning his gentle squeeze.

“I’ll be sitting right next to you, on the second bench.”

*

Harry closed the bathroom door and sat on the edge of the bed, still damp from the shower.

“You shouldn’t have removed the bandage so soon,” Draco scolded, kneeling before him to look at the rosy cut on his abdomen. “It seems to be healing well, though.”

“Just one more scar.”

“One more scar,” Draco echoed.

Harry tried to take a hold of his hands and follow his worried, fugitive eyes.

“Don’t I deserve a kiss for surviving mortal danger yet again?”

“Don’t ever joke about that,” Draco muttered through clenched teeth. With a wave of his wand, he Accio’ed dry bandages and ointment. “Hold still now.”

“Alright.”

“I met your ex-wife the other day …”

“Oh Draco! Please …”

“Your ex-wife, Ginevra. She asked me about you, sends her love to you.”

“So you’re angry because I made you worry, I get that. There’s no need to be …”

“She asked if you’re happy and I said that, yes, you are. But who can tell, really? How can a man be happy, if he endangers his life so consistently?”

“Draco,” Harry interrupted, grabbing his lover’s shoulder. “I’m sorry and you know it. Don’t be like this, not to me, not now.”

The Slytherin raised his trembling chin.

“I’m serious, Harry.”

“I was worried you were.”

“Harry, you’re a great, powerful wizard. You could have everything,” he started, with a faint voice.

Harry pressed his damp forehead against his lover’s and sought his eyes, hoping to instil in him the courage he felt inside.

“I can’t offer you anything.”

“That’s rubbish. You give me everything I’ve ever wanted and I love you.”

“You’re stupid.”

“Yes, I am,” Harry agreed, smiling wildly.

He pulled Draco towards him, careful of his healing wound. His lover pressed his palms against his naked chest and spread his legs to better distribute his weight. They kissed with warm, pliant slowness.

Draco had delicious lips and pale, pale skin, that Harry needed to see bared once again.

“I follow my heart,” he said.

“That’s stupid,” Draco replied, moaning as Harry’s mouth found and sucked on his nipple.

“I’m not the only one, though.”

*

Hermione’s speech was long and detailed enough, as it allowed the sitting of all the Aurors who had served alongside Harry or under his guidance. The only journalists admitted to the sitting had already recorded every line.

Harry was exalted for courage, sense of honour, his determination in the face of danger. His great capacity of forgiveness and loyalty to his friends.

*

“It’s him, Ron. It’s him. The person I want to spend the rest of my life, my soulmate or whatever they call it.”

Ron stood still, on the patio of his parents’ house. The moon was shining high in the sky and, from the inside the house, one could hear the happy voices of the family gathered for dinner, the laughter of the children.

“Please.”

Ron bowed his head, scratching it as it would have served to sort his thoughts. He took a hesitant step towards his friend, who was standing in silence.

“And my sister? What about her?”

“I talked to Ginny and we are all right, now. I know it’s not a good excuse, but she felt relieved, too. We made a stupid choice out of fear and adrenaline, it’s better now.”

“So she agrees and you’re fine?”

“We’re fine,” Harry nodded. “But I need to be fine with you too. It may be difficult to understand, but this is it. This is what I really want. And he talked to Ginny and apologised to Hermione for all the stupid, racist shit he used against her at school. We’re doing well, me and him. But you’re the thing I miss the most, Ron.”

“I miss you too.”

Harry smiled hesitantly.

“So …”

“So you actually love him, right?”

“I do.”

“Well, I suppose we can find room for a bouncing ferret in our family.”

Harry laughed and rushed to hug his friend who held him firmly.

“Thank you, Ron.”

“Hey! You’re my best mate.”

“You too,” Harry replied, breaking the hug with sound pats on the back. “Don’t call Draco that at dinner, though.”

“I won’t.”

*

Harry was introduced by the thunderous applause of his Aurors, the boys he protected and taught for years. Ron pulled him into a tight embrace before he led him to the central spot of the crowded room, where he took Hermione’s place to speak.

He turned around just for a moment, to spot a blond head among the darker ones. He started his speech.

“Great and honourable members of this extraordinary commission, I’m the new candidate for the role of Minister of Magic, Harry James Potter, and I would like to make you a proposal.”

*

“Marry me.”

As the onions, cut into little wedges, were slowly frying in the pan, Draco began to fillet the chicken meat, always mindful of Pansy’s instructions on her recipes book.

The sun was painting the old kitchen’s windows in pale orange and, from the inside of the Manor, one could have spotted the peacocks in the garden. Damned feathered bastards.

Harry Potter standing behind Draco, while he was cooking.

“Marry me.”

“Excuse me?” the Slytherin asked, turning a bit, eyebrows raised.

Harry gulped, pushing up his blue cashmere sweater.

“You heard me. I want to marry you,” he explained, with a hesitating and hopeful smile. “We’ve been together since forever and … and we’re fine. My work is going great and you are … you always come back here, to the Manor. We still haven’t moved together, but we basically live together and I was thinking that, maybe, this is the right time to ask you. Marry me?” he repeated once more, this time unsure.

“Potter,” Draco closed the book and turned to him completely. “What are you babbling about? What in Merlin’s name is wrong with you on this very evening?”

“I love you,” Harry answered, bravely advancing towards his lover. “And you love me.”

“I … I do, I … is this the right time to have this conversation? I’m cooking, for Salazar’s sake! Do you even think this is the way to propose to a respectable wizard?”

“You love me,” Harry repeated, coming closer. A spark of madness shone in his large, luminous eyes.

The Auror knelt in front of him and pulled a velvet box out of his jeans pockets. His expression became more tender, pleading, and Draco was unable to take his eyes off him. His naked arms traced with veiny patterns, his fingers, the velvet box, his large green eyes, his adorable smile …

“Draco Malfoy, love of my life, say yes and become my husband.”

“I-I …”

The room was becoming hotter and hotter and there was a smell of …

“I’m burning everything!”

*

“I wish you’d take my words seriously,” Harry uttered, clearing his voice thick with emotion.

He turned again to look at his husband, who was standing a few feet away from him, one hand pressed against his chest and grey eyes gentle and encouraging.

“I wish you’d understand,” Harry continued. “That we should consider the fabric of our current society. We fought against a dark wizard, for we cannot let his darkness overcome us. We fought for a better world! Where wizards and witches are valued for their nature, not for blood status or Hogwarts house. However, there is still rivalry between Slytherins and Gryffindors, or Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, or any possible combination among the Houses. This still has an impact on our work at the Ministry.”

He coughed and started again, more courageous than before.

“Look! You have proposed the Prime Minister title to me, because I’m Harry Potter! Not for my personal ambition or my own merit,” he said, bowing his head.

The young Aurors listening exhaled a single astonished breath. Hermione and Ron held hands.

“Mister Potter, we do appreciate your humility, but you truly are the most skilled Auror the Ministry ever known,” a member noted. “Who deserves this title more than you?”

“Hermione Granger! For all the work she has done, for her determination and her skills. Minerva McGonagall, one of the greatest teachers and headmasters Hogwarts has ever known. Padma Patil and her sister Parvati, I … I would have so many names to offer you.”

“You’re generous.”

“No, it’s not generosity! It is not generosity,” Harry insisted. “It’s justice. So many, before and after me, have serviced this Ministry better than I will ever do. I think that, to honour them … things should change. We should take a cue from Muggles, for once, and hold the first open elections to the whole magical Britain.”

“Mr. Potter! We’ve chosen the Minister since Hogwarts was founded! Why should we change such a noble institution? Why open elections should ensure a better functioning of it?”

“They don’t, in fact. Not necessarily. It requires the commitment of each one of us for this to work, but I believe it can. I believe that our society, so unmovable for centuries, should make more of an effort.”

A growing murmur spread from the Wizengamot benches to those where the young Aurors were sitting. Harry looked around, trying to guess at nature of it. Then went back to look at Draco, who was nodding at him. He took a deep breath.

“Mr. Potter,” a judge raised from her seat. “Do you officially reject the role of Minister?”

“I do, ma’am.”

“I believe that … I believe that your speech has merit. I think that all of us, members of the Wizengamot, should at least consider it. If our negotiations over the direct election fail, we will make the same proposition to one of the mentioned witches, Hermione Granger.”

A loud gasp. Harry nodded.

“I just want to be sure. We may consider your refusal as definitive?”

“Yes, ma’am, you may.”

“Thank you for your response. We will inaugurate the discussion soon.”

*

“Another toast to Nobody’s Minister Harry!”

Goblets of wine floated in the air. The lounge of the Malfoy-Potter household was temporarily rearranged to make room for dinner tables. Draco provided the decorations and the lights and carefully studied the arrangement of his hosts.

In addition to Harry’s young Aurors and apprentices, old friends came to celebrate the news; Seamus and Dean, Ginny, Fleur and Bill, Pansy, Neville, Luna ... everyone had a personalized card to take away.

“We’re basically celebrating nothing!” George said, grinning at his younger brother Ron.

As they laughed, Draco realised they were out of wine and rose from the table. He went to the kitchen, where the house elves were checking the dessert trays.

“Master Draco! It’s time to serve the dessert, master. Everything is ready.”

“Yes Tweeny, I believe so. Thanks for your help. I recorded the payment at your Gringotts’ found; you and your colleagues can go.”

The elf opened her big grey eyes, nodding earnestly.

“We could still help; we could help with the after party! Anything for you and Master Harry Potter.”

“No need, but thank you.”

With a loud pop, Tweeny and the other elves disappeared. Draco took the trays and proceeded to make the latest embellishments, adding berries or lemon and orange zest to his cupcakes.

Hermione entered.

“It’s already time for the dessert? How can I help you?”

“You could send the wine in the other room. It’s on the left.”

“There?” Hermione asked, pointing at the shelves.

“Yes, please. Although I don’t think our husbands should drink that much …”

“Ron has already started to talk about the golden years of the Chudley Cannons. He’ll get teary in a minute.”

“Predictable.”

Hermione swished and flicked her wand; the bottles neatly lifted into the air and floated to the next room.

“Nice.”

“Thank you,” she smiled, approaching the cupcakes. They seemed so delicious, almost calling to her.

“Take one.”

“Oh, thanks!” she said, grabbing a blueberry cupcake. “Hugo adores the orange ones and Rose …”

“Prefers the ones with strawberries. I know. I’ve made sure you and your kids have a little extra.”

Hermione’s face lit with a huge smile that Draco couldn’t help but reciprocate.

“Did you make them or were the house-elves?”

“The house-elves with my recipe. And, before you start, they were paid and discharged.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything …”

“I know you, Granger. Eat your cupcake.”

In the oven, well covered by a thin layer of kitchen paper, a fragrant treacle tart was waiting. Draco pulled it out and cut it into slices, decorating them with a sprig of whipped cream.

“But that’s Harry’s favourite!”

“I suppose that, from time to time, it is allowed to pamper one’s spouse.”

Hermione grinned and moved closer to her friend.

“Do you think the Wizengamot will accept Harry’s terms?”

“No idea, but at least there’ll be a discussion. In any case, as you heard it, you would be the next candidate for the title. A win-win, don’t you agree?”

The witch blushed.

“You Gryffindors and your embarrassment over accepting more the power. I don’t think I’ll ever understand you.”

“That’s exactly what Harry’s kid just said and … wait a minute! Why are you, Draco Malfoy, so willingly surrendering to Harry’s idea? You could have more power and you’d love that! But also … also … Harry will be constantly busy and away from home, which you have already tried and didn’t like. Draco you … let Harry make his speech to keep him from going away!

The wizard’s lips curled into an amused grin and his grey eyes shone with satisfaction.

“You damn cunning snake!”

“Thank you, Granger. Your Ravenclaw is showing.”

“I can’t with you!” Hermione exclaimed, raising her arms.

“To be fair, it was always Harry’s desire to be less busy. I just allowed it to happen.”

“Very kind of you,” Hermione replied, grabbing a piece of treacle tart.

Draco was decorating a plate, probably intended for Harry, with more care and definitely more whipped cream than the others.

“And that’s your Hufflepuff showing!”

Draco laughed.

*

The dinner was over. The last guests were queuing near the Floo. Ron and Hermione were greeting Harry.

“A real success,” Hermione said, embracing her dearest friend once again. “Let’s hope the Wizengamot will listen to us. Or, at least, start a discussion over the election process.”

“Man, if my wife really becomes the Minister of Magic, you will deal with me!”

Harry laughed and hugged them both.

“Speaking of spouses, it’s time for me to check on Draco …”

“Is he alone in the kitchen? We could …”

“You could nothing!” Harry was categorical. “This is my moment, and you two have to go.”

“Say no more,” Ron breathed, a little tipsy. “I’ve got you, mate!” and dropped a sound pat on his friend’s back.

“Definitely time to go,” Hermione agreed, grabbing her husband by the arm and pushing him towards the Floo. “Thank Draco for us!”

*

Draco was busy ordering a stack of dirty dishes. The dishwasher purchased by his husband had proved to be an excellent investment, but perhaps a little help from the elves was needed.

“Let me help now, love.” Harry said, entering the kitchen. He left his jacket on the seat and rolled up his sleeves.

Draco smiled. Sleeves rolled up and hair tied in a messy bun.

“There’s no need. I’m just ordering the dishes with a priority criterion and it will be all washed in the morning. It’s late now.”

Harry nodded.

“How can I help you anyway?” he asked, approaching gently.

Draco snorted, touching his forehead.

“Exhausted.”

“I know, babe,” Harry said, pulling him in a tight embrace, caressing the back of his head, his lovely shoulders. “You were wonderful today, you managed to do all this.”

On the left side of Draco’s jaw, there was mole that Harry loved to pepper with kisses. His neck, pale and slightly roughened by a hint of stubble, was another favourite place and his Adam’s apple, bobbing up and down as he took calming breaths.

“I love you so much, Draco. Thanks for letting this happen, thank you for listening to me and not forcing me into a position I don’t want.”

Draco wrapped his arms around his neck, dipping fingers into the back of his head where black and grey unruly hair was growing.

“I was worried. I wanted everything to be perfect for you.”

“It was, and you were. You were the reason this was possible,” Harry murmured, still kissing him, returning the strength of his embrace.

The Wireless was playing Celestina Warbeck’s "A cauldron full of hot, strong love”.

“Molly’s fave,” Harry muttered.

They both laughed, mouths pressed against warm skin and robes.

Harry’s hands petted the soft tissue of the Draco’s waistcoat, as to seek the warmth of his body beneath it.

“Remember the time she wanted us to dance in her kitchen?”

“Yeah,” Draco replied, pressing his lips against his husband’s cheek.

“Do you want to dance now?”

“Yeah.”

Harry put his glasses on the kitchen table, next to Draco’s precious ring, then settled into his embrace as he lead both in the space between the table and the stove. They started slowly, tentative steps, closing eyes.

A warm, masculine voice replaced Celestina’s powerful tone and the words became a balm of desire and redemption.

Oh, I wanna come near and give ya
Every part of me
But there is blood on my hands
And my lips are not clean

“Harry …”

“It would have killed me … staying away from you, the press and their endless chatter. I’m so grateful.”

They continued to swing to the sound of music, bodies pressed against another ever so softly. Harry took Draco’s face in his hands and smiled at him.

“So grateful.”

He was rewarded with a long, thorough kiss that made him giddy, as he pressed his nose back in the crook of Draco’s neck.

“You’re the love of my life, Harry.”

“And you are mine.”

They kept on dancing until the music was over. Dishes piled on the stove, warm lights half off, lips pressing on skin and a pink diamond shining next to a pair of round glasses.