Chapter 1: Disowned, Cold and Pregnant
On a windy Thursday in September an unexpected visitor appears outside of Twelve Grimmauld Place.
Harry's sitting in the living-room, the room now looking far different from how it had been when his godfather had owned the place and the Order had been using it as their headquarters and then, later, when Harry, Ron and Hermione had been hiding in there during the Horcrux hunt. It's relatively tidy, homey and Harry had made the space his own, yet something is missing. There's a book lying open on Harry's chest as he lazes about in a worn arm-chair, his tea long forgotten and cold by the small table beside it. He's been to the office and has given his energies to his work, which he likes, but often enough, when he gets home he gets... restless. Like there should be more. He thinks he's too young to be maudlin over being single and not having started a family yet, even when he's now only slightly older than his parents ever got to be, if only by a few years.
Or maybe his listlessness is due to the memory of steel grey eyes and blonde blonde hair and a snarking mouth all over his skin which he can't forget however much he tries.
His thoughts are interrupted as his wards shimmer. It's as much an excuse, going to the door to see who it is when anyone he knows would have fire-called, instead of flicking a wand to bring up an image of who it was that was on his door step. Which was a limited number, as the unplotting spell was temperamental at the best of times and didn't always even allow people who knew where the house was located to enter.
So up he gets, trots down the long rickety stairs and stands for a moment behind the closed front door before opening it and looking at --- Malfoy. Draco Malfoy on his doorstep. The mystery of the unplottability is solved, as Draco has been here, in him, in Harry's bed and h i s... Harry blushes brightly as the memory of that night comes back to him. In vivid moaning detail.
“I'm pregnant,” Draco offers an insane non sequitur in greeting, a fucking perfect opening line for the first time that they see each other after hooking up and having a sex-filled weekend in Harry's bed. And the kitchen. And the living room. And the library. They've not seen each other since then despite both of them working at the Ministry. Which Harry has thought is distinctly odd.
But now, Harry gapes. “Excuse me, you're what?”
“Pregnant,” Draco carefully enunciates, his tone that of a person speaking to a five-year-old and explaining a very simple basic concept like 'never put your wand in your back pocket for safety reasons'.
H e's standing there all smug expression on his handsome face, shadows under his eyes like he's not slept well and looks a bit peaky, to be completely honest. Harry looks him up and down to ascertain that yes, he's still there and he's a man. Harry knows he's a man, felt him be a man all up his arse as Draco fucked him on the kitchen table and against the hall wall that last time. H arry shakes his head, needs to focus himself.
“I'm a fucking veela, Potter,” Draco drawls in a lazy why-are-you-so-stupid tone. It curls against Harry and yanks at his libido and dispenses with his sanity. Who needs the ability to string thoughts into words and speech anyway?
Except maybe Harry needs to be able to. He might need a filter of some sorts or some brain function because what he says “You might have mentioned this could happen?!” is to the point but a bit over the top, especially in tone. Which is shrill and leading to panicked.
Draco shakes his head, fucking shakes his head. “I know, I know. I was a bit careless. Shouldn't have been.” There's a faint blush on his pale cheeks and he glances away. “What's done is done.”
“What? But the... condom!” Harry tries as a valiant last attempt.
“Yes, but it's not like they're 100% effective. Are you just going to stand there gaping or are you going to let me in?”
H e's like Harry remembers; all sly slytherin charm and drop-your-trousers smiles. A part from those distinct dark smudges under the slate grey eyes and the already pale skin which looks almost translucent with blue veins standing out.
“What?” Harry can only say.
“I'm disowned, cold and pregnant,” Draco shivers for emphasis, “Going to let me in? We're your problem now.”
Harry can't not look down at Draco's hand as it curls over Draco's green jumper covered mid-riff in that way he's seen pregnant women do, patting at their baby bumps. His eyes stray to the trunk next to Draco's feet and he instantly looks back up again.
“You're moving in?” His brain cannot compute this.
“Yes.” Is all Draco says. Maybe it's all that needs to be said, really.
Harry bows to inevitability and stands out of the way, ushering Draco inside. He does the polite thing and drags his trunk through the doorway, or tries, as the thing weighs a ton. “What do you have in here, rocks?” he pants out, eyeing what he now recognizes as an old school trunk, huffing for breath.
Draco offers him a wry smile as Harry glares at him. “No, books. And some clothes. My worldly possessions. Even after shrinking... there's quite a lot.”
Harry's eyes widen and he thinks that he must look ridiculous. “You're really moving in with me.”
“Yes. Now shove over, I'm cold. Just levitate the thing if you're bent on this Knight in Shining Armour act.”
Draco does shiver a bit as they continue to stand in the open doorway. Harry sighs, does the levitation charm, gestures Draco to precede him and follows after him once he's closed the front door.
His evening just got a lot more interesting and complicated.
Chapter 2: The Boy Who Made All the Wrong Choices
Harry has to resist the urge to jump Draco. Also: knitwear.
Beta'd by the lovingly nitpicky katajainen. Thank you, dear!
“At this time of day, I assume you're having tea? And maybe some biscuits?” Draco inquires, giving Harry a bit of an indulgent yet haughty smirk that seems to say: look at me, I know my manners.
Meanwhile, Harry dumps his trunk down in the foyer, because he's not really sure yet where Draco is going to be sleeping in.
A stupid rebellious part of him wants to take Draco to his own bedroom, get under his clothes and just... Because Draco is fit and he might be a git and more trouble that Harry wants to handle (that's a lie) and Harry wants to lick his pale gorgeous skin all over.
But jumping Draco right now would be a very, very, bad idea. The blonde bombshell is a menace, getting inside Harry's house in less than five minutes and all Harry can think is to rip that expensive-looking jumper off him and have a hand down his trousers and just--- Harry thinks that his inner monologue is getting a bit out of hand. His mind jumps around to the information Draco had dumped on him when they were at the doorstep and he clings to something that does not touch the subject of pregnancy, or how good Draco's arse looks in those trousers when he turns to face away from Harry.
“Your father really disowned you?” Harry asks.
Draco turns, gives him a tight-lipped smile. “Yes. We'll see how long that holds, though.” His whole body seems wound up tight, like a bow before an arrow is let loose. No, not tight but fit to burst at the seams, like something kept cooped up for too long, ready to flood over.
And how does Harry notice it just now, only just now, that there is a livid, sore -looking hand-print on Draco's left cheek? Draco's been angling his face away all this time, hasn't he, so Harry would not see. Harry sees it now, all right, and Draco knows it.
“Was it because ---” for Harry cannot not ask, of course. He's taking it all in his stride, as it were. The wizarding world's ability to always prove his old preconceptions wrong time and again isn't surprising at all. A pregnant man – well a somewhat intersexual man – is not the weirdest thing he's come across during the last decade or so. Right? And the longer he resists the idea the trickier everything will become in the long run.
If there are werewolves, thestrals and dementors, how improbable is a pregnant man, really?
“No. It was because I told him it was yours.” Draco looks so very tired, the light from the wall sconces painting ghastly shadows over his sunken face. He looks like he's been starved, like he hasn't slept well in years. It's so different from what Harry remembers from the time he last saw Draco – when this infuriating man was almost radiant, shining, healthy – that it makes Harry's heart ache.
He's not quite sure how to cope with this sudden urge to coddle Draco and hide him from the world, to build him a blanket fort in their bedroom ( Harry's bedroom!), and simply take care of him as Draco's body grows heavy with their child. Providing for Draco and shielding him from everything that would harm him. Harry shakes his head. He has no idea where all these thoughts are coming from and it's unsettling. Because his mind cannot have taken such a U-turn so fast. How can he think about jumping Draco one moment and then think about being with him and... providing for him the next?
They're still just standing there, facing each other in the corridor which was once decorated with the severed heads of long-dead house-elves. They're still here in this moment, at this point in time, this fixed point where it could all go wrong, might go either way, and Harry needs to know. “Is it?” He has to ask. Even when it makes Draco glare daggers at him, so much like the boy Harry knew before the War.
It feels... right that Draco should glare, even after Harry has seen a more open and less prejudiced side of him, a ghost of the boy Draco could have been, the man he could become. It makes this feel more real. Harry needs something familiar in this new situation and Draco's glare is just that.
“Is it what?” Draco asks crossly. He wants to hear Harry say it, and there's a brief glimpse of uncertainty in there, too, in the brief hitch of Draco's breath.
Draco looks away and Harry suddenly feels more clear-headed. And he realizes, it's the Veela in Draco that makes him want to guard and cherish him as well as jump him on sight. How could he ever hope to have a real relationship with this man when Draco's very magical biology is affecting him so. Can Draco even control it? But Harry isn't a man who would turn away family. (Well maybe Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.) He couldn't turn Draco away even if there hadn't been that tryst between them, because the man looks like a strong breeze would knock him over, he looks sleep-deprived, gaunt and worn in a manner so very akin to Sirius that it makes Harry want to cry.
And he remembers a gaunt Draco from the past, a sixth-year Draco, lying bleeding on the bathroom floor, blood dripping onto the floor, soaking dark robes... A scared, pale Draco at the top of the Astronomy tower later, and the shadow they met at Malfoy Manor. Draco was the boy who made all the wrong choices; that he's now a man who's trying to make the right ones is evident. Some part of him is also prepared for having Harry turn him away. It's written clear on his body-language, in the slight stoop of his shoulders, in the nervous twitch of his fingers on green knitting.
“Is it mine?” Harry's voice cracks because. Because... family and babies and everything horrible and scary. But Harry wants it. Even if he has to share a baby with Malfoy. Even if they could never really be together properly. Even if that, having and not having Draco, would slowly kill Harry inside.
Because he bloody well wants Draco, has wanted him, maybe for years. What they had had together hadn't been a firewhisky-fuelled mistake, something Harry had regretted. All he'd regretted, after, had been that he'd let Draco slip from his grasp once he'd had him in his arms, in his bed, in his house.
A house which feels more like a home now Draco's in it.
Draco looks up at him defiantly, again looking every bit the haughty better-than-thou Slytherin boy Harry knew in Hogwarts, all traces of Veela glamour gone. “It is . I'm not letting you throw us out. I'm sure the Prophet would be delighted to hear that the Great Harry Bloody Potter knocked up an old school rival and then left him to fend for himself and the baby just because he happened to be a Slytherin!” Draco might be angry but there is something unbearably tender in the way his hands curl over his stomach in unconscious, or maybe not so unconscious, protection.
Harry takes a step forward, extending a placating hand. “Sorry. I didn't mean...”
“You never do, do you?” Draco says, voice tight. “Bloody Gryffindor.” He shakes his blonde head, hands trailing idle patterns over his Slytherin green jumper, tracing over delicate, understated patterning. It looks so soft; Harry kind of wants to run his fingers all over it, all over Draco, to be quite honest. “So, about that tea? Also, quit ogling at my knitwear like you want to have relations with it.”
“Right...” Harry mumbles, taken slightly aback by the other man's vehemence, softened as it had been by the flirtatious quip, although he thinks he partially deserved the anger by being tactless. Of course Draco struck back, lashed out at him for questioning the parentage of his child.
They repair to the drawing room where Draco sinks down into the armchair by the fire, his whole frame relaxing once he's not standing up any more. The armchair is the one in which Harry had been sitting in. Draco huffs and downs the cold tea still sitting in the cup in few quick gulps. “This is cold,” he protests once he's finished, putting the cup delicately back on it's saucer. He smirks at the Black family crest decorating the china. Most of Harry's household items had come with the house.
Harry stands in the doorway, hesitant and a bit weary and a lot contented, because Draco sitting in that chair... it really feels like home. Like something Harry has always wished for, has craved for ever since he left Hogwarts. He often misses the school and wishes he had gone to a line of work where he could have been a teacher there, just to be able to go back, maybe someday. But now all his vague plans have been disrupted by his old rival.
Who's sitting in Harry's favourite chair, face vacant and fingers idly, maybe nervously, picking at his posh jumper, one grey-trouser-clad leg slung over the other as Draco takes possession of the chair, makes himself at home in it. The sight of those long legs and Draco's slender fingers make Harry blush as he remembers.
“I'll put the kettle on,” Harry mumbles and escapes the room and the feeling of Draco fitting in that pervades it.
As well as the vivid memory of Draco draped all over that very same armchair as Harry fucked him harder , more and OhFuckYESHarry !
Tea sounds like the safest option for now.
Chapter 3: Sandwiches and Semantics
Harry brings freshly brewed tea, sandwiches and tea cake. Draco discusses semantics.
Nitpickingly beta'd by the lovely katajainen, thanks a bunch, dear!*hug*
At this point, this fic has become the tropey self-indulgent fic it was meant to be. Neither of us care, especially not katajainen, who is a horrid enabler. I still like her, though.
Harry carries a tray laden heavy with food into the sitting room which Draco seems to have changed into a parlour by his mere presence. The blonde is holding court in the armchair he's commandeered for himself, the old battered wing-back transformed into a sumptuous throne. Draco is all long limbs and sprawled grace, lounging there.
Though, for a moment, just after Harry has opened the door and is just stepping in, and Draco has not yet realized he's there, Harry sees the way slim shoulders are slumped in defeat and how very worn thin the other man looks. But that is something he glimpses but for a rare unguarded moment, a mere sliver in time and nothing more.
Harry had thought to just throw together some biscuits and brew a new pot of tea. However, he had lingered over the seeming frailty stamped upon familiar features and had gone for something more substantial. Sandwiches with cheese, ham and sliced cucumber were joined by a teacake and what fruit Harry had managed to gather together. It was a sad testament to his dietary habits how meagre the contents of his cupboards were. But it would just have to do.
Yet Draco falls over it all with a hunger to rival Harry's on his first evening at Hogwarts when he had, for the first time in his life, gotten to eat his fill.
'You aren't a bad cook, all the more reason to keep you,' Draco comments after a ravenous bite of sandwich.
Harry realizes a moment too late he's been staring at the way Draco's throat moves when he swallows. His eyes snap up to meet amused silver-grey eyes, dancing with mirth even when sadness lingers. But there is none of the seductive allure of the Veela present in Draco's gaze, for which Harry is grateful. It had been all too hard to think rationally, before, when Draco had looked at him like that, with those eyes which could have made Harry drop to his knees and crawl at Draco's feet, promising to do anything Draco might think to ask.
And that Draco is still sprawled over that chair, of all possible places!
'I hadn't realized that you were keeping me, or I you,' Harry finally manages to get out.
'And that,' another bite, 'ish 'hy 'u live alone.' Draco mumbles through a mouth full of sandwich.
Harry settles his cup down carefully, even if part of him wants to hurl it onto the wall. Good riddance, Sirius would have said. Sirius, whom Harry's grandparents' had taken in after the youth had been thrown out of this very house. The parallels were decidedly there, even if Draco and Sirius were mostly only connected by both being gay and both being thrown out by parents who did not see eye to eye with the choices of their children.
Harry hopes Sirius were here to help him with this, even though he knows his godfather had his limitations and would most likely have thrown Draco back onto the street on account of him being a Slytherin. Remus would have been a better choice for sound advice. But neither is there to help Harry any longer. He’s on his own.
'Draco,' Harry finally says, when the said blonde has demolished two more sandwiches and three cups of tea and is now gleefully cutting himself a big slice of the tea cake. 'I am not keeping you.'
'But you are giving me a place to sleep,' Draco replies with ice dripping from every word. 'Your Gryffindor goody-goody attitude won't let you do anything else.'
Harry had told himself that he would not bring the matter up, that he would keep his cool, not let Draco rile him up. Yet Draco is an expert on doing just that. 'How can I know it's mine, anyway?' he asks, quiet, cold as Draco had been. He can't… He can't let himself dare hope.
There’s a sound of breaking china and bits and pieces of the Black family crest are suddenly flying all over the tea-sodden carpet behind Harry's chair. The cup had been aimed at his head but he'd been quick enough to dodge.
Draco is a picture of fury, springing up from his chair and advancing on Harry, the air seeming to crackle around him, even as his movements are a little hesitant, taxed. 'You dare doubt me?'
Harry is on his feet, ever ready to counter anything that Draco says. 'I…' He could not say it. It would be too cruel.
Draco's voice is a growl. 'You think I sleep with anyone, is that it?' Then he does something Harry did not expect at all: Draco comes and kisses him.
It is a hard kiss, demanding and unyielding, not giving Harry a chance to think… it does made him act, though whether winding his arms around Draco and kissing him back with equal passion is the right thing to do at this point would be anybody's guess. They come apart, panting, grey eyes meeting green in challenge as they wait for their breath to even.
'You kiss me like that after you tell me I'm a liar…'
'No, you didn't need to put it to so many words,' Draco says coldly. He was hurt, that much is obvious. He wrenches one of Harry's hands down and presses it to his own stomach, and Harry feels a hint of roundness there, even when he wouldn't have been able to tell that Draco was anything but fit and slim under his sweater. 'This is your child in here and you better believe it. Well, children, more likely,' he adds like an afterthought.
'Yes. It is the plural of the word “child”, Potter,' Draco sneers, hiding behind the mask of ill-manners. 'For Salazar’s sake, how much do I need to dumb this down for you?'
Harry's head is swimming and he’s feeling decidedly woozy. Children. Plural. Not child. Children. More than one. With Draco. Harry's children. With Draco. He blacks out.
Chapter 4: Of Fridges and Muffins
Harry wakes from his swoon and Draco demands to know why the cake tastes so strange.
Lovingly beta'd by the incomparable katajainen, my partner in crime and dearest sister. *hug* Thank you dear!
This is fic 8/30 of my 30 Days of June Fic fics.
I incorporated some suggestions from the comments into this, I'd for instance not realized that I made no mention of Narcissa anywhere in the previous chapters. The idea of Harry offering Draco store-brought cake hails all the way back to the past winter when I had a discussion about drarry and my drarry wips with katajainen while we were skiing. We're weird like that.
My goodness, this fic is turning so very tropey I can't even! But it's so fun to write!
Also, Harry can bake, he's just been living a bachelor lifestyle and hasn't bothered to. He can also cook, as evinced by canon. I think now that he can choose what to cook and now that he has someone to cook for, he'll get to the swing of things again. And Draco'll wave that silly Veela Pregnancy book of his at him. LOL Yeah, but Harry's been single, maybe a little blue and hasn't been bothered. But he often bakes Molly a cake when he visits for the Weasley Sunday dinner.
Lastly, I headcanon the kitchen at Grimmauld place like it was in the movies, mostly. But, you know, a big place with a huge table. Yet maybe not exactly like in the movies. Anywayyyy....
Draco looks down at Harry, sprawled down on the floor, sighs, and sits back down. ' I am supposed to be the one feeling faint and actually doing it, Potter,' he mutters, but with an exasperated fondness in his tone. Then he goes on munching his cake, scrunching up his nose at the taste and texture, yet eating it anyway.
'This cake tastes funny,' Draco says when the scarred wonder actually woke up. Well, regained consciousness. He holds a piece (nibbled on, it might taste strange but it is cake!) and stares at it with a critical eye. The texture of it feels a little strange between his fingers and it had tasted somewhat too sharp, too acute, not like any cake that he's ever had. And he needs to know.
'Why does this cake taste so strange?'
'Store...You didn't even bake it yourself?'
'Then why did you buy this, then? Wait, what even is “store-bought” cake? You can't really bake, can you? You're lying through your teeth, aren't you?'
And he does not know, for there is only so much years of animosity and a wild night and day of semi-drunken and sober sex can tell one about a person, Draco does not know and it irks him. He's been through too much in the last day to try and be polite, even to Harry.
Harry seems unable to answer the question. He still looks stunned, sitting there on the floor and Draco wants to sympathise with him but… Harry hadn't gone through what he had. Draco shudders at the memory of his father face. His words. If only mother had been home. She would never have… “You spread your legs for him like a common --- Don't you dare tell me you will be keeping --- Get out of my house you miserable little---”
Harry's silent for a moment, rubbing at the back of his neck, but he isn't getting up from the floor. He looks at Draco, who sits draped over his chosen armchair, and Draco remembers. He likes to think that it was here that he had conceived, where he had let his life been turned upside down. Even if this, the barely-present roundness under the delightfully decadent touch of silk and bamboo yarn of his sweater, is something that Draco will not give up. Never. And he… He wants Harry, too. Having seen him with Teddy, it's always been clear to Draco that he'll make a wonderful parent.
And maybe some of Draco's animosity had been born of resentment that Harry didn't want to be his friend, that first time they had met, that he'd turned him down before even getting to know him. That Harry hadn't liked him simply because he was a Slytherin. That part of Draco's interest had been an attempt to make Harry notice him, to pay attention, to push him until something gave, until there were lips on lips and hands on hips and grinding and slick thrusts and perfection. Maybe Draco wishes that it would not have taken so very long, that they could have been friends earlier, even, that…
That “He'll not want you,” will not be the last thing his father ever said to him. That it won't end up being true. For Draco doesn't want a loveless partnership with Harry, being together just for the sake of their children. He wants that fire back, wants to rekindle that early-summer spark and tend to it, until the two of them shine brighter than anything. He wants Harry to want him, not just the veela. Not just the children and the family they represent.
Harry's voice penetrates his thoughts. 'You're not going to mock me for passing out?'
'Well,' Draco gives in to temptation at last and lays his hand over his middle, noting how Harry's eyes follow the movement, 'I must admit that it might have come as a shock, especially after you didn't know that I even could get pregnant. Terribly rude, still, of course.' Because it had been, and while Draco might want to try and make this work but he isn't going to change who he is .
Harry looks and him and he… he laughs. There's a slight blush over his cheeks and his green eyes are so very… Draco needs to shake his head to clear his mind. MUFFINS. He wants muffins. No. The babies want muffins.
'So,' Draco starts, to cover his flustered state, 'you'll get up from there, bake me muffins and explain why you did not bake an actual cake that tastes less strange, if you can , in fact, bake.' He folds himself up from his chair as gracefully as he can, thinking fleetingly how that will become something he'll not be able to do, at least not gracefully, in a few months time. He's having spring babies. His hand is again patting at his slightly rounded middle, an absent-minded, fond gesture. He can't help it and a big part of him doesn't even want to mind.
Not with how Harry's looking at his hand, transfixed.
Draco decides that he'll offer to perform a paternity charm, later, even when he knows that the results won't be entirely conclusive this early on. But for now, he wants to look at Harry use his hands to make him delicious things which he possibly shouldn't be indulging in. Draco does have a few ideas of burning off the excess calories, later, if Harry's amenable. He really wishes that he would be, even when he most likely won't be, if Draco knows him at all, if how Harry's behaved towards him is any sort of indication.
'MUFFINS, Potter,' he gestures with his free hand, waving at Harry to get up, finally.
In the kitchen, Draco chooses a chair, never taking his eyes off of Harry, not caring if his gaze makes the other man uncomfortable. He has every right to be in Harry's space, while he doesn't blame Harry for the babies, he might still blame him a little for being him. A goody-goody Gryffindor with a hero status and a knight in shining armour complex. Not a Pureblood, like Draco's father had always wished for Draco to have. Had he got himself pregnant by anyone else, his father might not have…
So, he observes, and it's not like it's a hardship, getting to watch Harry. There's the initial frantic hunt through the cupboards for ingredients and Draco narrows his eyes at the strange big steel cupboard Harry opens when he's already laid some ingredients onto the counter.
'What's that?' he asks, leaning closer in his chair. There are things he supposes are food inside, not that Draco is well versed in the subject of ingredients before they are finished edibles.
Harry keeps the cupboard open, arching back to look at Draco. 'What's what?'
'What?' Harry looks down at the cardboard box in his hand. 'These?' he hefts it. 'Eggs.'
Draco shakes his head, getting a little irate, though he does enjoy Harry's snark. He's a little suspicious of the feeling of homeliness, of comfort that he gets from the kitchen, from sitting there amidst Harry's clutter – a crossword puzzle unfinished on his copy of the Daily Prophet, a Muggle book with a raggedy bookmark stuffed nearer the middle than the beginning or end, a forgotten half-finished coffee cup and the remains of Harry's sandwich-making litter the long table top. It’s a big table, too big for one.
'No, oh Boy Who Wouldn't Die, that cupboard?'
'A… “frid-ge”?' Draco says the word carefully to not stumble.
'It's a muggle thing. Keeps cold the food that needs to be kept cold?'
Draco tries to wrack his mind but can't tell if such a thing exists in his world, in the all-magical world which is the only place he's ever lived in. But there must be such a thing. For he does have a vague idea that some foods spoil if not kept properly.
There's a shuffle and a rustle and Harry curses. There's a thunk as the cupboard shuts. When Draco looks up Harry's facing him. 'There aren't enough eggs.'
'I can't make muffins.'
Draco doesn't reply. Then he slides himself up from his chair and walks to Harry. There is indeed only a single solitary egg in the box in Harry's hands. He shoulders him away and opens the strange cupboard, this… “fridge” and looks inside, wondering at the waft of cool air against his face. There are shelves within, even in the door and… it's practically empty. There is a small bottle of something in the door and a box with “margarine” written on it but otherwise it's bare.
He lets the door swing shut and turns to look at Harry, incredulous. 'How do you live? Why is there nothing else? And whatever is that potion? You know magicked food isn't good for you?' That last bit he knows from books, not practical experience, it was particularly stressed in Veela Procreation, What to Expect When You Are Expectant, A practical Guide to Nutrition and Well-being. Food created from scratch does sate hunger but it does not sustain on the long term, as it doesn't have the same substance as properly prepared food made from actual real life ingredients. His hand curls over his stomach, protective. He'll not harm his baby, babies, by eating badly. 'It's not good for them, or me.'
Harry looks at him, thunderstruck. 'I... I order take-out a lot. Or eat out. And I do have milk, you know, at least,' he gestures at the rectangular carton box labelled “milk” standing forgotten on the counter. 'And cheese.'
'Potter… Harry ---'
'All right, I'll go grocery shopping. You can come, too. Just don't talk about Muggles too much, yeah?' Harry sounds resigned, oddly so, but his eyes are fixed on Draco's protective fingers, curled against the soft weave. There's a smile on his lips and a hint of fondness in his eyes. Draco thinks that he can bear the ordeal of procuring food. It might even be fun. He's never been “grocery shopping” in his life.
Chapter 5: Of Shopping and Chocolate Chips
Harry takes Draco to Tesco's to shop for baking incredients and more.
This has been beta-read by katajainen, who is the bestest sister and drarry fluff enabler. Thank you for fixing my shoddy verb tense usage! *hug* All remaining mistakes are my fault.
Their effort at shopping is… interesting.
When they're finally in the store, Draco is a little like Harry when he had visited Zonko's for the first time, wide-eyed and eager in a hesitant, yet mostly non-obvious way.
Yet Draco is careful, wary, trying to blend in, as much as a Pureblood-born (and raised) wizard could fit in in a Muggle grocery store. At least Draco looks the part, even if a bit too posh for this part of Muggle London, with his slacks, sweater and coat. A coat which clashes somewhat with the rest of his clothes, not being Draco's own.
Harry doesn't wear the hand-me-downs of his childhood any longer, yet while his clothes are ones he's purchased for himself, and aren't unreasonably worn, they are nowhere near the quality of Draco's wardrobe. The sort of clothes which mark Draco as an Oxford graduate playing nice with his lower middle class boyfriend in Muggle society.
Despite that, Harry takes Draco to the nearest Tesco's, as it's the store he frequents and there isn't a Sainsbury's nearby to help Draco blend in. Also, Harry knows where everything is at Tesco's.
Draco touches everything, absolutely everything. Harry finds it a little bit adorable, if he's completely honest with himself.
He doesn't wander off, though, but keeps close to Harry. A little after they have entered the brightly lit store, the interior a stark contrast to the darkening September evening they have come in from, Draco takes hold of Harry's hand, seemingly absently, like it is something they have done a dozen times before… But only for a moment, an all too brief moment.
A few minutes in, when Harry's pushing their rapidly filling cart, Draco starts to tug at him, taking hold of his sleeve and dragging him along where he wants to go.
Which is, apparently, the cereal aisle.
'What are these?'
Draco's voice is low, not a whisper, but low enough that the other patrons won't hear them. Or if they do, they assume the low murmur is a private exchange between lovers, not intended to be heard by others.
He's gesticulating at... a box of breakfast cereal. But subtly. If any gesticulation, when conducted by Draco's elegant hands can ever be called subtle. Draco has always had a commanding presence, the way he carries himself doesn't really translate well into them not getting noticed.
'It's called "cereal", you eat it for breakfast,' Harry explains, leaning in a bit closer to Draco as he does. Only to not have to embarrass his... whatever Draco is to him now, of course. No other reason. None.
... is Draco really only his flatmate of a few hours with kissing benefits or more? Harry wants more, feels the rightness of more deep in his bones, feels it as the ache to reach and hold Draco's hand as he joins him in this exploration of things Muggle and strange. Still strange to Harry sometimes, even if he lives with one foot in both worlds. Despite his childhood he's never wanted to give up on the Muggle world, not completely, as some might think he would have had every right to do. Every reason to do. But the past is what it is, unchangeable, and one just needs to live with it.
A shining example of that maxim is walking right alongside him. The Harry of the past, the Harry of their Hogwarts years would not have thought to be in a Tesco's after tea-time in September, wanting to hold hands with Draco Malfoy. With the unexpected but not unwelcome promise of a family. As amazing and frightening and unreal as that last bit still is, Harry not quite daring to believe it fully.
Draco, whose scarred body has been under Harry's, whose body has been on top of Harry's, and whose scars Harry had traced with his tongue just months ago. Whom Harry had kissed just recently.
And Draco who's now talking to Harry in a somewhat exasperated tone of voice. Oops.
'Sorry, what?' Harry asks, shaking his head to clear it after his wool-gathering. His hand flexes on the handle of their cart, he wants to reach out, to touch.
Draco really has the most beautiful slate-grey eyes, Harry thinks, and then a box is shoved at his face.
'I asked,' Draco drawls, using his most poshest of snooty upper class accents, 'do these taste good?'
Harry looks at the box. 'Chocolate cereal?'
'I happen to like chocolate.'
And into the cart the box goes.
Draco seems to decide something between one breath and the next, looking at Harry stopped right there in the middle of the cereal and breakfast foods aisle. It’s all there on his face, the quick not-subtle once over he gives Harry. The end result is Draco slipping his arm into the crook of Harry's arm and leaning against his side.
'Weren't you going to bake me muffins?' he asks then, like nothing has happened, like he hasn't just done something that they have never ever done before, despite all they have done, all that has led to Harry becoming a father-to-be. They have never been innocently, casually intimate in public like this, the brief hand-holding earlier doesn't count. Strange it may feel but Harry loves it.
Harry nods, swallows and starts steering the cart towards the baking goods aisle. 'Yes. You had anything in particular that you'd want in them?'
Draco's hip nudges at Harry's and it feels almost lewd. 'You have to ask?' His tone is, if possible, fondly exasperated.
'Goodness, you do know me a little, then.'
I'd like to get to know you a lot, in and out of your clothes , Harry thinks but doesn't say aloud. He wants this. Draco. Them. Children. He thinks that maybe crashing home with Draco after that Ministry function had been the best thing to ever happen to him, well, one of the best things. As finding out he was a Wizard has been rather important, and Ron and Hermione, and Harry likes to think that maybe, just maybe, there are more best things to come. That best things aren’t a finite commodity.
'Do you want tea?' Harry asks in an attempt to keep those words in. It's probably too soon, never mind that Draco showed up at his doorstep not two hours ago looking tired and miserable and holding within him the future which Harry had not thought he would get this quick. This young. But it doesn't feel too soon, he just needs to not mess it up.
'Don't you have tea? I distinctly remember that we had tea. Honestly, Harry, it's a good thing I showed up when I did. The state of your kitchen, your supplies, is deplorable. How do you live?'
Dissatisfied is what Harry does not say in reply.
Living alone isn't all bad but he has a bad habit of procrastinating and taking the easy way out, especially when it comes to food. Which is a bit silly, as he does enjoy cooking, it's the only useful skill his aunt gave him, the only thing he can think to be grateful for to her, despite what she did to him growing up, or rather what she failed to do for him. Cooking and baking were the skills which served Harry best in the Dursley household and despite their origins, those practical skills are ones Harry still uses, and actually enjoys practising. Well, did. The thing is that he too often feels like he can't be bothered to cook or bake just for himself. When it had been the three of them, him and Ron and Hermione, after the War, Harry had gone all out. A remnant of those days is present as the row of cookbooks on a shelf in the kitchen. Books which see far too little use these days.
Which will be used more in the days to come, Harry already knows. He wants to see Draco's face and hear his reactions to a meal that Harry has prepared for them, for Draco.
'I have tea. Just, do you want Rooibos or white tea or something? Although this being Tesco's I can't promise anything that's up to your standards.'
Draco chuckles defeatedly. 'I don't have standards, Harry. Not any more. My father disowned me, if you already forgot. I have no money to my name.'
'You have a position at the Ministry,' Harry reminds, 'they pay you money. It's called a salary.'
'You know what I mean,' Draco huffs. 'Also, pay-day isn't until two weeks.'
'Are you telling me you don't have any savings?'
'I'm a Malfoy, Potter,' and the slip to Harry's surname doesn't promise anything good. The arm wound around Harry's tightens. 'I've never had to think about money. And I've already put some aside for… for later.'
'Not here ,' Draco says, low. 'I need chocolate.'
It's deflection and Harry really doesn't want to have this discussion beside dozens types of different flour either. So they shop.
The cart fills. Draco asks more and more, but seems abstracted. Harry carries the bags back to Grimmauld Place alone, as he refuses to give Draco anything to carry. Which makes Draco huff and cross his arms and sneer. Which feels like familiar ground. They have really only had one weekend of wild sex and a few hours of revelations Harry was in no shape or form prepared for. Familiar ground feels safe, in that respect.
Chapter 6: Of Broken Teacups and Angry Pregnant Veela
Draco is cross. Tea cups are smashed. Harry makes chocolate chips cookies and they have tea.
This is the chapter where Draco has relations with chocolate chip muffin dough. I regret nothing.
Beta'd by katajainen, who is the bestest sister and beta. *hug* Thank you, dear!
Chapters 7&8 exists as a first drafts.
Draco sits at the kitchen table while Harry unpacks the groceries, putting everything where it should be. That his pantry is once again stocked is something that gives Harry a sense of accomplishment.
'So, chocolate chip muffins?' he finally breaks the silence with.
And Draco's been. Silent. The only sounds in the kitchen for the last quarter of an hour have been the slow clinks of china as Draco has been stirring his tea rather noisily and the soft thunks and shuffles of Harry putting things into place. The clinking is almost too distinct, like Draco wants Harry to complain, ask him to stop doing so.
The spoon is set just so onto the saucer with a loud clink of china. Black family crest patterned china which Harry really should throw away but somehow hasn't managed to make himself.
It's all wrong.
Harry doesn't want to go there but sees no other option. He refuses to have Draco under his roof if they're this . And he's not even sure why Draco is so miffed to begin with. But Draco is seriously cross.
And gives Harry an incentive to start getting rid of the horrid heirloom china by throwing his cup clear across the room. It smashes against a cupboard door with a satisfying crash, tea dribbling down the wood as the pieces fall down onto the stone floor.
Draco is staring at his hand, the one which threw the cup, the fingers of which are shaking a little.
Harry approaches cautiously, casting Draco into the role of a skittish animal, a scared thing which might run at the sight of danger. Which Harry is, now.
'The fuck have I done, Potter?' Draco rakes his hands, lovely long fingers shaking minutely, through his blonde hair, perfect coiffure long gone, since he had first come through Harry's door tonight. 'The fuck have I done? Fuck Salazar.'
'Throw the saucer too, if it makes you feel better,' Harry offers, closer now but keeping his distance.
'WHAT?' Draco's words are all flat monotone, barely any inflection at all.
'I've been meaning to get rid of those nasty things anyway, sooner or later, Sirius would have hated me keeping them for this long.'
'Potter. .. '
'Throw it, MALFOY.'
“Clirr” goes the saucer, shards joining the smashed cup on the stone floor. Harry flexes his wool-socked toes a bit anxiously, hoping he won't step on any errant shards strewn about. He bypasses Draco and goes to his china cupboard, takes two cups out and offers them to Draco. Who looks down at them after having taken hold almost instinctually, then looks up at Harry. His eyes are wide.
After about five minutes, during which Draco goes through both Harry's tea set and coffee set, Draco flops back into his chair, hands in his lap.
'Better?' Harry asks, looking at the shards liberally littering the floor. He'd had fun, actually, watching Draco throw them with such wild abandon. He's happy he's a wizard too, as it makes the clean-up just a matter of flicking a wand, which animates the dustpan and broom into clearing the mess up, although he waits for Draco's answer.
Then Harry's arms are full of a slim and tired Draco, who's clinging to him like he's the only real thing in the world.
'Thank you,' Draco whispers into the space between their lips before he kisses him. It's an honest kiss. Just Draco, nothing of the veela in it. Though the veela in Draco is still Draco and...
It's a good kiss, even born out of desperation as it is.
Harry kisses back, as gently as he knows how, wanting to be desperate but sure that desperation isn't what Draco really needs right now. He whispers a wandless spell to finish cleaning up the floor of any spilled tea, wishing he could put Draco back together as easily. He knows that there must be a story in Draco that he won't want to tell but which he needs to. Harry himself knows what keeping things in can do to one’s nerves.
Even if the upheaval of one's whole life is explanation enough for an emotional outburst.
'You still want those muffins?' he asks, when they are just holding onto one another and are not kissing any more. Though Harry really wants to kiss more, yet Draco feels too tired to go on kissing. Chocolate really helps, too, and for other things besides Dementors.
Draco gifts him with a smile, or at least it sounds like he's smiling, as he's still leaning onto Harry's shoulder, hands grasping at the cloth of his shirt tightly. 'Yes.'
Harry draws the line at Draco wanting to lick the spoon, with which Harry has been stirring the batter with, clean. 'It can't be good for you! Think of the raw eggs!'
'But Harryyy...' Draco winds his hands around Harry's waist, grasping for the spoon, 'I want it. I'm having your baby, you'd deny me this???'
Harry evades him but barely. 'You can eat them when they've baked. Think of the gooey chocolaty goodness melting on your tongue...'
Draco sags against him in an unfair diversionary tactic, snatches the illicit spoon and gives it a long graphic swipe with his tongue coupled with a debauched moan.
Harry is going to die. Or jump Draco.
Draco sounds like he's coming, like it is him that's being licked, that it's him licking something besides a spoon. Like he's licking Harry. Who feels decidedly tight inside his trousers. He wants to lick that errant glob of dough from the corner of Draco's grinning mouth, replace it with slow little licks with his own tongue, taste the chocolate on his lips, slip between Draco's invitingly spread legs and just have him there where he's perching on the counter, alluring as ever.
And why should Harry not jump Draco?
It would not be their first time. Draco has the growing proof of their weekend inside of him. Harry knows Draco's moans, the pale planes of his body, the tremble of his limbs and sighs he makes when Harry has his head between his spread thighs. Harry wants to drop down onto his knees now, unzip Draco and see if he really has something other than just chocolate to moan about, give him something else than that to moan about if it's so.
But even though Draco's sitting there all provocative invitation, a definite bulge straining the fabric of his slacks, he's also an emotionally fragile young man whose father threw him out simply because of their weekend together. Of what came of it, what will come of it.
It gives Harry pause.
He has knocked Draco up. Draco has suffered the brunt of it, as his father doesn't approve of Harry. It was not planned. This pregnancy, although not unwelcome to either of them, had changed Draco's life more already than it had Harry's. If Harry wanted something more than simply sex he might need to not listen to his libido (no matter how delicious and right Draco looks perched on the very same counter he had fucked Harry on) and try and build something not just based on sex with Draco. Draco has some financial issues and despite their history, most recent not included, Draco had sought out Harry for shelter and not gone to a friends, who most likely would have taken him in but...
Draco is pregnant to Harry . He is having Harry's babies. His family had been on the opposing side to Harry's during two wizarding wars. Most of Draco's friends didn't like Harry, even if they were borderline polite when Harry met them at work. It is highly unlikely that any of them would have welcomed Draco into their homes with open arms or, at least, without giving him a hard time over him having let Harry knock him up.
So Harry owes it to Draco to not follow his cock but his brain and not just indulge in his base desires. Well, those to do with sex. Kissing is fine as are snuggles and cuddles. Starved for human touch as he has been, Harry has a whole childhood's worth of missed hugs to make up for and Draco really genuinely seems to need a lot of them. Hugging Draco is not a hardship.
'Fine, get salmonella...' he finally manages to say, wrenching his eyes away from Draco's blatant invitation.
There's a choked sound from behind him, but when he looks, Draco's not looking at him but is involved with the wooden spoon, cleaning the last traces of dough from it. His shoulders are hunched.
A knot forms in Harry's stomach. He does not want to think what comes first to his mind and it makes him ache. Because of what it implies of Draco's view of him, and the way he had used his veela charms on him earlier before they'd gone shopping. It also makes him gladder of not having given in to Draco and his viles just now.
They're saved, or derailed, from an awkward interaction by the minute roar of the dragon-shaped kitchen timer. Draco visibly perks up as Harry pulls the muffin's from the oven and puts the tray of steaming hot chocolaty goodness onto the big table over some potholders.
'Wait until I've made us a brew, they're hot,' he warns and sees Draco's slim pale fingers draw back where they had been itching to snatch a muffin to stuff his face with.
'Is there any chance for a glass of milk? I like my chocolate with milk.'
'Yes. But I'm making myself a cuppa, do you have any preference?'
'Whatever you're having is fine.'
Harry makes the tea the slow muggle way, he's discovered that the leaves somehow don't steep properly when you magic the tea into existence. And the whole process is calming done the mundane way.
Draco is silent and it feels awkward. Harry piles somewhat cooled muffins onto a plate, ignoring that Draco snatches one from right under his nose, and then... stops.
'I'm not sure I actually have any tea cups left,' he realizes aloud.
'You TOLD me to break them!'
'I'm not accusing you. Just wondering aloud where we'll drink tea from!'
The crisis is averted as Draco flicks a wand at the shards still in the dustpan, transforming them into a pair of green cups complete with saucers. Not Slytherin green but a nice foresty green, the pale vivid shade of leaves backlit by sunlight, each with a delicate floral pattern at the rim. Harry marvels at them, Draco really has the gift of design.
'These are wonderful, thank you, Draco.'
Draco ducks his head, clearly pleased. He definitely has a need to please, to earn his keep. Better it be this way, giving Harry household niceties than the other way, however pleasing that would be. Not that Draco needs to earn his keep, as Harry is nowhere near kicking him out.
They make their way into the sitting room, Harry settling the tray laden with muffins, cups, tea (he needs to remember to ask Draco to smash the Black crested china pot), spoons, plates and a glass of milk for Draco.
Draco thankfully doesn't moan pornographically when he bites into his second muffin, but groans with appreciation in an entirely normal fashion, which still makes Harry tight in his trousers. He's happy for his long pullover which covers... things.
He soon starts on a third, glancing at Harry before his third bite. 'See, this is much better than that cake from before.'
'Are you complimenting me on my baking skills?' Harry asks shyly, hiding his face behind his cup and taking a far too quick gulp of far too hot tea, choking a little as it scalds his throat.
'Maybe,' Draco stops further words with the rest of the muffin.
Harry has to admit that the muffins are good, very good in fact. Delicious even.
He tries to keep his distance, but Draco makes his way onto the worn old couch right beside him thigh to thigh after his third muffin. Draco's warming his fingers around a steaming cup of tea, a cup he has fashioned. For Harry.
Harry can't help himself, but winds an arm around Draco, letting him settle against his side, a warmth that Harry's really not felt before filling his chest. Not with someone he cares this much, not with someone he cares for in this way. In this dangerous way where he needs to think before acting so he won't break Draco more than he's already been broken.
He'll never break Draco if he can help it.
'I had nowhere else to go,' Draco admits what Harry's suspected. 'Because of you. Because I wanted you.'
Don't make me doubt my choice. I'm trusting that we can make this right, that we can look beyond our past . That’s what he's not saying, Harry thinks. He wants to go back to that sharp-faced boy and befriend him. Save Draco from becoming the boy who made all the wrong choices. Save himself from making all the wrong choices. Undo the scars on Draco's chest. Scars he, Harry, put there because he was young and stupid and angry.
Now he's older and he needs to be wiser, needs to be better. For the future they've made together. For Draco.
He doesn’t say any of that aloud, only gives in to temptation and strokes Draco’s hair and smiles when Draco starts to snore against his side.
Chapter 7: Of Baths, Beds and Cucumber Sandwiches
Harry has to face the dilemma of a sleeping Draco Malfoy on his couch, sort out a bed and a bath, and deal with some problems which arise.
nitpickedbeta'd by the incomparable katajainen, the best sister a girl can have. I'm much obliged to you for all the help, dear! *hugs*
Parts of this chapter have been inspired by the awesomeness that is House Proud by astolat. I urge everyone to go read it.
At this point I can promise (as the next chapter, which was originally supposed to be chapter eight, has been partially written) that chapter eight takes place on a different day than the first seven. Woot!
Eventually, Harry has to concede that he needs to wake Draco, that he can’t let him sleep on the sofa, even if he wasn’t… pregnant. Harry himself has spent more than enough nights not sleeping in a bed, well, in a proper bed , to make him loathe the thought of anyone sleeping through the night anywhere else but in a bed with pillows and blankets providing a good sleeping position and warmth, if there is a bed at hand. And he’s fallen asleep on that sofa enough times to know that it’ll end up killing Draco’s neck come morning.
With a full-body sigh Harry takes a last long look at Draco, looking so vulnerable asleep, when he’s unguarded, not wearing a mask. Even if he thinks that he’s seen more of the real Draco ever since their tryst than what he thinks possibly anyone has. Except maybe the Malfoys themselves, but Harry is not thinking about them now, for Lucius threw Draco out and Narcissa is still an unknown quantity.
He’s gentle when he nudges at Draco’s side, turns around to shake him a little. The movement makes Draco’s head on his shoulder shift, so he’s breathing against Harry’s neck and that is not fair at all.
Nothing’s happening tonight, Harry tells himself firmly. He will put Draco to bed, put himself to bed, sleep, wake up tomorrow morning and go from there.
‘Hey,’ he says, gently, as Draco grumbles sleepily and buries his face into Harry’s neck, hand coming up to cling to his sweater, fingers taking firm hold of the knit, ‘hey, Draco, wake up, you can’t sleep on the sofa.’
‘Whyyyyy?’ Draco whines in response.
‘Because you’ll get a crick in your neck and hate me for it tomorrow.’
Draco harrumphs. It shouldn’t be endearing, but is.
‘The bed in the guest room is nice and soft,’ Harry cajoles. ‘Warm.’
‘Warm here,’ Draco counters, pressing himself more firmly against Harry’s side, his breath on Harry’s neck eroding his decision to not get handsy, as Draco is clearly comfortable in Harry’s presence. He clearly would not mind.
Yet Harry has to rise above his primal urges. Draco needs sleep in a real bed. Harry needs sleep in a real bed. Everything will make more sense the next day. ‘Bed’s comfier.’
‘Want a bath,’ Draco announces, but makes no effort to distance himself from Harry’s side.
Harry sighs. But he can’t say no. In fact, it will give him time to set up the guest bed, he can’t remember when the sheets had last been changed. He thinks it’s probably best if he doesn’t mention that the room he’ll be putting Draco in is the room Hermione and Ron stayed in when they had all lived together, when it wasn’t just Harry rattling around alone in here. There had been other bedrooms in the house, but they had all preferred to sleep close to each other, even given the occasional awkwardness. Luckily, Harry had gotten really good at casting silencing charms when Hermione forgot. She never would set up a permanent one on the door, telling him: “But then how will we come to you if you have a nightmare and we can’t hear you ?” It had been a valid point. Harry had not argued after that.
‘Fine,’ Harry says, shaking himself out of reminiscence and into the present, ‘but you’ll need to get up for that.’
‘I will if you kiss me.
Harry does. It’s just a kiss. And Draco asks so nicely.
Draco sags against his side a bit when they get up, grabbing at Harry’s arms. ‘Headrush,’ he says.
Harry knows all about headrushes brought on by low blood sugar. That they had been a normal part of his childhood… Well, there was a reason he’d been in such awe at the first meal he ever ate at Hogwarts. ‘You need something to eat?’
Draco shakes his head. ‘Bath first. Then maybe something, I’m not queasy, just a bit floaty.’
Harry likes his honesty, he really does, but there’s stupid stubbornness and then there’s Draco Malfoy. ‘Can I trust you to not drown in the tub?’
‘Why? Isn’t it big enough for two? I seem to recall it being so. You can come and wash my back?’ The words are a tease and wouldn’t be anything they have not done, but the last time… well, Harry has wanted for the last time to not have been the last time yet he can’t make himself indulge Draco when he himself is in this confused state of mind.
‘Fiiiiine, make me a sandwich first, then. But then I’m definitely having a bath.’
Draco sits in his chair, legs up and arms wrapped around them, and watches Harry make sandwiches. It makes the back of Harry’s neck itch but he supposes he’ll get used to it eventually. It feels so strange, still, to have Draco in his space like this, when they’re not half drunk with any thought of responsibility long gone.
Harry makes Draco two sandwiches with cheese, turkey slices and cucumber.
The silence between them is comfortable, stemming more out of tiredness than a lack of things to say, or of evasion. Yet, as his hands are busy, Ha , a thought occurs to him.
‘Are you going to work tomorrow?’ he asks, turning to look at Draco.
Draco looks away, his shoulders hunched. ‘I’m not. I have sick days Ieft still, might as well have a long weekend. My Father… he’ll not talk. He will try and keep this silent as long as he can.’
Harry stares. ‘But…’
Draco looks at him, hard, slate grey eyes glinting. His hands are shaking a little as he wraps them tighter around his knees. ‘He still thinks that I will eventually “come to my senses”. He thinks that, after I’ve thought this over properly I will…’ Draco’s voice falters, sticks in his throat.
Harry doesn’t want to hear what Draco had been about to say. ‘You don’t mean…’ He turns around to face Draco, giving him his full attention. Can’t slice more cucumber anyway, he’d slice his fingers clean off if he tried while Draco sounds so angry-sad. ‘Draco…’
‘I do,’ Draco says, clipped, furious, pale face grim, yet his eyes are shining. ‘My father thinks, not that he put it into so many words, that it would be best if my “little inconvenience ”,’ he spits the words out like they’re poison, ‘simply went away.’
There are no words Harry can say to that. He lets his feet carry him to Draco, and wraps his arms around him, feeling hunched shoulders relax under his touch. ‘No,’ Harry says. ‘No. This might not have been planned but… I’d never ask that of you .’
Draco’s hands are hesitant when he touches Harry, the hug a little awkward with Draco sitting as he is. ‘I know.’ It’s an affirmation. Harry had not thought that Draco would ever have… but it makes him happy to hear it in any case. They stay like that, Harry’s arms around Draco’s shoulders, Draco’s face pressed against his front a little above his waist, hands grasping, until Draco lets go.
‘Sandwiches?’ Harry asks, fighting the urge to cup Draco’s face in his hands and kiss him gently. They’re… whatever they were on that one debauched weekend this past summer June , there are months between then and now. They can’t just jump right back in and make something that’ll last, Harry thinks. Even with all Draco’s efforts to have his way with Harry.
Draco sighs and unfolds his legs, stretching them out a bit. He still looks tired even after his post-tea time nap. ‘Yes.’
‘Do you want more tea?’
‘No. Water’s fine.’
They eat without talking. Harry doesn’t know what Draco’s revelation will mean for them, exactly, but it’s good that Draco told him. But he does know one thing. He will never ever let Lucius Malfoy near his child. Draco hasn’t said anything about his mother and Harry doesn’t want to push. Would she have wanted… Harry can ask later. She might not even know about Draco’s pregnancy. Harry had a feeling she might not disapprove, especially since it seemed that Draco’s veela-blood came from her, not the pretentious judgemental prick whom most referred to as Lucius Malfoy.
Harry can’t stop stealing glances at Draco, dying to ask, but knowing he can’t pry more right now. Draco is tired. Drooping. ‘I’ll go and run that bath for you.’
Draco looks up and smiles at him, tired and yawning a bit. ‘That’d be nice. Thanks.’
Harry trudges up the stairs, past his own bedroom and the guest-room. The bathroom is small but tidy and still has a clawed bath-tub that actually can fit two grown men, as Harry well remembers. He leaves the water running into the tub from the tap shaped like a dragon’s head, the tub itself fashioned to have a scaly surface on the outside, and goes to the linen closet in the hall for towels. Coming back, he almost trips over Draco’s trunk in the hall. He flicks his wand and the trunk hovers on its own into the guest-room. He’ll need to change the sheets and decides to do it now rather than wait for later.
He lets the bed strip itself on its own, but puts in the fresh linens himself, letting the mundane act calm his nerves. Because downstairs waits a sleepy Draco Malfoy who might just be Harry’s future. Who Harry wants as his future. Him. And the… Harry plumps the pillow in his arms vigorously because thinking about that only leads to nerves. He finds himself almost not quite believing it, even with how sincere Draco has sounded. Partly it is because he wants it to be real, yet can’t quite dare hope.
… because family dies.
Draco has laid his head down over his folded arms on the kitchen table and is asleep by the time Harry makes it downstairs. He stops in the doorway, sighing, coming to the realization that he’ll need to keep Draco company as he bathes just to make sure he doesn’t drown in the bath. (Not that Harry’s bathtub would let that happen, but he doesn’t trust it with Draco’s safety.)
Draco is a bit grumpy upon awakening but lets Harry guide him upstairs and into the bathroom with the waiting bath.
Harry averts his eyes as Draco undresses, even when it’s not something he would see for the first time.
The water sloshes a little and Draco lets out a contented sigh as he sinks into the warm water. ‘You can look now,’ he tells Harry soon enough.
His eyes are too close to bedroom-eyes as Harry meets them.
Neither of them says anything for a moment. Harry sits on the floor across from the tub, leaning onto the wall, and fidgets. The air is humid and fragrant. Harry can only see Draco from the shoulders up.
‘So,’ Draco says, ‘to what do I owe this guard-duty?’ His words are chased by a yawn.
‘Just that,’ Harry says. ‘I can’t have you falling asleep and drowning.’
‘Talk to me, then, keep me awake.’
Preoccupied as he is by thoughts of family, with the keen ache that they might be able to make something lasting out of all of this, Harry’s words aren’t a surprise. ‘How do you think your mother will react?’
Draco chuckles in amusement. ‘She’ll most likely threaten to eviscerate my father for throwing me out. Metaphorically, of course. Most likely only metaphorically.’
‘Harry, my father threw me out with her grandchildre n, insinuating that it would be best that there would not be any grand-children by you. What do you think?’
Harry, for his part, doesn’t really have anything to say to that. The day has already felt so long, even before the moment that Draco arrived on his doorstep, shivering and with impossible news. Harry finds no great joy in the idea of having to go to work the following day. Thank goodness it’s already Thursday evening now. Only one day until the weekend. Harry has a sudden urge to follow Draco’s example and just call in sick when morning comes.
They fall into a somewhat comfortable silence after that, neither of them seemingly wanting to pick up the conversation again, even if it were for lighter topics.
When Harry finally escorts Draco into the guest room, the whole room has been thrown into chaos. The bed has seemingly spat its linens out: one pillowcase hanging from the ceiling fixture, the mattress stripped with the sheet strangled around itself, the blanket half across the bed and half on the floor. Draco’s trunk, which had been sitting neatly and closed at the end of the bed when Harry had left the room, is open with its contents scattered about the room: clothes, books, balls of yarn, loose papers and other small items spread everywhere.
Draco stiffens against Harry’s side. The taste of his discontent is tangible in the air. An irate Draco Malfoy is never a good thing. ‘The fuck did you do?’ His voice is laced with weary disappointment spiced with a simmering anger.
‘I changed the sheets, that’s all!’ Harry tries to explain, feeling a pang in his heart as Draco draws away from him, looking at his wordly possessions, which are not few, displayed all about the room. ‘And your trunk was closed when I left the room!’ he gestures, still taking in the chaos, ‘I wouldn’t!’
Draco seems to deflate. ‘It’s fine,’ he opines, adding ‘leave it, I’ll rather sort it all out myself,’ as Harry’s beginning to put the room to rights.
And it’s suddenly awkward now. Draco doesn’t look at Harry as he allows Harry to put the bed into order and straighten the fallen bedside lamp. Or that’s what Harry thinks he does, all he can hear is the indolent rustle of silk against skin as Draco slips into his nightwear.
Having thought it over while his hands were busy, Harry looks around the room sternly when he’s finished, rousing an almost smirk from Draco as their eyes meet briefly. ‘Draco Malfoy is a guest in this house, and this is not a way a guest should be treated!’ The room seems to shrink on itself a bit, the pillows meekly puffing themselves up and the bedside lamp adjusting itself to a proper late-evening reading level.
‘Well, you showed it who’s in charge, didn’t you?’ Draco remarks.
‘It’s never done that before. You sure you’ll be able to sort this out?’ Harry asks, fully willing to help even when it’s late and he has an early start. If he goes in, that is. Not going into work seems more and more appealing by the minute.
‘I would prefer sorting my things out by myself, but thank you for the offer.’
‘Well, goodnight then.’ Harry starts dragging his uncooperative legs towards the door and only barely keeps ‘come sleep in my bed instead’ behind his teeth.
Linens rustle as Draco slips into bed. ‘Goodnight.’
Across the hall, two closed doors between them, Harry goes to bed and lies awake for the longest time, thinking about how complicated his life has become now and what else might change now he’s realized how unhappy he has been before.
He dreams of holding Draco in his arms.
Chapter 8: Chicken-soup for the Falsely Ailing
Harry wakes up and finds his morning progressing not quite how he expected.
Chapter beta-read, again, by the incomparable katajainen, the best sister a girl can have. Thank you so much, sis! All remaining mistakes are my own.
There is at least one chapter more coming before the end of the year (I hope), maybe two.
Harry wakes up slowly, feeling warm and content. Happy. That makes him frown, for happy isn’t what he feels in the morning, not usually. His arm is around someone, the warmth of another body is pressed against his side, someone is snuggling him. It’s too perfect to be real.
Harry opens his eyes.
‘Morning, Harry,’ Draco half says, half yawns from right beside him, like a dream come true.
Harry yelps, flounders, and falls onto the floor in a tangle of sheets.
One fit of giggles later, Draco peers over the edge of the bed. His face is still spread in a grin and he hasn’t quite reined in his hilarity as he looks down at Harry. ‘One would think that the mere sight of my face first thing in the morning ought not to be such a shock, given the circumstances.’
Harry scowls, still twisted in the sheets, his knee smarting where he banged it against the bed-frame. There is no graceful and painless way to fall out of a bed. ‘Well, you weren’t there with me when I went to bed last night! You were in the guest room! Excuse me for being startled!’
He’s shrill and over-reacting but doesn’t much care. His head hurts. Did he hit it on something?
Draco leans closer, showing pale skinny shoulders where his torso is propped on the edge of the bed. He doesn’t quite look Harry in the eye. ‘I was... lonely.’
‘You were lonely .’
‘Well, and the sheets kept coming unmoored and the bedcovers… is your house jealous of me or something? In any case what you said last night did not help that much in hindsight.’
Harry has to give Draco that and can’t but grin at the mental image, even if it must have not been a delightful experience for Draco. He has to wonder, though, as the house had no trouble with Ron and Hermione sharing the room across the corridor. Why is it so intent on pestering Draco? The cold floor under him isn’t conducive to deep deliberation and while Harry feels rested he also feels exhausted at the mere idea of having to go to work… and leaving Draco behind. Poor displaced Draco, whose life has been rooted up just because of the unintended, though not unwanted, results of a few days of fun. Harry owes it to him to help.
Harry decides that his modesty has come and gone long ago, as has dignity, and pushes himself up from the floor with no thought for Draco’s sensibilities.
Not like it’s anything Draco hasn’t already seen.
Harry really needs to think about something else before his body makes the situation any more embarrassing.
‘You were lonely ?’ he repeats his question, as Draco hasn’t answered, but he modulates his tone so he doesn’t sound strident, merely curious. He thinks he manages it well enough, even when it’s not perfect.
Draco’s now lying back on the bed, all of his pale limbs spread out, too much skin on display for Harry’s peace of mind. Harry’s eyes focus on Draco’s middle, trying to discern roundness there.
Roundness which isn’t there. Not quite.
A hand splays over the pale skin of Draco’ middle.‘I’m not really showing yet.’
Harry’s eyes flit up to Draco’s. ‘I wasn’t…’
Draco looks away, pulling at the blanket remaining on the bed to cover himself where he’d just been so shamelessly bare ‘Of course not.’ He sounds flat.
That tugs at Harry. Makes something inside him ache furiously.
Draco covering himself. Like he’s ashamed. Shy. The Draco in Harry’s bed those perfect June days had been anything besides shy.
But now, knowing that Draco is a veela, Harry’s left wondering if even that had been real. How much could a veela hide their nature. Their powers? How much of it is even conscious and how much out of Draco’s control.
Yet this Draco, in the now, this withdrawn and thin and tired Draco is…
Harry has to think that he’s real, for he can’t not to.
The crying and groaning Draco in that bathroom years ago had been real. And Harry had kissed scar-covered pale skin that weekend in June, only months ago. “We all have scars,” Draco had told him then, fingers skating over Harry’s. “Such is life. Now kiss me… Harry.”
Harry sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. He turns and walks over to the big bulky armchair in the corner, which doubles as a wardrobe, picking up a pair of trousers. ‘I’ll go and make breakfast, shall I?’
Draco says nothing and Harry doesn’t turn to look before he leaves the room, dressed, because he isn’t sure he’d be able to leave if he did.
Breakfast is… different.
It’s been a while since Harry last ate breakfast with anyone. It had actually been with Draco that last time, which is…
But last time had been still half-drunk on firewhiskey and sex, all intent looks and a slow fuck over the table at the end, hadn’t it?
This isn’t that.
It’s awkward, that’s what it is.
Not the cooking of said breakfast, that actually helps. Harry really enjoys preparing food for someone who genuinely enjoys it. And who looks like they could use some more meat on their bones. Harry’d seen Draco draped over the bed before he’d looked away, and he had looked skinnier than Harry remembered from the summer. Harry strives to make everything extra-tasty, knowing Draco will appreciate the gesture.
And Draco really does. He falls upon the food with relish, willing to taste everything that Harry might think to put in front of him.
Harry’s glad they had stocked up the day before as his larder is under attack.
Draco devours eggs, ham and toast with the appetite of a starving man… or a pregnant one.
Harry wants to ask about his thinness. Is there a dark secret behind it? Has Draco been starved? Can he even ask? They are not in a couple. Yet.
‘Morning sickness from the underworld, before you come up with a ludicrous reason or another,’ Draco tells him between bites, having noticed his staring.
‘What?’ Harry asks, cup of tea half-way up to his hanging-open mouth.
‘I’ve not been able to keep much down,’ Draco elaborates, ‘and the common remedies have not helped much.’
‘For morning sickness. Salazar, you do know something about pregnancy in general, do you not?’
Harry ducks his head. He really doesn’t. ‘Not much.’
‘Well, morning sickness isn’t really the case with me, more like midday sickness. Also, do not bring pickles within ten feet of me.’ He looks faintly disgusted even as he says it.
‘Noted. Anything else?’ Harry feels like he ought to be making a list and scrounges up a spare scrap of parchment from under the pile of Prophet’ s on the table and Accio’s a pen from the counter.
It makes Draco smile. After he has raised his eyebrows at Harry, a hint of the Malfoy of old in the gesture. ‘Well, anything with...
Harry decides not to take his chances and owls the Auror department instead of a firecall to call in sick. He still thinks that someone will undoubtedly suspect his actual sick state, as he hardly ever takes a day off, actually enjoying a rather robust general health, yet…
He cannot leave Draco alone today, and does not feel at all that he is in a state of mind for work, would not have been able to concentrate on anything anyway, had he gone to the office. And anyone there would have been able to tell that something had happened, that his life had shifted and future is now something precious and unpredictable, that Draco is more than just a one-night-stand. And, his work being what it is, office hours are mostly a fiction and he may have ended up coming home on Saturday at 6am after chasing the remnants of still hiding Death Eaters.
Harry cleans up in the kitchen as Draco goes back upstairs to dress properly, as he had only been wearing a borrowed dressing gown. Being elbow-deep in sudsy water with a wash-rag in his hands is a comfort in its mundanity. For all his years in the magical world, Harry often enough seeks solace in doing things the Muggle way. Magic is an easy fix and could become a crutch, if he let it. Despite everything he isn’t sure he’ll ever immerse his life with magic fully. Magic is unpredictable and Harry still doesn’t know everything about the magical world, the revelations of last night had been a clear proof of that.
‘What the fuck am I doing?’
The words echo in the empty kitchen as Harry stares down into the sudsy water, a teacup in his hand. The drying rack is half-filled already with their breakfast dishes, dripping softly onto the countertop. This would work better with two people, one drying and setting the dishes onto the rack. And that, that is such a domestic image, because the one drying in it is Draco, looking at him with a long-suffering expression on his face and a teasing mock-serious complaint on his lips about “house-elf work.” There aren’t children in that fleeting daydream because, despite everything, Harry cannot quite picture them yet, cannot see his future that far. Even if, come spring… Come spring nothing will ever be the same again, even more permanently, more tangibly, than now.
Harry wishes that he had asked Draco if there was a spell to show, show what is inside, to give a visual to go with the words. Yet he cannot ask it now, because of what he has already said, the way he has upset Draco enough. He has a vague idea that Draco is seeing a healer for the pregnancy and that he might go and then…
And of course, of course those words had not been said to an empty kitchen.
‘Are you asking me?’ Draco asks and Harry almost drops the tea-cup into the water to break against the bottom of the porcelain sink.
Harry turns towards the door, where Draco stands, clothed for the day in jeans and the green jumper from yesterday, wool socked feet a final flourish. His arms are crossed across his chest and he seems to be waiting. Harry meets his eyes and Draco looks away. Harry turns his back. ‘Was talking to myself.’
He puts away the tea-cup. Pulls the plug from the sink. Dries his hands on a checkered tea-towel, which he then hangs back in its place.
‘Let’s go into the sitting room,’ he says, finally turning away from the sink.
Draco looks at him, assessing, defensive. But he follows after Harry, even if he doesn’t deign to move away from the doorway much, forcing Harry to squeeze through the space left for him. Harry does not press closer to him.
In the sitting room Draco drapes himself over Harry’s armchair again and a memory flashes in Harry’s mind once more, of a day which started this all, which was much more simpler than this. He paces the floor for a bit, wringing his hands. He has never had a relationship which started this way, has never stood to be left with so little if this fails, even when he thinks that he knows, based on Draco’s words, that Draco would never keep their children from him. But Harry is greedy, he wants all of them. Draco and the children. His family. He wants to make it work, but at the same time… Draco must have known about this longer than only from yesterday, his comments about food to be avoided confirm it.
‘Why didn’t you tell me sooner?’ is not what Harry had meant to say at first, at least in such a hostile tone, accusing, confrontational. He wishes he knew how to reign in his temper better. But his temper has never been so good when Draco is concerned, has it?
Draco doesn’t look at him. He runs fingers through his over-grown hair, the product-free style suits him and Harry has to stop staring at how good it suits Draco. He bites his lower lip and Harry can’t tell if it’s intentional or habit. ‘I panicked.’
‘How long have you been sure?’
Draco looks at him. ‘A week. I took a test, or a few, a week ago.’ Draco draws his legs up and fiddles with the hem of his jumper. ‘But there were… things. I didn’t want to admit it. My father… ’ He trails off. Something in his eyes dims just before he looks away from Harry again. He looks very small curled up in on himself like he is. It makes Harry want to wrap him up in a blanket and his arms and never let go.
Yet, Harry cannot stop pacing. A week isn’t bad. He can imagine that finding out about being pregnant is world-shifting, even if you know you have the ability to become pregnant, especially if you had taken precautions.
‘I’m sorry about your father,’ Harry offers, knowing that Draco loved his father once. It must be so much harder to be disappointed in your father when you actually knew him, he thinks.
‘Well,’ Draco scoffs and there is a light in those eyes as he looks at Harry, that old Malfoy gleam, ‘I always knew he was a bigoted, blood purity driven bastard.’ Draco doesn’t raise his voice, but he doesn’t need to, his tone says all and his expression underlines it, ‘it only took him this long to prove that he cares more about that, than about my happiness and what I want of my life.’ His hand comes up to cover the bruise on his cheek, wincing a little at the contact.
Harry stops pacing. ‘Do you want me to fix it for you?’ Why Draco himself hasn’t yet is a bit of a mystery to him still.
‘No. It’s my proof.’
‘Who for? You know I believe everything you said about your father.’
Draco’s voice is cold. ‘ I have no father . Not after I spent weeks deluding myself about the state of my own body, all because I was not certain of what he might demand of me. Because I was scared.’ He rakes his hands through his hair again. ‘That I was proven right…’ He indicates the bruise. ‘This is for the benefit of others who might ask and not take me on my word.’
‘I’ll back you up, you know that.’ And he will. Harry has taken Draco at his word and will not take it back. If he starts doubting Draco now… that is no basis for a good relationship.
A small smile graces Draco’s lips and gives Harry hope. In this, at least, they are working together. ‘Thank you,’ Draco says. ‘And for letting me stay.’
Harry doesn’t think he’s deluding himself of there being hope in those words.
He kneels by Draco’s chair and looks at him, searching his face. ‘You can stay for as long as you want. But some people won’t approve. Do you think you want to handle that?’
Draco leans closer. ‘Don’t you get it, you’re it for me ?’ His hands grasp at the front of Harry’s jumper, fingers twisting the knit material. He’s close enough to kiss, if one of them just leaned in closer.
‘We had one weekend together! How can you know we’ll fit after just that?’
And no, Harry doesn’t want to be this person saying these things. He doesn’t want to make Draco doubt, too. He wants to tell Draco that of course, of course they’ll be together, that it’s the most natural thing now. It’s fear behind those words. Fear of loss. Because he’s lost too much already.
‘Don’t say things you don’t mean…’ Draco says, ‘not you. It’s always been there. It wasn’t just that weekend and you don’t want it to have been just that any more than I do.’ There’s more than a hint of desperate defiance in his voice, his expression. ‘We can make this happen,’ he says, ‘if we want it enough.’
Harry looks at Draco, hands cupping his face, and closes the distance.
And there they are, mid-kiss, when Molly Weasley appears into the doorway of the sitting room. Her appearance alone isn’t enough to alert them, but her gasped ‘Harry!’ is enough to draw Harry and Draco apart.
Harry turns to her, face heating. This is not the way he would have preferred for her to find out. Molly doesn’t even know of their weekend, unless those in the know have told her, which Harry doubts. Yet here she is now, face a little soot-smeared from the floo, all motherly warmth in her cardigan, a basket on her arm, motherly despite her looking vaguely alarmed, her practised mother’s eye assessing Harry’s story about a cold as a lie in a mere glance, after which her eyes land on Draco, hardening a bit. Draco draws away from Harry’s arms and stands apart from him, pale and waiting for the axe to fall.
‘Harry, dear, you are fibbing,’ Molly finally declares, ‘Ron told me you were sick, so I brought you some chicken soup and came to see if you needed anything else. And here…’
Draco is staring at her, he looks like he forgot who Harry’s family are.
‘Molly…’ Harry begins, but she’s quicker and has him out of the room before he can protest.
‘Let’s go make some tea for your guest , Harry-dear,’ Molly raises her voice as she drags Harry down the corridor, Harry only managing a glimpse of a slumped down Draco still standing in the sitting room where they had kissed.
‘Molly, I really…’
‘Now, Harry, you need to explain what just happened.’
Harry feels himself blanch, as he isn’t sure how much she had seen or heard . ‘How much did you hear?’ he asks as Molly pushes him down onto one of the chairs in the kitchen and actually goes about bustling with the kettle, setting her basket onto the table, right over Harry’s list. Harry daren’t move it.
There’s an unfamiliar silence between them as the kettle fills and is then plonked down onto the stove to boil after the fire has been flicked to life with practised ease. Molly is not facing him as she asks. Demands, being more accurate. ‘Tell me. I want to hear you say it to me. Why...’
There’s a smothered, choked gasp. The house creaks. Harry doesn’t know what else to say or do. This is the woman who raised him, she is the closest thing Harry has known to a mother, who showed him what a mother’s love can be, throwing Harry’s early childhood into darker shadows. Yet, left alone in the living room is Draco…
‘But... Harry, you cannot really… ’ and now Molly turns, looking at him with shock. ‘You surely couldn’t have planned… are you absolutely sure?’
Harry sighs and rubs at the bridge of his nose. ‘ Draco is . I didn’t even know wizards could get pregnant. But I... I can’t walk away from this. Them.’
‘He’s not trapping me.’ The cupboard doors rattle a little and Harry takes a calming breath. ‘We were careful and I didn’t even think it was a possibility.’ He looks at her, pleading. ‘His own father kicked him out! What was I supposed to do?’
Molly looks at him almost uncomprehending at first. ‘His own father? Well, he never I did put family first, not when it mattered.’
‘He’s a right old bastard,’ Harry snarls.
‘Couldn’t agree more, Harry-dear. But… are you sure about this? Him?’
Harry swallows. ‘I want to make this work, if I can.’
‘Oh, Harry,’ Molly sighs and her shoulders slump at the face of Harry’s determination. She walks across the floor and cups his face with her palms. ‘You’re still so young. Both of you.’
‘Not so young.’
Molly embraces him, then. ‘How do you always manage to get yourself into these situations?’
‘I didn’t intend for this to happen,’ a soft, tired voice says from the doorway. Both Harry and Molly turn to look at Draco, who, for once in a Weasley’s presence, seems to not wear a sneer, ‘But I didn’t have anywhere else to go.’ He sounds hollow, like he doesn’t have the energy to care he’s admitting such things in front of a Weasley.
Anyone else , is what Harry thinks that he leaves out.
‘And I’m not my father,’ Draco goes on, ‘to use my child for bargaining.’ He clutches at his arm, hand shaking a little.
Harry sees it. And Molly sees it too. She sighs and grips at Harry’s shoulder briefly, squeezing. ‘You say you had nowhere else to go? Surely you have friends, who could have...?’
‘Harry is the only one who wouldn’t try and talk me out of this. My father demanded a… permanent solution.’
‘He didn’t!’ And now Molly is all genuine outrage on Draco’s behalf.
Somewhere, seemingly distant, boiling water is whistling loudly.
‘He did,’ Draco affirms. ‘I came to Harry because he had the right to know. Because he cares about family in a way my father never did, even before.’
And Harry says nothing to that. There isn’t any way that he would deny it. He simply goes to Draco, to offer his closeness in support and because he really wants to. There is a hint of defiance in him turning to look at Molly, who regards them with a glint in her eye.
‘Draco is welcome here for as long as he wants,’ Harry declares, taking Draco’s hand in his own. Draco is hesitant at first but then squeezes Harry’s hand.
Molly’s eyes soften and she seems to lose the rest of her resistance to Draco’s presence. ‘Well,’ and she’s back to her most mothering tones, ‘I’ll make us all a nice cup of tea, shall I?’