Draco hated the blue and gold tile pattern of the third floor of St Mungo's. It wasn't the first time he'd thought it, but tonight was going to be the last time. He rolled his gold and silver wedding ring between his thumb and index finger, the metal still warm from being slipped off his finger. A few feet away from where he sat, he could hear the swinging door as Healers and aides rushed in and out, trying to save Harry, again.
A pair of black leather boots came to a stop in front of him and Draco reluctantly looked up to see Hermione standing there, her arms wrapped around her waist, her red cheeks from the cold in glaring contrast to her pale, worried face.
"Ron's coming as soon as he can. What happened?" Hermione asked as she sat on the bench next to him.
Draco shrugged. "What do you think? He left Scorpius alone and snuck down to Knockturn Alley and someone sold him some juiced-up potion. Drank half the bottle and…" Draco motioned towards the treatment room.
Hermione shook her head, tears filling her eyes. "He promised me he wouldn't go there anymore."
"Scorpius found Harry lying in his own vomit. Healers say that if it had been another hour he would be dead." Draco shuddered at the memory of five-year old Scorpius's screams through the Floo to Draco's Ministry office. When Draco had gotten home he'd barely been able to detect Harry's pulse.
"I can't do this anymore, Hermione." Draco's voice broke and he had to fight to get the words out. "If it was just me...but this isn't fair to Scorpius. Harry needs help and I've tried everything I can to—"
"You don't have to explain to me, Draco." Hermione wiped a tear away. "We've all tried."
"Do me a favor. Give him this when he wakes up." Draco handed her the ring. He stood taking a moment to straighten his robes. He hated that his hands were shaking and clenched them into fists.
"I have to go home to Scorpius, Pansy is watching him right now. When he's released Harry can owl me once he knows where I should have his things delivered." He turned to walk away but couldn't stop himself from adding, "Tell Harry that I wish him well. I never wanted...tell him I'm sorry that..." Draco didn't know what he was sorry for though...sorry he couldn't love him enough, sorry he had to walk away, sorry that he hadn't been enough for Harry, sorry that he couldn't heal the demons that were destroying Harry, sorry he couldn't be strong enough to stay. "Tell him that I'm sorry."
"Draco. Are you sure…"
"No." Draco felt his throat swelling shut and knew he had to escape before he gave in to the tears. "But, I know I can't watch him kill himself and I can't let Scorpius go through that." He walked away without looking back.
Draco adjusted the collar of the Muggle overcoat, wishing he could cast a warming spell but there were too many Muggles walking past him on the pavement to do so secretly. Only one more day and he'd have the Muggle office building cleared of Dark Magic and not have to return to this side of London. He didn't mind the occasional excursion to the West End but it had taken more than a week of exhausting spell casting to isolate each of the dozens of curses.
A flash of red caught his eye as he impatiently waited for the street light to change. The art gallery on the corner had a new window display, one that shimmered with orange and red. Forgetting the crossing light, he walked over to the window.
Fiendfyre. Over a decade had passed since he'd been rescued from the Fiendfyre by Harry, but it was the first thing he thought of as he gazed at the large square of swirled orange and red stained glass. A small rotating spotlight was mounted at the top of window, casting pools of flickering yellow and orange onto the wall at the back of the window case making it appear even more like flames.
'Ignition' by J Evans the small placard in the corner read. Draco touched the window glass, and was surprised when it was cool to his touch. He was sure he would feel the heated licks of Fiendfyre. Another sign announced:
J. Evans Glass Exhibition
1 November - 30 November
Draco pulled open the oversized doors, a burst of heated air welcoming him as he looked around.
"Good afternoon, sir." A slender dark haired woman moved around from the discrete console desk in the corner of the entryway. She wore the de rigeur uniform of a black dress accented with a string of oversized faux pearls. "Were you looking for anything particular this morning?"
"I noticed the piece in the window as I was passing."
"It is certainly eye-catching. All of Evans's works are brilliant. The exhibition is in our main gallery space." She led the way towards the back of the building.
"I'm not familiar with the artist, is he from London? Or is he a she?"
"Evans is quite the reclusive artist," the woman said with the kind of artificial cultured laugh that immediately reminded Draco of his ex-wife Astoria, and not in a good way. "He doesn't even come to his own gallery openings. Fortunately, his work stands on its own," she said as they stepped into the large room with its vaulted ceiling.
Large pieces of stained glass were mounted in light boxes along the wall space. A dozen more were on plinths scattered across the perimeter of the room. In the center of the room hung a circular iron gate from which hundreds of shards of clear glass of varying lengths hung down, the jagged sharp tips ten feet from the floor. Draco stepped forward to take a closer look. The shards appeared to be lethally sharp.
"Powerful, isn't it? Evans calls it Life and it is the one piece that he held from the sale. Rumor has it that it is going to the Tate Modern after the show."
"It must have been dangerous to even mount on the ceiling, let alone create." Draco mused aloud.
"Evans insisted on installing it himself. He did it at night and requested no one be present while he worked, so we don't even know how he did it." She motioned towards the art near the walls. "The pieces that are sold are marked. I'll let you explore the collection on your own. My name is Valerie if you have any questions."
Draco nodded as he walked beneath the hanging piece. The shards of clear glass were of different lengths but standing underneath them and looking up he could see that there was a pattern to the way they were hung. Seven circular waves of razor-edged glass hanging over his head. If even a single one of the meter-long lengths of glass fell, it would kill anyone standing underneath it. Draco stepped back uneasily. How could the artist have called the piece 'Life'?
Scattered around the edge of the room were more traditional stained glass. Like the show piece in the front window, they were mounted with lights shining through the pieces throwing colour onto the white walls of the gallery.
Some were of a more commercial variety, a forest of trees created with precise cuts of deep green, brown, and blue glass or a window of geometric shapes in an attractive pattern, several of those already had discrete sold signs. No doubt the artist had an understanding of meeting public demand, but even the most mundane piece was well done.
Draco stopped in front of an abstract work made entirely of sweeping shapes of different shades and textures of green glass, a thick black border of glass surrounding it with a peaked arch at the top. The spotlight on this glass, unlike the others, flickered and the reflection on the wall looked disconcertingly like the way the seaweed had shimmered in the Slytherin common room's windows. Silver leading had been used instead of black to bind the piece together.
"Captivating piece. He used antique glass which gives the piece much more depth." The saleswoman said from behind him. Draco had been so taken by the piece he hadn't heard her re-entering the gallery.
Draco gave her a brief nod of acknowledgment without looking away from the piece. Each cut of glass had been done with precision, creating the fronds of movement. Clear round glass baubles throughout the piece seemed like air bubbles drifting to the surface. It had to be meant as seaweed. It was called "The Path Not Taken."
"It is still available." The woman's hands were behind her back, no doubt with her fingers crossed for another sales commission.
"I'm afraid I didn't come prepared to buy anything, I shall have to return with payment." The words came out unbidden, Draco had no idea where he'd place it in his house. He just knew he couldn't walk away from it.
"I can't hold it without a deposit, sir. If someone else should offer…"
"Perhaps this can be considered sufficient. It is solid gold, quite old." Draco drew a Galleon out of his pocket and held it out to her. Her eyes went wide as she felt the weight of it drop into the palm of her hand.
"I'll be happy to mark it as on hold, sir," she said as her fingers traced the pattern. "This is a most unusual coin."
"It is. I shall return by the end of the afternoon," Draco said, silently cursing the goblins and their refusal to set up a branch office in Muggle London and himself for not being able to resist the piece.
Draco was relieved that Valerie, the ever present manager, was away from her post as he slipped into the gallery. It was his third visit. Ostensibly he'd come today to confirm the delivery arrangements for the piece he'd purchased, but in truth he'd felt compelled to visit the exhibition one more time before it was dismantled. Draco couldn't help but feel there was more to the art than met the eye, a story that he hadn't yet recognized. Mostly he was mesmerized by the hanging shards of glass, the sound it made when there were people walking in the gallery; even people talking or moving in the room made the delicate blades of glass move together and echo the noise.
J. Evans. Draco was becoming more and more curious about the Muggle artist. He'd gone so far as to use Scorpius's Muggle computer device to try and find more information about him but had failed to find anything other than rave reviews in art magazines. Draco hadn't even been able to figure out what the J stood for or the location of the man's studio. All he knew was that Evans's glass started being sold four years ago but it was only in the past two years had his name started to create a buzz in the art world and the value of his pieces had skyrocketed.
There were several people already in the room, Draco saw with a flare of annoyance, a group of men and women gabbing and snapping photos with their phones. He turned to look at the piece farthest away from them, though their loud discussion of the art was impossible to avoid.
"He calls this one Life, I think Death by A Thousand Cuts would be a better name," the woman laughed as she swirled underneath the centerpiece in the room. The shards swayed and chimed and the woman shrieked and quickly moved away.
"Seriously, if that thing had fallen it would've killed you. This one is nice though." Her friend wandered over to the window of a forest scene. Draco rolled his eyes at the predictability of their taste. He waited, moving slowly from piece to piece, biding his time until they left.
He heard the signature tap-tap-tap of Valerie's high heels but the sound stopped before reaching the gallery and he glanced back to see a door open in the passageway that he hadn't noticed before. He could hear her voice talking to someone, by the lack of response, he assumed she was on the telephone. He started to move away when a single word caught his attention. Evans. Draco moved closer to the open door and listened.
"Yes, Mr. Evans, the showing went very well. All but two of the pieces were sold…yes, sir. I understand…Billie our night guard to meet you at half past ten tomorrow night so that you can take down the Life piece...yes, he'll meet you at the loading dock at the rear of the building. Yes, Mr. Evans, no one else will be on the premises." Straining to hear Draco stood right next to the door. When the conversation ended he moved back to the gallery, feigning surprise as she came out of the office.
"Mr. Malfoy, I hope I didn't keep you waiting."
"Not at all, I wanted to confirm our arrangement. I will be traveling so wanted to ensure that the piece would be delivered as planned."
"Yes, sir, I understand. Let's go to my office and I'll confirm your information."
After leaving the gallery Draco wandered down the block and around the corner. As he suspected a narrow alleyway serviced the buildings on both sides of the long block. The back entrance loading area for the gallery was clearly marked with its name stenciled across the garage door.
Draco cursed as he collided with a rubbish bin in the darkness. The streetlight at the entrance to the alley did little to light his way and he didn't dare cast a Lumos for fear of being spotted. What he was doing was sheer idiocy. He'd nearly talked himself out of it but as the clock in his study had steadily ticked, marking the seconds towards eleven o'clock, he'd thrown on a heavy black cloak and Disapparated.
A lorry was parked at the gallery loading dock but there was no sign of anyone. Draco hid in a doorway that gave him a good vantage point to see anyone leaving the gallery. Feeling foolish, he took from his pocket Scorpius's black knit cap that he'd brought along to conceal his blond hair and tugged it on like a common criminal. The cap also protected him from the cold, the winter wind gusting through the alleyway, sending rubbish swirling down the cobble alley. What power did this J. Evans have that Draco felt so compelled to resort to such desperate measures?
Evans would already be inside dismantling the fixture of shattered glass. Leaning against doorway, Draco wondered what kind of Muggle protection the artist used to prevent from being cut. It would likely take the artist hours and he resigned himself to having to wait. Just as his feet were beginning to ache from the cold, the large loading dock door rolled open, sending a shaft of brilliant light into the dark alley. The outline of two men carrying a crate between them came through the door. They set down the crate and one of the men turned, the light illuminating his face.
"Sweet Salazar's Ghost." The curse came from Draco's lips before he could stop it as he stared in disbelief.
Harry Potter. Draco's ex-husband. Scorpius's ex-stepfather. Harry. He'd disappeared from the Wizarding world seven years ago following the harsh and abrupt end to their four-year marriage. The divorce papers had been sent to and fro by messenger and Draco had signed his name to them in a bitter rage that he'd regretted for weeks and months to follow. He hadn't known who he was angrier at: Harry for forcing Draco to end their marriage or himself for giving up on Harry. He'd never seen Harry again, so his last image of him was of Harry's limp body strapped to a stretcher.
The Wizarding world believed Harry to be dead or locked up in a ward somewhere, so completely had he disappeared. Draco had never wanted to believe it and Hermione had assured him, when he'd dared to ask, that Harry was still walking among the living but she wouldn't tell him more than that. Harry had never reached out to him or Scorpius.
Draco watched as Harry and the other man loaded the crate into the back of the lorry and went back into the building. They returned a few minutes later with another crate. It took two more trips until Harry reached up and pulled down the gate on the truck. Instead of getting in and driving off he went back into the building with the guard and the garage door closed, again sealing the alleyway in near darkness.
Draco leaned against the grimy doorway, trying to make sense of what Harry's presence meant. He couldn't be Evans. Evans was an artist. Harry had never shown any inclination towards art. Evans was a Muggle artist. Evans was Harry's mother's name, the logical side of his brain argued back. J could represent James which was Harry's own middle name and his father's name.
There was a scrape of stone against concrete behind him and before Draco could react, an arm wrapped tight around his neck, squeezing his airway, as he was forced backwards, and a wand was pressed against his forehead.
"Drop your wand." Harry hissed in his ear.
"Harry, it's me, Draco," Draco said in a broken hiss as his airway was squeezed by Harry's arm. Belatedly he realized that identifying himself to Harry was maybe not the best way to secure his freedom.
"Draco?" Draco stumbled forward as Harry released him with a shove. They stood studying at each other. It had been seven years, but even in the dim light, Draco could see that Harry was no longer the potions addict he'd once been. His eyes glittered bright and clear in the reflection from the streetlight. His shoulders were broader than Draco's own. And he was fit, Draco had been able to tell that just by the few brief seconds that Harry had been pressed against his body.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Harry said as he lowered his wand and slid it back into a concealed pocket on his well-worn Muggle jeans.
"I could ask the same of you," Draco said as he pulled off the foolish looking hat and ran his fingers through his hair to straighten it.
"How did you find me?"
"I didn't find you. I was curious about Evans." Draco motioned angrily at the truck. "I still can't...you are J. Evans?"
"You...you didn't know I was going to be here?" Harry shoved his hands in his pockets. "Then what are you doing here?"
"I was in the gallery yesterday and overheard that he - you - were going to be here so I decided to—"
"How did you even know about the show?"
"I was walking by and saw the Fiendfyre piece," Draco said with exasperation. "Merlin, Harry, I wasn't spying on you. I was intrigued by the art. Wanted to see what the artist looked like. If anything I should ask what the hell you are doing here. I can't believe—"
Harry shifted uncomfortably. "I can't do this."
"What do you mean you can't...it's been seven years, Harry, can't we talk?"
"I just can't. I'm sorry, Draco. Sorry for everything."
"Harry, wait. Don't…" Draco protested but Harry had turned away and was half-walking, half-running to the lorry. "HARRY."
"Bye, Draco. You take care of yourself," Harry said as he climbed into the truck cab and slammed the door shut. Draco watched in disbelief as Harry barreled the truck past him and on to the street. Belatedly, Draco realized he'd drawn his wand, although he didn't know whether it was to stun Harry, or curse him.
Hermione showed up in his office the next morning. Draco heard her heels coming down the corridor and contemplated flicking his wand to close and lock the door in her face. The legal department where Hermione worked was four floors off from where Draco's office was, he wondered if she was going to feign that she 'just happened to be in the neighborhood.'
"Is it safe for me to enter?" Hermione said from the doorway. Her appearance had become more honed over the years; she still had a touch of no-nonsense about her but she made the most of her curly hair and stature to always make an impression.
"You are lucky, actually. I haven't yet decided how much I loathe you so you may as well come in and sit down while it is still safe." Draco motioned towards her usual seat.
"I know. Does it help to know that I never wanted to keep anything from you? Harry forbade me from telling you anymore than I did and then last night he called me in a panic after seeing you."
"Does he hate me that much?" was Draco's gut reaction. Did Harry really hate him so much for leaving that he'd tortured Draco by never letting him find out that he'd gotten better? The thought of all the nights Draco laid on what had been their bed, staring up at the ceiling and wondering where Harry was, if he would someday be found in a gutter, dead from a potion or worse. Bile rose in his throat at the thought that Harry wanted Draco to be tortured with those thoughts for the rest of his life.
Hermione leaned forward, putting a hand on the edge of his desk. "No, Draco, if anything it was because he loved you. I think...it was his way of not wanting to cause you or Scorpius any more pain."
Draco gave a laugh. "You'll forgive me if I don't believe you. He looked well. I take it he finally found a cure that worked?"
Hermione nodded. "It took two years. In America. He went there a couple of weeks after the divorce was finalized. He worked very hard to get better, Draco."
Lovely, being free of Draco was the key to solving his addiction, Draco thought as he needlessly tidied the neat stack of papers on his desk. "When did he move back to England?"
"Five years ago...he's been living in a Muggle town. We haven't been able to convince him to re-enter the wizarding community."
The 'we' hurt. Draco knew without a doubt that 'we' was not just Hermione and Ron but all the Weasleys, hell, maybe it was the entire close clutch of Gryffindor friends. Draco had been the one to walk away, abandoning Harry when he needed Draco the most.
Despite his failure with Harry, Draco had reluctantly remained connected to the Weasleys because of Scorpius, whose best friends were Ron and Hermione's Rose and Hugo and George's son Fred. It had been awkward, and he'd sometimes felt the glares of censure from Ron and George, but he had put up with it for the sake of Scorpius.
But to know that Harry had been living, healed, in England and never had he reached out to Draco or Scorpius stung. Draco had always held out hope that Harry would show an interest in Scorpius, the son he'd helped raise for four years. Scorpius had long since stopped asking about Papa, but Draco occasionally caught him studying the photo album filled with photos them as a family.
Draco picked up his quill and rubbed his finger gently along the flight. "His artwork is beautiful. It was by accident that I stumbled across the exhibition. I was so impressed with the art. It is stupid, really, now that I know it is his. Every piece seemed to speak to me and I…I bought one of them. Ironically when it was delivered yesterday, before I knew it was by Harry, I put it in my bedroom."
He'd sat on the floor of his bedroom for half the night, sipping Firewhisky, and watching the shimmering green light cast by the glass and remembering back. The years he'd been with Harry had not all been bad. They'd loved hard and fast, tumbling into bed at the end of their disaster of a first date and the lust had only cooled when Harry decided that the only way to quiet his nightmares was with potions or alcohol. When he was clean though, Harry had been everything Draco loved, funny and full of snark, and a good father to Scorpius. And then it had all fallen apart. He'd finally dragged himself into bed, pulling a pillow over his head to block out the memories.
Draco stood up. He refused to descend into maudlin thoughts again. "You can relay to Harry my apologies. I didn't mean to expose his secret."
"Draco, I wish—"
"I trust you can see yourself out, Granger," Draco said as he went to stare out the windows. He could sense Hermione standing behind him. "Tell Harry that I'm glad he finally found what he needed to be happy."
"I didn't say he was happy," Hermione said before walking out of the room.
Draco stood in the shadows of the brick archways of Platform 9¾. Meeting the Hogwarts Express was not his favorite thing, even though he loved the roar of the engine as it made the whole platform shake. There were still many who were looking for someone to blame for the devastation wrought by Voldemort and his followers. Draco had made reparations for his mistakes and as a curse breaker was working to protect others from the Dark Magic left behind by the Death Eaters, but these facts didn't make a difference to those looking for a target.
If it was just himself he'd be out in the front of the crowd of parents, but he couldn't do that to Scorpius. The Malfoy name carried a heavy burden and he wasn't going to make it any more difficult for his son.
The Weasleys and Granger-Weasleys were gathered in their usual spot, gabbing and laughing brightly. Two weeks after seeing Harry, Draco still didn't know what to make of the fact that they had concealed what had happened with Harry from him. It made him feel like every interaction he'd had with the family had been a lie.
At the time, Hermione had said, and even Ron, reluctantly, that they understood why Draco had forced Harry to leave. Molly Weasley had taken extra care to include Scorpius in family gatherings. It hurt, Draco realized, putting a finger on the emotion, to know that the whole time that their preferred adopted son was back, they'd never told Draco.
The train whistle blew, and Draco turned to watch the train pull into the station. The magic of the moment never faded, even now that he was the one on the platform and not on the train coming home for the Christmas holiday. There was a final blast of the horn and steam and then the doors rolled open and the platform filled with the excited chatter of children and parents reuniting.
It would be a relief to have Scorpius home for a couple of weeks. He was Draco's entire life and having him away at school was a painful reminder of how much he relied on his son. Everything else in Draco's life was rote. Work, Eat, Sleep. Scorpius's energy forced Draco out of the routine and made each day brighter.
"Dad!" Scorpius had climbed off the train and was motioning wildly for Draco to join him where he stood by Hugo and Rose Weasley. Draco hurried over, his reluctance to mingle with the Weasleys overpowered by his need to see Scorpius.
"Dad, Dad." Scorpius wrapped his arms around Draco's waist in an urgent hug. Draco savored every hug from Scorpius, knowing that in the near-future his son might be more reluctant to hug him, especially in public.
"Welcome home, Scorpius." Draco was shocked that Scorpius seemed to have grown three inches. They no doubt would need to go robe shopping over the Christmas holiday. "Good term?"
"It was the best, Dad!" Scorpius bubbled over with enthusiasm as he relayed the details of the Ravenclaw Gryffindor Quidditch match that had been played the day before. Draco had been relieved when Scorpius had been sorted into Ravenclaw: better his son start fresh in a new house. His wandering attention was forced back as he heard Scorpius ask him a question.
"We're going, right, Dad?"
"I'm sorry?" Draco looked from Scorpius to the expectant faces of Rose and Hugo. "What did I miss?"
"I was just reminding Scorpius about the Christmas party this weekend." Rose said.
"Oh." Draco blinked and thought hard for an excuse. They did usually attend the Weasley gathering but it was the last thing he wanted to do this year. "I thought we would go to see a theater show this weekend."
"But, Dad, we can do that anytime. Why can't we go to the party?" Scorpius's pouting lip was a reminder he was still twelve years old.
"We'd love for you to come, Draco," Hermione said, putting a hand on Scorpius's shoulder. "You know how the kids enjoy getting together over the break."
Draco frowned at Hermione over Scorpius's head. "I'll see what we can do." A half-promise was better than Scorpius making a scene.
Draco glared at the bright red door of the Weasley-Granger house. He'd tried every bribe in the he could think of but Scorpius had been insistent on coming. The out for Draco had come when Scorpius had received a Floo call from Hugo, inviting him to spend the night at their house. Draco planned on handing off Scorpius and departing as quickly as possible.
Scorpius rang the bell but from the raucous noise from the house there was no chance of it being heard. With Scorpius hopping with anticipation, his rucksack filled with his sleepover things, Draco turned the doorknob and they pushed their way inside.
The entranceway was decorated with twinkling Muggle fairy lights that made Scorpius's mouth drop open. It took one shriek from Rose and shout from Hugo to send him charging up the stairs with a "see you later, Dad" over his shoulder. How long until he would have to start worrying about exactly what they were doing? Scorpius had never indicated a romantic interest in Rose or any other friend, but that couldn't be that much farther down the road.
"He'll be fine, Draco." Molly Weasley said as she came down the hallway, a tray of hors d'oeuvres floating alongside her.
"Yes, of course. Merry Christmas, Molly."
"Merry Christmas, Draco." Molly's cheeks were flushed bright red, whether from the overheated house or embarrassment, Draco wasn't sure. "Hermione and Ron will be glad you are here. They were afraid that you wouldn't come."
"Scorpius was looking forward to it."
Molly sent the hors d'oeuvres tray into the living room with a flick of her wand. "Draco, we never meant to have to hide anything from you. The situation with Harry was touch and go for so long. He's had such a difficult time—"
"Of course, I understand. I wasn't going to intrude on your family party. I'll be back in the morning for Scorpius." Draco knew he sounded bitchy but couldn't help himself. "I'm sure Hermione and Ron are busy with their guests, tell them I said hello."
"No, Draco Malfoy. I am not going to let you rush off like this." Molly grabbed his arm, her chin quivering with emotion. "You listen to me. You did the right thing when you pushed Harry away. It was the only choice you could make to protect your son. And it forced Harry into realizing how much he'd lost because of his addiction."
"Molly." Draco's throat was tightening and he had to take a deep breath to stay calm.
"We never blamed you, Draco. And you are part of this family." She looped her arm through his and forced him farther into the house. "And there's something more."
Molly whacked him lightly on his arm as they passed the entrance to the living room where most of the guests were gathered. She stopped outside of the closed door of Hermione's office.
"Draco, I know this will seem like an ambush but Harry's in there. He wanted to see you."
"What?" Draco pulled his arm away from her in alarm. He looked from the door to her in astonishment. "You have to be joking."
"It wasn't planned. He isn't here for the party. You caught him off guard the other night. He wants the chance to talk to you properly and Hermione mentioned that you were coming tonight."
"Yet you say it isn't an ambush."
"You don't have to...but I think it is time that you boys actually sat down and talked, don't you?"
"We are hardly boys, Molly," Draco couldn't take his eyes from the door. Harry was on the other side of it, likely listening to everything they were saying.
"Well then act like adults and sit down and have a conversation. One that I might add is seven years overdue." She patted him on his arm and walked away.
Draco stood alone in the corridor staring at the door. He should just walk away. Like you did seven years ago, the nagging voice in his head reminded him. Swearing at himself for being a coward, Draco tapped on the door and then pushed it open.
Harry was standing at the window, he turned as Draco came in the room. He was wearing a black jumper and jeans, his hands clenched by his side. In the brightness of the room Draco could see how truly good he looked, his black, wild hair was tucked behind his ears and Draco felt a tug at the silver streaks at Harry's temples. He looked good, far better than he had by the end of their marriage.
There were laughter wrinkles around his eyes, and his glasses were stylish metal frames. As much as he'd liked the old geeky plastic rims on Harry, the new ones were far sexier. Harry licked his lips and Draco felt a long-forgotten feeling of want curl through his chest and took a deep breath to suppress it. He would never open himself up to that kind of hurt again.
"Uhm, sorry. I didn't think you'd really come in." Harry ran his hand through his hair and Draco caught sight of a silver band on his ring finger and felt a punch in his gut. Had Harry remarried?
"What did you want, Potter?" Draco said harshly.
Harry flinched but took a deep breath and started to explain. "The other night, you caught me off guard. I've been trying for so long to get up the nerve to contact you and then all the sudden you were right in front of me and I panicked."
"What could you want to possibly say to me? I see that you moved on." Draco pointed at the ring that Harry was actually toying with nervously. "Is your husband—or is it a wife—here?" Draco's hand was twitching to reach for his wand, he was ready to throw a Cruciatus. Whether he wanted to strike at himself or Harry, he didn't know. Or maybe he should just Obliviate every memory of Harry from his life.
"What?" Harry's mouth dropped open and he looked from his left hand to Draco. "This isn't...fuck, no. Draco. This isn't a wedding ring." Draco gave a disbelieving laugh. "It isn't. It is just a ring I bought." Harry shoved his hand in his pocket, hiding the ring. "This isn't going the way I planned. I wanted to see you because I need to apologize for what I did to you, to us."
"You want to apologize?"
"I should have written a long time ago. I needed to say I was sorry for what I did, who I became."
"It wasn't you in that marriage, towards the end. You'd gotten lost," Draco said with a shake of his head, still reeling from the relief that Harry hadn't married someone else. "I should have realized you needed help sooner. Maybe it wouldn't have gotten so bad—"
"Don't you dare take responsibility for what happened. You told me all along to get help. You dragged me to St. Mungo's and tried to make me and I'm the one that screwed everything up. I was so out of it…" Harry swallowed hard. "It took losing you and Scorpius to make me realize how badly fucked up I was."
"Scorpius missed you. No matter how bad things got, you loved him, he loved you. That's why I had to end things. That night—"
"I know, I know. I couldn't remember much from that day but Scorpius screaming, trying to wake me up. No child should go through that, especially not Scorpius."
"His mother walked out of his life and then he lost you. It has been hard on him." Draco didn't want to hide the truth from Harry. "I don't know what your plans are but don't try to contact him without—"
"No. no. I wouldn't do that to him. I'm sure he hates me."
"He doesn't hate you." Draco shifted uncomfortably. "I explained to him what I could at the time and again through the years if he asked."
"How did you explain?"
"That you were sick," Draco said bluntly. "That Voldemort and all that happened to you had affected you and made you do things that weren't good for you. As he got older and learned about potion addiction and what happened to you in school, I told him the truth."
"Okay, that's good. I wouldn't have wanted you to lie to him." Harry was twisting the ring again. They were still standing across the room from each other and Draco had to fight the compulsion to close the distance. "One of my biggest regrets is losing out on his growing older, not being a better dad to him."
"It was a long time ago. It is good to see you doing so well. I'm not sure I told you the other night, but your art was impressive. I bought one of your pieces. I never knew you had that kind of talent."
"The glass thing happened by accident. The place I went to in America, Hermione found it. They used art and music as ways to help focus the mind on something other than getting the next hit of potion or alcohol. And, well, you know I can't carry a tune worth crap, but the glass thing... I liked it. They had us building little mosaics and I kept going and going." Harry broke off, a flush of red rising in his cheeks. "It let me see things differently. I could find the beauty in magic again...I'd lost that."
"If you are better, why are you still in hiding? Hermione said you've been back for five years."
Harry shuddered. "I can't. I don't want to be in that place again."
"What place? Diagon Alley?"
"The center of attention. I never want to be Harry Potter again. I like being Evans. Life is much simpler for him."
Draco wondered if Harry realized he'd referred to himself in the third person. "But...you are Harry Potter."
"Not anymore. Now I just make my art and have fish and chips on Friday and never have to worry about what the Prophet is saying about me or hear all the whispers and fingers pointing."
"I have something for Scorpius," Harry said, changing the subject abruptly. "Don't worry, you don't have to tell him it is from me. He should have gotten it last year for Christmas. I got it when I was eleven but…" Harry pointed at the brightly wrapped present on Hermione's desk. "I always intended for him to have it, that we aren't together doesn't change that."
Draco walked over and picked up the package. Whatever was inside was soft, squishing in his hands as he held it. "I have to know what it is before I give it to him. I'm not going to risk—"
"Oh, yeah. Hell, I didn't think. It's my Cloak. The Invisibility Cloak."
Draco looked at Harry dumbfounded. "The Invisibility Cloak. You are giving Scorpius one of the Deathly Hallows? Harry, I can't give this to him."
"I want him to have it. It has always passed from father to son, I'm never going to have my own...Scorpius should have it. If I hadn't...he should have it."
"No. Harry, everyone knows about the Invisibility Cloak. It is in Scorpius's bloody History of Magic book. If I give him this he'll know it is from you and he'll be shattered that you didn't give it to himself. That I saw you and didn't tell him."
Harry's face fell. "But...I want him to have it."
"Let me think about it. I want to do what's best for Scorpius." Draco had no idea what that was though. "He never got a chance to see you again he was sure for a long time that you had died and I wasn't telling him. I had to ask Hermione to reassure him that you were still alive. It has been very difficult for him."
Harry leaned against the window. "Oh, poor little Scor. I thought he was better off though."
"We both made mistakes, Harry." Draco tried to focus but he had lost sight of reason. "Can I contact you in a couple of days? Let me think what would be best for Scorpius."
"Yeah, sure. Of course. I'm not on the Floo Network, and owls would stand out in my town. Do you have a mobile?"
"I do, yes." Draco pulled out his wallet, fumbling to find his card. "This has all my contact information." He knew Harry would recognize the address immediately. He'd never moved, not wanting to disrupt Scorpius with that kind of change.
Harry came over and took it from him, their fingers touching for a moment, and Draco felt a flash of heat. He had to get away from Harry.
"I'll call you then, in a couple of days?" Harry said as he slid the card into his back pocket. They were standing right next to each other and Draco could smell the sweet scent of Harry's shampoo, see the tiny worry lines around Harry's eyes. Harry bit his lip again and Draco licked his in reflex. Fuck.
"I'll be going then."
Harry frowned, stepping back. "Okay. Yeah."
"I meant it when I said it was good to see you again…."
"Me, too." Harry awkwardly stuck out his hand and Draco shook it. He could feel the rough callouses and scars on Harry's hands, so unlike the soft touch of them when they were married.
As he knocked on the Weasleys' door the next morning, Draco was half afraid that Scorpius would fling the door open and accuse him of not telling Scorpius about Harry. Draco had been up half the night trying to decide what would be in Scorpius's best interest, and he still hadn't been come to any conclusions. Part of him wanted to protect Scorpius from further heartbreak, the other half knew that it wasn't what Scorpius would want.
The door swung open and Draco straightened up as he saw Ron Weasley, still in his pajamas and a hideous mustard colored bathrobe.
"You're early, Malfoy," he said, looking down at Draco. How Ron Weasley had grown to be well over six foot, Draco did not know but he was sure Weasley enjoyed reminding Draco who was taller.
"It's half past eleven." You great lummox.
"Is it?" Weasley said as he pushed the door wide and motioned for Draco to follow him into the house. "We were up till after three. Kids are still having breakfast." He added over his shoulder as he lumbered down the corridor.
Hermione, to Draco's relief, was dressed and busy frying eggs for a gaggle of six children. Draco wasn't sure who the other two were, but Scorpius was sitting elbow to elbow with Fred and Hugo.
"Dad! Why are you here so soon?"
Draco gave a Hermione a grateful smile as she pressed a mug of coffee into his hands. He'd spent the night trying to think of every horrible thing that had gone wrong between him and Harry and had instead he'd found himself remembering all the things that had been good.
"How are you, Draco? Last night wasn't too much, I hope," Hermione said with a significant stare, as if daring him to deflect her.
"Fine. Better." He conceded reluctantly. While he didn't appreciate having been ambushed into talking to Harry the night before there was no doubt that it was good to have had been able to really talk to him. Sometime in the night, as he replayed every word he'd exchanged with Harry, he'd realized that he'd been carrying a lot of resentment and guilt about how things had ended. Maybe someday he would be finally be able to leave it all behind him and move on.
"Good. good." She gave him a tight smile before turning back to the cooker.
Three days later a text arrived from Harry.
Can we meet to talk about Scor/Cloak?
Draco winced at Harry's abbreviation of Scorpius's name. That was another annoying Harry thing that he'd blocked out, Harry's insistence on shortening Scorpius's name. "If I'd wanted him called Scor I would have made that his name," he'd used to say to Harry, and he was sure Harry did it just to tease Draco.
Draco saved Harry's number and considered his response. He wanted to see Harry. That was the problem. He'd been thinking of little else since talking to Harry at the party. Did he want to even open that door? The safest thing to do would be to keep it nailed shut like he had for the past seven years.
Not that that was what this meeting would be about: Harry wanted to be able to give the Cloak to Scorpius. It wasn't Harry's fault that every time Draco closed his eyes he could remember what it felt like to be with Harry. Could remember waking next to Harry, starting their day like they'd ended it the night before, with Draco slipping inside of Harry, feeling the heat of him rise as they moved together. Sunday afternoons when Molly had taken Scorpius and they'd go flying, re-living their school rivalries with a Seeker game. Of course, those had never ended with shower sex.
He'd missed that connection with another person. He hadn't been a monk since his marriage fallen apart. There had been dates with other men and women but nothing that had lasted more than a month. The last few years he'd found it easier to scratch the itch for sex at a club. No questions, no fuss. Mutual getting off and getting on with one's life. It was fine but wasn't something he wanted to be doing in ten years' time.
Draco stared down at his phone. He'd hated the gadget at first when they'd been given out to the Curse Breakers, but he had to admit it had saved his life more than once when reinforcements couldn't be summoned by magic because of the curses on a house. Death Eaters hadn't considered Muggle communication devices when creating their curses.
Shall we meet for tea to discuss ScorPIUS and the cloak? Am available all day Saturday.
Draco read the message he'd tapped out. Was it too brusque? Should he say something more? No, all they were going to do was discuss Scorpius, he reminded himself, it wasn't a date. Taking a deep breath he pressed the send button.
Almost immediately there was a responding ping:
Saturday 2pm at St. Aubin Tea Shop in St. Aubin, Kent
Perfect. Scorpius was going Christmas shopping with the Weasleys all day on Saturday so meeting Harry at two would give plenty of time for Draco to pace around the house before meeting him.
Harry had messaged Draco a safe location to Apparate to that would put him only a ten-minute walk to the tea room. Draco shivered in his Muggle overcoat and scarf. It had been a tolerably reasonable winter day in London but in this village, just a few miles from the coast, the wind was fierce and the low dark clouds promised that rain, or even snow, was not out of the question. Scorpius was hoping for a white Christmas, Draco was less enthusiastic about the idea. He should've worn gloves.
Draco made his way down the High Street past a church and a school, turning as instructed at the next street. The tea shop was tucked in between the butcher and a knick-knack shop that looked like it hadn't changed its window display since the turn of the millennium.
He was fifteen minutes early but Draco had no desire to mosey about the streets in the cold. The door had bright red gingham curtains that fluttered in the wind when he pulled open the door. Inside, the place was bigger than it had promised from the outside and the woman at the counter waved him in. "Sit anywhere, love. We'll be right with you."
There were bright red and green Christmas decorations around the room, and the till was decorated with fairy lights. There were only a handful people in the sitting at tables, Draco hoped it was the weather keeping people away and not the service. Draco took a spot by the window. A plump, fuzzy, stuffed snowman was set on the table with a discrete tag declaring it could be purchased next door at the knick-knack shop.
He was curious to know whether Harry had chosen the location because he lived nearby or because it was nowhere near where he lived.
Draco took off his overcoat and folded it over the back of the chair next to his. Still ten minutes until Harry was due. When the waitress bustled up he ordered a pot of oolong and lemon biscuits. Maybe they weren't still Harry's favorites, his tastes had likely changed, but Draco liked them.
Rain had started splattering against the window panes and Draco almost missed the running figure of Harry as he passed. The door swung open with a gust of wind and then Harry was standing next to the table, shaking off his anorak, he set a carrier bag that presumably contained the Cloak on the chair next to him.
"Draco," he said quietly as he slid into the seat opposite of Draco. Their knees bumped under the small table and Harry quickly pushed his chair back. They were saved from talking as the waitress came back with the tea and biscuits. She arranged the cups, spoons, and napkins as she chatted about the rain before departing with a smile and friendly, "My name is Lisa, if you'd like another pot, just call me over and I'll get you a fresh one."
"Tea?" Draco asked as he reached for the teapot. It wouldn't have steeped long enough but Harry liked his tea weak.
"Sure, thanks." Harry tapped his fingers nervously on the table. He picked up the stuffed snowman, squeezing it in his hands before setting it back down to have it flop over three times before he shoved it to the side. "Did you have any trouble finding the place?"
"No, your directions were good. It is pretty hidden away, how did you even know it existed?" Draco filled a tea cup and pushed it towards Harry and set down the pot to wait until the tea had steeped properly before pouring his own.
"Oh, I'm working on a job nearby. Come here every so often," Harry said as he stirred in two spoonfuls of sugar. "Did Scorpius like the party?"
"He did. Funny how Scorpius and the Weasley spawn spend the whole term together and yet as soon as they get home they want to meet up. They are all on a shopping expedition to Diagon Alley right now, Merlin help them." With only five days to Christmas it was sure to be a madhouse on Diagon Alley.
"I can't believe how he's grown, how they all have. Hermione was showing me photos. They've all gotten so big."
"Surely you must see the Weasley children." Draco narrowed his eyes at Harry, "How can you not?"
"No. I, uhm...when I first got back to England, I was better but I would get the shakes every time I thought about going anywhere that there could be wizards." Harry was playing with the silver ring on his left hand, twisting it around as he talked. "Best to avoid it, and the kids...well they could talk, so…" he shrugged.
"I've only seen you a couple of times, but you seem so healthy. Do you feel there is really a danger of relapsing?" If there was, then Draco knew that he didn't want Scorpius to see Harry. He would keep them separate so that Scorpius wouldn't have to see his Papa in that condition again.
"No." Harry looked up, straight at Draco. "I haven't had a touch of potions or alcohol in over six years. I'm not saying that some nights I'm not tempted, but I don't want to go back to being that person. I have a therapist here in England and I told her that she is to Portkey me straight back to the States if she thinks that I'm in any danger of relapsing. I'm serious," Harry said leaning forward. "Ron made the Portkeys. Hermione has one, too."
"No, he'd be likely to send me across the pond just for laughing at him for still backing the Chudley Cannons," Harry said looking up at Draco with a flash of a smile. It made Draco think about how rarely he'd seen Harry smile at the end of their marriage.
"I'm surprised your therapist thinks it is okay for you to keep yourself so isolated," Draco said, not wanting to be pushy but needing to know why a wizard as gifted as Harry was hiding away. He pushed the plate of biscuits towards Harry and then poured himself some tea, adding milk and a spoonful of sugar.
"It is not like I'm living in a cave, I've Muggle friends and I see Ron and Hermione, and Molly Weasley. My therapist, she doesn't like it and I never really meant for it to go on for so long, but the longer I waited the harder it seemed and suddenly it's been five years." Harry shrugged. "The art thing started taking off and I like doing it. It feels good to be known for something that is successful on its own merit, not because my name is Harry Potter."
"But you are Harry Potter." Draco glanced around the room to make sure no one was paying attention to them. "That is nothing to be ashamed of."
Harry gave a shake of his head but didn't say anything as he took a biscuit and Draco remembered with a plunge of his stomach that he had no right to badger Harry or tell him that he was being a fool, he'd given up that right years ago. Taking a deep breath he refocused his thoughts.
"About the Cloak." Draco pointed with his chin towards the carrier bag.
Harry looked up at Draco, a smear of icing sugar on his lips from the biscuit. "Yes?"
Draco flicked his gaze away so he didn't have to watch Harry's tongue darting out, licking at the sweetness. "As I see it, there are only two ways to do it. One would be for me to lie and say that I'd had it all along, that you'd left it for him or something. And I'm not willing to lie to my son for you. The other way is for you to be willing to see him. I can give it to him at Christmas and tell him that you are better and want to see him. It would be up to him to decide if he wants to accept your gift and see you."
Draco nodded. "I don't honestly know if he will want to see you. He has missed you. It got more confusing last year when he got to Hogwarts. I never had gone into details beyond the basics about you and Voldemort…" Harry gave a shudder and Draco went on hurriedly. "He wanted to know a lot more than I could answer, I know he talked to Hermione about some of it. So I can't promise he won't bring up things that you don't want to talk about, I don't know if he is angry with you—or both of us—for how things ended but I think it is better to find out than to not. So those are my terms, if you are willing to do that, then yes, you can give him the Cloak."
"I've missed Scor." Harry's shoulders were hunched and he was looking out the window. Draco realized with a hit to his chest: Harry missed Scorpius but he couldn't bear to look at Scorpius's father. He deserved it, he supposed, for the way he'd abandoned Harry but it stung more than he wanted to admit to himself.
"You realize that if you meet with Scorpius that Rose and Hugo…"
"Well, then I guess it is time, isn't it? I've finally realized I can't hide forever."
"Good." Draco felt some of the tension leave his shoulders. "How do you want to do this?"
"You're his father, don't you get to make that call?"
"You were his Papa," Draco said more to himself than to Harry, and regretted it as saw Harry's eyes well up with tears. "Why don't I give him the Cloak on Christmas day? I'll talk to him. If he wants to meet with you then we can set up time on Boxing Day or whenever you are available.
Harry took a deep breath letting it out with a whoosh. He was worrying his ring again. Draco could see it was a heavy silver band with tooling marks on it but couldn't make out what they were.
"Are you sure you are okay with this? I'm not going to force you to do what you aren't comfortable with. You can give him the Cloak next year." Draco was still unsure about Scorpius taking on the weight of responsibility of having one of the three Deathly Hallows. This was the boy who still stole cakes from the kitchen and read past his bedtime under the covers with a Muggle torch.
"No, it will be fine. Gryffindor. About time I started remembering that." Harry drained his tea cup and pushed it aside. "And, uhm, thanks. For being so understanding about this, I really didn't think that you would even talk to me much less…" Harry made a waving motion between them with his hands.
"Much less, what?" Draco asked, confused.
"I thought you would be still angry at me," Harry said, a red flush rising in his cheeks.
"You thought I would be angry at you?" Draco shook his head in confusion. "I think you got things backwards. I'm the one that ended it. Okay, I was furious with you for a while...but I was always more upset with myself. I knew I was right to protect Scorpius but I should have been able to help you."
"I didn't want your help," Harry said bluntly, "I mean I didn't want anyone's help. It took losing you and Scorpius to realize that I'd hit rock-bottom. And even then it was hard. I didn't even get completely sober for a year after that…"
"I'm glad you were able to do it, Harry. It makes what happened worth it." Draco meant it. Even though it had cost them their marriage it was worth it to see him doing so well.
"My biggest regret is that I didn't figure it all out sooner. If I had…"
"Neither of us can go back. We just have to move forward. That is one very big lesson I learned from all the mistakes I made in school. All I could do is make amends and vow not to repeat them."
Harry nodded. "I know, I'm trying. I definitely can't go back and undo the damage but I can try to mend what I broke." He looked at his watch and stood up, pushing back his chair. "I should be getting back to work. Text me and let me know how it goes."
"Wait, Harry." Draco stood up, grimacing at the few other people who turned to look at them. "It was good seeing you."
"You, too. Draco." Harry hesitated but then leaned forward and brushed a kiss on Draco's cheek. "Merry Christmas."
Draco sat back down and watched Harry leave. His gaze followed him as he went past the window, giving Draco a wave before disappearing out of sight.
"More tea?" the waitress asked. Draco looked up and shook his head. "Oh dear, it looks like your friend left his bag," she said, holding up the carrier bag that Harry had left on the seat.
"No...that is for me. Thank you," Draco said, taking it. He wished he could predict what Scorpius's reaction was going to be to having Harry suddenly coming back into his life, but he couldn't. Draco gave a bitter laugh, he couldn't even figure out his own reaction.
The challenge at Christmas, with Scorpius having only one living grandparent (who never left France) and a biological mother (who had surrendered custody), was that Draco had to suppress the urge to buy out Diagon Alley. This year knowing what Scorpius truly wanted, the Nimbus Fire X, had been easy because all of Scorpius's owls home had ended with p.s. NFX. Along with the new broom and gloves, Draco had given him a Flourish and Botts gift certificate so that Scorpius could lose himself in their shelves and purchase the exact books he wanted. Draco had always enjoyed reading but Scorpius devoured books as if he was afraid they could all vanish tomorrow.
After Scorpius had unwrapped the winter Cloak, complete with Ravenclaw scarf and hat from his grandmother. Draco took a deep breath to calm himself and went to the bureau and pulled out the present from Harry.
"Another present?" Scorpius grinned and reached for it. "There's no tag. Who is it from?"
"Wait. This is a different kind of present. You can open it but we are going to have to talk about it."
"Please let this not be something about teaching your kid about sex." Scorpius looked down at the package in his hands with horror. "I never want to have to listen to you talk about that stuff again."
Draco blinked. "What? Merlin, no." The talk the summer before had been traumatic for both of them. "This is definitely not anything like that." He sat in the armchair closest to Scorpius's spot on the floor.
"Okay then." Scorpius ripped apart the paper and the velvety patchwork Cloak tumbled into his lap. "Another cloak? But Gran gave me one—" He flicked the Cloak out and it settled over his lap and legs and they disappeared. Scorpius gave a gasp and looked up at Draco, his eyes wide before looking down again and carefully poking where his legs should be visible. "Dad? What is this?"
Draco waited, knowing that Scorpius would put the pieces together. Scorpius stood and swirled the Cloak over his shoulders, becoming a floating head in the room. He looked down at his body and then at Draco. "This is Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak...this is Papa's."
"It was...he wanted to give it to you for Christmas," Draco said carefully, "The Cloak has been passed down from father to son in his family for generations. He knows he won't have a son of his own, so he wanted you to have it."
Scorpius pulled off the Cloak. "What do you mean…you talked to Papa?"
"I have, just over the past few weeks. We—"
"Why didn't you tell me? Why wouldn't you tell me he is back?"
"Scorpius. It all happened so fast. He has been in hiding for a long time. He doesn't even live with us wizards any more, he lives in a Muggle town."
"I don't know Scorpius, I don't know where he lives."
Scorpius flicked the Cloak over his body, watching as his body appeared and disappeared. Two bright slashes of red rose in his cheeks and he crushed the fabric into his fists.
He narrowed his eyes at Draco. "You said Papa was an addict; that he couldn't get off the potions."
"Yes. That's true, but he found a way to get better. And he is better. When I saw him, it was just by accident that we bumped into each other. He'd been wanting to give you the Cloak so it—"
"When did he get better? Why didn't he come see me?"
Draco had clenched his fists in frustration to not snap at Scorpius. Every question Scorpius was asking was one that Draco wanted answered as well. He didn't know why Harry had stayed away. Hating Draco was one thing, but Scorpius? Harry had loved the boy. "I don't know, Scorpius. I know that he has had a really hard time and that when someone has an addiction that is a battle that they have to fight every day. He made the decision to live isolated from his friends and family because he thought it was the best way to stay healthy."
"That's crazy." Scorpius pushed away the Cloak. "Why wouldn't he want to live with us?"
Draco wasn't sure if Scorpius meant 'us' as in Draco and Scorpius, or 'us' as in the wizarding community but he wasn't going to ask for clarification. "I don't know, Scorpius, but he does want to meet with you."
"Because he cares about you and, I think, he feels bad about not being able to see you as you were growing up."
"It's been seven years and all the sudden now wants to see me?" Scorpius stood up, the Cloak tumbling to the floor, Scorpius stomped on it on his way out of the room.
"Scorpius, come back here." Draco called after him but all he got in response was Scorpius's door slamming shut.
"Well, that went well." Draco muttered.
An hour later Scorpius still hadn't come out of his room. Draco had tidied up the mess of paper and ribbons. He folded the Cloak and put under the tree with the other presents. He heard the chime of a text message on his phone and went to find it on his desk.
Harry's message was blunt: How did it go?
Could've gone better. Not sure about meeting tomorrow.
I'll let you know once he comes out of his room.
Draco waited, hating the uncertainty and fear about what Harry's reaction would be if Scorpius rejected him. It brought back a rush of unwelcome memories, the dread that Draco had used to feel not knowing the condition Harry would be in when he walked into the house each night. Or all the times he had to explain to Scorpius that Papa wasn't feeling well and couldn't play with them. Or the lurch he felt when he'd reach for Harry in the night and he'd be gone.
At last Harry texted back: Okay, whatever he wants to do.
Draco shut the phone and put it back on the mat that Hermione had invented to protect it from the latent magic in the house.
An hour later Scorpius's door finally opened and he walked straight over to where Draco was pretending to read the book Scorpius had given him for Christmas.
"I want to talk to him."
Draco scowled at the location Harry had sent to meet him. The location was in Kent, twenty miles from where he'd met Harry at the tea shop. He didn't like Apparating to unknown locations, especially when he was side-apparating with Scorpius. Too many unknown factors could go wrong, especially in a known Muggle area. He had to trust that Harry had selected the spot with care.
"How long until I can take the Apparation test?" Scorpius grumbled as he came over to stand next Draco. They were both dressed warmly in Muggle coats with scarves and mittens.
"Not soon enough," Draco said, even though he dreaded the thought of watching Scorpius Disapparate on his own. "Are you ready?"
Scorpius frowned. "Yeah, I guess. Do you think he'll recognize me?"
Considering that Scorpius was practically the mirror image of Draco when he was twelve, there wasn't any chance Harry wouldn't recognize him. "Of course, he'll recognize you, even with that haircut." Scorpius had taken to wearing his hair long on top, shaved on the sides. Draco really hoped it was a short-lived phase.
"Okay, deep breath." Draco put his arm around Scorpius and forced himself to focus on the three Ds.
They landed on a gravel surface; Draco stumbled on the landing, his arm tightening to keep Scorpius upright. "Nice landing, Dad." Scorpius grumbled as he stepped away. "Where are we?"
They were in a gravel courtyard of some sort, surrounded by tall trees—frowning Draco turned around and looked up at the looming brown riverstone building with a steeple. A church. Why were they at a church? He turned in a full circle; there was a road curving past and up over a hill where he could see a smattering of rooftops, a small town or village of some sort. Had he gone to the wrong place? Draco was pulling out his phone to call Harry when he spotted the lorry parked in the corner of the courtyard, it looked just like the one that Harry had had at the art gallery.
A door banged open and they turned to see Harry standing at the side door of the church holding back a large golden retriever that seemed intent in lunging free. "You're here," Harry said with a motion of his free arm. "Sorry, Maggie decided to try and eat our tea just as I was heading out to meet you."
Draco took a step towards the building but stopped when he saw that Scorpius was standing still staring at Harry. "Are you okay?" He asked quietly.
"It really is Papa." Scorpius whispered. "I was afraid I wouldn't remember him."
Draco nodded. "It really is him." He was pleased that Scorpius was recognizing Harry as Papa and not as Harry Potter. The dog gave a bark and Draco put his arm around Scorpius's shoulders. "Come on, let's talk to Papa and meet the dog."
Harry greeted Draco with a nervous smile, his eyes darting from Scorpius to Draco. "Scorpius, it is good to see you again."
"Hi." Scorpius looked down at the dog rather than Harry. The dog was trying to jump up on Scorpius and Harry had to strain to hold her back.
"You didn't mention that you lived in a church," Draco said. "Please tell me you haven't become a priest."
Harry laughed and shook his head. "God, no. Let's go inside, I'll explain." He turned and tugged the dog back inside and Draco and Scorpius followed them.
Draco blinked in astonishment. It was a church, but Harry had transformed it into an art studio. Instead of pews, eight oversized worktables filled the nave, most were covered with all different shape and color glass pieces being assembled like a jigsaw puzzle. Four tables had disassembled church windows spread out on them. Built along one side were open shelving of sheets of glass and dozens of large jars filled with glass beads.
"Cor! This is amazing." Scorpius had forgotten all shyness as he stared around in amazement. "You live here?"
Harry gave a genuine smile at Scorpius's excitement. "I do, well, my bed and bathroom is up there." He pointed to the far end of the building where an iron spiral staircase led up to the choir loft.
The coffered wooden ceiling was over thirty feet above the slate floor, and Draco turned to look at the arched stain glass windows that ran along the south and north sides. The afternoon sun was shining through casting rectangular pools of lights across the worktables and stone floor.
"Hey, how come the sun coming through those windows isn't colored? Isn't it supposed to be?" Scorpius turned to ask Harry. "My grandmother's house in France has stained glass windows and that's what her windows do."
"No surprise you are in Ravenclaw, Scorpius," Harry said with a delighted smile. "You are right, I use a charm to remove the color from the light coming through the windows because I need to see the exact color of the glass I'm working with when I'm building a piece." Harry glanced at Draco. "I have a built-in Muggle safety ward. If a Muggle friend comes by, as soon as they enter the building, any magic charms that are in place, like the light-charm, are cancelled."
Draco nodded approvingly, he'd sensed a variety of wards as he'd entered but they hadn't been of any of the alarming sort he was used to dealing with.
"Dad showed me the glass piece in his bedroom that you made. It is amazing." Scorpius chattered excitedly with Harry. Harry's eyes met Draco's over Scorpius's head when Scorpius said bedroom and Draco felt his cheeks flushing. He should have moved the damn thing to his office.
Harry showed Scorpius around to each of the tables, showing him patterns for each piece and how he shaped the glass, and the tools he used. Scorpius absentmindedly scratched the dog's thick neck as Harry talked and explained one of the projects that looked like it was going to be of a Hungarian Horntail. Dozens of black and bronze pieces of glass made up the dragon's horns and outstretched wings, soaring over a lake of blue glass. Scorpius watched wide eyed as Harry showed him the original sketches and how he had shaped each piece.
Draco leaned against one of the stone arches off to the side to let the two of them interact without him. It had been a brilliant decision on Harry's part to have Scorpius come here. Whatever fears or hesitation Scorpius had been feeling had vanished as soon as he saw the studio. Scorpius's quest to learn everything about everything would not let something like the seven-year gap in Harry's presence in his life to stop him.
"Dad, did you hear? Papa said that we can go down to the crypt!"
"No, I said after tea, if your dad says it is okay, we can go down to the crypt."
"Oh, joy," Draco said and Harry grinned at him.
"I have tea set up in the living area."
Harry led them to the south aisle where there was a small open style kitchen and seating area. A large area rug made it cozier than the stone floor and Harry had arranged a sofa and two armchairs. Along the wall was a long series of book shelves crammed full of books. Judging by their glossy paper book jackets they were all Muggle books. Plates of biscuits and sandwiches were set out on a coffee table that looked like it had been made from wood from an old pew.
Scorpius sat criss-cross on the rug right next to the coffee table and Maggie plopped down next to him, placing his head on Scorpius's knee.
"I'll just get the tea ready," Harry said, rubbing his hands on the side of his jeans. "Scorpius do you like tea? Or I have milk or—"
"Do you have any Ribena?" Scorpius asked with a sly look at Draco.
"I do," Harry said with a smile. "I think there is blackcurrant and strawberry, and maybe mango—"
"Okay, one Ribena and a pot of tea coming up."
"I'll help you," Draco said, with a warning look to Scorpius whose hand was reaching for a sandwich.
"I can manage," Harry said but Draco followed him into the kitchen area that had been fit into the south transept.
"If you hired the dog to help break the ice, I'm making you an honorary Slytherin," Draco said as Harry plugged in the electric kettle.
Harry gave a low chuckle and shook his head. "Maggie showed up two winters ago, soon after I moved in here. Looked around to see if anyone had lost her but no one claimed her." He leaned against the cupboard. "She is good company."
"How exactly did you end up living in a church?"
"I use a lot of old glass for the pieces I do, the soda or forest glass from the medieval times or later is magnificent. It has much more depth of color and texture. A completely different feel and look than the contemporary manufactured glass from today." Harry shrugged. "And of course the best source of that kind of glass is churches. When England was bombed during the Muggle war in the 1940s a lot of church stained glass windows were badly damaged and they ended up putting the pieces in storage. I go around to old churches and many times they have bins and bins of it tucked away somewhere. Came across this place and it was for sale." Harry shrugged. "I bought it."
"It suits you." Draco admitted. "And the stonework and arches reminds me of Hogwarts."
Harry looked around in surprise, "I suppose it does. The water is ready. Want to pick the tea? The drawer next to you."
Draco pulled open the drawer and there were a dozen choices. "Earl Grey?"
"Sure," Harry said as he filled a brown earthenware tea pot. "Could you get the milk?"
Draco went to the refrigerator and got out a pint of milk and added it to the tray next to the bottle of Ribena Harry had pulled out of a cupboard. "Does Scorpius prefer it hot or cold?"
"Hot. He'll love you for that, I never let him drink it." Draco's teeth ached at just the thought of all the sugar in the Muggle drink.
Harry poured a measure of it into a mug and filled it with hot water, stirring to mix it.
"Okay, ready," Harry said as he picked up the tray.
Draco followed him back to the sitting area. "Scorpius, go wash up your hands."
"Oh, right. Where's the bathroom, Papa?"
"Across there," Harry said, pointing across to the north aisle. "You'll see the door open."
Scorpius ran across the room, the dog galumphing behind him. They both skidded to to a stop on the stone floor before disappearing around the corner.
"You did a great job with him, he's a wonderful boy," Harry said as he sat down in one of the armchairs.
"He is," Draco agreed. "Hard to believe he is the same child as that colicky little baby who had to be carried around for hours before he would fall asleep."
Their eyes met and Draco was taken back to what should have been their first date. He'd had Pansy come to babysit nine-month old Scorpius but before Harry and him had even finished their first course at the restaurant her owl had delivered a Howler, which was only the sound of Scorpius wailing. He and Harry had raced home, afraid something dreadful had happened to Scorpius. Harry had helped him calm Scorpius down, until he'd finally fallen asleep with quiet hiccupping little sobs.
Instead of a gourmet restaurant meal they had ended up having cereal and milk at midnight. Then somehow, between helping Harry on with his coat and seeing him out, they'd ended up pushed against the door fumbling with each other's clothes.
There was the clatter of running footsteps and claws across the floor and Scorpius was back.
"Yes, well I aim to please." Harry handed Scorpius the Ribena. "Help yourself, and there's another in the kitchen if your father says it's okay."
"Cor, thanks!" Scorpius took the mug carefully and sat back down on the floor. "May I have a sandwich?"
"Sure, help yourself," Harry said settling back in his chair. Draco took a seat on the sofa.
"Scorpius, did you have something you wanted to tell Papa?"
Scorpius looked blankly at Draco and then his eyes widened as he realized what he'd forgotten to do.
"Thank you for the Cloak, Papa. Is it really the one you used with Mr and Mrs Weasley?"
"No need to thank me, Scorpius. I've wanted you to have it for a long time. Yes, that's the one. My father left it for me. Albus Dumbledore gave it to me during my first Christmas at Hogwarts."
"You got to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas? That is so lucky! I saw all the decorations that Hagrid was putting up. It must be terrific to be there and not have to be doing any schoolwork."
"Those Christmases were the best I ever had," Harry agreed, "But I think your father would miss you if you didn't come home."
"Hey, you don't have a Christmas tree," Scorpius said looking around. "Why not?"
"Oh, well. I guess it was kind of a waste of time to put up one for just me," Harry said. "Besides, I don't have any baubles or anything to put on one."
"I bet you could make some killer ornaments out of glass. Have you ever tried?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I've never even thought of making one. What do you think would be a good ornament to try and make?"
"I don't know...maybe a star or a snowflake?'
Harry nodded. "I think that could work. We could even make one together."
"REALLY?" Scorpius sat up on his knees.
"Really, well, uhm." Harry looked over at Draco. "How long are you able to stay? It could take a good hour or two."
"That's fine, we have nothing else going on today."
Harry reached over to the bookcase and pulled out a sketchpad and flipped to a blank page. "Here, sketch out some ideas of what it should look like and then we can make a pattern to use to cut the glass. Remember the patterns I showed you?" Scorpius nodded. "Nice clean lines that are easy to cut will work best. Come up with a few different ideas and we'll pick the best one."
Scorpius took the sketchpad and sat chewing on his bottom lip, until a smile crossed his face and he started to draw.
Draco asked quietly, not wanting Scorpius to hear. "Have you decided what to do about Rose and Hugo? Are you going to…"
"I'm going to their house for dinner tomorrow," Harry said. "Ron wants to make me do the whole Sunday dinner at the Burrow but…"
"All the Weasleys? No." Draco always felt overwhelmed at that house. Scorpius, of course, loved it.
"Exactly, no, not yet at least. But this and tomorrow is a start." Harry grimaced. "Stupid, considering how well this has gone, I should have done it years ago."
"You must not have been ready. Now, it seems like you are. I'm proud of you, Harry."
"I'm done!" Scorpius crawled over on his knees to Harry's chair. "Will these work?"
"Let me see." Harry looked at the drawings with Scorpius. "This one would be pretty hard to do, and this one is really good, but I like this one the best." He tapped at one of the designs. "What is great about making stained glass is that it can be three-dimensional. You know what that means?"
"Yes, it has height, width and length. Like an actual chair is three-dimensional and a photograph of a chair is two-dimensional."
"Exactly. So why don't we take this design that you made with the triangles and make it three dimensional." Harry took the pencil and started sketching. Draco got up from the sofa and went to stand behind Harry's chair so he could see what he was drawing. Harry's hand hesitated for a minute but he started making quick lines on the paper. Next to Scorpius's rough sketch of an eight pointed star, Harry drew three sets of triangles. The first set had four isosceles triangles united at their bases to make a four-pointed star.
"See, we can use the triangles and make the ornament in three layers. This will be the main one with the long narrow triangles, and then on both sides we can solder the three wider triangles sticking outwards at an angle." Harry shaded the design so that it looked like the triangles were coming off the paper.
"That is cool. Can we really do it?"
"Sure. Now that we have an idea of what we want, we can make a pattern with the thin card I showed you. Once we are sure we like it, we'll cut the glass. Let's go over to a worktable."
Harry cleared a space on one of his large worktables and found a wood crate for Scorpius to stand on. "Okay first thing we need to do is build a template with the thin card to make sure it all fits together nice and then we'll use the template to cut the pieces of glass."
Draco watched from a distance, their two heads, one blond, one brunet, bent to work close together as Harry showed Scorpius how to use a ruler to make the shapes and then Scorpius cut out the pieces.
"Now we are going to fit them together and see if we like it, and this is where being a wizard is handy. Muggle glass artists have to use sellotape and stick them together but we can use magic." Harry picked up his wand and floated the pieces together. "What do you think, Scor?"
Scorpius was bouncing up and down with excitement. "Oh, that looks really good, but do you think that maybe these bits should be a little pointier?"
"Let's try it." They perfected the shape and then Harry took Scorpius over to pick out the glass. "We won't need a lot so let's look through these scrap bins."
"I like these clear pieces that have the streaks in them, that would look good, right?"
"I think those would be perfect." Harry looked around. "Okay, here's a marker. Trace the shapes of each piece from the template. Think about which way you want those streaks to run when the ornament is finished."
"Oh, you mean we want to make sure all the streaks are going in the same direction." Scorpius nodded and started tracing the pattern onto the glass.
While Scorpius was working, Harry looked around to see where Draco was sitting. "Thank you," he mouthed. Draco's heart ached, for what should have been. For the Sunday afternoons they should have spent together, Harry helping Scorpius with his projects. For having Harry by his side the first time he'd gone to King's Cross to put Scorpius on the Hogwarts Express, sharing their fears as they sent their son off to Hogwarts for his first year. The breathless waiting to see what house he was sorted into...and the pulse-stopping realization that they had the whole house to their self for the first time in eleven years.
He should have had all that with Harry, Draco realized with a flash of anger. And it had been lost to them, destroyed by potions, nightmares, and trauma. Voldemort had been dead for seventeen years and they were still living under the burden of the damage he had wrought.
"Okay! Now what?"
"Now you have to score the glass with the glass cutters." Harry picked up a tool. "Use the ruler, score it a little outside the lines you made. After the glass is cut we'll use the grinder to get them exactly the size and shape we want them. It is kind of tricky getting the pressure right when you are pressing down with the cutter, let's practice first."
Harry walked Scorpius through the process of how to use the glass cutter and then handed him a pair of pliers. "Wait, let me get you some safety goggles. I think I have some somewhere." He dug through a couple of drawers until he found a pair.
"Okay, firm quick pressure." Draco saw Harry flinch as Scorpius broke the first piece. "That's alright, try the next one….good….much better...you are getting the feel of how much strength use...good job. Now you cut the actual pieces, and then we'll use the grinder to smooth the edges."
"Dad! Did you see me? I did it all by myself," Scorpius said happily as Harry led him over to another table.
"I was watching, you did a great job."
There was a press against his leg and Draco looked down to see Maggie peering up at him. "What do you want?" Draco asked. The only response was a whimper and the dog going down on her front paws with a hopeful expression on her face.
"Harry, I think the dog needs to go out."
"Could you take her? Scorpius has just about got this foiling technique down," Harry asked. "She is good, doesn't need a leash. Just let her run around the churchyard."
By the time Draco got back in with the dog, who had wanted to play an extended game of fetch with a ball she'd crawled under the lorry to get, Scorpius and Harry were already soldering the pieces together.
"Easy...easy. Remember slow and steady...that's it, bring the solder to the iron...good, good...don't worry, we can fix that later..." Harry said. "Okay, now this last bit is really tricky, because the iron has to get deep in there to put the pieces together, why don't I do this and you watch how I do it?"
Scorpius was standing so close to Harry that his whole body was pressed against him as he tried to see exactly what Harry was doing. "There. How does that look?"
Harry held up the ornament for them both to see. It was perfect, an amazing multi-pointed glass star. It caught the light and sent a cascade of prisms around the room.
"That's incredible, I can't believe you did that just on the whim," Draco said.
"Well, it was Scorpius's idea and design, isn't it? I just helped," Harry said "But there is one thing missing, isn't there, Scorpius?"
Scorpius tilted his head and looked at the ornament. "A loopy thing on the top...it needs one so it can be hung on a tree."
"Right. Draco, right behind you there is a roll of wire, can you bring it over?"
Draco came over with it, handing it to Harry across the table. Harry smiled at him before turning to Scorpius. "Okay, now shape this into a loop, and you want to leave enough on each side of the loop so you can solder it to the top point." Harry watched patiently as Scorpius fumbled with the wire. "Okay, that looks good. Use the wire snips to cut it. Then what do you have to do?"
"Use the flux?"
"Right. Cover both sides of the wire, that's it. I'll hold the pieces and you do all the soldering. Right, just a little bit...good, now the other side…good job, Scorpius!"
"I did it! Dad, did you see!"
"I did. That looks amazing." Draco checked the time. "But I think we've probably intruded on Harry's day long enough. Can you tell him thank you?"
"Nothing to thank me for...this is the best day I've had in a long time. Let me find a little box for you to put the ornament in."
"But I wanted you to have it!" Scorpius said. "We made it because you said you don't have any ornaments for a tree. And you gave me the Cloak for Christmas and I didn't get you anything."
"Oh," Harry said looking from the ornament to Scorpius. "Thank you, Scorpius." Harry hesitated but when Scorpius went to hug him, Harry wrapped his arms around him tightly. "Thank you."
Draco thought his heart would break as Harry kissed the top of Scorpius's head.
"Can we come to see you again, Papa?" Scorpius said, wiping his face as if his eyes weren't tearing up. "I don't go back to Hogwarts for another whole week."
"We'll have to see." Draco and Harry said at the same time. Their eyes met over Scorpius's head and Draco's chest tightened and he struggled to take a deep breath. He had no idea where he wanted this to go but the three of them felt complete again and Draco didn't want the feeling to go away again.
"Maggie and I will see you out," Harry said with a smile, putting his arm around Scorpius's shoulders and they started walking towards the front door. "Thank you for coming to see me and for the ornament. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present."
"Papa, were we supposed to have talked about the serious stuff? I mean…" Scorpius looked back at where Draco was a few steps behind them, and his voice dropped. "Daddy said you were really sick. That is why you had to leave."
"I was...but I'm better now. And we can talk about it anytime you want. And if you want to send me owls when you are back in school, that's okay, too. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If I can't answer them, I'll tell you."
"If you're better does that mean we can be a family again? I mean if that's why you left and now you are better then why—"
"It's more complicated than that, Scorpius," Harry said. "I wish it could be that simple."
"But—" Scorpius stopped and turned to look at Draco, his bottom lip protruding in a stubborn pout. "It doesn't—"
Before Draco could think of a response, Harry put his hands on Scorpius's shoulders and looked straight at him.
"One day at a time, Scorpius. That is what they kept telling me when I was in America, getting better. Sometimes it is best to not worry about what is going to happen the next day. And this is what I try to do… and today is the best day I've had in a long time and I have you to thank for it."
"Okay, but I can still write to you?"
"You can. I don't usually like to get owls because it makes the Muggle neighbors wonder but for you I'll make the exception."
"I'll send them at night. Then they'll just think you have mice," Scorpius said with an understanding nod.
"Much better." Harry agreed as he pushed open the heavy door. They stood in the doorway and Draco felt like Scorpius whose shoulders were slumped and he was pouting again. "So…"
"Scorpius, why don't you go out and throw the ball for Maggie while I talk to Papa for a minute."
Scorpius's face brightened immediately as he looked from Harry to Draco. "Okay! Come on, Maggie!" The two of them raced across to the courtyard to where there was a bit of green.
Harry sagged against the doorway.
"You know he is going to pester you with owls," Draco said, feeling a swell of relief that the visit had gone so well.
"That is okay." Harry raked his hand through his hair. "Anything is okay. God, it was good to see him again. Thank you for letting this happen. You didn't have to and I really appreciate it."
"Have to say that I'm tremendously relieved. Yesterday he was pretty upset," Draco said. "Would scarcely talk to me before going to bed." Draco laughed. "When I went to check on him, he wasn't in his room, I couldn't find him in the house."
Harry's eyes flew wide open with alarm. "What? Where had he gone? You didn't say he'd run away!"
Draco rubbed the back of his neck ruefully. "He hadn't. I went back to his room ready to tear it apart to find a clue, when I saw his wand on the nightstand and I knew he wouldn't have left it behind."
"Where was he hiding?"
"He was asleep in his bed," Draco said flatly. "He'd covered himself with your bloody Cloak."
Harry burst out laughing. "I'm sorry, but that is so…"
"I found him when I sat on the bed trying not to panic. I screamed when I felt the bed moving and he screamed when he felt himself being squashed."
Harry wrapped his arms around his belly as he bent over with peals of laughter. Draco grinned. "Yeah, well, it wasn't funny at the time."
"Maybe you'll have to set up some rules of use for the Cloak," Harry said, wiping at his eyes.
"Yes, I'm still considering letting him take it back with him to Hogwarts."
"Well, I had it there nearly all the time and you know I never got into any trouble," Harry said with a wink.
"Between the Weasley children having the Marauder's Map and now Scorpius with the Cloak, I think I should just make a form letter apology to use to respond to McGonagall's owls. I fully expect to get at least two a week."
"At least," Harry said in agreement. He straightened his shoulders and held out his hand. "It was good to see you again."
"You too, Harry. Merry Christmas." Draco stretched out his hand to shake, but then at the last moment reached around to hug him. He allowed himself the luxury of feeling Harry in his arms. Harry hesitated for a moment then returned the embrace. There was the soft brush of his hair against Draco's cheek, and the familiar smell of Harry, and then it was gone.
"Merry Christmas, Draco," Harry said, his hand lingering on Draco's waist for just a moment before stepping fully away. "I'd better call in Maggie or she'll end up Disapparating with you.
"Scorpius would love that," Draco agreed.
Harry put two fingers in his mouth and whistled so loudly that boy and dog both stopped mid stride to look at him. Harry whistled again and Maggie came running over, stopping before him with muddy paws and the ball still in her mouth.
"Yes," Draco said firmly. Scorpius walked over, distinctly slower than Maggie had come. "Deep breath," Draco reminded Scorpius as he put his arm around Scorpius, drawing him close.
"Bye, Pa—" And they were away.
They landed smoothly on the living room floor. Scorpius didn't move away like he usually did, instead he hugged Draco tightly. "Thank you, Dad."
"Pretty good day?"
"It was the best." Scorpius agreed. "I'm going to go Floo call Hugo and tell him about Papa."
"Okay, and afterwards you need to sit down and write your thank you notes."
After dinner they both sat down to write letters. Scorpius preferred sitting on the floor by the fire. His face screwed up in concentration. Draco wrote a long overdue letter to his mother who had remarried and was spending the holidays with her husband's family in France. It was cathartic, putting down in words what had happened in the past month. He didn't know what was going to happen with Harry, Draco didn't even know what he wanted to happen. It had taken years to overcome that loss and he didn't want to feel that kind of pain again, and he would do anything, sacrifice anything to protect Scorpius from it.
"I have my letter for Grandmama," Scorpius said, holding up an envelope that he'd already sealed.
"I'm almost finished mine, did you remember to include Grand-père Felippe in your note?"
"Yes, I wished him bonnes fêtes de fin d'année."
"Bon. I'll send them both off with Helix, your grandmother will enjoy getting two letters to read at breakfast tomorrow."
"Dad, Hugo said that Papa was coming to their house for dinner tomorrow."
"He is," Draco agreed. "How does Hugo feel about that?"
"He's excited. He thinks it is really weird that Papa has been around all this time and no one said anything. We all thought…"
"You thought what?"
"Thought that the Prophet was right, that he'd died." Scorpius turned to look in the fire. "Why else would he have stayed away so long?"
"You know very well that the Prophet's only purpose is to sell newspapers. They have never troubled themselves with discerning the truth from fiction."
"I know but...he seemed so alright today. Was he really sick before or did he just get tired of living here?"
"Potion addiction isn't like coming down with dragon pox. You don't break out in spots. It was a long time ago, you can't remember everything that happened but we decided it was for the best that he leave, because back then he didn't want to get better...no that isn't right. He was so affected by the potions that he didn't know he could get well. And...fortunately he finally was able to realize he needed help and he was really lucky to find people who could help him."
"Sarah is a third year and she said her uncle is an alcoholic and he is really mean and even hit Sarah's cousin." Scorpius was staring at the floor, not looking at Draco.
"No, Scorpius, Papa was never like that, not ever. Everyone is different. Papa never was mean, never was violent towards you or me. Papa...had a lot of memories from the time when he was fighting Voldemort. He would have bad nightmares that would wake him up and he started taking potions to make the nightmares stop so he could sleep. Problem is that soon the potions stopped working so he took more, and when that stopped working he tried different potions and some of them were very dangerous."
"So does he still have the nightmares? How does he make them stop now?"
"I don't know, that is a good question. I think a lot of it was talking to someone about the nightmares, a therapist. And he told me that he started making glass art to help get better."
"He is really good, isn't he?"
"Can we go look at the one in your bedroom?"
Scorpius fell asleep in Draco's bed, something he hadn't done in years. He'd been asking questions about Harry, all the things he used to do with Papa. And Draco had answered them as best he could, dredging up the memories of all the good times they had had as a family. Memories that he had suppressed because they were simply too painful to recall. With Scorpius snoring, Draco tucked a blanket around and stared up at the shimmering green light that Harry's creation was making on the bedroom ceiling.
The next day Draco took Scorpius flying, testing his new broom at the local Quidditch pitch. There were enough boys and girls, all with their new Christmas brooms, that an impromptu Quidditch match was organized. Scorpius was thrilled to be able to be a Chaser and the afternoon flew by. On the way home they picked up fish and chips take away for supper.
They were just unwrapping the paper from the fish when a tap at the window sent Scorpius racing to see who had sent an owl.
"It's from Grandma!" He reported excitedly as he fed Narcissa's small horned owl a treat. "There are two owls, one for me, and one for you."
Draco made Scorpius wait to read his letter until they'd finished eating and he'd washed up the dishes.
"Now, Dad?" Scorpius asked as he dried the last plate and put it away.
"I must say that I'm impressed with how eager you are to read a letter from your grandmother," Draco said, raising an eyebrow at Scorpius. "What exactly did you put in your letter?"
Scorpius froze, his hand still reaching for the envelope. "Uhm. I just told her about getting the broom, and thanked her for the Cloak, and some other stuff."
"Yeah, stuff. Can I go to my room, please?" Scorpius didn't wait for Draco's answer as he grabbed the letter and raced off.
Draco eyed the rather thick envelope from his mother. "Other stuff, my foot."
With Scorpius showing no signs of emerging from his room, Draco settled into his favorite chair and lit the fire with a wave his wand. Picking up the silver and jade letter opener, he sliced open the envelope and pulled out the letter, it was five pages long. His mother clearly had something to say beyond thanking him for the brooch and scarf he'd sent her for Christmas.
The first two pages were filled with usual sort of news about her husband's family and the ballet they'd seen in Paris, Draco skimmed through the descriptions of Christmas breakfast then paused.
You can imagine my surprise this morning at receiving not one letter but two filled with news of Harry. Learning he is well and healthy again, relieves a heavy weight off my heart, and I'm sure yours, as well. You must be sure to tell him how happy I am for him and that he has my heartfelt wish for continued health.
Scorpius, or as he signed his letter, Scor, shared a drawing of the ornament he made with Harry. Your son is a better academic than he is an artist, but I could appreciate his enthusiasm and excitement and wish that I could have seen it for myself.
In your own letter you describe your uncertainty of what the future will hold. I can only assume, since you have your father's reticence in revealing your true feelings, that you mean you are afraid to open your heart up again. Or in more bald language: do you dare to take a chance on Harry?
To that question I can only ask you to look back twelve years ago when your former schoolyard rival, a rival whom you had taken quite a lot of glee in tormenting —remember those Potter Stinks! pins? Not only did Harry look past the wrongs that you and our entire family had committed but was willing to take a chance on a newly-divorced father and his infant son. Not many would have, but he did and he embraced you both with open heart and arms.
When you and Astoria dreamed up your arrangement—yes, Draco, I knew—it was the means to the end: you wanted a child, Astoria wanted to escape from her father's house. It was all very neatly done and you both were able to walk away a year later from that marriage with exactly what you wanted.
I fear that when it became obvious that Harry's problem was beyond your help you attempted to walk away like you did your first. It was ended just as neatly but with the significant difference that you loved Harry with all your heart, and despite all the problems that his addiction caused, you never stopped loving him.
If you are afraid that Harry's feelings may have changed in the time he was away, I would only suggest that you take a closer look at the silver ring that 'Scor' described 'Papa' wearing.
And that, my dear son, is the last I will say about your love life. The decision remains yours but I shall remind you to remember your Molière:
Vivre sans aimer n'est pas proprement vivre.
Draco snorted. To live without love is not to properly live. His mother was anything but subtle. And now he was going to be obsessed with what was on Harry's ring. Draco had only gotten fleeting glances at it. He had seen an irregular pattern but hadn't wanted to get caught staring at it. Draco glanced towards Scorpius's closed bedroom door, wondering what exactly the 'other stuff' Scorpius had written to his grandmother about. One thing was for certain he wasn't going to ask his son about the ring.
The next day was spent shopping for robes at Madame Malkins and books at Flourish and Blotts where Scorpius spent his gift certificate on books ranging from Arithmancy to Transfigurations.
"Surely you are already studying these in class," Draco said when at last Scorpius had come up to him where he'd sat down to wait.
"But these are the supplemental texts, and they are always checked out at the library. This way I can have them in my trunk whenever I want to read," Scorpius said. "It's my Christmas money."
"Far be it from me to take away your pleasure reading." Draco stood up and they went to the till to be rung up. When it was tallied Scorpius still had five galleons unspent on his gift certificate. Draco looked down at him, knowing that his son would not have miscalculated.
"They didn't have any books on one of the topics I wanted, I was hoping we could go to a Muggle bookstore," Scorpius asked, biting his lip.
"What could you want to read that you can't find here?"
"A book on making stained glass. I saw lots of books at Papa's so I know I could find some if we went to a Muggle bookstore."
Draco opened his mouth to object couldn't think of what to say.
"I have an address right here," Scorpius said, digging in his pocket. "I looked it up, just in case."
"Of course, you did."
By the time they were back home, Scorpius having talked him into not one but three art books, Draco dragged himself into the kitchen to figure out something for supper. Cooking was never his favorite thing. He liked good food, but he liked it best when it appeared on a plate in front of him, not when he had to make it. Harry loved to cook, the annoying voice in his head reminded him.
Draco cursed and shut the pantry doors. "Scorpius, we are going out for curry."
When they came back home it was to find the Weasley-Granger owl tapping impatiently on the window glass. "I got it!" Scorpius shouted over his shoulders as he ran for the window.
"It is for both of us, can I open it?"
"Sure," Draco said, tucking away the extra entrees he'd ordered at the restaurant so that they would have food for the next day.
Scorpius pulled out the card and gave a shout. "They are having a New Year's Eve party! And we are both invited. And Papa is coming!"
"He is?" Draco took the letter that Scorpius was holding out.
Our apologies for the last minute invitation but we've decided to have a small gathering on New Year's Eve. If you haven't already made plans we hope you can join us. Harry, George and his family are also invited for dinner and welcoming the new year.
"Can we go?" Scorpius asked anxiously.
Draco had planned on surprising Scorpius with an expedition to Muggle London to go ice skating under the large mechanical amusement wheel but it was obvious that Scorpius would think that a poor substitute for an evening at the Weasleys with Papa. That Harry was going to be there was a mixed blessing. Draco wanted to see him again. The problem was that Draco was very much afraid of that desire. The hug they'd shared the other day was one he'd endlessly replayed in his mind, it had felt good, too good.
"Of course, why don't you write back and let them know we are coming?"
Draco looked up at the red door again, thinking how much had changed since the last time he'd been in the exact same spot.
"Come on, Dad," Scorpius said, tugging on his hand. He rang the bell and Draco had to grab his hand to stop him from reaching for the doorknob.
"Wait," Draco said, firmly. Scorpius scowled and kicked the step with his new trainers. He was wearing all Muggle clothes. Draco had felt the need to retreat to the protection of tradition. He adjusted the sleeves of his dark blue formal cutaway robes and black trousers.
The door swung open and Hermione greeted them with a smile. "Draco and Scorpius, Happy New Year! We are so glad you could make it."
"Good evening, Mrs. Weasley-Granger, thank you for inviting us," Scorpius said formally, then he spoiled it by looking at Draco. "Can I go find others now?"
"Yes, you reprobate, go," Draco said, with a waving motion. He would have no shield from Scorpius tonight.
Hermione laughed. "You'll find the others upstairs in Hugo's room, I believe."
They turned and watched Scorpius run up the stairs. Hermione smiled at Draco. "Come on in. There are just a few us, in addition to George's family, Bill and Fleur are here. Teddy and Victoire are out on a date," she whispered.
"Merlin help us when ours are old enough to be on a date on New Year's Eve," Draco said with a shake of his head. "You look lovely tonight," he added, holding up the bouquet of flowers as a hostess gift.
Hermione beamed. She was wearing a periwinkle blue silk dress with a paisley pashmina shawl draped over her shoulders. "Thank you, Draco. They are beautiful, come let's get you a drink and I'll put these in water."
Draco paused mid-step. "Do you think that is wise with Harry…"
"Harry says it's fine," Harry said as he came down the hall. Draco froze, Harry looked so good. He was wearing a dark gray cashmere sweater that highlighted the sexy streak of silver in his hair and emphasized the fitness of his broad shoulders and chest. The black trousers were just snug enough to make Draco's eyes linger, to make him want to push Harry up against the wall to see if Harry's arse still felt as good against his cock as it had years ago.
With a start Draco realized his eyes were not where they should be and he looked up, straight into Harry's eyes. Draco took in a shaky intake of breath as they shared a look of mutual need. Was it wrong that Draco wanted Harry to be remembering how good they had once had it?
He was brought back to the present as Hermione slipped her hand through his. "Harry is comfortable with us enjoying our usual drinks."
"And I know enough to speak up or remove myself from any situation where I'm not comfortable," Harry said, his eyes still on Draco. "To be blunt, being in a pub or at a party isn't when the temptation strikes, it's in the dark of the night when I'm alone. And it's a battle I'm familiar with and have been winning every night for six years."
Harry's voice had a steely edge to it and Draco wondered if it was a conversation he'd already had that night. Draco's second thought was wondering if Harry really had been spending every night alone all those years.
"You're right, of course, my apologies."
"Come in and join the others. Draco, we decided to go buffet style rather than a formal meal, so help yourself any time. I'll be right back," Hermione said, leaving them at the opening.
Draco was obviously the last to arrive, Ron and his brother George were playing wizarding chess by the fireplace and Angelina, Fleur and Bill were talking and laughing seated at the sofa. None of them had noticed Harry and Draco standing together in the doorway.
Draco looked over at Harry. How long had it been since they'd been at a social gathering together? Certainly not the last months of their marriage, when Harry's ability to hide his addiction had failed as his cravings grew.
"Scor leaves on Monday?" Harry said, breaking through Draco's darker thoughts.
"Yes, he is looking forward to it already. I think he finds life at home rather dull compared to Hogwarts."
"You can't blame him, even taking into account all the schoolwork, Hogwarts is a wonderful place. You really can't compete with all it has."
"Yes, and now he'll find it all the more fascinating thanks to the Cloak." Draco turned so he was fully facing Harry. "Shall I tell you how many times this week he's scared the bejesus out of me by putting that damn thing on and poking me when I least expect it."
Harry laughed. "It is pretty much the best thing for a twelve-year old to have. I knew Scor would make the most of it."
"It was very generous of you, he hasn't stopped talking about our visit to your place. You made quite the impression."
"It felt good, having you both there. And Scor, he's amazing. You did a good job with him, Draco."
"He's a good son," Draco agreed. "Which reminds me, my mother remarried and is living in France. I took the liberty of telling her how well you are doing. She sends her best."
"Oh, that is nice of her. I should write to her. She was always lovely to me, even when I was at my lowest."
"I'll forward her address to you." Draco looked around. No one was paying them any attention. "I do believe we're being deliberately ignored."
Harry snorted. "I think you may be right. Let's enjoy it, hungry?"
"Sure." Harry put his hand on the small of Draco's back, guiding him to the dining room where Hermione had put out a lavish spread of hors d'oeuvres and sandwiches. Draco felt the loss of Harry's touch as he dropped his hand away and reached for two plates. "Should we make one up for Scor?"
"Scorpius is twelve, he and Hugo will come down when they are hungry and ravage the table. We are best to eat while there is still food to be had," Draco said as he helped himself to a couple mini quiches and sandwiches.
"You're absolutely correct, Draco," Hermione said. "I've had to go to the shops twice this week to restock the cupboards with food. Thank heavens they are going back on Monday."
"Amen to that," Ron added as he came up behind Hermione, giving her a pinch. "Get spoiled having the house to yourself and not having to worry about how loud your wife is being."
"Ron!" Hermione hissed, her cheeks blushing bright red.
"And now I do need that drink," Draco said. "Quickly."
"I'll get it for you, red?" Harry asked, turning to where Hermione had put out a selection of drinks.
"Uh, yes. Thanks, Harry."
"No, you should have champagne! It's New Year's, Malfoy," Ron said, taking a deep drink from his own glass of champagne.
"Draco doesn't like champagne, too many bubbles," Harry said as he handed Draco a glass of red wine. For himself, it looked like he'd poured a glass of sparkling mineral water.
"Hi Papa," Scorpius said from behind Harry, Hugo standing right behind him.
"Scor!" Harry gave Scorpius a hug. "Happy New Year!"
"Thank you, you, too." Scorpius grinned at him. "Did you bring Maggie?"
"No, I Apparated here, I didn't think she'd like that."
"Mom, can we go to Uncle Harry's to see his dog? Scor says she's the best dog ever."
Draco groaned at the nickname. "His name is Scorpius."
Harry grinned at Draco over Scorpius's head. "If you say so. Isn't that right, Scor?"
Draco knew the battle was lost when everyone else started laughing. "Fine, I think I will go enjoy my dinner elsewhere." He made his way to where Bill and George were sitting.
"Draco, good to see you again." Bill scooted over on the sofa to make room for Draco. "I've been meaning to send you an owl. I think we have a vault that I'm going to need your help on." Bill was the senior curse breaker at Gringotts and they often consulted one another.
From the corner of his eye he could see Harry and Scorpius sitting down at the chess game. It didn't take long to see it was going to be a long game. Harry had obviously upped his chess game since the last time Draco had played him.
"He looks good," Bill said.
"Yes," Draco agreed without thinking, and then realizing what he said turned to glare at Bill.
Bill grinned and raised his hands defensively. "I meant, he looks healthy. I only saw him a couple of times, early on when he got back."
"Oh. Yes, he does look healthy." Draco felt a tinge of sympathy for Harry. It was going to be part of Harry's re-emergence that he was going to have people constantly commenting on how good he looked, or watching what he drank to see if he was slipping.
The evening went quickly, the one thing that could be said for a Weasley gathering, there was always going to be a lot of laughter and tomfoolery. Draco hadn't been part of a strictly Weasley only family gathering in a long time, he'd forgotten how easily the siblings interacted, there was no holding back with the teasing. It was good to see Harry participating, although he stayed slightly away from the group, leaning against a wall and only throwing in a comment or two, every now and then.
The children made infrequent appearances, always sneaking plates of food as they went. Draco dreaded to think the mess they were making up there.
"Another glass of wine, Draco?" Harry asked.
"No, best not. Won't be able to Apparate if I do," Draco said with a shake of his head. "I'll have some of that mineral water you've been having."
"I'm mineral watered out," Harry said a grimace. "Was actually going to go make some tea."
"I'll join you," Draco said, impulsively. He hadn't had a chance to talk to Harry alone since the beginning of the evening.
"I can manage making tea on my own, getting quite good at it."
"You've lived in America, who knows what bad habits you picked up."
"You'll never know the horrors I've seen done to tea in America," Harry agreed. "They don't even have electric kettles."
"What's an electric kettle?" Draco deadpanned and was rewarded when Harry gave him a double-take before laughing and shaking his head.
The kitchen was dark, just a couple of sconces lit, and out the window, snow had started to fall. Draco went over to the window and looked out at the back garden that was now covered with an inch of white.
"Beautiful," Harry said coming up to stand behind him. "I hope it's snowing in Kent, my place looks gorgeous in the snow."
"I'd like to see it," Draco said, absentmindedly.
"I want you to see it." Harry was standing right behind him now, if Draco leaned back he would be able to lean against him. He shut his eyes as Harry took a step closer, his breath warm against the back of Draco's neck. "What are we going to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"This. Us," Harry said. "It feels so good to be here with you. I don't know what is happening between us."
"I don't know...it's hard to think clearly around you. Always has been." Draco took a deep breath and turned to face Harry. There were mere inches separating them. He leaned against the window, feeling the cold press of the glass against his back and the warmth of Harry in front of him. Draco put his hands on Harry's waist, the soft press of Harry's sweater against his fingers as he fought the urge to slide his hand under the bottom of the sweater.
"I know what I want, but I also know I don't have that right any more. I lost it a long time ago."
Draco could feel Harry's body trembling under his touch, his intake of breath as Draco slid his hand along Harry's back, drawing him closer.
"Maybe we shouldn't worry about any of that right now…" Draco said, as he pulled Harry's full against his own. Their lips met and Draco was completely lost as he tasted Harry, the sweetness of his mouth. How had he lived without Harry's lips on his for so long? Harry moaned and pressed against him, one hand raking through Draco's hair, the other stroking his jaw.
"You feel so good," Harry whispered against Draco's lips before kissing his jaw. Draco slid his hands down to Harry's arse, wanting—there was a sudden crash behind them and they leapt apart, Draco instinctively reaching for his wand.
"Lumos!" Harry called out.
The sconces flared to full brightness and across the floor next to a knocked over chair were six pairs of legs with no bodies attached.
Horrified Draco looked at Harry. His mouth was half-open and he shook his head as if wanting to deny what he was seeing. A hand reached out and tugged on the Cloak trying to cover the legs and Draco knew he'd made a terrible mistake.
"Scorpius!" Draco snapped. "Get out from underneath that Cloak. You, too, Hugo, Rose!"
There was a noise from the other side of the kitchen and he saw Hermione, Ron, and George gathered, puzzled looks on their faces as the children slowly untangled themselves and stood up. Red-faced Scorpius was staring down at the floor.
"What happened?" Ron asked looking from the children to Harry and Draco.
Words failed Draco had no idea what to say, how to explain what the children had interrupted. God knows what they'd seen. He couldn't even look at them. Harry turned to face the window, his shoulders shaking.
"I'm sorry, Dad," Scorpius said in a whisper. "We were sneaking out to play in the snow and then you and Papa came in and we thought we could just be real quiet and then, erm. Uh."
"Then we decided we'd better leave," Rose said, picking up where Scorpius had trailed off.
"And then we tripped over the chair," Hugo added helpfully.
"Uhm. Why don't you three go outside." Hermione gave a motion towards the back door with her head. "Now."
The children scrambled for the door, leaving the Cloak crumpled on the floor. The door slammed shut and Hermione turned to Draco. "What did they leave out?"
Draco stuttered, "Harry and I had come in to make some tea and —"
Harry turned back from the window and Draco realized that the man had the gall to be laughing. "Remember that time we were coming back to Gryffindor under the Cloak and bumped into Oliver Wood and the Ravenclaw Seeker," Harry said, wiping at his eyes. "I never thought I would be caught on the other side of the Cloak like that." Draco felt a surge of anger at Harry, that he could he be making jokes about what had happened.
"Oh my god." Hermione stared at Draco. "In my kitchen?"
"Scorpius and I should go." Draco stepped away from Harry. "Thank you for...everything," He said to Hermione. "I'll leave out the back."
"Draco, wait..." Harry grabbed his arm. Draco glared at him and Harry dropped his hand away.
"We'll let you two talk," Hermione said, pushing George and Ron out of the room.
"You're mad," Harry said.
"You think?" Draco closed the window curtains with a snap to keep Scorpius from watching. "Scorpius saw us."
"It wasn't anything more than snogging."
"It was a hell of a lot more than that," Draco snapped. "You don't think he is going to add one and one and get three? I don't want him getting his hopes up. We..."
"Draco…" Harry was twisting his ring on his finger.
"Let me see your hand," Draco said, reaching for it.
"What? Why?" Harry held his hand behind his back.
"Scorpius wrote to Mother, told her something about your ring," Draco said, challenging him to reveal it. "She wouldn't say what it was, but something tells me I should find out."
Harry sighed and brought his left hand forward, holding it up for Draco to see. "Figures a Ravenclaw would figure it out."
Draco took Harry's hand, pulling it forward to see the ring better. It was wider and thicker than their wedding rings had been, and of hammered silver with an asymmetrical pattern of small black stones worked around the band. Draco squinted and looked at the band again. Harry's fingers tightened around Draco's. A shock went through Draco as he recognized the pattern.
"That's the Scorpius constellation." He swallowed hard and turned Harry's hand over to see the other side of the ring. The Draco constellation was on the other side. "You…"
"I couldn't bear to have my finger bare...but knew I'd lost the right to wear our ring. I had this made to remember what I was working for."
"But…" Draco shook his head at Harry. "Why did you stay away? All this time. You've been back for five years."
They were still holding hands but Harry reached up with his right hand and touched Draco's face and lifted his chin so Draco had to look into Harry's face.
"It wasn't because I didn't care. I wanted to prove myself to you. I'd broken so many promises to you when I was on the potions. I couldn't show up on your doorstep...our doorstep and make more empty promises. I wanted you to see that I was different, that you wouldn't have to worry about me falling off the broom again."
Harry's thumb was stroking Draco's jaw, making it impossible for him to think. He caught Harry's hand and pulled it away.
"Five years?" He wanted to believe what Harry was saying but couldn't trust it.
Harry quirked a small smile. "Maybe there's a little more than fear. I was really afraid that you would want nothing to do with me. As long as I was still working toward the goal I could set aside my fears that you and Scorpius were lost to me forever. What I told you before about not wanting to go to Diagon Alley and be back in the wizarding world, it wasn't only because I didn't want all the attention. It was because I couldn't bear the thought of bumping into you and knowing I could never have you again."
"Harry." Draco was at a loss as to what to say. He stared down at their joined hands
"I know." Harry stepped away, breaking their connection. "It's a lot. And I don't expect you to know what to make of this...but if this my only chance to say it, I never stopped loving you."
Draco stared at Harry incredulously. Harry had disappeared without a word and it had nearly destroyed Draco. To hear him saying that he still loved Draco was a punch to the stomach.
"I can't…" Draco said, blinking to keep his eyes clear. "You can't just come back into my life—our lives—I have to think of Scorpius, too. Harry...I don't want him hurt again." Draco couldn't bear the thought of opening his own heart to Harry and having it shattered again, and he definitely wouldn't let Harry do it to Scorpius.
"I think Scorpius is stronger than you give him credit for… he isn't five anymore."
"No...but inside he is the little boy that cried himself to sleep for a year after you were gone," Draco said, getting a grip of himself at last. "I need a few days to think about this. Maybe after he goes back to school, we can have dinner."
Harry tilted his head at Draco. "Dinner to talk or a date?"
Draco nodded. "Uhm… I… both? I think….I really need to go." He couldn't think with Harry standing so close, his lips still red from their kisses. What Harry wanted seemed impossible but Draco couldn't say no to it, not without giving him a chance. "I'd better go say good-night to the others."
"Okay. You'll let me know when you want to meet?"
Draco nodded. Harry gave a smile. "I'll go round up the kids, they are probably freezing out there."
They stood looking at each other and then Harry gave a shrug and turned, disappearing through the back door. Draco forced himself to pick up the chair that was still laying on its side on the floor and the Cloak.
In the living room the others stopped talking when he walked in the room. "Scorpius and I are going to be leaving."
"So soon?" Fleur protested. "It isn't even eleven yet…"
"I think it is for the best," Draco said. "I—"
"Let Scorpius spend the night." Hermione came over to Draco. "I was going to extend the invitation. Maybe you need a quiet night to yourself."
George and Ron both made coughing sounds and Hermione looked over her shoulder to glare at them before turning back at Draco. "He'll love it and it will give you time. We can bring him 'round in the morning."
Draco could hear the sounds of the kids coming back in the house, with feet stomping and laughter. "Are you sure?"
Hermione nodded. "Go on, we'll tell Scorpius. He'll understand."
Since the last thing he wanted was to have to face his son, Draco took the coward's way out and left out the front.
Once home, Draco went straight for the Firewhisky. He poured some into the glass and drank it neat. Refilling the glass only halfway, the room was dark so he lit the fireplace with his wand. The flames leaped to life, sending a rosy glow throughout the room.
Draco stood by the fireplace looking around the room. The comfortable leather armchair he always sat in had once had a mate—Harry's chair. They'd bought the chairs together soon after Harry had moved in. Scorpius when he was learning to walk used to toddle from one to the other with his arms outstretched. It was that exact spot where Draco had found Harry passed out for the last time. The house had so many good memories but for every happy one, there was another ugly one.
Not for the first time, Draco wondered why he hadn't moved, and he still couldn't find an answer.
It was early afternoon when Ron finally brought Scorpius home. Scorpius stood politely in the doorway as Draco thanked Ron for bringing him home. Draco closed the door quietly.
"Scorpius, why don't we go into the study?"
"Are you angry?" Scorpius asked. They were sitting in the study, Scorpius in his usual spot on the floor, and Draco in his armchair.
"Am I angry?" Draco shook his head. "Merlin, no. I'm not...embarrassed more than anything. What happened last night, what you saw—"
"I know. Papa talked to me. He said that I should let you two just figure things out. That things are not always...as simple as snogging and then getting married."
"Uhm, right. Things are definitely more complicated than that, so you need to let Papa and I figure things out and not get any ideas about what is going to happen." Draco wished that Scorpius would give some indication of what he was thinking but instead he was studying the carpet like it had the most fascinating pattern he'd ever seen. "Do you have any questions for me?"
"Yes, can I go pack my trunk for school?" Scorpius said.
Draco gave a frustrated snort but waved his hand, dismissing him.
They barely made it to King's Cross in time, racing through the station and through the wall to the platform. Scorpius jumped on to the first open car and Draco shoved his trunk up the steps behind him.
"Bye, Dad!" Scorpius shouted as the train started to pull out as Draco leapt free of the car.
"You called that one a little close." Someone said behind Draco and he turned to see Hermione standing a few feet away.
"Traffic was a nightmare, two Muggle cabs hit each other and shut down an intersection," Draco said, as he tugged at the Muggle coat he was wearing. "Where's Ron?"
"He had somewhere to be so I saw the kids off. Care to have lunch? I don't need to be back to the Ministry for another hour."
"Another time," Draco said. "I've a case in Devon. Cursed cot," he added with a grimace.
"Oh, dear. That sounds terrible."
"Fortunately the family realized there was a problem before the child was born." Draco checked the time. "I best be off."
"Yes, of course." Hermione hesitated for a moment. "Stay safe, Draco."
By the time he had rid the house in Devon of not only the cursed cot but several other objects of questionable nature it was well past dark and he went back home to his empty house. He hated the first few days of Scorpius being gone. It was as if he took all the energy and life from the place and left Draco with just empty walls.
Resolving to not lose himself in melancholy, Draco ate a bowl of heated up leftover soup and then went to read in his chair. Just for tonight he was not going to wonder about the next day, not going to worry about what to do about Harry. He couldn't rush into something with Harry, even though he had to fight the urge to Apparate to the man's doorstep. Tomorrow he would send him a message. They could have dinner. Take one day at a time.
The next morning he detoured a block on his way to the Ministry to pick up a double espresso, he'd tossed and turned all night with dreams filled of Harry. Sipping from the takeaway cup he made his way through the Ministry foyer. Instead of the usual streams of witches and wizards heading for the elevators, there were groups of people talking excitedly, waving copies of the Prophet.
Draco shuddered, no doubt the Prophet had caught someone doing something, likely someone important like a top Quidditch star or Ministry official, judging by the level of chatter. He'd stop reading the Prophet years ago, when he and Harry had made the headlines too many times. He made his way down to his office and nodded a greeting to Tim, the department assistant who was already at his desk.
"Good morning, Mr. Malfoy," Tim said. "Interesting morning."
"Is it?" Draco asked, but didn't stop to find out what the man thought was interesting about it. Whatever the hubbub was about it would blow over when the next scandal occurred.
Draco hand was reaching down to set down the coffee cup when he saw that someone had put a copy of the Prophet on his desk.
HE'S BACK the headline screamed in the five-inch high letters. Below the headline, the entire cover of the Prophet was a photo of Harry walking down Diagon Alley with Ron and George. Draco sank slowly into his chair, studying the photo. Harry was looking full-on at the camera before turning his head and laughing at something George was saying as Ron glared at the photographer,
On the next page the reporter wrote in gushing detail… Harry Potter, the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, who disappeared from sight seven years ago and long has been rumored to be dead, stopped Diagon Alley shoppers in their tracks when he made an unexpected appearance late Monday morning. Harry Potter was seen emerging from the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with its proprietor George Weasley and longtime friend—Ron Weasley.
The three men walked down the length of Diagon Alley, to the Newt & Toad Pub where they enjoyed a lunch of…
Draco set the paper back down. There was no doubt the excursion had been planned out carefully. It explained both Ron's and George's absence at King's Cross. The stroll through Diagon Alley had happened at a time when much of wizarding London would be at the train station seeing off their children.
Harry had obviously decided to go about his re-entrance into the wizarding world in a very direct fashion, but also a very mundane way. There was no formal announcement, no stage set up welcoming the Boy Wonder back. Harry had just walked to lunch with his friends. Very typical Potter.
Draco waited until he got home before sending Harry a text.
Harry's response came almost immediately.
I thought so, George wanted to set off fireworks.
Good call with no fireworks.
It was Scorpius's idea, actually. We talked the other morning.
Draco frowned at the screen. Scorpius's idea to ?
I mentioned that I didn't know what to do, after being gone so long. He said 'walk down Diagon Alley, bam, get it over and done with'.
Still want to meet for dinner?
Draco hesitated then tapped out. Yes, Muggle or Wizard restaurant?
Harry's response took a little longer. Muggle. I still have indigestion from everyone watching me eat at the Newt. And I don't want _us_ to be the headline yet.
Draco stared at the 'yet' for a long time. If and when they appeared together in a wizarding place there'd be cameras and rumours flying.
Muggle, then. Tomorrow night?
I have support group tomorrow night, Thursday?
8 o'clock at Tony's? Draco paused. Tony's had been their place to go when they had a sitter. It was the first place he thought of when thinking about where they could go to eat but it was loaded with memories, some good, some bad. He hit send.
It took Harry long enough to respond that Draco figured Harry was questioning Draco's choice of restaurant.
If you get there first, order the calamari, my mouth is already watering
Draco smiled, how could he have forgotten how much Harry loved Tony's fried calamari?
Draco choose to walk to the restaurant, a decision he regretted when it started to rain when he still had a half-block to go. And of course he couldn't spell his clothes dry since Tony's was all Muggle. John, the maitre'd, smiled at Draco came in. "Mr. Malfoy! Mr. Potter is already here! What a pleasure to have you both back."
"Thank you, John." Draco followed him through the busy restaurant. He could see Harry watching them approach from where he sat in the back corner of the room.
"Niall will be with you in a moment. May I get you a drink? Some wine?" John asked as Draco sat down across from Harry.
"No, uhm. Sparkling water please," Draco said seeing that was what Harry was drinking.
"You don't have to on my account," Harry said.
"I know, it just seems like a good night to not indulge." Draco looked around, the room looked the same from the last time he'd been there. "I suppose it was stupid to have us meet here. It was the first Muggle place that came to mind."
"I'm glad. It's strange, being back in the neighborhood. I was early so I walked around. So many of the shops have changed."
Harry was wearing a dark green jumper and was tugging at the sleeves. Draco caught sight of something on Harry's hand. "What's that?"
"What? Oh, this?" Harry held up his hand so Draco could see it. Muggle bandages were wrapped two of his fingers. "Cut myself, occupational hazard I'm afraid."
"But...don't you use Dittany?"
Harry shook his head. "No potions."
"But Dittany isn't a potion...it's just Dittany."
"I know, it's just better this way. The cuts are rarely bad enough to warrant it, if they are, I just glue them up myself."
"The Muggles have this product called super glue. It's brilliant for cuts." Harry grinned, "I used to have to go to the A&E and spend an hour waiting, now I can just glue a bad cut shut at home and be fine."
Draco was still trying to comprehend this when the waiter set a plate of calamari down between them.
Harry grinned at him. "I told him to put the order in as soon as you arrived, with extra sauce."
"Are you ready to order?"
Draco hadn't even looked at the menu. "I'll have the toasted spinach ravioli with caesar salad."
"And I'll have the same," Harry said with a smile to Draco.
Harry handed the waiter back their menus as Draco served a few pieces of the calamari on each of the bread plates. Harry dipped a piece into the sauce and closed his eyes with pleasure as he chewed it.
"So good. No place does calamari like Tony's."
Draco watched Harry eat another piece. When Harry gave a little moan Draco had to discreetly adjust himself, thankful for the cloth napkin in his lap.
"Aren't you going to have any?"
Draco helped himself, but he enjoyed watching Harry eating more than actually having his own.
"Tell me more about what you do with the glass. You told me when we met at St. Aubin's that you were working nearby."
Harry nodded. "At the church. I do a lot of restoration work on church windows. Sometimes I can work on them in situ, other times, if they are badly damaged, I take them out and completely rebuild them."
"What do you like doing better? The art pieces or restoration?"
"Funnily enough I almost like the restoration better." Harry waved a piece of calamari at Draco. "It feels good to rebuild something and make it beautiful again. And, I figured out that there was a witch or wizard making stained glass back in the eighteen hundreds."
Harry finished chewing and nodded. "I've picked up enough of their magical signature to know it was the same person, or at least same magical family."
"How much magic do you use in your own pieces? The Ministry has sniffers out—"
"I know. I usually don't use it in the actual construction, just like what you saw me doing with Scorpius."
Draco shook his head. "The main piece in the gallery showing. You had to have used magic for that, and the saleswoman said it was going to the Tate Modern."
Harry choked and Draco had to wait for him to stop coughing. "No, definitely not going to the Tate. I'm sure that was just sales-talk to make me seem like a bigger artist than I am."
"But it is amazing. And you had to have used magic to make it and install it."
"I made that when I first came back to England. I was still... struggling. It was cathartic to create it, but I never meant for it to be on display. When the art director for the gallery came to select pieces she insisted that it be included. Egotistical I know, but I really wanted to have a London showing. I said okay, but had to make myself seem like an ultimate fussy artist so that I could install it using magic."
"You must have used a magical shield. I didn't pick up any trace of magic when I went to the gallery."
"Yeah, last thing I wanted was the sniffers to get a trace of Harry Potter's magic and connect it with Evans."
"What about now that you've officially come back as yourself? I saw you had another excursion yesterday." The Prophet had shown a montage of Harry shopping with Molly Weasley.
"Yes, thought if I bored them to death with the minutia of shopping with Molly they might eventually stop following me around."
"It has only been three days."
"True. The blessing is that no one knows how to get ahold of me. All the Weasleys are getting dozens of owls from reporters requesting—demanding—interviews."
"Funny, I haven't gotten one," Draco said wryly. "No, I take that back. A cub reporter from the Prophet caught me as I was leaving the Ministry, asked me to make a statement about my ex-husband reappearing."
"I hope you told him to stuff himself."
"Not in so many words, but yes."
"I suppose this will all die down soon."
"It will." Draco hoped it would at least. "You said you had a support group last night."
They had to wait as the waiter arrived with their food, setting down matching plates of ravioli with a flourish.
When they both had a few bites to eat Harry picked up the conversation again. "I go every week to a nearby support group in Canterbury."
"Muggles or wizards?"
"Wizards...I tried to go to Muggle ones, but an important part of groups like that is honesty. You have to be truthful and say what you are thinking...couldn't do that in a Muggle group. My therapist found a wizarding one for me to attend. I was afraid at first, thinking someone in the group would talk, but decided to take the chance. It was stupid really, once I got to know everyone in the group I realized that no one cared who I was, I was just one more person carrying around the damage from what happened."
"And it helps?"
Harry nodded. "I made the mistake before...when we were together, of keeping everything inside. Everyone else seemed to moving on with their lives and I pretended that I could too, but inside everything I locked away was…"
"Eating away at you."
Harry nodded. "I don't know if I'd have been brave enough to get help right at the beginning if it would've made a difference."
"You can't look back. You got help. You're better."
Harry pushed his plate away. "But at what price?"
Draco bit his lip, it was hard not to remember how terrible things had been at the end. How much he'd loved Harry and knowing that it wasn't enough. That he couldn't stay with him and protect Scorpius.
"I've been thinking about what happened the other night...in the kitchen. It was good...holding you again." It was hard to admit it but Harry had been so open and frank with him, Draco had to be the same for him.
"Why do I sense there is a 'but' coming."
Draco reached across the table for Harry's hand. "No...it felt good. Then I went home and walked around the house. It was hard. There are a lot of memories in that house and a lot them are not good ones." He didn't have to explain the not so good ones to Harry, he'd been there for all of them.
"Why did you stay there? Why didn't you move away?" Harry was stroking his thumb against the palm of Draco's hand, sending warm shivers up his arm.
Draco sighed. "I told myself it was because of Scorpius. It is the only one he knew, so many memories of him learning to walk, his first Christmas..."
"Those were all good things." Harry had been there for most of those memories, too.
"They were...are good memories...but—"
"I knew there was going to be a but."
Draco grimaced. "Okay, I guess there is a but. What I also remembered is how things were between you and me, at the beginning. From that very first night when Scorpius had colic and you helped me and then we…" Draco flushed as Harry winked at him. They had not held anything back that night. "Those were the memories I preferred to hold onto."
"And it was great until I ruined it," Harry said, pulling his hand away. "I wish I had done things differently, if I could have seen soon enough that it was going to cost me my family."
"Harry, we both could have done things differently. I could have recognized your problem sooner—"
"Don't take responsibility for my failure."
"I'm not, I'm saying we were in the marriage together. What happened to you affected me, hurt me. And maybe I didn't react as soon as I should have because I felt like I was...inferior to you." Draco pushed the truth to the surface. It was something he'd wondered for years but had never had the nerve to say out loud.
"What? In what way could you have been inferior?"
"I am a marked Death Eater."
Harry shook his head vehemently. "You are a former stupid child who got the Dark Mark because you believed your father's lies. You made decisions based on those lies."
"Decisions that had serious consequences."
"Yes...and you paid the price, you made reparations." Harry pushed away his plate. "If we are judging our worthiness to be in the relationship, can I remind you that you still have the scars from a stupid decision I made and it almost cost you your life."
"I antagonized you."
"I cursed you."
They'd spoken together and sat glaring across the table. The waiter, came up at that moment. "Sirs, may I...I'll come back." Harry and Draco looked as he hurried away and looked back at each other, laughing at his hasty retreat.
"Draco, I loved you more because of what you went through. You made mistakes, some of them big ones, but you moved beyond them. You showed the wizarding world that pure-bloods can change." Harry shifted forward. "Did I ever do or say anything to give you the impression when we were married that you were anything but my equal?"
"No, but it didn't matter what you did or didn't do, it matters what I thought. It took a long time for me to recognize that maybe that is why I didn't push it when I would see how dilated your pupils were, or how you would have the shakes and then excuse yourself and come back without them. I knew the signs of potion abuse and I didn't push you to get help until you were completely hooked."
"Do you think I would have listened to you? I was too busy trying to be the perfect father, perfect husband, perfect hero. The problem was I wasn't the perfect anything and the more I tried to hide the truth the deeper I fell into that hole. I kept telling myself just another sip, just another bottle, it would all be better and it almost killed me."
"We're a fine pair, aren't we?" Draco said. "And we wonder why our marriage crashed and burned. This is why...I don't know what we're doing."
"What do you want? Because I want you, I want us. I told you that the other night in the kitchen. I got better for myself, but the goal beyond that was you."
Draco took a sharp breath. For how many years had he thought that Harry had walked away without looking back. That he had never tried to contact Draco because he hadn't cared.
"Harry, when you were gone. I didn't think that you were ever coming back. I tried to move on." Harry flinched and Draco squeezed his hand. "Tried is the operative word. The problem is it has always been you for me. Even when I hated your guts in school it was because I was obsessed by everything about you. I wanted you paying attention to me."
Harry laughed. "I think we should have had a mutual hate society back then. I was so angry with you back then because I hadn't quite figured out the gay thing yet and I was so fascinated by you."
"Where do we go from here? You are going through a lot." Harry started to protest but Draco stopped him. "You are getting used to being back in the wizarding world and all the attention that is bringing. If we throw in us appearing in public together it is going to be a hundred times worse."
"I can handle it."
"I know you can, but there is no reason to rush things. If what we've just talked about proves anything, it is that we don't want to make the same mistakes we made before. Let's see where things go. Have dinner with me again next week."
"How about this weekend?"
Draco hesitated and then shook his head. "How about next Thursday."
When they finally left the restaurant it had stopped raining and they walked down the pavement that glistened from the streetlights. There were few other pedestrians out and Draco dared to cast a warming spell around them both. It felt amazingly right to be walking down the same street where they used to push Scorpius's buggy, their shoulders bumping together. When Harry reached for Draco's hand, he knew Harry was feeling the same way.
They reached the intersection that led to the house and both stopped. "Where were you going to Disapparate?" Draco asked, reluctant to let Harry go but knowing it was for the best.
"That back corner of the park," Harry said. The park was in the opposite direction of the house.
"I'll walk with you."
They passed a couple of dog walkers along the way, past the playground equipment where Scorpius had spent hours playing on. The path was unlit and by the time they'd followed the path to the far side of the park they were completely in the dark. Draco stopped and turned to look at Harry, not sure how to say good-night.
"You'll text me?" Harry asked.
Draco nodded. "I've a job up in Edinburgh next week. I'll likely be up there from Monday to Wednesday, but unless things go wrong, I should be back by Thursday morning at the latest so we can meet for dinner."
"That sounds fine. I need to start focusing on some new pieces. The London show did better than I expected and I have another gallery showing coming up in a few weeks in Brighton."
"I'd love to go see it." Draco slid his hands along Harry's waist and Harry stepped into his embrace. "Did I mention how many times I went to see the last one?" Harry shook his head. "Three times. I'm sure the woman there thought I was planning to rob the place."
"Who would have thought twenty years ago that Draco Malfoy would be my biggest art fan?"
"Well, technically, I'm a J. Evans fan."
"True. I'll see if I can persuade you to be a H. Potter fan," Harry said, his eyes dropping down to Draco's lips. "If you're willing."
Draco nodded. "I would be open to hearing your argument."
Harry kissed him. Unlike the other night, it was tentative, testing and Draco kissed him back. Wanting to feel Harry, needing his touch but afraid of pushing things beyond what they had agreed upon. It was the old, familiar feeling of knowing just how the other liked to be kissed. Harry giving a little groan as Draco focused on his lower lip, nipping and teasing. It was that groan that made Draco step back and wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. They stood looking at each other and Draco knew he had to leave before he gave in to what he wanted.
"Good night, Harry." He turned and walked away, counting steps until he heard the sound of Harry Disapparating.
The Green Dragon Pub was already crowded when Draco got there; Harry was seated at a table in the back. As had become usual, everyone in the room turned to watch as Draco greeted him. Defiantly, Draco leaned forward and kissed Harry on the cheek. "Sorry, I'm late. Nasty case over at Gringotts."
"But you got it sorted out?" Harry asked, sitting so his back was to the room. It had only been three weeks since they'd started going to wizarding restaurants together, Draco could only hope for Harry's sake that the fascination with them would soon fade.
"Only just. Was touch and go there for a little bit." Draco shuddered at the memory of the green vapor that had floated across the floor of the vault towards him and Bill Weasley.
"I've been wanting to ask you but I don't want you to take this the wrong way...but doesn't it concern you, how dangerous your job is?"
"Do you mean because of Scorpius?" Draco frowned. "It worries me every day. He and I have talked about it. He understands that there is a danger to me and the other curse breakers but it is a risk we are willing to take. The far greater danger is for the innocent wizards and witches and their children who accidentally trigger a curse, or the Muggles who buy an interesting antique and suddenly find themselves trapped or worse. I can't say that my life is any more important than theirs. I'm good at what I do. The only blessing with my family's long association with Dark Magic is that I learned a lot about it from a very young age. I can use that knowledge to help others and Scorpius understands that."
"If something were to happen to you? I assume you have a plan?"
"Hermione and Ron are Scorpius's guardians," Draco said. "I had to change the designation when you—"
"Of course, Ron and Hermione are good choices," Harry said, reaching over to squeeze Draco's hand. "We'd better order, I don't have a lot of time this afternoon, I'm still scrambling to finish a couple of pieces."
"You start setting up the show on Wednesday?"
Harry nodded as he motioned for the waitress. "Yes, the opening is on Friday evening. Draco, I decided—"
He was interrupted by the waitress.
"You decided?" Draco asked when the waitress had finished taking their orders.
"I decided that since I'm officially not in hiding anymore as Harry Potter that I can stop being careful about not being seen in public as Evans."
"What does that mean exactly?"
"I told my agent that I would attend the opening of the show, and I would really like it if you could be there with me."
"Are you ready for that?"
Harry nodded. "Before now I never wanted to be photographed, in case a Muggle-born should happen to see the photographs in an article or something. That doesn't matter anymore, if someone links me with Evans, it won't matter and it is a joint show with several other artists so the focus won't be on just me and my pieces, fortunately."
"It would be my honour to be your escort."
"The other thing I was wondering is...I've a hotel room reserved from Wednesday through the Sunday. If you like...we could make a weekend of it. The hotel is near the sea so we'd be able to see the pier," Harry said, chewing his lip as he waited for Draco to respond.
Draco had to suppress the urge to leap around table and crawl into Harry's lap. They'd been playing it safe, getting to know each other again but it was getting harder for Draco to walk away from Harry and not want more. Draco sent a silent thank you up to Salazar Slytherin for Harry making the opening to push them forward.
"I could reserve another room…"
Draco heard what Harry said and shook his head. "No, I don't think that will be necessary. I think one room will be all we'll need."
"Thank God," Harry said with a rush. "I mean—"
"Don't worry, I know what you meant," Draco said as he shifted in his seat to make his trousers a little more comfortable. "As much as I enjoy our meals together, I'm hungry for something more."
"Don't say that," Harry said with a groan. "You have no idea what I want to do to you."
"I think I have a pretty good idea."
Never before had a Friday afternoon meeting lasted so long. Draco resorted to solving Arithmancy problems in his head to keep from fidgeting as the Deputy Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Magic droned on about the need to use Form S_1298_a when returning from a cursing case that involved more than three Muggles. By the time the Deputy Assistant had moved on to Form X_3653_c to be used when Muggle dogs and/or cats were cursed, Draco was doodling clocks on his parchment.
At last, the man ran out of things to say and Draco was out the door and pressing the call button for the lift before most of the others had even finished stretching. Impatiently, he pressed the button again when the doors remained stubbornly closed.
"Malfoy, I wanted to talk to you about the Sheffield case." It was Thomas, one of the trainee curse breakers.
"It'll keep until Monday," Draco said as the lift arrived. "Have a good weekend." With no need to go to his office and potentially get snagged by anyone else who wanted to drag out the day, Draco took the left straight to the foyer and exited.
The dark worsted grey suit was hanging in the wardrobe, pressed and ready. Fortunately, the Muggle shop had been able to finish the tailoring in time. Quickly unbuttoning his robes he tossed them on the bed and went into the bathroom.
After his shower, the bathroom mirror was fogged-up and as he wiped it clear he caught a good look at his reflection. He was getting older. Almost thirty-five and he looked it, Draco thought with a groan as he leaned closer to see the creases and lines around his eyes. The last time he'd slept with Harry, those had not been there. He tugged at his hair, thank Merlin that hadn't started to recede.
"You look fine, deary, now get up a move on and shave or you'll be late," the mirror said with an exasperated sigh. "And wipe me off properly so you don't cut yourself." Draco swiped the mirror a little harder than necessarily with the towel, which made the bloody mirror giggle.
He could hear the clock in the other room chiming when he finally finished in the bathroom. He was meeting Harry in an hour, so had plenty of time to dress, Disapparate, and find the hotel. Pulling open his underwear drawer, Draco's hand hesitated, then swore at himself for his stupidity. This was Harry, who'd seen him get dressed and undressed nearly every day that they were married, Harry wasn't going to care what Draco's underwear looked like.
"Stop it," Draco scolded himself out loud as he had to press his hand against his erection. You're not fifteen, you can control yourself. He walked over to the wardrobe and took out his suit.
Slipping on the deep purple shirt his fingers fumbled with the buttons three times before it was properly buttoned up. You're a wreck and when you Apparate you are going to end up splinched or in the Outer Hebrides instead of Brighton, or both. The tailor had done a good job; the waistcoat fit smoothly, not bulking along his waist. Tie or no tie? Draco hesitated and then slipped on the gray suit jacket. It looked good. No tie.
Draco slipped his wand into the custom pocket of the trousers. "What would you need that kind of pocket for?" the tailor had asked. Draco had told the man he was a drummer in a band. Finally, he put on a heavy wool overcoat and scarf.
Standing in the middle of the room, bag in hand, he was about to Apparate when he remembered he'd left his phone in the bedroom. Cursing, he went to get it. As he picked it up off the bedside table he saw the tie he'd left behind and grabbed it, stuffing it in his pocket. Finally ready, he took a deep breath and Apparated.
There was still nearly an hour until sunset, but the Wizarding Lanes were already set deep in shadow. Draco turned, tripping on the cobbled street as he looked around to get oriented. The last time he'd been in Brighton was when Scorpius was seven and they'd come in summer for a paddle. It wasn't paddling weather now, the first week of March and there was a bone-chilling wind whipping through the narrow lane.
"Dressed in them fancy Muggle clothes, you'll be wanting to go that way." An old witch said from a chair in the door of a potions shop. She pointed with her wand to Draco's left. "That will take you to the Muggle road." Her chartreuse robes conflicted harshly with the red hat she was wearing.
"Thank you." Draco pulled out his phone as he went in the direction she'd pointed.
I'm in the Lanes, heading towards hotel.
Great. Room 345. Just getting ready.
Draco tightened his grip on the bag and walked a little faster. When he finally made it onto the busy Muggle road he flagged down the first cab he saw. Sliding into the back seat he gave the hotel address to the driver. It was half six, and the opening began at seven.
The hotel appeared to be a nice one, but Draco only gave a fleeting glance to the lobby as he made his way to the lift and took it to the third floor. Draco stood in front of room 345 and took a deep breath before knocking. The door opened almost immediately and Harry was there.
His hair was still wet and his black silk shirt hung open, highlighting his chest and the dark whorls of chest hair. Draco looked down taking in the tight fitting black jeans that hugged Harry's thighs, and undone silver belt buckle. It was the rough hint of a dark shadow along Harry's jawline that did Draco in though.
"Hi," Harry said, his eyes flicking over Draco's suit. "I...God you look good." He turned so Draco could enter. Draco took three steps in, and slammed the door shut.
He pushed Harry up against the door and kissed him hard. Harry moaned into the kiss as Draco demanded his mouth, their tongues twining as Draco raked his hand through Harry's hair, tangling in it as Harry pressed back. The rasp of whiskers against his fingers had Draco moving to kiss him along the jaw. It was only the sound of people passing down the corridor a few feet away that brought Draco back to his senses.
With a force of will he didn't know he had, Draco pulled away reluctantly. Harry's head was resting against the wall, his eyes closed and chest heaving as he took in ragged breaths. "I've changed my mind, no need to go to the opening. We should just stay here."
Draco shook his head, pulling the sides of Harry's shirt together and started buttoning it. "No, I think if we've made it this long, we can last another couple of hours." Reaching the top of it, he hesitated and left the top couple buttons undone. "Wouldn't want to disappoint all of your J. Evans fans."
"All one of them?" Harry slipped his hands under Draco's suit jacket and ran them along his waist. "I can't believe how delicious you look. I think I didn't pack properly."
"You're an artist, it is expected you will wear whatever you want." Draco looked him up and down. "And there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking devastatingly handsome in black. Although...if you like."
He bent down and picked up his overcoat where he'd dropped it and pulled the deep purple and silver tie out of the pocket. He slipped the tie around Harry's neck and loosely knotted it. The silver brought out the silver streak in Harry's hair and, vainly, the purple matched Draco's shirt and declared them a couple. Their eyes met and Draco's hands faltered. He had used to do the same for Harry when there were formal events to attend.
"Sorry…" Draco started to pull off the tie and Harry stopped him.
"Stop, I love it. Thank you." He kissed Draco softly on the lips. "I can't tell you how glad I am you're finally here."
"Nerves setting in?" Draco asked and Harry nodded. "How did the setup go today?"
"Good. As well it can, the other artists are pretty amazing." Harry grimaced.
"And they chose you to be included in the show because your art is amazing."
"It was easier when I was making the art and not hearing what people were saying about it in the galleries."
"If you consider that you played Quidditch as an eleven year old with only a few weeks experience of flying, this is really almost nothing. And with a far smaller chance of dying."
"Optimism. That is why I invited you." Harry grinned.
"How far away is the gallery? Shall we walk or take a cab?"
"Walk, it isn't exactly around the corner but the walk will help me."
"Is there time?"
"Hell yes, better to be artfully late than the first one there."
They made their way to the street and started walking along the promenade. The waves were breaking against the shore and in the darkness the brightly lit pier stood out like a beacon.
"I brought Scorpius here for a holiday when he was seven or so. Spent the days collecting pebbles and riding the kiddie rides out on the pier. Nearly made himself sick from all the sweets."
"I bet he loved every minute of it."
Draco shrugged. "You know how it is with kids. Everything can be wonderful and then it's suddenly a tragedy because you've lost your favorite spade. I remember after the second day, we were both sunburned and cranky and I was ready to pack up and go home."
"But you didn't?"
"No, I put him in front of the Muggle telly, which he hadn't seen before, and I took a long nap. He ended up curled next to me asleep and after that there was no more fuss and we ended up staying an extra day."
"You're a good father, Draco," Harry said, taking Draco's hand and squeezing it. He didn't let go and Draco savored the moment of walking together holding hands. "Scorpius has been writing me. He's amazing."
"You were there for a good part of his life, too. Don't forget that."
"I don't, I missed out on so much of it. And that is something I can never get back."
"No...but there is the future. You can be there for that, I'd like you to be." Draco said it in a rush. He'd been thinking about it, planning it for days, weeks even, but had been waiting for the right moment to talk to Harry.
Harry stopped walking and stared wide-eyed at Draco. "What? Are you sure?"
Draco nodded. "Scorpius is coming home for Easter break in three weeks, I'd really like for you to be at the station with me when he gets off the train. You are his Papa."
"And what about us...who am I to Scorpius's father?"
"I've missed you in my life. The last two months have been wonderful and torturous because I realized how empty my life has been, beyond Scorpius. I want you back, if you'll take me. I know that we still have things to work through. And part of me is scared, because we've been here before."
"What are you wanting then?"
"I want more of you. More than just meeting once a week for dinner."
Harry wrapped his arms around Draco. "You really are a bastard, you know that?"
Draco laughed into Harry's neck. "Not the reaction I was hoping for."
"You realize we have to go to the bloody opening? Which is the last thing on my mind right now." Harry pulled his head back to look at Draco. "You do choose your moments," Harry said, glancing around at the traffic racing by and the other pedestrians walking around them.
They stood wrapped in each other's arms, ignoring everyone and everything around them until the blast of a car horn reluctantly separated them.
"One hour," Harry said. "We are staying one hour and then taking a cab back to the bed—I mean, hotel."
"You meant bed," Draco said, grinding his hips teasingly against Harry's. "We'll be lucky to last an hour."
By the time they got to the gallery, the party was well underway.
"Evans! There you are!" A petite woman in a red v-necked dress made her way past three groups of people to stand in front of Harry.
"Miriam, you look wonderful."
"As do you, quite delicious I might add. I didn't really think you would show." Miriam glanced from Harry to Draco. "And this is?"
"Miriam, this is my...partner, Draco Malfoy. Draco, this is Miriam my miracle manager who finds the galleries and manages the paperwork."
Miriam's eyes went wide. "Harry, aren't you the sly one? It's a pleasure to meet you, Draco."
"The same, it looks like there is a good crowd here tonight," Draco said, sliding his arm around Harry's waist.
"There is, and I can't tell you how excited they were to find out J. Evans was going to make an appearance." Miriam took Harry by the arm. "I can't wait to introduce you to everyone."
Harry looked back at Draco. "Don't leave me," he mouthed silently and Draco followed.
The hour turned into two as word spread through the gallery that J. Evans was there. Draco stood next to Harry, his hand on the small of Harry's back as Harry talked glass and art. Unlike Ministry social events where Draco knew all the people and the expected language, here the conversation flowed around him and he felt as if he were underwater talking to Merpeople.
There were far too many Muggle references he didn't understand, although Harry seemed to have no problem comprehending what was being discussed. Draco, instead, intercepted offered glasses of champagne and sent waiters running for mineral water; and made sure Harry ate from the trays of food going by.
At one point, Draco tried to slip away to see Harry's work, but Harry caught his hand, pulling him back. Draco understood the need. His whole body was aware of Harry, the heat of him burned through his clothes as he put his arm around Harry's waist and tried to pretend that he knew what the woman talking about when she said that Harry looked just like Ben Whishaw.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Draco whispered in his ear. Closing his eyes for a second he allowed himself to breathe in the delicious scent of Harry. "We need to get out of here." He was about one minute from pulling Harry into a back hallway and taking him against the wall. From the sharp intake of breath and squirm from Harry, Draco hoped Harry was feeling the same thing.
Harry turned to the woman talking to them. "I'm sorry, Draco isn't feeling well. I suspect it was the prawns, I'd best get him back to the hotel." Without giving her a chance to respond, Harry took Draco's hand and headed towards the exit, ignoring all attempts to stop them.
"Subtle, Harry," Draco said as they stepped out on to the pavement.
"I'm done with subtle," Harry said, grabbing Draco by the lapels and kissing him hard and fast. "There are things I want to do to you that are best done in a bed."
It took two roads to locate an available cab. Harry, at last, managing to find one that was just dropping off. They sat in the back seat holding hands, Harry's thumb gently stroking Draco's knuckles and sending shivers up Draco's arm.
The lift ride to the third floor was shared with an elderly woman and her poodle that insisted on sniffing at Harry's legs. "I have a dog," Harry said when the woman apologized. "She must be smelling Maggie."
"Where is Maggie?" Draco asked, his eyes watching the dial indicating the floors they were passing. It was the slowest moving lift he'd ever been on.
"A neighbour is watching her….thank God," he muttered as the doors finally opened, earning him a frown from the woman as she tugged her dog down the corridor.
Harry swore at the door lock, having to slide the card in three times before it finally gave a green light and he pushed the door open.
Draco helped Harry off with his winter coat, hanging it before taking off his own. They stood looking at each other—Harry's cheeks were red from the cold and when Draco took Harry's hands in his, they were icy cold and trembling.
His heart was beating so hard, Draco was sure Harry could hear it, but the room was quiet except for the rattling and blowing of the heating system.
"I've wanted this for so long...can't believe it's going to happen," Harry said, giving Draco's hands a squeeze. "Please tell me you are as scared as I am."
"Terrified," Draco admitted.
Harry shook his head, giving a little laugh. "You'd think we were fifteen and doing it for the first time, not thirty-five year olds—"
"It feels like the first time." Draco freed his hands so he could caress Harry's face, putting his palm along Harry's cheek. "I've missed you."
Harry turned his head slightly, kissing the palm of Draco's hand. "This is something I've wanted for so long, I can't believe we're here again."
"It's been so long…" Draco gave a shiver as Harry reached up and took Draco's hand, and began kissing his knuckles before gently taking in Draco's index finger, sucking it and running his tongue along the digit. "Salazar, I always loved your mouth." Harry gave a little hum that sent a wave of heat straight to Draco's groin. "If you keep doing that I'm going to embarrass myself before we even get our clothes off."
Harry lifted his head away, his eyes dark with want. "I need to see you." He reached for Draco's suit jacket, slipping it off as Draco pulled off the purple tie and started unbuttoning Harry's shirt. The silk was warm from the heat radiating off of Harry's body. Harry tugged impatiently at the buttons on the waistcoat. "You are wearing too many clothes," he complained as he finally got it open.
Draco slid his hands over Harry's, stopping him. "Take off your jeans," he said as he started undoing his own shirt. Harry gave a shudder and stepped back, his hands on his buckle, undoing it as Draco watched. Draco slowly undid the buttons to his shirt as Harry slipped off the belt. The press of his cock was clear against the denim and Draco bit his lip with a moan as Harry palmed himself through the thick material.
Free of his shirt, Draco let it slip to the floor, he sank to his knees in front of Harry. Draco pressed his mouth against Harry's groin, inhaling deeply through the fabric. Running his hand, along the inseam, he kneaded Harry's thigh, feeling the muscles clench and bunch under his touch. Harry moaned as Draco teased him, cupping his balls with his fingers, stroking him through the tight fabric. Harry gripped Draco's hair, pushing his hips forward.
"Bed," Harry gasped. "Now."
Draco looked up. "Now?"
Harry tugged on Draco, pulling him upright. "Yes, because my knees are about to give way before you even get around to unzipping my fly." He tugged on Draco's waist and walked him backwards, kissing until the mattress hit the back of Draco's knees.
Draco lay back and Harry scrambled up on top of him, his arms braced on either side of Draco's head. Their hips pressed together, feeling each other's erections through the fabric of their trousers. Breathing hard in anticipation, Draco reached up and stroked Harry's taut pectoral muscles, the swirls of chest hair, lightly pinching his nipples and getting rewarded with a hiss from Harry.
Draco smiled, "I'd forgotten how much you loved that," he said as he flicked Harry's nipples again with his thumbnail. Closing his eyes, Harry arched his back, pressing down hard against Draco's groin as Draco lifted his head and suckled hard on the left nipple. "I could mark you here. You used to like that, didn't you?" he whispered against Harry's skin.
Harry gave a gasping moan as Draco nipped at him, teasing. "God, yes. Please." His arms were shaking and Draco pulled away.
"On your back." As soon as Harry rolled over, Draco was on top of him, straddling his hips. He rolled his hips, experimentally, loving how Harry thrust up to meet him. Harry reached down, his hands on Draco's trousers. Draco pushed them away. "No need to rush, we have all night."
"I want to see you, Draco," Harry started to say in protest but it ended in a hiss as Draco leaned down and started sucking Harry's right nipple as he pinched the left. "Oh you bloody bastard, yes, yes, that…"
"I always wanted you to get a nipple piercing...you are so sensitive...think how good it would feel." Draco flicked his tongue again, laving at the small nub as Harry moaned and writhed underneath him. "Imagine, my tongue teasing it." Draco nipped at him and Harry gave a loud cry. "Both of them...steel rings that would rub against your shirt, make you so hard." He moved to the other nipple. "Feel so good...you'd like that, wouldn't you? Going out in public with your jumper on, no one knowing how the fabric was tugging at you, turning you on."
"Oh fuck, Draco...stop...I'm going to come." Harry was panting, his eyes squeezed shut. Draco slowed his teasing, stroking Harry along his arms and down the sides of his chest as Harry chest heaved with his sharp breaths. His black hair was splayed out on the bed, lips pursed and red, Draco didn't think he'd ever looked more gorgeous.
Draco rested back on his heels, admiring Harry and palming his own cock through the fabric of his trousers. Opening his eyes, Harry's eyes sought out Draco's and then dropped to watch Draco's hand. "Show me. I need to see you."
Draco's cock gave a little jump at Harry's words and he lifted himself up on his knees. Pressing his hand hard against the fabric, he ran his fingers up and down his length and Harry licked his lips.
Unfastening the button, Draco slid his hand down the waistband. Harry sat up on his elbows, watching. "You're such a fucking tease," he said breathlessly, but he didn't protest as Draco continued to stroke himself under the fabric. Harry was breathing hard, watching every move of Draco's hand.
"Pull down my zipper," Draco said, his voice shaky. He was so close to the edge he didn't know how long he could last. Harry sat up, reaching for the zipper and tugging it down. Draco gave a gasp of relief as his cock was freed. Draco's heart beat was pounding as he rested back on his heels and Harry was scrambling around, turning and taking Draco in his mouth.
Draco couldn't hold back a cry of pleasure as Harry's tongue teased him. He cradled Harry's head with his fingers, stroking his black hair as he resisted the temptation to thrust. When he saw Harry's hand reaching underneath, fumbling with his jeans, Draco pulled away with a growl. "Take those off."
They both undressed completely, Harry cursing as he nearly fell with his foot caught. They were both laughing by the time Draco managed to untangle Harry from his jeans. "Mood breaker," Harry said wryly.
Draco shook his head. "Not hardly." He kissed Harry, slow, teasing kisses as they sank back down onto the mattress. Draco gave a shudder of pleasure as he felt Harry fully naked against him. Nipping at Draco's lower lip, Harry trailed his hands lightly down Draco's side, sending a tickling sensation down his spine. Harry gave a moan as Draco kissed his neck and along his jawline, loving the rasp of Harry's whiskers against his lips and cheek, he breathed deep taking in Harry's scent.
"I'd hoped you wouldn't shave...feels so good." Draco whispered.
Harry shivered and pressed against him. "I want to feel you, I need you...need to know this is really happening."
Draco slid his hands along to Harry's arse, pulling him against Draco, massaging Harry's buttocks. "Are you sure...we can—"
"Draco, honestly, I've never been more sure of anything in my life," Harry said. He held up his hand and a slim tube flew into his hand from across the room.
"Oh sweet Merlin," Draco said, looking from the Harry's hand to his face. "Non-verbal and wandless, you know how to turn a wizard on." It was more than that though; Harry, by the end of their marriage, had been so messed up that even his wand magic had been unreliable.
"Let's just say I'm very motivated right now." Harry gave a shiver as Draco's hand flirted down his crease. "Do you want to watch? You used to like to watch me get ready for you."
"Next time, tonight I want to do it. On your knees."
Harry shook his head. "Can we...I want to see you."
"You will, I promise. I just want to get you ready like this." Draco squeezed Harry's arse. "Want to make you scream into a pillow."
Harry rolled over, burying his head in his folded arms, he pulled his knees up, presenting himself to Draco. Draco kneeled behind him, smoothing a hand over his Harry's buttock.
"I've missed this so much…" Draco whispered. "Loved you like this." Harry gave a shudder as Draco's thumb teased his entrance, pressing in just a little. "You're so perfect...want this so much." His mouth followed his thumb, teasing butterfly kisses that made Harry quiver. "Oh, yes, so sensitive."
Harry cried out as Draco used his tongue, light teases that made Harry swear and grab at the bedding. "That's it," Draco whispered against his skin. "Show me that you like this, that you want more."
"Oh God," Harry thrust back with his hips. "Yes, yes, more."
"You want more?" Draco reached under Harry, stroke him. "Like this?"
"No...yes...I want your tongue, you bloody bastard," Harry cursed as Draco kissed around his opening. "Oh, yes...that, yes," he groaned in relief when Draco started using his tongue to open him up.
"Do you want to come now? Or with me?" Draco pulled away, as he felt Harry's balls drawing up, knowing how close he was. He gently kissed Harry's buttocks, slowing down the strokes of his hand.
"Don't stop…" Harry begged. "So close.."
"I still want you, don't want to hurt you…"
"I like that, you know that. Please, Draco."
Draco's cock gave a twitch. Harry had always liked the extra-sensitivity of being taken after coming. With a growl to show Harry his approval, Draco stopped holding back, his hand stroking the base of Harry's cock in rhythm with his tongue.
"God...yes, yes." Harry arched away from Draco as he came, spending himself in Draco's hand. Draco continued to stroke him hard, using his come as lube, and Harry screamed into the mattress, not pulling away. "Yes...oh fuck yes."
Draco flipped Harry roughly onto his back. He scrambled to find the lube and messily coated himself with it as Harry grabbed his knees, pulling himself up. Wasting no time, Draco pushed his way in, Heat. Tight, Oh, fuck. Harry.
Harry had his head thrown back, the cords in his neck tensing as Draco started to move. "Yes. do it." Harry hissed as Draco slammed into him. Draco tried to keep a steady rhythm but he faltered, fighting to not come too soon. When Harry reached down and started to stroke his own cock that was already getting hard again, Draco knew the battle was lost. He shifted, trying to hit the right spot for Harry, knowing he'd found it as Harry cried out, arching.
"Harry…" Draco came, shouting curses as he filled Harry. Slick and aching Draco continued to thrust, as Harry frantically stroked himself. "You can do it. I want to see you."
Harry's eyes flew open. Watching Draco look down at him, Harry bit his lips, and with an anguished cry, came. Draco collapsed next to him, his chest heaving. Harry threw a leg over Draco pulling him close, their bodies perspiring from exertion. Reaching out, Draco sought Harry's hand, clasping it to his chest, his heart pounding.
"I love you." Draco said, his words muffled as he buried his face in Harry's neck loving the soft feel of his hair. "Even when I hated you, I loved you."
Harry gave a broken sob and turned so they could kiss. "I'm so sorry...so sorry. I love you so much…I destroyed this and I can never make up—"
"Shhhh…. shhhh." Draco wrapped his arms around Harry tightly. "We're here now..." Harry put his arms around Draco in a death grip and they lay there, needing to know the other was safe.
As Harry's breathing steadied and deepened, Draco reluctantly eased himself out of the bed. Retrieving a wet flannel from the bathroom, he cleaned away the sweat and come from Harry. Harry, half-asleep, protested, reaching a hand out for Draco. Turning off the lights, Draco climbed back into bed, pulling the duvet over them both, as Harry spooned behind him with a sigh.
The early greys and pinks of sunrise were coming through the windows as Draco woke. Turning, he sought Harry, only to find him gone. Fighting to quell the long forgotten panic, Draco sat up, looking around the room. His heart was beating hard as he finally saw Harry sitting in the arm chair by the window.
Harry turned towards Draco, a smile on his face that faded away as he saw Draco. "What's wrong…"
"Nothing, sorry." Draco dragged his hands over his face. "I woke up and you were gone, bit of a flashback to before when…."
"Oh, hell, Draco. I'm sorry." Harry slipped off the white terry robe and climbed back into bed. "I woke up and didn't want to wake you."
Draco ran his hand down Harry's arm; he had goosebumps from the coldness in the room. "How do you feel? I was pretty rough on you." He traced the red marks that he'd left around Harry's left nipple, and Harry gave a shiver.
"I loved it, you know that, you've always known what I need. Never afraid to give it to me." Harry reached down and took Draco's hand, kissing it. "And your mouth...you could make me come just by the filthy things you say."
Draco's cock started to fill just at the thought of it, and he pushed his hips against Harry. "I always loved how responsive you are, I love making you scream."
Harry gave a gentle moan, but put his hand on Draco's chest, pushing him away a little. "I was thinking...we should talk." Draco froze, afraid, and Harry went on quickly. "Nothing bad...I just need to know where we stand. After what you said on the way to the exhibition I want to know exactly what you're thinking. I'm afraid of getting my hopes too high."
"What do you want?"
"I want it all, I want this." Harry held up his hand so Draco could see the ring on his finger. "Failing that I want as much as you can give me."
"That's what I want...but I'm afraid, too. What just happened." Draco waved a hand towards the window. "That panic of not knowing where you are, if you're safe. I don't think it is going to go away anytime soon. It isn't that I don't trust that you're better it is just that...I was always terrified, and I can't go back to living like that again."
"I'm sorry I hurt you so bad." Harry whispered. "If I had been in my right mind, I never would've done it."
"I know that but," Draco took a deep breath, "it is why we need to consider carefully what we are going to do. The timing is good, with Scorpius away at school. We can figure out if this is going to work before he's home for the summer holiday."
Harry nodded. "That seems fair...I don't want to get Scorpius's hopes up too soon. What is it you want?"
"I want to wake up with you every morning," Draco said. "I want to see your coffee mug next to mine. I want to swear at you for messing up the morning paper. I want to never have to eat another bloody takeaway meal because you are there, making us supper."
Harry rolled on top of Draco, kissing him. "More."
"I want to go dancing with you. I want every other person in the club to be jealous of me, because I get to touch you. I want to call you and talk dirty to you while you are doing the shopping." Draco squeezed Harry's buttocks. "I want to slip inside of you when you are still drowsy and waking up." Draco thrust up, letting him feel how hard he was. "I want you to ride me."
A slow smile came over Harry's face, and he sat up to look at Draco. "Now?"
Draco bit his lip and nodded. "Now. Just like that, can you take me tight?"
Harry didn't bother to answer, just lifted his hips as Draco took hold of his own cock, holding it steady as Harry lowered himself onto it slowly. Draco gave a hiss as Harry was all the way seated. "That's it, ride me."
Harry reached up and teased his own nipples as he started to rise and fall onto Draco's cock. He took his time, moving so slowly that Draco was ready to scream with frustration. He couldn't take his eyes off of Harry, how beautiful he looked as he took care of both of their pleasure. "Pinch yourself," Draco whispered. Harry licked his lips and looked at Draco as he pinched his nipples hard, harder than Draco ever would have dared.
"I want to get those piercings," Harry said. "What you said last night, I want all of that."
"We'll do that and more," Draco agreed. "We're going to get you clamps, too." He thrust up with his hips, needing more as Harry moaned. "Just as soon as you fucking start moving."
Harry shook his head. "Mhmmm," he murmured as he dropped a hand down to his cock and started stroking it. "You feel too good to rush." He arched his back as he pleasured himself on Draco.
"Harry...you bloody bastard." Draco tried to put his hand on Harry's cock but Harry batted it away.
"So close, I'm going to come all over you." Harry said. "You are going to feel me coming, all tight around you." A bead of come dripped off Harry's cock and he caught it with his finger. Leaning forward he held his finger up for Draco to lick it clean. Draco grabbed Harry's wrist and took in his finger, sucking it clean, and using his tongue to tease. Harry started to move faster, on Draco's cock.
"God, yes…" Harry came with a shout, frantically riding Draco. Draco grabbed Harry's hips and thrust up into him. Needing more, he desperately rolled Harry onto his back. It only took three frantic strokes until Draco came in him.
"We are never going to be seen in public again." Harry said as Draco stretched out next to him. "I never want to leave this bed."
Draco laughed. "That might get awkward around the time the maids come in...and the shower is looking better and better," he said as he trailed a finger through the cooling come on his stomach.
"Later...nap," Harry said drowsily.
The need for food eventually dragged them out of bed. Harry calling for room service before joining Draco for a shower that included mutual handjobs. They ate their breakfast in the sitting area, watching the sea and the cars on the promenade down below.
When Harry got up and went to rustle in his suitcase, Draco didn't think anything of it until he came back and handed Draco a black iron ring on a chain.
"A Portkey. Don't worry, it won't activate unless you give the command." Harry sat next to Draco. "It is one of those Portkeys I told you about, if you ever think I've slipped again. It will take me straight to my therapist's rehab place."
"I want you to have it. And her name, everything." Harry's hand shook as he took Draco's. "I want your trust, but I know I have to earn it. This is part of that…"
Draco took a deep breath and turned the Portkey in his hand. "Okay, it makes sense. I think maybe I should see someone, maybe your therapist or someone else. I don't want to smother you with my own worries."
"I think that that would be good for both of us," Harry said. "I'm worried about moving too fast. I'm scared of scaring you off."
"I told you what I want, what do you want?"
"All the things you said, I want to live with you and Scorpius. I want to be a family again."
Draco took a deep breath. "We are going to have to ease into that…"
"I know, I know...I was hoping. Maybe the weekends, we can spend them together?"
"That would be good, I've hated seeing you only once or twice a week." He reached over and stroked Harry's hand, running his fingers over Harry's ring.
"The problem is...where." Harry looked at Draco. "I can't be at our...the house. It wouldn't be good for me, too many memories."
Draco gave a shudder. Since Harry had come back into his life, he'd been spending more and more time wondering why he hadn't let go of the house. It wasn't a home. He'd told himself he'd held onto for Scorpius's sake but now he knew it was because it was the last thing he'd had with Harry and he'd been unwilling to part with it even though it had held as many bad memories as it did good.
"No." Draco had realized that from when he'd started to hope for more with Harry. Their old house was not the place for new beginnings. "What about yours?" He'd thought about the loft he'd seen, taking Harry against one of the heavy worktables. Hearing his shouts of pleasure echoing in the cavernous room. He'd thought about it a lot.
"Would you be willing?"
Draco shifted, still lost in his fantasy. "There's nothing I'd like more," He said truthfully. "But what about when Scorpius comes home for the summer?"
"Let's take it slow. That is a few months away. I don't want to move faster than you're ready for." He picked up the Portkey. "I want you to trust me and know that you'll never need to use this, and that will take time."
Draco waited for the next available Apparition spot, being a Friday afternoon the queue was long with all the Ministry workers ready to start their weekend. At last it was his turn, and he deliberated carefully: Apparating into a home full of art and glass was still a little unnerving.
Landing neatly near the kitchen, Draco gave a sigh of relief as Maggie got up from where she was lying to run over and greet him. Harry looked up from his worktable and set down what he was working on.
"You're home a little early." Harry gave a smile as Draco came to kiss him.
"Only just. I think the Wizengamot should ban all Friday afternoon meetings. There is no excuse for them." Draco nuzzled Harry's neck. "What are you working on?"
"Something for Scorpius for his birthday."
Draco picked up one of the blue pieces of glass that Harry had been cutting. "What is it going to be?"
"A Ravenclaw window, the eagle with its wings outstretched."
"He will love it." No matter how many times he saw Harry working, Draco was amazed with how Harry could take separate pieces of glass and and bind them together, making them one.
"About Scorpius...I am thinking it is time to ask him about coming here for the summer. Closing up the house for good." In the last few weeks, Draco had been spending most nights at Harry's, he hadn't even been to the house except to pick up clothes.
Harry had shown Draco the vicarage next to the church that he'd been using for storage. The two-story stone cottage had plenty of space for them all to live in; and the distinct advantage of giving Harry and Draco a bedroom with walls and a door. As much as he loved the loft bedroom in the church, it wouldn't work if Scorpius was living with them.
"Are you sure." Harry put his hands on Draco's waist. "What happened to waiting until the summer is over?"
"We know Scorpius would want it." Scorpius hadn't held back his delight when he found out that his Dad and Papa were officially seeing each other. "I don't want to move back to the house for the summer when he's home. I want to be with you. If we start working on the vicarage now it can be ready by the time his holiday begins."
The red train engine roared into the station, the noise reverberating off the brick walls as the wheels of the train slowed to a stop. Draco looked over to see Harry taking in a deep breath. Reaching down, he took Harry's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Ready for this?"
Harry nodded, not taking his eyes off the train carriages as the students started to stream onto the platform. Draco searched, looking for Scorpius, but Scorpius found them first.
"Dad, PAPA!" Scorpius raced through the crowd towards where Draco and Harry were standing. Harry ran to meet him, scooping Scorpius up in a hug and spinning him around. Nearby, parents and students turned to stare but Harry didn't care as Scorpius started rattling on about Hogwarts happenings.
Draco's chest hurt as he watched them. When Scorpius had been a toddler he and Harry had talked about this moment but when everything had gone to hell he'd packed away the hope of it, along with all of Harry's things. Now, eight years later, it was finally coming true.
Harry looked up and their eyes met. Draco gave him a smile and walked over to his family. "Ready to go home?"