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x-x-x-x

Present Day, 2019

“Potter, table for two.”

The maitre d’s eyes widen momentarily as she glances at the reservation book and then up at Harry’s face, but she quickly composes herself with a small smile.

“Of course, Mr. Potter. Your table is right this way.”

Harry does his best to ignore the steady pounding of his heart as he follows the woman to the back, towards a quiet, secluded table. This restaurant is one of the best; much nicer than one Harry would have usually picked, but given the circumstance it seems to be appropriate. The woman gestures to the table and with another courteous smile disappears back to her stand. Harry takes a deep, steadying breath and wipes his sweaty palms against his trousers as he sits down. His nerves are a right mess, and it all seems rather foolish really. He’s Harry Potter; he has defeated Voldemort, won a war and many more battles since then. He’s faced fierce opponents before, navigated through many of Ginny’s turbulent moods; this should be a walk in the park. He repeats these words in his mind several times and attempts to not mangle the crisp linen as he wrings it between his hands.

There’s nothing left to lose now.

 

x-x-x-x

 

In the beginning

The hour is getting late and the Ministry is nearly abandoned when Harry finally makes his way towards the Atrium after a long day of trials. He is already picturing a hot bath and a cuppa at home, when he catches sight of Malfoy nervously pacing at the end of the hall. Malfoy glances up, spots Harry, and seems to freeze for a moment before straightening his shoulders and marching over. Harry’s breath catches as he has no idea what to expect. Sure, he has spoken on the Malfoy’s behalf—attesting to Narcissa Malfoy’s assistance in the final moments of the war—but the Malfoys are still subject to heavy fines, and Lucius sentenced to a life long probation. Would Malfoy really have waited all this time in order to gripe at Harry for their deserved punishments? Harry is so lost in thought, he hardly notices that Malfoy has now made it all the way down the hall and is standing right before him.

“Potter,” Malfoy swallows heavily.

“Malfoy,” Harry returns warily.

Malfoy shifts on his feet, looking uncomfortable as he stares at a spot directly over Harry’s shoulder.

“I wanted to thank you,” Malfoy stutters out, as if the words are painful to speak, “For speaking on my family’s behalf and helping reduce our sentence.”

Oh. Well, that certainly is not what Harry had expected. Harry stands silent, a bit shocked, for a moment before shaking his head and coming back to himself.

“I only spoke the truth, but… you’re welcome, Malfoy.”

Malfoy nods tersely but makes no move to leave. After a beat of awkward silence, Malfoy raises his hand and holds it out directly in front of him. Harry’s eyes widen as he glances down to stare at the offered hand. It’s strange how something so simple as handshake could carry so much meaning and yet Harry feels a major shift as he cautiously reaches out to clasp the hand in front of him.

Malfoy’s hand is dry and surprisingly warm despite the chilled air around them, and Harry tightens his grip as he raises his eyes to look directly at Malfoy. Malfoy is staring right back, a look of surprise painted on his face, as if he doesn’t quite believe Harry is here, returning his handshake. Merlin, seeing Malfoy up close he looks terrible; his eyes are red around the rim, face gaunt and pointier than ever, and his skin looks so pale it’s nearly grey in colour. Harry can’t help but wonder when the last time Malfoy slept properly through the night was. Once again, Harry is so lost in thought, he scarcely realizes he’s still gripping his hand until Malfoy clears his throat.

“Sorry,” Harry mutters embarrassedly as he quickly releases Malfoy’s hand, feeling his cheeks heat up in response.

Malfoy’s lips merely twitch in return, more smile than smirk, as he once again nods in Harry’s direction. Malfoy quickly turns and hurriedly heads towards the lift, but not before Harry catches the light shade of pink spreading over his face, vivid against his ashen skin. The sight leaves an odd but not unwelcome warmth in Harry’s chest, which he carries with him for the rest of the evening.

 

x-x-x-x

 

Harry sometimes wonders if something is wrong with him; if perhaps his experiences during the war have left him somewhat damaged. Surely, it was natural for him to struggle with depression and aching loss in the wake of the war. Hermione adamantly assured him of that, but it didn’t quite explain the physical ramifications.

He ponders this to himself in bed, the night of his and Ginny’s wedding, after they both lose their virginity to each other. Harry was overjoyed at the ceremony, finally fully committed to the woman he loved, and yet he couldn’t help but find the passion that night… a bit lacklustre. Sure, it was enjoyable enough, but nothing like the sparks Ron described the first night he spent with Hermione. Perhaps he is just inexperienced, or maybe this is just how sex is, but Harry can’t help but feel a little cheated. With a sigh he rolls over to glance upon Ginny, sleeping deeply beside him with her golden-red hair fanned out across the pillow. Ridiculous, he is being ridiculous. Harry is lucky enough to marry his best friend, and soon the two will start a family together, something Harry always desired. What else could he ever ask for?

 

x-x-x-x

 

Sundays are always the worst day to shop at Diagon Alley and yet here Harry is, pushing through crowds as he makes his way to Horizont Alley. He would have preferred to not be out at all, but Ginny has brought the kids over to the Burrow for the day (Molly cannot get enough of baby Lily) and left Harry in charge of errands. As he makes his way into Obscurus Books, Harry is grateful that he nearly has everything on the list and soon will be able to grab a quick beer down The Leaky before heading back home.

Inside, the store is much less packed (generally the crowds prefer Whizz Hard Books) and Harry easily makes his way to the parenting aisle. His eyes scan the books on the shelf, all in alphabetical order, until finally they come upon his destination: A Wizarding Guide to the Terrible Two’s. As he reaches out to grab the book, slender pale fingers brush against his own. The resulting spark that rushes through Harry’s body is surprising but the even bigger shock comes upon discovering the owner of that hand.

“Malfoy!” Harry startlingly exclaims, “What are you doing here?”

“Shopping, Potter…” Malfoy raises an eyebrow, “Same as you I imagine.”

Malfoy smirks at his own reply, but his eyes light up playfully. The expression is so at odds with the image of Malfoy Harry has crafted from so long ago, he finds himself a bit speechless.

“Right, of course,” Harry chuckles in return before handing Malfoy the book they both have reached for, “Shall we check if they have an other in the back?”

It has been years since Harry has seen Malfoy up close like this and it is shocking to see how much the other man has changed. Sure, he has seen Malfoy in passing, on the streets here and there, sometimes from afar at the ministry—he certainly saw the wedding photos of Malfoy and Astoria that plastered the social pages of The Daily Prophet—but those had all been quick glimpses. Standing before him was no longer the pale and haunted boy from his past but rather a healthy man who has finally grown into his pointy features. Malfoy is still slender, and even taller than before, but his smooth skin has much more colour now and his hair is artfully cut; shorter on the sides and a bit longer in the front, falling softly over his forehead.

“Potter?”

Merlin, Harry is staring and still gripping onto a corner of the book.

“Right, yes let’s go find another copy,” Harry coughs and releases the book as they both move towards the front of the store.

“So,” Malfoy begins as they wait for the owner to return with an extra book, “Your child is also driving you mad?”

“Huh?” Harry asks blankly before realizing what Malfoy is referring to. “Oh! Yes, actually both of my sons have been a bit of a handful lately. They are hardly two years apart and seem to co-conspire on making everything a mess and then follow it with coinciding tantrums. Luckily, Lily is still too young to join them… but she is teething…”

“Three children, Potter? And here I thought I had my hands full with just Scorpius. Though the way he wails, it sounds as if there are ten of him.”

Harry chuckles in response as he moves to pay for his book, pausing at the door as he watches Malfoy complete his transaction as well.

“Er, Malfoy?”

“Yes, Potter?”

“I was gonna grab a drink in The Leaky… I don’t suppose you might want to join? We could catch up…”

“Catch up?” Malfoy scoffs, “You make it sound like we’re old friends being reunited.”

“Well, it was just an idea!” Harry mutters, feeling flustered and embarrassed.

“Relax, Potter! I was merely teasing, a drink would be lovely.”

“Oh… Okay,” Potter mumbles as they head out together and make their way towards the pub.

The walk is silent as they make their way through the dwindling crowd, but not necessarily uncomfortably so. Harry can’t deny it; he’s somewhat intrigued by this Malfoy, so different than the one he knew as a boy. He had heard of the charities Malfoy and his wife headed, but just assumed that was all for show and that perhaps the man before him was still the snooty brat from all those years ago. And yet… this Malfoy seems open, a bit warmer, and so very at ease. A stark contrast to the volatile, cruel boy from his childhood.

They arrive at the pub, order their drinks, and head towards an empty booth in the back.

“Alright, Potter,” Malfoy begins, taking a sip of his drink and stretching out underneath the table. Harry feels a bit flustered as he feels a long, firm leg brush against his, “Let’s catch up!”

Harry rolls his eyes at Malfoy’s choice of words but plays along anyway.

“Well, where to begin…”

The next few hours fly by as Harry and Malfoy chat about their young children, Harry’s more ridiculous Auror cases, and Malfoy’s new obsession with alchemy. They are finishing their second drink and Harry considers asking if Malfoy might want a third when he notices the other man go oddly quiet. Steely grey eyes fix upon Harry’s face, his lips specifically, and Harry finds himself licking them self consciously, wondering if there might be some left over beer foam clinging to them. Malfoy’s eyes widen and he looks away, clearing his throat and looking flustered all of a sudden.

“Are you alright, Malfoy?”

“Yeah, I’m fine!” Malfoy rushes out, “I just didn’t realize the time… I really need to get back home.”

“Oh.” Harry replies, feeling disappointment flood in, “Okay, yeah, I guess I should get back home too. I’m sure Ginny will be back from the Burrow soon.”

Malfoy nods and starts to stand, when Harry stops him.

“Wait! We should do this again sometime… It was nice.”

“Don’t you have Weasley to grab a drink with?” Draco retorts, but not maliciously so.

“Yeah, well,” Harry flounders, “You can never have too many friends!”

Draco laughs at his reply but ignores the invitation as he moves towards the door.

“I’ll see you around, Potter,” Malfoy says over his shoulder before exiting the pub.

His departure is unsatisfactory somehow and Harry feels like a stone is sitting in his stomach.

“Yeah, see you around…” he mutters to himself.

 

x-x-x-x

 

The Manor is absolutely resplendent; numerous crystal chandeliers glitter as they shine upon the crowded room. People flitter about, chatting about their personal contributions, as they pat themselves on the back. Normally, he would never dare to attend such an extravagant gala but he is a top donator to this charity and Hermione insisted it was important that he showed his face. He can’t help but think she rather wishes she hadn’t come as he watches her fret at the numerous house elves, weaving about with trays of sparkling wine. Astoria Malfoy moves through the crowd, smiling at the guests as she plays host, and Harry immediately spots her husband following a few paces behind. He hasn’t seen Draco in quite some time, somehow always missing him at the few events he does attend, and there is a knot in his stomach as Harry ponders if maybe there was more than one reason he came tonight.

“Harry,” Astoria moves forward and presses her lips against his cheek, “I’m so glad you were able to come tonight, though I do wish you had reconsidered about giving a speech.”

“I’m afraid I’m not one for public speaking, but I’m sure Hermione’s will be much better than anything I could have mustered.”

Astoria smiles and squeezes his arm in reply before moving on and greeting more people. Malfoy cocks his head to the side as he offers Harry a playfully mocking smile, before moving away from his wife and out onto the balcony. He doesn’t look back to see if Harry is following but, much like a moth to a flame, Harry’s body moves of it’s own will and he finds himself stepping out into the warm, summer air.

“It’s a nice night out,” Harry offers and instantly cringes as he realizes how pathetic the statement is.

“Really, Potter? What, are we on a first date?” Malfoy raises an eyebrow in response.

“Oh shut it…” Potter brushes off, though he still feels mildly abashed— even more so at the increased pounding of his heart at the joke of being on a date.

It’s comforting, actually, being out here with Malfoy and having this playful camaraderie, even after such a long gap in speaking to one another.

“It’s quite an impressive gala you’ve thrown, Malfoy.”

“Yes, well, it’s really all Astoria’s doing. It is her charity,” Malfoy waves off taking a long sip of wine from his glass.

“Figures really…”

“What is that supposed to mean, Potter?” Malfoy asks eyes narrowing slightly.

“I mean… it’s just… Squib rights? It doesn’t seem like something you would support…” Harry trails off, feeling very wrongfooted.

Malfoy’s open expression closes off as he places his glass of wine on the balcony ledge.

“I don’t think it’s fair for you to assume such things,” Malfoy retorts tightly.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to offend, it’s just very much at odds with everything you’ve stood for before.”

Malfoy takes a deep breath as he stares out into the darkening sky.

“I suppose you have a valid point. But things change, Potter. People change.”

“I know,” Harry sighs softly, “Sometimes it’s just hard to get my head around .”

There is a moment of silence and Harry worries that he may have broken whatever strange friendship had been building between the two of them.

“The truth is, Astoria is certainly more passionate about the cause than I am. When I first met her and realized how the war had affected her and her views, I was surprised but certainly intrigued. I thoroughly enjoyed her views on Muggles and Squibs and how it grated on my parents, my father specifically, but that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with her.”

“I can imagine having a daughter-in-law with such views was a bit of a shock,” Harry chuckles, relieved that Malfoy isn’t upset with him.

“You have no idea,” Malfoy laughs, “My parents had already picked out a rich, pureblood from a very respectable family to marry when I brought Astoria home. She may have been a pureblood as well, but her status was lower than they would have liked, and when they learned about her Muggle and Squib sympathies…”

“You make it sound like it was all just a big arrangement,” Harry points out.

“I suppose in a sense it was, but just one that I could feel more content with,” Draco shrugs.

It all sounds so clinical and Harry can’t help but feel uncomfortable.

“But don’t you love her?” Harry blurts out without thinking.

“Of course I love her,” Malfoy frowns thoughtfully, “She’s my wife. We just don’t have that exact… passionate love you and Ginny share.”

Passionate love? Harry can’t help but feel that word doesn't quite describe his marriage. Peaceful, yes. Cohesive, certainly. Passionate…

“Speaking of Ginny,” Malfoy interrupts Harry’s troubling thoughts, “Where is your wife this evening?”

“Oh, she’s at home with the kids. Molly was supposed to come over and watch them tonight but she came down with quite a cold and can hardly get out of bed.”

“And she didn’t think to help you get dressed before you left?” Draco smirks gesturing towards Harry’s tie.

Harry looks down at the tangled mess resting on his chest and feels a bit embarrassed. He did his best to get the knot right but he has always been rubbish when it comes to clothing. He raises his hand to fix it but Malfoy reaches forward and stops him.

“You’ll just make it worse, Potter. Here, let me.”

Harry holds his breath as Malfoy’s slender hands make quick work of undoing his tie and re-knotting it to perfection. Malfoy is leaning in close now, invading Harry’s personal space and the effect it is having on him is foreign and frightening. Malfoy’s face is so close he can see every pale eyelash as they flutter against his lids.

“Thank you,” Harry exhales, hands unconsciously reaching up to grasp Malfoy’s where they still grip his tie.

“It’s nothing,” Malfoy replies softly, eyes darting from Harry’s eyes to his lips.

“Master! Mistress Astoria is looking for you! She says it is time for the speeches,” a house elf pops next to the two of them breaking the moment as they both quickly drop their clasped hands.

“Thank you, Sibby. I’ll be right there,” Draco says hoarsely. “I’d best get inside! Don’t want to miss the speeches.” Draco clears his throat and rushes back into the ballroom, leaving Harry behind.

Harry stares at Malfoy’s retreating form but remains outside for a bit longer, watching the stars rise in the night sky.

 

x-x-x-x

 

The next several months pass by quickly and, luckily, Harry is too busy with the holidays to worry too much about his increasing and alarming attraction to Malfoy. The kids have a great Christmas at the Burrow and Harry basks in his children’s love and happiness, letting it soothe the rest of the worries from his mind. Ginny is an attentive, loving mother and observing her in that role makes Harry feel warm and safe inside. In those moments he recalls exactly why he bent down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.

And yet… once the kids are off to sleep and suddenly it’s just the two of them, Harry finds himself floundering with how to act. She has always been a bright woman, and Harry knows she can sense something is amiss, but she holds herself back from confronting him. Harry is grateful for that, even if it’s just her pride that brings the silence, as he wouldn’t even know where to start. How can he explain something to his wife that he can hardly understand himself?

As the weeks go by, he slowly lets his guard down and allows his subconscious to roam free. Has he always found other men attractive? Sure, in school he noticed other boys in an objective way; a lean body in the changing room, robes stretched over broad shoulders, perhaps a quick glance at a toned torso. It didn’t mean anything though, it was just an observation, really. Harry never quite felt any sexual urges towards the boys in school, though to be fair he never felt many urges towards the girls either. Of course he was drawn to Ginny’s bright hair, her comforting flowery scent, her fiery personality, but with Voldemort first and foremost on his mind, there wasn’t much time for a proper romance.

After they married, he couldn’t deny that sometimes his thoughts strayed and more often than not he found himself noticing attractive blokes on the street. There were even times in bed, as he thrust into Ginny and she moaned below him, that he wondered what she was experiencing. What would it feel like to have himself filled so completely like that? Would he groan and grip the sheets just as she did? There was even the time, when they both were drunk beyond reason, and Ginny slipped a finger inside his arse as she sucked him off. He had never come so hard and quickly in his life, but he managed to push the memory far away come morning.

And then Malfoy came along… If a good-looking bloke might catch his eye in passing it was nothing compared to how his libido surges when he is near the blond. Their interactions are so few over the years but Harry clings to each and every one like a precious prize. These are dangerous thoughts, but they refuse to leave, much as Harry tries to expunge them from himself. More than anything, Harry just misses the damned man. Beyond all forbidden urges, he genuinely enjoys Malfoy’s company and his razor sharp wit. There is a strange bond between the two and Harry longs to see him again. He could resist the temptation, push away the treacherous thoughts. They could just meet for a few drinks and catch up. Harry repeats this to himself as he sends out the owl to Malfoy. Harry is in control. He can handle this.

 

x-x-x-x

 

Harry nervously picks at the label on his beer bottle as he watches Malfoy order a Firewhisky at the bar. He was so pleased when Malfoy replied to his owl about meeting for a drink, but now that the other man is here, Harry feels as tense as ever. He watches the way Malfoy’s shoulders move beneath his thin button up and takes a large swig of beer. It’s going to be a long night.

Luckily for Harry, a few drinks later and he has loosened up considerably. He can’t help but wonder what he was so worried about. So, he notices that Malfoy is attractive… Big deal! It doesn’t take away from the easy conversation, nor Malfoy’s dry sense of humour. Harry leans back, sipping on his fourth (or was it fifth?) beer, and realizes this is the most fun he has had in a long time.

“You should have seen his expression after Pansy hexed him!” Malfoy laughs as he leans back into the booth.

“I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be on the receiving end of her wrath,” Harry chuckles in response.

“Yes, well, he did have it coming… He should have known better than to try to have an affair behind Pansy’s back. That girl is vicious when she needs to be.”

Harry nods in agreement as he takes a long drink from his bottle.

“Of course, Pansy isn’t always the easiest person to be around and she’s away fairly often. It was only a matter of time before his eyes began to wander. I suppose you would understand what that’s like…”

“Mmm,” Harry hums in agreement as he settles into the comfortable, warm buzz of intoxication. It’s only a moment later until he actually processes Malfoy’s words. “Wait, what? No, I don’t… I don’t know what that’s like!”

“Calm yourself, Potter. I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Sorry,” Harry mumbles abashedly, “I just meant, I’ve never cheated on Ginny…”

Malfoy tilts his head and stares at Harry. He takes a long gulp from his glass before setting it down heavily on the table between them.

“I didn’t think you had, Potter. Of course, it’s natural to look… To fantasize.”

Harry feels his face heat up at Malfoy’s words, the reality striking too close to home and he can’t help but squirm under Malfoy’s intent gaze.

“I suppose I’ve let my imagination run a bit wild before,” Harry admits, suddenly very interested in a scratch on the corner of the table.

“Really?” Malfoy inquires interestedly, arms set across the table as he leans in, “Dare I ask what sort of women you fantasize about?”

He’s drunk, completely gone, otherwise Harry is sure the next words would have never fallen from his lips.

“I fantasize about men.”

“Oh.”

A look of pure surprise crosses Malfoy’s face as his arms slide slowly away from the table and back into his lap. Harry suddenly wishes he had a sobering potion handy, or perhaps his invisibility cloak, because he doesn’t believe he has ever been so mortified before.

His humiliation must show because suddenly Malfoy leans in closer again before confessing:

“I’ve slept with a bloke before.”

“What! Really?”

Now it’s Harry’s turn to be surprised. Malfoy looks a bit uneasy about his revelation but it’s hard to read the other man with so much alcohol in both of their systems.

“It was during 7th year, only happened a few times. Just a few frantic sessions in between all the chaos occurring that year. It was a purely physical thing, no feelings involved, and once we both left Hogwarts, we didn’t really see each other again.”

“How did you… I mean… did you know…?” Harry stutters out inelegantly.

Malfoy lets out a low amused chuckle. “How did I know I was attracted to men? I guess part of me always knew, but when Nott approached me the first night, I knew for sure.”

“But what about your wife?”

“Astoria? She’s a wonderful woman, witty and kind, but like I said before, we’ve never had that kind of romance. It was expected that I would marry and have a child, so that’s what I did. It never occurred to me not to. My personal sexual attractions never really played into it, it’s just something I’ve… let go.”

Malfoy looks a bit wistful as he rubs his thumb along the rim of his glass. Harry swallows roughly as his eyes are drawn to those long, elegant fingers caressing the smooth surface.

“What was it like?” Harry asks before he can stop himself, “What did it feel like to have someone… you know…

Malfoy looks up from his drink frowning in confusion. Harry can feel his cheeks heating but he’s said too much to stop now. “To have someone…” He leans in, lowering his voice, “inside you?”

“Oh!” Malfoy laughs warmly and leans in as well, voice soft as he continues, “We never tried it that way. Nott much prefered for me to be the one inside of him.”

The vivid image of Malfoy behind him, whispering filthy words in Harry’s ear as he presses inside, invades his brain and Harry’s entire body heats up in response. Merlin, the thought of Malfoy working his fingers inside, stretching and filling him, has Harry hard as a rock in moments.

“Potter, are you alright?” Malfoy has leaned back now and looks concerned.

“Yeah,” Harry chokes out, “I just had a bit too much to drink. I need to use the loo, I’ll be back.”

Harry sways to his feet in a rush and all but stumbles through the pub and to the loo. He wasn’t lying, not really, he has had far too much to drink. He’s drank so much, in fact, that his hands tremble as they push against the door to the stall, not even bothering to lock it before he fumbles with his fly. Harry’s prick strains against his pants as he lowers his trousers down his hips and presses a palm against his desperate erection. Harry can’t remember the last time he has been this turned on, standing in the pub’s loo thinking about Malfoy fucking him against the wall.

Harry is disgustingly drunk, completely gone, otherwise he is certain he wouldn’t be pulling his hard prick out of his pants, tugging on his cock as he pants loudly into the empty loo. Draco’s revelation is like fire in his veins; the heat spreads from his cheeks, to his chest, down into his lower belly until it fills his throbbing prick. Malfoy. Gorgeous, witty, wonderful Malfoy is attracted to men, just like Harry is (he can admit this now, as he drunkenly wanks in the bathroom), and he’s even fucked a bloke before. Would he ever consider doing Harry? It’s wrong, so wrong, but Harry’s strokes continue as he once again imagines Malfoy’s tongue, fingers, and prick entering him. Merlin, he wants the man so much. Harry tenses as he feels his orgasm approaching, every muscle tight as his release threatens to spill from him. He’s so lost in sensation, he hardly registers the sound of someone entering the bathroom.

“Harry, are you alright? You’ve been in here for a while,” Malfoy calls out worriedly.

No, no. He has to stop, needs to stop and yet his hand speeds up of it’s own will as his bollocks tighten in warning.

The door to the stall swings open and Harry’s knees buckle as Malfoy stares wide-eyed at the scene before him.

“Draco!”

The name involuntarily falls from his lips as his release rushes from him, his prick throbbing wildly in his hand. Malfoy’s eyes lower to Harry’s cock, still spilling over his fingers, before snapping back to his face.

“Harry…” Malfoy says softly as he takes a step forward.

Fuck.

The last thing Harry sees is Draco’s soft, grey eyes and open expression before he quickly Apparates away.

 

x-x-x-x

 

As weeks blur into months Harry is not sure if he is more relieved or disappointed that Malfoy does not contact him. Utterly mortified, Harry has been sure to keep his distance and refused to even consider the idea of owling the other man. However, despite their newfound silence, Harry does not miss the fleeting looks exchanged over busy streets in Diagon Alley, nor the charged energy between them when they attend the same event. In those moments, the humiliation from the pub seems to drain away, replaced with a familiar air of comfort. Harry feels himself drawn to Draco, an inevitable gravitational pull, and it’s a battle each time to stay put. He misses the man, and beyond all physical attraction, he longs for their easy conversations and simple friendship.

Though his heart aches whenever he sees Draco, Harry still keeps away. Harry is an adult, he knows he can control himself, and yet the intensity of his attraction to Draco is alarming.

Fortunately, Harry is rather distracted with three small children, rapidly growing up and running amuck in the house. Between raising the kids and and working overtime at the Ministry, he finds little time to obsess over these thoughts. Instead he tries to focus on being a better husband to Ginny, though it’s difficult, with her traveling. The physical distance between the two only fuels the emotional distance. Every time Ginny returns home from an extended tour, the air is stiff and awkward between them. He often feels like they are strangers to one another, both drifting apart and away from the people they once were.

Much as he would like to place the blame on his wife’s absence, Harry knows something deeper is lurking beneath the surface. He feels it with every wave of relief when Ginny leaves for a few weeks, with every stomach-churning twist of guilt when he fantasizes about strong hands gripping his hips, a masculine chest pressed against his back.

Why couldn’t he have realized his preference earlier in life? Why didn’t he know before he married Ginny? Would it have even made a difference? Harry fears that it may not have, that his desire to be “normal” and have a family of his own would have overpowered any desires of a more carnal nature. Oftentimes it’s that thought in particular, that utter selfishness on his part, that keeps him up late into the night, guilt clawing at his insides until he thinks he may be sick.

The temptation always increases during the night. As darkness spreads throughout the house, Harry’s desires build and rise inside like a turbulent storm, ready to break at any moment. He can hardly contain the waves of want that crash through him as hides away in his study, slick fingers pressing inside of himself. In times like these, as he desperately strokes his stiff prick, he often considers going to some club, finding a random man and releasing all this built up tension. And yet… Harry can never follow through on this. How could he bear to cheat on his wife after so many years? He curls his fingers, pressing against that spot and stifling a moan that threatens to escapes as shudders of pleasure move through his body. The truth of the matter is, if Harry were to cheat, if he finally succumbs and stoops so low, there is only one person he would surrender to. Soft grey eyes, slender hands, fine pale hair, perfectly curved pink lips... Harry’s hand speeds up, the pressure building, and it only takes a few more strokes before his body trembles as his orgasm is pulled from him.

The pleasant glow of his aftermath lingers only a moment before the remorse settles in again. A quick cleaning spell does nothing to wipe away the clawing guilt as he slowly makes his way back into the bedroom and silently slips into bed.

 

x-x-x-x

 

Platform 9 ¾ is bustling and Harry can hardly keep up with his children as they rush around him, bursting with excitement and chatting animatedly. Harry’s eyes unconsciously scan the crowds, gaze drawn immediately to the flash of white blond hair across the platform. His heart pounds in his chest as their eyes lock, the surrounding buzz of activity fading away. The only audible sound is the blood rushing through his ears and he thinks he may stay stuck here forever, caught in Draco’s open gaze.

“Sorry, Uncle Harry!” Rose apologies as she bumps into him with her luggage.

Harry is startled as the world rushes back in and, face rapidly heating, he nods at Draco before turning back to the children.

Harry allows himself to become absorbed with getting the kids on the train; assisting Ron with Rose’s extra luggage, rebuking James and comforting Albus. As the train takes off, Lily begins to sniffle and Ginny leans down to wipe the tears collecting at the corner of their daughter’s eyes.

“Come now, Lily. The boys will be back soon to visit and next year it will be your turn! Why don’t we go visit grandma? You can help her in the garden.”

Lily rubs her eyes furiously but nods her head in agreement and Ginny takes her hand before turning towards Harry.

“Do you mind going to the market on your own? I’ll take Lily to the Burrow for a few hours and meet you at home.”

“Yeah no problem,” Harry mumbles distractedly as Ginny grasps Lily’s hand and departs.

The crowd begins to thin, families finally leaving and heading home, but he spots Draco, now alone, eyes trained on Harry.

Harry’s feet move of their own accord and before he’s even realized it he finds himself right in front of Draco, heart pounding and palms sweating.

“Harry,” Draco nods in greeting.

“Draco,” Harry returns a small smile spreading across his face.

“It’s been some time… have you been well?” Draco asks casually as if he is commenting on the weather, as if he hasn’t been months (years?) since the two have been standing so close to one another.

“I have. And yourself? Where is Astoria?”

“Oh, she was a bit upset to see off Scorpius so she’s gone into town for some ‘retail therapy’ as she calls it.”

“Yeah, it was tough to see Albus off. He was a bit worried about being sorted into Slytherin but I was able to appease his fears.”

“Really? I didn’t imagine the Potter household would support House bias,” Draco drawls playfully.

“Oh stuff it, you know that’s not the case!” Harry snorts, “I reassured him it would be an honor to be in such an esteemed house. I didn’t name him after Snape for nothing.”

“Oh please,” Draco rolls his eyes, “don’t even get me started on that.”

Harry chuckles softly and they both become silent, an uncomfortable air surrounding them. Harry know it’s time he walks away and yet he feels lighter than he has in months, just standing here and idly chatting with Draco.

“Do you want to go for a walk, catch up?”

“You are quite fond of playing catch up, aren’t you?” Draco smirks but he follows Harry as he leads them out of the station.

Harry inhales deeply, allowing the crisp autumnal air to fill his senses. A cool breeze ruffles his hair but the sun burns brilliantly in the cloudless sky and warmth spreads throughout his body. Autumn has always been his favourite season but it feels all the more beautiful as he walks alongside Draco. Why does it always seem as though everything shines brighter when he is near the other man?

As they walk, Draco confides how difficult it was to send Scorpius off today and how strange it will be for the house to be empty. Harry admits it was just as difficult to see off Albus as it was James and he can’t even imagine what it will be like with Lily. The conversation flows easily, as always, and Harry feels himself readily open up to the man before him. Harry would never have imagined that Draco, that malicious child from his past, would have turned into this complex, understanding man. He can hardly fathom how simple everything feels when he is around him. They continue to walk, side by side, until they reach Regent’s Park, making their way along The Broad Walk. They turn onto a dirt path, a little secluded area surrounded by trees, and the words just fall out.

“I’ve missed you.”

Draco stops in his stride and turns to face Harry, eyes brimming with sadness.

“I’ve missed—”

His words are cut off by Harry’s mouth as he leans in and presses his lips against Draco’s. Harry trembles as he feels Draco immediately reciprocate the kiss. Draco’s lips are soft, warm, and yielding and Harry doesn’t think he’s felt anything more wonderful in his life. Warm heat pools in his belly as Draco parts his mouth slightly, tongue teasing along Harry’s bottom lip. Harry readily opens his mouth in return and is rewarded with the slick glide of Draco’s tongue pressing against his own. The hot, wet warmth of Draco’s mouth is intoxicating and arousal spreads through Harry’s body, his cock twitching in response. Merlin, he feels like a school child again, getting hot and bothered from a simple kiss. But there is nothing simple about this kiss, and the content heat he felt with Ginny in the past is nothing compared to the fire running through his veins now.

Draco breaks the kiss, but does not move away, resting his forehead against Harry’s as he pants open mouthed. They remain like that for a moment, sensation still buzzing through his body as he breaths in Draco’s scent.

“Potter…” Draco starts.

“Oh, so it’s Potter now?” Harry attempts for playful but his voice is strained.

“Harry, then…” Draco begins softly, “We can’t do this.”

“I know,” Harry whispers sadly.

Draco moves away slightly, grey eyes bright with emotion, as he raises his hand and places it gently on Harry’s cheek. Harry involuntarily leans into the touch, relishing the sweet warmth of that hand as Draco traces his thumb along Harry’s bottom lip. He drops his hand with a sigh and takes another step back, maintaining eye contact as he Apparates away.

 

x-x-x-x

 

“Are you happy, Harry?”

The tea burns as it sloshes against the rim of his mug and onto his fingers. Harry sets the cup down and sucks the burned digits into his mouth before shaking his head clear of his far-away musings. Ginny is standing in front of him, blocking his view from the telly playing some show he wasn’t even watching, a defeated expression painted over her tired face. Did Ginny always have those dark circles under her eyes, those lines etched into the side of her mouth? It suddenly feels like the first time Harry’s looked at her—truly looked at her—in a long time and he’s surprised at what he sees. Somehow, whenever Harry thinks of his wife, he imagines Ginny right after Hogwarts; youthful and energetic, brimming with fire and passion and ready to take on the world. He wonders how Ginny sees him; if her false expectations are often shattered whenever she takes a good look at her distant husband.

“Erm, Sorry Gin, what?”

Harry inwardly cringes at his usual lack of eloquence as Ginny flicks off the telly and sits next to him with a sigh.

“I don’t think I’ve been happy, Harry. Comfortable, sure. Content enough, I suppose so… But there is this great divide between us. You’ve felt it, haven’t you?”

Harry glances over at Ginny, her expression earnest and open as she searches his face. The scrutiny is too much for him, though and, unable to meet her eyes, he stares down at his lap, picking imaginary threads from his trousers.

“I guess things have been a little different lately,” Harry finally offers.

“Can you at least look at me?” Ginny asks, frustration rising in her voice, “I’d like to be able to have an actual conversation with you for once.”

Harry swallows harshly but takes his time to turn and look back into his wife’s face. He’s done his part, he’s kept his distance from Draco since that earth shattering kiss in the park, and yet it’s done little to appease the guilt in his heart nor erase the vivid memory of Draco’s lips on his. Harry feels certain if he looks directly at Ginny she will easily see right through him, past the fragile walls of denial and into the desire in his heart.

“I’m sorry, Gin. It’s just been difficult since the kids have all gone off to school now. It’s so quiet in the house and--”

“Harry, it’s been like this for years now. I admit I didn’t realize it at first, what with the distraction of raising the kids and then when they started school, going away so often and traveling for work. It just seemed natural things would be a bit off when I returned home, until we got used to one another again. But lately I’ve been home more often, and even with the kids as a buffer between us… it feels like we’re going through the motions. Honestly, I’m a loss for what to do,” Ginny lets out with an almost relieved sigh.

Harry wonders at her speech. How long has she been wanting to say these words? Had she practiced them, written them down and edited them as she prepared to approach Harry? Had he been so caught up in suppressing his own desires and fighting to be a loyal and faithful husband that he hadn’t even noticed her unhappiness?

“I love you, Harry, I do,” Ginny begins softly as she grabs his hand, “You’ve been a wonderful father, attentive and loving, but…”

Ginny trails off and bites her lip and Harry is surprised to see her eyes start to water. Now would be the time, the time to come clean, to truly confess to Ginny about all these years of struggling and hiding his true feelings but something stops him. How can he admit to her the truth of his sexuality? How his growing attraction to men has spiraled out of hand and beyond his control. How can he tell her that they married too young, that he was far too inexperienced to truly know what he wanted? It’s impossible. He can hardly admit the truth to himself. Saying the words aloud would be too real, too concrete. He would lose everything. He would lose the family he had so badly craved since he was a child.

“It’s natural, Gin, it’s completely normal that things would change as time goes on. We just need to learn to adjust, to accept it’s not going to be the way we imagined it when we were young,” Harry says reassuringly, though more to her or himself he is not certain.

“I want us to work things out, I want us to be strong for the children, of course, but I don’t know how to begin to fix this when I can’t quite figure out what’s broken.”

“We’ll figure it out Gin! We’ll find a way,” Harry squeezes her hands even as his stomach sinks, making promises he isn’t sure he can keep.

“But where do we start? Where do we go from here?” Ginny asks, tired brown eyes blinking back tears.

“I don’t know,” Harry sighs, “I honestly don’t know…”

 

x-x-x-x

 

“Harry, dear! I’m so pleased you came,” Astoria gushes as she presses her lips against his cheek.

“Of course, thank you for inviting us! You’ve outdone yourself again, I’ll have to commision you to throw my next birthday party,” Harry smiles in return.

“Don’t tempt me!” Astoria laughs, “Oh and look at your wife, isn’t she just lovely!”

Harry follows Astoria’s gaze and sees Ginny across the room, sipping a flute of champagne and chatting with Daphne. Her hair shines, rich and vibrant as it falls in soft waves over her pale, freckled shoulders. The snug crimson gown, a new purchase just for tonight, fits like a glove and compliments her creamy complexion, causing it to glow in the soft light of the room. She is truly beautiful and it makes Harry all the more miserable as he fails to admire and cherish her the way she deserves.

“Ah, if only my husband looked at me the way you look at her,” Astoria mutters wistfully, “But we make do with what we have, don’t we?”

Harry feels a painful lump form in his throat as Astoria squeezes his shoulder before disappearing into the crowd.

Despite both of their earnest attempts over the last few months, Harry is certain more than ever that his marriage is deteriorating. They could hardly have turned down Astoria’s invitation to Draco’s 39th birthday party but, in spite of their outward appearance, tensions have been running high at home. Harry knows they both anticipate the children’s return from school, anxiously waiting for the comforting noise, chaos and activity their children bring into the house.

He tried, they both have, but it seems impossible to return back to how they once were. Ginny, herself, had put a lot of effort into reigniting some intimacy between them, buying all kinds of expensive lingerie and suggesting role-playing. It all ended the same though. Less than satisfying sex in which Harry fought, but failed, against his rampant imagination, only able to finish when he closed his eyes and imagined firm, slender hands, soft blond hair, and piercing grey eyes. The stomach twisting guilt afterwards was enough to make him sick and it wasn’t long before Ginny stopped approaching him. There eventually had to be a limit to turning a blind-eye and playing pretend.

Harry finishes the last of his wine in one, large gulp before firmly placing the glass down on a nearby table. He should walk over there, slip his arm around Ginny’s waist, make small talk with the rest of the guests but his eyes are drawn to the entrance of room.

Draco Malfoy leans against one of the elegantly carved doors, eyes scanning the crowd as he slowly sips amber liquid from a snifter. Draco’s search abruptly stops as his gaze lands on Harry, maintaining eye contact with an unreadable expression on his face. Harry feels his breath catch in his throat as he takes Draco in; dark fitted trousers, a light blue-grey button up, nearly the same shade as his eyes. His sleeves are rolled up haphazardly, exposing his pale arms. He looks bloody gorgeous as he takes another sip from his glass, beads of liquor caught on his lip. A deft, pink tongue darts out to collect the liquid and Harry feels himself tremble with want. Draco breaks their prolonged stare, turns around and exits the room. The rest of the world rushes back in; sounds of soft chattering, glasses clinking and music playing filter back in and it’s only inevitable as Harry swiftly makes his way out of the room to follow Draco.

Harry moves out the doorway, past a few house elves, before he catches sight of Draco again at the end of the hall. He quickens his steps as Draco turns to the left and enters a room. Harry pauses at the doorway, observing the large room: the floor is covered in a plush dark green carpet, one wall stocked from floor to ceiling with books, while the other is covered in shelves displaying a plethora of potions and bottles. Draco stands in front of a dark, mahogany desk, his back facing Harry as he sets his drink down.

“Well, aren’t you going to come in, Harry?”

Harry gingerly steps inside, heart in his throat, as he takes in the stiffness in Draco’s shoulders.

“Quite the home you have,” Harry jokes lightly but his voice comes out strained.

Draco turns around, leaning against the desk as his eyes scan Harry.

“I’m glad you were able to make it tonight. Even though in my old age I do tire of these extravagant parties,” Draco smirks playfully.

“Come on now, Draco, you’re not even forty,” Harry smiles as he steps closer, “No need to get all dramatic just yet.”

“Yes, well, nearly there in any case,” Draco laughs softly.

Harry finds his legs moving against his will as they slowly bring him closer to Draco. He can smell him from over here; that woodsy, clean cologne he still wears mingling with the strong bourbon he’s been drinking.

“Happy birthday Draco,” Harry says softly, inhaling deeply as he moves even closer.

“Thank you, Harry,” he responds, the gentle tone of his voice belied by the tightness of his grip on the edge of the desk.

“So, what do you want for your birthday this year?” Harry asks, stopping his movement when he realizes he’s less than a foot away from the other man.

Draco’s eyes darken, pupils blown out as he leans forward to grasp Harry’s shoulders.

“You… Just you,” Draco whispers against Harry’s lips.

Harry’s answering groan is cut off by Draco’s mouth as he launches himself forward only to be met with equal force and pushed back against the desk. Merlin, it’s like coming home and Harry feels overwhelmed with the wet slide of Draco’s tongue against his own. Draco’s hands slide from Harry’s shoulders up into his hair and he pulls, hard, bringing them even closer together. Harry wraps his arms around Draco’s torso, fingers digging into his sides as he plunders the other man’s mouth. Draco tastes like whisky and heat and everything Harry has ever wanted. He relishes in the scratchy feel of Draco’s chin, the strong body flush against his, the masculine scent filling his nose. Harry slips a leg between Draco’s, straddling his thigh and presses him into the desk behind them. He lets out a low moan as he feels Draco’s hard cock against his leg, thrusting his own stiff prick against Draco’s thigh. Harry breaks the kiss, panting into Draco’s hair, as he shamelessly ruts against Draco, arousal clouding any lingering thoughts of reason. Draco returns the sentiment, meeting Harry thrust for thrust before pushing Harry away.

“Wait,” Draco huffs and Harry feels the worse kind of disappointment flood his senses.

However, Draco reaches across the desk, grabs his wand and swiftly spells the door shut and locked. Merlin, the door was open this whole time! Anyone could have walked by, anyone could have seen—

Harry’s thoughts are cut off as Draco grips Harry again and drags him into an all-consuming kiss. Draco’s mouth is hot and eager and Harry melts into his fervent ministrations. This is heaven, complete bliss, and in this exact moment Harry can’t comprehend how he has denied himself this perfection for so long. Draco moves from Harry’s lips, biting along his jaw until his relentless mouth latches onto his neck, sucking and licking the skin beneath him. Deft, slender fingers unbutton Harry’s shirt and Harry, slowly waking up from blissful shock, returns the gesture. The air is cool, despite the season, and Harry shivers as Draco pushes his shirt off his shoulders and onto the floor. Draco leans back, eyes dark and filled with lust as he removes his own shirt and slips off his loafers, eyes never leaving Harry’s exposed chest. Harry scrambles to remove his shoes in turn, cursing himself for having tied them so tight. Draco chuckles softly at Harry’s struggle and bends over to assist, pulling the shoes off. He takes his time on the way up, hands sliding over the straining bulge in Harry’s trousers before grabbing Harry’s shoulders and changing their positions. Harry is now pressed against the smooth desk as Draco once again attaches himself to Harry’s mouth. The kiss is slower now, more purposeful and Harry allows Draco to take the lead as he explores his mouth with his tongue. Draco leans into Harry, pressing their bodies flush against one another and Harry whimpers as his throbbing cock is once again met with delicious friction. Draco slowly grinds against Harry, their trouser-covered pricks rubbing against one another and Harry is certain he could come just like this. But that’s not what he wants. That’s not what he has been fantasizing about for years now. He wants more.

“Draco, wait,” Harry gasps, “I want… I want…”

“I know,” Draco murmurs, licking the shell of Harry’s ear, “Turn around.”

The nerves begin to settle in but Harry complies and turns facing the desk, his heart pounding in his chest. Draco rests his forehead against Harry’s shoulder before reaching around and unbuttoning Harry’s trousers. He pulls them down Harry’s legs and Harry moves slightly forward to step out of them. His cock aches, harder than ever, as it protrudes obscenely against his pants. Draco hands slide around his hips before he presses his palm against Harry’s pants-covered cock, giving it a quick squeeze. Harry bites his lip in a useless attempt to hold back a moan as he feels the tip of his prick moisten with pre-come. Harry detects the slightest tremble in Draco’s hands as his thumbs slip under the elastic and pulls his pants off, joining the discarded trousers on the floor. Harry feels utterly exposed but Draco’s warm, welcoming hands are once again on his body and that relentless lust surges through him again.

“Bend over,” Draco softly commands.

Harry obeys without a second thought, body shivering and nerves on edge with suppressed desire. He hardly has a moment to acknowledge his position before strong hands pull apart his cheeks and a hot, wet tongue invades him.

“Fuck!”

No amount of self-slicked fingers could have prepared Harry for the overwhelming sensation of Draco’s tongue probing his arse. The flat surface of his tongue swipes across the rim sending shocks of pleasure up and down his spine. The tip teases at his entrance before he laps against his hole once again, a continuous and intoxicating movement. Harry trembles with need as his desperate prick leaks continuously against the shiny, wooden desk. Draco continues with his ministrations, all the while Harry pants and curses under his breath, fingers white where they dig into the edge of the desk.

Harry feels a sudden and aching loss when Draco pulls away but that hot tongue is soon replaced by a finger, the rough pad promisingly pressed against his quivering hole.

“Are you sure, Harry?” Draco asks, voice cracking with need.

“Yes, yes, please, yes,” Harry pleads.

Draco lets out a shaky, relieved breath before grabbing his wand and summoning a bottle of lube. Harry can’t help but smile as he watches it fly out of the desk drawer, just imagining how often that bottle is used as Draco’s sits alone at his desk, wanking himself raw.

Harry hears the snap of the bottle open and tries not to tense as he feels the cool liquid dripping over his exposed arse. Draco presses his finger against Harry’s waiting hole, pausing a moment before pushing inside. It’s so different, so very different from Harry’s own fumbling fingers at home; it’s world’s better. The slow burn is just as sweet but Draco takes his time, sliding the slick finger in and out slowly until Harry is fully accustomed to the sensation.

“Another?” Draco asks huskily.

“Yes…” Harry hisses.

The next finger slides in with a bit more effort but once inside, his hole throbs at the feeling, instantly wanting more. Draco scissors his fingers, increasing the burn, but it is soon replaced with a gentle thrumming.

“Please, now,” Harry pleads but Draco only shushes him and continues his gentle approach.

The third finger is painful bliss and Harry’s heart speeds up knowing soon it will be Draco that is inside of him. Finally, all of Draco.

Draco slowly removes his fingers and Harry instantly mourns the loss. The disappointment is chased away, however, as Harry hears Draco unzip his trousers and pull them off behind him. He hears the bottle of lube open again followed by a slick sliding sound and Harry’s prick pulses as he imagines Draco spreading it over his cock.

“Are you ready, Harry?” Draco leans over and whispers in his ear, “Are you ready to become mine, all mine?”

“Yes, yes!” Harry sobs as he feels the head of Draco’s prick line up against his hole.

Draco runs soothing hands down Harry’s spine, whispering words of comfort, telling Harry to relax his body, but all Harry can hear is the steady rush of blood in his ears as Draco slowly pushes inside. It hurts, Merlin, it hurts. It feels like Harry is being ripped in two and yet he doesn’t want it to ever end. His head drops onto the desk, taking a few steadying breaths as he adjusts to the fullness inside. Draco, in all his glorious patience, doesn’t move once he is fully seated, but Harry can feel him twitching inside, shaking with the need to move. Merlin, Draco is inside of him, filling him up, stretching him to the brim. It’s delicious, it’s perfection, Harry is certain he could come from the thought alone.

“Harry, please, I need to, I need--”

“Yes, yes, move,” Harry cries.

Draco gasps with relief as he slowly pulls out, nearly all the way, before gently pushing back in. Oh, oh. The sensation is unlike anything Harry has ever felt before. It’s mildly disconcerting, even slightly uncomfortable, and yet utterly intoxicating at the same time. Harry feels sweat drip from Draco’s body and land onto his back as Draco huffs and pants, slowly picking up speed. Draco’s fingers grip tightly, almost painfully into Harry’s hips but he welcomes the distraction as Draco’s thrusts become rougher and more erratic. The pain nearly begins to outweigh the pleasure when Draco adjusts his angle and… oh! He hits that spot and Harry sees stars. Fuck, how can something feel so good? Harry lets out a moan of pleasure and Draco, emboldened, quickens his pace, hitting that spot again and again. Draco reaches his hand around, gripping Harry’s neglected prick and wanking it in time with his thrusts. Draco’s legs begin to shake, his body shudders, and he lets out the most beautiful noise as he empties himself deep inside of Harry. He can feel Draco’s prick pulse inside of him and the urge, the undeniable need to come is unbearable.

“Wait,” Harry grunts desperately, “Don’t pull out yet, I want to come with you inside of me.”

Draco releases an appreciative groan at Harry’s words and tightens his grip on Harry’s thick cock. He presses himself as deep inside as he can, leaning against Harry’s back as he frantically pulls him off.

“Come for me, Harry,” Draco’s breath is hot and wet against his ear, “Come for me.”

Harry comes with a forceful cry, prick throbbing madly as he spills himself all over Draco’s fingers and onto the plush rug.

Harry’s knees give way as Draco softly pulls out but Draco is behind him in an instant, slowly lowering them both to the floor.

The heady afterglow washes over Harry and he ignores their mutual stickiness as Draco leans against the desk and Harry, in turn, rests his head against Draco’s chest.

The lovely moment is quickly washed away as reality crashes in and Harry’s eyes sting with helpless tears.

“What am I going to do?” Harry laments, “What are we going to do? I love you, Draco. Fuck! I love you…”

“Shhh… I know, I know,” Draco murmurs into Harry’s hair, pressing a kiss onto the crown of his head.

Draco runs his fingers soothingly through Harry’s hair for a few moments before speaking again.

“I’ve told Astoria.”

“What!?” Harry’s heart pounds wildly at the implication.

“Not about you specifically,” Draco assures Harry, “Just about my preferences… she already knew of course. I thought she might, but it was so odd to speak it aloud. She sensed there was someone else too, though she could tell I was struggling with it.”

“Was she angry?”

“No, not really. She and I have always had some understanding. She seemed a bit sad really, but mostly she seemed upset for me. We both care for each other deeply, I think it hurts her to see me in pain.”

“And have you?” Harry asks solemnly, “Been in pain that is?”

“Agony,” Draco chokes out, “I thought I could suppress my feelings, ignore my preference, just live a somewhat normal life as I was meant to. Carry on the Malfoy legacy, and all that utter foolishness. I nearly did too… I didn’t expect to fall in love.”

The confession is equal parts joy and torment to Harry and he presses his face further against Draco’s chest.

“What do I do?” Harry asks, voice muffled against Draco’s skin.

“I can’t answer that for you, Harry. I’m sorry, I just can’t.”

 

x-x-x-x

 

Harry brushes aside a few wayward leaves from the base of the memorial. Crouching down, he carefully lays a bunch of pink carnations, tied together with a simple white ribbon. It’s been far too long since the last time Harry has visited Godric’s Hollow but he already feels waves of ease entering his tired mind. Most people might feel anxious or understandably sad at a graveyard but Harry finds peace in his visits, talking freely to his parents. It was strange, really, how easy it was to confess things to his parents that he’d been afraid to even admit to himself.

“Hello Dad… Mum,” Harry greets the statue before sitting down before it.

“It’s been a while, I know,” Harry begins as he picks up a stone from the ground and absentmindedly rotates it in his hand, “Life has just been so busy lately, a bit chaotic really…”

Harry sets down the rock and steels his nerves.

“The thing is… well… I’m gay. Huh. That’s the second time I’ve said it aloud and it hasn’t gotten easier yet. I guess that’ll take time,” Harry swallows roughly, “Ginny was livid, as you can imagine.”

He clears his throat as memories rush in of her ashen face, drained of blood, staring at him, shocked and bewildered, before the furious trembling set in. It wasn’t so much his sexuality that angered her (though, understandably, she was stunned by the revelation) but the years of lies and dishonesty that had transpired between the two. Harry had thought he was protecting her, preserving their marriage and family by trying to bury the truth so deep inside that he, himself, was unable to access it. Voicing the thought aloud had only resulted in fanning the flames of Ginny’s ire and hearing the words himself made Harry realise how foolish they were.

He had no one to blame but himself. Sure, he could try to fault his troubled childhood, lack of parental figures, deep issues from the war that never faded but it all was futile at the end of the day. Ginny was his wife, his partner that he had pledged himself to through better or worse and she had deserved his honesty earlier on, before his needs had overtaken him.

“I don’t know if she’ll forgive me anytime soon, if ever. I’m not sure I’ll ever truly forgive myself. I was being selfish. Now that all is said and done I see that. I allowed my desires for a family, something I so badly wanted as a kid, to cloud my judgement. I didn’t think there would be a day I could no longer suppress my feelings. I hadn’t bothered to consider how my lies, the ones I told to myself, would have affected her.”

Harry recalls the hot tears coursing down her pained face. It was no surprise to either of them that their marriage was at an end but that didn’t change the wretchedness of it all. If only Harry could have been braver months prior, if he could have spoken truthfully before he caved in to his desires, maybe things could have ended more peacefully. As it were, Harry could no longer hold anything back from her as he confessed the entirety of it, watching as confusion morphed to outrage then to silent bitterness. She had ranted, cried, paced about their home in distress until her voice was raw and her eyes red and swollen. Harry sat, trembling and head bowed as he witnessed the last 20 years crumbling around them. It was late into the night when the house was completely silent again (the kids thankfully in Australia with Ron, Hermione and their children) and Ginny gingerly took a seat next to Harry. It was not a peaceful silence, nor was there understanding in her stillness, but rather a defeated and sullen acceptance. What else could be done or said at that point?

“Ginny’s staying at The Burrow now,” Harry speaks again, voice rough with emotion, “the kids won’t be back from vacation for another week.”

Harry’s heart clenches as he imagines what that conversation will be like.

“I’ve let Ginny down, the Weasleys as well, I’m sure. It feels like I’ve failed the children as well. I wish you could tell me how to move on from here,” Harry sighs dejectedly, “I’m lost.”

Harry reflects on the last time he can remember truly feeling peace. A knife of guilt twists in his chest as the memory of being in Draco’s arms filters through his senses. That kind of bliss seems so far away now, a fleeting moment of happiness he’s no longer sure he deserves.

“I hope you can forgive me Mum… Dad,” Harry says softly as he peers up to look at the statue, his parents solid and still but with love in their eyes as they gaze at himself as an infant.

Harry’s knees begin to ache as he continues to sit on the dirt packed ground but he stays for a bit longer, eyes closed and head resting against the cool surface of the memorial.

 

x-x-x-x

 

Present Day, 2019

“Would you like something to drink while you wait, Sir?”

Harry wills his leg to stop bouncing beneath the table and favours the waiter with a smile.

“A glass of your house red would be lovely, thank you.”

The place is filling up, patrons chatting happily with one another, and yet Harry’s stomach feels as if it is made of lead. The waiter returns with his glass of wine and Harry takes an appreciative sip, savouring the velvety feel of it on his tongue. The gentle burn of the alcohol down his throat and into his stomach is a slight comfort and he takes another, large gulp before setting it down on the table.

“Harry.”

“You made it.”

“Nice restaurant, I must say I am impressed.”

“Draco,” Harry lets out a relieved laugh, “sit down.”

“And I see you’ve started without me,” Draco arches an eyebrow as he sits and gestures to Harry’s glass of wine.

“Yeah, well I needed something to settle the nerves,” Harry shrugs.

“Nerves? What do you have to be nervous about?” Draco laughs softly as he reaches across the table to grab Harry’s hand.

“You,” Harry states honestly, “You always have this effect on me.”

“Well, of course I do,” Draco replies cockily though a faint blush spreads across his cheeks.

“Besides, it’s our first, real official date. Gin signed and mailed the papers yesterday. I don’t know… it just feels different tonight.”

Harry was surprised how quickly the paperwork came together, though it wouldn’t be like Ginny to postpone it out of spite. It may be some time before Harry can fully regain her trust, but the tentative friendship that has risen from the ashes fills him with hope for the future.

“You’ve got that serious look on your face again,” Draco teases, narrowing his eyes.

“Sorry, I know. I’m here, I promise.”

“You’re a worrier, it’s fine. Actually it’s one of the many things I adore about you,” Draco murmurs as he raises Harry’s hand and presses his lips against his palm.

“I’m sure,” Harry mumbles, face flushed.

“So,” Draco begins, setting their hands back on the table but not letting go, “Shall we start with a bottle? And don’t even bother looking at the list, I’ll choose a bottle for us. I cringe to think of what sort of wine you’d order.”

Harry laughs at Draco’s antics, allowing Draco to gush over regions and grapes as he sits back in his chair, all the earlier nerves washing away.

There’s nothing left to lose now, Harry thinks as his thumb strokes Draco’s hand, and everything, absolutely everything to gain.

 


fin

 

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