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Present Day (Late January 2015)

Harry opened his eyes, blinking blindly at the brightness that greeted him. He let his eyes fall closed again, wanting to hold onto the comfort of sleep for a moment longer. He was warm and sated, and felt better rested than he had in ages. He reached out his hand to find Draco, but came up short when he realised that the surface he was lying on was not his and Draco's bed at all.

He sat bolt upright a moment later and looked around, confused. The ground was made up of a substance that Harry could not describe as being anything but half-formed, like clay that had been shaped but not detailed or cured. A bluish mist lingered all around him, very much like like the mist of memories in a Pensieve.

The longer he looked at the mist surrounding him, the more it appeared to solidify into the shapes of a place that was extremely familiar. Just as he climbed to his feet, a voice called his name.

"Harry!"

Harry looked up to find the unmistakable figure of Albus Dumbledore, dressed in midnight-blue robes adorned with silver stars, walking towards him wearing a sad smile.

"Sir?" Harry asked, his forehead wrinkling. "Where are we? What are you doing here?" Dumbledore fixed his blue eyes on Harry's. They twinkled, not with mischief as they had in the past, but with tears, and Harry realised where they must be. "Is this … Have I died?"

Dumbledore stepped closer and put his hand on Harry's shoulder. "The girl survived, Harry," Dumbledore said kindly, though his voice sounded different than Harry remembered. "You saved her from the fire and died a hero as you were always meant to."

"But I didn’t mean to," Harry whispered, horrified. "Draco, he needs me … I promised …"

Let's do it again

Early Jan 2015

Harry held onto Draco’s hips, slick with sweat, while Draco rocked back and forth on Harry’s cock, setting a pace that was agonisingly slow, but reduced Harry nearly to tears as his anticipation mounted. Their eyes were locked on each other, Draco's blown wide and Harry lost inside them. Draco’s jaw was relaxed, and his breath came out in short huffs.

Harry had never experienced anything more arousing in his life than the sight of Draco taking control of their lovemaking. Draco didn’t do it often, but when the urge hit him, Harry had no issues whatsoever lying back and reaping the benefits.

Draco’s cheeks grew pink as he continued rocking, his pace quickening. Draco’s hands covered Harry’s where he gripped Draco’s hips. This was Harry’s favourite part, watching Draco bring himself over the edge without allowing a hand to touch his cock.

Harry felt Draco’s nails digging into the backs of his hands, Harry’s balls drawing tight while Draco’s body coaxed his orgasm from him, gripping and clenching, building him up and backing off, until Harry was so tightly wound he would come when commanded.

"Fuck," Harry panted. "I have to come …" But the look of ferocity Draco sent his way made Harry bite his bottom lip and hold his breath.

And then the sweet word came at last as Harry watched Draco fall apart, still locked at the eyes with Harry, a long drawn out exhalation: "Yesssss!"

Harry’s body responded immediately, his pleasure crashing over him along with the slick splash of Draco’s release on his chest. Draco bore down, his channel rippling tightly around Harry's cock as it pulled every last drop Harry had to give. Harry’s orgasm broke his voice as he was flooded with warmth, every last nerve ending waking up a new spark of pleasure across the surface of his skin, leaving him tingling with the aftershocks.

Draco leaned forwards, still connected, pressing himself against Harry’s chest, face nuzzling the crook of Harry’s neck. It was brilliant.

Harry's arms wrapped around Draco’s back, holding on for dear life while their racing heartbeats matched and slowed.

Harry closed his eyes, feeling sated. He inhaled deeply, savouring the scent of Draco’s herbal shampoo mixed with soap and perspiration. It was earthy and raw and absolutely perfect.

Harry pulled out, chuckling as Draco groaned his annoyance into Harry’s shoulder.

"I'm too knackered to move," Draco’s voice said, muffled. "It’s your turn to do the Cleaning Charm."

Harry smiled, his hands stroking Draco’s spine, moving warmly across the trembling back that was damp from exertion. Harry hummed contentedly, then tucked his chin and nudged at Draco’s face with his nose. "Kiss me," he said when Draco managed to turn his head upwards, utterly spent.

Their lips met, brushing lightly. Harry smiled into Draco’s mouth and tightened his grip around Draco’s waist.

As they drifted off to sleep, curled together in a warm tangle of limbs, Draco murmured against Harry's shoulder. "Want to stay like this forever."

Harry pulled Draco's arms around himself more securely. "We will. I promise."

~*~

Harry awoke to the smells of breakfast wafting through the open bedroom door. His stomach growled noisily.

He found Draco in the kitchen and stood behind him, resting his head on Draco’s shoulder while Draco chopped an onion, his hands settled on Draco’s waist. "It smells brilliant in here! What are we having?"

"Omelettes," Draco answered, bumping Harry in the stomach with his elbow. "Hands off, I’m holding a knife."

Harry grinned, taking a seat at the kitchen table. The two empty chairs to his right and left stood out at him, glaring reminders of their children’s absence.

He cleared his throat and picked up a new illustration Draco had left on the table. He must have drawn it that morning. It was a drawing of a beautiful country house and garden. Two little boys holding butterfly nets darted in and out from behind painted topiaries, trying to catch pixies.

When Draco brought breakfast to the table, Harry looked up again. Draco looked thoughtful.

"I love the illustration," Harry stopped, noticing Draco was not looking at the picture, but at Harry. "What’s on your mind?"

"I want to do it again," Draco said. He cut the omelette in two and put half on Harry’s plate. "I’ve been thinking about it for months now. The boys have been gone for four years."

Harry reached across the table, stalling Draco’s hand when he reached for his knife. "What do you want to do again? Write?" He waited for Draco to meet his eyes, feeling his heart swelling inside him. It had been far too long since Draco had been excited about anything.

Draco met his gaze with steady eyes. "You know, until we became fathers I thought I knew who I was and who I was meant to be. But then they came, and I realised everything I had thought about myself was nothing compared to who I was for them. Fathers, Harry. That is what we are. It’s who we are. Without the kids …" Draco’s eyes widened slightly, like he was trying not to lose control of his emotions. He squeezed Harry’s hand. "Are we still fathers when our children are dead?"

Harry sighed. He’d felt the same way at times, but hadn’t ever wanted to say it aloud for fear of bringing more misery to their carefully rebuilt life together.

"You want to have another baby?" Harry asked finally. Having said it out loud, it felt like a barrier had been lifted, like they could finally breathe clean air again.

"I would," Draco said. He pulled his hand out from under Harry’s. "Actually I’d like two — if we can find a woman willing to carry twins for us — one fathered by me and one by you."

Harry thought his heart would explode right out of his chest. He stood up, uncaring of the confused look Draco was giving him. He hauled Draco out of his chair and pushed him back against the dining room wall.

"Potter, breakfast is going to get cold," Draco said, but the smirk on his face told Harry he didn't really mind.

"Shut up. I need this right now." Harry stifled any protests Draco might have had by closing his mouth over Draco’s and pushing his knee between Draco’s thighs.

Denial

Present Day

"But I promised," Harry went on. "I can't do this, Dumbledore. Tell me how I can get back to him. I'm not ready, I can't …"

"Harry," Dumbledore said sadly. "Look." He pointed to a fountain in the centre of the station that hadn't been there previously, or if it had, it was only now visible to Harry.

Harry approached with tentative steps. "What is this?"

"Look into the basin. It is similar to how a Pensieve functions, but instead of showing you a memory, it shows you what is happening now on Earth."

Harry looked down, fearful of what he was about to see. There were his friends and family. They were gathered together in their finest robes, very much like they had been when Harry and Draco were married, but in this scene, the faces were bleak. There were tears of sorrow and grief where there had been joy before and following the path of the aisle towards the front of the chapel, the same place where he had stood with Draco to exchange their rings, stood a coffin.

It was closed.

Draco sat alone in the row at the front of the assembly. His shoulders were stooped forwards, his head bowed; he was dressed all in black, and Harry could tell from the limpness of Draco’s hair that it had not been washed in days.

"I have to go in," Harry said, unable to tear his eyes away from the terrible vision below him. Draco needed him.

"You can," Dumbledore said, "but there is no way you can make any changes to what is happening. You and the world below are made of different substances. While you may witness what occurs, you cannot touch it, very much like a memory in a Pensieve. Do you understand?"

Harry nodded, focusing on the vision below him. He leaned over the surface of the fountain as it rippled with the same mist that covered everything in the place, like reality not yet formed.

Harry landed silently on the floor at the end of the aisle. He took steps forwards, marvelling at the fact that not only could he not make any noise, his feet weren't actually touching the ground as he didn't actually have feet. His spirit existed in a facsimile of what his body had been in life.

Harry passed the mourners, paying little heed to their voices, though when he drew close to Ron and Hermione, he did notice Ron holding his wife around her shoulders while Hermione wept into her hands, and even Ron had tear tracks drying on his cheeks.

Harry turned to where Draco was seated by himself. Draco clutched a plain black journal to his chest. Dark circles shadowed his eyes, though there were no tears. Instead he appeared hollow, as if he had left his body behind and was off doing other more interesting things. But then he shifted, and Harry knew that wasn't the case. Draco was still in there.

As Harry approached Draco, so did another figure, this one moving from Draco's other side. The man took a seat beside Draco and held one of Draco’s pale hands in his own: Blaise Zabini.

Harry felt suddenly hot. How dare Draco's ex-boyfriend try to move in on him at Harry's funeral! It was appalling, and yet, Draco shut his eyes tightly, leaking at the corners; his hand gripped Blaise's hand tightly, holding on to whatever strength was being offered, though he hadn't released the journal. Harry felt the difference between their existences keenly.

He remembered it from before, when he'd died the first time: coming back into his body had left him wondering if part of him hadn't stayed behind or meshed with his physical form.

But now, he had no choice. He couldn't return to this world: Dumbledore had told him.

He reached out to stroke Draco's cheek, but his hand went straight through Draco’s face and Draco didn't even flinch. Harry couldn't touch him at all.

Harry stepped backwards, his grief weighing him down. He looked to the ceiling and found himself being sucked up, as if by a vacuum, and was standing beside the fountain once more. Dumbledore was nearby solemnly humming to himself.

The Journal

October 2001

Harry sat down at his desk in the small dormitory room, and opened his new journal. He was halfway finished with writing his thesis to complete his Healer training and was determined to complete it before the year was out.

Half an hour into his study session, he paused, confused, as he stared down at the pages in front of him. Words had appeared beneath the notes he'd jotted down; they were written in somebody else's handwriting.

Who the fuck are you and how did you get into my novel?

Harry stared at the page, flashing back momentarily to the horcrux diary of Tom Riddle, a shiver running up his spine. And then more words appeared.

I’m waiting for an answer.

Harry closed the book and looked at the binding. It appeared to be a simple plain journal just like the others he'd always purchased from Flourish and Blotts.

He put his quill to the page and tried to write his name, but every time the nib came close, it veered off as if it and the paper were opposite ends of a magnet. Blowing his fringe out of his eyes, he tried again, without using his name, and was able to write.

This is my journal. I'm working on my thesis for Healer training. Who are you? How did you get into my notes?

He watched several inkblots form on the page and was sure the person on the other side was also having trouble writing his or her name.

Bugger. I can't write my name. I'm assuming you couldn't either. Your words just appeared in the middle of the journal I am writing a novel in. I've had this journal for three weeks and haven't had this happen before. Did you get hit with a spell recently?

Harry racked his brain for anything out of the ordinary that had happened recently. The only time the journal had been out of his sight since he'd bought it was when Hermione had accidentally knocked over a pile of his books when she visited him in St. Mungo's canteen to lend him another book.

I might have mixed up my books with an Unspeakable.

It was true enough. He'd have to contact Hermione to be sure.

Well I have no time for this. I suggest you stop writing in your journal and ask your Unspeakable about it as soon as possible. I have work to do.

Harry waited for several minutes to see if any more words would appear, before closing the book and starting over in a different journal. He'd talk to Hermione about this one when he returned the library book he'd borrowed.

A few hours later, Harry looked up from his work as the first journal had begun vibrating. He opened it to find new words written.

I'm bored. Tell me about yourself.

Harry couldn't help but grin. Whatever this journal was, it provided a welcome distraction to the long hours of study. It had been ages since he'd had a taste of adventure.

~*~

Two weeks later Harry returned from his training shift at St. Mungo's and fell into his nightly routine of getting ready for bed and talking with his pen pal. The journal was already announcing his friend had left a message when he took a seat at his desk, having just shed his Healer robes.

I’m drunk.

Harry grinned down at the page as he wrote his response.

What are you drinking? I’ll join you.

Firewhisky.

Harry could see the penmanship of the other person had diminished in quality.

I have a bottle of it too. I’ve been saving it for a night off. But there’s no time like the present.

Harry stood up and rummaged through the small cubicle that served as a wardrobe, extracting his bottle. He brought it back to his desk with him and conjured a glass.

There were more words waiting for him when he returned.

I get horny when I drink. What do you look like?

Grinning, Harry poured himself a glass of Firewhisky and settled in for what promised to be a lot of fun.

I’m short compared to most blokes.

Harry felt slightly nervous at the admission. The truth was that his fame made it hard enough to find a date with anybody who could see beyond his name, but without his name, he wondered how many people would even bother to give him the time of day. Still, this person didn’t really know him and seemed interested. They had discovered over the past couple of weeks that they had a lot in common, the most titillating of which was the fact that his friend was a bloke who had confided in Harry that he was gay. Harry had only recently come to terms with admitting to himself and his very closest friends that he considered himself bisexual.

So, short and has a cock. That’s not enough material to wank to. Come on, provide me with more details.

Harry’s eyes grew wide, though he couldn’t help himself from grinning stupidly.

You’re wanking to thoughts of me?

Who else am I going to have a wank thinking about? Oh, and I’d better not be wanking alone. Take your cock out, and have one off with me.

Harry poured himself another glass of Firewhisky, though he didn’t need it. The anonymous nature the journal provided made him quite comfortable with the idea of sharing a wank.

All right then. I have black hair and I wear glasses. What do you look like?

There was no immediate response, and Harry was starting to feel nervous. What if this guy had come to his senses and decided this was a bad idea after all? What if he didn’t like blokes with black hair or who wore glasses?

Finally words appeared on the page.

Sorry, I had to use the loo. I’m blond. My cock is long and thick. I’m not terribly tall, but I’m not short either. Are you fit? I like to stay in shape. I play Quidditch at the weekends.

Harry’s eyes were stuck on the words my cock is long and thick. His mouth went suddenly dry.

Yeah,

Harry wrote.

I like to play Quidditch too, though I haven’t had time for a game for a couple of months. I’ve been trying to write my thesis.

The words that followed made Harry snicker when he read them.

Shut up about studying. I’m trying to wank. What does your chest look like? Are you hairy all over or bare?

I have some body hair, but it’s not thick, just dark. My chest … I’m skinny. It’s filled out a bit, but I definitely don’t have tons of rippling muscles or anything. Tell me about your body. What would you do if you were here with me right now?

Harry pushed his jeans off, his cock jutting forwards through the slit in his boxers, then he pulled them off too, taking his cock in his left hand and stroking it lazily, waiting for the next words to appear.

Mmm … you sound hot. If I were there in person right now, I’d settle myself between your legs, with you sitting on the sofa, and I’d be on my knees in front of you, looking up into your eyes while I took your cock into my mouth and sucked it straight down to the root, unless you’re abnormally well endowed, not that I would complain. Then I’d hold on at the base and fit as much of your cock down my throat as I could. I’d let you grab me by my hair and fuck my mouth until you came, and then I’d swallow it. Unless you’re a kinky fuck. I could hold it in my mouth and climb into your lap and feed it back to you. Damn … getting close.

Harry’s eyes were glued to the page, his hand jerking his cock harder and faster the more he read, picturing it happening. The guy was close. He wanted more than anything to be the one to make him come. He slowed his own wanking and wrote a response.

Then I’d take some of my own come from your mouth and slick my fingers with it, and use them to loosen you up, just enough to fit my cock, still hard, but not as enormous as earlier, into your tight little hole. I’d hold onto your hips while you ride me, stroking yourself until you come all over my chest. Fuck. I’m coming.

And he was, all over his hand and legs, and of course he’d not thought to have a rag handy for cleanup. But it didn’t matter. He felt brilliant, and more still as he watched the next message appear.

If you fuck in real life anything like you talk, I think we need to meet.

Harry grinned, unable to keep from answering, even before trying to clean up the cooling spunk from his body.

Did you come? Crap I need to find a flannel. I’ve made a mess.

The response was immediate.

What do you think? Have you ever heard of a Siphoning Charm? I think you must have blown your brains along with your load. Same time tomorrow?

Grinning, Harry picked up his wand and performed the suggested Cleaning Spell.

I wouldn’t miss it. Good night.

~*~

Harry woke the next morning feeling relaxed. Sex with his pen pal seemed to offer the perfect outlet for all the stress he’d been building lately.

He rolled over and glanced at the clock on his bedside table, and then nearly fell out of bed, rushing to pack his satchel to make it to the canteen at St Mungo's before he missed Hermione.

He tossed the journal in as well at the last minute. It didn’t feel right not to carry it with him, but there was no way she'd be getting it back.

He got held up at the lifts, but finally made it to his table only ten minutes late.

"Honestly, Harry," Hermione said, looking up from a large tome she had open before her. "You could have spared a moment to shave this morning."

He grinned and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry I’m late. I was up late." He sat down opposite her, unable to keep the enormous grin from showing on his face as he located the book he’d borrowed and pulled it out.

Hermione took it, an eyebrow raised. "You look different. Happy. Has something happened?"

Harry shrugged. "Can’t I be happy?" He shifted in his chair, his cheeks growing warm.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Have you met somebody I will want to know about?" Her voice was playfully prodding.

A war waged in Harry's mind. He ought to tell Hermione about the journal, and find out what sort of magic he was dealing with in using it, but he didn't want her to take it away from him either. As if fate decided to intervene, the journal made its presence known right then by vibrating inside his cloak pocket.

He sheepishly drew it out and opened it, peering down at the new words.

I feel bloody brilliant this morning. Good luck with your lessons today. I'll talk to you tonight.

"Is that …?" Hermione held out her hand, the easy expression on her face replaced with confusion. "Harry, where did you get that journal?"

Resigned, Harry set the journal on the table, but didn't release it right away. "It was an accident," he explained. "I think I picked it up by mistake when you lent me the other book. I was going to return it, but then somebody started writing to me in it and … I've been writing back."

Hermione dropped her hand and sighed aloud. "Harry, are you in love with this person already?"

Harry looked at her like she'd grown another head. "What? Of course not. I don’t even know his name. Why would you even ask that?"

He drummed his fingers on his knee, waiting for her to answer. Knowing his luck, and the fact it had come from the Department of Mysteries, it was likely a book similar to the Mirror of Erised. It was probably entirely an illusion made to suck all of his energy and he’d be doomed to a life wasted by pining over a person that couldn’t exist.

"It’s a soul mate journal," Hermione answered, still looking serious. "If you’ve already fallen for whoever this person is, I can’t take it back. Basically, Harry, it’s a book that detects your magical signature, then it sends out a web of magic seeking to find the perfect match for you. Then it copies itself, disguising itself as a book the match will find and write in, and that’s what is being studied in the locked room. Don’t breathe a word to anybody that I’ve told you that much, but once the connection is established, I don’t know if there is a force that can break it."

Harry gaped at her, the book warm in his hands. He had a standing date for a repeat wank with the match the journal had found that night.

"You mean this bloke," he patted the journal’s back. "He’s my soul mate? Like for life? Like I won’t ever find a better match ever?"

Hermione bit her bottom lip nervously and nodded. "I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was going to happen. I —" she took a deep breath. "I’ll have to report my error to my supervisor and, and —"

"And?" Harry pressed.

"And they will likely get in contact with you, most likely without your knowledge, and they’ll study your experience … Look. I won’t do that to you. Please, Harry. Meet the person the journal has matched you with, and agree to destroy the journals. If the journals don’t exist any longer, they won’t be able to trace you and you can still have the benefit of finding your soul mate. Or, you could destroy the book and risk never meeting him. I’m sorry."

Harry didn’t quite see what was upsetting her so much. It seemed like a simple enough solution, though he would have to ask the bloke what he thought of the idea of meeting for real. Actually, the prospect had his heart racing.

"It’s all right, Hermione. I won’t tell anybody except him." He patted the book again, "We’ll destroy the books. It’ll all work out."

She jumped, looking down at her wristwatch in surprise. "Oh, I have to go!" she said. "I’m late. All right, you do what you think is best and I don’t know anything about it, understand? You didn’t get that book from me, you bought it at Flourish and Blotts."

"Right," Harry agreed. She jammed the enormous tome she’d been reading earlier with difficulty back into the depths of her small beaded bag.

Romeo

November 2001

Harry was a ball of nervous energy. His pen pal had taken the news about the soul mate journal rather well, all things considered, and they were going to meet at last.

He’d chosen the Leaky Cauldron as a meeting place, as it was a central location and the rooms upstairs afforded them privacy.

He looked at his reflection in the old brass mirror over the dresser, hoping the outfit he’d chosen would be to the other person’s liking. The jeans he’d bought earlier in the day clung to his arse in all the right places, though they fit him so well, it made him feel extremely aware of them.

A tapping sounded at the door, and Harry took a deep breath, releasing it slowly.

Here goes nothing.

He opened the door and met the eyes of Draco Malfoy, watching his expression melt from eager anticipation to what could only be described as horror.

Malfoy recovered himself after a moment and stepped across the threshold, shutting the door behind him.

"Tell me this is somebody’s idea of a sick joke," Malfoy said through gritted teeth, his hand sweeping his blond fringe back from his eyes.

"Malfoy," Harry said, for lack of any other words. "Well, you are certainly tall and blond."

Harry was torn between wondering about the possibility the journals had been some sort of a prank from an enemy, or if they were genuine and the energy he felt passing between Malfoy and himself in that moment was a true soul bond.

Malfoy rubbed his left temple with his fingers as if attempting to stave off a headache. He fixed Harry with a cold glare. "What do you have to drink in this place? I propose we have a Firewhisky or ten and destroy these journals immediately. Then we can pretend the whole thing was simply the result of alcohol-induced insanity."

Harry picked up the bottle of Firewhisky he had brought to toast their meeting. He had hoped that when he broke the seal on the bottle that it would be to replay their first sexual encounter in person. Pushing back his disappointment, Harry cracked the wax and pulled out the stopper, sloshing a large amount of amber liquid into each of two glasses he’d set on the dresser. He handed one to Malfoy, who took it without comment, and drank it immediately.

Harry took a sip of the burning drink, then set his glass back down, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, trying to stay casual. "Look. I know you don’t want to listen to what I have to say, but just hear me out. I explained earlier what these journals are and that they came from the Department of Mysteries. I’m just wondering if we’re writing off the possibility that there might be something to …"

"You must be joking," Malfoy interjected humourlessly. "Potter, don’t even finish that thought! You and me would never work." He slammed his glass down beside Harry’s and refilled it, not looking Harry’s way. "Merlin, save me from this nightmare," he swore under his breath, though Harry could hear every word, and it stung.

"You didn’t think it was that much of a joke earlier today," Harry bit back. He wasn’t going to play this fairly if Malfoy wasn’t. "You know, when we were wanking together."

Malfoy swallowed the rest of his drink again, his cheeks growing pink, though it was hard for Harry to tell if it was from embarrassment or alcohol.

"Don’t talk about it," Malfoy spat. "I don’t even! Fuck!"

Harry felt the colour rising in his face. "What? Am I that repulsive? Go on, tell it to me straight." His arms flew before he could think and he’d pushed Malfoy’s shoulders so Malfoy stumbled backwards a few steps. "Tell me exactly how freakish and awful I am. How much do I repulse you? I want to hear the truth. Is it me that you despise or my name? I’m the bloke in the journal, the Chosen One title is shit."

Malfoy glared back at Harry, eyes narrowed. "You don’t …" He stopped a moment; his right hand holding his empty glass brushed his left forearm, rubbing it as if scratching an itch. "This was a horrible idea." He pushed past Harry and set his glass back on the dresser, then left the room, not even bothering to close the door behind him.

Harry lost it. Cursing his rotten luck, he kicked the door closed and finished his glass of Firewhisky in one go, savouring the burning in his throat like it was a punishment earned for being so foolish as to trust fate. He pulled the wretched journal from its hiding place under one of the pillows, flung himself face down on the bed and propped the book open. He conjured a self-inking quill and began to write.

My name is Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy is apparently my soul mate. Take that Romeo; who’s fortune’s fool now?

Coming Together

December 2001

Harry sat at his desk, his left hand absently yanking his hair while he struggled to get his thoughts to make sense on paper. He had a year to hand in his thesis and half of it was gone. The stress was gruelling.

Finally realising his brain was simply refusing to function another moment, Harry tossed his quill on the desk and sat up, stretching.

What he wouldn’t give to go back in time to the days before he knew it was Malfoy on the other end of his journal. He missed the easy banter they had had before discovering the truth about their identities.

The journal buzzed. Harry could hardly believe it. He’d been poking at Malfoy for the past month, jotting down odd thoughts he’d have throughout the day, though Malfoy never responded. Harry thought he’d likely destroyed his journal.

He flipped the cover open and stared down at the new words written below his last entry.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to take Gillyweed and go down on a bloke underwater?

Potter, why the hell are you writing to me still? Give it up! I’m not interested in your perversions.

Harry grinned wickedly. Now that he had Malfoy’s attention, he had access to some entertainment at the very least.

Aww, come on, Draco. Don’t tell me you think blow jobs are perverted. I’ve got some Gillyweed if you’d like to give it a shot sometime.

Call me Malfoy. And that is hardly the point. I don’t find blow jobs perverted; I find your lack of finesse at seduction annoying as all hell.

Oh really? Do you think you could do it better?

Easily, Potter, but I won’t bother. I don’t like skinny speccy gits.

Oh. I think you just may be complaining too much. I happen to know you were quite fond of going on about how bloody brilliant my big fat cock would look slipping in and out of your glistening lips only last month. I have to admit, I haven't been able to get the image out of my head since then.

Are you seriously propositioning me, Potter? Me? We are enemies. We LOATHE each other. What part of ‘we won't work’ are you not getting? I think the last killing curse you survived killed off a few more brain cells than anyone anticipated.

You know what? I don't give a fuck about that right now. My balls are tight. I have no one close enough to seek relief with, well … except you. I don't really have any ambition or desire to go out and find a one-night stand. Do you know how hard it is to find a date when you are the Chosen One? I find the fact that you treat me less well than a commoner despite my name refreshing and actually … it makes me notice you. You know … I've always noticed you. Even back in school. You're bloody fit and hot and your hair shines and your arse fills your Quidditch trousers so well and rounded when you're on your broom. Fuck. I wanked to the image of your arse on a broom so many times. But I did hate you, so yes, you have that much right.

Oh thank you so very fucking much, Mr fucking Chosen One for taking the time to notice poor insignificant mortals like myself. And does this normally work, Potter? You spew your lines and then the people you say them to fall to their knees and offer to suck your cock or allow you to piss all over their face while they bask in your golden glow?

Merlin, Malfoy. You don't need to get so riled up, but actually, I kind of like you like this. Keep getting mad. It's turning me on. Mmm … Yeah … I can totally picture you Flooing over right now. You'd storm out of my fireplace and see me sitting in this chair: my cock is out; it's hard in my hand and your face explodes with anger. You rush across the room and pick me up by the neck of my robes and slam me into the wall, banging my head a few times for good measure.

Yes. I can see myself doing that. Then I'd smack your face with the back of my hand, taking care to knock the thick band of my ring against your eye socket so that it bruises. Then I'd pull your hair backwards so your neck is bent and you're forced to look at me. I'd pull until I saw tears spring to your eyes and you were begging me to let you go.

Oh fuck no ... I'd be begging you to let me come. You are fucking intense when you're angry. I wish I would have realised this years ago. I could have shut you up by kissing you rotten and forcing you into a bout of hate sex that you would be loath to admit you loved. Then we'd have kept doing it. Randomly running into each other at school and picking fights, dragging each other into alcoves and cupboards and shagging our brains out, marking and biting and cursing the whole time ... God that would have been hot. And think about all the danger we would have been in if anybody found out.

Potter. What are you trying to do? Seriously. Just tell me.

I want you, Draco Malfoy, to Floo over here right now. Don't say a fucking word, just bend over and let me worship your arse. I want to explore your body and claim it, and then I want you to get mad at me for not doing it right and then take my head in your hands and force me to do it your way, until you come in my face. I want you.

You're fucking insane.

Come over.

I don't know where you live.

It's 82, Charing Cross Road, room twelve.

Harry's head whipped to the right as the fireplace roared to life, and Draco came spinning out in a burst of green flames, ashes and soot raining over the floor below him. He looked livid. His eyes were alive with their fury and Harry felt his mouth go dry as he realised exactly how fucking hot it was to be caught with his trousers down and his cock out by Draco in person.

Draco didn't say anything. He took a moment to shed the leather gloves that were lining his hands, tossing them haphazardly aside, then shrugged off his travelling cloak. He let that fall as well. He wore a rich-looking dressing gown, and Harry couldn't help but notice the bulge in front, tenting the silk.

Harry swallowed hard as Draco approached, unsure of how this was going to play out. His fingers twitched as if they really wanted to be holding his wand in case Draco was going to try something evil, but then the suspense overtook him and he realised he hadn't stopped stroking his cock the entire time.

He watched Draco stalk towards him, and then he was grabbed by his hair on the back of his head and his head was pulled back, so his face was turned up towards Draco.

"Potter," Draco said coldly. "Why don't you put that fucking mouth of yours to doing something productive."

Draco's free hand opened his dressing gown revealing silk pyjama bottoms worn underneath, his cock jutting out through the sewn hole in the front.

Harry's eyes fixed on it. He stared, wetting his lips with his tongue, and then Draco kicked the feet of Harry's chair so it swung around and Draco stood directly in front of him, his erect cock an inch from Harry's nose.

"Suck," Draco commanded, forcing Harry's face downwards.

Harry opened his mouth without complaint and swallowed Draco's cock, relaxing his throat so he could take it all the way in.

It was more perfect than Harry could possibly have imagined. The scent of Draco's musk was thick in his nose, in his mouth, in his everything, and smelled of soap and a hint of something earthy with a sprig of mint. It was divine. Harry closed his eyes and moaned around the cock in his mouth, bobbing his head in time with the tugs on his hair, and he even took it when Draco seized him by the sides of his head and began to earnestly fuck his face.

It was so worth it for the sounds Draco couldn't help but make. Harry felt his pleasure building deep inside his core, touched as if by an invisible something flipping a switch inside him. His mouth salivated around the throbbing organ, and he was doing this with dripping sucks, chasing tendrils of saliva back up the veined underside with his tongue, hollowing his cheeks so Draco could plunder his throat without being obstructed.

This was what Harry was looking for. This is what Harry knew he'd have to have from this moment onwards.

And the sound of Draco's orgasm filled Harry even as his throat swallowed the load shooting down it. Draco stumbled, breathing heavily. When Harry looked up into Draco’s face, the grey eyes were wide and surprisingly free from their usual animosity. Harry wanted to look into those eyes forever. He wanted to fill those eyes with his reflection and never to have them see another person in this intimate an encounter ever again.

And then Harry's head was pulled off Draco's cock and he was flung backwards, the wooden chair bruising his shoulder blades. Surprised and slightly frightened, he was blown away when Draco straddled Harry’s lap instead of hitting him with his fist and Draco’s lips descended. Harry closed his eyes and kissed back with all of the pent-up feelings pouring out of him. The emptiness inside him was filling up with every emotion Draco poured into his side of the kiss and it was wet and perfect and tasted like come, but the fact that it was Draco's come made even that aspect that much sweeter.

Harry's hands moved down to circle Draco's back, resting on his bum and pulling him even closer so Harry's erection was brushing the silk of Draco's pyjama bottoms.

"Fuck," Harry said when he was allowed to finally draw breath.

Draco said nothing, but moved Harry's head to the side and claimed his mouth again.

Rationalisation

Present Day

"I ... I need to go back," Harry said, his voice breaking. "I have to at least say goodbye. I have to let him know I didn't leave him on purpose." He turned to look at his former mentor. "What about… Can I still become a ghost?"

Harry felt the desperate hope rise up inside him. Of course, why hadn't he considered it immediately? If he became a ghost, he'd be able to interact with the living again. He'd be able to explain everything to Draco, to beg his forgiveness, to be present to support him through whatever hard times he'd face in life.

"Harry, the existence of a ghost is not an existence I would wish on my deepest enemy."

"What do you mean?" Harry demanded. He thought back to the ghosts who inhabited Hogwarts: Nearly Headless-Nick had been dead for centuries and was a rather happy personality. It couldn't be as bad as Dumbledore was making it sound.

Dumbledore stroked his long beard for a moment and then invited Harry to sit on a nearby bench. Harry did.

Dumbledore began to explain. "Most ghosts become ghosts because they fear death and moving on; they cling to the only thing they've ever known and a half-life that they can never fully experience. I believe Muggles use the term 'hell' for where they think damned spirits go after death, yes?"

Harry nodded.

"There is no such place as hell, but for a spirit of the deceased, the closest thing to damnation is existence as a ghost."

"I don't understand, sir," Harry pleaded. "How can that be true?"

"Harry, your family is waiting for you; as soon as you are ready to move on, they will be ready to greet you. Your parents, your grandparents, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, and your children, Teddy and Scorpius, they are all waiting, just beyond the earthly veil."

"But Draco..."

"Draco is still a part of the world, Harry. When he dies and moves on, he will join you and you will be together again. But if you were to return to him now as a ghost, how do you think he would feel?"

"Well, I'd at least be able to talk to him, to explain."

"And when he broke down into tears in front of you, when he wanted you to comfort him in his grief, you would try to hold him, but instead of comfort it would feel to him that he was being doused in a bucket of ice water. You wouldn't be able to touch him or feel him and you would cause him physical discomfort if you were to try. Then your presence would become a nuisance. What if Draco decided he was ready to live again and have another chance at a family? He'd be torn between the constant reminder of what he had with you and what he could have again. He'd feel guilty for wanting more than you could give. He may grow to resent you, and even if all that doesn't happen, even if you are happy living in a semi-existence with each other, you would have to watch him grow old and eventually die. And then, Harry, he would move on. He would go to see your children again, and you would be trapped still, doomed forever to sort of exist as the world changed around you. You however, would not change with it. Do you see what I'm saying, Harry? Would you choose this sort of existence over what you could have?"

"No," Harry said glumly. "Of course not, but ... what is beyond? Can't I stay here and wait for Draco to join me? Then we could move on together."

"Harry, this is the gateway between the worlds, It will only be here for a time and nobody can be sure how long that is. You must make your decision, and soon."

"Dumbledore, I just ... I need to be sure he's going to be all right and then I'll come. Let me look again. Maybe after some time has passed. Will that work?"

"Time has been passing, Harry; see for yourself."

~*~

Harry looked back down into the fountain. He saw Draco was dressed in his dressing gown, the one he and Harry had picked out while on their honeymoon, and he was naked beneath it.

Harry felt like the breath had gone out of him. Draco was expecting company. Harry watched him light the oil lamps with his wand and turn on the wireless to a music station.

This couldn’t be happening. Harry wasn’t ready for Draco to move on without him. He knew deep down that the fact Draco was preparing to have a guest over for sex, for what else could it be, was probably a good sign, a healing thing, but it hurt so much to witness.

"Harry, Perhaps you shouldn’t watch," Dumbledore suggested. "I believe your children are just beyond the barrier. Why don’t we go and see them?"

Harry’s mind warred with his heart. He longed to see Teddy and Scorpius again, to hold them and tell them how much he missed them, but he couldn’t bring himself to look away from Draco.

"Dumbledore, I will come, but first. I really must say goodbye. I have to. I can’t move on fully until I have."

Dumbledore sighed loudly. "It will only be harder to tear yourself away, the more you watch, Harry, but if you give me your word that after this visit, we will move on, then by all means, go ahead."

"Did you want to come with me? To make sure I come back?"

"Harry, I have already gone on. This gateway is yours alone. You may interact with the fountain, but I cannot go into it. I can only watch from afar."

Harry nodded. "I’m going now. I will come back. I need to see Teddy and Scorpius. I need to reassure them I’ve done all I can for Draco."

"Take care, Harry. Remember. You cannot alter what happens in the other realm; you and it are made of different stuff. You may say your goodbyes, but understand that you may not receive them in return."

Harry nodded again, his throat feeling tight, and then leaned over the misted surface of the fountain and plunged inside. As he felt himself pass from one world to the other, the life events that had led up to this point flashed through his mind in vivid detail.

Bonding

January 2003

Harry and Draco stood side-by-side, dressed in their finest robes. Everybody they loved had gathered to witness this moment, when he and Draco would exchange their vows and be bonded for life.

Harry always thought he'd be intimidated by the prospect of marriage, as he had done whenever he'd contemplated it in the past, but standing beside Draco now, before the eyes of everybody with little Professor Tofty presiding, he knew that this was exactly the path he was meant to take in life.

Looking at Draco beside him, Harry knew Draco was feeling the same, even though Draco's eyes did show a bit more terror than Harry's. Lucius and Narcissa were in attendance too, even though they heartily did not approve of the union. Draco had threatened to publicly deny them if they made a scene, and thankfully, they hadn't yet.

"So we gather today to join these two souls in marriage," Professor Tofty said, his voice whispery and faint. "Have you the rings?" he asked, looking at Harry and Draco over the top of the tiny glasses perched on his long nose.

Harry put his hand into his robe pocket and withdrew the ring he had designed for Draco. It was an Ouroboros with emeralds for eyes and he slipped it on Draco's finger without hesitation, watching the startled expression on Draco's face turn to a broad smile, the one reserved for Harry alone. Harry never expected to see it when they were in front of other people, but the fact that it was there made his entire body thrum with love for the man beside him.

Draco then placed the ring he'd chosen for Harry on Harry's ring finger and, at the instruction of the professor, they kissed. The moment their lips touched a ring of fireworks went off, exploding all around them in puffs of smoke and chasing each other through the twilit sky.

Harry slid an arm around Draco's waist and they turned to greet their friends and family as husbands for the first time.

Bad Timing

March 2003

Harry steadied himself, holding onto Draco’s thighs while Draco was folded over the back of the sofa, his face turned to the side while he braced himself with a tight grip on the cushion edges.

Harry drew back and then pushed in slowly again. He was so close to coming, but was mesmerised by the sight of his cock being swallowed by Draco’s body. Harry pulled out all the way, thrusting forwards once more, repeatedly stabbing Draco’s arse with his cock until he couldn’t take the slow pace another moment.

There was a large mirror hanging on their bedroom wall, positioned just right so Harry could see Draco’s neck arching as he bit the cushion’s fabric and groaned loudly as Harry battered him at the perfect angle.

"Harry!" a small child’s voice called out, startling Harry to the point he almost released Draco’s legs and dropped him on his face.

Harry’s eyes flew to the mirror where he hadn’t noticed the door had opened and his five-year old godson Teddy stared, wide-eyed, at the scene before him.

"What are you doing to Draco? You could hurt him!" Teddy’s hair changed from blue to black as the boy’s mood switched from fearful to accusatory.

Harry couldn’t move, couldn’t think what to do, but fortunately Draco came to the rescue, propping himself up on his arms and staring at Teddy in the mirror. "Close the door, Theodore. We’ll come and talk to you in a minute."

Teddy’s eyebrows narrowed suspiciously, but he did as he was asked.

When the door closed Harry was brought out of his shocked state when Draco chuckled. "Er— you want to let me down there, Potter?"

Harry shook his head, dazed, realising he wasn’t hard any longer. "Yeah, sorry," he said quickly. and helped Draco right himself on the sofa.

Draco stood up, immediately drawing Harry’s eyes to the red imprint of the back of the sofa across his hips. Draco crossed to the wardrobe and grabbed his and Harry’s dressing gowns, then returned and handed Harry his. Draco’s eyebrow raised questioningly as he slipped into his own. "Let’s go and do damage control."

Happy Birthday

February 2009

Harry laughed heartily as Scorpius’s eyes grew wide at the pile of presents sitting on the sideboard.

"All for me?" he asked in amazement, struggling in Harry’s arms to be put down so he could investigate.

"That’s right, Scorpius," Harry said. He set him down and watched his face split into a wide grin. "It isn’t every day a son of mine turns four, after all."

Scorpius turned slowly back to Harry and held up his arms to be picked up again.

"What about Teddy? Does he get a present?"

Harry nuzzled his nose against Scorpius’s small one. "Teddy isn’t turning four today. Did you have a nice kip?"

Harry carried Scorpius to the drawing room where all the guests were assembled. The Weasleys were all there with their assorted children. He looked for Draco, finally spotting him standing on the porch outside the french doors and arguing with his father.

Harry frowned. He carried Scorpius to where Molly Weasley and Narcissa Malfoy were exchanging stilted conversation, though Harry had discovered that Scorpius's presence was just what it took to lighten the atmosphere between the women at family gatherings.

"Here are your Nanas, Scorpius." Harry put Scorpius down on the sofa between them. "You mind watching him for a moment?" Harry asked, pleased to see the tightness of Narcissa's lips had relaxed and the frowning crease in Molly's forehead had smoothed out.

"Of course not, Harry," Molly said and reached out to ruffle Scorpius's hair with her hand, while Narcissa smoothed out the wrinkles in Scorpius's trousers.

Harry excused himself and wove his way through the crowds of people standing in groups of three and four, peppered with two more groups of children playing games on the floor. He pushed open the door to the porch and stepped outside, just as Lucius strode away. Draco remained with his arms folded, looking out to the garden.

Harry stood next to him, and put his arm around Draco's waist. "What was that all about?" Harry asked tentatively.

Draco chuckled dryly. "He's just being his usual self. He wanted to let me know that his solicitors have told him that as Scorpius was conceived between myself and a woman outside of marriage, that he is not considered legitimate enough to weigh in as my heir." Draco sighed and turned towards Harry, folding himself in Harry's arms. "You're warm."

Harry nuzzled his nose against Draco's cheek, noticing the barest trace of stubble was there. It was unusual for Draco to allow it to grow even that much when they were entertaining guests.

"You're cold," Harry answered. "Didn't think you needed a coat in February?"

Draco slipped his hands under Harry's jumper and touched his back, making Harry jump with shock from the cold, though Draco didn't release him.

"Okay," Harry said, exhaling shakily. "I suppose I deserve that. You want to talk about it? Your father, I mean."

"Not really," Draco said back, his hands starting to grow warm as they soaked the heat up from Harry's skin. "He can take the Malfoy name and fortune and be buried with it for all the care I have about it." Draco pushed his face into the crook of Harry's neck, muffling his voice. "We have everything we need right here."

Working on it

January 2011

Harry rolled up his lime-green sleeves and knocked softly on the open examination room door to announce his arrival.

A small girl with mousey-brown hair sat on the table with her mother fussing at her side. The mother turned as Harry entered, revealing the girl’s face, complete with a fully-formed elephant trunk in place of her nose and tears streaming down her cheeks.

He stifled the grin that threatened to spread, and tried to look kindly concerned.

"What seems to be the trouble?" he asked, pulling a clean handkerchief out of his robe pocket and handing it to the little girl.

"Uncle Zim told me it would stay like this if I kept making faces and he was right!" the little girl wailed, wiping her eyes with the handkerchief while her trunk snuffled and dripped onto the floor.

Harry shifted his eyes to the mother, raising his brows.

"She’s a metamorphmagus, Healer," she explained. "This hasn’t ever happened before. Normally she’s able to put her face to rights instantly, but my brother was teasing her tonight, and this happened. Can you do anything to help?"

Harry felt his throat grow tight. He’d thought he’d just be dealing with a jinx gone wrong, but the mention of her metamorph nature brought Harry’s recent loss right back to the forefront of his mind.

He swallowed thickly. "I believe I can," he said, trying to keep the quivering out of his voice. "Tell me," Harry said, addressing the girl. "What is your name?"

She sniffled, her trunk making a horrible snuffling honk. "Elisabeth."

"Well, Elisabeth, do you know I just happen to have personal experience with this very same thing?"

The little girl looked up at Harry, her eyes growing wide and hopeful.

Harry blinked a couple of times and cleared his throat. "Yes. This same thing happened to my godson at about your age. He was a metamorphmagus too."

"Did it go back to normal?"

"It did," Harry said, nodding gravely. "The trick is to understand that sometimes adults tell jokes and then when kids hear the jokes, they think it’s real. So your uncle told you it would stay like that? He was just joking and when you’re ready to try to make it go back to normal it will. Are you ready to try?"

Elisabeth furrowed her eyebrows, confused. "You mean he lied to me?" she asked, eyes widening.

"Um …" Harry stuttered, looking to the mother who was shrugging her shoulders and not being helpful in the slightest. "Well, it wasn’t a mean lie. It was a joke. Like when you’re trying to make somebody laugh by being funny."

Elisabeth shook her head and the trunk retracted into her face returning to a normal nose shape with a strange gushing sound. She frowned. "I don’t think it was funny at all."

Harry frowned too, forcing a serious face. "I think you’re right. Are you going to tell him that he wasn’t funny when you get home?"

She nodded and held out her arms for her mother to help her down.

"How old are you anyway?" Harry asked when she was standing upright beside him, coming up to about his hip.

"Four, going on five," she said, immediately brightening.

"Promise to keep the trunk for special occasions only?" he asked.

Elisabeth nodded, grinning broadly, and pulled away from her mother.

"Thank you, Healer Potter," Elisabeth’s mother said, shaking Harry’s hand. She squeezed it, giving him a sad little smile that told him she knew exactly how hard it must be for him to treat her daughter after the news of his loss had hit the Daily Prophet. Then she followed Elisabeth out of the room as the child had made a mad dash for freedom.

Harry held it together until he was alone at last and then threw an Imperturbable Charm at the door.

Tragedy

July 2010

Harry sloshed tea over the sides of the pair of cups he was carrying from the kitchen to the drawing room as two pairs of feet thundered down the stairs behind him, making the picture frames rattle on the walls.

"Hey now, slow down," he said, as Teddy, home for the summer from his first year at Hogwarts, chased the five-year-old Scorpius through the foyer into the drawing room.

"What’s the big idea?" Harry heard Draco ask as he entered on Teddy's heels and handed Draco a cup.

He took his seat on the sofa beside Draco, loving how Draco’s hand immediately snaked out to rest on his thigh.

"We want to try out my new broom!" Teddy said, grinning broadly. Harry had taken the boys to Quality Quidditch Supplies earlier in the day, so Draco could focus on his latest children's book without interruption. They had only been home half an hour.

"I don’t know," Harry said, taking a sip of his tea. "I think we’d better let Daddy give it a once-over before you take it out for real. What do you think, Draco?"

Draco nodded his agreement. "Tell you what, go and bring it to me now and I’ll have a look right away."

The boys shrieked and tore off to fetch the new broom with another house-shaking thundering run.

Harry chuckled.

"What kind did you end up getting him?" Draco asked, raising an eyebrow.

"It’s a Firebolt," Harry said. "I know it’s an older model, but it’s a tried and true design and I’ve always favoured them."

Draco nodded, taking a sip from his tea and giving Harry’s knee a squeeze.

The boys rushed back into the room, their faces flushed with excitement.

Draco put his cup on the side table and moved his hand off Harry’s leg, holding it out for Teddy to place the broom in.

Harry’s thigh felt cold where Draco’s hand had been. He wanted very much for this examination to finish so Draco would put his hand back where it belonged.

Draco ran his wand over the broom handle, checking the charms. "Looks good to me," he said. "Are you both planning to fly?"

Scorpius hopped from one foot to the other, dancing with excitement. "Teddy’s gonna take me, Daddy! I’ll be really good!"

Draco smiled, ruffling their small son’s blond hair with his fingers. "All right. Teddy, I don’t want you to go higher than three feet while he’s on it, and keep the speed down too. We’ll take it out for a proper flight to test its capabilities later tonight."

"Yes! Thanks, Draco!" Teddy said, snatching his broom back. They disappeared without another word.

The back door slammed closed behind them.

He settled back beside his husband, and picked up Draco’s hand, putting it back on his thigh with a grin.

"Oh?" Draco chided. "Did you miss me, Potter?"

"Always," Harry said and leaned in for a quick kiss.

~*~

Harry sat beside Draco in the front pew of the small reception hall, his hand on Draco's knee. On the platform at the front of the hall sat two small coffins while the music rang out loud and heavy, clanging against Harry's ear drums. Nothing made sense any more. Music was no longer beautiful; air was no longer sweet. It hurt to breathe. Even now, his lungs ached.

The same bald old man that had presided over Harry and Draco's bonding ceremony walked with his head bowed to the podium at the centre of the stage between the coffins, lifting his ancient face as the last chords played.

Harry could feel Draco's stillness beside him, his posture frozen. Harry reminded himself that he needed to be strong right now so if Draco needed to break it would be all right; he would be there to pick up the pieces.

"I want to thank you all for joining Harry and Draco in their time of intense sorrow," Tofty's voice wavered. Harry could hardly make out a word, he was concentrating so hard on staying strong that his eyes burned.

Harry caught snippets of the eulogy, but his eyes were focused on the coffins on the stage.

"… young to be taken from this world … malfunctioning braking charm … accident … loss most keenly felt …"

Beside him, Draco's shoulders trembled. Harry could feel the tremors in the thigh beneath his hand. He turned to look at Draco, needing comfort himself more than he could say, but saw instead absolute devastation in Draco's face.

Harry slipped his arm around his husband, and pulled him into an embrace that Draco melted into, the sobs breaking free and tears flowing hot and wet down Harry's neck. Harry closed his eyes and held on tight, praying the nightmare would end.

Working it out

January 2011

Harry sat on the floor of the exam room with his back against the door and his knees drawn up to his chest. The tears came though he tried to hold them at bay. He felt raw.

It had already been six months, but even the most random thing would bring the memories flooding back as if it had just happened.

After a while he found himself staring straight ahead at the cabinet on the opposite side of the room, wondering how long he’d been doing it.

He glanced quickly at his watch. It was nearly five o’clock and, considering nobody had come pounding on the door, he figured it was safe for him to venture out to leave for the day.

He stood up, feeling returning to his limbs in a rush of pins and needles. He wiped his eyes with his hands and took off his glasses, drying them on his robes.

A brief look in the mirror showed his face was puffy and covered in red blotches, but that was easily remedied using a few spells and glamours. The important thing now was to be strong for Draco. Harry didn’t think their relationship would be able to survive if they were both a rotten mess.

He opened the door, pasting on a smile with a deep breath of forced calm, and strode out to face his colleagues.

~*~

In the lift to the fourth floor of St. Mungo’s, Harry shifted his weight from one foot to the other, reminding himself that the most important thing for him to be right then was a pillar of support. Draco needed him to be strong, and so he would.

The lift clattered to a stop, the doors opening to the locked ward.

Harry ran his wand over doorknob and it unlocked to admit him, recognising his Healer’s pass.

Harry waited at the front desk to speak with the Healer on duty.

Healer Fitzpatrick met him after a couple of minutes.

"Ah, Healer Potter," he said, shaking Harry’s hand. "Busy day down in Magical Accidents?"

"You could say that," Harry said with a forced smile, hating the pleasantries. "How’s Draco today?"

Fitzpatrick pulled out a handkerchief from his robe pocket and mopped the bald patch on his head nervously. "About the same," he answered non-committally.

"All right," Harry sighed. "Where is he? I’ll see if I can calm him down."

"He’s in the garden," Fitzpatrick said. "But he’s told me to tell you that he’d prefer it if you stop wasting his time and yours and to just go home." He said it quickly, as if frightened Harry would bite his head off for delivering Draco’s message.

"I will bear that in mind," Harry said, frowning to himself.

Harry made his way through the locked ward’s corridor to the end where it opened into an enchanted patio garden, complete with Atmospheric Charms so the patients could take in some sun on occasion.

He wound his way over the worn stepping stones set into the grass and found Draco seated as usual on a stone bench with his back to Harry, facing the edge of the charm which made it appear as if the space before him stretched out as far as the eye could see with beautiful topiary gardens, but in reality was the wall of the hospital building.

Puffs of smoke rose around Draco’s slumped shoulders at regular intervals, as he’d taken to chain smoking whenever Harry came to visit because he knew Harry detested the habit.

"Fuck off, Potter," Draco said, not turning to look as Harry approached.

Harry felt his heart squeeze tightly in his chest, but reminded himself that Draco wasn’t in his right mind, hadn’t been since the accident. He sat down beside Draco on the bench, his hands shoved into his trouser pockets, having shed his Healer robes at the end of his shift.

"I missed you," Harry said softly, trying to keep from ruffling feathers.

Draco took a long drag on his cigarette and answered by blowing his smoke in Harry’s direction.

Harry hated the feeling of their grief coming between them as if it were a solid barrier. He didn’t have the first idea how break it down and get Draco talking to him again.

"Talk to me," Harry said finally, desperate to just have words again, even if they were harsh or tear-filled. "What have you been thinking?"

When Draco said nothing still, but continued to stare straight ahead, throwing out the butt of one cigarette to join a pile of them littering the ground and lighting another, Harry pulled his hands out of his pockets and raked his hair out of his face.

"How can I fix it, if you won’t tell me what’s wrong? I’m trying, Draco. God help me; I’m trying so hard to give you time and whatever you need, but I’m really at a loss here. Please! Throw me a bone, something! Just say something!"

Draco’s eyes met his at last, a look of resolution resting in their depths. "I want to move," he said at last, pausing, turning back to look forwards again. "I can’t live in that house any more."

Relief flooded Harry’s system at finally receiving a response. "Fine!" he agreed readily. "That will give me something I can do. I’ll put the house up for sale and start looking at other places tonight. We’ll find somewhere else to live. We can start over again and things will be good."

"No," Draco said, closing his eyes; the hand holding his cigarette trembled where it rested on his knee. "That isn’t what I meant. I want to move — and I want you to stay."

It felt as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the very air. Harry couldn’t breathe. His lungs ached. He thought his heart would break free from his chest. "You," he stammered, throat tight. "You want — a divorce?"

"Look," Draco said coldly, tossing his half-smoked fag away and turning to face Harry on the bench. "It’s a wonder we made it as long as we did, Potter. You and me, well, we knew from the start that this was a long shot. I just can’t keep doing this anymore. I can’t keep feeling like I’m falling short. Compared to you, I am nothing. It isn’t fair to me and it’s time for me to take care of myself for once."

"What the hell are you even talking about?" Harry demanded, eyes filling with tears. He couldn’t believe the words he was hearing. "We’re soul mates, Draco. You’re everything to me!"

Harry couldn’t stay strong any more. The more he tried to hold his tears back, the faster they seemed to come, regardless of how many he’d shed earlier. He fell to his knees in front of Draco, staring up into his stony grey eyes as they widened minutely. He couldn’t do this. Not here, not today. Hell, not any day. He would not let Draco go without a fight.

"Don’t you understand?" Harry choked, sobbing. "I’ve tried so hard to stay strong for you, when all I’ve felt like doing is curling up into a ball and dying. With the kids gone …" His words caught in his throat as another cascade of tears flooded his face, making him feel swollen and hot. "I’m so sorry, Draco. Please forgive me! It was all my fault! I shouldn’t have bought that broom; I should have been out there watching them; I should have done so many things differently and then we wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t hate me."

Harry buried his face in Draco’s lap, unable to hold back his terrible grief and guilt. The tears fell faster and the sobs shook his entire body, making his back ache and his head pound.

Fingers smoothed back his hair with gentle strokes, sending a calming rush through Harry’s nerves, soothing him as if they were a balm. He sniffled, his face pressed against the cooling mess his eyes and nose had made on Draco’s lap. He let Draco caress his hair as his tears finally ceased. He felt raw, so open and weak, laid bare before Draco, confessing his sins, but the gentle tugs against his scalp were like heaven in that he hadn’t touched or been touched by Draco in so long.

"Potter, look at me," Draco said, his voice sounding more gentle than it had in ages.

Harry shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed, feeling his glasses biting into his face, but unwilling to move lest the magic of the moment break and he not be allowed to touch any more.

"Harry," Draco said this time.

Harry pulled back at last, sitting on his feet, his legs numb from the position. His glasses were fogged, and smeary, but he could just make out Draco’s face if he peered over the rims, though it was blurred.

Draco lifted Harry’s glasses off his face and wiped them clean using the bottom of his shirt. He put them back a moment later, allowing Harry to see the tear tracks on Draco’s face.
"Please," Harry begged. "Don’t leave me."

"This is the first time you’ve shown me you’re human since it happened, Harry," Draco said softly. "I was afraid you were beyond help."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked, confused. His knees protested at being pressed into the stone slab in the ground before the bench, but he refused to move until he knew there was hope.

Draco sighed, frowning sadly. "It wasn’t your fault, idiot. It was mine. I was the one who checked the safety of the broom and gave them permission to use it. It’s my fault it happened, not yours."

Harry watched a fresh batch of tears building in Draco’s eyes and reached out to catch them before they fell, wiping them away with his fingers. He shook his head, feeling his own eyes filling again, wondering how many tears he could possibly have left.

"No, please don’t blame yourself," Harry pleaded, his hands gripping Draco’s thighs through his trousers. "I need you. I’ve missed you so much."

where your treasure lies 2.jpg


A moment later Harry was on his back, his legs sore and numb, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered in the world was that Draco was on top of him, they were holding each other, sobbing, and kissing, and it was wet and messy and altogether perfect.

To our Future

January 2012

Harry spun out of the fireplace and dusted the ash off his travelling cloak; as he hung it on the hook, his nose perked up. Something smelled delicious.

"Draco?" Harry said, loosening the top button on his shirt as he entered their kitchen.

"Potter!" Draco said, spinning around surprised, a spatula in one hand and flour dusting his nose.

Harry grinned and sidled up to Draco, an eyebrow raised. "We're back to Potter now, are we?" he asked, taking Draco's slim hips in his hands, loving the feeling of Draco's sharp hip bones beneath his woollen trousers. "It smells wonderful. What's the occasion?"

Draco narrowed his eyes, giving Harry a look that Harry instantly understood meant he was to get his head out of his arse and pronto.

Harry winked and brushed his lips against Draco's. "I know what day it is. I'm not as stupid as I look."

Draco pushed Harry back, though gently enough that Harry understood he wasn't being rejected. "Wash your hands. Dinner is waiting in the dining room."

After dinner, Harry sat on the sofa in the drawing room, waiting for Draco to show him the surprise he'd promised.

Harry had to shift his hips and adjust his cock, thinking up all the possible perverted ideas Draco may have in mind for a surprise.

Draco entered a moment later, guiding a levitating platter with his wand. It came to rest on the coffee table and Draco took a seat beside Harry, his grey eyes open and searching Harry's eyes. "It's been one full year since we decided to live again. This is our future cake. I want us to always remember that we will live for each other and for our future no matter how hard life gets."

Harry nodded, taking in the image of Draco in the low light of the oil lamps that peppered the room. Draco's face shone in the light, lit as if from within with such a fantastic beauty it took Harry's breath away. His eyes lingered on Draco's lips, small, thin and pink, curving ever so slightly into his customary smirk as if he could read exactly what Harry was thinking just by looking at him.

"I love your lips," Harry said finally, unable to put more ideas into words. He was drawn to Draco right then, full of pure want, but before he could act on his impulse to just throw Draco back on the sofa and have his way with him, Draco had pushed himself into Harry's lap, knocked the glasses off Harry's face and they were kissing. Harry stopped thinking altogether.

Taking a Leap

Late January 2015

The end of the day couldn’t come fast enough for Harry.

He looked down at his clipboard, thankful to have reached the end of the list of patients waiting to see him, then knocked on the examination room door.

"Hello, Mrs Pillsworth, and Amelia, I take it?"

The woman looked up as Harry entered, relief spreading over her face. She stood beside the exam table, holding her young daughter by the ankle while the poor girl floated three feet off the ground.

Fifteen minutes later, Harry was fastening his travelling cloak when he felt his journal vibrate in his inner pocket.

He smiled as he opened it, reading:

I am freaking out, Harry. The Scamanders will be here in fifteen minutes and I forgot to pick up the future cake from the påtisserie in Diagon Alley. I can't face them alone, but I also can't invite them inside without offering proper refreshments.

Harry chuckled to himself, though he was feeling just as nervous as Draco. It wasn’t every day you sat down to discuss the prospect of hiring a woman to carry a baby for you. He pulled out his quill and answered:

Don't worry about it. I'll stop by Diagon Alley and pick it up. I'm on my way right now.

Are you nervous?

Draco’s handwriting was shaky.

Terrified! But I’m also excited. I’ll be home as soon as I pick up the cake.

Please hurry. I can't do this alone. I don't want to be alone.

I will always come for you.

Promise? Are you trying to sweeten me up?

Maybe … Of course I promise. After they leave I’ll show you just how much I will always come for you.

~*~

The bell to the shop tinkled as Harry entered.

"Oh, Mr Potter," a young man dressed in a white apron said, looking up from where he was kneading dough as Harry approached. "I have your cake. I was expecting Mr Malfoy to pick it up hours ago."

Harry watched the baker pick up his wand, and clean his hands with a spell. The man then fetched a large square box from the glass display case. He set it on the counter and opened the box for Harry to look inside.

It looked divine. It was round and white with two layers, one set on top of the other and edged in yellow icing. The centre of the cake bore the words, Our Future. Harry thought it was fitting that their fourth "future" anniversary coincided with the day they would set out to become parents again.

Harry smiled up at the baker. "It's perfect. How much do I owe you?"

He left the shop a few minutes later, cradling the cake box in his arms as he wound his way to the closest Apparation point.

A scream rent the air, and Harry felt like time slowed down in an instant while his focus narrowed, like a video camera zooming in close up. "My baby! Somebody save my baby!"

He saw smoke rising up from behind the roofs of the shops; the cake box fell out of his hands, hit the cobblestones and smashed in a great smear of icing, but Harry already had his wand in his hand and had dashed down the road, taking the corner to the next street over.

A crowd of people had gathered in front of a burning cottage. The flames were enormous and licked up the walls, catching the thatched roof.

The screaming came from a woman lying prostrate in the street, clinging to the legs of a man who was bent over, holding her in place.

Harry took only a moment to assess the situation before he'd cast a Bubble-Head Charm over himself and blasted the front door off its hinges. Smoke billowed out, burning hot as he forced his way inside, the sounds of the people on the street muffled by the charm.

Harry's eyes began to ache despite the fresh air the charm provided, though he wasn't stupid enough to rely on it holding out much longer.

He ran up the staircase, which was thankfully not yet aflame, though the fire was spreading rapidly. He ducked through the narrow hallway, searching for the missing child, while all around him flames began licking at the wallpaper. The house gave a great shudder and the floor in front of him fell, leaving a wide chasm between him and the end of the hall. The little girl stood on the other side, her eyes wide and face streaked with ash. Her hair was blonde, though the layer of ash sitting on top of it made it look as if it were grey.

Harry cast a Bubble-Head Charm at the girl and Summoned her to him, folding her close against his chest, resting on his hip to protect her from the growing flames with his travelling cloak.

Harry turned around and stopped short at the sound of a low grinding coming from above. The rafters were giving out, and a glance at the stairs showed him his exit was blocked.

Harry turned back, legs bent, ready to leap the gap in the floor to reach the window. He aimed his wand at the window, and sent a blasting hex at it, jumping at the same time.

The window and front wall burst apart outwards. Harry landed, barely catching his foot on the remains of the floorboards, and used his momentum to throw the girl away from himself, out into the night. A roar filled his ears and everything went dark.

One Last Goodbye

Present Day

Harry's mind spun as he finally felt himself rematerialise in the house he and Draco had made their home, unable to leave it even after the children had died.

Things looked exactly as they had when Harry had last been there. He stood beside the wireless in the foyer, looking up as the doorbell rang.

Harry watched, peering through the window beside the front door to see who was standing on their stoop. His stomach dropped.

Draco was beside him a moment later. He took a deep breath and let it out, speaking aloud to himself. "I can do this. I need to do this." He pulled the door open. "Blaise, come inside," he said quickly. Harry heard a note of trepidation in the undertones of Draco’s voice.

Blaise Zabini stepped over the threshold and pulled the front door closed behind him. He was dressed in a tailored suit, a look of concern on his haughty features that Harry wanted to smack off him.

Blaise brought a bottle of wine out from under his cloak, and undid the cloak’s fastenings, hanging it on the hook beside the door. Harry’s hook.

Harry watched Draco’s eyes widen at the placement of Blaise’s cloak on Harry’s hook, but Draco made no move to alter it. It was as if he had talked himself into allowing Blaise take Harry’s place.

"Come into the bedroom," Draco said. His voice didn’t sound all that warm but, dressed as he was, it was clear that an invitation was being extended.

"Draco," Blaise said. "We need to talk soon …"

"After," Draco said, not looking back. He walked down the hall to the bedroom and Blaise followed, Harry invisible on his heels.

When they had stepped into the bedroom, Harry felt his mouth go dry. Draco was lying on their bed, his robe was open, his body on display. He lay on his side, sprawled across the bed, raised on one elbow and patting the mattress in front of him for Blaise to join him.

Harry watched as Blaise put the bottle of wine down on the chest of drawers and then slipped out of his suit jacket. He watched Draco watch as Blaise removed his shirt and trousers.

The look in Draco’s eyes was hard for Harry to see. Harry hovered behind Draco, his face beside Draco’s ear, longing to touch, to make his presence known. "Draco, I’m here. I still exist. It’s Harry. I want to tell you something."

But nothing Harry said or did seemed to bridge the divide, and Harry was having trouble resigning himself to the fact that he’d have to say goodbye while Draco was being fucked by another man.

Blaise climbed onto the bed, moving forwards to kiss Draco, but Draco stopped him.

"The potion. It’s on the table."

Blaise’s eyes rolled upwards and he sighed deeply. "This isn’t going to help you, Draco. You’re only asking to prolong your grief."

"Blaise. I need … I need to say goodbye. Please?" Draco's voice cracked at the last word, though he cleared his throat afterwards, hiding it.

Blaise reached over to the side table and picked up a potion bottle. Harry recognised it as containing the Polyjuice Potion leftover from that last Hallowe'en when he and Draco had attended a party as each other. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. But then Blaise levelled his almond-shaped eyes at Draco. "If I do this for you, do you promise to talk to me afterwards, about what things will be like between you and me moving forwards, without Potter?"

Draco swallowed and nodded, Harry recognised the deception and his heart soared and ached at the same time. He could tell Draco had no intention of moving forwards with Blaise, that he was using Blaise to be Harry, using him so he would be able to say goodbye.

And then Blaise drained the potion and doubled over as he changed.

When the change was complete, Draco looked Blaise up and down, as if he couldn't ever see enough of Harry's body to satisfy himself. He swallowed, pointing to the table again. "His glasses are there."

Blaise shrugged lazily, looking over Harry's body with a frown, pausing to trace the scar on Harry's chest that had been left from Voldemort's horcrux locket. He looked up at Draco. "Oh, come on. Don't tell me you fuck with him wearing glasses?"

Draco's eyes narrowed. "Harry liked to be able to see my body. Look, if you're not going to play the part …"

"No, no," Blaise said, reaching for the glasses on the table and slipping them on. "I will."

Harry watched his doppelgänger advance on Draco. Watched as Draco rested his head on his pillow, eyes drinking in Harry's skin, and then Blaise put his hand on Draco's cock and leaned in to press their lips together.

Harry couldn't stand by and watch any longer. He felt himself growing in intensity, as if everything he was made of, all the energy bits and magic, coalesced to a single purpose and that was to knock Blaise out from where he, Harry, belonged.

And then Harry opened his eyes. His lips were on Draco's; he could taste Draco's breath and he stopped thinking altogether as he took Draco in his arms and melted into him. Harry could scarcely believe what he'd done. He was possessing Blaise's body, but he could taste Draco's grief on his tongue, and suddenly the moral implications of taking control of somebody else's body without permission didn't matter. All that mattered was that Harry could comfort Draco one last time, that they would have their final farewell; he would worry about everything else afterwards.

Draco was responding more eagerly the longer they snogged. Harry could feel Draco's erection grow beneath his hand and he longed to taste it, to suck it, to take Draco and never let go of him, but the idea that this would be their very last coupling crippled his will. He didn't want to advance past this part for fear that as they progressed it would be over.

"Harry," Draco panted, breaking apart momentarily.

Harry looked down at him, tears welling in his eyes. "I'm here. I came back. I need to tell you I'm sorry I broke my promise. I'm sorry I left you alone."

Draco's eyes widened, not in fear as Harry feared, but in sadness too. "Make love to me one last time," he whispered. "Show me how much you love me before we have to say goodbye forever."

Harry couldn't argue with that. He had to give Draco what he asked for, needed to feel their connection once more for himself as well.

"You too, one more time," Harry breathed and Draco's cheeks tinged pink as their eyes met again, understanding passing between them.

Harry manoeuvred himself so he was lying on his side, Draco's right leg thrown over his shoulder, while Draco positioned himself in the reverse, his face nuzzling Harry's cock and balls.

And it was brilliant: taking Draco's long pink cock into his mouth was like coming home after a lousy and long business trip. How would Harry ever not have this again? He told himself to stop thinking that way and to concentrate on the now, but it was difficult. And then Harry's cock was gripped in a hot sucking mouth and Harry thought he'd explode then and there, from the intensity of Draco's tongue.

He moaned around Draco's cock in his mouth, relaxing his throat so Draco could rock his hips forwards, fucking Harry's face, and then Harry felt Draco probing at the entrance to his body with his tongue and just about came in an instant.

Harry seldom bottomed; usually it was only after begging Draco to let him after Harry had had a really hard few months at St Mungos and was in need of some aftercare, but it felt just fine right now. In fact, seeing as how this would be their last time together, Harry figured he might as well prepare Draco at the same time.

He continued to take the pounding to the back of his throat, even as he attempted to keep from leaking saliva and precome from the sides of his mouth. He reached Draco's pucker with his fingers and slipped one inside, nearly biting down when he realised Draco was already slick and wet. He must have prepared himself earlier.

And then the cock was withdrawn from his mouth and Draco pushed back onto Harry's fingers, seeking to take him in as far as they would reach.

"God, Draco. You're so wet already," Harry said breathlessly.

He pushed his fingers in as far as they would go, feeling Draco's body wrap around him, rippling like a glove with a built-in Massage Charm.

"I — I need you, Harry. Please." Draco pushed back onto Harry's hand so hard, Harry thought his fist would slip inside if he were to move his thumb.

Harry withdrew his hand, ignoring Draco's whine of protest, and flipped himself around so he could look down upon his wanton husband's body. Draco pulled his legs up with his hands behind his knees and spread his legs, opening himself up as wide as he could, and Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from the sight before him.

Draco's cock was hard and red, the vein on the underside thick and defined, while lower down his balls were tight, drawn up with his arousal; lower still, his pucker begged.

Harry lined his cock up with Draco's hole, pressing his other hand against Draco's cock, not stroking, but giving just enough pressure for Draco to rut against if he wanted to. His glasses slipped slightly down his nose, and he flicked his head, trying to right them without his hands, finding Draco's grey eyes pinning him with a desperate stare.

He couldn't believe this was going to be the last time they ever did this, but they were already using stolen time. Harry wanted to memorise the entire experience, hoping that wherever he was bound when he moved on, he would have access to a Pensieve.

He pressed forwards, sliding inside easily, and he couldn't think any longer to take it slow and easy. All he knew is that he needed all of Draco right now and as fast as possible. He wanted to glut himself feasting on Draco, and Harry leaned forwards, his weight pinning Draco to the bed as he pressed their chests together, kissing Draco's lips and face without finesse.

It hardly seemed to matter to Draco though, as he wrapped his arms and then his legs around Harry's back and waist, pulling him as close as two people could get.

Harry knew Draco was getting close as his kisses were infused with low-in-the-throat groans and his hold on Harry's back tightened, fingers pressing in hard enough to bruise. Harry slowed his pace, wanting to draw it out, but Draco's whispered "Please" drove him on to finish despite the tears building in his eyes.

Afterwards Harry buried his face in Draco's neck, gasping and crying. His glasses had been thrown off at some point he couldn't remember. "I don't want to leave," he was saying. "I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry!"

Draco's hands smoothed Harry's hair, his arms and legs still holding Harry in a tight embrace, but there was no trace of upset in Draco's voice when he answered.

"I know. I will be all right. Thank you for letting me say goodbye."

Draco's arms relaxed. His legs released Harry and Harry's cock slipped free for the last time.

"You know it's me, right?" Harry said, not liking one bit how Draco seemed to be pulling away again, closing up as he righted himself.

Harry was then seized with pain as the Polyjuice wore off, and then there was no more pain, no more physical sensation at all. His vision spun as he heard Draco's last words. "Get out, Blaise."

A moment later Harry panted, bent over the edge of the fountain, once more at the gateway between worlds, surrounded by the silver mist of whatever this place was made of.

~*~

It took Harry several moments to regain his bearing. He turned, sinking to the ground with his back to the fountain.

Dumbledore drew closer, the look on his face not an expression Harry had ever seen Dumbledore wear before. It was a childish mix of embarrassment and gloating. And suddenly, Harry recognised him for who he actually was. "Teddy?"

The figure before him changed, shrinking in size, made up of the same stuff Harry was resting on, the same stuff Harry was made of. Teddy stepped towards Harry, a smirk in place on his face and his hair restored to his favourite shade of turquoise. Harry drank in the sight, unable to keep from grinning, finally sprinting upwards and nearly bowling Teddy over with his hug.

"Teddy!" Harry cried again. He pulled back, not releasing Teddy but just far enough so that he could get a good look at Teddy's face. "Have you been pretending to be Dumbledore this whole time? Why? I missed you so much!"

Teddy's grin stretched wide across his face. He looked whole and perfect, exactly the same as he had the last time Harry had seen him alive. "I thought you might actually listen to Dumbledore, Harry. I was supposed to meet you and bring you over, but you keep looking back."

Harry frowned, and glanced back at the fountain. He shut his eyes and turned back to Teddy, opening them again and fixing Teddy with a straight gaze. "I'm ready now, Teddy Bear. Please lead the way."

Teddy's smile broadened and he took Harry's hand in his own and started pulling Harry towards the barrier. Teddy stopped, frozen a minute, and Harry nearly ran into him as a great roll of thunder rent the air. Teddy pulled on Harry's arm again. "Come on. We need to move now."

Harry stopped though. A small figure had just materialised from the barrier which, in the real King's Cross Station, would have led to Platform Nine-and-three-quarters. "Wait, Teddy," Harry said, refusing to budge another inch even though the mist surrounding them was turning from silver to darker shades of blue and grey. "Scorpius?" he said, feeling as though his throat would close up.

Sure enough, when the mist settled around the figure, the small form that was Scorpius stood looking at Teddy and then at Harry, his large grey eyes spilling tears and his hair as white-blond as ever. "Daddy! Daddy!" Scorpius wailed, flinging himself into Harry's arms.

Harry fell to his knees holding his small son close, the familiar pang of emptiness no longer present in his chest.

"What's wrong, Scorpius?" Harry asked, holding Scorpius so tightly, he was afraid to let go. "I'm here; I've got you."

"We need to go now," Teddy said, his voice sounding rushed and panicked.

Harry picked Scorpius up, the small boy nestled against his neck, and turned to Teddy, confused. "What's the rush, Teddy?"

Scorpius let out another long sob. "Daddy's gone."

Harry felt the change that had come over the entire place seem to enter him as well, filling him with a sense of severe unease. "Teddy," Harry said, trying to keep his voice calm, not willing to give in to the feeling of dread. "What does he mean? Is he talking about Draco?"

Teddy's forehead wrinkled with worry, and Harry could read it in Teddy's eyes that he was keeping something from Harry.

"It's too late, Harry," Teddy said, pleadingly. He grabbed the hand that Harry wasn't using to support Scorpius and pulled on it. "Come on. We need to move before the gateway seals itself."

Harry froze, not allowing himself to be pulled an inch. "Teddy, tell me right now what has happened to Draco. I will not leave here until I know he's safe."

Teddy looked like he was about ready to cry, but he stopped pulling on Harry's arm. His hair faded from turquoise to grey and even his eyes seemed to lose their colour as he looked at Harry.

"He's gone, Harry," Teddy said quietly, his voice more direct and adult than Harry had ever heard it sound before. "He's gone where nobody can help him. We need to get you to move on now, though, before you get lost too."

Harry felt Scorpius stiffen in his arms at Teddy's words. He needed to hear this. What could Teddy possibly mean by lost? That Draco was lost beyond help? Harry had just seen him, not more than half an hour ago.

"Explain," Harry said. He fell back to his knees and parked himself on the ground with Scorpius still clinging to him. "Sit down, Teddy and tell me everything," Harry said, more kindly. "Please, son. I need to know."

Harry had seen the look in Teddy's face before. It broke his heart to remember, but he needed to know for sure that there was really no hope before he would even consider leaving Draco behind.

Happy Days

March 2005

Harry lifted his hand, heavy with sleep, and swatted at whatever was irritating his eye. He connected with Teddy’s small and cold hand. Harry opened bleary sleep-deprived eyes to peer up at Teddy’s scared face.

"Hey, Teddy bear," Harry said, his voice rough and groggy. He lifted up the edge of the sheet and duvet so Teddy could crawl in beside him, though Teddy’s eyes were focused over Harry’s shoulder.

Once Teddy was in bed, Harry turned to see what Teddy was staring at, and the sight that met his eyes made his heart feel fit to burst with love. Draco was fast asleep, propped up on his pillows, with newborn Scorpius curled up and sleeping with his scrunched little cheek pressed against Draco’s bare chest.

Harry turned back to Teddy, smiling. "Did you have a bad dream?"

Teddy worried his bottom lip with his teeth and finally lay down so he was on his back sharing Harry’s pillow. His hair was currently as blond as Draco’s and had been since Scorpius was born the previous month.

"I don’t want to be afraid, Harry," Teddy whispered into the night.

Harry wrinkled his forehead, concerned and stretched out on his side, propped up with an elbow so he could give Teddy his full attention in the light from the blue-bell flame. "I don’t want you to be afraid either, Ted. Want to tell me what sort of fears we’re talking about right now?"

Teddy swallowed, his eyes darkening as he focused on Harry’s. It was extremely strange to be raising a metamorphmagus child. Harry and Draco had discussed how they could tell which of them would be best to handle different aspects of Teddy’s care based on how much his appearance would alter to reflect one of them or the other.

"What happens when you and Draco die, Harry? Where will I have to go and live then?" Teddy’s voice was quiet, but Harry could feel the strength of will it took Teddy to admit his fear out loud.

"Hey," Harry said, brushing Teddy’s blond fringe out of his eyes. "We’re not planning on dying until you and Scorpius are long grown up and living with your own families. I’m planning to be around to see you make me and Draco great-grandfathers."

Teddy’s lips turned up smartly. "Yeah," he said, but faltered, frowning again.

"What is it?" Harry pressed. "I won’t make fun of you, I promise."

"Well, Nana didn’t plan on dying either, and neither did my mum and dad," Teddy said, pausing briefly. "What if it happens anyway, Harry? I’ll be all alone again."

It broke Harry’s heart to see the sadness in Teddy’s eyes as they began to water. Harry took a calm breath and let it out through his nose, hoping his expression was one that Teddy would find comforting.

"You’ll never be alone again, Ted," Harry said reassuringly. "You have Scorpius for a brother now. You and he will always be family. If an accident did happen and Draco and I died, you and Scorpius can take your pick of who you want to live with. Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron would love to have you boys live with them and their kids, or Grandma and Grandpa Weasley, or Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, or even your Aunt Ginny and Uncle Dean. You have so many people that love you and now Scorpius too. I promise you never have to be afraid of where you’re going to live."

Teddy’s tears had subsided and Harry saw that his hair had turned black as Harry had been talking.

"Does that make you feel a little bit less scared?" Harry asked, running the back of his hand along Teddy’s cheek.

Teddy nodded and snuggled closer to Harry, closing his eyes. "I think I can sleep now," he said, yawning.

Harry rolled onto his back, surprised at how comfortable he felt with all of them sharing a bed. As he closed his eyes he was filled with the same contentedness he’d seen in his reflection in the Mirror of Erised so many years previously. He was surrounded by family at long last and this was definitely home.

Ghost

Present Day

"Draco killed himself, Harry," Teddy said, his eyes falling, unable to look at Harry. "Right after you said goodbye. It happened about a week ago now on Earth."

Harry had stopped still. He couldn't quite process what he was hearing.

Draco was dead.

His breath caught, and he knew he was crying, but the idea that he himself was dead made the tragedy not so unbearable. He'd be able to see Draco again after all. "But," Harry started, looking at the barrier, as if maybe Draco would materialise from it if he thought hard enough. "We should wait for him here then. This is the gateway between the worlds isn't it?"

Scorpius finally lifted his head from Harry's neck, his small pale face a portrait of misery. "I came to meet him, but he … he didn't come."

Harry swallowed, looking from Scorpius to Teddy. "Where did he go?"

"He stayed, Harry," Teddy answered miserably. "He's a ghost."

Harry's hands didn't seem to work any longer, and Scorpius toppled out of his arms, looking up at Harry with his eyes that were Draco's in miniature.

"I have to go back and get him," Harry said hoarsely. There was no question about it. He would not accept that Draco would be forever bound to the Earth as Teddy had told him happened with ghosts. He couldn't not see Draco ever again. It was unfathomable.

Harry climbed to his feet. Scorpius tugged on his hand this time while Teddy remained on the ground, as if he knew arguing with Harry wouldn't work.

"You can't go. Please, Dad."

Harry felt like his heart was breaking, but still, he couldn't do it.

He ruffled Scorpius's hair with his hand, and dropped back to his knees to look Scorpius in the eye. "Listen to me, baby boy. I promise I will come back to you and I'll bring Daddy with me. You have Teddy with you right now and I want you two to stay together. You will never be alone if you have your family with you, right? And you are brothers. Daddy needs me to save him. We can't leave him by himself."

Scorpius nodded, his lower lip trembling.

"Harry," Teddy said, making Harry turn to look at him. "Promise, that if you find out that it won't work, that if it really is a lost cause, promise you'll say goodbye to him and come back to us?"

Harry looked into Teddy's pleading eyes and then to Scorpius, who was mirroring Teddy's expression. "I've never let the fact that something has never been done before keep me from trying in my life, boys, and I'm not about to start now that I'm dead. I will do my best and I will bring him back with me." Harry stopped, suddenly not sure how he was going to proceed. "Um. So I just need to go and find Draco in the fountain again?"

Teddy shook his head. "You won't be able to communicate with anybody on Earth again, Harry, not even ghosts."

"Why not?" Harry asked suddenly. "Why wouldn't I be able to communicate with a ghost?"

Teddy held up his hand. A second later it had disappeared, and then it reappeared transformed into what looked like the head of a hammer. "We're made up of energy, Harry. We look like whatever we want to because everything on this side is made of the same stuff. It's all changeable. On Earth, people and ghosts are entirely different. We aren't of the same world any more." He stopped talking a moment and shook his hand returning it to its previous appearance. "There may be one exception, but all I've heard is rumours."

Harry jumped to his feet. "What's the exception? Where do I go?"

Teddy shuffled his feet. He walked to the fountain, Scorpius at his side, and Harry joined them, looking down into the misty surface. "Supposedly there's a veil between the worlds that some have said they've sent messages through." He shrugged. "I don't know the details. I guess you should just go through and see where you end up, but I really think …" He stopped talking.

Harry thought he knew what Teddy was going to say, that Harry was wasting his time trying to do the impossible. He had no time to spend overthinking things. He put his hands on the side of the fountain and looked at his boys once more, memorising them. "I love you boys, you know that, right?"

Scorpius flung himself at Harry's legs, hugging him once more. "I love you too, Dad. I think you can do it."

Teddy shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Yeah, Harry," he said. "If anybody could possibly do it, you can. We'll see you when you get back with him." He took Scorpius's hand and pulled him back so Harry could dive in.

Harry leaned over the surface of the mist and plunged himself forward, not knowing where exactly he was going or what he would do when he got there, but now was the time for action, not for thought.

~*~

As soon as Harry's face was immersed in the misty surface of the fountain, he felt he was moving through a curtain of gauze. The sensation of sheer fabric covered his face, then clung to his body as he moved forwards. He could feel it rising, sticking to his face, lifting as though it was being removed like a glove.

He turned in place. He had just walked through the archway into the Death Room in the Department of Mysteries. The veil through which he had seen Sirius fall was waving lightly in a non-existent breeze, just as it had on that day long past.

His feet made no sound as he climbed the arena-like steps moving towards the exit. He could see himself, but knew the form he had was not made of the same stuff as everything else in this world.

When he reached the door, he found himself blasted backwards as it opened. He staggered, but was able to right himself when he realised Hermione had entered the room.

Harry watched her clutch a book to her chest, looking more bedraggled and sleep-deprived than he had ever seen her look before. She mumbled to herself under her breath as she made her way down the steep arena steps towards the stone dais in the centre of the room. Harry followed her, an idea striking him. He needed to make contact with somebody in order to communicate with Draco. Hermione was in the perfect position to do it, if he could figure out how to make his presence known.

She sat on the floor, feet from the archway, and looked up at the veil, entranced by the swaying fabric.

Harry stood behind her, stretching out his hand, barely brushing it over the top of her hair, hoping that maybe in this room he'd be able to touch her. His heart sank as he watched his hand sink through the top of her head. He removed it immediately, sickened by the sight.

"Hermione," he said, sitting down in front of the veil, facing her. It almost seemed like she could see him. His eyes travelled over her face. Her eyes were puffy with lack of sleep or crying, and she was very pale.

Harry looked down at her hands, which rested on top of a book in her lap. It was Draco's journal, and Harry felt like his heart was in his throat when he saw Hermione wore the Resurrection Stone on the middle finger of her right hand.

"I can't understand," Hermione said at last, her voice sounding strained, as if she'd been screaming. "Who are you?"

Harry realised she was hearing the whispers of whatever souls may be lurking out of sight behind the veil. He recalled the draw they had held over him in the past, and he feared that Hermione might fall prey to it.

"I brought it," she told the veil, picking up Draco's journal. "If I send this through, will Harry get it?" She paused, listening.

"Hermione," he said again. "I'm right here. Right in front of you. What is it you're trying to tell me?"

He watched as she opened the journal, looking down at the words written there, and was hit by a jolt of inspiration. He placed his hand above hers and lowered it into her hand, similar to how he had possessed Blaise in his Polyjuiced body.

Hermione's eyes widened as Harry moved her hand to pick up her quill from where it sat on the floor beside her.

He lifted her hand and started to write in Draco's journal. I'm here. Use the stone.

"Harry," she said, her voice shaking, almost as if she were trying to suppress a sob. "I'm scared."

He wrote again: It will be all right. Use the stone. I need your help. Harry pulled his hand out of Hermione's. He bit his lip and flexed his fingers.

Hermione's forehead creased with worry, but her left hand moved over the right and turned the ring on her finger around three times.

Harry felt himself being pulled in all directions, like the particles that made him were sent spiralling out in a great blast, like vapour dispersing from a boiling kettle, but they rearranged themselves and settled once more, forming his body again.

Harry looked again to Hermione. She had got to her feet and backed away several feet. "Harry?" she said, whispering. "That is you, isn't it?"

Harry grinned. Hermione could see him! He wanted to dance with happiness, knowing the challenge of making contact was accomplished and he was that much closer to reaching Draco. The thought of Draco quelled his joy, however. He needed to push onwards.

"It's me, Hermione," he said. "Here, look." He held out his hand for her to take, hoping she'd be able to touch him the same way he had been able to touch his parents shades when he'd used the Resurrection Stone in the past.

She put out her hand and met his. It trembled in his palm, but he could feel her skin and her warmth press against his. They weren't alike in sensation, Harry could tell, but he was solid enough to be able to interact with the living world.

"I need you to take me to see Draco," Harry told her. "He's trapped here. Did you know that?"

Hermione nodded, her eyes welling with tears. "It's all my fault. I'm so sorry, Harry. I should have been more careful with that journal to begin with. This never would have happened if only …"

Harry stopped her talking by shaking his head, and gripping her shoulder. "No. If you hadn't let me find the journal I would have missed out on the greatest and best adventure of my life. I always meant to thank you for that." He brushed away the tears that were leaking down her cheeks using the back of his hand.

"He's not who he was, Harry," Hermione said. She sounded afraid, as if she really didn't know how Harry would take the news. "He's not a vengeful spirit yet, but I'm afraid that is the direction he's heading."

"All right. Tell me about it when we get to the house. But let's go now. I don't know how long I can stay."

~*~

They stood on the road facing the house Harry had shared with Draco for the past twelve years. Looking in at the dark windows, the absence of living occupants was apparent in the run-down appearance of the garden. It just felt cold, where in the past Harry had always known it warm and inviting.

Harry wanted to march straight in and tell Draco to take his head out of his arse and to come along right now, but he knew that this was not going to be so simple. Teddy had said that Harry would be unable to interact with Draco, but Teddy hadn't counted on Harry being Resurrected using the stone.

"Tell me what you know, Hermione," Harry said. "What will we find when we open the door?"

Hermione clenched her hands into fists. It looked like she was steeling herself for a duel or to take on a Snargaluff stump for one of its pods.

"I've only called once," Hermione told Harry. "I wasn't expecting to see him, you know, still here. He didn't even notice I had entered the house. Harry, he's weighed down by chains. It reminds me of the Bloody Baron, and it's not pleasant to see. He seems to think somebody is trying to keep him apart from you and your children. I don't think he knows when it is, or even that he's dead."

Harry swallowed hard. "Did you try to talk to him?"

Hermione nodded, her eyes fixed on the front door. "Of course I did, but it didn't get through. He's stuck in a loop. Let's go in; I'll show you what I mean."

Hermione led the way up the path to the front door.

Harry stepped in behind her after she'd lifted the wards. His attention was immediately drawn to the drawing room. He stepped tentatively forwards, knowing Hermione was going to hold back and let him try to talk to Draco on his own.

Draco's ghost was hovering in front of Draco's desk in the corner of the room, apparently trying to open the rolltop and having a right fit every time his hands would sink through the wood. Harry watched him do this repeatedly. It was as if Draco would forget he'd already tried to open the desk as soon as he pulled back.

Harry approached, feeling dread pool in his gut at the sight of the thick bands of chains that draped Draco's body.

"Draco," Harry said, standing right behind his transparent husband, marvelling at the difference of substance they were now made up of. Harry put his hand out to touch Draco's back, but like it had when Harry had been all spirit: his hand went straight through Draco, though unlike earlier with Hermione, Harry could see his hand through Draco's form, and there was a definite cold sensation on his skin, though he knew if he were solid flesh it would have felt like ice. "Draco, love. It's me, Harry."

Harry pulled his hand back and instead moved to stand beside the window next to the desk, facing Draco. He tried again.

"Draco, would you like me to help you open the desk?"

Harry didn't wait to see if Draco would hear him. He put his hand once more straight through Draco's form and unlatched the desk, sliding it open, finally seeing Draco respond to something other than whatever was happening in his own mind.

Draco looked up, confused, as if he couldn't quite fathom that it was Harry standing beside him.

"Draco, do you see me now? I've come back for you like I promised. I want you to come with me." Harry reached out his hand, offering it for Draco to take, though he wasn't sure Draco would be able to touch him.

Draco's transparent grey face stared at Harry's hand for a moment, before his eyes grew more opaque, his brows furrowing. "Who are you and what have you done to Harry?" The chains weighing Draco down seemed to grow more solid in colour as well, as if they were growing heavier.

"I am Harry," Harry said. He spared a nervous look at Hermione, who watched from the archway between the foyer and the drawing room, then turned back to Draco.

Draco closed his eyes, as if resigned. "No," he said. "If you were Harry I'd recognise you." He turned and floated away towards the window on the other side of his desk, peering out. "I don't know who is doing it, but somebody is keeping my family from coming home." He seemed to draw back in on himself, shuddering. "Why is it so cold?"

Harry racked his mind for some way to reach Draco, some memory he could use to force Draco to recognise him. "Ask me something, something only Harry would know."

Harry's heart sank further as Draco's ghost began to grow fainter, though the chains remained dark grey and Draco's expression was full of fear.

"Harry," Hermione's voice cut in, as Harry reached for Draco, frowning as Draco retreated from his outstretched hand. "I think he's fading."

Harry furrowed his brows. "No," he said. "Draco, if you won't come with me, then I will stay here with you. Hermione. When you die, and I hope it isn't for a very long time, will you tell our boys I love them and I'm sorry, but I am needed here?"

He looked at Hermione, waiting for her to answer, and even as she started to protest, Harry felt the decision he had made take hold. The chains binding Draco had snaked over to where he stood, and draped themselves across his shoulders. When he looked down at his chest and hands the colour was draining from his clothes and skin, becoming grey and transparent. It was as if a hopelessness, a heaviness had settled in the pit of Harry's being and was anchoring him to the Earth, and at the same time putting a damper on all of his senses. He couldn't see clearly and the silence surrounding him was deafening, as if all the sound in the world had been turned down to a whisper.

"No!" Draco's voice broke through Harry's deafness, and he turned his head towards where he thought Draco was.

"I'm with you all the way, Draco." He could feel his lips form the words, though he heard no sound come out. "I promised we would be together forever." The rest of Harry's sight fled and the weight of the chains pulled his consciousness from him entirely.

~*~

When Harry next became aware, the light was blinding. He lifted his arm to shade his eyes.

"Where am I?" he asked, blinking until his eyes adjusted.

"Hey," Draco's voice answered, making Harry's head turn faster than anything else could. His eyes found Draco's face smiling down at him and then Teddy and Scorpius's faces joined in a huddle above him.

Harry's smile split his face. "My boys!" He sat up and found himself being hugged on all sides. "What happened?" Harry asked. His throat felt tight, though the warmth expanding inside him more than made up for the discomfort.

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"You were being an idiot as usual," Draco said, chuckling dryly. "But it seems that your idiocy saved the day once again. It took the shock of you saying you wanted to damn yourself for the rest of eternity to make me realise what I had done. Granger helped me get you to the veil and I carried you through."

Harry pulled back so he could look at Draco properly, Teddy and Scorpius still clinging to his legs and waist. He had one hand on Draco's shoulder and the other on Teddy's back. "My hero," Harry said, locking eyes with Draco.

"Come on!" Scorpius said, tugging on Harry's trousers and bouncing on the tops of his feet. "Let's go and see Nana and Papa!"

Harry looked down at Scorpius's bright little face, so happy and carefree and perfect. Teddy took hold of Harry's hand and Scorpius jumped off Harry's feet, running through the misty station towards the platform's barrier.

"Nana and Papa?" Harry asked Teddy, holding tightly onto Draco with his other hand while Teddy dragged them after Scorpius.

"Yeah," Teddy said grinning brilliantly. "And my mum and dad are waiting too!"

Scorpius disappeared through the barrier ahead of them and Teddy followed, releasing Harry's hand at the last minute.

Harry stopped when he felt Draco stop. He turned to look. "You ready?" he asked.

"Thank you," Draco said, and flung himself into Harry's arms. Their lips met and melded and Harry felt as if he'd never been more completely put together than he was at that moment ever.

Draco held onto Harry's waist and took his other hand as if in a waltz. When the kiss ended, Harry stared into Draco's eyes and they passed through the barrier dancing.