Harry rolls over in bed, eyes still adjusting to the light, as he grabs for his glasses on the bed-side table. He finds the morning Prophet waiting for him. The Sunday edition.
The smell of coffee spreads throughout his flat, since he always remembers to time the machine to brew an individual cup every morning. After summoning the prepared coffee into his room — because he's really a lazy bastard and it is his day off — Harry sits up on the bed and opens the paper.
Same old news, different day. The Prophet is still writing about their opinions of how he quit the Aurors to help his friend's business, and how the crime rate has risen since Harry left the DMLE. It has not. He gets weekly reports from Ron. Even though they're not partners anymore, Ron likes to keep Harry in the loop.
He's about to close the paper and toss it when an announcement catches his eye.
There's an image of two rings resting next to each other, before the start of the article. But it's the headline that has Harry confused: Draco Malfoy to Wed Daphne Greengrass.
Harry isn't sure if he's read it correctly, so he rubs his eyes and adjusts his glasses. No, he hasn't read it wrong. It does say that Draco Malfoy is engaged to one of the Greengrass sisters.
The gay one.
The Greengrass sisters are semi-famous in the wizarding world because of their fashion design company they started with Pansy Parkinson. He knew Astoria was courting Viktor Krum for a while and they eloped, and he also knows Daphne Greengrass had a brief fling with Luna. Luna had never mentioned Daphne being bisexual, and even though their relationship had been a secret, they were out to all of Luna's friends.
Does Malfoy know about this? Does he know he’s marrying a lesbian?
They see each other at work every day, but this is the only time Hermione has to actually plan without any distractions. Harry almost feels sorry for bringing this up to her.
"Right, Harry," Hermione replies without looking up from her planner. She checks off all the arrangements that have already been set for the party and circles the ones that still need to be taken care of. The party is still a month away but Hermione is Hermione. She started planning right after the New Year.
"Maybe I should owl him," Harry says, sighing and leaning back in his chair. He crosses his arms.
Hermione's head snaps up and she gives him a scrutinising look.
"What?" he asks.
"You want to tell Draco Malfoy he's marrying a lesbian. Via owl?"
Harry shrugs. "I'll make it anonymous."
Hermione shakes her head. "Why do you care?" She returns to her task but continues speaking. "You haven't seen him in years and all of a sudden you're interested in who he's going to marry? It's not like Luna's heartbroken over it. They had an amicable break up. Daphne wasn't ready to come out of the closet and Luna avoids doesn't want to live in one. "
"I know..." Harry replies thoughtfully as he picks up his fizzy lemonade and sips at it through the straw. He loves meeting Hermione for lunch at The Fox & Crown: the Muggle crowd means he avoids any unwanted attention, and the unlimited lemonade refills make for an added bonus.
"But don't you think he should know. I mean, when I realised I was gay, I told Ginny right away. If I hadn't, she'd never pursued a relationship with Marco; she'd still be stuck with me! I just don't—I can't let him do that. Marry someone who doesn't love him. "
"How do you know she doesn't love him? Maybe she's bisexual." Hermione puts her pen down, looking ready for an argument.
Harry immediately recognises that look in Hermione's eye and decides to back off. He isn't in the mood to argue. Maybe he won't do anything. He'll let Malfoy marry Daphne. Maybe all he wanted to do is talk it out. Not argue with Hermione. Again.
"Maybe she is.”
"And don't you think if they are going to get married, that Daphne would be decent enough to be up front with Malfoy?"
"Why don't you tell me what is this really about?" she asks; there isn't a challenge in her eye, which he'd been expecting. She looks genuinely concerned.
"Maybe I'll talk to Luna..." Harry says, unsure of what else to do. He has no idea why he really cares. He just knows he needs to tell Malfoy. Make sure he isn't making a mistake.
"I'll tell you what..." Hermione says, closing her planner and placing it in her handbag. "Viktor has invited Ron and I over to his place for a Pre-Valentine's Day party. It's supposed to be a small crowd, and you know how much Ron loves him..." She pauses to roll her eyes and Harry grins at her. "So why don't you come with us? You can keep Ron company and I'm certain Daphne and Malfoy will be there. "
"You want me to go without a date?" Harry asks, incredulous.
"Hermione, I'm not in the closet.”
"Fine, bring Neville. Charlie's on the job in Romania, so Neville will be free. And it's not a 'bring a date to the party' sort of affair anyway. It's just a few friends hanging out. I'm sure other single people will be there too. "
"I dunno, maybe," Harry says. He doesn't have a problem going to places without a date but being around Malfoy without a date bothers him. "I'll ask Neville if he wants to come.”
And tonight, Harry feels a bit overwhelmed. He's no idea why he decided to do this. Maybe Malfoy and Daphne are in a relationship they'd not seen coming. Maybe Daphne really is bisexual and has decided being with Malfoy is better than being with Luna. Sure, the notion of telling someone the truth before they make a huge mistake sounds good in theory, but not when you're the one who has to do it. And why does Harry have to do it?
Oh right, it's his own decision. Knowing Malfoy, if it were anyone else, Malfoy would probably try to behead the messenger. If it's Harry, Harry knows he can handle Malfoy.
"It's not too late to back out," Hermione whispers in Harry's ear as they walk down the hallway where Viktor greets them.
Astoria is standing in the corner with her sister, while Malfoy is nowhere to be seen.
"Perhaps. But I reckon, it's too late to leave, though." Harry smiles at her and then grabs Neville's arm to go and get them some drinks. They all brought a bottle of wine for the party, but Harry needs something stronger.
"Hi Harry." Daphne approaches him when Neville has just walked away, carrying three drinks for Ron, Hermione, and himself.
"Daphne! It's good to see you," Harry says with a small smile. "Congratulations, by the way. I read in the Prophet—"
"Right," Daphne says, looking awkward as her cheeks turn pink. "My mother hadn't even told us she would make that announcement. We wanted to wait—"
"Wait for what?" Harry asks, curious. He hadn't meant to cut her off, but his interest is peaked. Why is she embarrassed about being engaged? Surely, that means something.
"Draco isn't much for attention. We wanted to have a quiet ceremony, family only, but now we're getting all these invitations from caterers, florists, designers. It's just too much. Of course, my mother wants to go all out. After Viktor and Astoria eloped, she'd been most disappointed, and finally she has her chance to do it right. Marry her other daughter off to a pureblood family. "
"Ah, I know what you mean. After George and Angelina's wedding, Molly's really been itching for Ron and Hermione to get married, or even Neville and Charlie—she wants to get her hands on wedding planning again. She only wants to do it bigger and better!"
"Too bad all four of them are so low-key," she says with a longing in her tone that Harry isn't able to place.
"Exactly!" Harry laughs, pretending as if he'd not noticed the inflection in her voice.
"So, how is Luna?" she asks, looking sheepish. Harry's certain she's regretted asking the question as soon as it came out of her.
"Daphne, I have to ask..." Harry whispers, so low, he's sure no one else can hear him. "Are you... are you bisexual?"
She looks around and then gives a resigned sigh. At a moment's notice, her shoulders straighten and her chin is up. "I'm a pureblood witch, expected to marry a pureblood wizard. It's our family tradition, and I will not be the one to bring shame to my family. "
Harry's eyes widen in surprise. He has no idea how to respond. Rather he simply nods and decides to walk away.
Parkinson's voice is faint but Harry could still hear her as he walked past the bedroom in search of the loo.
"I don't have much of a choice, Pansy. Not now. "
Harry pauses by the door; it's cracked open slightly. He knows he probably shouldn't be listening, but he can't help himself. He's far too nosy for his own good. Especially when it comes to Malfoy.
"Draco, you're gay. Don't you think it's going to come out someday—"
"No. It's not. Both Daphne and I have to stay in the closet. This is why it's the right decision for us. We're getting married for the world and after a while, we'll get a divorce. It'll be fine. The world won't know any better. She and Astoria are doing great with their business, and it's simply a matter of convenience—"
Ron's voice echoes through the quiet hallway and Harry cringes. He quickly walks away from the bedroom when Ron gives him a confused look. "What are you—"
"Not now, Ron..." He grabs Ron by the arm and leads him out to the porch. When Harry's certain he's not been followed or caught, he places a privacy charm around him and tells Ron everything; his conversation with Daphne and what he's heard between Malfoy and Parkinson.
"So they're both gay, and are marrying each other because of pureblood customs?" Ron shakes his head in disbelief. "Poor Daphne. "
"Poor Daphne? What about Malfoy? Did you know he was gay?"
Ron shakes his head. "No, but I don't really sit around thinking about Malfoy. I mean, not like you... "
"What does that mean?"
"Harry, why do you care?"
"Gods, Ron. I wish people would simply stop asking me that question!"
"Daphne was with Luna. Daphne was like a friend to all of us and we’re all still friendly to her even though she and Luna broke it off. But you don't care about Daphne. You care about what Malfoy is doing with his life. Why is that?" Ron raises an eyebrow, obviously expecting an answer.
"I don't know. I mean, I care about Daphne too. She still fancies Luna, I think, and—"
"And yet, you want to stop Malfoy from making the biggest mistake of his life..." Harry gives him a quizzical look. "Hermione told me. She thinks you fancy Malfoy. Always have, and as much as I hate to admit it: I think she's right. "
"I don't fancy—"
"Mate," Ron says in a firm tone. "I know when you're lying"
Harry scowls, feeling put out. Feeling trapped. He doesn't want to admit this, because he doesn't even know if it's true, but at the same time, he's positive. "Okay, so maybe I fancy him. Sort of. But, why now? Why is this becoming a problem now?"
"Well, you didn't know he was gay. Not until tonight. Maybe now you want to do something about it. It's hard to admit your feelings for a straight bloke, I'd suppose. Now, you can go after him. "
"But it's Malfoy!"
Ron throws his head back and gives a bark of laughter. "I know. Go figure. "
A door to the porch opens and both Hermione and Neville step out. Harry quickly terminates the charm around them and greets his friends.
"What are you two talking about?" Hermione asks, giving Ron a knowing look.
"Well, I guess you won the bet, Hermione. We're going to help Harry get his man. "
"Ron!" Harry groans with a mix of annoyance and embarrassment.
"Oh finally!" Hermione jumps up and pulls him in for a tight hug. Harry wants to be annoyed, but he can't believe his friends are doing this. They're being supportive and somehow have always known about his feelings for Malfoy before he even came to terms with them. When she lets him go, Harry looks at Neville, who looks as confused as ever.
Poor bloke, Harry thinks, only he doesn't know if he feels that way about Neville or himself.
The next time Harry goes to the corner table to make himself a drink Malfoy is standing there. He considers not approaching but after locking eyes with Malfoy, he thinks it'd be rude not to say hello.
"Potter," Malfoy says with a nod.
"Malfoy." Harry wants to say congratulations but decides not to. It's awkward enough already. "How are you?"
"Surprised you're not lurking in the corner listening to conversations you have no right to." Malfoy raises an eyebrow and gives Harry a once-over. Harry can feel his entire body tingle with that gaze on him.
He can only imagine what it'd be like to have Malfoy touch him with that much intensity.
"I..." Harry starts to say but has no clue how to respond. "It wasn't my intention," he finally says when they're simply quiet and staring at each other.
"Yet, you admit to doing something wrong. "
"You're one to talk, Malfoy."
Malfoy rolls his eyes; then he starts to walk away. "Well, have a nice life, Pott—"
"Wait, Malfoy! Listen. Can we talk for a second?"
Malfoy looks at his arm where Harry's got a hold of him. Funny, he hadn’t noticed grabbing Malfoy. Harry immediately lets go. "Sorry. "
"About what you're doing. You might think it's convenient now but you don't know— I mean, you're braver than you give yourself credit for. You don't have to stay in the closet—"
Malfoy raises his hand as if he wants Harry to stop talking. Harry immediately shuts up. Then Malfoy turns around and walks away. Harry can't help but think he's expecting Harry to follow. So he does.
They're back in the same bedroom where Harry had overheard Parkinson and Malfoy talking. This time, Malfoy closes the door completely.
"Who the fuck do you think you are, Potter?" Malfoy snarls at him and the blow of his words nearly send Harry tumbling back.
"I'm just trying—"
"To do what? Just because you can quit your job, start a book-selling business with Granger, doesn't make you an expert in anything. You're not some sort of life guru, and I'm most certainly not asking for your approval on how to live my bloody life!"
"I know that. I'm just saying..." Harry's brows furrow and he crosses his arms. "You're making a mistake. You might think you're helping Daphne but you're not. She'll be miserable. And what are you going to do? Have secret affairs? Eventually it'll come out and how long will you keep the facade for? Do you know she's still in love with Luna?"
Okay, so Harry’s kind of a bastard and he’s making this about Daphne, when it’s really about him. And Malfoy. His feelings for Malfoy.
Malfoy's face reddens and he looks about ready to go off on Harry again when he resigns himself to the bed; the fight inside him seems to dissipate. "It was her idea," he says softly.
Harry chances a risk and sits down next to him. Still at arm's length but sitting next to Malfoy on the bed, regardless.
"She's a successful businesswoman. She doesn't need her family's inheritance, does she? Do you?"
Malfoy shakes his head. "No, but approval would be nice. "
Harry nods as if he understands, but he doesn't, not really. There was the burden of the Prophecy and the fear of letting Dumbledore down, but that was when Harry was a child. . Now, he doesn't have to answer to anyone. He doesn't have any family alive, and the second family he has, the Weasleys, don't demand anything from their children but for them to live their lives and be happy. He has no clue how to comfort Malfoy or sympathise with Daphne.
Maybe Malfoy's right. It's not his place. Not his business.
Harry's about to get up and leave the room, because no matter how he feels, this isn't the time for him to tell Malfoy that he fancies him, when Malfoy speaks again.
"Her family knows she fancies women. I mean, Astoria, of course, but her mother as well. But she simply won't accept it. She doesn't think homosexuality exists. It simply means that she's not met the right man yet. Once she meets him, she'll forget all about women. About Luna. "
"And how long can you keep this front?"
"Our plan is to get married. We wanted to do it quietly, but she made that bloody announcement in the Prophet. The wedding present is receiving the family inheritance. It'll ensure that down the line, even if our business ventures fail, we'll have a nice cushion to fall back on." He takes a deep breath and runs a hand through his hair.
"And then we were going to live together for a six months, maybe a year, and then file for a divorce. We would both say we went to therapy, saw a marriage counsellor, but it wasn't for us. Then, she'd be free of all obligations." Malfoy looked at Harry as if expecting for him to say something but Harry remained quiet.
"She'd have the family inheritance, even if she doesn't get it, she would tell her mother she was done. That she was now free to live her life. I mean, we're not like you lot. Our dating lives aren't announced in the latest gossip issues. Our plan was to put our love lives on hold, and pick them up again next year. "
"It sounds like a decent enough plan," Harry says, more admitting to himself than anything else. "Why did Parkinson have a problem with it?"
"It's an idiotic plan, but Daphne is my friend, and she's feeling lost. Pansy is positive once Daphne gets her mother's approval, she won't want a divorce. That she's just too scared to come out. "
"And you?" Harry asks, longing to place his hand on Malfoy's shoulder. "Are you ready to come out?"
"Maybe," Malfoy says. Harry wants to say something but Malfoy abruptly stands up and makes his way to the door. "I don't know why I told you all of that, Potter, but I'd appreciate it if you—"
"Malfoy--" Harry quickly stands up and follows Malfoy; he places his hand on it to keep it shut. "I won't tell anyone. "
Harry almost hovers over Malfoy's, who is now against the door, even though there are a few inches of distance between them. Malfoy's eyes widen for a brief moment and then he immediately schools his expression. "Very well, then," he says, clearing his throat, and Harry doesn't miss it when Malfoy's gaze quickly drops on Harry's lips before meeting his eyes again.
"What if I told you I don't think you should marry Daphne? I can get the engagement announcement redacted from the Prophet. "
"Potter, I already told you. You're not the—"
As his right hand is still holding the door firmly shut behind Malfoy, Harry brings his other hand up to Malfoy's face. He places his finger against his lips. "Just listen to me. "
Malfoy glowers at him but doesn't say anything. A second later, he nods.
"I think Daphne should know she has a support system with us. Even if she doesn't want to be with Luna, even if they break up again, and Daphne wants to date someone else. Or not date anyone at all. We're already friends with her, and we'll still continue to be there for her. She doesn't have to live a lie. Life's too short for that. "
It takes all of Harry's willpower not to press his body against Malfoy, but instead of taking a step forward, Harry takes a step back. He sees Malfoy's body relax and Malfoy slightly sags against the door.
"What did you have in mind?" Malfoy asks; he licks his lower lip, which makes Harry's mouth go dry.
Harry turns away from Malfoy completely and walks back to the bed. "In two weeks, on Saturday, Hermione is planning a surprise birthday party for Ron. Luna will be there. You should come with Daphne. "
"Potter, I don't know—"
"Just trust me, Malfoy. I know you have no reason to what-so-ever, but trust me. When Daphne sees Luna again, we'll know. We'll know if they still feel something for each other, and we'll all be there to tell Daphne we're with her. Through it all. And that it'll be okay. If she agrees to it, then I'll have the engagement announcement changed to... something else. I don't know. I'm still working on that. "
"Why are you doing this?" Malfoy walks up to Harry, but doesn't sit down next to him. Harry looks up at Malfoy; their bodies are so close together if Harry wanted to, he could pull Malfoy down, have him sit on his lap. They could take advantage of being alone in the room together. But instead Harry shakes his head.
"It's the right thing to do. I told you. No one should have to live a lie. "
"Ever the Saviour," Malfoy remarks. He turns away from Harry, and without realising it again, Harry grabs onto Malfoy's arm.
He turns Malfoy around and stands up, so they are face to face. "There's something else..." he whispers, his breath hitching, as he fixes his gaze on Malfoy's lips. “ When I read about your engagement, a surge of jealousy went through me and I couldn't... I mean, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought I was going mad. I didn't even know... I mean, I knew Daphne was gay, but you, I'd no idea—"
"You're rambling, Potter. "
"Then allow me to demonstrate." Harry cups the back of Malfoy's neck and pulls him close. At first, their lips meet in a tentative kiss, and Harry's other hand travels down to the small of Malfoy's back; he presses their bodies together, grinding their hips.
Malfoy releases a low groan in Harry's mouth as he parts his lips, and Harry slides his tongue in. The way Malfoy kisses him back, Harry has to wonder if there'd been times he'd wanted this too. After coming to terms with fancying Malfoy, Harry'd never been more clear about anything, and to know maybe Malfoy could want him back, is almost overwhelming.
There's a knock at the door, and they jerk apart. Harry can feel his face flushed, and if Malfoy's swollen lips are any indication, he's sure he looks a right mess.
The door opens slowly and Hermione's voice is heard as she peers in. "Harry, are you here?"
"Yeah, right here," Harry says as Malfoy all but hides in the corner of the room, trying to stay away from Hermione's line of vision.
"What are you doing in here?"
"We were just talking," Harry replies; he reaches the door and ushers Hermione out of the room. "What do you need?"
"Oh," she says, startled. The next bit is in a whisper, "With Malfoy?" Harry nods once. "Neville said he was heading out because he's got a Floo call scheduled with Charlie and Ron didn't really wish to stay any longer so... "
"Brilliant. I'll meet you by the door in five minutes," Harry replies. She smiles at him and places a kiss on his cheek. Harry walks back into the room.
"So, um..." Harry says, closing the door behind him when he's back in the room. He runs a hand through his hair. "About that... "
"Right," Malfoy says, straightening up. He pulls down on his button-down shirt, sliding his hands over it, as if trying to remove any wrinkles.
"I'm heading out, but will you... uhm... think about coming to the party? I will ask Hermione to owl you the details. It'd be really good for Daphne I think. To know she'll have a support system no matter what. I know if I didn't have the Weasleys to rely on when I came out, I would've been lost. "
Malfoy looks at him again, confused, or sceptical, Harry isn't sure. "So this is about Daphne?"
Harry takes a few steps towards Malfoy and when Malfoy doesn't move, he closes the distance between them. They stand there staring at each other for a long moment. Harry knows he has to go. He could stay, but he doesn't want Daphne to get irritated with him or get scared as if Harry were trying to steal Malfoy. Which is exactly what Harry’s trying to do. He runs his thumb over Malfoy's lower lip and asks, "Can I kiss you again?"
"You didn't ask the first time," Malfoy replies but there isn't any venom in his answer.
"Last time, I was trying to demonstrate a point. This time, I'm trying to get you to make one. "
Malfoy looks surprised by Harry's reply and tilts his head to the side, raising his chin—challenging Harry.
Harry leans in and they kiss again. It's brief and Harry wishes he could simply ask Malfoy to come over so they can kiss some more, but he knows he has to wait. He has to make sure Daphne is okay with it first. Okay with them.
"You'll come to the party?" Harry asks again, cupping the back of Malfoy's neck, and keeping him close. He rests his forehead against Malfoy's as he waits for an answer.
"Yes. Of course. "
Harry smiles against Malfoy's lips, keeping his eyes closed. He has to tear himself away, so he turns around without looking at him. He has to do this because if he looks at Malfoy one more time, he’ll never leave.
"I can't wait," he says, opening the door and leaving the room, leaving Malfoy behind.
Hermione's pacing around the sitting room, waiting for most of the guests to arrive, and Harry is there with her, equally nervous. Of course, he's nervous because he wants Malfoy and Daphne to get there. He has no idea if they are actually coming, even though Malfoy RSVP'd YES to the invitation.
They haven't seen each other since that night at Krum and Astoria's flat. Since the night of their kiss. He has relived those moments in his head over and over again, even after he recounted the entire thing to Hermione, trying to tell her why it was important for her to invite Malfoy and Daphne to the party—he can't forget it. It’s the single best kiss he's ever had in his life, and it’s with Draco Malfoy!
"They'll be here," Hermione says, clearly reading his apprehension along with hers.
"The party will be fine," Harry replies with an equally assuring tone. "It'll all be fine. "
Finally, almost everyone is there. The music is upbeat, thanks to George and Angelina who are playing DJ, and even Charlie's made it. However, him and Neville huddled in the corner on a sofa with Neville in Charlie's lap isn't really adding anything to the party. Luna happily dances with Ginny in the middle of the room; Malfoy and Daphne still haven't shown up.
When Ron enters the room via the Floo with Molly and Arthur by his side, he's completely surprised. Since his birthday isn't until Tuesday, he'd no idea the party was planned for Saturday night He is, of course, impressed by the cake Hermione has bought, and heads straight to it. Harry and Hermione haven't even had the chance to put candles on it.
There's the sound of an Apparition crack outside the door, followed by a knock, when Harry turns to see Malfoy and Daphne waiting there. He rushes over to open the door, to let them in. Even though the door is unlocked, Harry is sure his pureblood guests wouldn't enter on their own.
"Come in, come in, it's freezing out there!" Harry says, ushering Malfoy and Daphne in and taking their coats. "You just missed the big surprise. "
"Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry, Harry. I was running late and Draco insisted on waiting for me—"
"Hello, Daphne." Luna's voice is soft, and clear, as she all but floats towards them by the entrance of the Burrow. She looks completely at peace and Harry doesn't know how she does it. Luna loved Daphne, and Daphne might still love her in return, and never in a million years could he ever act so impassive around Malfoy; not even when he'd not realised he'd fancied him.
"Luna, it's so lovely to see you," Daphne says, taking a few steps towards Luna, almost as if she'd been pulled to her, and then stops.
Luna reaches down and kisses Daphne on the cheek. "Congratulations on your engagement," Luna says, and Harry can see Daphne's face fall. As if it's nothing but business as usual, Luna turns around, and walks away.
Everyone in the room has been holding their breath. They all watched the entire exchange in complete silence, and it isn't until Luna is out of view, that they all return to their own conversations.
Even if there are people in the room that aren't aware of the history between Daphne and Luna, Harry knows they felt the tension.
"Draco, I..." Daphne starts to talk, looking absolutely devastated.
"You should go talk to her," Malfoy says. "It's a party, and you're among friends." He places a hand on her shoulder and squeezes, Harry hates himself for being so jealous about it.
When Daphne reluctantly nods, Hermione grabs her by the arm and walks her into the room. "Come now, let's get some lemonade. "
Harry stands awkwardly by the door, holding both Malfoy and Daphne's coats when Malfoy looks at him.
"Are you going to hang those anywhere?"
Harry looks down at his hands. "Oh, right. Sorry. The coat closet is just through..." He trails off into the coat room and when he turns around, he finds Malfoy right on his tail. "Hi. "
Malfoy watches as Harry grabs two hangers and puts their coats away. Then, he takes a step back deeper into the coat room. Malfoy follows him.
"How... how are you?" Harry says, nervous. No one from the party is around, and Harry is certain no one can see them. Ironically enough, they're hiding in a closet.
"I'm doing well," Malfoy replies.
"I... I haven't been able to stop thinking about that kiss." Harry licks his lips immediately, staring into Malfoy's intense gaze. He hopes Malfoy would say something to kill the tension between them.
"Do you truly think this will work?"
Harry shakes his head. "No, nothing ever works the way I plan. But, I have faith in... true love. "
"True love," Malfoy says, rolling his eyes. "Like that's a thing. "
"It could be a thing," Harry says, feeling confident now. Because he fancies Malfoy, and maybe fancies him so much it could turn to love someday. Maybe even true love. He's a sap for these sorts of things anyway. He grew up lonely, and then was showered with the best gifts life could give him, so he had to believe in the positive. Even if things never worked out exactly the way they were planned.
He reaches for Malfoy, his arm gently caressing Malfoy's shoulder as he takes a step closer. Malfoy takes a step towards him. "You always fall for the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time. And sometimes for the most unexpected reason. "
"Who said that?" Malfoy asks, pressing his body against Harry's and running his fingers through Harry's hair.
Harry immediately leans into the touch and cracks a small smile. "I don't know. I read that in one of the poetry books at the Shoppe. I know now it was about you and me. "
"Potter," Malfoy says cautiously, "I don't want to get your hopes up. I made a promise to Daphne, and this plan of yours, if it doesn't work, I will be marrying her. "
"And if you don't end up marrying her?" Harry asks, hiding how his heart's just sunken, putting a huge damper on his mood. He's praying his plan—however improvised and inconclusive—works. He knows he shouldn't be here, hiding in the coat room, finding excuses to touch Malfoy when he should be out at the party, trying to show Daphne how good it can be for her.
Malfoy's hands are suddenly under Harry's shirt, pulling him closer still. As their lips meet, their hips grind together, and Harry can feel how hard Malfoy is and his own erection strains against his jeans, while Harry tries to rub against Malfoy's groin.
Harry lets out a small moan, and they have to stop. They have to stop before they're half-naked amongst the guests' coats, or worse, coming in their pants.
"Harry?" Ginny's voice forces them to break apart and Harry can see Malfoy's prominent blush.
He quickly leaves the coat room; he doesn't want Ginny to come in and find Malfoy there with him. "Hey, Gin. What's the matter?"
"Hermione wants you to come with... Is there someone with you? Actually, come to think of it, have you seen, Malfoy?"
"Yeah, I'll be right there," Harry says, and waits for Ginny to walk away; he returns to look for Malfoy, feeling rather awkward.
They straighten their clothes and Harry tells Malfoy to walk into the living room, and that he would quickly follow. Malfoy doesn't argue and walks away. When they are in the living room, Hermione and Ron are in one corner and they're looking at something on the opposite side of the room. Harry's gaze follows Hermione's and he finds Luna and Daphne in a tight embrace with Daphne's head resting on Luna's shoulder. Luna rubs small circles on Daphne's back, and Harry isn't sure but it looks like Daphne's been crying.
Malfoy is there with her in less than three seconds. Harry isn't far behind, either. He wants to hear this. He needs to know if the first part of his plan has worked.
"Daph..." Malfoy's voice is soft and Daphne leaves Luna's embrace to launch herself at Malfoy.
"Oh, Draco. I'm so sorry... "
"Shh... it's okay, Daph. It's going to be okay. "
"I don't know what I was thinking. I can't marry a man. I mean, you're wonderful and kind to me, but I can't... I can't do it. "
"You shouldn't have to live a lie, Daph," Malfoy says softly, and Harry's heart is warmed by Malfoy repeating his words. They ring even truer coming from him. "You have me, your sister, and everyone here. We will be your family, if we have to be... "
"But my mother—"
"She isn't the one living your life," Hermione adds, coming around from behind Harry. "You have to make your own path, and I know it's tough, but look around this room, Daphne. Everyone here has been through something. Some more worse than others. Maybe it's not the same thing as you, but still, it was a hardship, and we're all here. Together. We'll be here. For you. "
A moment later, Luna's hands are on Daphne's back again. Daphne turns to look at her, her face red, her eyes not quite meeting Luna's. "I've been the worst to you," she says.
Luna gives her perfectly charming Luna smile and shakes her head. "It's quite all right. I always knew you'd find your way back to me. And we'd be together the way we were meant to. "
"I don't know what I'll tell my mother. She's expecting a June wedding!" Daphne says, almost in disbelief.
Luna looks down at her hand and takes off one of the rings from her index finger. "This belonged to my mother," she says, looking down at the ring. "If it's a June wedding your mother wants, then a June wedding your mother will get." Everyone in the room gasps as Luna drops down to one knee and offers her mother's ring to Daphne. "So, what do you think? Want to marry me, instead?"
Malfoy takes a step back away from Daphne and Luna, as everyone in the room is whispering or giggling. His back presses against Harry's chest and Harry places his hand on Malfoy's waist, holding him tightly.
When Daphne nods, everyone in the room cheers. "Astoria is going to be so upset she missed this. "
"I think I just found the perfect addendum to the announcement in the Daily Prophet," Harry says, leaning down to whisper in Malfoy's ear. Malfoy's body shivers against Harry's, and Harry pulls him closer. "Along with Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy: a new romance on the horizon. "
"A bit presumptuous, don't you think?" Malfoy asks, pushing his arse against Harry's groin.
"Draco..." Harry releases a low moan in Draco's ear and decides to take matter into his own hands. His plans seem to be working out well. "Come with me," he says, linking his fingers through Draco's and pulling him out of the room.
When they're in the kitchen, alone, and away from everyone else, Harry kisses him again. "Are you going to tell me you don't feel something?" He places a hand on Draco's heart and finds it beating. Fast. "Between us?"
Draco doesn't answer. "I'm still in the closet. You forget, I'm not sure if I want to be out. "
"Okay," Harry says, thinking he can work with this. "All I'm asking for is one night together. Just you and me. All alone. And if you can honestly say you don't feel anything for me after that night, I will finally let you go. "
"Finally?" Draco asks, an eyebrow raised.
"I don't live in the closet, Draco. No one should live like that. You just said that to Daphne. How can you be okay with living like that yourself?"
"You give me far more credit than I deserve, Potter. "
Harry chuckles lightly and grabs Draco's hand again to kiss his wrist. "Not true. All I'm asking is for you to give this a chance. Give me your trust that it'll be all right. "
"How can you be so certain?" Gods, Harry already knew Draco was going to be a handful, but he'd not expected this much scepticism from the start.
"Because that kiss... the kiss we shared two weeks ago..." Harry plants a quick kiss on Draco's lips. "That woke something inside me. It was the best kiss of my life and it'd barely lasted five minutes. I know I want to be with you. I've fancied you for so long--all my friends knew it and I didn't. And it made me hyper-aware of my feelings. And I know you want me back. So why are we, arguing, when we could be kissing?"
"God, Malfoy, just say yes!" Ron's voice echoes through the empty kitchen and both Harry and Draco jerk apart. Honestly, his friends need to stop interrupting his time alone with Draco. "Harry has me convinced and I don't even want to date him! I'm straight!"
"Ron!" both Harry and Hermione yell at the same time.
"Oh, whatever. It's my birthday party! I can say and do whatever I want!"
As Draco looks at Ron, Harry decides to come around him and wrap him in his arms. His chest rubs against Draco's back as he pulls him close again. Draco is willingly resting in Harry's arms. It's everything.
"Come along, dear," Hermione says softly to Ron and pulls him away. "Let's give these two some privacy."
"So, what do you say, Draco?" Harry asks, his face buried in Draco's neck.
"Go on a date with me?" Harry turns Draco around to face him, but his hands don't leave Draco; they're rolling all over his body, and he's pleasantly surprised at how Draco lets him touch him. . "Somewhere away from here so I can show you how I feel."
"Hmm. Sounds good," Draco says with a smile that seems to light up the room. "Can we start now?"