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A Loosening

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Harry checks the cuffs holding Draco's wrists securely behind his back, briefly running a finger along the soft leather but otherwise silently maintaining a distance from the figure kneeling on the rug. It has been a long day; they spent most of it Christmas shopping in Diagon Alley with Harry's children, and being the first Christmas since Draco's acrimonious divorce, Scorpius's absence had stung like salt in a wound.

Which isn't to say Draco had been quiet in his misery. As with most emotions to which he felt unequipped to express, he'd regressed to something approaching his fifth year Hogwarts self, muttering complaints on everything from the general class of the crowds to the quality of the gifts the children picked out. Harry had finally snapped, telling Draco to grow up or go home. Draco had spent the final hour of the trip in seething sullenness.

It is to be expected that the return home would see them here: Draco, bound and kneeling, blindfolded and naked.

***

It had been over ten years since he had seen Draco. After the trials, Draco and Narcissa had decamped to France to wait out Lucius's prison sentence. There had been a small notice in the Prophet when he married Astoria Greengrass and another when their son Scorpius was born. They'd returned to England shortly after, and the next year Lucius was back at Malfoy Manor as well. But for the most part, the family had kept themselves to themselves, and Harry hadn't thought about how odd it was he never saw Draco.

September 1st changed all that.

Harry had been on the Platform, surrounded by his children and the Weasleys when Ron pointed to where Malfoy was standing with a small chestnut-haired woman, and a son as like an eleven year old Draco as Albus was to an eleven year old Harry.

Harry's attention was caught, even after the awkwardly exchanged nods. Draco was so buttoned-up, all sharp and tight and almost quivering with stress or strain or something. He appeared brittle until his son embraced him briefly before dashing onto the Express, and something loosened in his expression, as if only the touch of his son allowed him to breathe.

Harry watched the loosening for the moment it lasted, watched until Scorpius had boarded and it disappeared. Draco turned and walked with his wife to the Apparition point. And still Harry watched.

***

Time passes slowly like this. Time during which Draco is expected to wait, to kneel, to breathe. Sometimes Harry strokes a hand through his fine hair. Sometimes he stays away, simply watching.

Draco breathes. Harry has become somewhat of an expert on Draco's breaths. He can tell when Draco is thinking by their short sharpness. When Draco is sleeping, they are deep, and his belly rises and falls with each. When he fakes sleep, his belly moves, but the tension in his hands gives away the lie.

And when Draco is kneeling, quiet, tied by the fire, his entire body relaxes. He breathes, and his heart beats and pumps blood through his veins, blue and visible beneath the nearly translucent skin of his arms, his face. He breathes and beats and exists in the moment.

And Harry watches.

***

Harry can't think of Draco without remembering the time shortly after Lily's birth when he'd taken Al and Jamie to a park in Muggle London. His marriage was already dead, though it would still be two years before they signed the paperwork officially ending it. Ginny had been exhausted dealing with the baby as well as their two energetic monsters. Harry'd taken the day off, and the three had Flooed to the Leaky and from there, they hopped the bus until he had found an open enough greenspace to wear out the kids.

It had been shortly before lunch, and a Muggle woman, middle aged and kind-faced, had walked by with a greyhound. He was a stunning pewter, with large dark eyes and dark tips to its ears. He was wearing a dark doggie jacket embossed with the name of a rescue organization, and his unease just made his alien beauty more pronounced: all sharp angles, thin skin, and fine hair trembling with a combination of anxiety and energy.

Jamie had wanted to pet him, and the woman had gently but firmly explained that he was too afraid. He was on his first walk after spending most of his life living in a box, only allowed out to chase stuffed rabbits at the race track; it was the first time he had seen trees, or children. At the fall of Jamie's expression, she'd ruffled his hair and told him that greyhounds were resilient, and that given time and lots of love, they always bounced back and made lovely pets.

Jamie had asked to take the dog home that afternoon, and again frequently over the next month. But by the time Lily was old enough to think of adding anyone to the family, Harry was moving back to Grimmauld Place, and to the children, the greyhound was long forgotten.

***

He loves this part. Draco is loose and liquid, kept kneeling by inertia and balanced without conscious effort. A breath of air would likely knock him over, which is why Harry approaches quietly on bare feet to gently pull him upward.

Once both are standing, Harry leads Draco, still bound, still blind, to the bed. He'd stripped down to just his trousers early on, and when he leans back against the thick pile of pillows and pulls Draco to his chest, he can feel the wetness of the blindfold against his skin.

They lay there together for somewhere between ten minutes and an hour. They lay there until Draco's loosening evolves and his breathing shortens. Only then do they touch and their cocks begin to fill.

***

Harry had never thought of himself as the type of person to sleep with a married man. As with most rules in his life, the exception seemed to be Draco-specific.

Albus and Scorpius were housemates, the Hat having sorted Al into Ravenclaw before he'd a chance to get a word edgewise, and they and Rose Weasley were as thick together as ever Harry was with Ron and Hermione. Luckily, their adventures seemed restricted to visiting large tomes in the library, rather than three-headed dogs in forbidden corridors, and even Ron resigned himself to the name Malfoy making frequent appearances in the letters home.

During that first Christmas hols, Harry had gone to Malfoy Manor to retrieve Rose and Al. Draco had been there, more brittle and buttoned than he'd been on the Platform, and they had fought. It should have remained words, but words fed actions, and Harry's trained reflexes had Draco pressed tightly to the wall, arms pinned. And Draco loosened. His eyelids fell, he exhaled, and gave a faint whine that was almost indistinguishable.

It ignited a fire in Harry's gut, and before he realized what he was doing, he pressed harder, tighter, felt Draco's cock rock-hard through two pairs of trousers.

They kissed and frotted against the wall, children on the other side of the door. Harry watched Draco's face, relaxed and open in a way he'd never seen, not even with Scorpius, and didn't feel guilty.

***

Draco will never admit it, but he loves being loosened, in all senses of the word. As Harry had bound his wrists to loosen his mind, he now sets to work with gentle fingers to loosen his body.

Harry doesn't mind that Draco can't admit he needs this. Draco doesn't need to use words; words are always what cause him the most pain. His breaths tell Harry all he needs to know; they speak of relief, of joy, of the ability to be in a way he cannot otherwise.

Harry doesn't wonder about the whys: why Draco needs this, why Harry needs to give him this. He'd never had thoughts about ropes and ties and holding tight enough to feel blood rush through veins with Ginny, or with anyone he'd seen after the divorce. This is something between the two of them, and that is enough.

***

Nothing exists that cannot be discovered, and Harry had never been good at caution. Draco had become vital, and, even without words exchanged, they had fallen into a routine. They would meet, sometimes argue, but often simply sit in silence until Draco's quivering became too much for Harry, and he would push him down. Down onto the sofa, or onto the bed, or once onto the floor immediately after stepping through the Floo.

It was inevitable that Astoria would find out. Surprisingly, their embrace had still been tame; they had been talking, each with a finger of firewhisky, and Harry had leaned in to kiss Draco as she entered the study.

There had been yelling, name-calling on both sides. Draco was as betrayed by his words as he had ever been, detailing the months-long infidelity in minute detail, covering his fear with an acid tongue, striking and striking back to hurt and protect himself from hurt.

Harry could not protect Draco from himself, only watch as Draco destroyed any good feelings that might have remained between himself and his wife and support him when she called the elves to pack his trunk.

Their divorce made the papers in a way Harry's quiet one had not. Two weeks after it was finalized, the term ended, and Scorpius was taken to his mother's to spend most of the break.

***

It is when Harry is sliding into Draco, slowly, carefully, feeling every inch of muscle stretch around his cock, that Draco releases the final breath—the breath that trembles with tears and regret. It is when he pulls out slowly, so slowly that every millimeter of his cock aches with the desire to slide back in, that the sobs begin.

Harry watches and thrusts slowly, in and out, in and out. He watches the arch of Draco's back, knowing he is uncomfortable lying on his bound wrists, but knowing he needs it. He watches each inhalation, the flutter of Draco's pulse in his neck and chest.

He pulls on Draco's cock in time with his own thrusts. He watches as Draco cries out, releasing the breath and the tears and the regret with each pulse of come. He watches until his eyes are pulled closed by his own release.

When he pulls the blindfold off, Draco is loosened, and he is beautiful.