“Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.”
Things were going so well for a while, and he'd have to know they were going to end. And end badly. Of course, he'd gone and fallen in love with Draco Malfoy, and the man had just walked out of his life. Again. The last time had been right after the war, and at that time, Harry hadn't loved him in this way.
This time, Harry had to wonder if Draco was gone for good. Was it worth running after him? Could Harry do it? Maybe his friends were right. If someone really cared about Harry, as Draco claimed he did, would he make Harry suffer this way?
Even if Harry ran after Draco, begged him to come back, Draco wasn't going to. Not like this. Draco had very simple rules about relationships, and Harry had agreed to them. Ninety-six percent, and all that.
"No jealousy. No drama. There are only two people in this relationship, and that's you and me, Potter."
He closed his eyes and slammed back against the mattress. The bed they'd recently purchased together. Because Draco was going to move in with Harry. They had good memories on Harry's old bed, and for that fact, Draco's too, but now Harry would have to get used to sleeping alone. Alone on the brand new bed.
Who did he blame though? Another relationship flushed down the drain. Maybe he should have kept this one a secret too.
Was it him? Was it Draco? Or was it his friends?
He wasn't sure why his friends didn't like the idea of them together. Heck, he wasn't sure why Draco's friends didn't like the idea, either. It wasn't their life. Harry and Draco weren't doing anything to them. Their relationship was their relationship, but the way Blaise had grilled Harry about his intentions with Draco had left him sour. And then, for Draco to tell him Hermione and Ron had practically told Draco he was no good for Harry didn't settle well with him, either. He supposed the saving grace in all of this was truly Ginny. She'd sounded okay with the idea of Harry with Draco. She'd even asked them out to the pub with her other friends. But that hadn't been enough. Her approval wasn't good enough for Ron and Hermione, and it hadn't been enough for Draco to feel welcomed.
For ages, Harry's friends had wanted him to get a boyfriend. Or at least, go on dates. That's why he'd originally signed up for the matchmaking service provided by the Patil twins. Harry hadn't told Ron and Hermione that he would get asked out on dates all the time, and from time to time, he'd go out with the bloke, but it was never enough. And now, when he'd finally met someone who made him happy, they had a problem with it.
Maybe the problem is you, his mind kept saying. It's you he doesn't want to be with.
He sighed and curled up in his bed, spelling the blanket on top of him, since he had no idea what else to do. He figured sleep was probably the best bet. He'd go into work tomorrow and forget the last seven months had happened.
Draco didn't get along with Harry's friends, and Harry didn't get along with Draco's, and where would they be without their friends? Harry had no family, and Draco wasn't particularly close with his anymore. Yeah, it was probably best. They'd probably forget about each other soon enough.
What other choice did he have?
The only thing that continued nagging Harry as he tried to fall asleep was where Draco was going to stay. He was supposed to be living with Harry. They'd not told anyone. They were going to settle in first and then throw a party for all their friends. Draco had even gone and cancelled the contract for his flat. Could he get it back? Would he disappear from the wizarding world and start somewhere new? Would Harry run into Draco at a match with a new boyfriend and pretend they didn't see each other?
There were too many questions Harry needed answered. But most important of them all was: Has he stopped loving me?
Pansy had assured him the Patil Matchmaking Service, that's what Draco called it because the real name was ridiculous, was the best and the most discreet wizard-dating business there ever was. The client filled out a questionnaire, and the twins matched him or her with other clients based on their answers. They didn't know who the client was, unless the client wished it, and the payments were always handled anonymously, as well. The Goblins settled the bills. It was all secrets, and hushed whispers, and no one was any the wiser.
So when he'd finally heard a response saying the matchmaking service had found him someone who was ninety six percent his match, he'd been over the moon. Well, for about five minutes. He was Draco Malfoy, after all, and eventually, everyone was turned off by that.
"Oh," was all he'd heard when he looked up from his coffee to find Harry Potter standing across from him. He was holding a parchment similar to Draco's. It'd been their "designated item" so they could identify each other. The parchments listed five dream destinations to visit for Draco and five favourite hobbies for his date.
His date. That couldn't possibly, really, like really, be Harry Bloody Potter.
"Can I help you with something, Potter?" The cool, curt tone escaped Draco before he could stop himself. And then he realised he didn't want to stop himself.
Potter looked amused. As if this were a prank, and he were the prankster, and Draco, the target. He smiled at Draco, a soft shy smile Draco didn't recognise, and said, "I'm supposed to be meeting someone here today. At this table, holding a— This isn't a joke, right?"
Draco sat up straight and crossed his arms. "If it is, then it's certainly on me."
"Patil's Pursuit of Passion?" Potter asked in a whispered tone, and Draco winced. Gods, he bloody hated that name.
Eventually, Draco took in a deep breath and released it slowly. "I'm afraid so."
"Bloody hell…" Potter said, pulling out the empty chair across from Draco and sitting down. "I can't believe it."
"I… Excuse me, Potter. No one invited you to—"
"Mr Potter! How lovely to see you! Can I offer you a drink, Mr Potter?" the waiter, that Draco had trouble hunting down, appeared out of nowhere to take Potter's order. And why did he keep repeating "Mr Potter?"
"Yes, please. Malfoy, what are you having?"
Draco made a face, unsure of what Potter's intentions were, and replied: "Peppermint mocha."
"Ah, I'll have the same, and a coffee cake, please."
"Certainly, sir, Mr Potter. Coming right up." Draco couldn't be sure. Had he just imagined seeing the waiter wink at Potter? "I do know what you like, Mr Potter." The man turned around and walked away, and Draco didn't have an opportunity to order himself the strawberry shortcake he'd been desiring.
"Unbelievable," he said under his breath.
"Shall I get him to come back?" Potter asked, sounding genuine. He still had that soft look around his eyes, like a man who thought this were all a dream. Draco certainly considered this to be a nightmare.
"No, thanks," Draco replied. "I won't be staying."
"Come on, Malfoy. So we got set up on a blind date. It's not the company's fault, and besides, they've already taken their fee. So we might as well catch up. I haven't seen you since…"
"Since my father was released from Azkaban, yes, thank you very much."
"I… Actually, I saw you after that. Last year, you were at the Bulgarian National Quidditch game when they were playing against the Brazilians."
Draco scowled. He'd spotted Potter there as well, and had done his best to hide himself from the man, who was there with the entire Weasley family. Draco had been on a date there, his last one, at that. He was with Matheus then, who had unnecessarily become jealous of Draco's admiration for Krum and had left him on the spot. "I am not some fantasy for you to fulfill. I won't have you thinking of Krum while I'm with you tonight." Matheus had thrown his gloves at Draco's feet and stormed away. He tried not to smile at the memory, at how dramatic the man had been, and how Draco had a story to tell about how he'd finally managed to date a man more theatrical than himself.
Draco found Potter watching him intently, and then he remembered how that was one of the inquiries in the questionnaire. Do you admire or appall jealousy? Draco had nearly written an essay on that topic.
Ninety six percent match... Draco had to wonder to himself.
"So, is Brazil on the list of your top five destinations?" Potter asked, looking amused. Did he know about Matheus?
"Actually, no," Draco replied brusquely. "But, Argentina is." He passed the parchment he was holding to Potter when Potter had offered his own to Draco. He supposed they were going through with it.
"Ah, Messi…" Potter said, as if he could see inside Draco's mind. Draco closed up even more.
He skimmed through Potter's responses on the parchment and tried not to roll his eyes at reading Muggle Football listed as Potter's number two favourite hobby.
"You know, it's considered cheating to put Quidditch as your number one, and Football as your two. They should be in the same category as Sports."
"Well, I like to play Quidditch and watch Football, so…" Potter shrugged, "and, if you apply the same theory, then Japan and Thailand should be listed under Asia."
"No…" Draco said, argumentatively. "Songkran in Ching Mai, is completely different than visiting Japan in the spring for the cherry blossoms." He rolled his eyes before he picked up his coffee mug only to discover it was empty. He frowned again.
"Maybe you'll have to take me to both places to show me. I could take you to a Football stadium. I love to travel. Magic really opened up my world at eleven, and travel—it's just as magical in its own way."
Draco was impressed by that response. But as he opened his mouth to reply, he realised he didn't want to compliment Potter. Not right away anyway. So he stayed quiet.
When the waiter returned with Potter's coffee and cake, Potter ordered Draco another peppermint mocha and asked for an additional spoon so he could share in the coffee cake. Draco raised an eyebrow, as did the waiter, who evidently did know Draco was sitting right there, even if he was thoroughly ignoring him.
"Or would you like something else, Draco." Potter's tone was so gentle, Draco had nearly forgotten he was supposed to be hating him.
Draco was very shocked at how there was no malice in Potter's tone. Was this a game? Was it something to show to the waiter? Much to his own chagrin, Draco was rendered speechless. He shook his head, and the waiter glowered at him, walking away.
"What's the matter?" Potter asked, looking concerned.
"Why are you being so nice to me, Potter?"
Potter shrugged. "It's a date. And I'll have you know, I'm a nice guy. Also, I'd be nice to someone I needed to make a good impression on."
"Why what?" Potter looked thoroughly confused, and for some reason, Draco found that endearing. He had to take a second to realise, yes, they hadn't seen each other in a very long time, but on top of that, they weren't fighting. And if there was any tension at the table, it was because Draco was the one being defensive.
Not that it was now going to make him be nice to Potter all of a sudden.
"Why do you need to make a good impression? You know me. I'm Draco Malfoy. Former Death Eater—"
"I would certainly hope you're more than that, Malfoy." Potter smiled at him, his eyes warm and genuine.
Draco stopped himself from rolling his eyes again. "Obviously."
"So, don't you want to be polite to each other? Get this date over with on a positive note, before you decide you probably never want to see me again."
"You know, I wasn't going to demand my money back from the Patils if you'd showed up, realised it was me, and left. I mean, I wasn't going to be heartbroken if Harry Potter walked away from me."
Potter gave Draco a brilliant smile which only bothered him more, especially since he liked the way Potter was smiling at him. No one had seemed so honestly interested in Draco in a very long time. And maybe he wouldn't have been heartbroken if Potter had just walked out, but now? Now, it would upset Draco. Potter was being civil with him. He was giving Draco hope, and…wasn't that just the most dangerous thing ever.
Potter didn't reply for a long time. "What?" Draco snapped when Potter continued looking goofy with his stupid grin, and his stupidly perfect teeth, and that stupid stupid warm expression in his eyes.
"You're independent. Confident. And you don't take shit from anyone."
The waiter arrived again, with another spoon this time, which he all but slammed it at the table and left. Honestly, Draco didn't understand why people went on dates at restaurants and cafés, really. There was always some sort of disruption to the flow of conversation. And then again, he supposed, sometimes one needed these disruptions to break in on the awkward silences. Except, so far, there hadn't been any awkward silences.
Did that mean he was having a good time? Was that even possible?
"What's his problem?" Draco snapped, annoyed he considered a date with Potter to be a good time. "Did you go out with him and never call again?"
"What if I did?" Potter asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Then, I'd say say it's poor luck for that bloke," Draco replied.
"You don't get jealous?"
"I do when there's reason."
"And there's no reason here?"
"Why would there be? You want to get this date over with, also, and move on with your life."
"I never said that."
"Didn't you?" Draco asked. He picked up the spoon off the table, and took a bite of Potter's coffee cake.
"You're different now, Malfoy," Potter said, looking as though he were assessing Draco.
"Stop the presses! People can change! What a brilliant concept."
"And then in other ways, you're exactly the same."
Draco made a face, unamused at the way Potter seemed to think he was spitting wisdom, and decided to move on. "So did you really date the waiter?"
"No," Potter said. "He asked me out. Once."
"I don't joke about these things." Potter continued to look amused. "I'd politely turned him down, and I had no idea he worked here, and…"
Potter stopped talking to look at Draco, and his eyes widened.
"What? Do I have cake on my mouth or… what?"
"Do you wanna maybe get out of here?" Potter asked, surprising Draco, again.
"I don't know. I hate cafés," he said. "They're so impersonal, and we're constantly getting interrupted. And believe it or not, some people are starting to stare…"
"One would think you'd be used to that sort of thing." Draco was. But certainly the reason Draco was stared at was quite different from the reasons Potter would have been stared at.
"So, a walk?" Potter asked, ignoring Draco.
"And then this blind date will finally be over?" Draco said, feigning exasperation.
"Well, the first date will be over. Eventually."
"And there will be a second date?" Draco asked as he joined Potter in standing and gathering their coats. They stared at each other for a while, and Potter's smile was so fucking brilliant Draco couldn't help but smile back.
"Oh, I definitely plan on asking you out on a second date."
Someone worth talking about. Someone worth introducing to the family.
As Harry entered the room, Ron greeted him with a smile. He'd been reading the Quidditch Weekly. "Hi, Harry. Everyone's gone out to George's shop. Be back in a few," he said and then returned his attention to the magazine.
"Oh, good. I wanted to talk to you."
"Oh yeah? Anything good?" Ron asked, putting the magazine down.
"Yeah. I mean, it doesn't have to be now…" Harry gestured towards QW; he didn't exactly want all of Ron's attention on himself.
"That's okay. I'm done with it anyway." Ron smiled at him and looked expectant. It was as if he knew Harry was going to tell him something good or gossipy.
They stared at each other for a while, Harry trying to find the right words.
"Out with it then," Ron said, getting impatient.
"I fucked Malfoy."
Really? That's what you come up with? Of all the things you could say, Harry, that's the worst. If Draco could hear you right now, he'd slap you.
"What?" Ron said, his eyes going wide, his eyebrows nearly vanishing into his hairline. "You… f…f… "
"Fucked," Harry said, because, surely…He was kind of an arse wasn't he? He and Ron were used to talking to each other like that when no one was around, and well, Harry was an arse. Full stop.
"Malfoy," Harry said.
"Draco Lucius Malfoy."
"There is only one Draco Lucius Malfoy in the wizarding world, Ron."
Harry shook his head. "But it would be weird, though. Don't you think? I mean after the war and all, no one would name their child Draco, if there happened to be another Malfoy family. Which I doubt—Anyway, not the point."
"That's where you been all these days? You have been fucking…"
Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Eventually, he sat in the chair across from Ron. "It's more than fucking. We met through the Patil's Pursuit of Passion…"
"And it matched you with Draco Malfoy? And you didn't go running in the other direction. And you actually…"
"Yes." Harry crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair.
"You did the fucking?"
Harry wanted to snort, but remained stern. "If you must know, there are times when he does —"
"No, I don't want to know." Ron raised his hands in mock surrender. "And that's what you want to tell the family…?"
"Well, not in those words exactly."
"Oh, good. I think Mum might just about faint…"
"This is serious, Ron."
"I know!" Ron shouted, his hand flailing in the air. "You've gone mad. You went on a date with Draco Malfoy, and now you're fucking Draco Malfoy."
Hermione's voice rang through the room, and Harry immediately cringed. Brilliant! Harry felt resigned, and when he looked in the direction of the Floo, he found the entire Weasley family standing there. Including Ginny. And they'd all heard—Of course, they'd all heard.
"I'm dating Draco Malfoy. We're together. We're boyfriends," Harry said, standing up from his chair and turning to face the family. "Sorry you found out this way— I mean, in those words — I mean — yeah, sorry."
"I'll put on the tea," said Mrs Weasley, and rushed into the kitchen.
She had hoped after his breakup with Malfoy, Harry would finally see it was simple infatuation. It'd been over for two months…giving Harry plenty of time to move on, but was there a chance she was wrong? They'd all thought it was sex that was making Harry happy so after their breakup (which Hermione still didn't know the details of) she'd tried to set Harry up on other dates, but Harry hadn't been interested. When she insisted, he would agree to go on the dates, but then he'd just not show up. She didn't know what it was about Malfoy Harry liked and that he didn't like about anyone else.
She'd heard from Ginny about how Harry met with Zabini while he was dating Malfoy, and their meeting hadn't gone well, either. The end of their relationship, if one was to call it that, was a mutual decision. Oddly, she found comfort in that. Malfoy's friends had been unreceptive to Harry, too. Clearly, it wasn't a well-made match.
Then why couldn't Harry move on?
She opened the window when the unfamiliar owl wouldn't stop banging her beak against the window and retrieved a letter. She gave the owl a small treat and sent her on her way. Whoever it belonged to, Hermione didn't know them, and if they wanted a response, then they'd have to wait.
She took a step back and almost collapsed on her bed when she read who'd sent the letter: Blaise Zabini.
I'm writing to you today on behalf of Pansy and myself to discuss a very grave situation. I have no idea how Potter is treating you lot, but Draco is driving us mad! For the most part, he's acting like a normal member of society, going to work, and back, depositing his earnings at Gringotts, and reporting to the Ministry for his scheduled visits. Besides that, there's not much there. He refuses to come out with us. He's turned down several dinner invitations, and according to his mother, spends most of his evenings locked in his bedroom.
Did you know he's moved back to the Manor?
We'll have to admit we weren't thrilled when we discovered Draco was dating Potter. We'd considered it to be a joke, if anything. That you lot thought it'd be funny to fuck with him. At Pansy's insistence, I had a very serious conversation with Potter about his intentions, and he'd got quite defensive with us. We might have exchanged a few heated words that aren't very polite to state in casual company.
During the initial part of the break-up, we were delighted Draco had seen the light. Now, we're not so sure. I'm usually not one to meddle in the affairs of other people, but we can't help but wonder if we are the cause of this unhappiness.
Pansy read an article— Okay, I read an article on Potter in the Prophet the other day stating he's turned down a promotion and is looking to switch departments which would allow him to move to a different division of the Wizarding DMLE. A liaison of sorts which would require him to live in Eastern Europe. Meaning, moving away from the UK.
I'm not sure how good that'll be for Draco's well-being.
Did you know about this? I believed you were all attached at the hip, and if so, how can you let him leave? Don't tell me that you and Weasley are so involved in each other that you haven't noticed your best friend is moving away? If that's the case, then you are worse friends to Potter than we have been to Draco.
Perhaps it's time for us to meet and discuss this further. I'd like Potter back in Draco's life and not to move to the other side of the continent. Please reply at your earliest convenience so we may discuss this matter in more detail. If I'm the cause of this breakup and Draco's unhappiness, then I would like to be the reason for their joyful reunion.
Blaise Zabini (and Pansy Parkinson who only stood above my shoulder and criticised my handwriting).
A defeated Harry.
To the world, he was calm and collected. He was the master of making small talk, and he still managed to bring smiles to everyone's face. But in the moments when no one was looking, Harry seemed like a lost child.
Hermione wondered if it was the loss of Draco Malfoy. Had Harry genuinely loved Malfoy? The type of love Hermione had for Ron, George had for Angelina? Snape once had for…
"Are you thinking of moving?" she asked him flat out, the moment she'd managed to get him to herself at one of the Weasley Sunday dinners.
"What'd you mean?" Harry asked, looking up at her. His mind had just been a million miles away, she could tell.
"There's an article in the Prophet," she said softly, afraid of spooking him. Afraid of retaliation.
"Oh, that." Harry scoffed lightly and then shook his head. "It's a thought."
"Yes, that. Why have you not told us at all?"
Harry shrugged. "Maybe because I'm tired of you telling me how to live my life."
Hermione's eyes widened then. It'd been a while since they'd had one of these arguments. And they never ended well. Did they?
"Sorry, I didn't mean that…" Harry said.
"Yes, you did. But that's okay. Maybe I'm in the wron—"
Before Hermione could finish her thought, Harry had turned around and walked away. They'd been friends for sixteen years, and Hermione had never felt so distant from Harry. It hurt her heart. She ached for the easy going manner between them. She missed her friend.
And she had no one else to blame, but herself.
"Why?" Ginny asked, sounding annoyed. "You were the one who didn't want them together in the first place—"
"That's not true," Hermione protested, "we all didn't like the idea—"
"Yeah, but it was your idea to interrogate Malfoy," Ginny said.
"It was not. Ron!"
Ron put his fork down and gave a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry but I have to agree with Ginny. I mean, I'll admit the idea of them together wasn't something I liked, and if I never saw Malfoy ever in my life again, I'd been okay with it. But, you have to admit, you were the one who constantly invited him to places, and then you criticised his actions, and he was polite enough to simply take it. From you, from us… for Harry. No, we didn't cause them to breakup, but I'm sure we caused the fights between them. I mean, Harry was finally looking happy."
"Yes, my point exactly," Hermione said, straightening up. No, she didn't like being wrong, and yes, she'd been very wrong about Malfoy. He wasn't using Harry. Hermione had confused herself because if she thought about it, Harry had seemed genuinely happy with Malfoy. Maybe it was the sex. Or maybe…it was none of her business.
…Maybe because I'm tired of you telling me how to live my life.
And now, he was miserable.
"We have to do something to fix Harry's happiness. To make sure he doesn't leave us."
"Sounds like you still want to control him," said Ginny.
Hermione huffed. "If Harry gets a wonderful career opportunity, and he has to move to Romania, or Mexico, or wherever, then good for him. I'll be there to support him and help him pack his bags. But I'm not going to idly stand by while he runs away from us!"
"So you want to team up with Zabini and Parkinson to what? Be a matchmaker? Maybe you should mind your own business, Hermione," Ginny said, looking bored. "It's not our place. It wasn't your place to come in-between them, and now it's not your place to try to fix something you can't do anything about."
"All we need to do is get them together in the same room," Hermione said, ignoring Ginny's comment. "Do you both not care about Harry at all?"
Ron sighed and looked at Ginny who scowled at him.
"You don't have to help me," Hermione said, angry. She'd hoped Ron and Ginny would agree with her because Harry's happiness mattered. It mattered to her, so why didn't it matter to them?
"So what are you going to do? Plan a surprise party? Invite Malfoy? As if the man will talk to yo—us." Ginny crossed her arms and glared at Hermione.
"That's why we need Zabini and Parkinson. We need to plan a party with them. So we can make sure Malfoy will attend, and Ron will make sure Harry attends. And we'll—we'll—" She hadn't planned that far out yet.
"What? Lock them up in a room so they start snogging? Or worse, kill each other?" Ginny asked, huffing out a breath.
Before Hermione could answer Ginny, there was a knock on her door. They're early.
"Hold that thought…" she said to Ron and Ginny and got up to retrieve her guests.
Zabini and Parkinson walked into Hermione's flat—she was surprised they'd showed up at all--and looked around as if they were disgusted by everything. Hermione made a face at them. "We're supposed to work together…" she tried to warn them about saying anything critical. She needed Ron and Ginny to stay more than anything else.
"What are they doing here?" Ron asked, sounding outraged.
"We have a similar goal," Parkinson said with a softer tone than Hermione would have imagined she possessed. "Now, shall we get to work?"
At least, Harry knew Draco hated these things, too. So there was no chance of running into him there. After their breakup, Harry had wanted to reach out but had always shied away from it. Maybe they could have been friends, he'd thought at first, but he knew he couldn't just be friends with Draco—not with the way he felt about him. Still felt about him.
As he opened the door to the big ballroom where guests were gathered, he brushed his shoulder against someone. A body that felt familiar. Oh no...Harry nearly panicked. Maybe I was wrong.
The man turned and his eyes widened, shock clear in his eyes, as it was probably in Harry's.
Draco nodded once at Harry and then looked around the room, obviously, hoping to grasp onto any excuse he could find to walk away from Harry.
"I didn't know you were going to be here."
"I wasn't aware you were attending."
They both spoke at the same time, and Harry chuckled nervously while Draco only looked inconvenienced. By Harry's presence, he was sure.
"I was invited…" Harry said and realised Draco was probably invited too. "I mean, of course, we were all invited. I've been practically forced to attend. By Hermione." Shit, don't talk about your friends, that's a sore subject.
"So I see," Draco said coolly. "How is Granger?"
"Doing well, I think. I mean, yeah, I think." Smooth, Harry. It's a shocker you're still single. "I actually am not sure. I've not seen…" Harry paused thinking if this was the place, or the person, he should have been speaking to. When they'd been together, Draco had made it so easy for Harry to open up to him. Harry was able to talk to Draco about anything he'd wanted, and if it was stupid, Draco made fun of him for it. But if it was not, Draco made him feel like a million Galleons.
He isn't your Draco anymore, Harry. He isn't the man who loves you the way you love him.
"Not seen?" Draco drawled, his eyes not leaving Harry.
Harry couldn't help but reflect on their first date. When Harry had all but ambushed Draco at the café, and how Draco was the one who looked ready to flee but Harry had kept him there. He felt the opposite tonight. Harry wanted to get the fuck out of there, but Draco had him pinned with his eyes, and expectations of small talk, and his fucking politeness. The tender tone that made him weak in the knees.
"Are you here with anyone?" Harry asked, and Draco narrowed his eyes. "You know what? Sorry. Not my business."
"You're avoiding the question."
"How's Granger? To which, you replied with… I don't know I haven't seen…"
Harry took a deep sigh and wished he could summon himself a drink. How had he just arrived at the event and was already aching to leave? And they were still standing by the door. He looked around the room; there were about fifty or so people in the room and they all seemed busy talking. No one was gawking at them. No one had rushed over to Harry to shake his hand or say hello. It was very peculiar. He'd dwell on the matter more, but he actually liked not being bothered for once. Was that because he was talking to Draco? And where were his friends?
"I should go," Harry said and started to walk away from Draco. Yes, this was the right thing to do: cut the cord. Cut all ties, and try not to talk to Draco again. Try not to look at Draco Malfoy ever again. Learn to forget him.
Learn to stop loving him.
When Harry reached the bar, he ordered himself two drinks. He did the shot of Firewhisky in no time, then he grabbed the beer and turned around. He'd sip the beer, the whiskey would do its trick.
"Hey, Harry," Ron said as he walked up to Harry with a beer in his hand. "Saw you speaking to Malfoy."
"Yeah…" Harry said, his eyes inadvertently looking for Draco, before Harry told him to stop himself.
"How is he?"
"What? Who?" Harry asked, confused.
"Malfoy. How's Malfoy?"
Harry shrugged. "Wouldn't know. Just made polite talk and excused myself."
"Hmm," Ron said.
"What does that mean?" Harry asked, unsure of why Ron was even dwelling on the subject. In the past, when he and Draco were actually together, Ron never seemed to care. He'd never asked how Draco was doing. If anything, he'd only asked if they were still together.
Ron shook his head. "Oh look, there's Hermione."
Hermione walked up to them, followed by two Ministry officials. The gratitude Harry had felt when no one had approached him for small talk vanished as the Ministry officials started speaking, and then dragged him around the room introducing him to everyone else who was important. Harry couldn't have regretted attending the event even more—but—that brief glimpse he'd had of Draco…was good.
So much for not still loving him.
The fact that Harry Potter was Draco's ex-boyfriend was also something he never thought he'd ever find himself thinking. But there he was, staring at himself in the mirror, missing his ex-boyfriend. Missing the touch, and the kisses, and the kindness of one Harry Potter.
Harry had looked good, too. Damn good. He wore tight-fitting navy blue robes and his hair was slicked back, and his glasses—he looked as though he'd purchased new glasses. Everything about Harry looked good tonight: his awkward smiles, his fumbling to find the right words, and his way of avoiding the topic of his friends.
After their separation, Draco, too had avoided his friends for weeks. Especially after he'd moved back in the manor. Perhaps that's why he was there tonight. Because Pansy had finally guilted him into attending an event after Draco had dodged his friends' invitations for four months.
Did they know Harry was going to be there? Did they plan to torture Draco? They'd never seemed to believe Draco when he had told them he was happy with Harry. Maybe they wanted to see if Draco had moved on. But why? Why would they care now? He remembered the arguments he'd had with Harry over their friends.
Granger had all but accused Draco of using Harry's status to move up in society, and what had Harry said? Blaise had accused Harry of using Draco to make himself look good in public. That he was trying to show off by dating someone the wizarding world had shunned and prove he was such a saint.
Draco admitted to himself when they'd first started dating, he too had contemplated the same, but when they were alone—the way Harry was with him? All soft, and tender, and looking at Draco as if he'd hung the moon? That was not an act. There was no way Harry pretended to like Draco only to make himself look better. And not the way they'd touched each other. Draco still remembered the feel of Harry's skin under his fingertips. How his sweet breath had smelled when he'd kissed Draco.
Draco was almost done wallowing in self-pity when the man himself entered the loo.
"Oh," he said, closing the door behind him. And then Harry looked at Draco, then at the door, and then back at Draco. "I can leave…"
"It's fine," Draco said, resisting rolling his eyes. "I was just leav—"
"You look well," Harry said.
"I…uh…" It wasn't like Draco to be so tongue-tied. "Thank you," he said eventually, straightening himself up.
"That scarf looks familiar," Harry said, smiling.
Draco narrowed his eyes and then glanced back at his reflection. He was wearing dark grey robes with a black and white silk scarf wrapped around his neck. The scarf Harry had brought over their first night together, the very same one he'd used to tie—Okay, never mind about that, Draco.
"It goes well with the outfit," Draco said, his tone cold. "If you'd like it back, you should have written to me—"
"No, I don't want it back, Draco," Harry said, taking a step closer.
From the corner of his eye, Draco saw the door to the loo open, but it was quickly yanked shut and someone on the other side cursed.
This had got to be a joke.
"Try to open that door for me," Draco said to Harry who looked confused. "The door, Potter. Try to open the door."
After a moment, Harry stepped back and yanked on the door handle. It didn't budge.
"Ah, so we've been set up."
Now he knew why Pansy had told him to attend this event, and why Harry, who never attended one of these, was here.
"I don't understand," Harry continued trying the door handle, eventually, bringing out his wand.
"I think they want us to talk."
"Your friends. My friends."
Draco shrugged. "You'll have to ask them."
He waited patiently as Harry spelled the door open and then looked at Draco again. Draco walked out without a word. His heart was beating rapidly, and all Draco knew was if he didn't get away from Harry and corner his friends, he was going to burst. He'd nearly forgot to breathe when he was around Harry, and he couldn't very well faint in front of the man, now could he?
"We?" Harry asked, looking at Ron and Ginny, and then glancing around the room. He found Draco standing in the corner with Zabini and Parkinson. Draco's posture was stiff with his arms crossed in front of his chest, and he was giving his friends that stare Harry hated getting from Draco. He actually felt bad for Draco's friends.
"Hermione was wrong, she made us be mean to Draco," Ginny said, who immediately shut up when Hermione glared at her.
"So I made a mistake," Hermione said.
"You look like that was the hardest thing you've ever had to admit," commented Harry, fighting back a laugh.
"It is. Okay? It's hard for me to admit I jeopardized your happiness because of something I didn't understand. I don't know how you can love someone who made your life a living— our life a living hell for more than five years. But you do. You love him. And he makes you happy."
"Yeah, he did," admitted Harry. More than I thought possible. "But realising you made a mistake and then forcing me in the same vicinity as him isn't going to make everything all right. You have to apologise to him. You have to tell him you were wrong. And if he wishes it, maybe he and I can talk. Because even if he did make me happy, and even if you were wrong and are sorry, that doesn't mean he'd want to go out with me again."
"But you do, don't you? You want to be with him again?" Ginny asked softly. She smiled at him in a kind way that made his heart melt. "You should tell him you miss him."
Harry stayed quiet for a moment, and when he opened his mouth to speak, he was cut off by a question.
"Do you?" Draco's voice.
Ginny must have seen Draco approaching before she'd asked Harry the question. Her eyes betrayed her, and Harry was glad to have her as a friend. He slowly turned around, schooling his expression, and looked at Draco.
"Do you miss me?" Draco asked.
"Do you miss me?" Harry countered.
"Oh for goodness' sake, Harry!" Hermione whacked the back of Harry's head with her purse before coming to stand by his side. She glared at him for a good moment and then turned to look at Draco, as well. "Malfoy…Draco. I'm so sor—"
"Please, Granger," Draco said in a cheery tone, which sounded extremely odd. And then Harry realised Draco had probably never been so at-ease around his friends. He gestured to Zabini and Parkinson, "These fools let me in on their conversations with you, and, if I'm honest… I'd rather be speaking with Harry than you lot."
And then the cheeriness in his tone was gone and he was glaring daggers.
"Bloody hell, Malfoy," Ron said, sounding amused. "I reckon this is the only time you're allowed to speak to Hermione like that… but—"
"Ron…" Harry said softly. "D' you mind? Maybe some other time?"
One by one, Harry's friends and Draco's friends started to walk away. Harry couldn't help but notice Zabini and Ginny went in one direction while Parkinson went to the bar with Ron and Hermione. He didn't have time to read too much into that though; he wanted to focus on Draco.
"Do you want to go outside to talk, maybe?"
Draco nodded and led the way. They were the only ones on the balcony because it was bloody freezing, so Harry placed a warming charm, along with a privacy one. He didn't want anyone to bother them. He had to find the right words to get Draco back.
"I—" Harry began when Draco lunged himself at him. The kiss wasn't tender. It was hot, and needy, and desperate. It was everything Harry wanted, and was more than willing to give back to Draco. Dear gods, how he'd missed this. Draco opened up for him, and their tongues slid together. The way Draco moaned for him made Harry's heart ache. How could he have thought he could live without this? How could he have moved on?
"For the record," Draco said when he'd finally managed to pull himself away from Harry for a moment, "I haven't forgiven you. I haven't forgiven you for never reaching out to me. Not asking me if I missed you and left me for four months. But, yes, I missed you. And I want you back, but there's going to be lots of grovelling later, and you're going to have to make up for the lost time and the lost sex of four months, Harry. But—"
"I love you," Harry said. "I missed you every day, and every day I thought about reaching out to you. I wanted to chase after you from the moment you'd walked away from me. But then I deliberated waiting. Give you time to cool down. But the more I waited, the angrier I became because you had left me. You walked out, and I didn't know how to get you back. I didn't know if you'd come back. I didn't know if you'd love me again. If you'd love me the same…"
Draco wrapped his arms around Harry's waist and edged himself closer. His body shuddered against Harry, and Harry had a feeling it didn't have anything to do with the cold.
"I'm so sorry." Draco's voice was muffled as he pressed his face into the collar of Harry's robes. "I was foolish. I'd wished for you to choose me over them. I desperately wanted you to choose me over them. I would have chosen you over my friends. Because—"
"Shit…" Harry breathed.
"It was the most imbecilic thing I'd ever done. How could I have expected— You're not like me. You're strong, and you're loyal and you're— And your friends aren't assholes. Not really."
"Draco…" Harry whispered and waited for Draco to look at him. "I think, in a way, I did."
"What?" Draco asked, his voice shaking with nervousness and a hint of surprise.
"I shut down after you left. I only worked, and then went home, and then worked again. I picked up extra shifts, travelled for more undercover assignments. I stopped seeing them because I believed they'd made me stop seeing you. So I was…I don't know…retaliating. I didn't mean to do it. In my mind, it was my way of coping with the breakup but… I could feel it. If I couldn't be with you, I didn't want to be around anyone."
It was true. Harry knew it now. He'd never stopped and analysed the situation, but it was what he'd been doing. In a way, he was punishing everyone. His friends, and especially himself, for not chasing after Draco.
"I was the same, I think," said Draco. "I shut myself out. I didn't see my friends, I mean, I didn't even make any excuses. I told them I didn't wish to see them. Perhaps I blamed them just as much as I blamed you. I hoped after a while, I'd move past the rift and life could go back to normal, but it never—"
"It never did. Yeah. I'd felt so good after I'd talked to you for ten seconds by the door when I got here. I don't know what I'd been thinking this whole time…all these months… Draco, I'm so sorry."
Draco smiled and leaned in for a kiss again. This time, it wasn't as needy and desperate, but Harry loved it all the same, if not more. His fingers raked through Draco's hair and he pressed himself closer still. Any distance between them was too much, and Harry couldn't have that.
All he'd wanted to have, was Draco.
He'd come a long way that year, Harry thought, from his first date with Draco in January, to their reconciliation now during Christmas. His life had changed in many ways. He'd put his faith and trust in his friends, and they'd made a mistake. He'd made the mistake of not listening to his own gut. But… things were better now. And they were only going to get better. Because within that year, he'd finally found what he didn't want to live without.
He'd chosen Draco Malfoy.
Two days later, Draco had all of his things moved into Harry's flat, and they finally made use of the bed they'd bought together. The next interview Harry gave to the Prophet was about how he planned on staying with the British DMLE and how he'd found love through Patil's Pursuit of Passion.
Draco still hated the name.