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Sunday, Monday or Always

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Harry carefully slipped his arm out from under Teddy’s sleeping form. Hissing quietly at the pins-and-needles sensation, he padded in stocking feet out of living room and headed down toward the kitchen to fix himself some breakfast. Resisting the urge to put a little brandy in his morning cup of tea, Harry set about making a fry-up for the pair of them.

It had been a very long night with a fussy, fluish Teddy waking him up at all hours, and Harry somehow knew that today wasn’t going to be much better. If Teddy’s fever kept up, they were likely going to have to spend the afternoon at St. Mungo’s, which was decidedly not a fun prospect. The first time that Harry’d had to take Teddy to the hospital, the boy had put up such a fuss that Harry himself had ended up with a few cuts and bruises from the truly epic temper tantrum, and every time since hadn’t exactly been a picnic.

Needless to say, the situation had been less than pleasant for all parties involved, so Harry really hoped that a Sunday of just rest would do the boy well enough that Harry wouldn’t have to worry about bundling him into his cloak and the Floo.

As if on cue, the kitchen fireplace flared to life suddenly, startling Harry. After more than a decade of living in the wizarding world, he still occasionally forgot some things. And frankly, after his first terrible experience with the Floo, he’d never really warmed to that particular form of travel.

“Potter, are you decent?” Malfoy’s familiar drawl called through the flames before his head appeared.

“A bit early, aren’t you?” Harry replied, yawning widely. He then turned down the heat on the stovetop and walked over to kneel before the fireplace.

“It’s half eleven, what do you mean, early?”

“Shit, is it really?” Harry asked, chuckling a little. He supposed it made perfect sense, though, considering just how little he’d slept the night before. “Teddy’s still asleep. He’s got the flu.”

A concerned expression crossed Malfoy’s features, obvious even through the green tint of the Floo flames. “Step back a bit,” he said, before his face disappeared. Harry quickly got up and moved away so that Malfoy could come through the fireplace unimpeded. Not a moment later, his former rival stood before the hearth, brushing soot from his shoulders with an impatient look on his face. “You should really have that horrifying House Elf of yours take better care of the fireplace. It’s filthy in there, Potter.”

“Of course it is, it’s a bloody fireplace,” Harry replied, unable to keep a fond grin from his lips. It was the same story every Sunday when Malfoy came through from Malfoy Manor, and Harry somehow knew that even if he was to have an immaculate fireplace, Malfoy would still find something to complain about; it was clearly just his way. As much as some things changed, most stayed the same -- it was comforting, in a sense.

Malfoy took off his cloak, folded it neatly, and handed it to Harry, revealing a pressed pair of navy trousers and an impossibly soft-looking, cream-colored jumper. At Harry’s raised eyebrow, Malfoy bristled and crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t give me that look. You know how I feel about you and your stupid Muggle clothes-only rule.”

Malfoy might have said it was stupid, but Harry figured it was really just insecurity since robes were all Malfoy really knew. He obviously had no real idea how much better he looked -- less severe and more like a real person. “It’s not a rule,” Harry then insisted, as he tossed Malfoy’s cloak over a chair, with a bit of a smirk on his lips. “I’m just more comfortable this way. Though I don’t suppose you’ll ever be caught in a pair of jeans, right?”

“Honestly, Potter, were you raised by hippogriffs?” Malfoy asked, exasperated, and walked over to snatch the cloak back.

“No, by Muggles,” Harry replied, laughing outright. Although, frankly, Aunt Petunia wouldn’t have much cared for the way he tossed expensive cloaks around either. “And be nice to me,” he pouted playfully. “I barely slept last night.” His mood seemed to have rapidly improved from the grumpiness that a lack of sleep always brought upon him, easily explained by how much fun it always was to take the piss out of Malfoy.

Malfoy tossed a casual glare over his shoulder in answer, before climbing up the stairs from the basement kitchen. Harry followed a moment later, carrying two plates of the fry-up he’d made and carefully levitating a stocked tea tray behind him. He found Malfoy in the sitting room where Teddy napped, with the back of his hand against Teddy’s forehead. “He’s quite warm, Potter, have you even given him a Fever Reducing Potion?” Malfoy asked, his voice soft, but his tone sharp.

“Of course I did. I’m not incompetent, no matter how many times you say it,” he answered, before setting the plates down and taking a seat on the couch on Teddy’s other side. “He’s due for another dose in about an hour.”

With an aggrieved look and exaggerated sigh, Malfoy shifted so that he could begin pouring a cup of tea. “You haven’t been attempting those pathetic Muggle remedies again, have you?” he asked, as he carefully measured out two teaspoons of sugar.

“They aren’t pathetic, and no, not after the reaming you gave me last time he was ill.” The first time Malfoy had come over on a day when Teddy’d had a cough, he’d spent nearly an hour berating Harry for giving Teddy a children’s cough syrup. Of course, he’d been entirely right to insist upon a traditional wizarding remedy, considering Teddy’s parentage, but he really hadn’t needed to be so damned smug about it.

“Uncle Harry?” The soft, sleepy voice of his godson drew Harry’s attention immediately, and he shifted to give the boy more space. Teddy carefully levered himself up, let go a huge yawn, and then sagged against Harry’s side. A lazy smile then came to his lips, and his hair, which had been a dull, ditchwater brown, perked briefly up into platinum when he saw that Malfoy had arrived for his weekly playdate. “Draco!” he exclaimed, reaching out a grabby hand for Malfoy’s jumper.

It was a testament to how much Malfoy clearly cared for the boy that he didn’t flinch away from Teddy’s obviously sweat-slick fingers. “Hello, Teddy,” he greeted, setting down the two cups of tea he’d prepared, and shifted back for Teddy to climb into his lap. “Your godfather,” he flicked a glance at Harry, as the corner of his lip quirked up in amusement, “tells me you’re not feeling well. Is he telling tales?”

“He never tells tales, Draco! Lying is very, very bad, don’t you remember?”

Harry, in turn, couldn’t hold back the amused grin, even as he scratched absently at the faint scar on his wrist which bore the infamous punishment from his Fifth Year. “Yes, Draco, lying is very, very bad,” he added, catching Malfoy’s eyes, before he reached for his tea cup and took a sip, only to find it prepared exactly the way he liked.

--- --- ---

Frantic wasn’t the correct word to describe how Harry was feeling, as he paced back and forth before the fireplace awaiting Malfoy’s arrival, but it was close enough that he didn’t have time to dwell on what it could possibly mean to be feeling so restless on Malfoy’s account. Teddy wasn’t helping his mood either, having been pouty and snappish all morning -- and all bloody week, as well. Frankly, Malfoy couldn’t get there fast enough, and when the flames changed to Floo Green, Harry breathed a sigh of relief and stepped back so that Malfoy could come through the fireplace.

“Were you waiting for me? How sweet,” Malfoy said, brushing the soot from his cloak before removing it and handing it to Harry, with an eyebrow raised in challenge. But Harry didn’t have time for their usual dance today, and when he folded it carefully over his arm before heading immediately to the staircase, Malfoy’s brow furrowed. “Something wrong, Potter?” he continued.

“Teddy’s been in a strop all week, thanks to your little disappearing act, and he’s convinced that you weren’t coming today, so don’t be alarmed if he yells at you. Also, Ron and Hermione are due in an hour, and I wanted to give you a bit of warning,” Harry replied quickly, as he climbed the stairs two at a time, not even bothering to look behind him to see if Malfoy was following. He’d left Teddy sulking in his bedroom when the boy had refused to come out. It was really more like he was raising a teenager, rather than a five-year-old.

“Didn’t you tell him why I wasn’t able to come last week?” Malfoy asked, as they reached the set of stairs that would take them to Teddy’s bedroom on the second floor. “I had a perfectly logical reason for missing our engagement.”

Harry let out an inelegant snort. “Since when does earth logic work on children? He thinks you abandoned him.” Under any other circumstances, it might have been a little funny, but since Teddy had taken the slight out on Harry all week, he wasn’t exactly able to find the humor in it just yet. He knocked briskly on Teddy’s door. “Teddy, you’ve got a visitor!” he called, glancing at Malfoy.

“I don’t wanna visitor. Go away!”

The petulance was muffled through the door, but Harry winced nonetheless. He turned to Malfoy with an apologetic shrug. “It’s been like this all week. I’m about ready to pull out my damn hair!” he explained, exhaling sharply.

“Pulling it out could only improve it,” Malfoy replied, though the taunt lacked menace, and Harry couldn’t help but grin softly. Malfoy’s insults seemed to have lost their venom in the last few years as they’d solidified their reluctant friendship, but he’d never been able to give them up entirely. Malfoy then rapped sharply on the door, drawing himself to a height, and affecting what Harry recognized as his most parental tone. “Edward Lupin, I suggest you come out of this room right now, or I’ll just have to give this present I’ve brought to some other little boy.”

“Bribing him with a gift, really?” Harry asked, folding his arms across his chest and falling back to lean casually against the hallway wall. “You spoil him.”

Of course, though, the door did swing open, and an overly-enthused, bright-blue-haired Teddy tore out and attached himself to Malfoy’s legs in a crushing hug. “I thought you’d never, ever come back. Why did you not come? Do you hate me? I promise I’ll be good forever and ever!” Teddy babbled.

An unreadable expression crossed Malfoy’s face, and Harry offered him a sympathetic grin. He’d heard variations of the little speech all week, in between bouts of stroppiness. “I think,” Harry said, gesturing to Teddy’s hair, which had morphed into the same shade as Malfoy’s, as it always seemed to do on Sundays, “what he’s trying to say is that he missed you.”

Malfoy’s jaw clenched briefly, but then he carefully detached Teddy from his legs. He knelt down, wincing as his knees hit the hardwood floor, and held the boy at arm’s length. “I missed you too, and I give you my word, I won’t miss a Sunday again, unless I absolutely must,” he promised, before tugging Teddy in and hugging him tightly.

“Didn’t I tell you, Teddy?” Harry said softly, swallowing hard against an odd little lump that had settled in his throat quite against his will.

The boy turned his head and laid doleful eyes on Harry. “I’m sorry I was mean to you,” he apologized and bit down on his plump little lip, and the lump in Harry’s throat became a strange, clenched feeling in his chest. “Can we all go play now?” Teddy continued, blinking innocently, all traces of tantrum or mournfulness gone in an instant.

“Yes, Harry,” Malfoy echoed, his voice strange in a way Harry couldn’t recognize, “can we all go play?”

Harry nodded, a smile coming back to his lips, as Teddy’s hair flickered from lavender to green to platinum in rapid succession. “Of course. I think you said something about a present, right?” he replied, teasingly.

Malfoy reached into the pocket of his black trousers and pulled out a small, wrapped package. He spoke a quiet incantation and the package became larger. Teddy let out a squeal and all but tore the gift out of Malfoy’s hands, ripping off the parchment to reveal a toy Quidditch set. “Thank you, Draco, thank you!” he cried, before tearing off down the hall to set up the game in the living room.

“My hero,” Harry said, with much less sarcasm than he’d intended. It might not have felt all that nice to depend on Malfoy to get Teddy to behave, but he couldn’t help feeling relieved. Besides, Sundays just didn’t feel like Sundays anymore, without Malfoy around. Not, of course, that he had any intention of admitting it aloud.

“You’re welcome,” Malfoy replied. “Now, shall I get the tea then, or don’t you have a terrifying House Elf to do that for us?”

Harry laughed brightly, as he turned to go down the kitchen. “I wouldn’t want to put you out or anything,” he tossed casually over his shoulder, leaving Malfoy to follow after Teddy. A few moments later, when the tea tray was prepared and well stocked with the little dark chocolate biscuits that Malfoy favored, Harry returned to the living room to find him on the floor next to Teddy, just finishing teaching the boy how to set up the game properly.

“Have a bit of practice flying the players about, and then I challenge you to a Seeker’s game,” Malfoy said, before levering himself up and walking over to the couch to get his tea.

Harry grinned widely, as he took in the unmasked glee on Teddy’s face. Then, when Malfoy sat beside him, he handed the man his teacup. “Extra milk, two sugars, right?”

“As if you don’t know by now,” Malfoy replied, his lips quirking into a smirk, as Teddy crowed with joy when he scored a goal. A moment of brief silence passed between them, and Harry turned to find Malfoy regarding him carefully. He sighed gently and set his teacup down. “For what it’s worth, I do feel badly about having to miss last week. I wouldn’t have done, except Mother needed my assistance with--”

“--it’s really fine,” Harry interrupted. “Honestly. I mean, I wish he hadn’t been such a terror all week, but things come up, and I understand, even if he didn’t.”

Malfoy nodded and reached for his tea again. A few moments later, he broke the comfortable silence once more. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten that apparently your Weasley and Granger are on their way over here.” He murmured softly, eyes on Teddy, as he zoomed an Oliver Wood action figure around the miniature goal hoops.

“I’ll make it up to you next weekend,” Harry replied easily. He flicked a glance over, pleased to see that Malfoy didn’t look too upset about it. “They needed an excuse to get out of some political lunch thing that Fleur was trying to make them all go to this afternoon.”

Malfoy made a noise of interest in the back of his throat. “Society moves ever forward, doesn’t it?” he said, without even a hint of wistfulness.

Curious, Harry reached for his tea and took a sip, wincing a bit to find that he’d distractedly put too much sugar in. “Do you miss it?” he asked.

“Miss what?”

“Society and all that rot,” Harry replied, shrugging lightly.

Malfoy turned to him and smiled. “I rather like my new society,” he said fondly. His gaze then traveled back to Teddy, and he settled against the back cushions.

A warm feeling spread through Harry, and he was entirely convinced it had nothing to do with the tea.

-- --- --- --

With Teddy wedged neatly between himself and Malfoy, entirely engrossed in the movie, it didn’t seem like anyone would be going anywhere soon, despite the late hour, but Harry found that he really didn’t mind. They had a large bowl of popcorn, cups of hot drinking chocolate, and another Disney DVD ready to pop into the player as soon as Nemo found his way back to Marlin.

“Uncle Harry, can you pause the movie? I hafta go to the loo,” Teddy suddenly said and hopped down off the couch before waiting for an answer.

Harry laughed and reached for the remote control, nearly upending the bowl of popcorn from the coffee table in his enthusiasm to make sure Teddy didn’t miss a minute, even though he’d seen the movie enough times to quote it in its entirety.

“Do be careful, Potter. I’m still hungry,” Malfoy said, rescuing the bowl and pulling it into his lap. “What’s the time, by the way?”

Harry glanced down at his wristwatch, and in fact, it was getting far too late for Teddy to even be up, let alone watching movies. “It’s nearing ten.” He sighed gently and glanced toward the hallway. “I should probably get him to bed. He’s got school in the morning.”

“You sound wistful, Potter, everything all right?”

“Wistful?” Harry echoed, shrugging. “I don’t know. I guess … well, this is kinda nice, isn’t it? And he’s so content.” The truth was, Teddy never seemed nearly as happy during the rest of the week. It wasn’t to say that Teddy was unhappy whenever Malfoy wasn’t around, but it was clear that things were always just a little brighter on Sundays. Harry didn’t quite know what to make of it, except that Teddy just really would rather have his cousin around.

When Malfoy had first expressed interest in meeting Teddy, Harry had been resistant, and in fact, if it hadn’t been for Narcissa Malfoy’s impassioned letter and Andromeda’s final wish to see her family as intact as it could be, he might have forbidden it. He’d had no desire whatsoever to spend any time with Draco Malfoy -- but as time had gone on, they had fallen into a rapport that occasionally left Harry questioning how different things might have been had he just shaken Malfoy’s hand all those years ago. Slowly but surely, Harry found that Malfoy was actually a pretty decent person whose company he enjoyed more than he ever thought he would.


Realizing he’d gone quiet, Harry flushed lightly, considering the sentiment in his thoughts. “Sorry, I -- I’m going to go check on him. He’s never this long, especially when the movie’s on,” he replied, getting up.

Malfoy regarded him oddly, but then a small smile came to his face. “Such a worrywart, Potty. He’s five-years-old and been using the toilet on his own for nearly two years now. Or is it that you’re afraid to be alone with me?”

Caught, Harry ran a hand through his too-long hair and sank back onto the couch. “I suppose you’ve got me there,” he admitted, with a helpless little laugh. “I guess I was just thinking, you know.”

“You think? Alert the media,” Malfoy scoffed, though his tone was fond, rather like it always was these days, and it brought a genuine smile to Harry’s lips again. “What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking,” Harry continued, “about how weird it is that you and I are friends now.”

“Are we friends?” Malfoy asked.

Frowning slightly, Harry reached for the popcorn bowl in Malfoy’s lap and tugged it onto his own. “Aren’t we?” he asked, ignoring the twinge of hurt at being dismissed.

“I suppose we’ve never really put a name to it,” Malfoy replied quickly.

Harry scoffed at that and barely resisted picking up a handful of popcorn and throwing it at the blond git. “You really are the absolute worst, you know that? What the hell else would you call this?”

“Uncle Harry?” At Teddy’s voice, Harry glanced over and grinned, all traces of annoyance with Malfoy gone instantly. Teddy bounded back over to the couch and jumped up in between the two men. He cuddled into Malfoy’s side until Malfoy wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “Draco, how come you don’t come visit more?”

“Visit more? I visit you every week!” Malfoy exclaimed, giving Teddy a light squeeze.

“But that’s only a little bit! I see Uncle Ron and Auntie Hermione all the time, but I never get to see you,” Teddy insisted, putting on the pout that Harry recognized as a signal that a tantrum wasn’t far behind if Malfoy didn’t answer very carefully.

Malfoy raised his eyes over Teddy’s head to look questioningly at Harry, and at his gaze, something in Harry’s chest clenched in a way that had become oddly familiar over the last few weeks, if only he knew what the hell it meant. “You could, you know,” Harry said, glancing away, as the snow falling outside became incredibly interesting all of a sudden. “Visit us more.” He looked back to see Malfoy’s brow furrowed and eyes locked on Harry’s own.

“I’d like that,” Malfoy then answered, pulling Teddy into his lap and wrapping his arms around the boy, and Harry exhaled slowly, pleased that Teddy’s tantrum had been averted. “It’s the best part of my week when I get to spend time with you.”

“Now more days can be like Sundays!” Teddy exclaimed. “Right, Uncle Harry? Because Sundays are the best!”

“That’s right, Teddy,” Harry replied, swallowing hard against the annoying lump that kept randomly appearing in his throat. He wondered when he got so sentimental, and about Malfoy of all things. “Sundays are the best.”

-- --- --- --

The Daily Prophet called the blizzard that had blanketed wizarding Britain with snow overnight “Snowpocalypse,” and as Harry sat with Teddy on the couch, watching the snow that just wouldn’t relent, he had to admit that the journalistic hyperbole might not actually have been too far off. It was definitely the kind of weather that was perfect for a night in, with a fire blazing in the hearth, curled up on the couch with pillows and blankets, hot chocolate or a nice bottle of merlot, maybe one of those silly romantic comedy films that he kept for whenever Ginny came over to the house, snogging during the boring bits--

Harry sat bolt upright at the realization that his perfect night in was not with his godson, but with a certain blond-haired, posh git that had been coming around much more often in the last few weeks. But, well, Malfoy wasn’t really such a git anymore, and he certainly couldn’t help being posh thanks to all the money and attitude with which he’d grown up. But there was no reason to be making excuses about having the urge to curl up on the couch with Malfoy because it was a momentary brain lapse born of the weather and the fact that he hadn’t had a proper date in exactly 243 days, not that he was keeping track, and the last time that he’d actually had a good time alone with another person was when he and Malfoy had stopped to get a cup of coffee on the way home from dropping Teddy off at school.

“Will there be school tomorrow?” Teddy suddenly asked, eyes never leaving the swirling snow outside.

Very grateful for the distraction, Harry laughed and ruffled Teddy’s currently-black hair. “Hazard of growing up as a wizard, little man, they don’t cancel school due to the weather. As long as I can Apparate, you’re off to Madam Peregrine’s,” he replied, laughing further as Teddy’s face fell almost comically.

“I wish I was a Muggle sometimes,” Teddy replied, folding his arms across his chest and sinking back against the couch cushions.

“Oh, is that so?” Harry asked, tone amused. “Just so you can skive off school?”

Just then, the doorbell chimed, causing Harry to wince when he heard Mrs. Black start shrieking. She’d gotten much better over the years, remaining silent for weeks at a time, but every so often -- and usually when the weather was poor -- she forgot the truce and played it true to painted form. He wondered which of his friends could possibly have braved the weather. Since the Floos were notoriously unreliable during severe weather, it actually was a bit of an undertaking to get to Grimmauld Place.

“Teddy, why don’t you pick out a movie while I get the door?” Harry said, as he got up and left the living room. And when he opened the front door, he supposed he should have been surprised, but instead, he found himself oddly relieved for reasons he absolutely did not want to explore at the moment.

“Aren’t you g-going to let me in, Potter? It’s bloody freezing out here, and my Warming Charm is w-wearing off,” Malfoy said, teeth chattering in a way that was not endearing or charming at all.

“What on earth are you doing here?” Harry asked, as he stepped back to let Malfoy in. He watched as Malfoy stamped the snow off his obviously expensive boots and carefully removed his cloak, revealing a dark blue dressing gown over a pair of pyjamas. Harry just barely managed to hold back his surprised laughter. “Didn’t you read? ‘Snowpocalypse,’ Malfoy!”

“I got your Owl,” Malfoy replied, a confused look on his face. “You said it was urgent, so I came straight away. I would have Floo’d but for the weather...”

“My Owl?” Harry repeated, equally confused. The last Owl he’d sent was nearly a week ago, and it was just to renew his subscription for Quidditch Illustrated. “I didn’t send you anything.”

Malfoy quirked an eyebrow with all the practiced disdain of his youth, but it only served to make Harry smile, knowing as he did that Malfoy never meant it anymore. “Are you certain? Because it had your chicken-scratch signature on it,” he added, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a rumpled piece of parchment.

Harry took the note and, after reading it through once, started to laugh. “All right, Malfoy, I knew you had rather a low opinion of my penmanship, but I can’t believe you thought this was from me,” he said sarcastically.

A sneer crossed Malfoy’s face as he crossed his arms over his chest defensively. “Then who sent it to me, using your Owl and your terrible handwriting, hm?”

“I think I have an idea,” Harry replied, reaching up to scratch idly at the back of his head. “Come on. I have a tiny terror to punish.”

“A tiny--” Malfoy cut himself off with a groan. “You’re taking the piss, Potter.”

“I assure you, I am not,” Harry replied, trying not to laugh again. It was easier to laugh than it was to think that Malfoy had roused himself from bed and hurried over to Grimmauld Place in the middle of a raging snowstorm because Harry had allegedly asked him to come. It could have meant any number of things, but Harry was disturbed to discover that what he really wanted it to mean was that Malfoy really wanted to see him. “Come with me. You’re much better at discipline than I am.”

“Discipline, hm?” Malfoy replied, with a hint of a smile now playing at his lips.

Harry did his level best not to flush. “You know what I meant,” he replied and quickly turned to go back into the living room. There he found Teddy sitting tailor-fashion before the telly, staring avidly at Lilo as she surfed the waves and looking the very picture of innocence.

“Edward Lupin, did you send for me under false pretenses?” Malfoy said, appearing just behind Harry and brushing past to stand directly in front of the monitor, obscuring Teddy’s view.

Harry stiffened for a moment at Malfoy’s brief contact, then inwardly shook himself. Now was certainly not the time for inconvenient odd feelings that he neither wanted to nor could explain. He watched instead, odd feelings giving way to amusement as Teddy, rather than shrinking before Malfoy’s imperiousness, merely smirked mischievously.

“I wanted you to come over and play since there’s not gonna be any school tomorrow,” Teddy answered, and his smirk gave way to a grin. “Right, Uncle Harry? Isn’t there no school tomorrow?” He batted his eyelashes, and his hair flashed quickly from platinum to blue to black again. The little Slytherin in the making then turned back to Malfoy and shrugged his shoulders. “I just miss you when you’re not here,” he added, giving a great sigh.

It was a pretty masterful performance, and Harry was almost too amused to be upset about Teddy’s lying. He was definitely going to be punished later, but for the moment, Harry was happy to let Malfoy deal with him as he chose. The sentiment, after all, was true; Harry knew that Teddy missed Malfoy when he wasn’t around and, well frankly, Harry sometimes found himself missing Malfoy when he wasn’t around. Not, of course, that he wanted to think about that at the moment either.

“Is that so?” Malfoy asked, and Harry could see he was melting. “Well …” Malfoy glanced at Harry, a look in his eyes that made Harry’s breath catch in his throat, “I miss you too when I’m not here. I miss … I miss a lot of things.”

“Then you should just stay!” Teddy insisted, standing up and pushing himself up to his height. Malfoy, for his part, crouched down to the boy’s eye level. “You should just stay here, Draco, and then you wouldn’t have to miss us at all.”

Malfoy smirked gently, letting out a soft chuckle. “I suppose you do have a point.” He then glanced at Harry again, but Harry quickly looked away, as an unnamed feeling swept through him. “But I have a home of my own, and I can’t just leave it behind,” he continued.

Teddy pouted briefly, but recovered easily. “Okay fine, but you should at least stay tonight because of the snow and because of no school tomorrow,” he said, the mischievous tone back in his voice.

Malfoy reached out to ruffle Teddy’s now-platinum hair and sighed as though he’d given up. “Well, Potter, is it true? No school tomorrow?”

Harry took a seat on the couch and looked studiously out the window. A smile came to his lips, however, as he quietly said, “No school tomorrow.”

-- --- --- --

Malfoy sat at the kitchen table, bent over a mug of tea and a plate of eggs and toast, somehow managing to look entirely put together at an ungodly hour of the morning. It had been a couple weeks since Malfoy had began spending some nights over at Grimmauld Place, instead of leaving when it was Teddy’s bedtime, and consequently, it was becoming harder and harder for Harry to pretend that he didn’t have some kind of feelings for the man. He liked to think it was just because he spent most of his time with Malfoy and that if anyone else had practically been his other half for the last few years, he’d have felt likewise, but it was becoming harder and harder to believe that as well.

“Potter, didn’t you hear what I said?”

Malfoy’s voice cut through Harry’s brief reverie, and he glanced up to see Malfoy’s quizzical expression. “Sorry, no, what was that?” he asked, flushing lightly at being caught unawares.

“I said, after we take Teddy to school this morning, I’m supposed to meet Astoria at the gallery. I promised I’d assist her with the installation since, as you well know, Blaise is notoriously difficult,” he repeated.

“Blaise isn’t that bad. He’s just--”


Harry snickered. “A bit, but isn’t that just an artist thing in general?”

Malfoy scoffed, but in an amused way. “No need to stereotype. Anyway, I thought I’d see if you wanted to join us. While your book is with the editors, it isn’t like you have much else to be doing, right?”

“I did have a section of rewrites to work--”

“Oh come on, it won’t take very long,” Malfoy interrupted, before reaching forward to nudge the sugar bowl closer to Harry. “You forgot a spoonful,” he added, obviously noting the slight grimace that had crossed Harry’s face upon his sip of tea.

Harry sat silent for several long moments, stricken by the implication of Malfoy noticing something as insignificant as the amount of sugar he put in his teacup. Or did it imply anything at all? They did spend most of their time together, and Harry knew he’d notice if Malfoy had accidentally put the milk in first or stirred counter instead of clockwise.

“Are you quite all right?” Malfoy asked, concern knitting his brow. “You’ve been really odd these last few days.”

“Are we in a relationship?” Harry then blurted out. Inwardly, he cursed his Gryffindor boldness, if that even was the reason for his sudden burst of verbal diarrhea. He was pretty certain his face was bright red, feeling a heat in his cheeks. “I’m, er, that was just a--”

“I’d say we are,” Malfoy answered evenly, expression entirely unreadable in a way that was deeply unsettling.

Harry’s stomach turned over on itself, and he reached for his tea for a calming sip. “You’d say we are,” he repeated, not daring to look up at Malfoy.

“Well, yes. We spend most of our time together these days, and we’re essentially raising Teddy together,” Malfoy replied. “Wouldn’t you call that a relationship?”

“I, well, I don’t … is it really?” Harry’s cheeks were now definitely flushed bright red. “I mean, we’re not … you’re not … we don’t--”

“Relax, Harry,” Malfoy then said with a genuine smile on his lips, but the use of his given name only served to make Harry feel more flustered. Malfoy usually only called him Harry when he was echoing something Teddy said, and it never felt particularly intimate before. “I wouldn’t try anything, of course. I know you aren’t interested in me romantically, but I think it’s silly to deny the fact that what we have right now is certainly more than friendship.”

Heartened suddenly, Harry slid his tea cup to the side and reached across the table to take Malfoy’s hand in his own. So that was what Gryffindor boldness was actually for, he thought, smiling at the surprised look on Malfoy’s face. “Look, Draco,” he tried the name and found that while it felt a bit strange, it was a good sort of strange, “I don’t know when or how it happened, but I realized that the most significant person in my life aside from Teddy is you.” He looked away briefly, then back, fierce determination blazing in his eyes. “What the hell does that mean?”

For the first time in his life, Harry thought, Malfoy -- Draco -- was completely speechless. He glanced down at their now-joined hands and back up at Harry, mouth opening and closing like a fish.


Startled, Harry let go and turned to see Teddy hovering in the kitchen door, his hair an odd mix of platinum and black. “Finally?” he repeated, confused.

Teddy practically skipped into the room and immediately prodded Draco’s legs until he scooted back in his chair enough for Teddy to hop up onto his lap. “I was waiting and waiting, and I didn’t think it was ever, ever gonna happen ‘cause of you are both real stubborn!” he exclaimed, reaching out for Draco’s teacup.

“Stubborn? Teddy, what on earth are you talking about?” Draco asked, before looking over, bewildered, at Harry.

“You know, how you both really like each other, but you wouldn’t say anything about it? Uncle Ron said you were both real stubborn g-words, and Auntie ‘Mione yelled at him for saying the g-word, even though I heard it before because Uncle Harry, you used to call Draco a g-word all the time a long, long time ago, but then you stopped because you started to really like each other.” He paused and took a sip of Draco’s tea. “And now you can live happily ever after like Cinderella did.”

A silence fell amongst them, until Harry broke it with a bark of laughter. Draco joined in a moment later, and Teddy just continued to drink the rest of Draco’s tea, with the air of someone who’d solved a deeply complex Arithmancy equation in a matter of moments.

“I don’t suppose we can argue with that, can we?” Draco asked and reached forward across the table again.

“No,” Harry replied, twining their fingers casually and feeling a thrill at the sense of warmth that spread through him from the simple contact. The look in Draco’s eyes promised more, and Harry grinned widely. “No, I don’t suppose we can.”

It had never before felt so good to be tricked by a future Slytherin.