His friends don’t understand.
Ron is always shaking his head and telling Harry that Ginny travels a lot with the Harpies, but not that much. “You two could still date, you know. She told me the other day how fit you looked on that recruiting poster.”
Harry is always snorting and saying, “She can admire me all she likes, but I’m not looking for someone else.”
And then Ron will wrinkle his brow and mutter, “But if you have two people already…”
Harry is more than happy to leave the lectures on polyamory up to Hermione. He doesn’t do a good job of explaining it even when he tries, and Ron gets resentful. But he adores Hermione, and the way she lectures is part of that adoration.
That doesn’t mean Harry gets spared the sharp side of Hermione’s tongue.
“It just seems strange that someone who was married for years is willing to take you as a lover,” she tells Harry earnestly when Harry is in St. Mungo’s from a curse that went wrong and she comes to visit. It’s the third time that a curse has gone wrong when Harry and that particular Auror trainee, Terry Boot, were dueling, which means that Harry is going to have to investigate. He’d rather think about that, but Hermione demands his attention instead. “I mean, I know polyamory involves negotiation and honesty. But it doesn’t sound like Lucius was very honest with his wife. That’s odd.”
Harry looks at her cross-eyed, although that’s partially the healing potions. “That’s the odd part? Not the Dark Marks on their arms?”
Hermione begins to blush in earnest. “I mean—”
“He talked to Narcissa,” Harry interrupts. “I don’t know what the conversation was like. I just know he did. Really, Hermione.” He’s a little hurt, and he wouldn’t show that normally, but the potions do wear off the edge of his resistance. “You think I would sleep with someone who was cheating?”
“No! But if you didn’t know he was cheating—”
“I know all I need to know.”
Harry isn’t about to let Hermione in on the conversation he had with Narcissa through the Floo. He loves his friends a lot, but they’re adults now, and he doesn’t need to tell them everything the way he did when they were battling giant chess sets or going back in time to rescue hippogriffs.
“Okay, then, Harry.” Hermione sighs at him and ends up taking his hand. “I’m happy for you. But if something goes wrong, we’re here for you.”
Harry nods, and squeezes her hand, and drifts back into thinking about what he’s going to do about Terry Boot.
Being with Lucius is like being in the daylight.
Ron would probably scoff at that, something about how it’s ridiculous to associate a Malfoy with Light, which is why Harry doesn’t plan on telling him. He knows what he knows, though.
He knows that Lucius will walk with him anywhere he wants, down Diagon Alley or into the Forbidden Forest (that was one time, Harry explains when Hermione finds out) or shops that seem poised not to welcome him as a former Death Eater. He knows that Lucius will lay a hand on his arm when he wants to attract Harry’s attention to a fancy robe or fancier food, and it doesn’t matter if someone stares at them or snorts or tries to move away. Harry can lean on him and feel the warmth of solid muscle and the soft movement of breath. That’s important.
Lucius was actually the one to approach him first, after the war, although to be fair that was to see if Harry could help get Narcissa and Draco out of trouble because they tried to help Harry. He never asked for anything for himself. His face was already tight and cold then, as if he’d given up and resigned himself to a fate in Azkaban.
“Do you want that fate?” Harry remembers asking him, his hands poised on either side of the teacup in the restaurant in Knockturn Alley where they’d met up.
Lucius gave him a slashing glance. “Of course not.”
“Then why not stand up and fight it?”
“Is listening to me pretty well right now.” Harry sipped from his tea and then frowned and cast a Warming Charm. This restaurant was discreet, but not the best at food. “And if you happened to volunteer some information on where the Death Eaters who fled might be hiding…”
“I do not know for certain,” Lucius hedged, but Harry saw the flare of hope that had returned to his arctic eyes, and smiled into the cup.
“You don’t know for certain, but you must know some of the places that Voldemort liked to hide his servants.” Lucius was long past flinching at the name, even then, and he gave a slow nod as though thinking of this for the first time.
“Yes. I will—consider it.”
As he leans back against Lucius now in the fancy robe shop they’ve come to so Lucius can buy him his Christmas gift, Harry feels the muscles shifting next to him, and thinks again how absolutely uncharacteristic of Lucius that was, to resign himself to prison so quickly. It can only be attributed to a daze of despair, of already thinking the future was set and he could do nothing to influence it.
Harry means to make sure that Lucius never feels that way again.
“I think you would look magnificent in this one,” Lucius says softly, and touches the sleeve of the robe hanging in front of them.
Harry looks it over skeptically. The robe is pure black, and that’s more Severus’s color than his. But then Lucius turns the sleeve around, and Harry catches his breath sharply. There’s a weave of gold along the front of it, and the weave depicts hounds chasing stags.
Lucius almost never talks about the war with him. He doesn’t talk about Sirius, or his part in the Department of Mysteries battle. But then he’ll do something like this, so casual, so quick, that Harry could blink and let it slip past if he wanted to.
He never wants to.
“Yes,” he says, and there’s a husky undertone to the word that makes Lucius lean against him all the harder, and smile in smug triumph.
To be with Severus is to be with the night.
Severus has never wanted his relationship with Harry known beyond Harry’s friends and Lucius and Narcissa, to whom Harry owes the honesty. Harry also thinks that Draco probably knows, and maybe Minerva back at Hogwarts. For all that Severus says he doesn’t count Minerva as a friend, they Floo or owl each other at least once a week, and she made a remark the last time Harry saw her about the deeper flush to Severus’s sallow skin.
But in Severus’s isolated cottage in Wales with the ivy growing up the walls and the garden full of plants that shift to follow the movements of anyone approaching, there doesn’t need to be anyone else.
Severus has taught Harry how to brew. They work in harmony together, in quiet, with Harry tossing the ingredients into the cauldron and Severus chopping them. Chopping, dicing, rendering—all of those tasks have become significantly more difficult for Severus since Nagini’s bite, because the venom lingered in his body and affected his movements. That, of course, means that he insists on doing them.
Harry arrives on the night closest to Christmas that they’ll spend together with a small pot cupped in his hands. Hermione assured him again and again that Flooing wouldn’t damage the plant, but Harry still doesn’t want to take the chance.
“Severus?” he calls, as he shuts the cottage door behind him with his foot and walks through the room that Severus uses as a combination library and sitting place.
His voice, soft and hoarse from the bite, comes from the lab, of course. Harry smiles and carries the pot in, putting it down on the table nearest the door as he looks around.
Severus stands in front of a simmering cauldron, peering down into it. He has a glass stirring rod almost the size of a wand in one hand, and his body is tense and hunched. He looks like he’s bringing to life the miracles he told Harry about in his first Potions class.
Harry watches him in contentment for a time. Severus is striving to invent a potion that will reverse vampirism. Harry wishes him luck at it. He knows there are people who would be grateful for such a thing and pay a high price, and although creation is what matters most to Severus, he does not disdain money.
Severus abruptly raps the stirring rod against the side of the cauldron and breaks it in half, and the half leaning over the cauldron falls into the liquid. Harry winces and takes a step backwards. No explosion materializes, however. Instead, the liquid in the cauldron turns the color of the glass.
Severus nods and reaches for a flask, scooping up a small portion of the potion in it. This, he caps and sets aside. Then he turns to Harry and smiles.
And freezes at the sight of the plant. “Is that—” He will say no more than that, not when he himself despises the ruin of his voice, but his longing burns in his eyes.
“Inferno berry? Yes, it is.”
“Where did you get it?”
“A small shop in Knockturn Alley was willing to sell me a sprig when I asked.”
Severus walks up to him and leans past him to smell the plant. Harry knows what it smells like. Intense fire, phoenix fire. And the berries themselves shimmer and coruscate and constantly change colors, from red to white to gold to blue, the shadows of other shades creeping into them even as they change.
“Incredible. It is the real thing.”
Severus turns without haste and without warning, and cups Harry’s chin in his hands and kisses him. The secrecy and darkness of the lab and the experimental potions he creates are part of that kiss, all of the heat swirling and dancing through his fingertips. Harry shivers, and Severus notices that with a dark smile and bears him towards the bedroom that leads off the lab.
Harry goes with a will.
Harry always thinks of making love to Lucius as making love in the heat of the sun.
It isn’t a good metaphor, since actually Lucius’s bedroom, where they mostly have sex, is a soft place of dark blues and greens and browns, all shifting colors threaded through with the muffled sunlight from the window. But the glow in Lucius’s eyes is visible, and the long, silvery scars running down his spine as he undresses for Harry, tossing the cable of his silver-gilt hair back.
He never undoes his braid, even in bed. Harry finds it amusing, endearing, lovable.
He likes to lie beneath Lucius and cover his chin and throat with licks as Lucius enters him. It makes Lucius pause and blink and shiver, his face going blank for a moment.
Then, of course, he thrusts harder into Harry as though to make up for the pauses. Harry only laughs—or huffs, laughter is kind of driven out of him with the thrusts—and welcomes Lucius in with his arms and legs.
Lucius likes to lie on top of him when they’re finished, his eyes closed and his breathing soft. It’s the only time that Harry sees Lucius so relaxed.
Not the only time he sees him relaxed, though. He sees him often like that inside the Manor, or inside Harry’s small house. When he comes home in the evening from Auror training and Lucius is sipping a glass of the blue wine he favors by the fire, his elbow resting on a book and his attention absorbed by it, Harry’s heart almost shakes with joy.
He drops a kiss on the back of Lucius’s neck, and Lucius looks up at him, and smiles, and puts the book aside.
His fingers are clever when they work open the buttons on Harry’s robes, and when they massage the aches out of Harry’s shoulders, and when they go tight and still because someone has sneered at them in public. Harry loves all of him, but it’s his special pleasure to kiss Lucius’s fingers before they busy themselves turning pages or lifting forks or driving into Harry.
Yes, Harry is glad that he can be with Lucius and indulge the sunlit side of his nature.
And he’s equally glad that he can indulge the night-oriented side of himself with Severus.
Severus always takes, wild with want, as if he’s afraid that Harry’s going to be stolen away from him the way so many friends and mentors and allies have been over the years. Harry lets himself lie on the bed and be thoroughly kissed before he kisses back. Severus bites the side of his neck, and Harry doesn’t flinch.
He knows that Severus is, in some ways, imitating the bite that cost him so much. But Harry is here now, and he loves Severus.
It’s refreshing, it’s curing, it’s what he needs, sometimes, to lie back and be taken. Severus rakes him with his nails, and Harry will wince under the wounds in Auror training tomorrow and only smile when he meets curious eyes or disgusted ones. All of them will think the wounds come from Lucius.
Harry and Severus don’t have to tell them anything.
Severus likes to pin him down and bite the back of his neck, too, and scratch more claims along the arch of Harry’s spine, and Harry likes to give it to him: the gasp he’s looking for, the rattle of breath in his throat, the uninhibited pleasure thrumming in him. Severus thrusts in, withdraws, thrusts in, withdraws, as though he’s looking for something.
In his climax, he seems to have found it.
His house is always dim, and Harry appreciates that. They eat dinners by candlelight. They brew potions together, and Harry gets to see some with entirely new effects come to life. Something new under the moon.
Harry practices Dark Arts with Severus, too. They’re always directed against dummies and not real people or animals, but Severus drives him on with glinting eyes and furious demands. He insists that Harry know the spells, because someday they might save his life when he’s out of Auror training and fighting against crazed Dark wizards or the remnants of the Death Eaters or those trophy hunters who might like to collect the head of the Boy-Who-Lived.
Severus will never say that it’s to keep Harry alive for him. But they don’t need words.
There’s something thrilling about watching black lightning crack from his wand and tear apart a dummy of straw or wood or, lately, stone. Harry has to admit that. Just as he readily admits his even greater thrill when Severus shoves him impatiently out of the way and demonstrates how the spell should be done, stab and flail of his wand, magic like a whip cracking out of him and finding its target.
Intoxicating. Severus is that. Taste of wine made from berries under starlight and the feel of the covers against his face as Severus pushes him down.
Harry loves them both. And it doesn’t matter who doesn’t understand.
He laughs in Terry Boot’s face when he finally finds out why his fellow trainee has been cursing him. It only took blocking a spell Severus taught him how to block, and Disarming him the way Harry defeated Voldemort, and then looming over him with the hauteur Lucius showed him, to get him to confess the reason.
“I don’t want Ginny,” Harry says, shaking his head and letting his laughter echo off the walls of the small robe-hanging room in the back of the trainees’ section of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. “She’s free. Go and see if she’ll date you. I have nothing to do with it!”
“But someone told me that she’s still hung up on you,” Boot mutters, rubbing his face resentfully.
“Have you asked her?”
“Then you don’t know if she is or not.” Harry shrugs and turns away. In fact, the last time he saw Ginny she smiled at him and her eyes were clear and whole and bright. He thinks she’s past any one-sided obsession, and he’s glad for her sake. “Go on, Boot. Just don’t involve me in your bloody foolishness anymore.”
Boot gapes at him until Harry turns and raises an eyebrow; then he slips meekly past. Harry snorts one more time and tosses and catches his own wand, throwing Boot’s wand in the corner where he’ll probably come back to get it when he notices it missing.
Then he Apparates home. It’ll be a Lucius day, and a few evenings hence might be a Severus night.
Harry has what he needs, what he wants, what he loves. He sincerely hopes Boot and Ginny find the same.
He has nothing left to wish for.