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Harry Potter Drabbles - Slash

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Remember, he is not a friend.

Looking at Malfoy, Harry recalled the discussion he had had with Ron and Hermione, when they encouraged him in this mad idea.

"Of course it can go wrong, but we need to get him on our side," Hermione had said earnestly.

"I've seen him watching Harry," Ron had agreed.  "If anything might work. . . Harry, you have to try it."

So now he was here, with the Head Boy, clumsily trying to seduce him to the cause of right.  When his kiss was returned, Harry began to wonder if perhaps Malfoy had the same plan.

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When Draco entered the Main Hall, the New Year's Eve party was in full swing. The Weird Sisters' music reverberated, making the candle flames waver – unless that was just the breeze from the wild, and to Draco's mind lowbred, Muggle-style dancing. He had dressed in formal velvet robes, so deep a green as to be almost black, a sinuous pattern embroidered in silver on cuffs and hem.

Before he could reach the dance floor, a tug on his sleeve pulled him behind one of the enormous Christmas trees.

"I couldn't wait till midnight," said Potter, just as their lips met.

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It was almost midnight, and Draco scanned the party for the recipient of his New Year's kiss. All he was certain of was that it would not be Pansy Parkinson; the silly cow thought she owned him, just because he had taken her to a few dances. How to show her that a Malfoy could not be possessed?

 He skirted the small tables with abandoned drinks cluttering their tops. Nearly everyone was dancing, no surprise there. Ahead Pansy simpered and beckoned, but as the clock struck the hour, Draco turned away. "Happy New Year, Potter," he sneered, and snogged Harry.

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Harry woke New Year's day with a blinding headache. He lay still and tried to remember just what he had done the previous evening to cause his present discomfiture. Ten bottles of butterbeer could not have done it; butterbeer was safe even for first-years to drink. Maybe it had been the overly-loud music of the Weird Sisters, or the heat and crowd during the dancing? Not that Harry had danced himself, much. But this was worse than that could account for. Suddenly Harry remembered, and chuckled sardonically to himself. At least Draco Malfoy would have just such a headache, too.

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Harry had never thought of himself as being particularly selfless. While he was perfectly willing to help out a friend, he went to no extraordinary lengths to seek out anyone in trouble and improve their lot. He had enough difficulties keeping himself out of trouble, thank you very much. But after the devastating results of the final elimination of Voldemort, when Hermione told him of the situation Draco Malfoy was in, he hesitated not one moment. Harry was the only person still alive who knew that without Draco's double-cross, it would be Harry who now lay cold in the ground.

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"What are these straps for?"

Draco sighed, fumbling with the hood he was trying to remove from the falcon's head. "They're called jesses, Harry. They're like a collar, you attach a leash to them to hold the bird to the perch."

"Oh." Harry tapped his wand impatiently and Draco reached out to pluck it from his fingers before he upset the bird any further. "Why are we doing this again?"

"Because falconry is a noble sport, you git, and you asked what I liked to do in my free time."

"Yeah, but I thought it would be something more... gratifying."

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What did it mean for a boy to be a virgin, anyway? Harry pondered the question as he untied the laces of his trainers and slowly took off his robes. Because if messing around with someone else to the point of getting off meant the end of your virginity, then Harry had lost it long ago; he and Ron had done that back before fourth year, when Harry was staying at the Weasleys' before the World Quidditch Cup. A few times since, as well. And while he and Ginny had never officially "had sex," they had done pretty much everything but. Losing your virginity meant a lot more for a girl, he supposed, and she had not quite reached the point of being ready to lose it before they broke up, despite having a Contraceptive Charm that Hermione had looked up for her. So did that leave Harry a virgin still? Maybe it did. He was unsure. He was certainly as nervous as if he had never been with anyone else at all. So even though he had thought about it a lot, and decided that yes, he really wanted this, he nevertheless jumped when Draco said, "Please, Harry? Now?"

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"What if he tries to kiss you?"

"Sorry, what did you say, Ginny?" Hermione frowned at the mirror and poured out another dollop of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion.

Ginny was curled up on Hermione's bed, her own dress robes laid out waiting for the Yule Ball. "What if Viktor tries to kiss you? When you're dancing, or something?"

"Oh," Hermione flushed. "I doubt he would."

"I think he might," Ginny said. "He really likes you, I've seen him watching from across the Hall."

"Well, if he does, he does," said Hermione briskly.

"Aren't you nervous about it?"

Hermione turned around and looked at her. "Are you trying to make me nervous?"

"No." Ginny traced patterns on the rug with her toe. "I'm worried about Neville. I've never kissed a boy. What if he tries and I do it wrong?"

"I don't think Neville's likely to criticize," said Hermione, with an impish grin. "Do you, really?"

"I suppose not," Ginny said. "I thought, maybe, we should practice?"

"The two of us?" Hermione looked startled.

Ginny nodded, her face red. "You're the only one I trusted not to laugh."

Hermione's lips were soft against hers, and suddenly Ginny was not worried any more.

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"So, 'ow did you know?" Fleur shifted lazily in the rumpled linen. "Zat you wanted me instead of 'im."

"When I caught him wanking one night, moaning 'Severus, yes,' as he came," said Tonks. "And then I saw you looking as annoyed with Bill as I felt with Remus, so I thought..." she shrugged.

"Maybe I would be intrigued?" Fleur said. "With a Metamorphmagus who can be either a man or a woman?"

"Yes."

"You 'ad good sense to think that," said Fleur, "but your fashion sense... 'ave you considered blue 'air instead of pink? It would suit you better."

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One Yule Lucius gave him a volume of Muggle poetry, bound in calfskin, gleaming with gilt. Severus thanked him with a galloping fuck that left them both sore and satisfied for days, but his thanks were for the thoughtfulness – poetry held no interest for him.

When he hears that Lucius is in Azkaban, Severus takes down the book from his shelves. For the first time he notices a faded ribbon marking a page, and turns to it.

"A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou..." he reads, and then his sight blurs and he can read no more.

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Cedric worries about the tournament most of the time. He was happy and proud when his name came out of the Goblet of Fire, but he keeps hearing Professor Dumbledore's voice saying, "The death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued." He feels sorry for Potter; he believed it when the fourth-year said that he had not put in his name for the competition. Harry's look of terrified bewilderment was too revealing not to be genuine.

When Harry comes up to him in the corridor and warns him that the first task is dragons, Cedric is unsure whether he is telling the truth, but decides to take the chance and prepare as if it were.

And it is dragons, and Cedric is at least prepared with some ideas of what to do. He Transfigures a rock and manages to secure the golden egg guarded by the Swedish Short-Snout, though it takes him a long time and he ties with Fleur Delacour for third place. But he knows that without Harry's warning, he might have been too startled and frightened to do that well. He follows Harry one Saturday after lunch and says, "Want to have a little Quidditch practice?"

Harry looks surprised, but agrees. Cedric has a Snitch and they play for several hours, just the two of them, each catching it twice. He is impressed with Harry's ability; of course he knows that Harry was the youngest Seeker in a century, but Harry's style reveals practice as well as raw talent. They exchange a few tricks, too. Cedric will leave Hogwarts in the spring, it is his seventh year, and he will never play for Hufflepuff again.

In midafternoon Harry signals that he is ready to stop. They meet on the ground. "I have to write a Potions essay," he explains.

Cedric nods, holding his broomstick, but does not move to leave.

"What?" says Harry. "What is it?"

Cedric steps close, and Harry does not back away as Cedric leans down and brushes his lips against Harry's.

Harry's eyes widen and he puts out one hand, catching the sleeve of Cedric's robe. They kiss again, standing on the wet grass where little tendrils of mist are beginning to rise. No one is likely to come out here and see them, but Cedric is wary of being caught, and after a few minutes he lets Harry go.

"Thanks."

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Necessity has no law.

Lucius Malfoy said that over and over during Draco's childhood, and Draco believes it. It is necessary to survive. He owes it to his family to survive. If he must humble himself before the Boy Who Lived, even if he must leave the allegiance of his father to Lord Voldemort – it is necessary. He can continue to loathe the Potter boy, to keep secret his wish to be a Death Eater in truth. So he tells himself, as the days become weeks become months become years.

Necessity has no law.

He chants it to himself as Harry pursues him, asking him to the pub one month, to dinner the next, to his apartment the one following. Harry is the darling of the wizarding world; the Malfoy name is still under a cloud of suspicion. If Harry wants him, he will do what he must. After a year he accepts Harry's suggestion that they live together. It is survival. Harry agrees that Draco can see women, father children on them, when Draco tells him how important that is to any Malfoy.

Necessity has no law.

But one day Draco realizes that his necessity has become his love.

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Harry stared. "You'll what?"

"I said, if you want to have a child, I'm offering to have it for you." Ginny was curled up on Harry's sofa, looking perfectly relaxed. "Hermione was going to volunteer, but we agreed that I should instead. Oliver doesn't mind. He's willing to wait to have another if I want to do this. And I do."

"Let me talk it over with Draco," Harry mumbled. "There's Horatio to think about, you know."

"That's why you should let me do this. Children shouldn't grow up alone."

He kissed her cheek. "Thanks, Ginny. Whatever we decide – thanks."

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Severus does not like visitors, but Lucius ignores that. He ignores, too, the curiosity of his wife and son as to where he goes every other Tuesday. If it had not been for Severus, Lucius would be either dead or still rotting in Azkaban.

Each time he brings a bottle of finest firewhisky with him, and each time they drink it all before he leaves. At first Severus would only drink in silence. None of Lucius's words or touches reached him. But lately he has begun to respond, and Lucius hopes to waken both mind and body fully once again.

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"I thought you were going to fly back from France," said Draco, "not take a Muggle train."

Harry shrugged, tossing his jacket down. "I thought it would be interesting to see what the Chunnel was like. I know that you're not too impressed with Muggle engineering, but Arthur Weasley was dying of curiosity. I shouldn't have gone standard class, though, it was pretty spartan."

"At least you made it home in time for my birthday." Draco pulled Harry closer and kissed him lingeringly. "It would have been a shame if I'd had to eat this berry tart all by myself."

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"'Her expression was fraught with terror, her efforts to flee now set at naught by the dragon,'" read Harry aloud. "And there's a picture of some damsel-in-distress type. Draco, what is this rubbish? Why are you making me read it?"

Draco looked embarrassed. "My mother read me fairy tales when I was ill as a child. To take my mind off things."

"If you want to be distracted, I have a better idea," said Harry, rolling over and frotting against Draco's leg.

"Mm, yes, that's something she would never have suggested," Draco admitted.

The book fell to the floor, disregarded.

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Harry could not keep it secret that he was in love. He waltzed into every class – even History of Magic – with a look of dazed happiness on his face. He could, however, avoid telling everyone just who it was who had reduced him to this pile of quivering mush. Ron and Hermione might guess, of course, since he had recanted some of his previous statements about the likelihood that Draco Malfoy was a Death eater. But Harry said nothing, except behind the closed door of a broom cupboard where he whispered Draco's name and heard his own whispered in return.

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"Is he breathing?"

Hermione pushed Harry aside to put her fingers against Draco's throat. "I don't feel a pulse. Augustus!"

The young Healer hurried over. "Oh, by Aesclepius, this looks bad." He raised his wand and began chanting a complex spell.

Holding Draco's hand, Harry whispered over and over, "Why? Why did you put yourself between Voldemort and me?"

Augustus let his wand drop and shook his head. "That will hold him temporarily, but we have to get him to St. Mungo's right away."

"I'll Apparate there with him now," said Harry, and gathered the unconscious Draco into his arms.

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Winter is Draco's favorite time of year. The chill in the air, the fog and snow and ice, the stars sparkling cold in the dark heavens – there is an austere purity to this time, he thinks, walking back from the stone circle on the edge of Malfoy manor, his feet crunching through grass bleached and brittle from the frost.

He passes through the row of yews and his step quickens as the house comes into view. Its windows are lit, warm and welcoming, and he knows that inside will be firelight and good whisky and, most beloved of all, Harry.

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Promises are so easily broken. My father promised to get the prophecy for Voldemort. Oh yes, I overheard that later, when aunt Bellatrix visited my mother. I promised to kill Dumbledore, and have less excuse for failure than my father did. And those were promises made in the fear of what would happen otherwise.

Now Potter is promising that if I come with him now, nothing bad will happen. Why should I believe him? That's a promise as easy to break as a Grindylow's finger. But he looks at me, scarred and angry and here, and I rise to go.

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Rain.

No lightning. No thunder. No hail. Not even a cloudburst. Just an unending drizzle from the weary grey sky. It seemed that there should be something more to mark this moment.

Rain.

He looked at the broken body of his enemy and turned away, retching. When he had done, he lifted his face and willed for it to be washed clean.

Rain.

The shouts and cheers passed over him, dissolved in the misty air. "I know." Warm arms wrapped around him, comforting. "I couldn't have done it. It'll be all right."

The tears slid down his face like rain.

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"...the different branches of Arithmetic: Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision." Draco stopped reading and put his finger in the book.

"Sounds like a Muggle's notion of Arithmancy," he said to Harry. "Not far off, really."

"You studied that, didn't you?" Harry asked. "You were quite good at Derision, I recall..." He winced exaggeratedly as Draco poked him in the ribs.

"And the Ambition part of it was one of the reasons my father made me take Arithmancy to begin with."

"But luckily Uglification has had no effect, though you certainly are a Distraction," Harry replied, giving Draco a lingering kiss.

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In Potions Draco overheard Granger telling Potter, "You have jam on your face." Involuntarily he glanced over.

Potter licked his lips. "Did that get it?"

"Not quite." She swiped at the corner of his mouth, and Potter caught her hand to suck off the sticky sweetness, grinning.

Draco shoved his books away and slammed out as soon as the hour was over. After the increasingly hot glances they'd exchanged, to see that!

Studying that night, he found the parchment: "That was no kiss. But if you want one, meet me by the Restricted Section, nine o'clock."

Draco was there early.

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Next to the lake the wind was stronger, ruffling the surface. Harry was rather glad that it was July, and not cold even here.

"So why did you want to come down to the lake?" he asked.

Draco gave him a secret grin. "Guess."

"I've no idea."

"What happened here?"

Harry looked around. "Well, the second task in the Triwizard tournament, I guess. But so what?"

Draco's smirk grew. "You were all wet when you came out of the lake. I wanked to that for months."

"You did?"

"Mmm hmm." Harry was pulled closer. "Want to go for a bathe?"

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"This is ridiculous," grumbled Draco. "A hurricane?"

Harry shrugged. "That's what swamped the Spanish Armada. It's not impossible, just unlikely."

"Don't bore me with Muggle history."

"At least we had enough warning to find shelter. And there's no chance that the Death Eaters will be out looking for us in this." Harry looked around the half-ruined cellar. "This place might actually be useful sometime."

"Yeah, well, right now it's cold, dark, and dull," Draco complained.

"Lumos," said Harry, and his wand-tip glowed; he put his arms around Draco and kissed him. "Now it's warm, light – and I hope, more exciting."

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They had planned this outing for weeks, and Harry wasn't going to let a little rain stop them. Besides, flying in the drizzle was exhilarating in a way, even if it made it difficult to spot the dragons that they were there to see.

"Harry!" Draco called, waving at him.

They swooped down and landed at the forest's edge. "You know, the thing about dragons..." murmured Draco, putting his arms around Harry.

"Hm?"

"They're unbearably sexy."

"This one is," Harry kissed him, ignoring the water dripping from Draco's hair.

They never noticed when a flight of Welsh Greens passed overhead.

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Charlie thinks that they first met on Order business. Which is partly true; that's when they first met as adults. But Neville remembers the real first time. Gran had taken him to the Weasleys' for tea one winter afternoon when he was tiny, and sent him out to play. One of the twins – Neville couldn't tell them apart, still can't – had chased him, and his mittens fell out of his pocket. He cried when he realized they were lost, because Gran would scold him. It was Charlie who found them, and Neville fell in love with him, way back then.

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Whenever Draco looks at Harry, even thinks of him, heat rushes through his body. It wasn't always so. He spent years teasing Harry, badgering him, exulting in the way that Harry reacted with anger or frustration, pleasure thrilling through him. He's not sure, now, when that thrill became connected to seeing a glimpse of pale skin under Harry's ear, or imagining soft tousled hair brushing his fingers, or catching a whiff of acrid sweat. When he touches Harry's hand, Harry's skin is hot too, and he grabs at Draco, snogging him until Draco wonders that the sofa doesn't catch fire.

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Sixty-seven years. Well, seventy-two, if Draco counted the five years that he had been mostly living with Daphne, after they had married and while Horatio was a baby. But even then he had still been in love with Harry, and Harry had known it.

The wind cut through the heavy wool of his coat, damp as it was with the drizzle. Draco could hear his bones creak as he rose from the bench to touch the cold marble. An illusion of contact. Sometimes Draco woke, forgetful, and wandered searching through the house. "Wish you were here." But Harry was gone.

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They never talked about it, not really. Oh, they had to discuss whether to live in Harry's flat or Draco's or to find a new place. And they had to adjust to actually living together, after they'd found a house that wasn't perfect, but might be someday. Then there were those years, as Harry thought of them now, living apart because Draco decided he had to get married, for his family's sake, even though he loved Harry. He promised he'd come back and he did. He promised he'd never leave again. But neither of them, ever, said it was forever. 

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"Say, er... 'Crumple-Horned Snorkack'." Harry peered through the viewfinder, trying to adjust the angle so that none of the carousel animals would appear to be growing out of Draco's arse.

"Harry." Draco rolled his eyes. "Would you just take the picture already?"

"Oh, all right." He snapped the shot. "I've never done this before, after all. I'll have to ask Colin what potion to use to develop them."

"Finished?" At Harry's nod, Draco stepped forward and put an arm around Harry's waist. "I can help you with... development," he said with a suggestive smile.

"I'm sure you can," Harry grinned back.

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Snape picked up the parcel that the tawny owl had dropped onto his plate and eyed it with a jaundiced expression. It bore no indication of the sender, and the last time he had received an anonymous package it had contained Dungbombs. Some people evidently never forgot nor forgave. Cautiously, he unwrapped the brown paper and caught his breath.

"Many happy returns, Severus," said Harry from across the table.

"You... I..." Snape rose and went around to kiss Harry fiercely. "Thank you," he murmured, stained fingers caressing the smooth wood of the wand he had thought he would never regain.

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"What?"

"I can't see anything," I repeated, trying not to whimper. I fanned my hand in front of my face. Nothing. There was only blackness. Pounding footsteps sounded around me.

"You did it, Harry!" That was Ron. Muffled murmurs, then, "Oh, no."

"It will be all right, Harry." Hermione, staunch as ever. "We'll get you to St. Mungo's. Surely they'll know a countercurse."

I nodded, waiting to be led away. The hand that took mine I did not recognize, not until a whisper came in my ear.

"I won't leave you, Harry."

Sighing, I squeezed Draco's hand gratefully in return.

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"We could go to Corfu. Gorgeous beaches, warm sea to bathe in?"

"I sunburn, Potter," said Draco firmly, using Harry's surname as he did these days only when he was annoyed.

"So wear sunscreen."

"It feels disgusting, all sticky."

Harry sighed with exasperation. "I'm sure there's a suitable spell if you don't like the Muggle way of coping."

"No." Draco folded his arms.

"I've suggested a dozen places now and you've rejected every one. Don't you want to go on holiday with me?"

"I want to stay here on holiday with you," said Draco, rolling over in the white sheets.

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They have been together for months now. There is only one Horcrux left to find and destroy before Harry can go after Voldemort.

Draco touches the remnants of the Dark Mark, remembering how much it hurt when Hermione began to alter it. He's glad she did. The pain was worth it – both to be free of him and because it proved his commitment to Harry. Only Hermione and Ron knew of the Vow, but the whole Order knew about the removal of the Mark.

He still doesn't understand why Harry insisted on it, but Harry never answers when he asks.

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They have been circling around what lies unspoken between them for – Harry stops to think – either three hours or seven years, depending on how one counts it. Draco signals for another drink and when it comes, downs nearly a third at once. He hasn't met Harry's eyes for the past hour, talking almost non-stop, his voice increasingly hoarse. But for all that, he hasn't left. Harry watches Draco's face, imagining how it would be to trace the rough/soft line of his jaw. His hand jerks involuntarily, longing, and the movement knocks his own glass to the floor, where it shatters.

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Harry was called away to deal with a nasty booby trap at the old Rosier place at just the wrong moment. He pulled his purchase from its box, placing it on the chosen spot before leaving, but afterward ended up in St. Mungo's for nearly a fortnight.

Severus visited daily; on the second Tuesday he complained that the new refrigerator wasn't working properly.

Harry blinked. "Refrigerator?"

"It fails to keep things cold at all. And yes, I ensured it was plugged in." Severus's expression combined pride with frustration.

"I hate to tell you this... but it's a microwave," said Harry.

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When I spent those months at Spinner's End, the worst part was not knowing in what way Voldemort might choose to retaliate against me, or against my family, for my failure.

The second-worst part was sheer boredom.

I ended up reading my way through Snape's library, for lack of anything better to do. His collection was astonishing; oddly enough, the volumes I found most fascinating had nothing to do with the Dark Arts or with Potions, but with Asian philosophy. The concept of yin-yang drew me in particular. Dark and light. Down and up. Water and fire.

Me... and him.

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Draco had complained all day; at least he had the courtesy to do so sotto voce. The ceremony had been boringly orthodox. The floral arrangements were bourgeois. The guests were tedium personified. The music was not vivacious, but overloud. When Harry ventured to say that Ron and Hermione looked happy, Draco sneered that he gave them three months before the dream of connubial bliss was over. Once home, Harry pinned Draco to the sofa and demanded to know why he had been so churlish. Draco glared back. "Because I'm jealous." He said it as if he expected Harry to disbelieve.

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Deep brown satin hugged pale skin as closely as chocolate around a fondant center. Harry pulled the laces tighter, until Draco gasped, "Careful!"

"Do you think I wouldn't be?"

Next came the frothy ruffles of the skirt, sliding over silken stockings, and then the careful adjustment of the bodice to hint at a bosom. Draco had already done up his hair, and now Harry loosened a few strands to fall casually across his neck.

"I still don't see why I couldn't have used a charm for disguise," complained Draco.

"Because this is more fun," Harry told him with a kiss.

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"Where are we going?" Remus hated being blindfolded, and Sirius knew it. If James and Peter had been there too, Remus would have been sure it was some kind of trick, but with just Sirius maybe it wouldn't be too bad.

"Just a bit further," said Sirius. His hand on Remus' elbow seemed to guide him in circles, but without being able to see Remus wasn't sure.

Remus heard a door open and then Sirius was tugging off the blindfold. The room was large and comfortable, with a bed in the middle.

"Thought we deserved a little treat tonight, Moony."

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He dreams, always, in vivid color. The sounds and smells and all sensations are just as intense as in reality; people appear and disappear unexpectedly and things change their shape, but that happens all the time around him. Sometimes Harry cannot tell if he is dreaming or not.

Severus' mouth is around his cock, strong and wet, demanding that he give in to the pleasure, and Harry is sadly sure that it is a dream. He whimpers and the sucking heat draws him deeper, till he comes at last with Severus' name spilling from his lips, an incantation of desire.

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Draco stumbled out of the bedroom and headed straight for the kitchen cupboard where he kept a bottle of hangover potion. When the pounding had diminished slightly, he frowned, trying to remember why he had drunk so much last night. Oh, Merlin. The fight with Harry.

He went to switch on the kettle. Sitting by it was a small box, with a scrawled note underneath. Draco couldn't bear to read Harry's words, but curiosity made him open the box. At first glance the silver ring nestled there was plain and smooth, but inside were engraved three words: Loyaulte me lie.

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Secretly Harry liked Draco angry, as long as that anger was not directed at him. The flush that spread along the pale skin above Draco's collarbone was the first sign, even when Draco's expression was still to all appearances calm. When Draco was angry, however, everything else necessarily was put on hold and they simply didn't have time for that today. It was already four o'clock, and if Harry didn't buy a gift for Ron now he'd look a right prat tomorrow. So Harry put a hand on Draco's elbow and whispered in his ear, "Remember, peace on earth, right?"

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Blaise likes to holiday on the Costa del Sol, in summer when the crowds are thickest, every yard of beach covered in sunbathers. He needs the sun, needs the press of people – Muggles though they be – to both remind him of why he fought and help him forget the war's horrors.

He sees a face in the hotel lobby, older than he recalls but familiar nonetheless, and acknowledges his former schoolmate with a tentative smile. Harry grins back and walks with Blaise, ankle-deep in the waves. They have dinner together, gambas alla plancha with red wine, and their hands touch.

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"Just where do you plan to hang that ornament?"

The silky tone was deep with a menace that Harry knew to be a sham, but he jumped nonetheless and looked around.

"This one?" He held out the intricately carved piece of wood into which he had placed a fresh sprig of mistletoe.

"That one," Severus confirmed.

"How about... right there," said Harry, and with a flick of his wand he sent it to hover over his lover's head.

Later, after a rather lengthy demonstration of just why mistletoe had sensual associations, Harry resolved to do the same every future Christmas.

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"Because I don't like them."

Remus blinked, fairy lights in hand as he prepared to string them on the tree he had finally convinced Snape to buy. "Why not?"

"They're so Muggle," came the disdainful reply.

"It's a Muggle holiday, isn't it?"

"Well, it shouldn't be," Snape grumbled, "given that it celebrates the birth of a great wizard. If you must have a tree, do it properly." He flicked his wand. Candles hurtled through the room to settle on the branch-ends. "Far better."

"As you say, Severus." Remus put his arms around Snape and held him, enjoying the flickering glow.

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"Explain to me again what it is we're celebrating?" said Draco, stamping his feet on the chilly ground.

"It's a Muggle holiday. A man tried to blow up Parliament, but he was caught," Harry explained. "So every year on the anniversary there are big bonfires and fireworks displays. I thought it would be fun for us to set off some of Fred and George's Wildfire Whiz-Bangs. As soon as the others arrive, we'll start."

Draco cocked his head and smirked. "If you want fireworks, Harry, we don't really need anyone else." He proceeded to prove that assertion with flattering single-mindedness.

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Until you realize why he was so demanding, why whenever you sneaked out of Gryffindor Tower you seemed to run into him, why you could never keep him out of your mind – until then, you think you hate him.

But now you've left Hogwarts for good, and so has he; you've set yourself to the task that has been fated; you've sought his help because no one else can give it.

So when you see the way his hands tremble when you touch him, and his flush when your eyes meet, you recognize his need because it is your own.

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"What is that?" Harry had come up behind Severus without the latter noticing, a most unusual occurrence.

Severus instinctively covered the small wooden object, but realized that Harry would not leave without knowing. "A dreidel."

"A dreidel?"

"It was my grandmother's." Severus grudgingly opened his hand to show it to Harry. The paint had long since worn away, and it was only because the letters had also been carved into each side that they could be identified. "I don't know why I still have it."

Harry's touch was warm as he caressed the ancient thing in Severus' palm. "I do."

Chapter Text

Draco didn't believe in miracles. What wizard would? Anything a Muggle might call miraculous could almost certainly be done with magic, or else it was simply coincidence. Having Snape keep him from having to kill Dumbledore, and as a result ending up working for the Order of the Phoenix, so that when Voldemort fell there was a Malfoy on the winning side – sheer chance, nothing more.

An arm wrapped itself around Draco's waist, and a voice murmured, "Happy Christmas, Draco," in his ear. Draco opened his eyes to Harry's green ones. Maybe some things could be considered miracles after all.

Chapter Text

"Malfoy?"

Harry said the name tentatively, too softly to be heard unless its owner were only yards away. He bit his lip and spoke again with greater force.

"Malfoy?"

The French doors stood open, broken, glass shards scattered across the floor in glittering viciousness. Harry stepped over the twisted wooden splinters.

"Malfoy?"

Bare walls, bare rooms mocked his search, more anxious each moment. This was not how it was meant to be.

"Malfoy?"

A sound at last, answering him: a rasping cough from a frame pitifully thin, below eyes burning bright with fever and pride. Harry knelt.

"Mal-... Draco."

"Harry."

Chapter Text

"Is it really true, Poppy?"

"Well, I shouldn't say, but I know you won't talk, dear. I have to admit, I've never seen a larger."

"Oh my." A gasp. "And you ought to know."

Pomfrey chuckled. "After forty-odd years, I should hope so. Perhaps it's a kind of compensation for his unfortunate condition. Too bad he isn't interested in women."

Unseen where he hovered in the doorway, Snape thought furiously. It had to be Remus Lupin to whom Poppy referred. So the werewolf was also a shirt-lifter? Well. That was very interesting indeed, he decided, and his prick firmly agreed.

Chapter Text

"Harry."

"What?" Green eyes slid to meet Severus' own black ones. Harry blinked, radiating innocence. Falsely, of course.

"You're doing it again," growled Severus. Confound it, there were still three slices of toast sitting in the rack. "You're stealing from my plate rather than eating your own toast."

"But you've already buttered yours." Harry picked up the slice and took a bite, crunching noisily. "It's delicious, by the way."

"Flattery will not save you," Severus warned.

"Mm." Harry's tongue darted out to catch a crumb. "How about an offer to find something more interesting to do with the remaining butter?"

Chapter Text

Should he ask when he arrived in the library? They were meant to be studying together; everyone said that the Potions O.W.L. was a real pig. "Hello, would you like to have tea at Madam Puddifoot's next Hogsmeade weekend," would sound idiotic. Remus shook his head. Maybe just as they left?

He spent the three hours distracted, concocting and discarding sentences, each seeming more awkward than the last. When the last thick book was closed, he nearly missed the soft question, "Would you like to spend Saturday together? Not studying?"

Remus dropped his quill, scrambled for it. "Very much, Severus."

Chapter Text

Valentine's Day. The shops were full of pink and red hearts, plastered on every possible surface. Severus lingered on the pavement outside of one shop, looking in through the glass at the overdone displays glittering with artificial love. No. Nothing there that he wanted to give.

Even flowers seemed inappropriately ostentatious. Theirs was not a romance that called for such overt displays of affection. It was the emotion that mattered, not the trappings.

He meant to say it all evening, but in the end could only whisper it in the dark to Harry's sleeping form beside him. "I love you."

Chapter Text

Valentine's Day. He had bought the latest volume from Libatius Borage a fortnight before, hesitating before writing on the flyleaf, To Severus, with love, Harry. Prudence chose plain brown paper, done up with string. Severus' face flushed very slightly when he saw the inscription, but he said nothing, only making love to Harry that night with perhaps greater passion than usual. As he curled against Severus' scarred body, Harry told himself that the ache at his heart was unimportant. On the edge of sleep, he thought he heard Severus say, "I love you" – but perhaps it was only a dream.

Chapter Text

In odd moments the pounding rhythms of the club invade Harry's mind, making his heartbeat shift to match. He can see again how Draco looked at him with glittering eyes, saying, "You're fucking hot, Potter." He can almost feel the sensation of Draco's mouth around his prick, Draco's cock in his arse. Ginny's bright gaze torments him, though she agreed to let him explore those longings. Each night he writes to Draco, explaining, pleading. Each night it takes longer before he decides to destroy the letter. Tonight, eyes burning, he watches Hedwig fly into the mist that is his future.

Chapter Text

No one who looked closely could ever mistake him for a woman. His height, the breadth of his shoulders and slimness of his hips, the jut of his Adam's apple most especially – all these cry out that he is a man indeed.

And yet – when he cinches up his corset, smooths his stockings over depilated thighs, slips a silky little frock over his head, for an instant the illusion is complete. This strange creature, who is beautiful in her own right, is yet incontestably my Draco, playing this role out of his love for me, just because I asked it.

Chapter Text

Harry had always thought that the expression "seeing red" was only an expression. He had been wrong. "Just when were you going to tell me, Draco?"

Draco's face went white. "They didn't..." he stammered.

A bitter laugh welled up in Harry's throat. "Apparently they did. Engaged. Daphne Greengrass to Draco Malfoy." He let the Daily Prophet fall onto the table. "For seven years you've told me that you loved me, and I believed you."

"I do. Harry, I..."

"I should have known you couldn't resist your parents." Harry shook his head. "Just leave. Now. I can't bear to see you."

Chapter Text

"Do you mean it?" Draco's voice was breathless. His fingertips brushed hesitatingly, caressingly, across the line of Harry's jaw.

"I do," said Harry over the thickness in his throat. He had missed Draco more than he would have believed possible, missed this warmth between them, a connection that had always been so much more than sexual. "I don't want to live without you any more. I think, perhaps, we can make it work this time."

"So do I," whispered Draco. He held Harry close, thrusting aside for the moment all thoughts of everything that had divided them for so long.

Chapter Text

The stone was cold under his thighs, even through his woolen robes. He slumped, scarcely registering the wind whipping white ruffles into the pewter-gray lake. He heard footsteps rustle in the fallen damp leaves without raising his head.

"They tortured her, you know." His voice was hollow. "Before they killed her."

The body settling behind him blocked some of the biting wind. "I know," was the whispered reply.

A sob tore through Harry. Arms wrapped around him, holding, soothing. "It's not your fault."

Harry couldn't bring himself to believe that, but he found some relief in knowing that Draco did.

Chapter Text

"How long have you been in love with Harry?" Malfoy's voice was conversational, not at all as if he were inquiring into Ron's private life in the men's loo at St. Mungo's.

"What?" Ron jerked, nearly splattering the floor.

"Too bad he's straight." Malfoy shrugged. "I assume he turned you down too."

Ron flushed. He'd never asked. Harry was obviously in love with Ginny; when Ron realized he fancied blokes, fancied Harry in particular, there was nothing he could do.

Malfoy looked at him appraisingly. "Tell you what, Weasley. Let me buy you a drink and we'll talk about it."

Chapter Text

The house at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, was never entirely silent. During the day there were footsteps, doors opening, muttered conversations in the hallway: all the usual sounds of living. Draco himself was quiet, most of the time, since only Harry would talk with him, but the noises were oddly soothing.

At night, however, the old timbers creaked and the wind made every crevice moan. Worst were the nights when Harry was away. He wouldn't tell Draco what he, Ron, and Hermione did at those times, but Draco couldn't sleep until he knew that Harry had returned and was safe.

Chapter Text

Seven years into the war, Neville was best man for both grooms when Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione were married in a double ceremony. He had spent most of those years in the Hogwarts greenhouses, helping Professor Sprout grow plants for the war effort. So he had been out of the loop for quite some time. When Charlie Weasley asked him to dance, Neville's first reaction was to wonder, how did he know? His second thought was to want to hide. Afterward, however, he was glad he had gone with his third response, which was to accept Charlie's offer.

Chapter Text

"If we both are alive, this time tomorrow... you may make me that offer again, if you still mean it."

Though the words were his own, they still astonished him. Severus looked at Potter's face, slack and innocent as he dozed in the chair, one scratchy grey blanket draped across his chest. Not a boy anymore, not entirely; after tomorrow, not at all. Killing changed a person.

It was not that the offer was not tempting. He could tell what Potter hoped to have Severus choose. He was not such a fool as all that, although it baffled him why Potter had any such desire. There was no question that Severus would abuse the power Potter was willing to give him. He had no interest in inflicting any more pain.

But if Potter did repeat his offer, when all was over, and if Severus accepted and did what Potter so evidently wanted him to do, would it really settle the debts that lay between them?

He sighed, hitching his own blanket around him. Twelve hours more. He should rest. But all he could do was wonder if Potter would survive, if he would himself, and if Potter would offer again.

Chapter Text

"You've played me for a fool for the last time."

"W-w-what?" Harry stuttered in his disbelief.

"I let you and the Order convince me to tell you everything about the Death Eaters with only the promise that you'd try to keep me out of Azkaban. I let you dangle me like a fish on a hook for months, playing the ‘maybe I'm queer, maybe I'm not' game with Ginny. Did you think I'd forgive you for this? I'm leaving."

Harry gulped. "But what did I do?"

"Nothing." Suddenly all the angry hauteur melted into Draco's warmest smile. "April Fool's, Harry."

Chapter Text

"Read to me." Harry sprawled on the bed by Draco. "You've been reading those books for weeks; they must be good, so read to me."

Draco used a silk ribbon to mark his place. "You won't enjoy it."

"How do you know? I'm not a complete Philistine."

"I'm reading because it was one of my mother's favorites," said Draco, opening the tooled leather cover once again. "I really don't think you'll like it, but if you insist."

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...

Chapter Text

"Did you get permission from Slughorn?" Remus murmured as he passed behind Severus on his way to collect ingredients. His own note from McGonagall rested in his pocket. As sixth-years, it was rarely difficult to persuade the staff that they needed to do extra research.

Severus caught Remus' eye on his return and nodded.

They met in the Restricted Section. It was less private than the Astronomy Tower, but they could talk in whispers without arousing any suspicion. If they were careful, they could even risk a few stolen kisses. Remus hoped that in the summer they would do more.

Chapter Text

Percy likes to nap. This midday relaxing into sleep fascinated Harry when he first realized it: so incongruous, so unlike Percy's usual restrained ways. He supposes that perhaps Molly had encouraged it, desperate for moments alone.

In any case, Percy takes naps when he can, and Harry loves to watch him sleep. Percy's glasses rest on the bedside table, his hair slightly mussed against the pillow, his ginger lashes soft against the pale skin and freckles of his cheeks. Harry wakes him by pressing a quick kiss to the curve of his throat, and Percy stirs, pulling Harry against him.

Chapter Text

Draco will scan his reflection every morning, thankful that the only visible lines are laugh wrinkles, that the fairness of his hair disguises the coarse silver strands, more with every passing year. Harry will laugh, because Draco has charmed the mirror to ensure that it won't talk back to him as it once did.

"We're grandfathers, Draco," Harry will say, watching from the doorway. "We're allowed to show our years."

But Draco will keep being anxious, despite Harry's loving reassurances. He will wish that the few months of age between them were reversed, but some things even magic cannot change.

Chapter Text

The note reached Harry during Defense Against the Dark Arts. Need to talk to you about Quidditch, in private. Astronomy Tower tonight, at 9:00? D.

He looked over and caught Dean's eye. He smiled and nodded, and Dean grinned back.

He was there early; if Dean wanted this to be private, better that they not leave the common room together.

"Potter." It wasn't Dean's voice.

"Malfoy?" Harry asked blankly. "What are you doing here?"

Even in the moonlight, Malfoy's face was flushed. "I knew you wouldn't come if you thought it was me."

He stepped closer, and Harry was lost.

Chapter Text

"What in the name of Kore are you doing?" Draco's shadow fell irregularly on the turned earth.

"Sit with me and watch," said Harry, patting the grass beside him.

Draco grumbled as he lowered himself. Leaning against Harry, he inhaled sweat and sunshine. "What are we watching for?"

"The beans. They pop out of the ground like a coiled spring. I know, silly. But it's fun anyhow. I did all that gardening for Aunt Petunia, but never realized that I might enjoy it."

"Hm." Draco kissed Harry's neck. "If you want something to enjoy..."

Harry laughed and kissed him back.

Chapter Text

"Well, how do you explain it?"

Harry's face was flushed as he scowled at Draco, who noted that irritation suited Harry; his green eyes practically glowed.

"I wasn't aware that anything needed explaining," Draco said in his haughtiest voice. "Certainly there's no magic involved. It's not my fault if you can't keep your eyes off me."

"I don't look at anyone else this way. If you were a Veela, that would explain a lot."

Draco sighed gustily. "Harry, given the Malfoy obsession with maintaining pure bloodlines, do you really think that there would be a nonhuman in the family tree?"

Chapter Text

The slow burn that began in his face and spread inexorably through his body to center in his groin was both unfamiliar and unwanted. He tried to keep his eyes from straying. If he could keep from looking at Harry, he might conquer the desire that inflamed each nerve.

Discipline would be his salvation – with a chaser of strong whisky, to let him sleep at night. Snape dozed off in a chair one evening under the influence, and awakened to find the object of his lust ensconced firmly in his lap, demonstrably more than willing to meet his passion halfway.

Chapter Text

Percy shoved his glasses up and stacked the parchment neatly. All were interoffice memos, unsigned. They had been arriving daily for over a week. Most were brief complimentary notes, things like, "Your freckles are really sexy," or, "A person could drown in those gorgeous eyes." Yesterday's had been a bit different. That one had read, "Sorry about you and Penny. I went through nearly the same thing once."

That had made Percy blink. Whoever was sending these messages apparently knew that Percy was gay, and perhaps was so himself. It had to be someone who worked at the Ministry, but that hardly narrowed it down.

Yet another note fluttered past his shoulder. "I'll be by the fountain in the lobby at two o'clock."

It was nearly two now. The elevator doors were just closing as he hurried towards them, and he called out, "Wait, please!" He could always pretend he had another errand, if this turned out to be a joke. A childhood with Fred and George had taught him wariness.

When he saw who it was waiting for him, however, he sighed in pleased relief, and smiled into green eyes behind a pair of spectacles that mirrored his own.

Chapter Text

Why did he do it?

The words pound through Harry's head as he kneels, putting his fingertips to Draco's throat to feel for a pulse in a gesture he half-remembers from the Muggle films that Dudley always watched on the telly.

"Why did you do it?"

The words fall from Harry's lips almost as soon as Draco opens his eyes in the clean white room at St. Mungo's.

"You could have died," he says, the thought making him turn cold.

Draco smiles weakly. "I made the choice to help you." His fingers grope, clasp Harry's, and they grow warm together.

Chapter Text

Eleven months, it took. Harry supposed he was lucky it wasn't eleven years. Wooing Severus Snape was not a task for the faint-hearted.

Sending flowers was never an option, he was astute enough to realize. Instead he simply turned up in Severus' shop and began to help, unasked, dealing with the backlog of client orders.

Severus sneered and growled and tried to throw him out more than once, but one Friday, when a week had passed with only one explosion of temper, Harry put his arms around Severus and kissed him.

He was only slightly surprised when Severus kissed back.

Chapter Text

Snape looked at the form curled up like a comma in the bed beside him. A man, now, in his mid-twenties, but Harry still slept with the innocence of childhood, his face smooth, lips slightly parted. Snape touched the dark hair before carefully sliding out from under the covers. He did so almost every night; he had told Harry that it was in order to check on his potions more easily that he slept on the sofa downstairs rather than in their room, but that was a half-truth at best. He was reluctant to force Harry to share his nightmares.

Chapter Text

Square sun-browned hands remove Percy's glasses, setting them aside. Percy smells a whiff of broom polish as the hands return, stroking along his forehead and down across his cheek. His face feels naked, and he blinks and squints, his own hands moving instinctively to tangle in dark unkempt hair.

"I dreamed about this for so long." The voice is almost a whisper, breaking on "long."

Percy swallows against the lump in his throat, replying, "So have I."

The lips that meet his are warm, surprisingly soft in the stubbled and wind-burned skin, and the tongue is sweet against Percy's own.

Chapter Text

As often Harry declared his affection, Severus was not certain if he believed; but the sun in Harry's green eyes nearly persuaded him. Enough, at least, to convince him to come on holiday to the Costa del Sol, though Severus was not one for sunny days spent frolicking on beaches. Harry in scarlet trunks leapt through waves as if he were still a boy instead of a war veteran in his mid-twenties, while Severus sat under an umbrella, watching. The spray of the salt water made his hair even more lank than usual and the sun invariably burned his nose.

Chapter Text

"I'm not trying to buy your affection!"

In Madame Malkin's, Harry glared at Remus, who stood in a half-pinned robe.

"I'll be back in a moment," the assistant murmured, leaving them discreetly alone.

"I know you don't care about this sort of thing, but it's just a new set of dress robes, for goodness' sake. Don't be so suspicious. I have the Galleons, you don't. What better to do than spend them on someone I love?" Harry's face was red.

Remus capitulated. When the assistant returned, she found that she had to start the pinning process over from the beginning.

Chapter Text

Twenty-seven. Draco turned the number over in his head. Three times three times three – significant, that, as he’d have guessed even without having worked towards his N.E.W.T. in Arithmancy.

He had once doubted he would reach twenty-seven – hell, there had been times when he thought he wouldn’t make it past seventeen – but looking in the mirror, he smirked. Not bad. He would always be thin-featured, but maturity suited him... and as long as he had Harry, who assured him that he was handsome, Draco wouldn’t mind adding another three to that equation. Eighty-one wasn’t old for a wizard, after all.

Chapter Text

"It's not going to happen between us."

Percy sat down with his cup of tea and plate of buttered toast. He'd tried to work out the best time to speak; there was no good one, he eventually concluded. So he simply said it.

"Sorry?" Harry turned his head. "No, I heard you. I just... well." He dropped his own half-eaten toast. "Can we discuss it tonight? I'm nearly late already."

"Of course." Percy watched Harry making his usual futile attempt to smooth his hair. It hurt to think he wouldn't see that much longer, but he knew he was right.

Chapter Text

The teacup rattled in its saucer as Percy set it down. That never happened – Percy's long fingers were quick and precise, sure in their movements. Harry could watch him for hours as he wrote or cast spells or did something dreadfully mundane like washing up that same teacup. He tried not to, of course, not wanting Percy to realize quite how much he wished they were more than just flatmates.

Percy rubbed his thumb over the rim as if he were apologizing, with such love in the gesture that Harry involuntarily put out his own hand, needing that same touch.

Chapter Text

Back at Hogwarts for his delayed seventh year, Harry has repeated moments of anger and despair that he cannot explain. He snaps at Ginny if she tries to ask what's wrong, and the sympathetic looks from Ron and Hermione only irritate him further.

Each time, all that allows him to control the darkness that threatens to consume him is flight, soaring through the clear cold air until he is washed clean of all thought. He doesn't fly alone, although his friends think so. Draco saw him, the first time he went, and now joins him whenever Harry needs that escape.

Chapter Text

"Did wizards ever really say 'hocus pocus'?" Harry asked idly.

"What?" Draco nearly dropped the hammer as he pounded a picture hook into the wall, Harry having convinced him the Muggle method was quicker. "Don't distract me." He picked up the frame, hung it, and stepped back. "Is that straight?"

The two of them waved from the photograph of their holiday on the Isle of Lewis.

"It shouldn't be." Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's waist. "We're not, after all."

"Silly." Draco elbowed Harry, reaching out to adjust the picture.

"That's why you love me," Harry whispered in Draco's ear.

Chapter Text

Percy has never needed any sort of alarm; he simply wakes. He pulls on his dressing gown, and pads off to the shower. Then he makes tea, bringing it to the bedroom.

"Harry." He strokes dark hair. "Time to get up."

Grumbling, Harry wraps an arm around Percy's waist, pulling him down.

"We'll be late," Percy protests halfheartedly.

"They can't start without you. The ceremony isn't until ten o'clock, anyhow."

Harry's breath is musty with sleep, but Percy kisses him anyway and feels Harry's morning erection nudging against his leg.

"I suppose we can make time for this," he murmurs.

Chapter Text

Remus dreamed first of knighthood, like Gawain. He battled imaginary dragons, wielding a soup ladle with consummate skill against his mother's cushions. Later he brandished a toy wand and vowed never to be as foolish as Merlin, deprived of his power by Nimue.

When Fenrir bit him he realized painfully that instead of the brave knight, he was doomed to be the monster. His attack on Severus Snape only reinforced his despair. Not until years later did he understand that monster and hero dwelt in every man's heart; it took far longer to persuade Severus to acknowledge that as well.

Chapter Text

"What are you doing here, Potter?"

Harry froze next to the suit of armor when he heard Draco Malfoy's drawling voice. He turned slowly, intending to retort that Malfoy was no longer a prefect, he was practically an outcast and only back at Hogwarts to finish his studies on sufferance. The words died on his lips.

Why should he bother keeping up their old enmity, after all? Voldemort was dead, Malfoy's father had escaped being returned to Azkaban by the merest whisper, and Harry had seen for himself how alone Malfoy now was.

"I'm looking to see if the tunnel to Hogsmeade is still functional," he said finally, and held out his hand. "You want to come with me?"

He had never thought to see such a genuine smile on Malfoy's face as the other boy stepped forward and took his hand. "Yes, I would," Malfoy said, and followed him.

Chapter Text

Had Harry not been the son of Lily Evans and James Potter, Snape told himself, he wouldn't have minded so much that the boy was Dumbledore's champion. Of course, if he had been someone else, Snape might not have changed allegiances. Nevertheless he mused at night sometimes, when Harry snored softly beside him in their bed, thinking how much less complicated it could have been between them. As it was, their relationship was founded in resentment and need almost as much as in any more positive emotions. Perhaps that was all either of them wanted or deserved, in the end.

Chapter Text

Percy's coffee -- decaffeinated -- grew cold as he read, engrossed in the murder mystery he'd chosen to read in Harry's absence. He could have attended the Aurors' dinner, but they were still being discreet about their relationship. Apparently the murderer had sunk the victim's body in a pond by chaining it to concrete blocks.

When the author started to describe Muggle police procedure, however, Percy's attention flagged. The book slipped from his fingers as he dozed off.

"Percy," came Harry's voice. "Percy."

He looked drowsily into loving green eyes. "You're home," he said, smiling, and tilted his head for a kiss.

Chapter Text

"I understand your feelings." Dumbledore had steepled his fingers. "My decision is final, however. I ask that you prepare the Wolfsbane potion, and that you try," he laid soft emphasis on the word, "to get along with Remus, as with any other colleague."

Severus had agreed, his mind roiling with emotions he had not dared recognize. Now he stood before Lupin with the goblet.

"Thank you," said Lupin softly. The brush of his fingers was achingly familiar. He looked older, more weary than Severus had expected, but his voice was the same; so was the desire that leapt between them.

Chapter Text

Harry scowled at the note.

I've an unexpected meeting and won't be able to make it to dinner tonight. I'll be there by 9.30 though. D.

The owl hooted. Absent-mindedly he tossed her an Owl Treat. "No reply," he said, and she hopped back out of the open window. Harry closed it.

He couldn't decide if these last-minute engagements were genuine, or if Draco was just leading Harry a merry dance to make sure he stayed interested.

"I've half a mind to not be home myself," he muttered. "Serve the prat right to expect a shag and find me gone."

Chapter Text

The setup was perfect. Whenever the Galleon in Harry's pocket signaled, he would find some excuse for retiring to his room early. Door locked, he would Disapparate. Over the next days he would pass on the information to those who needed it, saving lives.

There was just one problem. Each time they met Harry found it harder to maintain the facade of enmity. He cursed his own weakness. Draco might spy for the Order, but if he discovered how Harry felt, he would take every advantage, Harry was sure.

He learned how wrong he was the night Draco kissed him.

Chapter Text

Departed

The room was all in warm reds and golds, clearly designed to make the hotel's guests feel swaddled in luxury. Harry had chosen it at random, and although the price made him blink, he could find something else soon.

Tonight was New Year's Eve; he deserved comfort. He pulled a bottle of firewhisky from his suitcase and tilted it to his lips as he slouched in the overstuffed chair. Between the alcohol and Muggle central heating, he ought to have been warm, but coldness gripped him as he thought of Draco, willing himself not to give in and go back.


Desolated

No fire burned tonight. Usually on New Year's Eve they had had a roaring one, sprawling together on the rug, sipping champagne, sharing conversation and kisses. Not this year. Draco huddled alone on the cold smooth leather of the sofa, legs curled up under him, drinking firewhisky, not wine, and going over and over their last conversation.

As the hours slid past, ticking down to midnight, he knew that Harry wouldn't return. Honesty compelled him to realize that he would have to make any overture for reconciliation. Slowly Draco wrote the words that he hoped might convey his profound regrets.

Chapter Text

The quilt wrapped around Harry was warm, but brought him no comfort. It was ridiculous to think that if he hadn't left Ginny, she might still be alive; she was in her nineties, for Merlin's sake, and as she'd been killed by the chimaera she was photographing, it wasn't as if she hadn't lived the life she wanted.

Nevertheless "what-ifs" and "if-onlys" tumbled through his mind until Draco came, bones creaking as he lowered himself to the sofa and silently embraced Harry. Harry looked at him, every wrinkle and white hair so familiar and dear, and felt his burdens lighten.

Chapter Text

"Mooning over Evans again, Prongs?" Sirius nudges James.

They're in the library supposedly working on their Charms essays, due tomorrow, but James is watching Evans study with Snape.

"Don't worry, she'll come around," Remus whispers.

"Yeah, 'course." James forces his eyes back to his book. "How long does this have to be?"

He isn't listening as Peter answers eagerly, "A foot and a half." He's trying not to remember that when he'd slammed Snape against the wall earlier, felt the other boy struggle, glaring at him with hot hate-filled eyes, he'd become harder than he'd ever done thinking about Evans.

Chapter Text

Harry took a deep breath and started the charm to create the Howler.

"I miss you," he began. "I miss your snide comments about practically everyone we know. I miss the way you steal the covers in the middle of the night. I miss the way you poke holes in your oatmeal before you sugar it. I miss the way you order curry so hot that I can't taste anything for two days. I miss you, Draco. Can we please give ourselves another chance?"

He ended the spell. He would send it now; then he could only wait and hope.

Chapter Text

"You bastard." Draco stood in Harry's office doorway .

Hot color flooded Harry's cheeks.

"You sent your Howler knowing I'd be at work." Draco stalked forward. "Not on, Harry. Not at all."

"I had to be sure you'd listen." Harry met Draco's glare. "I don't mind having you yell at me if you do it in person, and I meant every word in that message."

"I know." Amusement snaked through the exasperation. "But did you have to tell my entire office that I steal the bedclothes?"

Harry just managed to cast a locking spell on the door before Draco kissed him.

Chapter Text

Lank hair brushes across skin, a hundred shivers rippling. A tongue flicks out to taste a navel, then moves teasingly upward rather than down, leaving a wet trail to the pebbled skin of each tight nipple. Fingers tweak hardened flesh, then soothe. One fingertip traces a scar on a forehead young but marked by care. Another reciprocates, tracing the dark ring under a darker eye, outlining a beaky nose, drawing along the line of a stubbled jaw. The time for urgency will come; now is for wondering exploration, for touching and tasting, for learning the body of another unexpectedly alive.

Chapter Text

Severus grimaced. There was little about him that could be construed as attractive, and most of the time he cared less. But tonight was different.

As he looked in the mirror, his reflection spoke up unhelpfully, cataloging his flaws. "Lank, greasy hair; sallow skin; beaky nose. Did you think you might turn into an Adonis overnight, you fool?"

"No," Severus growled, "I didn't, and I'll thank you to stay quiet. Besides, someone as scarred as Remus Lupin is, inside and out, can hardly hold me to a higher standard."

He wasn't sure if he believed his own words or not.

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Harry came out of the kitchen bearing a chocolate-frosted cake and set it down in front of Draco.

"What are all the candles for?" Draco asked, frowning at the little waxen tapers.

"It's a Muggle thing. Not that the Dursleys ever did it for me, but I saw it on Dudley's telly once or twice. There's as many candles as you are old. You make a wish and blow them all out in one breath, and your wish is supposed to come true."

Draco's eyes were bright as he looked at Harry. "But there's nothing else I could wish for."

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"You've taught me so much," Harry whispered to the softly-snoring figure next to him. "Not to assume that I understood what someone else was really doing, nor why."

He took his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose as he put them on the night stand, then turned out the light. "Not to assume that someone was dead, even if I thought I saw him die."

Sliding beneath the covers, enjoying the surprising warmth of Severus's bony body, he finished, "Not to assume that your love for my mother meant we couldn't love each other, if we tried."

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"There." Percy's voice rang with satisfaction as he ruled a neat line under the final figure. "Everything is reconciled and up-to-date. You have an inventory list with current prices, your books are balanced, and you know what your gross and net profits are for the past year."

Neville leaned over Percy's shoulder. "I really appreciate your help." His breath was warm on Percy's skin and he smelt pleasantly of earth and leaves. "Um. Would you like to have dinner together tonight?" he added shyly.

Percy closed the ledger and reached to clasp Neville's hand. "I would enjoy that very much."

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"I heard, that is, I don't know, maybe it's not true, but..." Harry stammered to a halt as Draco raised an eyebrow inquiringly.

"Just say it, whatever it is."

"Well, I mentioned to George that we wanted kids, and he asked who was going to carry the baby. Not carry it around, but like, gestation. He asked as if it were a normal question." Harry's voice got smaller and smaller as he spoke. "Is this some wizard thing that everyone knows about but me?"

"Harry," said Draco. "Why would you believe George Weasley? Men can't bear babies, and that's that."

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"Are those dragon eggs?" Harry asked, glancing around Draco's flat.

"Spot on, Potter," said Draco.

"But they're illegal." Harry frowned. He'd thought that Draco had developed more sense over the past few years.

"Not these," answered Draco smugly, crossing to the basket by the fireplace and picking an egg up with surprising ease. "Here."

He tossed it to Harry, who reached out reflexively. "It's hollow?"

"Look."

There was a tiny hole at the end.

"Dud eggs. When they didn't hatch, the contents were removed; even a malformed dragon embryo has great potency."

"A fully-grown dragon namesake has more," Harry grinned.

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Severus found it restful, returning to the Hogwarts routine each September. There was a security in knowing precisely what was expected of him.

In his sixth year, however, he was assigned to Remus Lupin as a Potions partner.

"Why aren't you working with one of your friends?" Severus growled under his breath.

Lupin shrugged. "Peter only got Acceptable on his O.W.L."

"Don't expect to coast on my coattails," Severus warned.

"I won't." Lupin's eyes gleamed amber as he began measuring armadillo bile. "I got Outstanding on mine."

Severus's pulse beat faster. Perhaps a little uncertainty, a little change, wasn't bad.

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"What is that?" Severus's accusatory finger pointed at Harry's glass. Its contents smelled of malt and hops, but were a virulent green.

"I picked it up in America at that conference. It's a Muggle thing, apparently."

Severus raised his eyebrows. "Turning their beer green?"

"Something to do with St. Patrick's Day?" Harry shrugged. "It's all right, if you allow that Americans don't brew very good lager to begin with."

Severus harrumphed and plucked the glass away, ignoring Harry's halfhearted protests. "I will happily watch you get drunk and affectionate," he said, "but you should do it on something worth drinking."

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Harry flicked through the pages of the Muggle tabloids.

"What are you doing?"

"Oh, nothing." Harry hadn't heard Severus enter the kitchen. He hastily gathered the papers together.

Suspiciously Severus dropped one hand on the final paper, holding it still to examine it. "Flying saucers? What on earth?"

"Um." Harry flushed. "My first attempt at Memory Modification. Some kids on brooms; I had to come up with a substitute for the Muggles."

"Why not just a flock of geese?" Severus shook his head. "Simple is best."

"Says the man who's never been simple in his life," Harry replied, kissing him.

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Ron couldn't remember who suggested that they go to Brighton. Hermione, probably, since it was mostly a Muggle town, with only a couple of safe Apparition points and one wizarding establishment, disguised as an unsuccessful antiques shop.

At any rate a dozen of them had gone, far too many to all wander together. Somehow Ron had ended up walking with Neville, buying ice lollies and then finding a bench to eat the dripping sticky sweets on.

Neville's mouth was stained red. Without thinking, Ron raised his finger and traced the line of Neville's lips – and that was where it started.

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If Severus had expected to live – which he hadn't, frankly – he certainly never expected the first person he saw when he opened his eyes to be Kingsley Shacklebolt.

"What are you doing here?" he rasped.

"You should be flattered, Severus. I've been waiting here for days for you to wake up," replied Kingsley calmly.

"I'm awake. Now bugger off."

"No."

"No?" Snape glared. "What do you want?"

"To ask for your forgiveness," Kingsley said. "None of us realized what you were really doing."

Somehow the warmth of Kingsley's fingers made Severus say, "Very well," before he closed his eyes once again.

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If Sirius had been able do anything more useful than offer Grimmauld Place to the Order, he wouldn't have stayed there.

If Percy hadn't been so angry at his parents' suspicions, he wouldn't have moved to London.

If Sirius hadn't been so lonely, he wouldn't have changed into Padfoot and wandered the dirty streets disconsolately.

If Percy had had friends or family to spend time with, he wouldn't have absentmindedly scratched a stray dog's ears when it nudged him.

If Sirius hadn't kissed Percy to shut him up when Sirius changed back to human form, everything would have been different.

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The difficult part about living with Draco was his reluctance to apologize when he was late, Percy decided. Draco was rather surprisingly tidy – Percy had expected that a man who grew up with house-elves wouldn't pick up after himself, but Draco did – and he didn't snore, and he was joyfully inventive in bed. Percy blushed just remembering.

But he did come home late half the time, and if Percy was cooking he hated delaying the meal, but Draco always seemed to shrug it off. Like tonight. Percy was going to give Draco a piece of his mind as soon as he walked through the door; Percy hadn't been foolish enough to start cooking the scallops before Draco arrived, but he was getting hungry and irritable, waiting.

Percy was about to give up entirely and eat alone when Draco at last came home, a bottle of wine under his arm which he handed to Percy before shoving his hands in his pockets, most uncharacteristically.

"If you think this will make up for being late," Percy began, but Draco shook his head.

"No, but I hope this will," said Draco, and opened the box he'd pulled out of his pocket. "Marry me?"

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A shadow fell across the Venomous Tentacula over which Neville bent."Watch it," he snapped without looking to see who it was. "This plant is dangerous."

"Is it," drawled an unexpected voice.

Then Neville did glance up before returning his attention to the teething plant. "Malfoy."

"Draco," he was corrected.

Neville sighed. "Draco." A vision came to him of Draco's appearance the last time Neville had said his name, fair hair tousled, pale skin flushed and sweaty.

"The plant may be dangerous," whispered Draco as he drew a finger along Neville's neck, "but not half so dangerous as its owner."

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Kingsley was under no illusion that his liaison with Snape was likely to be permanent, but choosing Snape as his intimate partner had its advantages. Snape knew how to be discreet; it was part of what had drawn Kingsley to him in the first place. He was accustomed to having both witches and wizards openly admire him, but Snape had met his gaze coolly, with just a hint of a raised eyebrow. And then, of course, there was the fact that he was astonishingly and inventively excellent in bed. The blue silk of Kingsley's pajama pants tented, thinking about it.

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While Percy would hop out of bed and go off to shower and make tea and eat his standard three slices of wheat toast spread corner to corner with a scraping of butter and plenty of marmalade, and come back into the bedroom to get dressed, carefully knotting his tie, Neville lay sprawled out like a particularly crooked log with the pillow over his head. He really did dislike getting up in the morning, but he also enjoyed the way that Percy woke him, stroking his back and kissing his cheek, so that Neville smelled warm sandalwood on Percy's skin.

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They were eating dinner at a Muggle bistro that Percy had discovered, or rather, found when going through Minister Shacklebolt's appointment book and trying to straighten out his engagements. They had gone first for Neville's birthday, and now ate there almost every month. The food was excellent, the service even better.

Percy swallowed the last spoonful of a delicious vichyssoise, gathering his courage. "We've been seeing each other for nearly two years now," he said.

Neville nodded.

"I'd... I'd like us to live together, if you're interested."

The smile that bloomed on Neville's face was all the answer Percy needed.

Chapter Text

"I couldn't believe it at first," Harry confessed, tapping his fingernail on one of the six empty pint glasses ranged before him.

Across the table, Neville nodded. "Me either. Luna and Ginny?"

"Yeah. And d'you know what Ginny said?" Harry enunciated carefully. "She hoped I'd find someone too, and maybe I should consider men. Knew I shouldn't have told her about those fantasies," he finished.

Neville's grasp on sobriety was as tenuous as Harry's, but that caught his attention. "Harry? You fancy blokes?"

Harry looked guilty. "Mm hm."

Neville licked his lower lip. "Me too, sometimes. Maybe we could...?"

"Yeah."

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"What do you want?" Draco's voice was lazy, taunting, breath warm and sour from the beer he'd drunk. Harry had always supposed Draco would drink whisky, or brandy, or something of the sort, but no. Beer, and cheap beer at that.

"What do you want?" Harry countered. His nerves were strung tight, poised on the edge of explosion as he met Draco's steel-grey eyes. "Stop evading me."

"Evading...?" The laugh that Draco tried failed as Harry tightened his grip on Draco's wrists. "Fuck. All right. What I want is to wake up beside you tomorrow, and every tomorrow after that."

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If he hadn't recognized the snake-headed cane -- foolish affectation -- Remus would never have guessed that it was Lucius Malfoy under the disguise. Glamour, Polyjuice, it didn't matter. Nearly all who came here wore faces not their own. Remus himself did the same; his monthly transformations aged his appearance, regrettably, and youth or its semblance brought a more generous clientele into his bed. Selling his body was not ideal, but it was better than starving, and sometimes he learned surprisingly useful bits of information. He would save the physical evidence of Malfoy's indiscretions, should he ever need leverage against the man.

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"I'm sorry that we have to be saddled with my grandmother," Neville murmured to Oliver after tucking her shawl more snugly around the dozing old lady. "She can be difficult at times, but she's always wanted to see Greece... I couldn't say no."

Oliver smiled and took Neville's hand. "It's fine, Neville. I think it's marvelous that you're willing to do this for her. Although I intend to put the strongest silencing charm that has ever been cast on our room, so that you won't have to be worried about having her overhear us. It is our honeymoon, after all."

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"My esteemed colleague may debate the issue," said Hermione, "but the facts are plain. The Ministry has systematically ignored the rights of sentient non-human magical beings for decades, but we must ensure that existing laws are enforced. If we do not respect the law, how can we expect the ordinary witch or wizard to?"

Applause thundered as she left the podium, but Hermione searched for just one figure in the audience. There was Luna, applauding madly, her fair hair arranged in complicated plaits that she claimed would enhance Hermione's powers of persuasion. Hermione smiled. She would thank her lover later.

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The first night Neville had tried the octopus. Whether it had gone bad or he was allergic they were never sure, but he spent the next two days mostly with his head over the toilet.

Then Bill foolishly forgot to put on a Sunscreen Charm, and he was bright red and puffy and in pain for several days more.

"I hope that everyone is wrong about this being the best time of our lives," said Neville, squeezing more aloe vera gel onto Bill's skin.

Ignoring the mess, Bill hugged Neville. "It is -- because it's the beginning of our life together."

Chapter Text

One of the Hogwarts house-elves woke Neville.

"Professor Longbottom, sir!" it squeaked anxiously. "There is a package for you!"

Yawning, Neville said, "You'd better bring it, then."

On the parcel a note said, "Open at 10 a.m. precisely."

At the designated moment Neville tore off the Christmas paper. Dioscorides' Herbal inside proved to be a Portkey which whisked him to Charlie's rooms in Romania, where his real gift waited: no need to unwrap Charlie, naked and waiting impatiently.

"I got today off at the last minute, and hoped you'd like the surprise," Charlie said.

"Very much," said Neville, kissing him.

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"Would you go back to Hogwarts?" Harry asked, tracing designs on Severus's chest.

"Certainly not." Severus shuddered. "I cannot adequately convey to you my loathing for drilling the basics of potion preparation into sieve-like student brains."

"Not to teach," said Harry. "I wanted us to visit Dumbledore's grave, remember him, good and bad."

"Why today?" Severus asked. "It's not the anniversary of his death, it's Hallowe'en."

"It's the anniversary of my parents' death. I'm older than they ever were, thanks to Dumbledore, and to you. I thank you daily." He kissed Severus. "One day a year for him seems fair."

Chapter Text

At first Remus kept his two lives separate. Sirius, James, and Peter were used to him often studying in the library instead of the Gryffindor common room; he got more done without their distraction, and he afterward let them copy his notes.

For a while, too, Severus accepted that Remus would still spend time with his Gryffindor friends. They both knew that they must conceal what was between them.

Eventually Remus's failure to control the bullying that Severus received brought matters to a head. Dark eyes smoldering, Severus issued an ultimatum -- and Remus didn't know how to make the choice.

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"There," Harry said with satisfaction, using his wand to hang the mistletoe sprig above the living room doorway. Compared with the Weasleys, they scarcely decorated; it had taken Harry quite a lot of persuasion to get Severus to accept this much.

Harry's methods were rarely verbal; he knew something better than mistletoe to get Severus to kiss him, for instance. He looked at the clock. Close enough. When Severus came home, he found Harry waiting, naked save for a few strategically located bits of tinsel, the gleam in his eye saying that Severus was welcome to unwrap him any time.

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"Wine punch? Hot buttered rum? Eggnog?" asked Neville.

Harry hadn't intended to come; his breakup with Ginny had left him bruised and unsocial, but Hermione and Ron had complained that they never saw him and it was Neville's first-ever party.

"Which do you recommend?"

"The eggnog is my gran's recipe."

"I'll try that, then."

Watching Neville ladle out the creamy drink, Harry had a vision of those hands caressing warm skin.

When Neville handed him the cup, their fingers brushed. Harry trembled. He dragged his gaze upward to meet Neville's, and to his surprise, found his own desire echoed there.

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"A parcel came for you today by Muggle post," Severus told Harry as he walked into the kitchen.

Harry blinked. "Who from?"

"I didn't look to see," said Severus in his most repressive tones. "It was addressed to you."

Harry picked up the brown-paper-wrapped package. "From Aunt Petunia?" he said disbelievingly. "I wonder what..." His fingers were busy undoing it, until finally the box stood open.

"A broken reindeer? How... thoughtful."

"It was my favorite ornament as a child," said Harry absently, touching the leg that had been damaged and clumsily glued. "Dudley broke it, but I loved it anyway."

Chapter Text

Remus's flat was even tinier, the furniture more battered, than Severus's, yet neither of them ever suggested sharing a flat instead to save money. Two years out of school, no one else knew of their relationship. It seemed best to Severus that way.

Sometimes there was evidence of Remus's other guests: an overflowing ashtray when Remus scarcely smoked, a half-bottle of white wine in the tiny refrigerator though Remus drank only red. Severus never asked. He didn't want to know if Remus saw his Gryffindor bully-boy friends, and he especially didn't want to know if Remus ever slept with them.

Chapter Text

"Star light, star bright," whispered Harry, looking up. He remembered enough astronomy to be certain it was a star, not Venus or another planet.

The air was cold after the heat and press of the crowd. Harry had been unable to avoid attending the official Ministry party, but at least he could escape it momentarily.

He heard the crunch of feet on the frosted grass behind him, but didn't move.

"Harry."

That voice, once despised, now caressed Harry's ears. "What are you doing out in the cold without a cloak?"

"Wishing you were here with me." Harry turned into Draco's embrace.

Chapter Text

"That's the devil's herb."

The voice came from behind Severus as he stood in Slug & Jiggers, reaching for a bottle.

"Some call it that, yes," he agreed, and looked over his shoulder at Kingsley. "It's also known as naughty man's cherries, were you aware?"

"I was." Kingsley smiled a slow smile. "I didn't know you were."

Severus caught the glint in the other man's eye. "You should know me better."

"I'd like to."

That was blunt enough, Severus thought. "I've a room at the Leaky Cauldron," he mentioned.

"I'll buy you a drink," Kingsley said, "and we'll toast Lady Fate."

Chapter Text

The note was unsigned, but it could only have come from one person.

I apologize for having caused your injury.

George grimaced, his hand going up to his missing ear. Hermione had always insisted that Snape hadn't died, and as usual, she was correct.

But it seemed odd for his former Potions Professor to write him a note of apology.

He understood better several evenings later, in the Muggle pub where he tried to eradicate the worst of his memories temporarily. By the time they grappled each other in the gents', George was glad that he'd already managed to forgive Snape.

Chapter Text

Percy scowled. Viktor Crum was duck footed and round shouldered. He was still in school, at Durmstrang, yet a renowned Quidditch player. Durmstrang letting Krum off lessons to play Quidditch suggested a lack of seriousness. He, Percy, disapproved of practically everything about Krum... yet he stared at him, dancing at the Yule Ball with Hermione Granger. Perhaps Krum wasn't intellectually limited, if Hermione liked him. Percy thought he saw Krum glance in his own direction more than once, and his heart beat faster when Krum politely came to greet the judges. He wet his lips as he shook Krum's hand.

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Harry stretched luxuriously, then lay still as the oil dripped along his spine. He sniffed. "Smells like gingerbread."

There was a chuckle in Severus's voice. "I did alter my usual recipe for the season." Warm strong fingers began to stroke Harry's back, kneading tension from the knots of muscle. Severus was astonishingly good at that, Harry had found.

"I'll smell like a biscuit," he said in mock-complaint.

Severus stroked the firm curve of his arse. "All the better to eat you."

Harry grinned to himself and wriggled temptingly. He would have to think of a way to repay Severus -- later.

Chapter Text

"I feel utterly ridiculous," Severus complained.

Harry smirked. "You agreed I could do whenever I wanted."

"Yes," Severus admitted, "but I didn't expect this."

Harry stopped Severus's gesture. "Hold still." He continued to arrange the fruit, marking Severus's nipples with raspberries, placing a fig carefully in the hollow of his navel, threading stems of cherries into the thatch of dark fur at his groin.

When he had finished, he destroyed what he had so painstakingly created. By the time Harry had satisfied his hunger, Severus was prepared to admit that perhaps it hadn't been such a ridiculous idea after all.

Chapter Text

When he saw Lupin at the high table, Severus felt the once-familiar lust rise up. He'd known Lupin would be there -- the Headmaster had informed them -- but that was quite different from seeing him.

Lupin's eyes met his, the heat in them unmistakable. Severus nodded once, almost imperceptibly.

After dinner he had a house-elf leave a note with one word and one number in Lupin's room. If Lupin recognized them to be a password and a time...

The door opened at precisely the designated moment, and Severus heard Lupin's breath catch at the sight of Severus kneeling naked before him.

Chapter Text

"Damn it." Exasperated, Harry threw his wand across the room, then sheepishly had to Summon it back.

"What's wrong?" Draco asked, looking up from the Prophet. He saved the crosswords to do every Sunday.

"This wrist-reversing hex. I've cast it three times and nothing's happened."

Draco shook his head. "Where'd you learn it?"

"I copied Ron's notes from that day last week I was sick."

"Let me see." Draco looked over Harry's writing, nodded, and pulled a book off the shelf. "You misspelled it; or Weasley did. You're trying to reverse a dwarf. It should be manum converte, not nanum converte."

Chapter Text

"Are you sure?" Percy bit his lip. He had proposed the idea as a joke; he hadn't expected Harry to pick it up with such enthusiasm. In future he ought to yield to his own reluctance to attempt humor.

Harry nodded vigorously. "We'll tell the family beforehand – your mum would be devastated otherwise – but it's a great plan."

Swallowing hard, Percy agreed.

After Harry caught the Snitch for the Cannons the following Sunday, bringing them their first league victory in over a century, commentator Lee Jordan announced that Harry Potter and Percy Weasley were engaged to be married that Christmas.

Chapter Text

Harry kissed Severus's skin, tasting salt. "That was wonderful."

It always was, but it wasn't sex that bound them; it was the way they could talk or be silent together as the mood moved, the way they understood each other as no one else could, given that each of them had for all intents and purposes died and come back to life.

Harry never knew if the dampness on Severus's face was entirely sweat or if there were tears, too. It didn't matter. For now, it was enough to lie holding each other, feeling the pounding of their hearts slow.

Chapter Text

Draco caught his breath, watching Charlie swoop circles around the Horntail, the sun causing his red hair to gleam with a fiery glow that rivaled his charge's breath.

Stepping backward, Draco slipped on a patch of icy mud and cursed under his breath. Winter clung, here in these mountains, and he wished for a moment to be home in England.

He had no real choice, though. Charlie was scarcely likely to leave a job he performed so well and enjoyed so much, which meant that Draco too would stay. Being Charlie's lover made all the rest of it seem worthwhile.

Chapter Text

Molly still sends Harry a sweater every Christmas and he always pulls it on immediately, ignoring Severus's grumbling that he looks ridiculous.

Their private celebration is invariably quiet. Severus says it's too late for him to learn to enjoy Christmas, although he goes willingly enough with Harry if they're invited to dinner with someone.

This year they're going to Hogwarts; Headmistress McGonagall asked them months ago. Harry squeezes Severus's hand as they prepare to take the Floo. He is thankful each year to be with Severus, the only person who came even closer to death than he, and yet lived.

Chapter Text

The snatch of music caught Harry's attention as he hurried along the street.

Please, please, please... let me get what I want. Lord knows, it would be the first time.

Harry patted his pocket, feeling for the tiny box there.

Severus was already at the restaurant, looking sour, his usual cover for discomfort. Once the waiter had taken their orders and disappeared, Harry placed the box into Severus's palm where it sprang open.

Candlelight glinted off gold inside. Severus stared motionlessly for several moments before he let his eyes meet Harry's.

Harry nodded.

Severus cleared his throat, and nodded back.

Chapter Text

"Help me outside."

Severus's once-rich voice is thin and cracked now, but as peremptory as ever. Harry offers his arm for Severus to use to help lever himself upright, grabs the fleecy shawl that Hermione knitted two Christmases ago, and drapes it around Severus's thin shoulders.

Nagini's poison has in the end done its work, although Harry can't complain too much, not after forty-odd years.

Despite the weakness of his lungs, Severus likes the clear cold air. Harry settles him into the padded wrought iron lounge and sits beside him. Together they watch the spangled stars cluster in the sky.

Chapter Text

"What was your worst year in school?" Severus asked one night over dinner.

"Fifth year," answered Harry. "With that horrible Umbridge woman. I think I can still see the scar from the lines she made me write on my hand. Why do you want to know?"

Severus shrugged. "No reason in particular. You know, that was the year I was proudest of you, although I'm sure you wouldn't have guessed it."

"Definitely not. How did I make you proud of me?"

"Because that year you created Dumbledore's Army. Until then I had felt that I was an army of one."

Chapter Text

"Greedy," chided Severus as Harry cut himself an enormous slice of gateau.

"It's my birthday," replied Harry with his mouth full. He swallowed, adding, "The Dursleys didn't exactly observe my birthday when I was young, you know. Your childhood birthdays weren't great either, so why not enjoy celebrating mine properly with me now?"

"I suppose I might as well," Severus conceded, although he was somewhat more restrained in the size of piece he took.

"Good." Harry leaned across the table corner and gave Severus several chocolate-flavoured kisses, which privately Severus felt he would rather have than any amount of cake.

Chapter Text

Lupin, Severus wrote.

He would not call the other boy "Remus" again, nor was there any power on earth that would make him use the address "Dear," not now.

Try as you will, there is no way in which you can pass off what happened the other night as a misunderstanding. Your friend Black tried to get me killed – by you. There can be no other way of looking at it; this was no prank gone wrong, but attempted murder, with you as the instrument.

I do not blame you wholly, despite your refusal to tell me your secret, but I do hold you responsible for having chosen such a friend. I do not wish to see you again.

Severus Snape

Severus sat still for a few moments after writing the final words, trying to control the pain that seared through him at the thought of losing Remus. Though their relationship had been clandestine, it had meant much. But there was no alternative.

He folded and sealed the parchment with jerky movements and moved unseeingly through the corridors and up the stairs to the school owlery, where he would find an owl to deliver the message to Lupin that evening.

Chapter Text

Thursday was Remus's usual day to receive a letter from home. The second envelope surprised and its handwriting astonished him.

Having ensured that his friends were occupied with their breakfasts, Remus opened it and scanned the contents. He felt dizzy. Severus never wanted to see him again? He knew that the other boy was rightfully upset and angry over Sirius's prank, but to go this far?

"Oi, Moony, what's that?" asked Sirius from across the table.

"Nothing," said Remus unhappily, crumpling the parchment and thrusting it into the pocket of his robe. He would burn it later. "Nothing at all."

Chapter Text

"What do you think our lives would be like if you hadn't asked me out?"

Draco gave Harry a lazy smile. "You were so far in the closet... you'd have married Ginny Weasley and probably had three kids by now. What if you hadn't rescued me in the Room of Requirement?"

"Then we wouldn’t have had that date." Harry rolled over and reached under the pillow. "I was terrified, you know, when I said I'd have dinner with you that night. Now I have a question for you. What would you say if I ask you to marry me?"

"Yes."

Chapter Text

What if...?

Draco murmurs these words regularly to Harry.

What if we try it with you standing and me on the bed?

His suggestions are nearly always good ones, Harry finds.

What if I put fresh pineapple on you? Delicious.

And it is, sweetly satisfying for both of them.

What if you tie me up and spank me?

Draco pants, red-faced, and begs Harry for more. Harry is happy to oblige.

What if we Polyjuice into each other?

It's peculiar, but exciting, even more when they arrange it so that they are first both Harry, then both Draco.

What if...?

Chapter Text

Draco would laugh, Harry suspected. Even if Draco was gay – Rita Skeeter's column not being always reliable – that didn't mean he would be interested in Harry. Yes, Harry got fan mail from around the world, begging for a date, a picture, anything, but Draco was no fan.

Harry didn't have much practice being gay, either. None, in fact. Maybe he should ask out someone he didn't care about first?

He still hovered undecided in the Ministry atrium when Draco bumped into him, and Harry blurted out his question. To his surprise all his doubt had been needless: Draco said yes.

Chapter Text

"It's hard for me to believe you mean it," said Draco.

Harry frowned. "First you thought I asked you out as a joke. Then I was having sex with you to have fodder for blackmail. You disbelieved me when I suggested we live together. I ask you to marry me, and you still doubt I love you? How can I convince you? Do you want Snape to return from the dead and vouch for me?"

"I'm sorry, Harry." Doubt was a powerful weapon; it had enabled Draco to get Harry to commit to him, for the rest of their lives.

Chapter Text

Harry was running out of ideas. He'd started small, with a predictable sprig of mistletoe above the doorway. Another time he had arranged for Severus to find him naked, except for bits of tinsel. Last year he had enlisted Draco's help to fulfil one of Severus's fantasies. How on earth could he top that?

As Christmas neared, Harry worried enough to consult Hermione, omitting certain details but explaining his dilemma. She listened, asked a question or two, then made a suggestion.

On Christmas Day, what Harry offered Severus was not merely his body, but his heart and his hand – forever.

Chapter Text

"I can't believe we're going to Ghent," Draco complained.

"You decided to choose by scattering those brochures on the floor and pointing your wand at random."

"Kick me if I do something so stupid again," sighed Draco. "A few boots in the arse will remind me."

"It'll be a lovely holiday." Harry nuzzled Draco's neck. "Mmm. You smell like ginger."

"New cologne." Draco hugged Harry back. "I said I'd go anywhere, endure anything, if you were there. I guess now I get to prove it."

Harry grinned. "Never thought you'd have to fulfill those promises?"

"No... but I meant them."

Chapter Text

The warm copper color of the knife belied its chill sharp edge. Severus had used it earlier that day to gather the mistletoe that now crowned his head, and the holly for Lupin's too.

Lupin knelt on the opposite side of the fireplace, naked as Severus himself. The meaningless network of scars across his body caught the flickering firelight. His expression was grave and expectant.

Severus had asked him here tonight to celebrate solstice with the old rituals, in tacit forgiveness and acknowledgment of attraction. He stretched out his hands and felt a jolt of power when Lupin took them.

Chapter Text

I look at the clock over the mantel. Unlike the Weasleys', it only tells time. The only person who lives in my flat is me, and if I don't know where I am, I'm in trouble anyhow.

Draco's late. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he doesn't want to come at all? His face turned red when I asked him to have dinner with me, and I thought it was from being pleased, but maybe he was embarrassed and didn't feel like he could say no.

I hope, please, don't let that be what it is. I've wanted him for so long.

Chapter Text

For all the years they had been in school together, they had been enemies. A harsh word, perhaps, but true. They had competed in classes, in Quidditch, even fought that stupid wizard's duel when Lockhart had begun the Duelling Club during their second year… not to mention when Harry had used the Sectumsempra curse on Draco.

Now he had saved Draco's life, and it was as if they had gone through the looking-glass. They were no longer enemies, nor even simply friends, but far more to each other than that. Harry knew that whatever happened next, they would be together.

Chapter Text

"I hate it when you're angry," Harry said. "You go all silent and cold. Even your voice is like ice. What is it that I've done this time?"

"If you don't know, I'm hardly going to tell you," Severus said with a sniff.

"That's ridiculous." Harry bounced with exasperation. "Honestly, I've no idea what is bothering you, and if you don't tell me, how can I fix it?"

"Look at the calendar."

"The calendar?"

It took a moment before Harry realized the date. "Valentine's Day."

The practical application of his contrition acted like sun on snow to thaw Severus's demeanor.

Chapter Text

Dearest Rolanda,

I hear that you are considering retiring from the Harpies. Given that you have been mad for Quidditch since our schooldays, this surprises me, but I hope the rumor is true .

In strictest confidence – and I know that you will keep it, for the sake of all we once were to each other – I will tell you that Professor Dumbledore hopes to hire someone as the flying instructor at Hogwarts, and to coach the House Quidditch teams and referee matches also. If you leave the Harpies, will you permit me to suggest your name?

Most affectionately,
Minerva

Chapter Text

Severus knelt, proffering a tray with a crystal decanter and glass. Lucius poured himself two fingers of whiskey and drank. His eyes rested on Severus.

"You may put the tray down," Lucius told him.

When Severus had resumed his position, Lucius held the glass to his lips and let Severus have the last mouthful.

They argued over the best means by which to achieve the Dark Lord's goals, but when it came to the art of love, Severus's joyful compliancy brought greater joy than anyone else Lucius had ever known. To find his release in Severus's body was unparalleled delight.

Chapter Text

There was no holiday that Severus could honestly say he liked much, but if forced to rank them, Valentine's Day would fall near the bottom. Sentimental nonsense, the whole thing.

It wasn't as if he had a "romantic partner". They fucked, that was all.

Still, perhaps the day did require something to mark it. Severus considered the possibilities.

That evening at dinner, an owl brought Sirius an unsigned bouquet of dead flowers. Severus watched with satisfaction from the Slytherin table as the other Gryffindors poked fun at Sirius's gift. Sirius would know who they were from and what they meant.

Chapter Text

"It was a ghost. Something brushed against me and I got cold," Harry insisted. "What else could it be?"

"A draft," said Severus in his driest voice. "If you insist on honeymooning in a stone cottage in Scotland during winter, drafts are inevitable. Did you see this purported ghost?"

"No," Harry admitted, "but ghosts don't have to be visible, Sir Nicholas said."

"I still think it was a draft," said Severus. He patted the cushion beside him. "Come here."

They were soon so wrapped up in their lovemaking that even Harry didn't notice when five ghosts appeared and watched them.

Chapter Text

"I thought they'd be bigger." Severus looked at a strawberry critically. "Are you sure this will be worth the effort?"

Harry laughed. "I'm sure. Taste one and you'll see." His lips were already reddened with juice. "You always tell me that size doesn't matter."

"All right," Severus surrendered, and popped a berry into his mouth. Harry was right. It had a flavor such as he had never tasted before, a fragrant distillation of summer sunshine. He sighed happily, looking over the field that waited to be picked, and kissed Harry's red mouth, which was even more delicious than the strawberry.

Chapter Text

Harry had – if reluctantly – acknowledged the physical attraction between them. Perhaps it was a little embarrassing that it was Draco who fired him with passion, but then Draco had the same hesitation, so they were even there.

Nearly a year had passed since they had first found each other, and desire still flared as hot as ever for them both. Lately, though, Harry had found that it wasn't just Draco's body he yearned for. He wanted to know about Draco's thoughts, his hopes, his dreams. When he realized that, he knew what he felt was not just lust, but love.

Chapter Text

Harry's fingers slide into Snape's lank hair. He can't get any closer; their tongues are already practically down each other's throats, their bodies pressed so closely together that his jeans are making dents in his skin. He tries anyway, tightening his other arm around Snape's waist. The deep moan that he hears might come from either of their throats; he can't tell and doesn't care anyhow. Who would have thought that ugly, surly Professor Snape could kiss so well? And would be willing to kiss Harry? All Harry knows right now is that he doesn't want it ever to end.

Chapter Text

"I said she'd end up with him," crowed Neville as the door to their flat closed behind them.

"Yes, yes," said Harry. He was glad that Ginny had finally given up moping over him, although slightly surprised that it was Oliver Wood who'd captured her attention. It made a certain amount of sense—they certainly had Quidditch in common, but... "You were right. What's the forfeit I owe you?"

Neville gave him that special grin that always turned Harry to butter. "As many kisses as I want." Harry smiled back. That was a forfeit he didn't mind paying at all.

Chapter Text

"So beautiful," Gellert murmured, stroking back a stray strand of Albus's hair and kissing him again. "You're the perfect wizard, my perfect partner. Together we can remake the wizarding world."

Albus cupped Gellert's cheek. "Of course we can, and take our rightful places in it."

Pride in his lover welled up in Gellert's heart. Albus was gorgeous, with his long red hair, but more important, he had tremendous magical talent, and saw the world as Gellert did. Together they would bend it to their will.

For tonight, however, it was enough to make love. Their future could wait until tomorrow.

Chapter Text

The blindfold was snug over Harry's eyes, his shoulders tense under the guiding arm.

"Steps here," Draco's voice murmured, and counted aloud to fifteen. "That's the end. I'm going to spin you around again now."

Harry let himself be turned until he was nearly dizzy. "How much farther?" he asked.

"Not too much," said Draco, beginning to lead Harry once more. "Don't worry; I won't let you fall."

Five more minutes of twists and turns, and Harry heard Draco knock. He was led inside, the blindfold pulled off, and he gaped in surprise.

"Surprise! Surprise! Happy birthday!" Everyone in the room seemed to call out at once. All of his friends and Draco's were there, smiling, reaching out to hug Harry, or pat his back, or shake his hand.

Harry looked at Draco, who gave an enormous grin. "Happy birthday, Harry. Enjoy your party."

"I will," Harry promised, brushing Draco's cheek with a swift kiss. What made his eyes shine with happiness, however, was not the affection of all their friends, nor even the thoughtfulness Draco had shown in arranging the party for him, but the fact that after all their past history, he trusted Draco to lead him true.

Chapter Text

"No." Severus didn't actually glare at Harry, but gave the impression that he might at any moment.

"No?" Harry widened his eyes and let his lower lip stick out.

"I said no, and I meant it." Severus turned another page of Potions Quarterly. "Don't pout. Malfoy used to pout all the time when I had the misfortune of being his Head of House. It's bad enough in an adolescent, but absolutely insufferable in an adult."

Harry changed tactics. "What if I do all the cooking and all the washing-up for a week?" he bargained.

"You already owe me a month of that, for my birthday present," Severus reminded him, examining an illustration.

"All right, how about if I..." Harry began to whisper in Severus's ear.

By the time he moved his head back, he saw with satisfaction that Severus's face was flushed and his breath coming fast.

"For that? Yes."

Chapter Text

Every night the dreams came. Fragmentary, erratic, disjointed, but always Snape appeared in them, with a sense of urgency that only grew stronger as the weeks passed.

Harry was careful. He never inquired directly, only asking Professor McGonagall if he could see the list of the dead. It numbered nearly a hundred, all told, but Snape's name was not there. Nor had a portrait of him appeared in the Headmistress's office.

There was simply nothing to prove that Snape had been killed, Harry concluded, and the seed of hope that was buried in his heart cracked and put out roots.

Chapter Text

"What in Merlin's name is that?" Severus grumbled. He had spent the night at Remus's flat in Battersea, but he hadn't reckoned on it being so noisy.

"What's what?" Remus yawned and listened. "Oh. The Bastille Day celebrations, I'd guess."

"Bastille Day?" said Severus blankly.

"Celebrating the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1879, at the beginning of the French Revolution; and no, don't ask me why it's celebrated in Battersea Park, because I have no idea. We could go out later to see the fireworks if you'd like."

"I'd rather set off our own," said Severus, kissing him.

Chapter Text

"You have a dirty mind," murmured Severus, but his tone was more admiring than disapproving.

"I do," agreed Harry, "but you love that about me."

"Humph. I still can't believe that this was your fantasy."

"We could use the Invisibility Cloak, but that would feel like cheating. Half the thrill is the chance of getting caught." Harry let his hand brush over the bulge in Severus's trousers. It had taken some convincing, but he knew Severus was as excited by the prospect as Harry. "Come on."

He turned and led the way into the men's loos at King's Cross station.

Chapter Text

Every fiber in Draco's body told him to stay, but when Narcissa beckoned, he had no choice. He stepped over a smear of blood and crossed the flagstones. For years Draco had longed for another man's embrace. Had it been someone he had daydreamed about -- Nott, Zabini, Potter, Professor Snape -- Draco would have been elated. The Dark Lord's touch repelled him. It was neither affection nor desire, but rather domination. It was all he could do to avoid showing the repugnance he felt, to remain calm as he walked to his mother and saw relief fill her eyes.

Chapter Text

"We gave our lives for you. My parents' picture."

Harry found the next slip of parchment in the frame. "I end the holiday meal. Christmas pudding?"

"Not the pudding," he announced, coming back from the kitchen. "Um. Draco, how many more clues?"

"You're nearly done."

"End of the meal," mused Harry. "Brandy? No, that's not just Christmas. Wait. Crackers!"

A box of Christmas crackers waited by the sofa. Draco had written on one, "Open me first." When Harry did, Draco's voice said out of the green smoke, "Will you marry me?"

"Of course I will," said Harry, holding Draco tight.

Chapter Text

He was only vaguely aware of time passing. Days, months, years, all blended together when you spent much of them in canine form in a small barren stone cell where all there was to do was to chase the occasional unwary rat.

On Christmas, however, the guards made a point of mentioning the holiday, no doubt to try to dishearten the prisoners even more than the Dementors already did. For Sirius the strategy didn't work. He fixed in his head the memory of snuggling with Remus in their flat that last year, wrapped his tail around his paws, and slept.

Chapter Text

Harry was the one who suggested the rule for them: What was past, was past. No hurling of accusations or insults or reproaches based on what either of them had done before they were together.

"What about the good parts of the past?" Severus said.

"Were there any?"

"I knew your mother quite well at one time," Severus pointed out. "If you rule out all reminiscences…"

"Not all," said Harry hastily. "Just, you know, I won't bring up how you always favored Malfoy—"

"I didn't."

"Yes, you did, but that's exactly the thing. I won't bring that up, and you won't bring up all the stupid things I did, either."

"Humph." Severus lifted his eyebrows. "What will we have left to talk about?"

"Well…" Harry scooted over until his thigh was pressed against Severus's. "I don't really think we'll have too much trouble with that, do you?"

Severus smirked.

Chapter Text

Most of the other students waiting to be Sorted look more or less terrified, but he looks exalted. Dripping wet, but exalted.

You are somehow not surprised when the Sorting Hat calls out "Gryffindor!" almost immediately.

"Great, Dennis!" Colin—who you now realise is his brother—congratulates him. You lean over to clap your new housemate on the shoulder before turning back to watch the rest of the Sorting.

That is the first time you touch Dennis. Later, there will be many more touches, and of quite a different sort, but the magic of the first one never quite fades.

Chapter Text

Frozen.

It took him a few moments to even recognize the sensation, and name it.

Cold.

His hands and feet (and ears and nose, for that matter) almost felt as though they were burning, but he realized that the air was barely warm, and that rather than fire, it was a cold so deep in his bones that even that air seemed to scorch.

Warm.

Fingers pressed against his forehead. He struggled to open his eyes, to see who was touching him as if his survival mattered.

Hot.

Once-familiar green eyes gazed back at him. "Welcome back, Professor," said Potter.

Chapter Text

The circus was a tremendous success overall. While Draco might never be completely comfortable in Muggle places, even he admitted that there were advantages; anonymity was something that they both treasured and enjoyed all too seldom.

There was one exception. Whenever the clowns appeared, Draco winced and stiffened and refused to watch.

"They're disturbing. I don't know why, they just are." His mouth turned down.

"All right. There's more to the show than the clowns." Harry was disappointed – he quite liked them – but he didn't mind too much. It was enough of a triumph to be out in public together.

Chapter Text

Snape had been quite certain that no one would recognize him. He didn't even bother with a magical glamour; clothing, wig, and makeup altered his appearance sufficiently. When he saw Potter sitting in the audience it took him aback for an instant, but he recovered quickly and kept singing.

He'd reckoned without the determination of Lily Evans's son. As Snape exited from the back door of the theater late that night, Potter was waiting for him.

"I never expected to see you in a dress, but you looked amazing." Potter's eyes shone. "Your voice is a dead giveaway, you know."

Chapter Text

The minutes turn into hours as Draco sits alone in front of the fire. Harry should be here with him, but Harry isn't going to come. Their quarrels have worsened over the past months, and when Draco returned home yesterday it was to find Harry's things gone. There was no note, no message of any kind. Draco refuses to be the one who breaks down and pleads again. He has sent an owl to his parents, pleading illness, to avoid seeing them this Christmas Eve, and simply sits, turning the ring that Harry once gave him endlessly in his fingers.