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The Lesson of You

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Harry Potter would say that, as a general rule, he likes children. They’re quite cute when they’re small, all squishy thighs and big smiles, and interesting when they get older, babbling questions a mile a minute. At least, that’s Harry’s experience with Teddy, anyway. Andromeda has said time and time again for Harry not to take Teddy as the poster child for all children everywhere; he’s apparently an abnormally good one, well behaved and polite and an overall joy to be around. Sometimes when Teddy’s curled up on Harry’s lap, his face pressed into Harry’s shoulder as he sleeps, Harry entertains the thoughts of having his own. It might be nice, having someone to come home to that’s always ridiculously pleased to see you, and who wants to hear every detail of your day whilst falling over themselves to describe their own. Andromeda says he’s getting ‘broody’. Harry might be inclined to agree with her.

So, Harry generally likes children, but that doesn’t mean he wants them right now. In five or ten years maybe, when he’s actually got a partner to speak of rather than a string of hook-ups that often don’t make it further than the dank alley behind whatever bar he’s picked them up in. It might be nice, he supposes, to love someone so much that you want to make a combined miniature version of yourselves.

Once, after Harry’s latest short term – extremely short term, since he didn’t think he had it in him to have a relationship that lasted more than a month anymore – relationship ended, his alcohol addled brain had thought it a brilliant idea to drunkenly ask Hermione if they could have a child together. Apparently he’d drunkenly babbled on about it for a full five minutes before scrunching up his face and declaring that, despite his sudden paternal wants, he wouldn’t have sex with her, because it would be like screwing his sister. Ron had been less than amused at the time, but enjoyed teasing Harry about it every chance he got now that he’d realized Harry wasn’t about to try and whisk his girlfriend away in the dead of the night.

Luna’s solution had been for Harry to take on a child who’d been orphaned in the war, but Harry doubted that would work. Even though he was him, the Ministry would likely shuffle their feet and attempt to look the other way if he applied for their program. Even though he’d saved the bloody world, apparently people didn’t think his life – or him in general, for that matter – was all that stable. Not that he’d necessarily disagree with them if pressed on the issue. He wasn’t unstable, but the lack of a current career didn’t work in his favour in the court of public opinion.

Ron’s follow-up solution was for Harry to get a Crup. That was an idea Harry could get behind, and he’d picked up Todd the next day from a top breeder out in Wiltshire. He’d wanted a dog from a rescue centre, something like what they have in the Muggle world, and was surprised to hear that they simply didn’t exist in wizarding Britain. Apparently in the wizarding world, Crups are bred in specific amounts by a select number of breeders, and no such shelters exist. So, Harry had purchased Todd for top dollar from a stodgy old wizard in a flowing blue robe who kept calling him ‘young Henry’.

Ron had just about pissed himself laughing when Harry brought Todd to the Burrow the week after getting him. He’d have brought him sooner, but everything he’d read in preparation for his pet’s arrival said to let the Crup ‘acclimatise’, so that’s what he’d done. The books had likely meant for the owner to go about their business and leave the Crup to sort itself out while they were gone, but Harry had felt so sorry for Todd when he’d gone out to buy groceries on his second day as a pet owner. Todd had sat himself down in the hallway and stared mournfully at Harry when he grabbed his coat, whimpering when Harry’s hand touched the doorknob. So Harry had stayed with him that afternoon, as well as all the others for the week. He and Todd had had a grand old time sitting on the couch and watching old Muggle films on Harry’s specially made telly. Todd had loved it when Harry had put Lassie on; a film Harry had bought specifically for Todd due to its use of a Muggle dog character. Todd had run around the room, jumping and yapping and attempting to get the dog on the TV to come out and play with him. Harry thought it was all rather cute.

‘Cute’ wasn’t exactly Ron’s first reaction to seeing Todd.

When Harry had Floo’d in, Todd clasped inside his coat, Harry had announced his name to the various Weasley’s in the room, pulling Todd out and holding him aloft in the air. Ron had tears streaming down his face as he asked Harry if he’d really named his Crup Todd.

“I think it’s a nice name,” Harry replied, indignant. “It’s hard naming things, you know. It’s not like he can tell me his opinion on it.”

“But Todd?” Ron had gasped. “It’s not exactly a Crup name.”

He’d stopped after Ginny walloped him on the back and Hermione took Todd from Harry and placed him in Ron’s lap. Ron had taken to Todd immediately after that, carrying him around the room and attempting to include him in conversation, speaking in an oddly deep voice, because “how else would a Todd sound, Harry?”.

Harry’s quest to ward himself off from his broodiness using Todd was working exceptionally well; he hadn’t even gone out of his way to see the babies in Diagon Alley the other day. Of course, him being near said babies usually ended up with their mother’s shoving them at Harry in an attempt to do … something. Harry wasn’t quite sure what, but it seemed to please the women when he stood holding their offspring, most of whom were usually agreeable to being held by him, which made the odd experience far easier. Hermione said the mothers wanted his luck to transfer over to the babies, or something equally odd that didn’t make the faintest lick of sense if any thought was given to it. It wasn’t like someone could rub his forehead and have an exceptionally lucky day or some bollocks, but Hermione always shushed him when he said things like that. She said it made people feel better being near him, that he was a symbol of safety, or something. Harry didn’t mind that part so much, so he tended to put up with it. Besides, he liked the warm feeling in his chest whenever the babies smiled at him, so it wasn’t like it was a huge hardship.

So, Operation Todd was working wonderfully. Harry wasn’t feeling the need to spontaneously build a nursery in one of Grimmauld Place’s spare rooms at the moment, so he called that a success. No, he was quite content sitting on the couch with Todd as the Crup rested his face on Harry’s thigh, no babies necessary.

Harry didn’t quite know what was going on at first when Todd jumped off the couch and bounded towards the front door, yapping loudly. Harry heard him skitter to a stop in the front hall, still yapping as his clipped claws skidded over the floorboards.

Harry opened his mouth to call Todd back when a thump sounded from the front hall. Harry was up in a flash, half expecting to see Todd had done a run up and managed to lodge himself in the bloody wall or something, when he rounded the corner. Thankfully, Todd was still planted firmly on the ground as he barked at the door, walls intact.

Harry jumped when another thud sounded. No, not a thud – a knock. Someone was knocking at the door. Who was knocking on the door, Harry didn’t know, because nobody knocked on the door. You Floo’d, or Firecalled, or sent an owl. Not even Ron and Hermione just came and knocked on his door without first telling him they were going to apparate to his house, and they never came at such a late hour. Harry should have been in bed hours ago.

Harry stared at the door a little dubiously, truthfully a little nervous. Merlin knew who it was. The weather was bloody terrible outside, practically dumping the Thames down on the surrounding area for the past two days. The person would have to be determined. A Death Eater resurgence group crossed Harry’s mind, but he shook his head firmly. Surely someone looking to kill him probably wouldn’t be so brazen as the waltz up to his front door and hex him when he opened it. They’d be a bit more inventive about it.

Another knock shook Harry back to the present and he approached the door, nudging Todd out of the way with his foot. Todd gave an indignant sneeze but went quiet, sitting himself down behind Harry’s foot.

Harry drew his wand, holding it at the ready as he unlocked the door and peered through the gap.

There was no one there.

Harry frowned and opened it a little wider, peering out into the rain that was coming down in sheets, already getting him a little damp even through the small crack in the door. He was about to close the door and chalk it up to one of his friends playing a joke, when a small squealing sound stopped him.

“Daddy,” a little voice cried, and suddenly the door was being pried away from where Harry’s leg was pressed against it. He let out a squeak of surprise and looked down to see the top of a head of dark hair. The small person was attempting to shove themselves in the crack in the door, pushing his leg away from the wood in an attempt to get through.

“What –“ Harry started. His first thought was that one of the Death Eater resurgence groups truly had picked their brains up off the floor and gotten inventive, shrinking themselves down so they could simply sprint through his legs and into his house, free to cause all the havoc they wished. But no, not even a beaten down Death Eater would be able to call Harry Daddy with a straight face. There was no way. Harry would bet his entire Gringotts account on it.

The small person looked up at him, giving him a wide smile, a few teeth visibly missing from their small mouth.

“Stop playing games, Daddy. It’s cold.” The small person wrapped their arms around themselves and pretended to shiver, letting out an exaggerated “burr” sound as they did so.

As Harry stared, his grip on the door relaxed and he opened it to let the child through. The child gave him another smile and skipped into the hall, a few stray drops of water sliding from their clothes and onto the floorboards.

“Todd, back,” Harry said, nudging the Crup with his foot when it let out a small happy sounding yip at the sight of the extra person.

“Bobby!” the child squealed, dropping to the floor and attempting to throw their arms around Todd. Todd, the traitor, was clearly loving the attention, if the exaggerated waggling of his small body was anything to go by.

In the lights of the hall, Harry could see that the child was likely a little boy, his dark hair sticking to his forehead in clumps from the rain. He was wearing a bright green coat and red boots with yellow spots on them, a blue woollen beanie half hanging out of the pocket of the coat.

Since Grimmauld’s wards didn’t start going haywire as soon as the boy stepped over the threshold, Harry didn’t immediately put him in a body bind. The house didn’t seem to think he was dangerous, so that relaxed Harry quite a bit. He’d half been expecting alarms to sound and for the child to be thrown back into the street, transforming into an escaped Death Eater, or something. Now, staring at the boy with his arms wrapped around Todd, Todd excitedly licking his face, Harry couldn’t imagine the child being some kind of Death Eater pawn. But he was something. Something that wasn’t dangerous, apparently, but still something. Harry would have to be careful. Grimmauld Place not recognising something as dangerous didn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t. The Boggarts that had been in the upstairs rooms when Harry had moved in could attest to that.

On the other hand, the child might have just wandered into the wrong house. The child couldn’t be Muggle, or else they wouldn’t have been able to see Grimmauld Place at all. Harry didn’t tend to keep the house retracted, as it was a right hassle most of the time, but Muggles still couldn’t see it. It was likely the wizarding child was just lost.

“Um, excuse me?” Harry said, kneeling down. “Do you know where your parents are?”

The child turned from Todd to face Harry, wide eyes crinkling as he smiled. “You’re right there, silly. Oh, is Papa playing hide and seek again? Let’s go find him, Daddy.” The child took Harry’s hand and pulled him down the hallway, peering into some of the rooms.

“Daddy?” Harry muttered to himself. Now that was a right laugh.

The boy threw open a closet with a loud laugh, frowning and biting his lip when nobody was in there.

“Where’s Papa, Daddy?” the child asked, turning to Harry. From this close, Harry could see that the child had extremely light eyes that were an odd pale grey-green colour.

“I’m not sure, buddy,” Harry said, crouching down in front of the boy. He did his best attempt at a reassuring smile, trying to turn on whatever it was that usually made children flock to him. “He’s not here. Would you like to come into the kitchen? I’ve got some snacks, if you’re hungry.”

“Ok,” the child smiled, clearly placated by Harry’s offer.

Harry led the boy into the kitchen, sitting him in the chair that had been Transfigured to be closer to the table so that Teddy could reach it. He rummaged around in one of the cupboards until he found the box of biscuits shaped like animals that Teddy loved. He tipped some into a bowl and put it in front of the child, smiling at him encouragingly.

To his surprise, the small boy wrinkled up his nose and looked at the bowl with a level of sheer disdain that Harry hadn’t even been sure a child could muster.

“Don’t like those?” Harry asked, snorting a little at the boy’s face.

“Papa says they have no nutiteenel value,” the boys said, nodding to himself.

“No nutritional value?” Harry asked. “Blimey.” He took the bowl and tipped the biscuits back into the box and opened his fridge, pulling out a mango. “How about this?”

“Fruit,” the boy cried, smiling. “Can you cut it up into stars, Daddy? They taste best when you do that.”

“Um, ok,” Harry said, still a little unnerved about what the boy was calling him. He did indeed slice the mango and Transfigure the slivers into little star shapes, much to the boy’s delight.

“Papa says I gotta eat my fruit,” the boy said through a mouthful of mango. “So I can be big and strong like you.”

“Sounds about right,” Harry laughed. He watched the child eat for a moment, before continuing. “Would you like to play a game?”

“Yeah,” he cried, giving Harry a smile that flashed his missing teeth.

“Here’s how we play: I ask you a question and you have to answer it. Then, if you want, you can ask me a question too, ok?”

“Ok.”

“What’s your name?”

“Silly, Daddy,” the boy cried, smiling around a bit of mango.

“We’re playing, remember? That means you have to answer.” Harry gave the boy what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

“Fine,” he said, rolling his eyes dramatically. “My name is Ollie.”

“Ollie?” Harry clarified, nodding his head.

“No, Ollie,” the boy said, attempting to enunciate through his mouthful of mango.

“That’s what I said,” Harry laughed.

“Ok, Daddy, whatever you say,” Ollie rolled his eyes. “Does that mean I get a question now?”

“If you like.”

“Why are you calling Bobby ‘Tog?”

“You mean Todd? That’s my Crup’s name,” Harry said, glancing at where Todd was currently curled up underneath Ollie’s chair.

“His name’s Bobby,” Ollie said, deadpan.

“Then I guess you can call him Bobby, if you like,” Harry backed down, sending a silent apology to Todd. “Next question: how old are you?”

Ollie held up five fingers. “I’m five and two months. Papa says the months are important as well.”

“Indeed they are,” Harry said.

“You can have another question since yours are so easy,” Ollie said. He gave Harry a look which looked vaguely pitying. It made Harry want to laugh, seeing the adult emotions displayed on the child’s small face.

“Ollie, how did you get here? Did someone drop you off, or tell you to knock on the door?”

“No,” Ollie said, frowning slightly. “I don’t really remember. I was with you in the big room that I’m not allowed to go in but you said I could because I was with you, and I accidentally fell over and then I was on the street. Please don’t be angry, Daddy, I didn’t mean to touch anything.”

“I’m not angry,” Harry said. “But why did you knock on the door? Have you been here before?”

“Yeah, we came during the summer, don’t you remember?” Ollie paused, continuing when Harry gave him a small nod. “I didn’t know where I was because it was dark and all rainy, but I saw the park Papa took me to when we were here, so I looked for the Grimm sign. I can’t really say it good but Papa says it’s ok if I only know the first part.”

“What’s your Papa’s name?”

“His name’s Papa,” Ollie said.

“Do you know his last name?” Harry asked, taking one of the discarded animal biscuits from the box and popping it in his mouth.

“Potter,” Ollie said, saying the word slowly like he thought Harry might get it wrong. “Like yours and mine and Cassie’s.”

“Cassie, is that your mother’s name?” Harry asked.

“I don’t have one of those,” Ollie said, rolling his eyes again. “Did you bump your head again, Daddy? Papa says you must do that sometimes because you’re a bit silly.”

“Maybe I did,” Harry said, mostly to himself. What were the odds that this evening was all just some hallucination Harry’s mind conjured up while he was feeling sorry for himself? He smiled when Ollie yawned. “Are you tired?”

“It’s so late. Papa says I should be asleep at a dekent hour.”

“A decent hour,” Harry corrected. “He sounds smart, your Papa.”

“He likes it when you say that to him,” Ollie said, pushing his bowl away. “Is he coming here tonight, Daddy?”

“I don’t think so, buddy,” Harry said, helping him down from the chair. “But we can go out and try and find him tomorrow, if you like?”

“Ok,” Ollie said through a yawn.

Harry shrunk down a pair of his own pyjamas to fit Ollie’s size, making the child laugh when he changed into an identical pair that was still in its original size.

“Can I have a story, Daddy?” Ollie asked. He was curled up in one of Grimmauld’s spare rooms, pillows propped up behind him.

“Sure,” Harry said, perched on the side of the bed. “What kind do you—“

“Can you tell the one about the princess losing her shoe?” Ollie asked. His eyes were gradually slipping closed as he spoke.

“Cinderella? Does your Papa tell you Muggle fairy tales?”

“No, silly. You do. You tell them better than Papa, but don’t tell him that.”

“I won’t,” Harry agreed. With little pause, he launched into the tale of Cinderella, sifting through his memories to remember as much of the story as he could. It didn’t really matter, because Ollie was asleep before Cinderella even got to the ball. Harry tucked the blankets in around Ollie and turned off the light, glancing back into the room once before closing the door.

Harry didn’t sleep well that night. He tossed and turned thinking about the small boy that was in the room down the hall. He hoped Ollie wasn’t scared. Harry knew that his first night alone in Grimmauld Place had him shooting up every time the house made so much as a soft creak, and he was an adult. Nobody would have believed him if he’d said anything about it, since he was – embarrassingly enough –apparently the bravest and most powerful wizard currently living, in the opinion of the Daily Prophet’s reader base. Harry knew they’d think otherwise if they’d seen him scream when a beetle crawled over his foot the other day when he’d been out in the garden with Todd, but anyway.

Thinking about Ollie led him to thinking about Ollie’s parents. Merlin knew that they’d probably be going out of their minds with worry, but it was way too late to take Ollie anywhere now. The Ministry would be closed for the night, but Harry would take Ollie there first thing in the morning. With any luck he’d be returned to his parents by lunch, free to stop calling Harry bloody ‘Daddy’.

Harry wouldn’t lie; it did make his heart feel a little fuller to hear the frankly adorable child call him that, even though he knew it wasn’t exactly accurate, and Ollie’s real father likely wouldn’t appreciate it. Harry frowned and curled up to Todd, who he’d let sleep in the bed just for the night.

As Harry drifted off to sleep he pictured Ollie’s face. It nagged at him that he seemed to recognise it from somewhere. No doubt, the boy looked like one of his parents, and Harry had met them at some point, probably at one of the dreadfully awful Ministry galas he’d been forced to go to in the name of unity since the war had ended. Ollie’s expressions, most of all, scratched at some part of the deep recesses of his memory, trying to conjure up an image that just wouldn’t come. When Ollie scrunched up his nose or attempted to do that tiny sneer he’d done when he’d looked at the animal biscuits, Harry knew he’d seen it before. Someone he knew had made those expressions in front of him, he just couldn’t remember who.

/ - /

Harry woke up the next morning to shouts, and he rolled over and buried his face into the pillow as he tried to block them out. No doubt it was Ron, singing in the kitchen like he used to do when he and Hermione lived at Grimmauld Place in the months after the war. Ron would always get up early, making eggs and coffee for Harry and Hermione as he belted out Celestina Warbeck songs off key until the other two dragged themselves out of bed to join him.

“Daddy!” came the voice again, slightly more shrill this time, and Harry shot up into a sitting position.

“Fuck,” Harry muttered, throwing off the covers and stumbling out into the hall. “Ollie,” he called, jogging to Ollie’s room. The door was open, but Ollie wasn’t in there.

“Daddy, where were you?” Ollie cried. Harry was nearly knocked over by the force of the child throwing himself against Harry’s legs, hugging them. “I couldn’t find you.”

“I was in my room,” Harry said, putting a hand on Ollie’s head.

“You weren’t,” Ollie sniffed. “I went to yours and Papa’s room and you weren’t there.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said. He picked Ollie up when the child held his arms out, shifting him onto his hip like he did when he lugged Teddy around. “Would you like some breakfast?”

“Eggs and toast, please,” Ollie said softly. He pressed his face into the crook of Harry’s neck and sniffed. “Is Papa here yet?”

“We’ll go see if we can find him as soon as you’ve finished your breakfast,” Harry said.

Ollie, as it turned out, was very specific about how he liked his eggs. He wanted them poached, slightly overcooked, but still runny. He frowned as Harry cooked them, asking him when he’d forgotten how to cook his eggs.

“I guess I’m just tired,” Harry said, sitting down to eat the eggs Ollie had rejected.

“You always cook them the best,” Ollie frowned. “Daddy, are you ok?”

“I’m fine,” Harry said. “We’d better eat fast, though, if we want to get to Diagon Alley before it gets too crowded.”

“Can we get ice cream while we’re there?” Ollie cried. “But we can’t tell Papa. It’s our secret.”

“Sounds great,” Harry smiled. “Better finish your eggs first, though.”

“Yes, Daddy,” Ollie smiled, shovelling them into his mouth.

Harry was mildly concerned about how Ollie would handle Diagon Alley, not knowing how he was in crowds. He knew all the people pushed in together and the endless din of conversation could be overwhelming for him at the best of times, let alone a five year old. He needn’t have worried, because Ollie was completely fine. When Harry apparated them in, whispering soothing words to Ollie so he wouldn’t get scared, Ollie just straightened his little green coat and reached for Harry’s hand, holding onto it tightly with his own small one. He kept pace with Harry easily, chatting to Harry about everything they saw as they walked past.

“I don’t remember Mr Vander’s wand shop being that colour, when did he paint it?” “Daddy, that woman shouldn’t be touching those books like that if she hasn’t paid for them.” “Can I still have that ice cream, Daddy?”

Far and away the thing that surprised Harry the most was Ollie’s reaction to the Weasley’s shop. When he saw it he squealed and tugged at Harry’s hand, making a beeline for the brightly coloured door.

“We can’t go in there, Ollie,” Harry said. “We have to go to the Ministry. It’s very cool, I’m sure you’ll like it.”

“But we always go,” Ollie said, pouting. “You said it’s our special secret and we can’t tell Papa, but I think he already knows we buy things from there.”

“Maybe after,” Harry replied, ducking his head to avoid the stares of a group of young girls in matching sweaters across the way.

“Daddy, we’ll be going,” Ollie said. Harry looked over to see the child with his chin in the air, a disdainful expression on his face. He looked so sodding familiar, but Harry still couldn’t place it. It was really doing his head in, not knowing.

Harry pulled Ollie slightly behind him when people started to take notice of them, whispering quite obviously behind their hands, before shooting smiles at Harry from across the alley.

“Don’t worry about them, Ollie,” Harry said, gripping his hand tighter.

“I don’t,” Ollie said. “Papa says I have to be real good if I get to come to the Alley with you, and not care if people look at me. He says I’m ‘exceptional’.”

Harry snorted. “I’m sure he does.” He couldn’t wait to meet the person that had raised Ollie, just to see what they were like.

Harry led Ollie to a small building near Gringotts that housed the Floo bank that connected directly to the Ministry. He’d considered just apparating them straight to the usual entrance to the Ministry, but didn’t think Ollie would be too agreeable to the toilet entrance. Besides, when he used the Diagon Floo bank he didn’t even have to bring identification or papers proving he was allowed to be going into the Ministry in the first place, not even since he’d taken a highly publicized extended leave of absence from the Auror force that the Prophet had covered extensively. The woman who manned the Floo bank always let him in without asking questions. It was a little worrying, really, and it always made Harry more than a little concerned about the overall physical security of the Ministry and its Floo’s.

“Oh, are we going this way?” Ollie asked, peering up at the woman behind the little glass barrier.

“Harry Potter, here to –“

“Go through,” the woman said, waving her wand to open the door to the Floo bank.

“Um, thanks,” Harry said.

“The waterfall way is better,” Ollie said. “That’s the way Papa always goes when we come and visit you.”

“This is the only way to get in besides the loos, I’m afraid,” Harry said, taking a fistful of Floo powder. “Have you ever used a Floo before?”

“Of course,” Ollie snorted.

“Ok, just say ‘Ministry’. Don’t move when you get there, I’ll be right behind you.”

“Ok, Daddy,” Ollie said, dropping the Floo powder and saying the destination in a clear voice that far and away trumped Harry’s first time using a Floo. His parents obviously used one quite a bit.

Harry stepped into the Floo after Ollie disappeared, calling out “Ministry”, before being engulfed by the bright green flames.

The first thing he always thought when he Floo’d into the Ministry, was that they were very much in need of a décor change. With the amount of times he’d had to go there since the war ended two years ago, he was about ready to pay for the renovations himself just so he had something less depressing to look at whenever he was called in. The atrium was still decked out in shiny dark brick with sickly looking accents that reminded Harry far too much of the Slytherin common room, and called upon memories of the war. It was unpleasant, to say the least.

“You got so dirty, Daddy,” a giggle came from his right. Ollie was standing there, waiting for Harry as asked.

“Quite a common occurrence, I’m afraid,” Harry said sheepishly, brushing off his jumper. Ollie was inexplicably clean as a whistle. Harry supposed the powder would have run right off of his raincoat without sticking, but even his dark hair looked to be clean and powder free. “How are you so clean?”

“Papa taught me how to drop the powder right,” Ollie said. “He doesn’t like it sticking to his robes. I can teach you, if you want?”

“That might be a good idea, yeah.” Harry reached for Ollie’s hand, which he gave readily. They walked towards the elevators, witches and wizards calling out hellos to Harry every few moments. Harry smiled and waved back, but his eyes quickly fell to his feet whenever he had the chance. It was one such instance in which Harry dropped his eyes that he caught sight of Ollie, who was waving at the wizard who had just greeted Harry. He was smiling, a concise little wave of his hand directed at the greeter, before dropping it and setting his eyes forward. He did it again when a witch from the Auror department called out to Harry, stopping to return Ollie’s wave when he also greeted her. Ollie allowed her to coo over him for a few moments before Harry tugged him away, citing urgent Ministry business.

“Do you know any of these people?” Harry asked when they were in the elevator, heading to the levels used by the Auror department. “Do they know your parents?”

“They know you, I guess,” Ollie shrugged. “You said I always have to be nice. Papa says I have something to prove, but I don’t really know what he means.”

“Right,” Harry said, nodding. “Well, here we are.”

“Oh, are we going to your office?” Ollie asked. “Could we see Cheryl? I want some of those sweets she keeps on her desk.”

“I’m not really sure who Cheryl is,” Harry said. “But if you see her then point her out and we can ask about the sweets.”

“You do know Cheryl,” Ollie insisted. He tugged on Harry’s hand until he looked down at him. “She gives you your letters, and Papa told you to invite her to the Christmas party.”

“I must have just forgotten. Ah, here we are,” Harry said, tugging the grate back on the door.

Ollie kept quiet as they walked down the hall to Robards’ office. Harry knocked, waiting for a response before leading Ollie in.

“Harry,” Robards said, gesturing towards the seat in front of him. “We didn’t have a meeting today, did we? I’m afraid I’m a bit scatterbrained at the moment.”

“We didn’t,” Harry said, helping Ollie into the chair on the other side of Robards’ desk, standing behind him once he was seated. “I’m here about something else, actually.”

“I don’t suppose it has anything to do with this chap here?” Robards asked, nodding towards Ollie, who was sitting quietly in the chair, fiddling with the hem of his raincoat.

“It does,” Harry said. “Look, do you have anyone called Cheryl in the office?”

“Uh, I believe there’s one who works in filing,” Robards said. “She brings reports up sometimes. Why?”

“Could you summon her?” Harry asked. “I need to speak with you, and Ollie here apparently knows Cheryl.”

“Of course.” Robards scribbled a note on one of the blank paper planes the Ministry used for sending messages internally, and sent it off. Ollie giggled as it whizzed past his head, turning in the chair to watch as it shot out the door.

It only took a few minutes for a knock to sound on the door, Robards opening it to reveal a young woman with long brown hair.

“Cheryl, would you mind taking young mister Ollie here to the Auror cafeteria for a few minutes?” Robards asked, smiling at Ollie. “I need to speak with Mr. Potter.”

“Of course,” Cheryl said, looking puzzled.

“Do you have your pink sweets?” Ollie asked, smiling at Cheryl. “I told Daddy you have them, but he didn’t know what I meant.”

“Oh,” Cheryl said, looking surprised. “I have a bag of sherbet bars in my desk, if that’s what you’re after?”

Ollie turned in the chair, shooting the smuggest look at Harry that he could muster. “I told you she had them, Daddy.”

“I suppose you were right then. Now, go with Cheryl for a little bit and then I’ll come get you, ok?” Harry helped Ollie down from the chair, squeezing his hand.

“Then we can see Papa?” Ollie asked, biting at his tiny lip. “I miss him.”

“We’re going to try,” Harry replied, smiling softly. “Off you go then.”

Harry raised an eyebrow when Ollie didn’t move, his little face turned up towards Harry.

“You’re supposed to say goodbye properly,” Ollie said. “I’m telling Papa you hit your head again because you keep forgetting.”

“Uh, what’s properly?” Harry asked.

Ollie frowned and tapped his cheek, raising his eyebrows at Harry. After a few moments Ollie huffed and tugged at Harry’s hand until he crouched down, pressing a wet kiss to Harry’s cheek.

“You’re supposed to do that,” Ollie said, glaring at Harry. “But I suppose it’s ok for me to if you’ve hit your head.”

“Uh, right,” Harry said. “Sorry.”

“That’s ok. I’ll see you later, Daddy,” Ollie said, taking Cheryl’s hand and tugging her out the door, nattering on about the bloody sherbet bars.

“Well that was interesting,” Robards said. “I was unaware that you had a son.”

“I don’t,” Harry said, falling heavily into Ollie’s vacated chair. “That’s why I’m here. Ollie turned up at my house last night, but obviously he’s not mine.”

“He’s a missing child?” Robards asked, raising his eyebrows. “Was he abducted, or did he just wander off?”

“I don’t know,” Harry sighed. “He seems adamant that I’m his father, though he’s mentioned a ‘Papa’ quite a bit.”

“And you say he just turned up at your house?” Robards asked. “Isn’t your house under –“

“A Fidelius, yes.”

“Well that’s interesting,” Robards said, leaning back in his chair. “To my knowledge, nobody has reported a child missing anytime during the last week.”

“Well he’s somebody’s,” Harry said. “Somebody’s missing him.”

“He does look a little like you,” Robads chuckled. “Are you sure some jilted ex-lover hasn’t just dropped a secret love child off on your doorstep?”

“Definitely not,” Harry said. “And he doesn’t look like me.”

“He does, a little. The hair, and the smile.”

“The smile, Robards?” Harry asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Your face is hard to escape, Harry, it being plastered on the front page of the Prophet every second day. We’ll put something in the papers tomorrow, if no one comes for him this afternoon,” Robards said. “Until then I suppose Cheryl could be persuaded to watch him, if she’s agreeable.”

“And if nobody comes?” Harry asked, brows furrowing.

“I suppose he’ll be placed in a home for orphaned wizarding children until his parents come forward.”

Harry’s stomach turned at the words. He didn’t want Ollie going into one of those places. Not that they were bad, per se. Quite a few had been opened in his name after the war, and he’d donated a hefty amount to various homes around England and Scotland over the years, but there was always something off about them. Perhaps they reminded him too much of Dumbledore’s Pensieve memories of Tom Riddle. Every time he’d gone there, they’d just seemed devoid of something that he couldn’t put his finger on. He didn’t want Ollie going there, not at all.

“I’ll take him home with me, if his parents don’t come,” Harry said. “I don’t want him going into a home.”

“You say he’s not your child, Harry. Therefore, he’s not your responsibility,” Robards said slowly.

“Maybe he is,” Harry said. “He came to my house. He knew where it was, and he seems to know me –“

“Everyone in the wizarding world knows you, Harry,” Robards sighed. “Look, we’ll get him back in here and I’ll ask him a few questions. Hopefully we’ll be able to contact his parents and hand him over. If not, then he’s still not your responsibility.”

Harry clenched his jaw, but said nothing in reply.

When Ollie and Cheryl returned the child had his hands clasped full of wiggling little pink things, which he promptly shoved at Harry, declaring them “Cheryl’s pink sweets, I told you, Daddy”.

“Thank you,” Harry smiled at Cheryl.

“It was no bother,” Cheryl smiled. “He’s a lovely boy. I didn’t know you had a child, Mr. Potter.”

“He doesn’t,” Robards said, at the same time Ollie declared “that’s me”. Ollie turned to glare at Robards.

“He does,” he said, lowly. He turned to Harry, his eyes going a little wide and shiny, like he was about to cry. “Daddy, where’s Papa?”

“We’re going to try and find him, but we’ll need to ask you some things first,” Robards said, cutting off any soothing words Harry was about to say. “Would you like Harry to stay in the room?”

“Yes, I would like Daddy to stay,” Ollie said, a sour look on his face.

“Of course,” Robards said, giving Ollie a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. He looked quite exasperated, much to Harry’s amusement.

After Cheryl slipped out Ollie relayed his story of ending up on Harry’s doorstep, though with even less detail than he’d told Harry the night before. He clearly wasn’t happy about talking to Robards, crossing his arms against his chest, his nose scrunched up.

“And you don’t know what your parent’s last names are?” Robards sighed, rubbing his forehead with his thumb.

“I told you,” Ollie hissed, glaring down at the floor. “It’s Potter, like me and Cassie.”

“There are no living Potter’s that are of childbearing age, except you,” Robards said to Harry, his eyebrows practically hitting his hairline.

“What does your Papa look like?” Harry asked, squeezing Ollie’s shoulder in reassurance.

“He’s got blonde hair, like Cassie,” Ollie said. “He’s a bit taller than you, but you always shush me when I say that.”

“And your mother?” Robards asked, pausing as he took down Ollie’s description. “What does she look like?”

“I don’t have one,” Ollie said simply. “I don’t need one because I’ve got a Daddy and a Papa. Not even Rosie has both of those.”

“You must have a mother,” Robards said, sighing. “Do you know how old your parents are?”

Ollie turned to glance at Harry. “You’re thirty, right, Daddy?”

“Actually, he’s twenty,” Robards corrected, his voice strained.

“He’s not, we had his and Papa’s thirtieth birthdays in the summer. Daddy kept saying he was getting old and teasing Papa that had some grey in his hair even though he didn’t.”

Robards sighed, sending Harry an exasperated look.

“Daddy, can we go get ice cream yet?” Ollie asked, turning back to Harry. “Then can we go home and see Papa and Cassie?”

“Just a bit longer,” Harry said. He patted Ollie’s head and Ollie giggled.

“And you don’t know anything about where you live?” Robards asked. He’d put down the quill, clearly not anticipating any new information.

“We were at Daddy’s London house last night for sleep, but before it was all dark outside we were at home in Aunty Mione’s big room that I’m not supposed to go in.”

“Did you say Aunty Hermione?” Harry asked.

Ollie nodded. “Have you forgotten her as well?”

“No,” Harry laughed. “She’s someone we can definitely go see, if you like.”

“Will Rosie be there too?” Ollie asked, smiling widely. “She said she was getting a broom for us to play on, but she didn’t have it yet yesterday.”

“I’m not sure, but we can check,” Harry said. He turned to Robards. “Look, are we done here? Contact me if anyone responds to the Prophet story and I’ll bring him in.”

“Harry, we’ll be sending him to a wizarding orphanage in the meantime,” Robards said, frowning. “He’s not your child.”

“No,” Ollie squealed, jumping off the chair and clinging to Harry’s leg.

“It’s just until we find your parents,” Robards said, but Ollie’s yells cut him off.

“Don’t let him, Daddy, please. Please don’t.” Ollie was crying now, little tear tracks staining his cheeks. “I’ll be so good, please don’t send me away. I won’t even ask for ice cream again.”

“Hey, it’s ok,” Harry said, crouching down and wrapping his arms around Ollie. “We’re not sending you anywhere, right, Robards?” He raised his eyebrows at Robards, tightening his hold on Ollie.

“That is strictly against regulation,” Robards replied.

“But we’re doing it anyway,” Harry stated, wiping some of the tears from Ollie’s flushed cheeks.

Robards sighed, glancing up at the ceiling. “The second anyone replies to that story –“

“I’ll bring him in, I promise,” Harry said, tugging Ollie into his arms as he stood up when Ollie refused to let go. Ollie sniffled into Harry’s neck, tears wetting his skin.

Harry left the Auror department quickly, stopping in one of the bathrooms on the floor above to wipe Ollie’s face.

“There, all better,” Harry smiled, tossing the paper towel into the automatically Vanishing rubbish bin.

“You’re really not sending me away, right, Daddy?” Ollie asked softly.

“No way,” Harry smiled. He smoothed Ollie’s hair down. “You’re stuck with me until we find your Papa.”

“Can I still have ice cream?” Ollie sniffled.

“I suppose,” Harry said, tickling Ollie’s stomach to make him smile. “Come on, before it all runs out.”

“It never runs out, Daddy,” Ollie said, smiling and rolling his eyes. “They just make more. Papa said so.”

Ollie was more reserved as they walked into the Ministry atrium than he had been before, clutching onto Harry’s hand tight enough to hurt, and keeping so close to Harry that Harry was concerned he might trip over Ollie’s feet and send them both reeling. Ollie still acknowledged anyone who greeted Harry, but his smiles were more subdued than they’d been when they’d walked into the Ministry together earlier.

Ollie once again insisted that they go to the Weasley’s shop before getting ice cream, stating that “they don’t like ice cream in the shop, Daddy, it can set off the fizzers”, whatever those were.

Harry didn’t often go into the shop, usually only stepping inside to pick up Ron before they headed to the pub. The interior hadn’t changed much since the last time Harry had been in there, shelves piled high with goods, groups of children and teenagers rushing around with their arms full of brightly coloured products. The sight of frazzled parents chasing after their offspring as they attempted to buy the entirety of the stores wares made Harry chuckle. That was, until he glanced down at his own apparent temporary offspring, who had somehow managed to disappear in the thirty seconds they’d been inside the store.

“Oh fuck,” Harry muttered, jogging through the aisles. Robards would bloody murder him if he lost Ollie now, after he’d been so insistent about taking him home with him.

Harry found Ron before he found Ollie. Ron was standing in the centre of the room, directing new items to fly onto the shelves as soon as the old ones were removed, a ridiculous striped bowtie around his neck.

“Alright there, Harry?” Ron asked, diverting a case of itching powder from its course after a young girl stepped in front of the intended shelf.

“I’ve, uh, lost something,” Harry said.

“What’ve you lost, mate? Don’t suppose you’ve tried Accio?”

“Not sure that’d work,” Harry said. “It’s more of, uh –“

“Daddy,” Ollie cried, his small body hurtling into Harry’s legs at an impressive speed. “Uncle George found me a huge box of animal ex-plo-sives. Can we get them?”

Daddy?” Ron asked, his eyebrows sky-high. “Mate.”

“Look, it’s a little complicated,” Harry said, taking the box of what looked like fireworks from Ollie’s hands. “I’ve sort of become a temporary foster parent.”

“To a child who’s calling you –“

Don’t say it,” Harry hissed. “It sounds even worse when you say it.”

“He looks a bit like you, mate. Also ‘Uncle George’. Really?”

“He knows things, apparently,” Harry said, watching as Ollie ran over to the display of Pygmy Puffs. He hoped Ollie wouldn’t try and slip one in amongst the fireworks. Harry wouldn’t put it past Todd to try and have a go at one of the ridiculous fluffy things if he had it in his sights, and traumatising Ollie wasn’t exactly high on his list of prospective afternoon activities. “I should probably be getting him home.”

“You bringing him to breakfast tomorrow?”

“Sorry, what?” Harry asked, frowning at Ron.

“Mum’s breakfast? You said you’d go ages ago. Mate, she’ll flip if you’re not there.”

“Bollocks,” Harry muttered. “I suppose I will be then, yeah.”

“She’ll probably go a bit mental if you just turn up with a kid, so I’ll tell her in advance. Merlin, she’s going to get all pushy again.”

“Sorry, mate,” Harry smiled sheepishly. “Maybe Ollie’ll be able to hold her off?”

“Daddy, can I get one of the blue ones?” Ollie called, waving his hand in the air. Harry cringed a little at the wide eyed stares he received from the parents closest to them.

“We’ve already got Todd – uh, I mean Bobby – so we don’t need another pet,” Harry said, gently pulling Ollie away from the display.

“You let him rename the bloody Crup?” Ron snorted. “Well, I suppose anything’s an improvement over Todd.”

“Shut up,” Harry said, flicking Ron’s arm.

“Don’t swear, Daddy,” Ollie chastised. “Papa says you and Uncle Ron aren’t allowed to do that in front of me and Rosie.”

“Sorry,” Harry said, ruffling Ollie’s hair. “Ready to go, then?”

“Are you coming to get ice cream, Uncle Ron?” Ollie asked, taking Ron’s hand. “I think they’ve got the bursting bubble-gum flavour that you like.”

“How does he know that?” Ron asked, sounding mildly terrified. “Harry, how does your foster child know what my favourite ice cream flavour is?”

“We always get it, silly,” Ollie said.

“Uncle Ron has to stay here, but we’ll see him and Aunty Hermione for breakfast tomorrow. How does that sound?” Harry knelt before Ollie without realising, straightening his coat.

“Ok,” Ollie smiled. “Bye, Uncle Ron.”

Ron gave a sheepish wave as Harry led Ollie to the counter, handing the money over to George, who looked far less terrified than Ron at the whole situation.

“See you tomorrow, champ,” George said, giving Ollie one of the sweets they kept behind the counter.

“Bye, Uncle George,” Ollie called, putting his little hand in front of his mouth as he ate the sweet.

Despite living close to a decade in the wizarding world, Harry rarely visited Diagon Alley during business hours, preferring to avoid the stares and whispers of the witches and wizards that crowded the space during the day. Consequently, he’d never been to Madame Rosita’s Ice Cream Parlour. He barely had a chance to glance at the ice cream flavours before Ollie was ordering for them both, declaring that they wanted “a rosewater wash in a chocolate cone, and a sherbet fizzer in a spiral cone, please”.

The woman, who Harry suspected was Madame Rosita, smiled at him. “You have a lovely son,” she said.

“Uh, thanks,” Harry said, handing over the money. Merlin, the gossip column in the Prophet was going to have an absolute bloody field day. Harry could already see the headlines: ‘Saviour’s Love Child Returns’, ‘Family Joy for Chosen One’, ‘Potter’s Protégé: the New Chosen Celebrity?’. The papers would be an absolute menace once word got out, which didn’t seem like it would take too long, considering the stares they’d been getting all morning.

“Here you go, Daddy,” Ollie said, holding up the light pink ice cream in the dark cone.

Harry smiled at Ollie and took his hand, thanking Madame Rosita as they walked out. Harry was pleasantly surprised that, from whatever cloud Ollie had rained down from, he seemed to be entirely correct in his knowledge about Harry’s ice cream preferences. He didn’t think he’d ever eaten something so good, the flavours of the ice cream and the cone interacting with each other perfectly. He was so caught up in his ice cream that he barely noticed Ollie’s hand disappear from his grip, the child tearing off down the lane.

“Fuck,” Harry muttered, running after him. Ollie had the benefit of being small enough to run underneath people’s bags and between large groups, meaning he was covering ground ridiculously fast for such a small person. Harry, on the other hand, was hindered by his size, as well as the fact that witches and wizards alike tended to pause what they were doing to watch him go by, like he was a bloody Erumpent loose from a cage or something.

Harry relaxed a beat when the sound of Ollie yelling “Papa” cut through the din. If Ollie had finally found one of his parents, that was good, right? That was who he was supposed to be with, after all. Harry tried to push down the sick twist in his stomach at the thought of saying goodbye to Ollie. The kid had managed to sufficiently grow on him in less than 24 hours.

Harry caught sight of Ollie after pushing past a group of witches tittering on the street corner who had stopped to giggle at Harry’s mere presence. Harry stopped dead in his tracks as he took in the scene. Ollie had come to a stop, his arms around the legs of Draco bloody Malfoy, his ice cream held in the hand of Draco’s mother, who was staring down at Ollie like he was a Boggart. Malfoy looked unsure of what to do with himself, staring wide-eyed at the child clasped firmly to his leg, who was talking a mile a minute, from what Harry could hear.

Harry shook his head and strode forward, not taking his eyes off Ollie.

“Ollie, what are you doing?” Harry asked in a low voice. “You can’t just run off like that.”

“But, Daddy, I found Papa,” Ollie said, smiling up at Harry. “We were looking for him, remember?”

“Ollie, that’s not your Papa,” Harry said, crouching down and attempting to pull Ollie off of Malfoy’s leg.

“Yes it is,” Ollie insisted, grabbing on tighter. “Papa, Daddy hit his head again and doesn’t remember things.”

“Um,” Malfoy said, glancing at Harry. “Yours, I take it?”

“It’s complicated,” Harry replied. “Ollie, come on, we need to go home.”

“We’ve found Papa, we can go home with him now,” Ollie said, his voice hardening. “We can go back to real home, not the London house.” He turned to Malfoy again. “Papa, where’s Cassie? Did you leave her with Aunty ‘Meda and Teddy?”

“Draco,” Narcissa said, still staring at Ollie. “Who is that?”

“He’s mine,” Harry said, despite the technical inaccuracy of the statement. “And we’re going home.”

“No,” Ollie cried. His eyes were filling with tears again.

“Fuck,” Harry swore under his breath. No doubt the interaction would make the front page of the bloody Prophet the next morning.

“Papa, tell him off,” Ollie cried, pressing his face to Malfoy’s leg. “Tell him he’s not allowed to swear.”

“Um,” Malfoy said, staring at Harry. “Potter, what …”

“Ollie,” Harry sighed. “This isn’t your Papa, ok? We’re doing our best to find him, I promise.”

“It is,” Ollie cried. “I told that mean man sitting in your office what he looked like, and that his last name’s Potter.”

“This man’s last name is Malfoy, not Potter,” Harry said softly, rubbing Ollie’s shoulder, trying to calm him down.

No, that’s the name of Grandmother’s house,” Ollie said. “That’s not Papa’s name anymore. Tell him, Grandmother.” Ollie turned to Narcissa.

“Merlin,” she muttered, still staring at Ollie. “Are you sure he’s not yours, Draco?”

“I’m quite sure,” Draco said, his forced chuckle sounding hollow.

“It’s just that … he looks just like you as a boy.” Narcissa bent down until she was eye level with Ollie.

“Mother, my hair’s always been blond,” Malfoy said. “If anything, the child looks like Potter.”

“Not the hair,” Narcissa agreed. “That’s entirely Mr. Potter’s, unfortunately. But everything else is uncanny. Look, even his eyes are quite like yours.” She smiled sweetly at Ollie, who was still yet to let go of Malfoy’s leg, his big eyes shining with tears.

“You’re seeing things that aren’t there, Mother,” Malfoy said.

“Ollie, we’re going,” Harry said in a hard voice.

Please,” Ollie cried. “Please can we go with Papa? I miss him.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said, feeling genuinely terrible for Ollie. He was clearly confused and he looked quite scared. He tugged on Ollie’s arm, and this time Ollie let himself be pulled off of Malfoy.

“Please come to Daddy’s London house with us, Papa,” Ollie whispered. “I’m sorry I spilt the potion in your station, I won’t do it again. I tried real hard to clean it up.”

Harry picked Ollie up, turning away from Malfoy and his mother, walking down the alley they were next to in order to apparate straight back to Grimmauld Place. Ollie immediately burst into a fresh round of tears when he took in the surroundings of Harry’s kitchen, sniffling and attempting to wiggle out of Harry’s arms.

“Ollie, I’m sorry,” Harry said, putting him down. “I really am.”

“Why wouldn’t you tell Papa to come with us?” Ollie cried, rubbing his eye with a clenched fist. “Why can’t we go home?”

Harry let him cry, mumbling apologies as he rubbed Ollie’s back. It took a full half hour until Ollie’s sobs had dissolved into sniffles and he pushed Harry’s hand away, trudging up the stairs. Harry watched him go, feeling a large lump in his throat. He had no idea how to help Ollie. Obviously Malfoy wasn’t his bloody father, despite Ollie apparently thinking he was. The idea was, quite frankly, hilarious, and he had no idea where to go from there, or how to make Ollie feel better.

When Harry went upstairs to check on Ollie he wasn’t in the room Harry had set him up in the night before. After checking all the rooms on that floor, Harry went up another flight of stairs, calling out Ollie’s name. He found Ollie in a large room that was mostly filled with boxes of old Black family things that Harry had yet to sort through. Ollie was curled up on the large, dusty bed, Todd lying next to him. He was sniffling slightly into the Crup’s fur, little fists curled in the duvet. Harry sat next to him, smoothing his hair down.

“Daddy, does Papa not love us anymore?” Ollie asked in a small voice. “Is he mad about me spilling the potion?”

Harry felt something inside him break looking at the small boy curled on the bed, thinking he was somehow unloved. It called up uncomfortable memories from Harry’s own childhood when he would sit in the cupboard under the stairs with the door bolted shut from the outside, whispering to himself the things he could do better the next day to make his Aunt and Uncle love him more.

“Your Papa loves you so much,” Harry said. “He just … can’t be here right now.”

“Why not?” Ollie asked, glancing up at Harry. Narcissa had been right; his eyes were almost exactly like Malfoy’s, just a little greener. Even the shape was the same. As were the shape of his lips, now that Harry thought about it. Not that he had extensive knowledge on the shape of Malfoy’s lips.

“Ollie, I need you to be completely honest,” Harry said. “Can you do that?”

“Of course,” Ollie replied. “We don’t tell lies because they might hurt people.”

“Good,” Harry nodded. “Uh, are you absolutely sure that Malfoy is your Papa?”

“He’s not Malfoy,” Ollie said, enunciating the word slowly. He rolled his eyes sharply. “It’s Potter, like me and you and Cassie. I told you, Daddy.”

“Sorry,” Harry said. “So, how is he your Papa if I’m also your Daddy?”

Ollie giggled wetly, wiping his face with the back of his hand. “Papa says that when you get married and you love each other you might try and make a baby with your magic. That’s how you made Cassie.”

“But not you?”

“I don’t remember that. I remember Papa having Cassie in his belly, because she’s only a baby. I’m big, though.”

“Yes, you are,” Harry smiled. “And do you live with Papa in his house?”

“And you,” Ollie insisted. “You and Papa have to share a room, but I don’t have to share with Cassie because she’s just a baby.”

“Ok,” Harry nodded.

“Daddy, could you tell me a story?” Ollie asked. He shuffled from his position pressed against Todd, to be closer to Harry. “Like the one you told me last night?”

Harry agreed, getting comfortable in his position.

They spent the rest of the afternoon there, Harry telling Ollie Muggle fairy tales, before moving on to stories from his own childhood, regaling extremely censored versions of fighting of the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, and of competing in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Ollie was especially entertained by the tale of Harry, Ron, and Hermione riding the dragon out of Gringotts during the war. He’d leapt up, pretending to ride a dragon himself, as Harry laughed.

As he told the stories he watched as every now and again Ollie’s facial expressions would morph into ones that Harry was sure he’d seen on someone’s face before. Now, with Ollie’s added pieces of information, he could identify that he’d seen the expressions on Malfoy’s face during their school years. It was quite unnerving, really. But Malfoy couldn’t actually be Ollie’s father; Ollie was too vibrant, too alive. Harry had never seen Malfoy act like that. There was no way someone like Malfoy could have raised someone like Ollie.

That night, after Harry had tucked Ollie into bed in his far less dusty and crowded room, he pulled out a slip of parchment and wrote a letter to Malfoy.

Malfoy,

I’m not really sure what’s happening with everything, but Ollie’s desperate to see you. I know you probably don’t want to come, but please. He’s under the impression that you’re his father, and he thinks you’ve abandoned him, or some bollocks. He’s bloody miserable. Please, come for a few hours tomorrow afternoon. I’ll put my Floo address at the bottom.

HP

Harry scribbled down his Floo address and tied the parchment to the leg of his owl. He watched it fly off into the night, getting smaller and smaller until it had disappeared from his view completely.

It was late when Harry got a reply, the sound of the owl scratching on the pane of his bedroom window waking him from his tossing and turning.

Potter,

I’ll be there at 3.

DM

Harry smiled, not excited at the prospect of having Malfoy in his house, but wanting to make Ollie happy. And if they played along, he was sure it definitely would.

/ - /

Ollie seemed excited to go to the Burrow the next morning, claiming that he only needed to eat half a slice of toast before they left, despite Harry’s insistence that breakfast would likely be late.

“Nanna always makes lots, Daddy,” Ollie insisted, placing the other half of his toast onto Harry’s plate. “I gotta eat lots of it so she’ll say I’m going to be big and strong.”

And Harry couldn’t really argue with that logic, so he shrunk one of his jumpers down to fit Ollie’s size, and off they went.

Harry supposed he should probably think about going out and buying Ollie some clothes of his own at some point in the near future. After all, Harry had no idea how long he’d be staying. Ollie couldn’t exactly wear the same thing each day for a month, even if Harry cast cleaning charms on the clothes every night. He’d mentioned it to Ollie over breakfast, but Ollie had just insisted he already had a wardrobe full ‘at home’, so Harry didn’t bring it up again. Maybe he’d pay Hermione to go and pick some up for him, if it was going to upset Ollie to go out and buy some.

Ollie was practically bouncing off the walls by the time he and Harry were standing at the Floo, Harry pressing a pinch of Floo powder into Ollie’s outstretched hand.

“Now, the Floo there is very small, so –“

“I know, Daddy,” Ollie rolled his eyes. “Papa always hits his head when he goes through.”

Harry swallowed heavily, unable to separate the idea of Ollie’s father from Malfoy now, after entertaining the possibility last night. The idea hadn’t gotten any less plausible overnight – it didn’t make even a lick of sense – but Harry still pictured it all the same. The mental image of Malfoy in his expensive robes attempting to extricate himself from the Burrow’s tiny Floo made him chuckle, which, in turn put a smile on Ollie’s face. The kid was like a vicious cycle of joy.

Harry didn’t even have to tell Ollie the Floo address for the Burrow, he just threw the powder down and said it himself. Harry shook his head in disbelief, still more than a little unnerved about how much Ollie seemed to know, despite Harry having not met him before he’d turned up on his doorstep. It was completely bloody bizarre.

When Harry came through the Floo in the Burrow he was greeted by the joyous sound of Ollie laughing. He was clasped in Hermione’s arms, babbling on about something Harry couldn’t catch. Ron must have given Hermione a very thorough run down of the turn Harry’s life had taken quite literally overnight, because she didn’t look a smidge out of place, chatting with Ollie like she’d known him all her life. Or his, rather.

“Is Rosie here?” Ollie asked, fiddling with the silver necklace around Hermione’s neck.

“She’s with her Uncle Charlie at the moment,” Hermione smiled. “But she should be back in a few weeks or so.” Harry wondered if Hermione had prepared that excuse ahead of time, or if she’d been thinking on her feet. It had taken Harry a while to put two and two together and guess that Rosie was apparently Ron and Hermione’s daughter, but Hermione had always been smarter than him, anyway.

“Aw, hell. She’s gonna want one now,” Ron said from right next to Harry, making Harry jump. Harry smiled, watching as Ollie said something that made Hermione laugh.

“Wouldn’t be so bad, would it?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow at Ron.

“I suppose not,” Ron sighed. “You seem to be dealing with it quite well.”

“Haven’t really stopped to think about it too much, to be honest,” Harry laughed. “I’m sure it’ll hit me soon that I’ve somehow spontaneously acquired a child.”

“I still think he looks like you,” Ron chuckled. His face was soft as he watched Hermione and Ollie chat to each other, laughing and smiling.

“Nah, he looks like –“ Harry cut himself off, his eyes widening. There was no way in hell he was telling Ron about what happened with Malfoy. He’d find out from the Prophet within a day, no doubt, but Harry was going to do all he could to live in peace for another few hours.

Ron raised an eyebrow at him.

“Never mind,” Harry muttered.

Thankfully, Ron was distracted by Mrs. Weasley’s loud squeal as she walked into the room.

“Nanna,” Ollie cried, holding out his arms for Mrs. Weasley to take him from Hermione.

Mrs. Weasley looked like she was visibly tearing up from the name, and she started immediately fussing over Ollie.

“Merlin,” Ron muttered. “She’ll never let you leave now, mate.”

“Thanks for giving everyone the heads up,” Harry said, watching as Mrs. Weasley ushered Ollie into the kitchen. “He might’ve had a meltdown if nobody here recognised him.”

“I, uh, heard about Malfoy,” Ron said, pulling an odd face.

“Oh, bollocks,” Harry muttered. “Is it in the Prophet already, then?”

“The front page,” Hermione said, coming up to hug Harry. “There’s a bunch of pictures of you two, and some with Ollie and Malfoy.”

“Malfoy’ll love that,” Harry said sarcastically. “At least his actual parents might report him missing faster if they see him splashed across the bloody front page.”

“How can someone not have asked for him back yet?” Hermione hissed, keeping her voice low. “It’s bizarre.”

“Maybe they’re barmy,” Ron shrugged. “You never know.”

“Well, he’s not,” Harry said, nodding to where Ollie was standing on a small stool, helping Mrs. Weasley at the stove. He had a tiny pink apron on that went down past his knees. “I might be a bit barmy though. I invited Malfoy over this afternoon.”

“You what?” Ron cried.

“Ollie thinks he’s his father. Went round the bend a bit about it, actually.”

“Oh, the poor thing,” Hermione said, looking sad. “It must be horrible to think someone’s your parent, only to have everyone else insisting they’re not.”

“Hence my invitation.” The three of them watched as Mrs. Weasley pointed something out in one of the pans and Ollie screwed his nose up, looking disgusted, before bursting into laughter.

“Blimey,” Ron said. “He looks just bloody like –“

Don’t say it,” Harry sighed. “Trust me, I know. Since Malfoy’s mum pointed it out I haven’t been able to stop comparing them.”

“Not the smile, though,” Hermione said. “That’s all you.” Hermione looked thoughtful, tapping her chin. “I’ll do some research, see if I can make some kind of sense out of all this.”

“Thanks,” Harry said. Their conversation was cut off by George bursting into the room. He moved into the kitchen, kissing his mother on the cheek, and ruffling Ollie’s hair.

“Ginny can’t make it,” George said. “Something Quidditch related.”

“No bother,” Mrs. Weasley said, transferring something from one of the pans to a large plate. “We’ve got an extra mouth right here, after all. Fantastic kitchen helper, too.” Ollie absolutely preened at the praise, giving Mrs. Weasley a large smile which flashed his missing teeth. “To the table, everyone.”

Harry sat Ollie on his left, at the corner of the table between him and Mrs. Weasley, who was in the process of piling Ollie’s plate high with every conceivable food on the table. That was something else Ollie had been right about, then.

“Daddy, no,” Ollie cried when Harry reached for a plate of bread rolls. “You didn’t wash your hands yet. You might still have Floo powder on them.”

Harry looked at him, blinking for a moment, before reluctantly getting up from the table and heading to the kitchen sink.

“Blimey,” Ron muttered, his eyes wide.

George snorted into his plate, getting a smack around the back of the head from Mrs. Weasley in return.

“Quite a sensible boy you’ve got there,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling fondly at Ollie.

“He’s clearly not got that from Harry then,” Ron said, looking down at his plate when his mum shot him a glare.

“Papa insists on cleanliness at the dinner table,” Ollie said seriously, nodding as he bit into a roll.

“Mate, I don’t know how you’ve done it, but that’s definitely Malfoy’s kid,” Ron said through a mouthful. Hermione snorted into her hand when Ollie shot Ron a glare, tapping his lips with a finger and raising an eyebrow. “Sorry, Ollie,” Ron said sheepishly, making George and his mother smirk at his tone.

Ollie didn’t want to leave after breakfast, pleading with Harry to stay so he could set off some of the store’s tester products George had brought with him. Harry relented, sitting on the grass with Ron and drinking a bottle of Muggle beer as they watched George and Ollie pass some kind of stink bomb/bouncy ball contraption between them.

When Ollie fell over and got a bit of mud on his hands Harry was up in a second, charming Ollie’s hands clean and checking to see if he was ok. Ollie had actually rolled his eyes at him, the little sod, and had gone back to playing without a second glance, but Ron found it far more amusing.

“Mate, you’re an actual dad,” Ron laughed, taking a sip of his beer.

“I know,” Harry sighed. “Merlin, it’s going to be terrible when he leaves.”

If he leaves,” Ron said.

“Of course he’ll be leaving,” Harry said, a hint of anxiety creeping into his tone. “He’s got parents, Ron. They’ll want him back at some point.”

“Yes, why don’t you go ask Malfoy if he wants to take his kid back yet?”

“Oh, bugger off,” Harry laughed, clinking his beer bottle against Ron’s as they watched Ollie chase George around the garden. George’s face looked more alive than Harry had seen it since that awful day at Hogwarts two year before. It was nice to see it back.

“If he does leave, at least you won’t be the only one who misses him,” Ron said, smiling softly at Harry.

Harry tried to return the smile, but he didn’t want to think about Ollie leaving at all. It was going to hurt worse than a Blast-Ended Skrewt to the face, there was no doubt about it.

/ - /

Harry didn’t tell Ollie that Malfoy was coming. Even though he’d agreed to the meeting, there was a part of Harry that still didn’t expect him to show up at the promised time. A large part, actually. So large that when Harry’s Floo chimed at exactly three o’clock, Harry nearly drew his wand, about to go on the defensive. When Malfoy’s blond head stepped out of the green flames Harry let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding.

“Potter,” Malfoy said, nodding at Harry. “Alright?”

Harry opened his mouth to answer, but was practically knocked over by Ollie streaming past.

Papa,” Ollie cried, hugging Malfoy. “You’re here!”

“Uh, I’m here,” Malfoy said, clearly unable to keep the smile off his face. It was a little hard to, when Ollie was that overjoyed by something you’d done. Harry would know, after all.

“Where have you been?” Ollie said, crossing his arms over his chest and frowning dramatically. “Daddy’s forgotten how to make eggs while you’ve been gone.”

“Oh, has he now?” Malfoy said, shooting a smirk at Harry. “He sounds a bit hopeless, doesn’t he?”

“We went to Nanna’s yesterday and Uncle George gave me more animal fireworks. Daddy said we can set them off in the backyard.”

“Sounds thrilling,” Malfoy said in his aristocratic drawl. “Could you show me how?”

“Daddy does it best,” Ollie said, turning to Harry. “Can we, Daddy?”

“Sure,” Harry shrugged.

Ollie led Malfoy to the back garden, showing him the box of fireworks. Ollie was apparently under the impression that Harry knew how to set off the fireworks. In reality, Harry had never even seen this sort before. There was nothing to light to get them started, they were just little balls in different colours.

“Uh,” Harry said, staring into the box and eyeing up the brightly coloured balls distrustfully. “Want to have first go, Malfoy?”

“That’s not his name, Daddy,” Ollie sighed, raising his eyebrows. Harry might have laughed at how utterly hysterical it was seeing such adult expressions on such a small person’s face, but Ollie looked deadly serious about it all.

“Uh, it’s not?” Malfoy asked, raising an eyebrow at Harry. “What is my name then?”

“Daddy calls you ‘love’, or sometimes ‘dear’ when you do something silly,” Ollie said, as if that answered the question.

“Well I’m not bloody calling him that,” Harry snorted.

“You’d better bloody not,” Malfoy said, his voice a little shrill. “Does ‘Draco’ work then, if Ollie’s agreeable?”

Harry glanced over at Ollie, who nodded. “Ok then, uh, Draco.” The word sounded a little odd on his tongue, and Harry found himself wanting to say it a few more times to test it out.

“Lovely, Potter,” Malfoy smirked. “What? That’s his name,” he said to Ollie, who rolled his eyes.

“Merlin,” Ollie muttered, and Harry snorted with laughter at the exasperation in his little voice.

“Right, shall we set these off then?” Malfoy asked, rolling up the sleeves on his shirt. “Which colour first?”

“Green,” Ollie cried, holding up one of the green balls. “It’s both of our favourites.”

“That it is,” Malfoy said, smiling at Ollie as he took the ball.

He levitated it a good distance away before shooting a charm at it, igniting it in a shower of green. Harry gasped as the little ball exploded with colour, throwing glittering sparks into the air around it. A small unicorn made out of green sparkles stepped forward, tossing its head and galloping around the garden, before exploding in a magical shower.

“Do the yellow one next, Papa,” Ollie cried, tossing a yellow ball to Malfoy, who ignited it in much the same way. This time, a small bear made itself known, tipping its head back to roar, before bursting into twinkling stands of light.

Ollie laughed and clapped his hands, begging Malfoy to light them in the air. Malfoy started showing off, levitating a handful of balls in the air before igniting them all at the same time. A burst of different colours filled the backyard, a host of different animals moving through their air above their heads. Harry gazed up at the glittering animals as they moved around each other effortlessly, never once colliding. Harry watched as the bursts of colour threw light onto Ollie and Malfoy, the colours glinting especially brightly off of Malfoy’s blond head. Harry’s breath caught in his throat when they both turned around, their eyes following a red dragon that was twirling its way through the sky. Their faces showed identical expressions of wonder as they watched, but what surprised Harry was how alike they looked now that they were both in the same space. The resemblance was impossible to deny with them standing next to each other in front of Harry, faces twisted into the same masks of joy and amusement. Malfoy’s mother had been right; every one of Ollie’s features, bar his hair and his wide smile, could be seen mirrored on Malfoy’s face, utterly unchanged. The cuts of their jaws, the shape of their lips, and the line of their eyebrows were exactly the same as each other, copied onto their separate faces as they gazed up at the fireworks.

“Blimey,” Harry muttered. He went red when Malfoy met his eyes, raising his eyebrows as if to ask why Harry was staring at him. Harry turned his attention back to Ollie, who was shoving a little purple ball at Harry, asking him to take a turn in setting it off.

Harry shook his head from side to side, clearing it, before taking the ball from Ollie and tossing it into the air, igniting it above their heads.

/ - /

Ollie begged for Malfoy to stay for dinner, pleading with him not to go and for Harry not to send him away. Harry agreed that Malfoy could stay, but he regretted it as soon as the words had left his mouth. Cooking for Draco Malfoy wasn’t exactly at the top of his list of wants at the current time. He could certainly do without the snide remarks and comparisons between Harry and a house elf, thanks. He was surprised Malfoy hadn’t mentioned the lack of house elf in the Black family estate yet, but Malfoy hadn’t even seemed to notice. Not that Harry would have wanted Kreacher in the house with Malfoy in it, anyway. The little bastard would probably start sucking up to Malfoy, given his Black heritage. Harry would never hear the end of it.

“Come see Bobby, he’s in my room,” Ollie said, tugging Malfoy out of the room and up the stairs.

Harry sighed and started to get out the ingredients for dinner, thankful he’d had the foresight to use a wizarding food delivery service rather than attempt to go out and buy everything himself. He’d have been mobbed to all hell, what with the Prophet article, and they’d have likely ended up eating Indian takeaway from the place on the corner, and Harry didn’t think Malfoy would have been able to hold his tongue if Harry had served him that.

Harry put thoughts of Malfoy out of his mind as he set about cooking, slicing vegetables and frying the bits of chicken in a pan. Stir-fry was probably a little lowbrow for Malfoy, but Harry didn’t much care at that point. Besides, his stir-fry was always delicious. If Malfoy had something to complain about then it would be solely because of his snobbery, not because there was anything valid to pick at.

As he tossed the noodles into the pan with everything else he could hear Ollie’s raucous laughter coming from the upper level. Harry was glad he’d been having a good time with Malfoy, and was thankful that Malfoy had mostly played along. He hadn’t stopped calling Harry by his last name, despite the glare Ollie shot him every time he did it. Harry supposed it made him feel a bit devious that he could get away with it when Harry couldn’t. Bloody Malfoy.

As Harry took the food off the heat he sent his Patronus upstairs without even thinking, freezing up as soon as he realised. Was it really such a good idea to show ones nemesis their Patronus? Probably bloody not. Not that Malfoy was really Harry’s nemesis anymore. He hadn’t been since maybe sixth year, really. Certainly not after the war, when Malfoy had managed to redeem himself and his mother with what seemed like minimal effort to Harry. Harry supposed he couldn’t continue to hate him after his and his mother’s change of heart at the end of the war, and Malfoy had been rivalling Harry for most upstanding citizen in the two years since. He was probably the one person who’d donated more to the homes for war orphans than Harry had. It was bizarre, really. Didn’t quite fit Harry’s view of Malfoy at all. But, then again, neither did the Malfoy who gave Harry a shy smile when they locked eyes across the pub, or who regularly assisted Hermione in her research, opening up the Manor’s personal library for her perusal whenever she chose. It was those instances that made Harry realise he didn’t really know Malfoy at all. Certainly not like Ollie seemed to, which was just a whole separate can of worms that Harry didn’t even want to touch at the current time, given how utterly ridiculous the entire situation was.

“Looks good, Daddy,” Ollie said smiling as he waltzed in through the door. “Papa loves your stir-fry.”

“Uh, that’s good?” Harry said, it sounding more like a question than a proper reply. He glanced over at Malfoy, who looked confused.

“You’ll want more, Papa,” Ollie said once Malfoy had finished serving himself. “You always go back for seconds.”

Malfoy glanced at Ollie out of the corner of his eye as he put more on his plate.

“Oh, shut it,” Malfoy hissed at Harry, when Harry smirked into his plate. “Like you don’t do exactly what he says as well.”

“Fair point,” Harry conceded.

Ollie watched eagerly as Malfoy took his first bites of the food, his eyes sparkling.

“Merlin,” Malfoy muttered, his eyes wide.

“I told you,” Ollie laughed, clapping his hands together.

“Good?” Harry asked, shooting Malfoy a wink. He choked on a noodle when he realised what he’d done, hiding his red face in the food.

“It’s, um, it’s quite good,” Malfoy said. Harry didn’t have to look up to know he was flustered.

“I told you, Papa,” Ollie said, smirking.

“That you did,” Malfoy said, sounding extremely fond.

Harry sat back and let Malfoy and Ollie chat during dinner, Malfoy mostly questioning him on his interests and his wizarding education thus far.

“Uncle Ron’s teaching me and Rosie until we go to Hogwarts,” Ollie said, sitting up straighter. “He says we can’t do proper spells yet, but Daddy says he’ll teach us how to ride brooms so we can be even better flyers than Auntie Ginny.”

“You’re letting Weasley teach him?” Malfoy asked, incredulous.

I’m not letting Ron do anything,” Harry said, raising his eyebrows.

Malfoy blushed, catching his slip up, and returning to his conversation with Ollie.

You asked Uncle Ron to teach me,” Ollie said, frowning. “You said because there’s not a real school until we go to Hogwarts that I should do it with Rosie.”

I said that?” Malfoy asked, horrified. “Bloody hell, Potter, you’ve corrupted me, apparently.”

“I’m finding it hard to feel apologetic,” Harry laughed.

It was all well and good for the next few minutes, until Ollie dropped a bombshell.

“Am I staying with Grandmother or Nanna this year for your special weekend?” Ollie asked, twirling his fork around one of the solitary noodles left on his plate.

“Special weekend?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, your wedding ‘versary. I always stay with Grandmother or Nanna for the weekend.”

Malfoy choked on a noodle, staring at Harry with wide eyes.

“Wedding anniversary?” Harry asked. “Did Uncle Ron tell you to say that?”

“No?” Ollie looked confused. “Are you ok, Papa?”

“Merlin, maybe not,” Malfoy muttered, casting an Aguamenti charm on his empty glass.

“We’re married?” Harry asked, gesturing between Malfoy and himself. “Us?”

“Yep,” Ollie said brightly. “Papa always says your wedding was the best one ever.”

“Christ,” Malfoy muttered into his water. “And I took your last name, if I’m correct? Merlin, I must be genuinely barmy.”

“It’s quite a nice name. Ollie seems to think so,” Harry smirked, revelling in Malfoy’s apparent discomfort. “You carried the children too, apparently.”

Harry couldn’t contain his laughter at Malfoy’s stunned expression, attempting to stifle his laugh with his palm.

“Shut it, Potter,” Malfoy hissed. “Wait, children? As in plural? Have you got a whole bloody army stored in the spare rooms?”

“Isn’t Cassie at Grandmother’s with you?” Ollie asked, frowning. “Where is she then?”

“Uh, she’s with Rosie and Uncle Charlie,” Harry said quickly, remembering what Hermione had said to Ollie earlier. Ollie seemed to accept the excuse easily, though he was a little miffed that he didn’t get to accompany them.

“I like dragons, Daddy,” Ollie said. “They might scare me a little, but I could just watch them from far away. Rosie says she goes right up to them, but I think she’s lying.”

“Your son’s clearly not a Gryffindor then,” Malfoy snorted.

Harry rolled his eyes at the use of ‘son’, knowing Malfoy was just baiting him. “Well he’s certainly not a Slytherin, from what I’ve seen.”

“Lies and slander,” Malfoy said, patting Ollie on the head. “We’ll make a proper Slytherin out of you yet.”

“Papa, you always say I’ll probably be a Hufflepuff like Teddy,” Ollie frowned.

“A Hufflepuff?” Malfoy cried. “Though, I suppose Teddy’s a perfectly lovely child.”

“Damn right,” Harry said, raising an eyebrow at Malfoy. He wondered if his Teddy would also turn out to be a Hufflepuff. It would fit, what with Tonks having been one.

“Papa, do you think you could tell me a story before bed?” Ollie asked.

“Sure,” Malfoy said. “Uh, what kind of stories do I usually tell you?”

“I like the one with the laughing tree.”

The Tales of Beedle the Bard?” Malfoy asked, seeming mildly surprised. “Of course. Those I actually know. I suppose I should leave the Three Brothers out of it?” He directed the last part of Harry, who shot him an exasperated look. “Shall we go now, then? You’re ok to wash up, right, honey?”

“You’re a troll,” Harry muttered, but he stood up to clear the plates all the same. Ollie looked overjoyed, grabbing Malfoy’s hand and tugging him back upstairs, leaving Harry alone in the kitchen.

After Harry washed up he sat at the table drinking a beer, not wanting to interrupt Ollie’s time with who he’d decided was his father. Todd came trotting down the stairs after a bit and curled up on top of Harry’s foot, his fur soft against Harry’s skin. Harry pulled him onto his lap, hugging the Crup close.

“Sorry I haven’t been paying as much attention to you these past few days,” Harry said, stroking the fur on Todd’s head. “It’s been a little chaotic, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. You’ve seemed to like playing with Ollie, though.”

“Talking to your Crup? Really?”

Harry jumped a little in his chair, startling Todd.

“Sorry, Todd,” Harry said, patting his head. “He’s good company, I’ll have you know.”

“I thought his name was Bobby?” Malfoy asked, leaning against the chair opposite Harry.

“That’s what Ollie’s decided his name is. His actual name is Todd. Don’t say anything about the name choice, I’ve already copped enough flak from Ron.”

“And rightly so,” Malfoy smirked. “Not exactly a Crup name, is it? Uh, Ollie wants you to go up and say goodnight. Demanded, really. He’s quite a forceful child, isn’t he?”

“I suppose,” Harry said, moving Todd back to the floor. “Help yourself to a drink, if you like.”

“I best be going,” Malfoy said, straightening his outer robes. “Mother hates being in the Manor alone at night. Says it unnerves her. Can’t say I blame her.”

Harry nodded. “Well, thanks for coming round. I’m sure Ollie appreciated it.”

“Sure, Potter,” Malfoy snorted. “He’s got quite an imagination, what with the marriage, and the extra child, and this whole bloody life that apparently exists.”

“Yeah, I’m trying to just go along with it at this point,” Harry said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Well, owl me if you want to come see him.”

“Won’t his parents be collecting him soon?” Malfoy asked.

“In theory. Nobody has yet, though.”

“Hmm. I suppose I’ll see you at the pub some time, then.”

“See you,” Harry said, giving Malfoy a little wave as he walked towards Harry’s Floo. Harry stayed in the kitchen until he heard the sounds of the flames whisking Malfoy back to Malfoy Manor, before he walked towards the stairs.

Merlin, it had been odd having Malfoy there. He’d expected Malfoy to make a snide remark or two about the outdated Black décor that still permeated every room, or at least make a comment about him being more entitled to the bloody place than Harry, or just something. But Malfoy had been quite polite. Well, as polite as Malfoy could realistically be to Harry.

Harry found himself questioning how he’d ended the night practically offering for Malfoy to stay and chat. That didn’t happen; it wasn’t something they did. Though they might not be overwhelmingly antagonistic to each other anymore, they certainly weren’t friends. Blimey, Malfoy probably thought Harry was mental for even asking. It was just that seeing Malfoy with Ollie, playing with him and chatting and just overall humouring the kid had softened him a bit in Harry’s eyes. It was like all those years of sniping at each other as children was just an exterior that had melted away when Malfoy smiled at Ollie. Harry wasn’t really sure how to feel about that.

Merlin, Harry was probably just getting broody again. He was choosing to blame his sudden change of heart on that, because it was true. Obviously.

He knocked once on Ollie’s door before letting himself in, walking quietly over to the bed just in case Ollie was already asleep. He wasn’t, clearly staying up to wait for Harry.

“Goodnight, Daddy,” Ollie said in a soft voice, his eyes still closed. He looked so small, his face softened at the edges as sleep crept in.

Harry bent down to kiss his cheek briefly, and Ollie smiled in response.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Harry said. “We can do whatever you want tomorrow, so have a think about it.”

“Could we have omelettes in the morning?” Ollie asked, yawning slightly. “Papa really likes them.”

“Papa’s not here anymore, but we can still have them.”

“What?” Ollie shot up to a sitting position, blinking his eyes blearily.

“He went home, Ollie,” Harry said, eyebrows drawing up. “He doesn’t live here.”

“Well he should,” Ollie said, laying back down but turning his back to Harry. “He didn’t say he was going.”

“He must have thought you knew,” Harry said, running a hand over Ollie’s hair in an attempt to soothe him. “I’m sorry, Ollie. He had to go home to his mum.”

“That’s where he lives now?” Ollie asked.

“Yeah, I think so,” Harry said. “He won’t be here tomorrow, but we can do anything you want. Absolutely anything, ok?”

“Ok,” Ollie said. “I’d like to go to sleep now.”

“I’ll see you in the morning for omelettes,” Harry said. His stomach felt heavy as he looked at Ollie’s shoulders, now drawn up tight rather than relaxed. He felt a rush of sadness for Ollie, and tried to make sure that Ollie knew Harry wasn’t also about to up and leave. Hopefully that eased some of Ollie’s worries somewhat. “Even though Papa’s not here, I’m not going anywhere, alright? I’ll be just down the hall if you need me.”

“Ok,” Ollie said. “Goodnight, Daddy.”

“Goodnight.”

Harry didn’t want to leave Ollie, sensing his change in emotion. If Ollie was going to cry again, Harry would rather he did it where Harry could comfort him if that’s what he needed.

Harry retreated to his room but didn’t sleep for a long while, ears strained as he listened out for any sounds of distress from Ollie. He heard nothing except the sounds of Todd’s paws tapping on the floorboards downstairs.

/ - /

Harry felt terrible the next morning. God, Ollie thought Malfoy was his dad and he’d just left without telling Ollie he was going. No wonder Ollie had been upset.

Harry groaned and rubbed a hand over his face. He still had no bloody idea what to do. It wasn’t like there was a manual for accidentally taking on a child who seemed to think your own childhood rival was their other parent. None of it made any bloody sense.

“Right,” Harry muttered to himself. “Omelettes. Ok.”

Omelettes seemed like as good a place to start as any.

Harry rushed through his shower and put on his comfiest jeans and jumper, anticipating that Ollie would likely want to spend the rest of the day in the backyard setting off the rest of George’s little animal fireworks.

Ollie’s door was still closed when Harry walked past, so he was probably still asleep. Harry hoped he hadn’t kept himself up all night worrying.

Todd was standing by the Floo when Harry went downstairs, pacing back and forth in front of it.

“Alright, Todd?” Harry asked as he walked past, turning the heat on for the pan before getting out Todd’s food for the day. “Todd, in here, mate.”

Todd scampered in, but kept glancing back towards the Floo. He was probably feeling a bit angsty about it after Malfoy – someone Todd hadn’t met before – had come through it. Harry figured it was probably normal Crup behaviour.

Harry whipped up the omelettes quickly, plating them and putting them under a stasis charm while he went to wake up Ollie. It was odd that he wasn’t awake yet; since he’d arrived he’d beaten Harry by a mile each morning. Usually he’d be up playing with Todd by now and teasing Harry about his sleeping habits.

“Ollie,” Harry called out, knocking on the door to Ollie’s room, before opening it. “I made omelettes.” He frowned at the empty bed. Somehow Ollie had managed to slip past him. Harry checked his own room, before heading to the top floor to look in the bedroom Ollie had hid in a few days beforehand. To Harry’s surprise and mild concern, Ollie wasn’t in there. Harry jogged back to the ground floor, but Ollie wasn’t sitting at the table eating his breakfast, nor was he playing with Todd on the rug in the lounge.

Harry started to move faster, running between rooms as he searched. He worked his way along the floors, checking every room as he called out Ollie’s name in increasingly frantic tones. A sharp bark from Todd sent him sprinting back downstairs.

“Did you find him, Todd?” Harry asked, a little breathless from all the running around.

Todd was sitting underneath one of the kitchen windows where an owl was tapping on the glass.

“Fuck,” Harry muttered. Merlin, it’d be just his luck for Robards to tell him to bring Ollie in on the morning that he’d bloody gone and lost him somehow. “Fuck,” Harry muttered again as he took the letter. He didn’t immediately recognise the handwriting, which sent a wave of relief through him. So not Robards then, thankfully.

Potter,

Ollie’s somehow gotten the Floo address for the Manor, and arrived sometime this morning. I’m sure you’re probably going completely spare, so I’ll leave you the apparation coordinates at the bottom of the parchment so you can come get him. There’s something of interest I’d like to discuss with you while you’re here.

Malfoy (or, I suppose it’s Draco now)

Harry let out a sigh of relief, before it melted into a mix of anger and confusion. How the bloody hell had Ollie got the Floo address for Malfoy Manor? He was insistent that Malfoy didn’t even live there anymore, so there was no bloody reason for him to have the address. And to go there without telling Harry? Harry was more than a little livid, but really sodding relieved that nothing untoward had happened to Ollie. Well, nothing more untoward than just being in Malfoy Manor in the first place, that was.

“Merlin,” Harry groaned, glancing down at his outfit. He couldn’t exactly turn up to the Manor in his comfiest clothes, could he? He didn’t want to start his morning off by having his fashion sense critiqued by Draco and Narcissa Malfoy on top of losing a bloody child.

Harry Accio’d the nicer pair of jeans he was after and quickly changed into them in the kitchen, apologising to Todd all the while. The Crup was no doubt having an off day too, now that he’d seen Harry’s bare thighs to start it off.

Harry studied the apparation coordinates and closed his eyes, whisking himself into the Wiltshire countryside in a matter of seconds. It felt colder there, the frost tipping the grass in a more severe manner than afforded to Harry’s London backyard. Despite the chill, he couldn’t deny that the countryside was beautiful. He’d like to live out there one day, maybe in something like the Burrow, when he had his own children running all over the show and causing havoc. Until then, it seemed like too much of a hassle to move out of Grimmauld Place. No doubt he’d feel even lonelier out in a cottage in the middle of the countryside, all by himself but for Todd, than in his house surrounded by the sights and sounds of London. Merlin, that’d give Ron even more ammunition to tease him about wanting to start a family if he went out and bought a house to fit one.

“Potter,” Malfoy called, and Harry looked up sharply. He’d been too busy admiring the countryside to take in the impressive gates that had opened up to reveal Malfoy Manor. Malfoy himself was currently standing there as he waited for Harry to collect himself, one eyebrow raised quizzically. “Are you just planning to stand there all day?”

“No. I’m coming,” Harry said, jogging to meet him. He fell into step beside Malfoy as they walked down the long drive. “So, uh, how did Ollie –“

“I’d like to have a conversation with you about that,” Malfoy said, staring straight ahead. “Inside, of course. Somewhere more private than at the gates.”

“Right,” Harry said. “He’s ok, though?”

“He’s fine,” Malfoy said. “Having breakfast with Mother, actually. She sent a house elf to wake me when she discovered him in the parlour this morning. Apparently he was having a conversation with the all the house elves, holding court in the kitchens and trying to help them cook.”

“Sounds about right,” Harry laughed. “Sorry about him barging in. I had no idea, obviously.”

“No, I didn’t think you did. You would’ve hardly let him come here by himself.”

“Can you blame me?” Harry asked.

“Not particularly,” Malfoy said after a moment. “But he’s fine, all the same.”

A house elf opened the door for them when they reached it, bowing her head and greeting them quickly.

“Master Potter is in the dining room with Mistress,” the house elf said, gesturing down the wide hallway of the house.

“Master Potter?” Harry said, raising an eyebrow.

“He says it’s his last name,” Malfoy shrugged, starting off down the hall. “Who am I to correct him?”

“It’s just weird to hear it said like that,” Harry mumbled. He kept his eyes straight ahead, not wanting to glance into any of the rooms, lest he be assaulted by unwelcome memories. Thankfully, the Malfoy’s seemed to have redecorated since the end of the war, and the house appeared overall more bright and airy than it had the one other unfortunate time Harry had been there. Although, that could just be the current lack of Death Eaters and megalomaniac snake men inside the walls, together with the lack of him fearing for his safety, unlike the last time.

“Daddy, you’re here,” Ollie cried gleefully when Harry stepped into the large dining room, smiling widely at him from his position seated at the long table. The room had large windows and was lit with a number of hovering chandeliers, giving it an almost ballroom atmosphere.

“Ollie, why did you run off like that?” Harry asked, rushing over. “I was so bloody worried when I couldn’t find you. Todd was going a bit spare.”

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” Ollie said, looking down at his mostly empty plate. “I wanted to show you that we could still live with Papa. I tried to bring Bobby with me, but he didn’t like the Floo.”

“That’s the Crup,” Harry heard Malfoy say to his mother.

“Don’t do it again,” Harry said, stepping forwards to pull Ollie into a tight hug, which he returned easily. “Merlin, I just about tore the house apart.”

“I’m sorry,” Ollie said in a small voice.

“It’s ok. You’re safe, that’s what matters.” Harry smiled at him and ruffled his hair. He snorted when he noticed the little napkin spread primly over Ollie’s lap, raising an eyebrow at Malfoy.

“He insisted on the napkin himself. Claimed it would please Mother,” Malfoy explained, mouth quirking into a smile.

“He’s a lovely child,” Narcissa said, sipping on a cup of tea. “Knows all the right cutlery to use with each dish. His parents have obviously raised him well.”

“Papa taught me all that,” Ollie said proudly, delicately sipping from his own cup of tea.

“Well it certainly wouldn’t have been your Daddy who taught you that,” Malfoy snorted. He widened his eyes and blushed a little when Harry smirked at him.

“Sorry, what was that you called me?” Harry asked.

“Anyway, I need to speak with you about something of interest,” Malfoy said, his cheeks flushed red. “Care to join me in my study?”

“Sure,” Harry said, smiling at Ollie. “I’ll be right back, ok?”

“It’s ok, Daddy. I’m having a lovely breakfast with Grandmother.”

Narcissa smiled warmly at Ollie, who returned the expression.

“Merlin, this is odd,” Malfoy muttered from next to Harry.

“Agreed. Shall we?”

“Through here.”

Malfoy led Harry down a hall and through a set of heavy double doors into his study. Shelves of books lined the walls, a heavy looking desk sitting in the centre of the room. Harry sat down on the sofa against one of the walls. As soon as Malfoy had closed the door, he turned to Harry and began to speak.

“Something’s not right here.”

“About what in particular,” Harry said. “Because there’s an awful lot that’s not right.”

“Ollie turned up here this morning.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that.”

“Potter, he shouldn’t have been able to. It’s not possible.”

“He probably heard you say your address when you left through the Floo yesterday,” Harry said. “Maybe he was crouching at the top of the stairs, or something. I think he gets a bit obsessive.”

“Him having the address isn’t the odd part I’m referring to, Potter,” Malfoy said, pacing the floor in front of Harry. He still looked slightly softened, like he’d only recently woken up and hadn’t properly steeled himself for the day yet. Harry found he liked it, though he had no bloody idea why. Or why he was even thinking the thoughts in the first place, Merlin.

“Then, uh, what’s the odd part?” Harry asked, shaking himself from the thoughts about Malfoy looking appealing to him. Bloody hell.

“During the war lots of, uh, unsavoury people had access to our Floo connection, so after the war was over Mother and I changed it so that only the people on a small, pre-approved list could access the Floo. That’s why I gave you the apparation coordinates for the Manor, rather than the Floo address.”

“So?” Harry asked.

“Merlin, Potter, have you not woken up yet? Ollie’s not on that list because I didn’t know he bloody existed up until a few days ago. Mother didn’t put him on it for some reason; I already checked.”

“So he was able to break through your Floo?” Harry asked. “Is he strong enough to do that?”

“You can’t do that,” Malfoy said, sounding exasperated. “That’s not how the Floo network works. Merlin, Potter, I thought you were supposed to be an Auror. There’s only one exception to being able to access the Floo without being on the list.”

“Stop being so bloody cryptic and just tell me,” Harry cried, throwing his hands in the air.

“We’re operating on the assumption that Ollie’s a lost wizarding child who’s latched himself on to you as some sort of hero worship thing, right?” Malfoy asked. He stopped pacing and flopped gracefully onto the sofa next to Harry. “And you’re expecting his real parents to – at some point – come and collect him from you.”

“Correct,” Harry said. “It’s not like there’s any other explanation.”

“Oh, but there is,” Malfoy said, leaning forward, eyes twinkling. “It’s absolutely bloody bonkers, of course, but when are things not, when there’s magic involved? The only way someone could get through the blocks on the Manor’s Floo is if they’re on the list, or if they’re directly blood related to either Mother or myself.”

“You do realise you’re not actually Ollie’s father, right?” Harry said. “I don’t know why he’s picked you as the other parent, but I think I’d remember if I’d had a child with someone. I’d have remembered sleeping with you, if we’d done that.”

“It’s not an experience you would forget,” Malfoy said, smirking. “Anyway, it fits. Ollie was able to come through the warded Floo, he says we’re his parents, he looks bloody identical to me as a child, bar the ridiculously messy hair – which is a carbon copy of yours, by the way. It fits.”

“It doesn’t fit,” Harry said. “Once again, I’d remember sleeping with you. And if he’s both of ours, then one of us would have had to have been pregnant, and I certainly haven’t been. Not to mention we both would have been in fifth year when he was born.”

“Ah, but were we?” Malfoy said. He sunk back against the back of the couch and crossed his arms behind his head, looking quite pleased with himself.

“Yes, we would have been. He’s five.”

“He told me an odd story when I was at your house yesterday,” Malfoy said in his slow drawl. “I didn’t think much of it before he turned up here. He apologised for spilling a potion. Apparently, I’d let him play around with a few harmless ingredients in his own cauldron while I made ‘grown up’ potions.” Harry couldn’t supress his snort at Malfoy’s air quotes. “He then said he followed you into a room owned by Hermione that housed a lot of objects that he wasn’t allowed to touch, trying to ask you to clean off his hands so I wouldn’t get frustrated that he’d spilled his potion on himself.”

“He told me he tripped over and then ended up on my street,” Harry said, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees, chin on his clasped hands. “It’s not exactly a realistic story.”

“I’m getting there. He said he lost you in the room and ended up tripping over and catching himself on something. Then he opened his eyes and was near your house.”

“What are you saying?” Harry asked. “That he’s apparated himself, or something? He’s not exactly old enough, not to mention his lack of a wand.”

“Actually, I think he’s accidentally done something that’s a fair bit more complicated than that,” Malfoy said. “I also think we’re going to need Hermione’s assistance. Not only was it apparently her room that he was in, but she’ll have better knowledge of cursed objects.”

“You think he touched a cursed object?”

“I don’t know. But I think he touched something and somehow managed to bend either space or time.”

Harry snorted. “That’s not something you can do.”

“Isn’t it? I know Time Turner’s exist. If you can use that to go back in time, and you can use your own magic to apparate yourself around the country, then who’s to say there’s not an object out there that can do those things on a larger scale?”

“Blimey,” Harry muttered. “What are you saying? You reckon he’s actually ours? Well, not ours, per se, but still.” Harry swallowed heavily, allowing himself to properly turn the idea over in his mind.

“If he’s not, then there’s a married couple out there that looks remarkably like us and is somehow directly blood related to me.”

“Don’t forget the mannerisms. You’d have to have had a hand in bringing him up; I certainly haven’t raised a child that walks down the street like he’s strutting through a bloody Ministry gala,” Harry snorted. “God, that’s a weird thought.”

“What, us being married?” Malfoy smirked. “I suppose it is. Can’t tell you I ever really pictured it myself.”

“So, what do we do now?” Harry asked. “I suppose we’ll have to find some way to get Ollie back to wherever he’s from, right? If that’s what’s happened.”

“You don’t sound very excited.”

“I’m not, really. I like having him around.”

“He’s grown on me, too,” Malfoy said, smiling slightly. “I’ll owl Hermione, fill her in on the details. I could be miles off, mind you. Someone could come forward asking for him back tomorrow.”

“Actually, I think you’re right. Don’t give me that look, you’ll not be hearing those words often. I’ve only known Ollie for a handful of days, but he feels ... he feels like mine,” Harry said. “Merlin, that sounds completely barmy.”

“I agree with you,” Malfoy said, nodding. “There’s a connection, of sorts. It would make sense, if he truly is ours, however bloody mental that may be.”

“You’ll be coming to see him, then,” Harry said, standing up.

“What?”

“You’ll be coming to see him. If you’re his father, than you’ll be spending time with him.”

“I, uh, I suppose so,” Malfoy said. “I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of it all, to be honest. I suppose he’ll need it, won’t he?”

“Tomorrow. Come round tomorrow, if you’re not busy. He’ll miss you, otherwise.”

“Alright,” Malfoy said. “I’ll come round for dinner. You cooked last, so I’ll bring something with me. We’ll do something as … uh …”

“As a family,” Harry said. And he hated how those words sent a bolt of warmth through his chest. Merlin, Malfoy wasn’t family. God, temporary parenthood was making him go round the bend.

“Sure,” Malfoy said. “I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow then, Harry.”

Harry raised his eyebrows at Malfoy’s use of his first name, but let it go. As he walked out of the study, he glanced back. Malfoy was still watching him, face unreadable. Harry didn’t try to decipher his expression, instead just closing the door behind him as he left.

When he walked back into the dining room alone, it was empty. He moved down the hallway and towards one of the sitting rooms, hearing Ollie’s loud laughter filtering through the airy space. In the sitting room, Ollie was on the floor leaning back against a small coffee table and facing Narcissa, who had a photo album on her lap facing outwards. She was gesturing to one of the photos Harry couldn’t see, telling him a story that related to it.

Harry felt a rush of affection looking at Ollie. It seemed different now that Malfoy raised the very real possibility that Ollie was – somehow – his. It was completely mental, but Harry couldn’t deny that it felt right in a way he hadn’t experienced before. As he watched the child, he seemed to see more of both himself and Malfoy in him, in the way his face moved and how he spoke, his enunciation of words. Harry didn’t know how it hadn’t been obvious to him before.

“And there’s your Papa riding his first broom,” Narcissa said, pointing at one of the photos.

“I can’t ride a broom yet,” Ollie said. “Daddy said he’d teach me, but he’s been busy catching bad guys.”

“I’m sure he’d teach you now,” Narcissa replied, glancing up at where Harry was standing.

“We can today, if you like,” Harry spoke up, walking towards Ollie.

“Look, Daddy, Papa looks like me,” Ollie said, tapping a photo of a young Malfoy in what looked to be the gardens of the Manor, surrounded by flowers.

“That he does,” Harry nodded. “Are you ready to get going?”

“Ok,” Ollie said, getting to his feet.

Harry bid Narcissa goodbye, watching as Ollie walked over to hug her, being careful not to rumple her robes.

“Goodbye, Grandmother,” Ollie called, before following Harry over to the Floo.

“You first,” Harry said, handing his son – fuck, Ollie might actually be his son – a pinch of Floo powder. He didn’t have to remind Ollie of the address, and he smiled slightly as he watched him disappear through the Floo. “Thank you,” he said to Narcissa, who smiled in response.

“He’s welcome anytime,” she said, glancing down at the photo album in her lap. “He reminds me of Draco, when he was young.”

Harry smiled at that, though he wasn’t sure he believed it. Sure, Ollie looked like Malfoy, but his personality was completely different. It wasn’t like Harry’s, per se, but it definitely wasn’t like what Malfoy’s had been at age eleven, when Harry first met him. But, then again, the adult Malfoy wasn’t much like what Harry had thought he was either.

Harry shook his head at himself and clasped the Floo powder tightly in his hand, throwing it and stepping into the flames it conjured, materialising into Grimmauld Place and setting his eyes on the boy that might genuinely be the son that he shared with Malfoy, however farfetched it seemed.

Chapter Text

Harry took Ollie shopping for some supplies the next day. After the conversation he’d had with Malfoy at the Manor, Harry was anticipating that Ollie was likely going to be around for a while, if Malfoy’s theory was true. Harry thought that it might be, though he almost didn’t want to let himself hope, lest he jinx it in some way.

If Ollie was indeed going to be sticking around for a little while then he’d need a proper set of clothes, rather than Harry’s shrunken ones, along a whole host of toys, the likes of which Harry could have only dreamed of in his own childhood. Andromeda had always insisted on Harry not spoiling Teddy to death, chiding him on the ridiculous pile of gifts he’d gotten him for his first Christmas after the war. She’d known that Harry had been compensating for the loss of Remus and Tonks in whatever ways he’d been able to, and she had taken him aside after putting Teddy down for a nap, telling him that spending time with Teddy was worth far more than the towering stack of gifts Harry had purchased for him. She had outlined for him that taking Teddy out and making memories with him would mean far more to both of them in the long run than the newest set of charmed animal toys that Teddy would grow out of as soon as the next shiny thing caught his eye. Harry had taken the advice to heart and took care to spend at least one out of every few weekends with Teddy, taking him on trips into Muggle London, or to the seaside or the cinema. Sometimes they would just spend time running around the garden, Teddy squealing with laughter as he toddled on unsteady legs as Harry chased after him, Todd lounging in the sun off to the side.

None of his other friends had any children to speak of, so Harry went a bit mad buying Ollie things. He thought he might’ve had even more fun than Ollie had whilst selecting the items, though it was a close race.

They’d gone in to Diagon first with glamours in place, hitting up the small wizarding toy shops there, before taking a trip to Muggle London. Harry thought Ollie should have both Muggle and wizarding toys to play with to broaden his horizons a bit, and delighted in picking them out with him. Apparently his possibly-other-self had gone to great lengths to educate Ollie on Muggle toys and culture as much as he could, because Ollie knew even more about a lot of the items than Harry did, much to Harry’s delight. Unable to cast charms on the armfuls of toys in the Muggle areas, they’d had to stagger back to the apparation point, their arms weighed down with boxes and bags in a myriad of bright colours.

“What are you going to show Papa first?” Harry asked a little while later, toys spread out around them and stretching all across the floor of Grimmauld Place’s living room. The floor was piled so high with all manner of presents, as well as the packaging of said gifts that Harry hadn’t taken the time to Vanish yet, that the ghastly old rug that Harry hadn’t been able to spell away was completely hidden. Harry found he far preferred the new Ollie-decorated version of his living room over the one decorated by the Black ancestors. It was far more cheerful, to say the least.

“My Legos,” Ollie cried, pressing two red plastic blocks together.

Harry was glad it was Malfoy who was coming over that night. If it had been Hermione or Ron they might have looked at him with judgement, telling him that Ollie didn’t need all the stuff Harry had given him. Ron would say it because he’d grown up sharing all his things with his siblings and having most items be either homemade or a little scarce, and Hermione would say it because she was sensible. Harry hadn’t grown up with much either, but that was precisely why he wanted to give Ollie as much as he could. He mightn’t have been able to get new toys just every Christmas that were his and his alone, but that didn’t mean that Ollie couldn’t. Harry didn’t think Malfoy would see it exactly the same way as him, but he’d grown up with extravagance regardless. The end result would be the same, at least. There wasn’t harm in spoiling Ollie a little just because he wanted to. Besides, Ollie was quite a sensible enough child, and apparently wasn’t likely to manipulate or take advantage of Harry’s generosity, if his parents thought him a future Hufflepuff.

“Daddy, could you start on the turret, please?” Ollie asked, holding a handful of brightly coloured Legos out to Harry. “I want it on this side here.”

“I’m on it.” Harry started clicking the blocks together, building up a structure to connect onto Ollie’s large square that was apparently a castle, though it didn’t much resemble one yet.

“Hello?” Harry heard from over by the Floo.

“In here, Papa,” Ollie called, not taking his eyes off of his turret. He locked eyes with Harry, smiling widely, the movement of his hands quickening. He was clearly attempting to connect his bits of Lego into a semi identifiable shape faster than Harry. Harry smirked and kicked his turret-building up a notch.

“Blimey,” Malfoy muttered. “You’ve had a bomb go off in here.”

“There’s a lot,” Harry agreed, not taking his eyes off of his turret.

A lot?” Malfoy cried. “You’ve got half the contents of Diagon’s shops on your living room floor.”

“Most of it’s Muggle, actually,” Harry said, scrambling for a large yellow block.

Ollie got to it first, connecting it to his turret and smirking at Harry.

“Merlin, it figures you’d be just as much of a child as your son,” Malfoy sighed. His tone surprisingly wasn’t biting, and when Harry turned to glance at him Malfoy offered up a soft smile in response.

“Have you had a chance to talk to Hermione yet?”

“I spoke to her last night. She’s quite interested, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’d hurry up a bit; he’s beating you.” Malfoy nodded towards Ollie and Harry whipped his head around. Ollie was indeed constructing his turret a whole lot faster than him.

“Bloody hell,” Harry cried. “Slow down, mate. Build it too fast and it’ll all collapse.”

“It’s not a real tower, Daddy,” Ollie replied, making Malfoy laugh.

“Food’s in the kitchen when you’re ready,” Malfoy said, making himself comfy on the couch. “It’s under a stasis, so don’t hurry.”

“What is it?” Ollie asked, pushing his completed turret against the side of the castle. It was starting to look a bit more like its namesake now, though the different coloured blocks took away from the usual stoic nature of the buildings.

“Salmon,” Malfoy said. “Caught fresh this morning.”

“Cooked it yourself, I’m sure,” Harry said with a wink.

“I made the sauce, actually,” Malfoy said, shooting him a challenging smile. “I used to cook with the house elves as a child whenever Father was out. Mother was always a bit perplexed by it. Can’t say I blame her, myself.”

Harry smiled to himself at the image of a tiny Malfoy struggling to reach the stovetop, standing on his tiptoes as the Malfoy’s house elves moved around him holding plates laden with food.

“I beat you, Daddy,” Ollie said, throwing his arms in the air.

“You did,” Harry smiled, ruffling Ollie’s hair. “You’ve clearly got a future in the building industry.”

“Thank you, Daddy,” Ollie said primly. “What do you think, Papa?”

“I think your Daddy needs to finish his turret,” Malfoy laughed. “Your side looks much nicer, Ollie.”

“Do you want to build with us after dinner?” Ollie asked, jumping up and throwing himself onto the couch next to Malfoy. “We don’t have to build a castle if you don’t want. Daddy and I got lots of stuff so we can build anything.”

“Hmm, I think I’d like that,” Malfoy said, poking a finger in Ollie’s ribs to tickle him. “And I bet we can build five whole things before your Daddy even does one, what do you think?”

“Yeah,” Ollie cried, curling in on himself as he laughed, clutching at Malfoy’s fingers which poked at his ticklish ribs.

“Dinner?” Harry asked as he connected his now finished tower onto the empty side of Ollie’s colourful plastic castle. He tried to keep his eyes averted from Ollie and Malfoy as they interacted. It felt a little odd, seeing Malfoy so much more open and stripped down than he was used to. It didn’t make him uncomfortable per se, but it certainly wasn’t what he was used to. Seeing Malfoy tickle a child with a wide smile on his face wasn’t something Harry’s brain apparently knew how to process, considering how it practically shut down when he laid eyes on the two of them. Thus, to save himself any embarrassment when Malfoy eventually called him out on his general inability to process the situation, he simply looked away and smiled to himself, hoping that Malfoy didn’t see his reaction.

The salmon that Malfoy had brought was quite nice; not that Harry had expected anything Malfoy brought to be anything less than perfect. The sauce that he’d claimed to have made was Harry’s favourite part, though he didn’t outright admit that to Malfoy. He half expected Ollie to let that titbit of information slip during dinner, since the kid apparently had so much intimate knowledge about both harry and Malfoy’s food habits, but he kept his mouth shut. Likely because he was stuffing it full of the – quite frankly – bloody delicious meal that Malfoy had laid out in front of them. Harry and Ollie absolutely devoured the food, having had an eventful day with only a small lunch to break it up. Harry probably wouldn’t have admitted it if Malfoy asked, but he was also dead excited to get back to playing with Ollie as soon as the meal was over.

Malfoy watched them eat with raised eyebrows, laughing about how alike they must have looked in the moment, identical dark heads bent low over their plates as they scarfed down the food.

They all played with the Legos until inadvisably late that night, Harry and Malfoy attempting to keep Ollie from realising he was tired because they were having a surprisingly good time themselves. It was going swimmingly until Ollie pulled Malfoy’s hands away from his body and curled up in his lap, falling asleep almost instantly with his face tucked against the side of Malfoy’s stomach. Harry and Malfoy stared at Ollie’s sleeping face before glancing at each other. Harry wondered if his face looked as soft as Malfoy’s did, all the sharp lines and hard planes washed away at the sight of the child curled up in his lap. He was sure it probably did; Ollie seemed to have the unique ability to break past both Harry and Malfoy’s carefully constructed walls despite the small amount of time he’d been around for.

“We’re terrible parents,” Malfoy laughed after casting a Tempus charm and seeing the late hour.

“Hey, he’d probably disagree,” Harry said, nodding towards Ollie.

“He’s going to be a right bloody handful for you tomorrow if he’s tired,” Malfoy said, brushing a finger over one of Ollie’s dark eyebrows.

“He might be,” Harry shrugged. “He could be yours too, if you like.”

Malfoy glanced up at him, one eyebrow quirked.

“You could come by tomorrow, if you wanted,” Harry said. “If you’re not busy, that is. Ollie would love it.”

“Ok,” Malfoy said. “I’d like that. Um, thanks.”

“No problem,” Harry said. “Did you want to put him to bed?”

“You’d better come too. Even though he’s asleep, he’ll somehow know if you don’t say goodnight to him,” Malfoy said with a chuckle.

“You’re probably right.”

It all felt so ridiculously domestic, walking behind Malfoy as he carried a sleeping Ollie to his bedroom upstairs. Harry pulled back the covers so that Malfoy could put Ollie in bed, smoothing them back over the sleeping child. They both stood there for a moment in silence, watching as Ollie made a small snuffling sound in his sleep and curled up into a ball, dragging his covers in around him tighter. In that moment Harry felt the rush of family in such a way that had evaded him for so long, keeping its head down even during those fantastic few months when Ron and Hermione had been living with him at Grimmauld Place after the war, eating all their meals together and laughing into the late hours of the night. Somehow that small, strange child and Malfoy of all people felt more like family in that moment than his two best friends who had gone to hell and back with him, and that in itself was absolutely bonkers.

Malfoy bid Harry goodnight in the hallway outside Ollie’s room in a soft voice, promising to bring around pastries for their breakfast tomorrow. As Harry watched him walk back down the stairs he felt a lingering sense of wrong. Not wrong because Malfoy was there in his home and coming into contact with the child Harry was caring for, but wrong because Malfoy was leaving rather than staying there with them both.

“I’m going mental,” Harry muttered to himself, walking into his room and closing the door, not waiting to hear the whoosh that indicated Malfoy leaving through the Floo. It wasn’t a sound that he particularly wanted to hear, because it meant that Malfoy had gone, that he wasn’t there in the house with them any longer. And Harry wasn’t even about to begin to try and examine why he felt that way.

/ - /

“Daddy.”

Harry groaned and buried his face in the pillow, the piercing sunlight bright on his closed eyelids.

“Daddy.”

“Honestly, Potter.”

Harry shot up to a sitting position, blinking his eyes blearily. Ollie was sitting on the end of his bed, his little finger poking at the lump of blanket that covered Harry’s knees. Malfoy was standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame, his eyes fixed on Harry. Harry groaned and rubbed his hands over his eyes.

“What time is it?” he directed at Malfoy.

“Late enough that you should be up,” Malfoy replied, vaguely. “Come on, breakfast is downstairs.”

“Lazy, Daddy,” Ollie chided, climbing up to give Harry a wet kiss on the cheek.

“Building turrets takes a lot out of you,” Harry called in the direction of Ollie’s back, smiling at Malfoy’s snort that sounded from out in the hallway.

He walked into his bathroom with the intent of showering quickly, but got caught in front of the mirror. Merlin, you could certainly tell that he’d just been asleep. Harry ran a hand through his messy hair, attempting to tame it enough to look presentable. Blimey, what would Malfoy have thought when he’d seen him? Harry stopped short at that, frowning at his reflection. What did he care what Malfoy had thought? He was coming for breakfast, not a bloody Ministry high tea. He was losing the plot; he didn’t need to look like he was going to a charity gala just because Malfoy happened to be there.

Harry ended up pulling on one of his nicer jumpers after the shower all the same.

When he got downstairs Malfoy and Ollie had already started on their tea, sipping from identical blue cups. There was a plate of pastries in the centre of the table piled high enough to make Harry’s eyebrows shoot up.

“How many more people are coming?” Harry asked, sliding into his seat. “Don’t tell me you’ve gone and invited a couple of Quidditch teams as well?”

“I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I got everything,” Malfoy replied, pushing an untouched cup of tea towards Harry. “Let me know which ones you like so I’ll know for next time.”

“All right,” Harry replied. Embarrassingly, he couldn’t help but smile in thanks over the rim of his cup at Malfoy. Fortunately Malfoy didn’t seem to be able to hold his own small smile back either.

“Can we build animals today, Daddy?” Ollie asked, biting into a croissant.

“Ooh, we could build a replica of Todd – uh, Bobby,” Harry corrected himself.

“Yeah!” Ollie cried. “We could make him with spots and a collar and a big tall tail!”

“What do you think, Papa?” Harry asked, smirking at Malfoy, who rolled his eyes over his pastry.

“I think that sounds lovely.”

“Yay!” Ollie cried, shoving the rest of his croissant into his mouth. “Now?”

“Finish your breakfast first,” Harry said, snorting at himself.

“Merlin, you sound like a right bloody parent,” Malfoy laughed, raising his cup at Harry.

“Cheers to that,” Harry said, clinking their cups together.

“Me too,” Ollie cried, kneeling on his chair and reaching up with his empty cup, clashing them all together with a bang.

/ - /

The Lego version of Todd was a minor success. With the three of them working together they’d managed to make a semi-plausible rendition of the Crup, who kept wandering out of the room, not wanting to stand still and model for them, much to Ollie’s distaste. Despite Ollie changing his mind on the colour scheme and overall design of the replica every five minutes, they eventually got it finished, calling Todd in to stand next to it. It was a right bloody miracle that they’d completed it, but the results spoke for themselves.

“Merlin, that’s a little disturbing,” Harry muttered, watching as Todd stared at the plastic monstrosity out of the corner of his eye as if it was about to sneak up on him and eat his favourite biscuits right out from under his nose.

Piertotum Locomotor,” Malfoy murmured, casting the spell at the plastic Crup.

Ollie gasped as the Crup came to life, wiggling its plastic forked tail and barking happily at Todd. Todd sprinted away from it to hide behind Harry, staring distrustfully at the enchanted Crup from behind his owner’s leg.

“It’s alright,” Harry said, patting Todd’s ears. Harry’s reassurances didn’t appear to do much to diffuse Todd’s worries, as he stayed still, eyeing up the plastic Crup. The Crup eyed him back before turning to Ollie, its tongue lolling out playfully.

Ollie’s tinkling laughter filled the air as he patted the head of the colourful monstrosity, giggling as it nudged at his hand and wagged its plastic tail. It took a few minutes for Todd to come out, but soon he and the plastic Crup were chasing Ollie around the room together as the child laughed.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Malfoy asked in a low voice.

Harry turned to glance at him. Malfoy was watching Ollie with a wistful look in his eyes and the ghost of a smile on his lips. He looked beautiful in that moment, and Harry had to watch for a beat before he was able to look away.

“Yeah,” Harry said, tearing his gaze away from Malfoy and setting it back on Ollie. “It is.”

The plastic Crup could only stay in its living form for about an hour and they all trudged downstairs after that, Ollie still letting out stray giggles every few moments. Harry sent Malfoy and Ollie out into the back yard, citing the fact that they’d been cooped up inside the house for too long and needed to stretch their legs in the sunshine. Malfoy had raised an eyebrow at Harry’s orders, but did what he said without a fuss. Harry stayed in the kitchen, fixing up a plate of sandwiches that ended up looking far dodgier than he’d originally intended for them to be, but he supposed they’d work all the same.

When he carried the plate outside it took him a moment to find Ollie and Malfoy. Rather than playing near the door or goading Todd into staying out of the flowerbed they were right at the back of the garden, lying on the grass in the shade of a large tree. Harry walked over to them, levitating the plate out in front of him. He directed it to lower itself onto Ollie’s stomach, making Ollie laugh with the sudden appearance of the lunch.

“Did you do ham and cheese, Daddy?” Ollie asked, handing the plate to Malfoy so he could sit up properly, his little legs crossed in front of him.

“That I did,” Harry said, sitting down in front of them. “There’s a few different things there, but I did a couple of ham and cheese just for you.”

“Thanks,” Ollie said, taking one from the stack.

“Yeah, thanks,” Malfoy echoed, balancing the plate in one hand as he sat up. He took one of the cucumber sandwiches from the pile, shooting a small smile at Harry as he did so. A lock of hair fell into his eyes as he moved, and Harry reached out to brush it away without thinking.

“Uh, sorry,” Harry said quickly, leaning back, eyes widening as he took stock of the massive invasion of personal space he’d just committed. Merlin, Malfoy probably thought he was even more mental than usual.

“It’s alright,” Malfoy said, red colouring his cheeks.

Harry took a bite of one of the sandwiches, attempting to keep his eyes from sliding to Malfoy every few moments. And maybe it was alright, which was a bit of an odd thought, really.

If someone had told Harry when he was back at Hogwarts that in a few short years he’d be reclining in the shade of a tree in his backyard next to Draco Malfoy and the child they were apparently now raising together, he’d have not been able to contain his laughter. Hell, he probably would have had them committed to St Mungo’s for their own safety. The whole thing was an absolutely ridiculous situation, and Harry still wasn’t entirely convinced that he wasn’t having some sort of twisted fever dream, and that he’d wake up in St Mungo’s one morning after recovering from dragon pox, or something. And that was just the whole child aspect, it didn’t even account for the ridiculous notion that he and Malfoy could be so comfortable around each other after such a short period of time, following so many years of blatant animosity. It shouldn’t be possible; they should be itching to hex each other every five minutes, but Ollie had acted as some kind of nullifying force just by existing.

The child-swung pendulum was apparently working so well, in fact, that Harry now had to shut off his brain, lest he start cataloguing and analysing the colour that Malfoy’s cheeks flushed when Harry moved near him, or the private smiles they shared when Ollie did practically anything. Harry had only just started to work through the whole accidental child acquisition thing, he wasn’t quite ready to unpack what seemed to be blossoming between him and Malfoy. It was utterly insane, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. Or that Harry had any idea how to even approach it, for that matter.

Harry was pulled from his thoughts by the feeling of a weight on his arm. Ollie had clambered over Malfoy and had situated himself between them, leaning his head against the inside of the crook of Harry’s elbow, staring up at the sky. Malfoy’s hand was brushing through his hair, attempting to wrestle it into a presentable state.

“I wouldn’t bother, I’m pretty sure it’s a lost cause,” Harry said, nodding at dark mess of Ollie’s hair.

“You’re probably right,” Malfoy said with an exaggerated sigh. “He couldn’t have gotten my hair as well, could he?”

“Then there’d be no saving him from a lifetime of being awfully proper,” Harry said, mussing Ollie’s hair back up. Ollie shot him a cheeky grin, batting their hands away from his head.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Malfoy snorted, rolling his eyes at Harry. “If memory serves, you could have done well with some education in proper behaviour back when we were younger.”

“Ssh,” Ollie said, throwing one of his hands onto Malfoy’s stomach. “Stop fl-irt-ing.” He spoke slowly, taking care to enunciate each of the letters correctly.

“You don’t even know what that is,” Malfoy replied, poking at Ollie’s stomach to tickle him. His cheeks were a bit pink now, Harry noted.

“Aunty ‘Mione says it, so it’s right,” Ollie replied. He sat up and clapped his hands together. “Bobby, over here.”

“Merlin, no,” Malfoy muttered when the Crup bounded over. “He’ll get hair all over everything.”

He complained, but he allowed Todd to climb on him all the same, the Crup resting his little face on Malfoy’s chest after pottering about a bit as he got comfortable.

“We must look a right sight,” Malfoy muttered a little while later. They’d all been lying on the grass, watching the way the leaves of the tree above moved in the slight breeze. “Imagine what everyone would be saying if they could see us now.”

“Somehow, I don’t think you mind too much,” Harry said, glancing over at Malfoy.

Malfoy was already looking at him, his expression soft. His lips curled up at the corners as he held Harry’s gaze, one hand drifting down to pet at Todd, who was asleep across his stomach and chest, his breathing low and even.

“Somehow, I don’t think you do either,” Malfoy said softly, letting his eyes slip closed.

And Harry didn’t. In fact, he hadn’t felt as happy as he did right then in a very long time.

/ - /

Somehow a nap in the sun seemed to have tired Ollie out rather than woken him up, as Harry would have expected. He’d been content to cuddle up to Harry, letting his eyes drift closed now and again as Harry told him watered-down tales of some of his Auror training missions. Some of the stories Ollie had asked for were unknown to Harry, like one about a container of Puffskeins, or the one about the wizard with blue skin who’d been stealing potions from a number of stores up and down the Thames. Others were ones Harry recognised, particularly when Ollie asked for stories about his time at Hogwarts. Interestingly, Ollie seemed aware that Harry and Malfoy had been less than friends during their school days, though he seemed to have a slightly different take on it than Harry himself did.

“Ooh, that’s when you liked Daddy, wasn’t it?” Ollie asked, turning to Malfoy, and breaking Harry’s story about the Triwizard Tournament. He’d been altering the stories slightly, mashing his tales of the separate tasks together into one, while omitting certain details that weren’t exactly acceptable for a five year old to hear. The censored versions of the stories rolled off Harry’s lips far easier than the gritty and traumatising ones he might have told a Mind Healer, and for that he was thankful. Ollie’s interjection, however, was far more interesting than any of Harry’s tales of his fourth year at Hogwarts.

“What?” Malfoy asked, blinking his eyes open. The sun was filtering through the tree overhead and leaving a patchwork of tiny shadows and patterns across Malfoy’s fair skin.

“You liked Daddy then,” Ollie said, turning back to Harry. “Finish your story, Daddy. Tell the bit about the dragon and your broom again.”

“Actually, I think I’d like to hear a bit more about what Papa’s been saying,” Harry replied, smirking over at Malfoy.

“Why, you already know it?” Ollie said, reaching back to pat Todd.

“And you already know everything about the dragon and the Merpeople, but that doesn’t stop you from asking for stories about them.”

“Fine,” Ollie sighed, shooting Harry a glance that was ridiculously exasperated for such a small child. “Papa says he liked you that year, but you didn’t kiss and all that other gross stuff.”

“Oh, did he?” Harry asked, glancing over at Malfoy.

On the surface, Malfoy looked completely normal. He’d returned to his previous position, lying on his back on the grass with a disgruntled looking Todd now sprawled across his thighs. He looked as he had before Ollie had interrupted Harry, except that he didn’t. He might have gotten away with it, if Harry hadn’t been spending so much time in close quarters with him lately. Not only that, but if Harry looked closely, he recognised bits of facial expressions that had become so familiar to him when worn on Ollie’s face. Anyone else might have shrugged and moved on, but Harry looked. His quick analysis saw that despite Malfoy’s relaxed looking appearance, his jaw was clenched slightly, and he looked to be biting the inside of one of his cheeks, which had become faintly tinged with red. Overall, he looked as though he’d tensed his muscles, as if he was suddenly on edge because of what Harry and Ollie were talking about. Harry found that he very much liked that interesting development.

“Yes. Aunty Pansy says he was kitten.”

“Smitten,” Malfoy quickly corrected. As soon as the word left his lips, his eyes widened and he made a choking sound low in his throat.

“Oh, thank you for the clarification, Draco,” Harry said coyly. “And what else does, uh, Aunty Pansy say?”

“Um, I’m not supposed to say,” Ollie said, his voice dropping to a whisper. “I’m not supposed to listen to them when they have a bottle of that bubbly drink that’s only for grownups that you have in the kitchen. Papa says they’re talking about grown up things that adults only do when they love each other very much.”

“Oh, Merlin,” Malfoy muttered. His cheeks were bright red when Harry glanced back over.

“What about Papa liking me back at Hogwarts?” Harry asked, tapping Ollie’s shoulder to draw his attention back to the question. “Does he say anything else about that?”

“Why are you trying to torture me?” Malfoy groaned, his head tipping back further. “You’re enjoying this aren’t you, you bloody sadist?”

“You said that Papa didn’t know how to say he liked you, so he did silly things instead,” Ollie said. “Can we go watch a movie now? It’s gross when you kiss.”

“Uh, we’re not going to kiss,” Harry said.

“You always kiss when you talk about that stuff. Can I pick the movie?”

“Sure,” Harry said. “Go grab one, and we’ll come right in.” He waited until Ollie was gone, running towards the house with Todd on his heels, before he turned to Malfoy. “So, does that particular bit of information translate to this dimension?”

“You wish,” Malfoy said. He stood abruptly, walking swiftly towards the house without glancing at Harry. Despite that, Harry had clearly seen the deep red that now stained his pale cheeks.

Harry snorted to himself as he watched Malfoy go, wondering if Malfoy thought that perhaps he was being in any way subtle.

After clearing away the plate and leftover sandwiches, Harry joined Ollie and Malfoy in the living room, where Ollie was showing Malfoy how to work a Muggle DVD player, with mixed results.

“And if you press that button then it’ll stop until you tell it to go again.”

“Oh,” Malfoy said. “So there’s no magic involved?”

“Daddy says you can break it if you try to use magic, so we’re not allowed to,” Ollie said. He tugged Malfoy toward the couch, leaving Harry to sit in one of the armchairs.

Ollie had picked an old animated children’s movie that Harry only had because Teddy had gone through a phase at one point where he was bloody obsessed with Merpeople. Despite picking the movie Ollie fell asleep quite quickly, no doubt tired from the eventful day, as well as the lack of sleep he’d had the night before.

Harry nearly fell asleep himself, letting his eyes drift closed as the movie played softly in the background. When he let his eyes flutter open a good few minutes after they’d slid shut, he looked over to see that Ollie had laid his head in Malfoy’s lap, his sleeping face lax as the colours projected from the TV played across his skin. Malfoy was stroking Ollie’s soft hair absentmindedly, his eyes locked on the screen. Harry swallowed heavily as he watched the two, both looking so relaxed in each other’s presence. A coil that had been tightening in Harry’s chest since Ollie had arrived on his doorstep became even tighter, threatening to squeeze the breath right out of his chest as he watched them. Merlin, he wanted this. He wanted it bad enough to get down on his knees and beg for it to not get taken away from him. He would do it, if only he knew who to beg to.

No, not taken from him. If something was taken then it would be taken from them, from both him and Malfoy, because now that he looked, he was sure that Malfoy needed that connection as much as he did. And Harry wasn’t quite sure where that would leave them all in the end.

/ - /

Hermione came over the next morning with a dusty old book and a pile of parchment in tow, which she then proceeded to spread all over the breakfast table as Ollie ate his eggs and toast. Harry had cut the toast up into little triangles this time, at Ollie’s request. For some reason, shapes seemed to be key to having Ollie enjoy his breakfast, and Harry wasn’t entirely sure what to make if that. Thankfully Hermione didn’t mention what she was working on to Ollie as she took over their kitchen, likely figuring that it would send him into a bit of a panic if he heard anything about it.

Working together like that must have been something he and Hermione did often in Ollie’s world, because he didn’t seem phased by the interaction at all. After being told that Papa was busy that day and wouldn’t be coming around, Ollie went upstairs with Todd to play with his Legos, saying his wouldn’t bother Harry “unless my building’s really cool, Daddy”, which Harry felt was a reasonable answer.

Hermione let out a small squeal when Ollie was out of earshot, beaming at Harry over the piles of parchment.

“Merlin, he’s adorable. I’ll never get used to someone calling you that, but I can’t deny that fatherhood is a good look on you, Harry.”

“I think it is,” Harry agreed, placing a fresh cup of tea for each of them on the table. “How’s your research been going?”

“Quite steadily, actually,” Hermione said, flipping open the large book. “I was quite perplexed when Draco filled me in, but I think I might actually have a few leads based on the information he’s given me.”

Harry’s lack of enthusiasm at the prospect of Hermione finding out exactly where Ollie had come from –and thus likely how to send him back – must have shown on his face, because Hermione shot him a pitying look.

“I might not find anything,” she said, leaning over to squeeze his hand. “Until we know anything, just enjoy the time you have with him. You never know what could happen; we’re talking about magic, after all.”

“I know,” Harry said, glancing over at the kitchen windows and out into the garden. If he sat up straight he could almost see the spot where he’d spent the afternoon out in the garden with Ollie and Malfoy the previous afternoon. “I just don’t want him to go anywhere.”

“If he really is from somewhere similar to this, then somewhere he’s gone missing and there’s a version of you that doesn’t know where he is,” Hermione said. “You’re probably frantic; Draco too.”

“I know,” Harry sighed. “It’s just hard. I really do love him, Hermione.”

“It’ll be alright,” she said. “Like I said, I might not even find anything.”

“Even if you don’t, I’m sure some other version of you has nearly cracked the case. I assume you’ve only gotten more brilliant with the extra years.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, pulling out a quill from her bag. “I don’t suppose you know how old the other version of you is? That should help me figure out a time frame.”

“Uh, I think I do, actually,” Harry said, thinking back to that awful meeting he and Ollie had with Robards. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to forgive him for sending Ollie into such a panic. “I think Ollie said that both me and Malfoy had just turned thirty.”

“Alright,” she said, jotting something down on a blank bit of parchment. “So if we’re dealing solely with time, then he’s gone back ten years. If we’re dealing with both space and time then it get a little trickier.”

“Wait, but if he’s just gone back in time then that means that Malfoy and I actually have a child in less than five years.” Harry blinked at Hermione, his eyes wide. Well, that certainly wasn’t a possibility.

“Yes, it’s all a bit fast, isn’t it? Particularly if we’re talking about a male pregnancy. Those tend to take a considerable amount of planning and preparation, and you and Malfoy would have had to sit down and have a few discussions about it. That kind of thing doesn’t come around without a hefty amount of planning.”

“Why don’t you look perplexed by this?” Harry cried. “We’re talking about me and Malfoy having a baby in less than five years. That’s bloody mental.”

“I heard you,” Hermione replied, one brow arching. “I’m far more perplexed by a five years old’s ability to bend space and time than I am by yours and Draco’s mutual crush finally coming to fruition, to be honest with you.”

Mutual crush?” Harry cried, voice climbing higher. “You’re bonkers. Ollie’s gone to your head.”

“Once again, a five year old has likely bent space and/or time. That’s far and away the most mental part of all this, not you and Draco as a couple.”

He tried to ignore Ollie’s previous little offering of information pertaining to other-Malfoy’s apparent feelings for other-Harry, along with Harry’s questionable … feelings? Could they even be called feelings? Harry had no idea, but he did know that he and Malfoy having a child together in five years was quite possibly the most mental thing he’d ever heard.

A metaphorical lightbulb lit up over Harry’s head and he leaned forward, elbows on the table.

“The going back in time situation wouldn’t work,” Harry said, his brow furrowing. “Malfoy and I only started spending time together because of Ollie. If he wasn’t there, then we probably wouldn’t have. No, we definitely wouldn’t have, and if we did then it wouldn’t be like this.”

“Then I suppose it’s the question of the chicken or the egg.”

“What?” Harry asked. “How does that fit here?”

“Well, it’s the question of what came first, Ollie going back in time to force you to spend time with Draco, or you and Draco somehow getting over yourselves and getting together in the same circumstances, but without your son assisting you?”

“I’m still going for space and time,” Harry said, rubbing his hands over his face. “Christ, this is complicated.”

“We’re probably going to need some more tea,” Hermione nodded, pushing a stack of parchment towards Harry. “You can start with that one.”

Harry groaned, but got up to fix another pot.

/ - /

Ollie was less than pleased when Malfoy didn’t show up that evening, nor the next day. Despite Harry’s assurances that Malfoy was just busy with whatever he did to fill his days, – what that was, harry wasn’t sure – Ollie was more than a little miffed. At the end of the second day, Ollie had apparently gone into Harry’s desk and taken a bit of parchment, penning a barely legible letter to Malfoy in his blocky script. Harry supposed he should have been mildly suspicious when Ollie had asked him to write down Malfoy’s first and last name for him so that he could make sure to spell his Papa’s name right, but he’d assumed Ollie had been asking for innocent reasons. Perhaps he was doing a drawing and wanted to label Malfoy by name, or perhaps he was playing and wanted to spell out Malfoy’s name in Legos, or whatever else Ollie liked to do. Harry certainly hadn’t expected him to write a mildly angry letter. He’d only been clued in when Malfoy had sheepishly come through the Floo the next morning with a stack of pastries and a new little miniature broom for Ollie, a hasty apology on his lips.

“He’s a menace,” Malfoy hissed to Harry when Ollie had left to go show Todd his new broom, bounding out of the kitchen with a beaming smile on his face.

“Hmm?” Harry was barely listening, still half asleep as he pottered about the kitchen, blinking blearily.

“I’m calling bullshit on him not being a bloody future Slytherin,” Malfoy said, leaning back in his chair. “He needs to work on his penmanship, but I got the gist of the letter. I tell you, I never knew a strongly worded message could be conveyed through misspelled words and backwards letters written in red crayon, but I assure you, it can. You’d best hope you don’t find yourself on the receiving end of one of his strongly worded suggestions.”

“A letter?” Harry asked, flopping back down in his chair and practically burying his face in his half-drunk mug of tea.

“Honestly, do you even watch him?” Malfoy asked, brow arched. “He sent me a letter last night bloody chiding me for not coming here more often. Merlin, the right nerve of it.”

“Well, he’s not wrong,” Harry shrugged. “You probably should be coming round more.”

Malfoy watched him for a moment, expression unreadable. “Alright,” he said after a moment. “I will.”

“Alright then,” Harry said, watching through the window as Ollie attempted to get poor Todd to hop on the new broom behind him. There seemed to be little success in his endeavour, but he was giving a right good go. Harry pushed up from the table, nodding at the back door. “Want to help me teach him how to ride a broom?”

“Obviously,” Malfoy snorted, moving to stand. “We wouldn’t want him to pick up all your bad flying habits, which are numerous, mind you.”

“I seem to recall beating you in most of our Quidditch games back at school,” Harry replied, shooting a smirk at Malfoy.

“You got lucky,” Malfoy said, waving him off. “If you’d had proper training rather than relying on dumb luck –“

“Oh, shut it,” Harry said, nudging at Malfoy with his elbow. He swallowed heavily when Malfoy’s fingers brushed the bare skin of his palm, eyes flicking up to meet Malfoy’s gaze. Malfoy’s expression became unreadable as he met Harry’s gaze head on. They stood there for a moment, only breaking their stare when Ollie’s loud laugh filtered in from the garden.

“Are you guys coming?” Ollie called. His hands were clasped around Todd’s middle as he attempted to haul him onto the tiny broom. Todd looked amazingly unbothered, sniffing the air and blinking as Ollie lugged him around.

 “Right then,” Malfoy said, taking a step back. “I suppose we should go make sure he doesn’t accidentally go through the side of the house.”

Harry snorted, unable to stop the sound from bubbling out. Malfoy looked quite pleased with himself at Harry’s reaction, so Harry didn’t mind too much.

Ollie hadn’t succeeded in getting Todd onto the broom, instead proceeding to run around the garden holding the broom between his legs as he pretended to fly, making whooshing noises as he sprinted around.

“Is it safe?” Harry asked as they watched him.

“Quite. It’s a training broom, so it doesn’t go more than a few feet off the ground. That’s why it’s so small.”

“I suppose you had a few of those, did you?” Harry smiled to himself as he pictured a tiny version of Malfoy on an equally tiny broom running around the garden. Well, he didn’t have to picture too hard, because Ollie was right there.

“Of course I did,” Malfoy said. “I think I was about his age when I got my first proper training broom, actually.”

“Merlin, he looks like you,” Harry said slightly under his breath as he watched Ollie run around.

“Not really,” Malfoy said, tilting his head to the side. “He smiles too much for that.”

“You smile,” Harry said, turning to glance at Malfoy. “You do it all the time now.”

“Not like that,” Malfoy said, nodding at Ollie. “He’s so … carefree. He’s quite sensible, I suppose, but not ridiculously proper like I was. You joke about him being like that, but it’s not quite accurate. My parents certainly would have never let me act like you let him do.”

“I think he’s turned out alright,” Harry said, turning away.

“That’s wasn’t a criticism,” Malfoy said. “It’s a good thing. He’s a child; he should be able to act like one.”

Harry nodded, worrying at his lip. “You really do look like that sometimes, when you’re with him. I think he’s made both of us better, or something.”

“I think you’re right,” Malfoy said. “Blimey, what are we doing? We’re supposed to be teaching him to fly, and instead we’ve gotten all serious.”

“Sorry,” Harry snorted, a smile breaking across his face. “You should probably take the lead; I have no idea how to work a training broom.”

“Too right you don’t,” Malfoy said, but his tone was soft.

Ollie turned out to be a natural on the broom, not that it was any surprise. Both Malfoy and Harry scrambled to take credit for his flying ability, throwing joking barbs at each other about their various aerial abilities and picking out stories of poor Quidditch performances back at Hogwarts to discredit the claims of the other. They only stopped when Ollie threatened to go inside again, lest they start kissing.

Malfoy stayed late that day, right up until Ollie went to bed. Ollie begged Malfoy to stay and read him a story that night, clearly afraid to let him leave through the Floo, lest he might not come back.

“I promise I’ll come round every other day,” Malfoy said to Ollie. “I won’t say every day, but I’ll try to. I promise.”

“You’d better, Papa,” Ollie said in a forceful voice, but Harry could recognise the undertone of anxiety there. Apparently Malfoy could too.

“I promise,” Malfoy said again. “Even if I’m busy I’ll make sure to come and see you.”

“And Daddy,” Ollie said in a small voice. “Or you’ll miss Daddy too.”

“And Daddy too,” Malfoy agreed.

Harry smiled as he leaned against the wall in the hallway outside Ollie’s room. Even though he knew that Malfoy was just agreeing for Ollie’s benefit, it was still nice to hear. Perhaps too nice, if the overwhelmingly pleased feeling in his chest was anything to go by.

“Even when I’m not here you have fun with your Daddy, don’t you?” Malfoy said. “You like spending time with Daddy.”

“I love Daddy, but I love you too,” Ollie said.

There was a rustling of fabric and then it was quiet. Harry was about to push off the wall and leave them to it for a bit, when Ollie spoke up again.

“Papa, why are you sad?”

“I’m not sad,” Malfoy replied, but his tone sounded thick with something.

“You’re crying,” Ollie said.

“They’re happy tears, Ol,” Malfoy said, and there was a small sniffing sound.

“Do you want me to call Daddy?”

“No, it’s ok. I’m just glad to be spending time with you.”

“Me too, Papa,” Ollie said.

Harry walked quietly down the hallway. He felt like he was intruding on something extremely private and he didn’t want to eavesdrop any longer.

When Malfoy came downstairs a good half hour later his eyes were slightly red rimmed, but nothing too drastic. He directed Harry upstairs to say goodnight to Ollie, and Harry didn’t mention anything about what he’d overheard them discussing.

“Night, buddy,” Harry said when he went into Ollie’s room, turning off the main light.

“Good night,” Ollie said, snuggling down. “Daddy?”

“Yeah?” Harry asked, pulling the covers in tight around Ollie’s small body.

“I think Papa needs a hug.”

“I’ll be sure to give him one,” Harry replied, giving Ollie’s hand a quick squeeze. Ollie’s eyes were so large in his small face as he gazed earnestly up at Harry. “Papa will be ok, you don’t need to worry about him.”

“I love you, Daddy,” Ollie said, closing his eyes.

“Love you, Ollie,” Harry said, swallowing heavily.

And, fuck, he did. There was no way he was going to be able to say goodbye to Ollie if the time came. Absolutely no way, alternate him be damned.

When he went back downstairs Malfoy was sitting at the kitchen table with an open bottle of Firewhiskey in front of him.

“What’s the occasion?” Harry asked, taking the proffered glass.

Malfoy didn’t reply, instead knocking back another drink.

“Ollie says you’re sad,” Harry said, watching the way the liquid swirled in the glass. “Did you want to talk about it?”

“No,” Malfoy said. “Yes. I don’t know. I can’t – fuck. I can’t say goodbye to him, Harry.”

“I know,” Harry said, his shoulders slumping slightly. “I can’t either.”

Malfoy stood abruptly, pulling on his coat. “I’ll be back tomorrow; I told him I would.”

“Aright.”

“I’ll try to come round every day, if that’s alright?”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

Malfoy glanced at him before he left, a long look that nearly had Harry squirming in his seat it was so intense. It felt like Malfoy was reading every little bit of his body language and expressions, like he knew exactly what Harry was thinking.

Harry stayed at the kitchen table for a long while after he left, staring at the full glass of Firewhiskey.

/ - /

True to his word, Malfoy came around the next day for breakfast, bringing Ollie a whole stack of wizarding children’s books from the library at the Manor.

“I have to go, but I’ll be back for dinner,” Malfoy said, ruffling Ollie’s messy hair. As soon as he did it he turned to face Harry with a look of utter distaste, looking between his hand and Ollie’s head.

“I guess I’m rubbing off on you,” Harry said, snorting at Ollie’s ridiculous bed hair, made so much worse by Malfoy’s attentions.

“You, um,” Malfoy said, turning bright red. He stuttered out a goodbye to Ollie, before practically sprinting for the Floo.

Harry rolled his eyes and turned back to Ollie. “Want to read a few of those books before we head out to ride the brooms?” Harry asked Ollie, who threw his arms up in the air and cheered. “Blimey,” Harry muttered to himself, shaking his head fondly at Ollie’s constant enthusiasm.

Malfoy came by later with a curry for dinner, picked up from a takeaway shop in Muggle London.

“I would have tried my hand at making some, but I got out late,” Malfoy said, putting the bags down on the table. “Not that I should feed either of you my cooking experiments outside of a very niche set of meals, since that’ll probably end in a trip to St Mungo’s.”

“Daddy can teach you,” Ollie said, pulling a samosa out of one of the bags. “He’s teaching me.”

“I’d be up for it,” Harry said, shrugging as be popped a bit of rice into his mouth.

“Yay,” Ollie cried. “That means you have to come over for dinner every day, Papa.”

“Alright, I suppose,” Malfoy said, waving his wand to distribute a bowl in front of each of them. “Merlin, use your bloody cutlery. Absolute savages, the pair of you.”

“Sorry, Papa,” Ollie said with a smile, picking up his discarded cutlery.

“Yes, sorry, Papa,” Harry said, in a high pitched voice.

Malfoy shot him a glare, but he wasn’t able to completely hide how his mouth turned up at the corners.

The curry was a big hit with Ollie, as were the children’s books Malfoy had brought with him.

“I want these ones tonight,” Ollie said, separating the pile of books in two. “And these ones tomorrow.”

“We’ll be up all night if we read all of those,” Harry said. “Perhaps spread them out a bit.”

“You and Papa can read at the same time,” Ollie replied, raising his eyebrows at Harry. “Then we can read them all tonight.”

“There’s some holes in your plan, buddy,” Harry said, clearing away the plates from dinner. “You won’t be able to concentrate on them both at once. Besides, if you spread them out then Papa has to make sure to come for bedtime every night so he can read them to you.”

“Ok,” Ollie said, clearly placated. He held out a book towards Harry, eyes still sifting through the pile of those remaining. “Which one would you like to read, Papa?”

“Why does he get a choice and I don’t?” Harry said in a mock-offended voice.

Ollie held out the book again, jiggling it up and down slightly to get Harry to take it from him.

“Either it’s because he likes me better, or because he thinks my delicate sensibilities will be offended otherwise,” Malfoy said, leaning over Ollie’s shoulder to look at the books. “I’d rather not know which one it is, to be honest.”

“Definitely the sensibilities,” Harry replied, leaning back against the counter to flip through the book Ollie had handed him.

“You can’t read it yet,” Ollie cried, getting up from his seat to take the book back from Harry with a disgruntled expression. “Papa gets to pick because he won’t look through them all.”

“He doesn’t need to, they’re bloody his.”

“Language,” Malfoy said absentmindedly, taking a book from the pile. “This one was one of my favourites as a child.”

“Bath first,” Harry said, waving his wand and sending the rest of the books upstairs to Ollie’s room. “I’ll remember your betrayal when I’m buying more of your favourite biscuits.”

“Ok, Daddy,” Ollie said.

Harry was immediately placated, because Ollie gave him a quick hug before he bounded upstairs.

“Suppose I’m the confirmed favourite parent, then,” Harry said.

“Hardly,” Malfoy snorted. “He only hugged you because of your bloody delicate sensibilities.”

Actually—“

“Stop it, I can still hear you flirt-ing,” Ollie yelled from upstairs.

“Uh, right,” Malfoy said, turning red. “Suppose I’ll go get his pyjamas ready, then.”

“I’ll be right up, I just have to feed Todd first,” Harry said, turning to the cupboard to pull out Todd’s food. It also had the handy outcome of hiding his red cheeks from Malfoy’s view.

“Why does your Crup have two names again?” Malfoy asked. “It’s bloody confusing.”

“He’s only got one name,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. “He’s got an imposter name as well, which he apparently responds to, the absolute menace.”

“Merlin, you bloody would be the type to let a child rename your pet to their liking,” Malfoy said.

Harry was pretty sure Malfoy had intended for his tone to be biting, but it just sounded quite fond, if Harry was honest with himself. He was mildly concerned about the fact that he wasn’t concerned about the words Malfoy and fond in the same sentence anymore, and when did that happen?

“Who would have thought, the Saviour of the bloody wizarding world is an enormous softie?” Malfoy said, a smirk on his face.

“Uh, anyone who knows me more than what they read in the Prophet?” Harry snorted. “If you’d stopped throwing insults long enough to open your eyes back in Hogwarts then you probably would have seen it as well.” Harry placed Todd’s food bowl on the ground and turned to face Malfoy, leaning casually against the counter. “But, if Ollie’s to be believed, then you actually did notice, and the insults and the ridiculous attention seeking behaviour were just a cover for something else. Personally, I’m quite keen to hear a bit more about that.”

“Pyjamas,” Malfoy replied, and rushed out of the room.

“You could at least come up with a convincing rebuttal,” Harry called, poking his head through the doorway. “It’s not very believable otherwise.”

Malfoy’s shoulders tightened as he jogged up the stairs, but he said nothing in reply.

Harry snorted to himself, shaking his head as he turned back towards the kitchen.

/ - /

Ollie was no less enthused at the idea of taking a trip to the Burrow for Sunday brunch than he had been the previous week. In fact, his enthusiasm might have actually been higher, if that was possible.

“Nanna!” Ollie cried when he rushed through the Floo, sprinting across the room towards Molly.

“Hello, love,” Molly said, bending down to give Ollie a hug. “Ah, there’s your father. Oh – and Bobby.”

“It’s bloody Todd,” Harry sighed, shifting Todd’s weight in his arms. “Sorry about him, by the way. Ollie insisted on bringing him, hope you don’t mind. I couldn’t talk him out of it.”

“Not at all,” Molly said. “Get him settled in the dining room, would you? Hermione’s commandeered the table for something to do with her research.”

“Ah,” Harry said. He placed Todd on the ground, who immediately bounded after Ollie, no doubt able to visualise the illicit food scraps the kid would feed him in the kitchen as soon as Molly’s back was turned.

“Alright, Harry?” Hermione asked when he walked into the dining room. True to Molly’s word, Hermione had filled the table with rolls of parchment, taking up almost the entire surface area of the long table.

“Hi. How’s the search going?”

“Painfully,” Hermione sighed. “I knew it’d be difficult to research, but Merlin.”

“Ah,” Harry said, pulling out a chair and sitting next to her. “Don’t work yourself too hard. It’s not like there’s any rush.”

“No, I don’t suppose you’d think there was,” she said, smiling at him. “How have things been going, anyway?”

“Fantastic,” Harry said, his face breaking into a grin. “It’s been quite brilliant, actually.”

“And Draco?” her expression changed slightly, the corners of her mouth twisting into an expression that signalled humour.

“I think he’s enjoying it just as much,” Harry replied, pulling one of the scrolls towards him and peering at the words scribbled across it.

“Right,” Hermione said. “So nothing of note there?”

“Nope,” Harry quickly replied.

“You’re an awful liar, you know that?”

“Why are you lying, Daddy?” Ollie asked, coming out of the kitchen with a vase of flowers in his hands, Todd bounding along behind him. “Nanna says these need to go on the table.”

“I’m not bloody lying,” Harry cried, taking the vase from Ollie. “There’s nothing going on between me and Malfoy. Uh, Draco,” he amended, at Ollie’s affronted glare.

“Hello, Aunty ‘Mione,” Ollie said, pressing a kiss to Hermione’s cheek. “Daddy’s lying; he and Papa were kissing in the garden the other day.”

What?” Harry cried. “Bloody hell, he’s having you on.”

“I had to go inside. It was gross,” Ollie said, pulling a face. “Bobby didn’t like it either.” He made a show of cupping his hands over the Crup’s eyes. Todd planted himself on the ground and allowed it to happen, wagging his tail all the while.

“I believe you,” Hermione said, patting Ollie on the shoulder.

“Bloody well don’t,” Harry said, his voice climbing in pitch. “Merlin.”

“They’re always flirt-ing. Papa says I don’t know what that is, but you told me.”

“That I did,” Hermione said, smirking at Harry. “What an interesting development this is.”

“I’m going outside,” Harry said, standing up from the table.

“Not yet, you’re not,” Hermione replied, tugging on his sleeve so he was forced to sit back down. “Ollie, go help Nanna in the kitchen.”

“Ok,” Ollie said. He walked around the press a kiss to Harry’s cheek, shooting him a bloody smirk, of all things. He looked exactly like a young version of Malfoy when he did it, too. It was bloody unnerving.

“Now,” Hermione said, when Ollie was out of earshot.

“We bloody well haven’t been,” Harry hissed, keeping his voice low.

“Alright,” Hermione said, waving her wand to send the scrolls out of the room. “But something must be going on for Ollie to be getting the idea.”

“He’s been round a lot, and you know what we’re like,” Harry said, frantically waving his hands around. “There’s plenty of banter, only Ollie says it’s bloody flirting. Thank you, alternate Hermione, for teaching in that word, by the way.”

“Is it not flirting?” Hermione asked, one brow arched. “Because it always seemed like it was, a bit.”

“Blimey,” Harry hissed. “You’ve gone mental on me.”

“It was always very clear that in school he was just riling you up to get your attention.”

“That’s bonkers.”

“You usually gave him the attention, so it worked.”

“Because I hated him.”

“You stalked him for a year.”

“Only because he was up to something.”

“You bugged me for ages when you knew I’d been catching up with him, trying to find out what he’d been doing since school finished.”

“Because I was curious,” Harry cried. “Maybe he was up to something again, I had no idea.”

“You did, a bit,” Hermione said, giving a half-hearted shrug. “Enough about why you maybe-possibly were interested in Draco in the past, let’s talk about now.”

“There’s no now to talk about,” Harry insisted, eyes glued to the kitchen doorway. He was gearing himself up for Ollie to pop his head out and tell Hermione more bloody embellishments.

“You have a tell, you know. When you lie.”

“I bloody well don’t,” Harry cried, pressing his hands to his face to hide his features from Hermione.

“If you don’t then why are you hiding your face?”

“For fucks sake,” Harry muttered, dropping his hands. “He’s alright, ok?”

“Indeed,” Hermione snorted. “I’d also say that Draco is alright.”

“Look, he’s good with Ollie and he’s not a complete black hole to be around anymore, ok? He’s not like he was back when we were in school.”

“Why are you blushing?” Hermione asked, smiling at Harry. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Draco’s perfectly lovely these days.”

“Bloody hell. I like having him around,” Harry sighed. “For Ollie, but also because he’s a decent bloke. He brings good food around, and he can take a joke, and he’s not afraid to look completely ridiculous when we’re playing with Ollie and Todd, and that’s so unbelievably not the Malfoy we know.”

“It might not be the Draco you know,” Hermione said, studying him with a worryingly knowing expression. “Doesn’t mean that it’s been the same for the rest of us. I’d say that Draco’s just letting you see the proper him now that you’re not constantly at each other’s throats. It’s quite refreshing, to be honest.”

“But it’s all a bit soon, isn’t it?” Harry said, running a hand through his hair. “It hasn’t been long enough for us to be so completely different with each other.”

“Why not? You don’t have a reason to actively dislike each other anymore – apart from the fact that you did in the past – and you’ve both grown out of that, I’d like to hope.”

“But it’s more than that, ‘Mione.” Harry swallowed, brows furrowing. “He’s … I like him. As a person. When we’re doing things together with Ollie it’s like we’re this little bloody family or something. It’s messed up.”

“Is it though?” she was smiling over at him, gaze knowing. “Given the circumstances, it seems the obvious outcome.”

“I don’t know anything about him,” Harry sighed, rubbing a palm over his face. “I don’t know what he did after the war – aside from what you’ve told me and what I’ve read in the Prophet, and that’s usually absolute rubbish – and I don’t know what beer he likes to drink at the pub, and I don’t even know what he bloody well does all day when he’s not over at mine. I don’t know him enough for him to feel like he’s such a big part of what Ollie and I have. It’s mental.”

“So ask him,” Hermione said, shifting closer. “I know the answer to all those things, but I’m not going to tell you. Look, after you’ve put Ollie to bed, sit down and have a glass of wine with him at the table and bloody well talk to him. I think you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find.”

“Alright,” Harry said after a moment, glancing back at Hermione.

“Alright?” she looked shocked. Harry wasn’t sure if he should be offended at that or not. “I would’ve thought you’d put up a bit more of a fight on that one.”

“I told you, I like him. And you’re usually right about … well, everything,” Harry shrugged.

“I suppose I am, aren’t I?” she replied, looking pleased.

Their conversation was cut short by the sounds of Ron and George stumbling through the back door covered in mud after playing Quidditch out in the rain, Molly yelling at them not to track it through the house.

“I promise I won’t make your house dirty, Daddy,” Ollie said in a prim tone, appearing next to Harry’s elbow. He held his arms up to be pulled into Harry’s lap, snuggling in close and wrapping his arms around his neck. “Love you, Daddy.”

“Love you,” Harry echoed, pressing his face into Ollie’s hair.

“Blimey, Mum, calm down,” Ron cried. “We’ll spell it clean.”

“Yeah, look over at Harry. What’s going on over there is much more interesting than the state of the bloody floorboards,” George said.

The distraction must have worked because Molly was silent for a moment, before resuming her scolding after Ron and George bounded away, no doubt tracking mud through the house indeed. Harry wasn’t sure how much, because his face was still pressed into Ollie’s hair, the soft smell of the child calming his rushing heart.

/ - /

“What sort of wine do you like?”

“What?”

“What sort of wine do you like?” Harry asked again, glancing back at Malfoy. “I’ve got a white and two reds, but I’m not sure they’re prim enough for your tastes.”

“Oh, bugger off,” Malfoy snorted, appearing on Harry’s right side. “That one there looks fine. What’s the occasion? We’re not actually going to get trashed while our child’s playing in the next room, are we? Though I suppose I’m not entirely opposed to the idea, if you were to persuade me. It’s actually quite Pureblood of you, practically a proper custom in those circles at this point.”

“Not quite,” Harry replied, taking the bottle of red Malfoy had pointed out and setting it to the side. “After dinner we’re having a proper conversation.”

“Blimey.”

“I know, it’s rather terrifying.”

“My shock was more referring to the fact that you have wine in your cupboard that’s actually palatable.”

“Fuck off,” Harry laughed. “But really.”

“Um, alright,” Malfoy said, sending Harry a glance out of the corner of his eye. “Is this where you start asking me for child support then?”

“Wasn’t planning on it, but now that you’ve given me the idea I might,” Harry said, shooting Malfoy a teasing smile.

“Suppose I brought that one on myself.”

“Actually, I wanted to –“

“Uh, Harry?”

“Yeah?” Harry said, turning back to Malfoy.

“Your Crup’s blue. Don’t suppose you did that?”

“Oh fuck,” Harry muttered, walking over to where Todd had padded into the kitchen. True to Malfoy’s word, Todd was bright blue.

“Should be able to spell it off,” Malfoy said, kneeling down next to Harry. “Not that I’d be too worried, it’s a good look on you, mate.” He directed the last part at a very bored looking Todd, who was attempting to wiggle out of Harry’s grasp so he could go in search of biscuits.

“Stop moving, you sod,” Harry muttered to the Crup. He sat down, dragging Todd into his lap to stop him from trotting off elsewhere. “The biscuits can wait, you silly thing.”

“Keep him still, if you can,” Malfoy said, pulling out his wand. “I know a colour spell that works on clothing and one that works on hair, so hopefully one of them takes.”

“Poor bugger,” Harry muttered, smoothing down Todd’s ears. “It’s alright, mate.”

“He doesn’t look even remotely bothered,” Malfoy said, snorting in amusement. “Perhaps he likes the colour?”

“Just do the bloody spells,” Harry sighed, shooting Malfoy a look of exasperation.

Malfoy did, but neither worked. Todd stayed as blue as anything, a horrifically bright colour that reminded Harry of the cheap Muggle lollies that Dudley used to stuff his face with as a child.

“Hmm,” Malfoy said, rising to a standing position. “Suppose I’ll go and find out how it happened then, shall I?”

“Don’t yell at him,” Harry said, glancing up at Malfoy. “He’s a right little shit, of course, but please don’t yell.”

“Do I really look like the yelling type?” Malfoy asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I suppose not.” And he didn’t, now that Harry thought about it. Malfoy seemed more the type to scare the living daylights out of you with an arched eyebrow and a well-placed sigh, rather than the yelling sort. It did much to ease Harry’s concerns.

“Stay here with the newest mascot of Ravenclaw house. I’ll be back in a mo,” Malfoy said. He shook his head at Todd as he stood up, snorting under his breath again.

“I’m sorry this happened to you, Todd,” Harry said, cuddling Todd to his chest. Todd made a discontented sound in response, but allowed Harry to hug him.

“Accidental magic, by the looks of it,” Malfoy said when he came back down. “He was a little upset about it, though I’m not sure how much of that was the actual incident, and how much was him wishing he’d turned the thing green instead.”

“Do you think you could have Ollie tomorrow?” Harry asked, stirring the pot of soup he’d put on earlier. “I’ll need to take Todd in to see the Accidental Magic Department if we can’t get his colour back to normal by tomorrow morning.”

“Uh, I should be able to go in late,” Malfoy said, pulling out a bit of parchment from one of his pockets. “I’ll just let Mr. Hereford know, but he shouldn’t have an issue with it.”

It turned out that Malfoy was an apprentice to a potions master, as Harry found out after dinner, and after quite a number of glasses of wine. He’d been working there for the past year and was about halfway through his training, though it would likely take him longer since he’d been taking quite a bit of time off to be able to spend alternating afternoons and mornings with Ollie where he could.

“I’d like to get into potion making, maybe freelance, something exclusive,” Malfoy said, topping up his wineglass.

“How come you’ve never mentioned it?” Harry asked, leaning back in his chair.

“You never asked. I figured we were just doing this whole thing for Ollie’s sake, but I can’t say I mind the change.”

“It’s the perfect career for you. You were always bloody brilliant at Potions,” Harry sighed, reflecting on his own abysmal grades in Potions class, sixth year aside.

“Unlike you,” Malfoy said, shooting Harry a joking smile. “Though I can’t say I didn’t picture you going into the Auror’s. You left though, didn’t you?”

“Extended leave of absence,” Harry replied. “The plan was always to go back and finish up my training, but now I’m not so sure about it.”

“What do you want to do instead?” Malfoy’s eyes were shiny, his mouth turned up at the corners, his cheeks flushed slightly from the alcohol. Harry liked the look on him, soft and unguarded.

“Not sure,” Harry said. “Honestly, I’m quite liking what I’m doing at the moment.”

“Staying home and playing with your son?” Malfoy laughed. “Haven’t you got bored yet?”

“I’m not sure I will,” Harry said, smiling into his wineglass.

“So, why did you want to do this?” Malfoy asked, gesturing between the two of them and their glasses of wine. “I must say, I was a little sceptical when you first asked.”

Harry shrugged. “We’re practically family at this point, so I thought I should get to know you better.”

“Fair point. Another?”

“Please,” Harry said, nodding at his empty glass.

“And what was it that you wanted to know?” Malfoy asked, sending the newly filled glass back in Harry’s direction. “I can’t have lived a more interesting last few years than you have.”

“What did you do after the war?” Harry asked. “I read the Prophet, of course, but it’s usually complete drivel.”

“That it is,” Malfoy said, toasting the air. “I laid low for a bit after the war, then got my potions apprenticeship with a chap who cared more about my knowledge of the subject than he did what side of the war I’d been on. And what about you?”

“Uh, went with the Auror’s for a bit, took my leave, and got Todd.”

“Why the Crup?” Malfoy asked. “Wizarding families usually only get them for children, but it was just you.”

“I suppose I was a bit lonely,” Harry shrugged. “Ron and Hermione had moved out, and Grimmauld’s like a bloody tomb when you’re here all by yourself. I was starting to feel like I was going a bit mad by the end of it, to be honest. Todd’s a good companion. When he’s not bloody bright blue, of course.”

Todd shifted his position and sneezed on the floor, before crawling back under Harry’s chair.

“I didn’t think I was,” Malfoy said, staring into his glass of wine. “Lonely, that is.”

“But you were, weren’t you?” Harry said, watching Malfoy.

“I think so, yes.” Malfoy shot him a thin smile, before glancing back down again. “I didn’t realise how little joy my life held until that bloody child ran into me on the street. It’s ridiculous, I’ve got vaults full of gold, and a team of house elves at my bidding, and I can go anywhere I want in the bloody world, but when I look back it all seems so bleak somehow.”

“I know what you mean,” Harry said. “I … I think I was kind of wallowing before he came along. He’s been good for me. I think he’s been good for you, too.”

“It’s not just him, you know,” Malfoy said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper. “You’ve, um, you’ve played a part too. For me.”

“I … yeah,” Harry said, breathing deeply. “You too. I’m glad we’ve moved forward from all that bollocks at school. I really like having you around.”

“Me too, Harry,” Malfoy said, smiling softly.

“He’s not here, you can call me Potter if you like.”

“Harry’s fine,” Malfoy said, still smiling, his eyes soft. “I …” he stopped, clearing his throat. “Fuck, I should get going, I think I’ve had a few too many.”

“We probably should have limited our glasses,” Harry agreed. “Blimey, Ollie’s going to wake up way too early tomorrow, I can feel it.”

“I’ll bring hangover food for breakfast, how’s that?”

“Brilliant,” Harry said. “Suppose I’ll see you tomorrow, then?”

“Night, Harry,” Malfoy said. His smile was still soft as he reached forward to squeeze Harry’s hand, before walking off in the direction of the Floo.

Harry could swear he felt the tingling impression of Malfoy’s fingers lingering on his skin as he drifted off to sleep. That night he dreamed of walking through a field, his hand trailing over the tops of the softly swaying grass, the warm sun beaming down on his back.

/ - /

“Ssh, you’ll wake Daddy up.”

“I think he’s dead to the world, actually.”

“He’s not dead.”

“Not actually dead, no. It’s an expression.”

“He smells a bit funny.”

“Yes, that’ll be the wine.”

“Bugger off,” Harry groaned, throwing a pillow in the direction of Malfoy’s voice.

“That almost hit me, you sod,” Malfoy laughed. “I’m casting a freshening charm on you, so stay still.”

“Alright,” Harry said, blinking his eyes open as the feeling of Malfoy’s magic washed over him. “Morning, Ollie.”

“Morning, Daddy,” Ollie said from next to Harry. “Papa said I had to let you sleep for ages.”

“Papa knows what he’s talking about,” Harry said, sitting up. He glanced over at Malfoy and raised his eyebrows. “Blimey, did you not drink at all last night?”

“Perhaps I just have a higher tolerance for hangovers than you do,” Malfoy said, laughing. He looked completely fine, despite consuming at least as much wine as Harry had the night before. “Also, because I took a hangover potion before coming here. There’s one for you on the tray.”

“Thank Merlin,” Harry sighed. He watched as Malfoy levitated a large tray towards the bed. That was when Harry’s eyes landed on his clothes, properly taking them in.

“Scoot up, Ollie,” Malfoy said, lowering the tray of food onto the bed.

“Are those my pyjamas?” Harry asked, sliding his glasses on. The red pyjamas Malfoy was wearing looked suspiciously familiar. They had little golden snitches all over them, the wings appearing to be fluttering on the spot when the fabric shifted as Malfoy moved around. Harry usually only wore them when he knew for sure nobody would be coming round, and he was certain that Malfoy wouldn’t have taken a trip to Diagon and bought a pair for himself in bright Gryffindor colours.

“Oh, yes, they are,” Malfoy said, turning a bit red when he glanced down at his attire. “Ollie insisted I be in pyjamas too. Hope you don’t mind.”

“You look good in Gryffindor colours,” Harry replied, smirking at Malfoy’s answering glare. He tried to ignore the little spark of heat in his gut at the sight of Malfoy not only in his house colours, but wearing Harry’s pyjamas whilst in his bed. Harry wasn’t sure he could handle such a combination so early in the morning, and before he’d had a full cup of coffee.

Malfoy settled on the bed on top of the duvet, next to Harry’s feet and opposite Ollie, the big tray between them. It was piled high with all the trimmings for a full English breakfast, complete with two large mugs of coffee, along with a potion vial.

“Thank Merlin,” Harry muttered, reaching for the potion. It was a little bubbly and tasted like mint when he swallowed it.

“Verdict?” Malfoy asked, watching Harry.

“Uh, my head doesn’t hurt anymore?” Harry said, raising an eyebrow.

Malfoy snorted. “Very descriptive, Harry. Anything else?”

“Uh, it tastes better than normal.”

“That’s better.”

“Any reason why you’re quizzing me on the hangover potion?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow in Malfoy’s direction.

“Merlin, no wonder you dropped out of the Aurors,” Malfoy said in a teasing tone. “I made it, you sod.”

“Oh!” Harry said. “It was good. It works, obviously, and it tastes alright. Texture is better than usual, I think.”

“Thanks,” Malfoy said, sighing and shaking his head fondly at Harry.

“Can I try some, Papa?” Ollie asked. He had a piece of toast in one hand, and a forkful of fruit in the other.

“Not until you’re of age,” Malfoy said, tapping Ollie’s fork with his own.

The breakfast was actually quite brilliant, and Harry was mildly surprised to hear that Malfoy had cooked it all himself.

“I can do eggs and bacon, Harry,” Malfoy said, raising an eyebrow. “It’s not exactly all that complicated. I did grow up in this country, you know.”

“This is a little more impressive than just eggs and bacon,” Harry said, gesturing to the overloaded tray.

“I had help, of course.”

“I helped,” Ollie said, waving his bit of toast in the air. “Papa let me turn over the bacon.”

“Don’t look at me like that, I cast a protective charm so that he wouldn’t get splashed by the oil,” Malfoy snorted, shooting Harry a look.

“Did we do a good job, Daddy?” Ollie asked, smiling up at Harry.

“Yes, you did,” Harry replied, ruffling Ollie’s hair. “It’s a lovely breakfast.”

“Say thank you,” Ollie said, tilting his cheek upwards towards Harry.

Harry jabbed a finger into his ribs to tickle him, before he pressed a quick kiss to Ollie’s cheek.

“Papa helped too,” Ollie said, taking a bite out of his toast. “You have to thank him as well. Properly, Daddy.”

“Uh,” Harry said, side-eyeing Malfoy. Malfoy was looking a little pink in the cheeks, staring down at his plate.

“You have to, Daddy,” Ollie said insistently. “Say thank you.”

“Alright,” Harry said after a moment. He leaned forward, waiting until Malfoy gave a small sigh and met him halfway, tilting his head so his cheek was directed towards Harry. Malfoy’s skin was warm where Harry’s lips met it, flushed from either embarrassment or possibly even a little bit of excitement, Harry didn’t know. He left his lips there for a little longer than was probably warranted, but Malfoy didn’t call him out on it. Harry’s cheeks felt warm when he pulled back, and he lifted a piece of bacon to his mouth so he didn’t have to say anything. Malfoy met his eyes as he chewed, a small smile playing across his lips. Harry tried to pretend that he hadn’t wanted to shift to the side, and press his lips somewhere else, but he certainly wasn’t fooling himself.

/ - /

“Interesting colour choice.”

“I didn’t pick it,” Harry snorted. “Accidental magic.”

“Of course, otherwise you’d be in a different department,” the pretty brunette witch said, smiling at Harry.

He’d left Grimmauld Place pretty much straight after breakfast to head to the Accidental Magic Department at the Ministry to get Todd returned to his normal state. He’d wanted to stay at home with Ollie and Malfoy, but now that he was conscious of Malfoy’s commitments outside of Ollie and himself he didn’t want to keep him from them for too long, deciding to get the Todd debacle out of the way as quickly as possible so that Malfoy could get back to work.

“Do you often have trouble with accidental magic, Mr. Potter?” the witch asked, a floating quill jotting down her words on a piece of parchment. It was scribbling far quicker than she was speaking, and Harry wondered what else it was writing down. He’d become ridiculously suspicious of charmed quills since the incident with Rita Skeeter back in his fourth year.

“Oh, it wasn’t me,” Harry said. “It was my…”

Harry had no idea how to refer to Ollie to someone who was a stranger. He couldn’t exactly say that he was his son, because Harry Potter didn’t have a son, not technically. He had no doubt that if he labelled Ollie as such then the Prophet would very quickly get wind of it. If he’d thought the story they’d run after he’d taken Ollie out to Diagon had been bad, than this would be far worse. They’d have a source that labelled Harry as being a father, and they’d no doubt run an entire section solely devoted to finding out who the mother of said child was. It would be complete chaos, and Harry didn’t have even the slightest want to deal with it.

“It was my godson. Teddy Lupin,” Harry said, chuckling nervously. “Doesn’t happen often, though. Mostly just random occurrences. He’s still very little, you see.”

“This seems like a relatively easy fix,” the witch said, smoothing a hand down Todd’s back to soothe him. She cast a series of spells over Todd, the blue in his coat gradually fading back to the white and brown patches that were his normal colour.

“Fantastic,” Harry said. “You’re back to normal, mate.”

“That he is,” the witch said, putting away her wand. “Good as new.”

“Thanks,” Harry said. “I was a bit worried when I couldn’t get the colour off by myself.”

“It’s no bother,” she said, batting her eyelashes. “You could repay me by coming out for a drink later, if you like?”

“Uh, what?” Harry said, taking a step back.

“A drink,” the witch said again, stepping closer. “Or we could skip that, if you’d prefer.”

“I’m seeing someone,” Harry blurted out, taking another step back.

And, what? No, he wasn’t. It did seem to do the trick though, because the witch stepped back a little. Harry noted the change in her body language, and ploughed on with his lie. He might as well, since he’d already started. If he was to try and change the subject now, the witch would just think he was lying about it, anyway.

“Oh,” the witch said, backing off. “My mistake. There hasn’t been anything in the papers.”

“Uh, it’s new,” Harry said, picking up Todd. “Quite private, you see.”

“Well she’s a lucky girl. Have a good day, Mr. Potter.”

“Uh, yes,” Harry said, hurrying for the door.

There was no way that particular bit of information wouldn’t be on the front page of the Prophet tomorrow.

It was. In fact, Harry might as well have just said it was his son rather than his godson who had turned Todd blue, because the outcome would have been exactly the same. Harry had awoken to Hermione’s owl scratching at his window, a copy of the Prophet in its claws as it knocked on the pane. She advised him to stay inside for a few days, unless he got Malfoy to construct a glamour for him, because “your glamour’s are a bit rubbish, Harry, no offence”, and he might get mobbed if he went out without one up. Bloody brilliant. Harry’s favourite pastimes always had included running from groups of reporters trying to get a comment from him for their story.

The Prophet’s front page was taken up in part by a ‘tell all’ interview from a ‘Ministry employee’ who claimed that Harry had confirmed that he was dating someone. The rest of the page was filled with speculation as to who it could be, with a charmed table in one corner which updated with every owl sent to the Prophet offices, detailing who the public thought Harry’s new love affair was with. They’d even brought up Ollie, speculating as to whether or not his mother was the person Harry was seeing. They’d even gone and interviewed a bunch of people in Diagon to get their opinions on the matter, and quoted them in the article.

“Fucking hell,” Harry groaned, tossing the paper onto the ground.

“Daddy, are you awake?” Ollie called, cracking the door and poking his head in.

“Yeah, buddy,” Harry said, smiling at him.

“Is the paper saying mean things again?” Ollie asked, glancing warily at the crumpled copy of the Prophet.

“Yeah, something like that,” Harry sighed. “Sorry bud, but we might not be able to go out for a while.”

“Are you going to go and yell at them again?” Ollie asked, picking up the paper and scrunching it up as best he could in his little hands, tossing the balled up newspaper back onto the floor.

“Is that something I tend to do?” Harry said.

“When they say something mean about me or Papa,” Ollie replied. He looked fierce as he glared at the scrunched up remnants of the Prophet, nudging it with his toes.

“Maybe I should,” Harry said.

He did debate it, going down to the Prophet’s main office in Diagon and having a word with Rita Skeeter about her so called ‘journalism’. You’d think that putting your life on the line more times than you have fingers would entail you to a bit of privacy, maybe even a quiet life away from the liveliest parts of wizarding society. Evidently, you’d be wrong. Harry might have been able to do just that, if not for the ridiculous things always being printed about him in the Prophet. If he went out for a particularly long grocery store trip, then an article would be run the next day about his food habits, complete with a breakdown of his diet. If he went out for a drink at the pub with Ron, then the Prophet speculated about whether or not the pressures of the war had finally gotten him and turned him into an alcoholic, accompanied by a survey about how many people interviewed in Diagon thought that Harry should cut back on his alcohol consumption. By far the worst stories were when Harry was pictured with any witch that wasn’t Hermione, and even they got their fair share of romance rumours. The papers were absolutely vicious when that happened, tearing apart whatever poor witch had the misfortune to have been standing next to him at the time, and detailing every known person Harry had ever been involved with, complete with more details of both Harry’s previous relationships, as well as his sex life, than Harry was comfortable having out there for public perusal. It might not be such a bad idea to go down and carry on a bit, actually. He’d put it firmly in the ‘maybe’ column.

Thankfully Malfoy didn’t mention the article when he came round that day for dinner, getting the ingredients ready without breathing a word about it. Well, for a bit, at least. The silence on the matter lasted until the potatoes were in the oven and the chicken was sizzling away in the pan, the scent of rosemary and garlic permeating the air of the kitchen.

Malfoy had been oddly silent since he’d arrived, playing quietly with Ollie in the living room for a while and forgoing the usual chat with Harry in the kitchen that had become a staple of their evenings. Harry assumed he’d had a hard day at work, so he didn’t push him into a conversation. He hoped that Malfoy’s boss wasn’t giving him a hard time about needing to take so much time off to spend with Ollie, but Malfoy had made it seem like that wasn’t the case, so Harry wasn’t keen to push him on it. He figured that if Malfoy wanted to talk to him about something, then he’d come to him about it in due time. Though Harry figured that he might need to help him along the path to that destination.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked when Malfoy once again made a move to head back out into the living room where Ollie and Todd were currently residing, rather than staying in the kitchen with Harry and helping with dinner.

“Fine,” Malfoy replied. His stance was stiff, his shoulders back and his chin up, not relaxed like he normally was in Harry’s home, particularly after their conversation a few days before.

“Uh huh,” Harry said, raising an eyebrow in Malfoy’s direction. “So that’s bullshit.”

“It’s nothing,” Malfoy said, sighing. “So, who’s your new fling that the Prophet’s all up in arms about?”

Harry let out a bark of laughter. “You can’t deflect the question that easily.”

“Maybe I’m not deflecting.”

“Yes, you are. Asking me about that rubbish article instead of answering my question is deflecting.”

“So it’s rubbish then?” Malfoy asked, gaze locking onto Harry’s.

“Of course it is, you know what the Prophet’s like. They’ll print anything if it’ll sell them a copy.”

“Right,” Malfoy said. Oddly, he looked like he visibly relaxed at the admission. “So some Ministry witch made it all up then?”

“I suppose that part’s kind of my fault,” Harry said with a snort. “She asked me out for a drink and I panicked, so I said I was with someone else. Seemed to do the trick, since she left me alone about it.”

“Quite a slip up,” Malfoy said, but he gave Harry a small smile. “So, why aren’t you dating anyone? I can’t imagine you’d have a small pool to eligible partners pick from.”

“Never found anyone I liked enough, I suppose,” Harry shrugged, leaning against the countertop, facing Malfoy.

“What if you did?” Malfoy asked. His gaze was so intense that it made Harry shiver. “Found someone you liked enough, that is?”

“I’m not sure,” Harry said honestly. “Maybe before I would have gone for it, but probably not now.”

“Why not?”

“I’d rather spend time with you and Ollie. That’s more important than anything else at the moment,” Harry said truthfully. “I wouldn’t want to take time away from that to spend with somebody else. It’s not worth it.”

“Oh,” Malfoy said. He looked surprised, but also quite pleased. “That’s … good to know, I suppose.”

“Will you answer my question now? About why you’ve been moping about all evening?”

“Uh, just a misunderstanding,” Malfoy said. “It’s fine, honestly. I was just thinking a bit too much.”

“Alright,” Harry shrugged, handing Malfoy a beer from the fridge. “I’m here, if you ever want to talk about your work stuff, or whatever else is on your mind.”

“I might take you up on that,” Malfoy said with a smile.

“So what about you, with the dating thing? How come you’re not seeing anyone?” Harry cocked his head, his eyes flitting over Malfoy’s face as he drank his beer, the alcohol cool against his warm lips.

“I’m in the same boat as you, I suppose,” Malfoy said, holding Harry’s gaze as he sipped at his beer. “Since Ollie arrived, my priorities have … realigned themselves.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Harry said, clinking his glass to Malfoy’s. Malfoy didn’t break his gaze until Harry turned around to check on the potatoes.

/ - /

Malfoy had promised Ollie that he’d start coming to Grimmauld Place at some point each and every day without fail, no excuses accepted, so he did just that. It was odd, Harry thought, to place the version of Malfoy he’d once known, all barbed words with a spiked tongue all the better to spit the insults out faster, all sharp edges that looked as though they’d cut you if you got close enough without him giving you the express permission that he appeared to offer to hardly anyone, against the one he now knew. They were two completely separate people, that cold and cunning Malfoy with who he’d been tasked with calling Draco. Malfoy wouldn’t come into his house at seven in the morning with a soft smile and a coffee and a pastry solely purchased with Harry in mind, handing it to him with a teasing jab that felt more fond than anything else. Malfoy wouldn’t choose to wear Harry’s Gryffindor pyjamas and slip into Harry’s bed with their child between them, all soft eyes and an early morning glow as they ate from the tray of food that he’d had prepared for the three of them. That was completely all Draco.

Though he saw them as two separate people, existing nearly completely apart from one another with only thin strings of thread connecting the two, he still found it hard to tame his mind into labelling the man in front of him as Draco. It was the oddest thing, one name coming out of his mouth when getting the attention of the other, yet a completely different label was what zipped through his thoughts as he took stock of private smiles and steady hands and a bolt of want that shot through his stomach when he glanced at Harry from the corner of his eye. It was almost like another language, one that Harry couldn’t shake and wasn’t even sure he wanted to. Because, if Draco was still Malfoy then it almost softened all those things that still had knife edges inside of Harry whenever he accidentally brushed up against them. If Malfoy was Draco then maybe some of the horrible things that had happened so long ago, yet so very recently, weren’t nearly as bad either. Perhaps if the two versions of his childhood antagonist and his current co-parent could coexist and mould into something so completely different and comfortable and good, then Harry could heal the other gaping wounds of the war that still lingered, despite it all.

Malfoy becoming Draco felt like moving on and finally cutting the strings that still connected Harry to the darkest parts of his past. He hadn’t woke up screaming from a nightmare, the scent of blood and the buzz of dark magic raising the hair on the skin of his arms, since Malfoy had become a semi-permanent fixture in Grimmauld Place, and he wasn’t sure what that meant; for him, or for them.

It was one morning when Harry sat across the table from Malfoy, both drinking from paper takeaway coffee cups that Malfoy had brought over with porridge and fruit, that Harry mused about Malfoy’s name. Of course the name didn’t really matter all that much; what was important was Malfoy himself. Yet, Harry still couldn’t shake the thought that maybe the shockwaves of his Malfoy/Draco debacle were more visible than he’d thought. Because, of course, Harry would never end up with Malfoy, would never even entertain the possibility. But Draco was a different story, was a different part of Harry’s life, had a different beginning and end to that small boy in well-made robes that had held out his hand and asked for Harry’s friendship in the same breath as insulting the first friend Harry had made in the new and strange world he’d been thrust into. It was Draco who shared soft smiles with Harry over Ollie’s head when they put him to bed together, was Draco who rolled up the sleeves of his undershirt to help Harry with the dishes at night, was Draco whose fingers inched forward towards Harry when they sat next to each other, stopping halfway between them, not closing the last bit of that gap. Harry wasn’t sure if the distance was left as a warning from Malfoy to himself, or if it was an invitation for Harry to close the gap, like Malfoy was throwing out the line and waiting to see if Harry would let himself be hooked on it.

Harry wanted to be hooked on it, of that he was becoming certain. Was it something he needed to do, to train his mind to re-label Malfoy? He wasn’t sure if that was what was holding him back, or if it was something else. He wanted to close that gap, yet he couldn’t. He wasn’t sure why yet, but Malfoy’s constant presence – one that Harry readily welcomed – was slowly helping him wade through the thoughts. Perhaps Harry had already let himself become hooked on the line Malfoy had thrown to him, and Malfoy was simply taking his time reeling him in, letting Harry acclimatise as they went.

Perhaps, Harry thought, he should stop thinking about it so much and just let Malfoy reel him in, let him decide when Harry broke the surface. Harry thought he might be ok with that.

/ - /

It was a few days later when something changed. Harry and Malfoy were cooking in the kitchen together, moving around each other in a rehearsed rhythm, like a well-oiled machine, Ollie darting around them to help when asked. Malfoy had been getting much better in the kitchen, after cooking with Harry for multiple days in a row. He’d gotten quite adept with a knife, slicing and dicing at almost twice the rate Harry was able, his hands and fingers moving almost in a blur that was both intriguing and a little terrifying, if Harry was honest.

Ollie was humming to himself as he stood on a conjured stool, stirring a pot of sauce that Harry had made up. He was rocking from side to side with the beat he’d set for himself, his head bopping slightly.

“Daddy,” Ollie said, twisting his body to look at Harry whilst still stirring. “Do you still have that old radio?”

“Uh, I think so,” Harry said, frowning to himself. He did have one, but it wasn’t old. In fact, he’d bought it only a few weeks before Ollie had turned up. He left the dinner in Ollie and Malfoy’s capable hands and retrieved the radio from the little room he’d turned into somewhat of a study for himself, despite his lack of need for one.

Ollie was delighted when he brought it out, immediately taking it from Harry and fiddling with the dials. Harry watched, shooting Malfoy an amused look as Ollie tailored the music to his specifications, stopping once he’d found a station he apparently liked. It was Muggle, but Ollie started immediately humming to the tune of the song, tapping his foot and bobbing his head. Harry left him to it, returning to the stove to start the next step of the curry, taking some vegetables from Malfoy’s chopping board and popping them into the pot with a flourish.

“How come you’re not dancing yet, Papa?” Ollie asked. Harry turned to see Malfoy watching Ollie with a fond smile, the child doing a dance that seemed to involve stepping forwards and backwards to the beat, his hips wiggling from side to side.

“Nobody wants to see me dance,” Malfoy laughed, shaking his head at Ollie.

“You always dance,” Ollie said. “I thought Daddy had broken the radio again because he hadn’t put the music on for dinner, because we always have it.”

“I always dance, do I?” Malfoy asked, his mouth twisting into a smile. “I suppose I would do well to appease the masses then.”

Harry turned to glance at them when Ollie shrieked with delight, his laughter bubbling into the air and overriding the tune of the Muggle song. Malfoy had rounded the table and picked Ollie up, placing him on his hip and twirling around in a circle. Ollie was clutching him with one hand, the other pumping up and down in the air in an attempt to match the beat of the song. Harry snorted when Malfoy started dipping Ollie around, upsetting his rhythm and sending him into a new fit of giggles.

Harry smiled as he watched them, stirring the dinner and filling the air with the scent of spices. Ollie and Malfoy were both smiling widely, the mixture of their laughter sounding almost musical as the sounds overlapped and melded together.

“Daddy,” Ollie shrieked, reaching towards Harry as Malfoy twirled him around again.

Harry laughed and shook his head, pointing at the curry.

“Dinner’s not going to disappear, Harry,” Malfoy said, smiling at Harry. “Come on.” He twirled Ollie around in another circle, lifting one of his arms out in time with Ollie’s odd horizontal arm pumping.

“Alright,” Harry said, sighing in mock exasperation.

Ollie cheered when Harry walked over, awkwardly shuffling from side to side in an attempt to match their rhythm. Ollie reached for him and Harry stepped closer, taking Ollie’s hand and letting his smaller one guide Harry’s movements. He wound his other arm around Malfoy’s waist without even thinking, pressing their sides together, their three faces close as they moved together. Malfoy glanced at him, their faces only inches away from each other. His lips were slightly parted, eyes questioning. Harry swallowed, his eyes flicking from Malfoy’s grey ones and back down to his lips.

Ollie laughed again and wiggled in Malfoy’s grasp, attempting to be let down. “Bobby,” he called, clapping his hands. Malfoy set him down on the ground, allowing Ollie to bound over to Todd and attempt to get him to dance as well, without much luck.

When Malfoy straightened up his eyes met Harry’s immediately, their faces still so close, Harry’s arm still around his waist, palm pressing against his hip. Malfoy’s face was so open, his emotions written right across the skin. Harry wanted to lean in, to press his lips to Malfoy’s and never let them go, but he didn’t. Not yet. He didn’t want such a big step for them to happen with Ollie in the room. Even though Ollie was the reason they’d found themselves in that position in the first place, Harry almost wanted it to be separate, for them to work out what exactly was between them without the third person. But Harry would, eventually. He knew he would.

He wasn’t sure how much of his thought process he’d been able to convey to Malfoy, but Malfoy didn’t look upset or displeased when Harry drew back. Harry’s gaze didn’t stray from his, attempting to convey everything he wanted in one glance. Malfoy let him go, his gaze heated as he watched Harry.

Harry couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he stepped away to stir the curry, nor could he make his emotions less obvious as he ate sitting across the table from Malfoy, their feet sliding against each other’s occasionally. Every time their skin brushed it was like a direct line to Harry’s chest, making his heart beat faster, and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards. Judging by Malfoy’s facial expressions when Harry’s changed, he felt exactly the same way.

Chapter Text

Harry had been planning somewhat of a quiet day for himself and Ollie. He’d expected that they might take Todd out for a walk around the block, maybe stopping at the park for a bit on their way back, or even head to the deli for a Muggle ice cream. Perhaps he and Ollie would spend the remainder of the afternoon watching a movie or playing with the Legos until Malfoy came by for dinner.

Apparently Ollie had a completely different idea about how their day together was going to go.

“I’m ready, Daddy.”

“Ready for what?” Harry asked, glancing up from his tea.

Ollie had requested to be left alone in his room with only Todd for company for a bit, so Harry had been reading the paper downstairs, enjoying the peace and quiet without even the slightest hint of suspicion at Ollie’s odd request. Ollie was sensible, so Harry trusted him. Evidently Ollie had decided to take advantage of that in the most Ollie way possible. His son had come down to the kitchen around half an hour after going up to his room by myself, a backpack strapped to his back and Todd’s leash clasped in one small hand.

“For my weekend at Nanna’s,” Ollie replied. His tone was so very matter-of-fact, like Harry was a bumbling idiot for not knowing what was going on. He shook the leash he was holding in Todd’s direction and Todd rushed over to sit at his feet, waiting for Ollie to clip the leash to his collar.

“Sorry, what?” Harry asked, adjusting his glasses. He’d not organised anything of the sort, and Molly hadn’t mentioned anything about a weekend away to him the previous time they’d been at the Burrow.

“Yours and Papa’s ‘versay,” Ollie said, raising his eyebrows. “I asked Nanna last week in case you forgot to.”

“Uh, we weren’t going to do that this year,” Harry said. He glared at Todd who was still sitting patiently at Ollie’s feet, leash now clipped on. He looked bloody pleased with himself, the absolute traitor.

“You have to,” Ollie said. “Papa might get sad if you don’t. You went to work on his birthday, so you have to get him an extra special present for your ‘versary.”

“Um,” Harry said. “He’d like to have you here, I’m sure. That’s probably the present he’d want.”

“No,” Ollie replied, utterly deadpan. “It’s your special weekend and I get to stay with Nanna.”

“And Nanna said yes to this, did she?”

“She said Uncle George might take me to the Quidditch if I’m good. I’m always good,” Ollie said. “She said I could come before lunch.”

“And how long are you going there for?” Harry asked. He felt like he was consulting with a teenager asking to spend the night at some mystery friend’s house, not a bloody five year old.

“I asked Nanna for one night, but she said I could stay there for the whole weekend if I want,” Ollie said. “I’d like that, but I think I’d miss you and Papa.”

“Right,” Harry said, nodding to himself. “Ok, uh, I suppose we’ll go to the Burrow then.”

He debated arguing his case a little more, but he didn’t particularly want to fight with Ollie. If Ollie wanted to spend a weekend at the Burrow, then Harry couldn’t see the harm in it. It would probably be good for him, getting out of the house. Grimmauld Place tended to start feeling like a mausoleum if you stayed in it long enough. Not that it had been feeling like that since Ollie got there, but still.

“You should brush your hair first,” Ollie said. He let go of Todd’s leash and took his backpack off, unzipping it and rummaging around. “You can borrow mine, if you want.”

Harry stared between the hairbrush Ollie was holding out to him and the child in front of him, in utter disbelief.

“You’ve, uh, packed everything you need?” he asked.

“Of course, Daddy,” Ollie sighed. “Brush your hair. Papa will like it if your hair’s neat.”

Harry shrugged and went along with it, running Ollie’s brush through his hair a few times.

“Does it look better?” he asked, handing the brush back.

“Yes,” Ollie replied. “Can we go now?”

“Just let me get my shoes,” Harry said, finishing his tea and standing up from the table. “And we’ll need food for To—Bobby.”

“I already got some,” Ollie said, gesturing to his backpack.

“Right, of course you have,” Harry snorted, going in search of his shoes.

Harry had suspected Molly might be surprised to see them when they came through the Floo – Todd allowing himself to be transported by Ollie this time – but she definitely looked like she’d been expecting them. She laughed at Harry’s exasperated look, telling him not to worry, and that Ollie had been very polite when he’d asked if he could have a sleepover.

“It’s not his politeness that I’m worried about,” Harry said, watching as Ollie hung Todd’s leash on the coatrack by the door.

“Oh, I’m sure he thinks your little weekend is perfectly innocent. I wouldn’t worry about that,” she said, winking at him.

Merlin, no,” Harry said, eyes going wide. “That’s certainly not what I meant. I suppose I’ll have to send Malfoy an owl telling him he doesn’t have to worry about coming round, though.”

“And why would you do that?” she asked, smiling at Ollie when he passed by them, taking his backpack up the stairs. No doubt he’d been given his own bloody room and everything. Harry wondered which of the Weasley kids had to sacrifice their childhood bedroom for Ollie to come crashing in and make it his own.

“Uh, because Ollie won’t be there?” Harry said. “Apparently the little menace organises his own social engagements now.”

“Yes, he’s quite precocious, isn’t he?”

“That’s definitely a word for it,” Harry said, sighing.

“And you should still have Draco round. He sounds like a lovely boy, from what Ollie tells me.”

“Yes, Ollie would think that,” Harry muttered, biting at his cheek.

“Is he not?”

“Uh, that’s not it. Malfoy’s … good.”

“Then I believe you should take advantage of the opportunity your son has presented you with,” Molly said, smiling at Harry.

“Right,” Harry said. “Um, ok.”

It was difficult saying goodbye to Ollie, even if it was only for the night. And it was only for the night, despite Ollie’s assurances that he’d brought enough clothes for several outfit changes.

“I’m picking you up tomorrow,” Harry stated, raising his eyebrows.

“After lunch,” Ollie replied, his arms crossed over his chest.

“After breakfast,” Harry said, pulling Ollie into a hug. “A full day’s long enough.”

“You’re not going to cry, are you?” Ollie asked, pulling back. “Papa cried when you said goodbye because you had to go on that holiday last year. It was awful.”

“I’m not going to cry,” Harry snorted, shaking his head. “I’ll miss you, though.”

“You’ll have Papa,” Ollie said, patting Harry’s head.

“Right,” Harry said, giving Ollie another hug. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Daddy,” Ollie said. He lifted one of Todd’s paws and made him give Harry a little wave.

Harry snorted at Todd’s disgruntled expression.

“Thanks for indulging him,” Harry sighed when Molly followed him to the Floo.

“It’s not a bother,” Molly said, giving Harry a knowing smile. “Enjoy your night.”

“Merlin, don’t smile like that,” Harry laughed. “I’m going to have a normal night at home. Maybe I’ll even branch out and order a takeaway, do something really drastic.”

Molly just laughed and shooed him into the Floo, handing him the powder.

“Go for what you want, Harry,” she said.

Harry’s eyes were still wide when he stepped out into his living room, the house uncharacteristically quiet around him.

/ - /

Harry hadn’t realised how quiet his life used to be. He hadn’t noticed before just how little noise he himself made, but now that the sounds of laughter and small feet hitting the floorboards, along with the calls of “Daddy!” were absent, it was jarring. There wasn’t even the sounds of Todd sniffing around, his little claws clacking on the floorboards as he moved from room to room. It was unnerving, and Harry only lasted half an hour before he put the radio on, tuning it to the Muggle station that Ollie had liked, turning the sound up until he stopped feeling like he was walking around a mausoleum. A mausoleum that was filled with brightly coloured children’s toys, that was.

Harry had no idea what to do with himself, and he ended up sitting on his couch with a glass of wine, staring at the TV as it played something he wasn’t even paying attention to. It was bloody boring, being by oneself. He supposed he should let Malfoy know at some point that Ollie wasn’t there and give him the opportunity to do something for the night. Perhaps he’d also wallow in boredom like Harry was. Or maybe Malfoy would go out and have a drink at a bar and attempt to pick someone up. He’d said he wasn’t looking to date, but casual sex wasn’t dating.

The thought left a sour feeling in Harry’s gut, imagining Malfoy picking a man or woman out of the crowd and bringing them home with him, staying up until all hours of the night wrapped up in their body. Harry scribbled out a message on a piece of parchment to distract himself.

Malfoy’s reply was as instantaneous as an owl post could be. He expressed amusement at Ollie’s antics and asked Harry if he’d prefer he not come.

If you’d rather me stay out, I’ll do so. If you’d like the company, however, I can bring a bottle of elf wine and a takeaway?

Harry’s mouth twisted into a smile as he traced over the letters of the words with his fingers, feeling the dips in the parchment as he thought about how to reply. He didn’t want to sound overly eager, but should he really even care about that anymore? Malfoy definitely knew he was interested, and he was certain that Malfoy shared his feelings. Surely that gave him a bit of freedom in his response? In the end, he settled on: That sounds nice, actually. Bring the wine, but I’ll cook.

Malfoy replied with: I’ll be there at six.

Harry didn’t know what to do with the rest of his day. It was barely past lunch and he had absolutely nothing to do. He attempted to watch TV, and then read a book, but he was too jittery for either of those things. He could have blamed it on moving around so much when playing with Ollie and how his body wasn’t used to being so stationary anymore, but if he was honest with himself, it was the prospect of Malfoy coming over without Ollie being there that had him in a bit of a tizz. It was something new and a little exciting, and Harry felt a bit like a teenager getting ready for his first date.

He cleaned up the house a bit, sending Ollie’s toys back onto shelves from where they’d been last left and clearing up the general clutter that was a consequence of Ollie being allowed to wander about the house with his various belongings unmonitored. He went out into the garden afterwards and spent a bit of time tending to the flowers, but that only occupied so much of his time.

At around three he put up a glamour and ventured out, a shopping list written on a scrap of parchment that he slipped into the pocket of his jeans. He went out into Muggle London rather than Diagon, not wanting to deal with the prospect of someone recognising him, or – Merlin forbid – being mobbed because of that bloody article about who he was supposedly dating. He didn’t want it to be like that today; he didn’t want to be Harry Potter, he just wanted to be Harry. And the craziest part was that he could be that with Malfoy, with Draco.

The ingredients were easy to find and the trip didn’t take long. Harry decided to do somewhat of a roast, not wanting to have to sit back down and wait for an appropriate time to cook dinner. With this, he could start the food now and not sit around twiddling his thumbs for an hour.

Malfoy ended up coming before six, the Floo roaring to life and shocking Harry out of the happy little trance he’d been in as he chopped up the vegetables for a salad, Muggle songs playing softly on the radio he’d set up on the kitchen table.

“Oh, you’ve already started,” Malfoy said, setting the bottle of wine on the table.

“Do you know how bloody quiet it is here?” Harry asked incredulously, transferring a handful of vegetables from the chopping board onto a plate.

“See, most people would think that a positive thing, but I doubt you’d agree.”

“I don’t,” Harry replied, rinsing his hands under the tap. “It’s awful. I’ve had the radio on all day to make up for it.”

“Yes, it’s a bit odd, not having him here,” Malfoy agreed, frowning slightly. “I keep expecting him to pop out from a cupboard. Did he really take the Crup with him too?”

“You bloody bet he did,” Harry said. He brought two glasses over to the table and slid them towards Malfoy.

“He’s certainly something.”

“That he is,” Harry replied, taking a gulp of wine. “Thanks for coming. It was getting a bit lonely being here by myself.”

“I wouldn’t abandon you on our wedding anniversary, would I?” Malfoy snorted, smiling at Harry.

“Merlin, that’s mental,” Harry laughed. He wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to hearing those words come out of Malfoy’s mouth. Despite their heavily altered dynamic as of late, the idea that he and Malfoy could be married was still a little odd.

“So you wouldn’t marry me, then?” Malfoy teased, eyes shining with mirth.

“Hey, I didn’t say that. Somewhere in the universe we’ve apparently made it work,” Harry said, shrugging. And that might have been a thought more odd than Malfoy speaking about them being married, because somewhere in the universe they had indeed been good enough together to take that step, and the even bigger ones that followed it.

“Yes, it’s quite curious, isn’t it?” Malfoy said. The rim on the glass rested against his lower lip as he smiled. “I suppose it lends a bit of hope.”

“Mm,” Harry said, watching Malfoy.

He was being unusually forward that evening, gaze locked with Harry’s as he laid those words out on the table between them like they were nothing, like Malfoy having hope for the possibility of them being together like that wasn’t something that was all shiny and new in Harry’s mind, a gift that was still barely unwrapped.

“Is that what you hope for then?” Harry asked, setting down his glass.

“I suppose that depends on your answer,” Malfoy replied. “Also, I think your roast is done.”

Harry finished off the wine in his glass before getting up and breaking Malfoy’s gaze. Malfoy followed him, pulling plates and cutlery out of the cupboard and transferring them to the table. He dished up their serves as Harry removed the various components from the oven, placing them on the countertop within Malfoy’s reach.

“You didn’t give me your answer, you know,” Malfoy said a bit later, after a few more glasses of wine and a good bout of light conversation.

“I suppose I didn’t,” Harry said, leaning back in his chair.

“Is that because I won’t want to hear the answer, or because you enjoy seeing me suffer?” Malfoy asked. His tone was light and was clearly intended to be joking, but his jaw had set slightly, as though he were bracing himself for bad news. Harry’s eyes narrowed in on it, locking onto the part of Malfoy that betrayed his emotions, not because he was generally an easy person to read, but because Harry had gotten to know him well enough to pick up on his little cues.

“Neither,” Harry replied. He waved his wand and sent their dishes off towards the sink.

“Oh?” Malfoy asked. He leaned forward so his elbows were resting on the table. His eyes were shining a little, a smirk beginning to take shape on his lips.

“Oh,” Harry nodded. “Should we take the bottle to the living room?”

Malfoy snorted and rolled his eyes, shooting Harry a look. Harry followed him into the other room, sitting at the end of the couch rather than in one of the armchairs where Malfoy couldn’t follow. Malfoy clearly noticed, his lips turning up at the corners as he sat at the other end of the couch and refilled their wine glasses.

“I wonder how it started, for them. The other versions of us, I mean,” Harry said, watching Malfoy. “How do you think?”

“Haven’t the faintest,” Malfoy said, turning to face Harry and leaning back against the arm of the couch, glass dangling from his long fingers. “I suppose that would depend on how different it is from our world. Perhaps in theirs we got together earlier, in school even.”

“Now that’s a thought,” Harry smiled.

“Yes, that would have been absolute chaos,” Malfoy snorted, raising his eyebrows. “Can you even imagine? We were both such prats.”

“Speak for yourself,” Harry snorted, smiling into his glass. He pondered for a moment, glancing back up at Malfoy. “Do you think it could have happened without Ollie here?” Harry asked. “If he hadn’t come, do you think we could still have been like this, whatever this is?”

“I’m not sure,” Malfoy said, honestly. “But I like to think it would have.”

“Yeah?” Harry said.

“You don’t?”

“I suppose it might have taken a little longer, but I think it could have. I just like hearing you say it, to be honest.”

Malfoy snorted, shooting Harry an amused look over the rim of his glass. “I think I’ve done enough opening up, even if some of it was coerced. It’s your turn.”

“Coerced?” Harry asked with a laugh. “When was that?”

“Your bloody son deciding to air out my boyhood crush to the world,” Malfoy said, rolling his eyes in exasperation.

“So that was true, then?” Harry asked. “I wasn’t sure if that particular bit of information had carried over.”

“Well, it had,” Malfoy said. “Merlin, he’d be a complete and utter troll if I didn’t love him so bloody much.”

“Well maybe you should have come out and said it yourself,” Harry said. One of his arms rested along the back of the couch and the tips of his fingers brushed Malfoy’s knee that he’d drawn up towards his chest to better face Harry. Malfoy’s eyes flicked to the point of contact, resting there for a moment.

“I wasn’t sure how you’d react,” he said, tearing his gaze from Harry’s fingers and turning it back to his face. “Or if you’d ever be able to feel like that about me. I wasn’t sure you would, but that was before Ollie.”

“Mm,” Harry said. He relaxed his arm so that his fingers brushed against Malfoy’s knee easier, tracing firmer patterns onto the material of his trousers.

“Merlin, you’re infuriating,” Malfoy muttered. He drew his knee back slightly so Harry’s fingers were no longer brushing against it.

“How so?” Harry asked.

“You’re not giving me a straight answer.”

“You haven’t asked me a straight question.”

Malfoy made a noise of exasperation, shooting Harry an amused glare. “Do you like me? Romantically, or sexually, or however you want to put it.”

“Yes,” Harry said. He shuffled forward so his fingers were able to reach Malfoy’s knee again.

“Yes to which?”

“All of them,” Harry said, and he found that it was unwaveringly true.

“Good,” Malfoy replied. “Because otherwise I’d have to have a word to you about mixed signals.”

“And here I was thinking I was being subtle,” Harry said, being mildly sarcastic. His tongue darted out to wet his lip and he watched as Malfoy’s eyes tracked its movements.

“I hope that was sarcasm.”

“It was.”

“So what now?” Malfoy asked after a moment.

“What do you want?”

“Oh no, not this again,” Malfoy said.

Harry raised his eyebrows, waiting for a response.

“Bloody hell, fine,” Malfoy said. “I’d like to be with you, in whatever way you’ll have me. But I don’t want this to affect things with Ollie.”

“No,” Harry agreed. “If we don’t work together then we can’t let him see that. It would hurt him too much, or confuse him. He doesn’t need that.”

“Right,” Malfoy nodded. “Merlin, this is all so planned.”

“What would you prefer?”

“Talking is the mature thing to do, but I’m not sure I want to be mature right now.”

“Oh? What would you like then?” Harry asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Well I wouldn’t mind it if you kissed me at some point before the sun comes up,” Malfoy said.

“That’s quite a bit of time,” Harry said, smiling jokingly at Malfoy.

“Are you going to make me ask again?” Malfoy said, one eyebrow raised.

“Technically you didn’t ask the first time,” Harry said, but he didn’t give Malfoy time to make another retort. He didn’t have to lean far, Malfoy directly opposite him on the small couch. He didn’t rush in like he might have done if they were younger, didn’t crash their mouths together in a fit of passion. No, he went slowly into Malfoy’s space, giving him the time to raise any concerns about what they were moving towards, even though Harry knew full well that he wouldn’t. Malfoy sat up slightly, making it easier for Harry to reach him. He pressed his bent leg against the back of the couch, giving Harry more space to move in. When Harry finally closed that distance, their chests pressed together, breaths mingling in the scant air between them, Malfoy shivered. Harry paused there in that close space and swallowed heavily. Malfoy’s eyes flickered shut and he waited, letting Harry acclimatise, as Harry had suspected he would. Malfoy’s lips were slightly parted when Harry pressed his own against them, and Harry felt Malfoy’s breath fractions of a moment before he felt anything else, the warm air washing delicately over his lips. When Harry pressed their mouths together, Malfoy’s hand snaked up to cup the back of his neck, keeping Harry there.

It was Malfoy that pulled back in the end, after Merlin knows how long of their lips moving together almost chastely. There were no tongues, no panting into each other’s mouths, but Harry didn’t feel like he’d missed out on anything. He felt like he’d done nothing but gain. Malfoy’s eyes were still closed when he pulled back, and Harry watched them flutter open. Malfoy’s tongue darted out to lick his lip, all wet and pink and pointed. Harry wondered if he tasted him on his lips, if there was any trace of him that lingered there. He hoped that there was.

“Stay tonight,” Harry said, his voice loud in the silence.

“Well, aren’t you forward,” Malfoy said. He leaned back against the arm of the couch again as he watched Harry, his hand slipping from the back of Harry’s neck down to rest on his thigh.

“Not like that,” Harry said. “You can sleep in Ollie’s room, or I can make another one up for you. I just don’t want you to go yet.”

“Alright,” Malfoy said. “What are you proposing it is that we do?”

“We could watch a film?” Harry suggested. “I’ve got some that aren’t animated, despite what Ollie would have you believe.”

Harry barely glanced at Malfoy’s choice of film, and he was sure Malfoy wasn’t paying much attention to it either. After Harry put it on he returned to the couch, intending to slip into the spot he’d previously vacated, but Malfoy held out his arm, drawing Harry towards him. His knee was back up, the other foot resting on the ground. Harry fit nicely in the space that was left, leaning back against Malfoy’s chest, Malfoy’s arm around his waist.

It didn’t take long for Malfoy’s lips to find his ear, his neck, the side of his jaw. Malfoy’s nose grazed his skin lightly as he catalogued the side of Harry’s face. Harry lifted his head back to meet Malfoy’s eyes, tipping his chin up. Malfoy closed the gap easily, pressing Harry’s bottom lip between his own set. Harry turned slightly in Malfoy’s grasp, changing the angle to better fit their mouths together. The angle was odd, Harry’s torso twisted and his shoulder pressing into Malfoy’s chest a bit, but neither of them cared. It seemed like Harry was surrounded on all sides by Malfoy’s skin and scent and overall presence, and he wouldn’t have moved away for anything.

It was Malfoy who first dragged the point of his tongue against Harry’s bottom lip, not forcing but simply acknowledging. Harry returned the gesture with fervour, sliding his tongue into Malfoy’s mouth when it opened easily for him. He expected such a kiss to turn dirty quickly, but both of them held back. It seemed better to wait, to not dive straight into it as they might have in another life, or had they had to fortune to see each other for who they were at a younger age. Harry didn’t need to possess Malfoy, to take everything he could get his hands on in case he never got another opportunity to do so; Malfoy would still be there in the morning, or in the coming days. Harry didn’t have to rush, because Malfoy wasn’t going anywhere.

“I suppose I should have gotten you an anniversary present,” Malfoy said later. One of his hands was lightly running through Harry’s hair, rubbing against his scalp almost like a massage.

Harry arched his back up like a cat, pushing his head into Malfoy’s hand. The gesture was simple, but the easy intimacy sent a streak of warmth through Harry’s stomach and chest, lighting up his insides.

“I didn’t get you anything,” Harry replied. His thumb was rubbing a slow circle on the back of Malfoy’s hand.

“You made dinner.”

“And you brought wine.”

“That’s not the same thing,” Malfoy laughed, shaking his head. Harry could feel the way his chest rose and fell as he rested against it.

“It’s not like it’s actually our anniversary, so don’t worry about it,” Harry said.

“Oh?” Malfoy said. One finger tapped the side of Harry’s jaw, and Harry turned his head to look at him. “Did I misconstrue something here?”

“I don’t think so,” Harry said after a moment, raising an eyebrow.

“Good, because I was under the impression that we were now dating.”

“You’d be correct,” Harry said. Of course neither of them had actually come out and said it, but Harry had assumed. Thankfully, his assumption had been accurate.

“Then we can call it our anniversary.”

“Don’t you have to be together for at least a year before it actually counts?” Harry asked. He grabbed Malfoy’s hand and trapped it in his own when Malfoy tapped at his jaw again.

“I suppose you can celebrate the first day if you’re confident.”

“And you are then? Confident?”

“Of course,” Malfoy said, letting out a little snort. “If we can do it in another time or another place then why not now? It can’t be all that different.”

“I suppose we do have a bit of a glimpse into the future,” Harry said, rubbing his thumb over Malfoy’s hand again. “It’s nice.”

“I’m not saying it’ll be exactly the same. That would be a bit mental,” Malfoy said. He pulled his hand free to rest on Harry’s jaw, rubbing across it softly.

“It might be,” Harry said. “You never know.”

“Well, in that case, happy anniversary,” Malfoy said, with a look that was amused and daring Harry to question him again. Harry pressed a kiss to the palm of Malfoy’s unoccupied hand, winding their fingers together afterwards. Malfoy smiled softly as he looked at their clasped hands, his mouth turned up at the corners.

Harry hadn’t been able to resist offering his Gryffindor pyjamas to Malfoy later, after the movie had finished without them realising, too caught up in each other to care. They’d gone up to Harry’s room, Malfoy walking close behind him as though he might get lost in the house if he let Harry out of close reach.

“We know they fit,” Harry offered up as an explanation, holding the pyjamas out to Malfoy.

“I know a hundred tailoring spells, I can make anything fit,” Malfoy replied, but took the pyjamas anyway. He changed in Harry’s bathroom rather than walking down the hall to Ollie’s room, and they brushed their teeth side by side over Harry’s sink afterwards.

“Uh, I suppose I should say goodnight now,” Harry said after they were done, standing in the doorway between Harry’s bathroom and bedroom.

“You don’t have to,” Malfoy said. He looked so soft standing there in Harry’s clothes, the pants erring just on the side of too short, yet Malfoy hadn’t bothered to change them, as if he liked the reminder that they were indeed Harry’s clothes rather than his own. Harry found that he quite liked it too.

“No?” Harry asked.

“I could stay in here?” Malfoy suggested. He looked like he was biting at the inside of his cheek. The hidden gesture of nervousness made Harry smile, and he held out his hand towards Malfoy. As if he’d say no to Malfoy’s suggestion.

“You could,” Harry agreed.

“That’s still not an invitation.”

“I’m not taking it as one,” Harry said, smiling in amusement.

“Good,” Malfoy said, twirling around and walking over to the bed. “Can I take this side?”

“Sure,” Harry shrugged. Of course Malfoy would be the type to have a certain side of the bed; Harry just tended to sleep wherever he ended up, which was usually sprawled across the middle.

It was odd, being there in the dark and knowing Malfoy was there, just inches away, but not being able to see him. Harry told him as much, and Malfoy laughed.

“Come here,” he said, dragging Harry towards him. Harry brushed his fingers over Malfoy’s form, feeling the hard planes of his chest and the dip of his collarbone. As his fingers trailed up he felt Malfoy’s lips curve into a smile under them, and Malfoy pursed his lips to press a soft kiss to Harry’s fingertips. “Are you checking if I’m still here?”

“Maybe,” Harry said, dropping his hand into the space between them. “Roll over.”

Malfoy did, letting Harry fit himself against his back. Harry pressed his face into the back of Malfoy’s neck, breathing in the now familiar scent of Malfoy’s skin.

“Are we supposed to tell him, do you think?” Malfoy asked a few minutes later. He hadn’t identified Ollie, but Harry knew who he was talking about.

“I don’t think so. He already thinks we’re married, after all.”

He felt Malfoy nod, and he reached for Harry’s hand, wrapping his own around it. He was still holding it when Harry fell asleep.

/ - /

It wasn’t as jarring as Harry would have thought, waking up wrapped around someone. He’d have expected it to be uncomfortable or awkward, seeing someone so unguarded like that as they awoke from sleep, before their social systems were truly online, but it wasn’t. Malfoy blinked awake as Harry watched, smiling at him as his eyes fought to drift back shut.

“Good, it wasn’t a dream,” Malfoy said. He pressed in close, nestling his face into Harry’s neck, Harry’s chin hooked over the top of his head.

“Do you often have dreams like this?” Harry asked teasingly. He brushed his hand over the back of Malfoy’s shoulder blades, feeling the dips in the muscles.

“Sometimes,” Malfoy said. “But those usually end a little differently.”

“Oh?” Harry asked, glancing down at Malfoy.

“Don’t even think about it,” Malfoy said, pulling back with a smirk. “I don’t sleep with just anyone, Harry. We have to have been dating for at least twenty four hours before I sleep with you.”

“That’s a tall order,” Harry joked. His eyes tracked Malfoy’s movements as Malfoy stretched, walking over to Harry’s wardrobe to pull out his clothes from the day before, casting freshening spells on them.

“I’m using your shower,” Malfoy stated. He inspected his shirt before deeming it acceptable, laying it over his arm. “That’s still not an invitation.”

“Ok,” Harry said, reclining back against the pillows.

“I mean it.”

“The more you say that the more I think you actually want me to take it as an invitation.”

“Twenty four hours,” Malfoy said, fixing Harry a look before closing the bathroom door behind him.

“Twenty four hours,” Harry said to himself, adjusting his pyjamas. They had become unfairly tight around the crotch area. Seeing Malfoy all mussed from sleep and in Harry’s clothes was apparently a direct line to Harry’s rapidly swelling erection.

A few minutes later Malfoy called “do you want me to leave the shower on?” so Harry went in. Malfoy was standing in front of the mirror with a towel wrapped around his waist, brushing his teeth.

“Now that’s just unfair,” Harry said, watching as a bead of water ran down Malfoy’s spine, before coming to rest in the small of his back. His bare and wet back.

Malfoy held up two fingers on one hand and four on the other, toothbrush held between his lips.

“I hear you,” Harry said, waving him off.

That didn’t stop him from pulling his pyjamas off in full view of Malfoy, though. If Harry had to suffer, then so did he. Harry could see him watching in the mirror as he dropped his shirt onto the floor, stepping out of his pyjama pants. Malfoy’s mouth was hanging open slightly as his eyes ran over Harry’s naked body in the mirror, obviously not expecting him to be so brash.

Harry smirked. He could play Malfoy’s game.

“Twenty four hours,” Harry said, raising an eyebrow at Malfoy.

“Bloody hell,” Malfoy muttered almost too softly for Harry to hear. His gaze was fixed between Harry’s legs, where Harry’s cock was swelling even more from the attention.

Harry blinked at him coyly, stretching his arms over his head to give Malfoy a good long view, before stepping into the still running shower. He closed his eyes as the water ran over his face and down his back, streaming over his ass. He sighed at the warmth, smiling slightly up into the spray. He heard a strangled noise from behind him and glanced over his shoulder to see Malfoy staring openly at his back and arse in the mirror. Harry smirked at him and Malfoy returned it with a glare. He walked quickly out of the room, but not quickly enough for Harry to miss the way his towel was tented slightly at the front in a way it certainly hadn’t been before.

By the time Harry made it downstairs, Malfoy had cooked breakfast. He was standing at the stove tending to the bacon, humming along with the radio that he’d apparently turned on. He didn’t seem surprised when Harry came up behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist.

When they sat opposite each other at the table they ate and talked and laughed exactly like normal, except it wasn’t. When Harry had been debating whether or not to make obvious to Malfoy how he felt, he’d expected the whole thing to be so painfully simple because nothing would really change. That wasn’t true, but it also wasn’t a negative change. There was a distinct difference between that morning and the few that had preceded it, when Harry and Malfoy shared private smiles and heated gazes that were almost taboo in nature because they hadn’t outlined anything, hadn’t set parameters as to what they were or what they could do with each other. Now they knew exactly where they stood and it felt different somehow, but it felt better. Harry was allowed to look now, was allowed to stare unabashedly at Malfoy and the way his eyelashes fluttered and how his long fingers wrapped around his fork, and he didn’t have to feel guilty or creepy for doing so. Now he knew that Malfoy was basking in the attention, and that it wasn’t unwarranted in any way.

And when Malfoy rolled his eyes at Harry and rounded the table to straddle his lap, he couldn’t find any part of himself that wasn’t completely taken with the change to their dynamic.

“You’re staring,” Malfoy said, his hand wrapped round the back of Harry’s neck.

“Maybe.”

“There’s no maybe about it.”

Harry shrugged and leaned up to kiss Malfoy, tasting the breakfast and the coffee on his lips.

“It’s not a bad thing. The staring,” Malfoy said when he pulled back, his eyes soft as they darted over Harry’s face. “I like it.”

“Alright,” Harry nodded, running his lips down the edge of Malfoy’s jaw. Malfoy’s eyes fluttered closed and he tipped his head back, allowing Harry a greater range of movement. He made a keening sound in his throat when Harry’s lips opened to press a wet kiss to the junction between Malfoy’s neck and jaw, sucking lightly on the spot. Malfoy swallowed heavily but didn’t pull back or push Harry away. Harry nipped slightly at the skin with his teeth, not hard enough to leave a mark, but enough for Malfoy to be able to feel that he was there, for the sensation to last after Harry’s lips had pulled away.

“I should go,” Malfoy said, but his head was still tilted up, still allowing Harry access to his throat.

“Oh?” Harry asked, moving his lips down to the spot where Malfoy’s neck met his collarbone.

“Fuck, yes I really should,” Malfoy gasped, his fingers tightening on the back of Harry’s neck.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to break my stupid bloody twenty four hour rule,” Malfoy said, swallowing heavily.

“Exactly how important is that rule to you?” Harry asked. He moved to the other side of Malfoy’s neck, mirroring his earlier position, lips pressed to Malfoy’s skin as he sucked wetly.

“Fuck,” Malfoy said.

“That wasn’t an answer,” Harry replied, dragging his open mouth down Malfoy’s neck, tongue darting out to wet the skin.

“It’s becoming less and less important,” Malfoy gasped. No, Draco gasped because there was no way Harry was sleeping with him without outlining the parameters of everything that was that man in his head. It was high time for him to get Draco’s bloody name straight in his mind.

“I’ll stop if you want me to,” Harry said. He pulled his lips back from Draco’s neck and let his breath brush over the damp skin where his mouth had just been.

Draco didn’t answer, his fingers still tight on the back of Harry’s neck.

“Draco?” Harry asked.

His name was apparently the final step to breaking Draco down, because Draco groaned and tipped Harry’s head up, pressing their lips together firmly. Harry gasped against his lips and surged up as much as he could, licking into Draco’s mouth. His hands gripped Draco’s waist tightly, fingers touching the skin of his back where his shirt bunched up. Draco whimpered into his mouth as he moved his hips forward, his clothed erection pressing against Harry’s stomach. He rocked his hips forward at the same time that Harry shifted his upwards, pressing his hard cock against Draco’s arse. Draco moaned and ground down when he felt it, rubbing against Harry and rolling his hips.

“Fuck,” Draco muttered, reaching between them to undo Harry’s trousers.

Harry’s eyes widened when Draco wrapped a hand around his cock, pulling it out of his jeans enough to properly get his fingers around it.

“Oh, Merlin,” Harry muttered, his head tipping back. It was Draco’s turn to lock his lips to Harry’s neck, sucking and biting at the skin hard enough that he would surely leave marks as he jerked Harry’s cock. Harry groaned and pressed a hand between them, fighting to get Draco’s cock out as well. Draco shifted his hips forward, letting Harry get at his zipper easier. Draco groaned when Harry’s fingers curled around his cock, so warm and stiff in his palm. Harry surged up to kiss Draco, pressing their lips together as they moved their fists up and down each other’s cocks, hands bumping against each other in the limited space that neither felt the need to expand.

“Fuck, Harry,” Draco muttered, his head tipping back.

“Merlin, do it,” Harry said, moving his hand faster. He was so close, and he wanted to come whilst watching Draco. “Come, Draco.”

Draco nodded and the movement of his hand became jerky as he tipped his head back, mouth slightly open. He hips shifted forwards into Harry’s hand and he came over both of them with a strangled gasp, Harry’s fingers catching most of his release. Harry’s eyes squeezed shut as he watched Draco orgasm and he came with Draco’s hand moving lazily over his cock, his hips rocking up into Draco’s hand. Draco fell against him as he gasped, kissing Harry deeply even as Harry gasped for air.

“That wasn’t twenty four hours,” Harry said after he’d come down, Draco pressing biting little kisses to his jaw.

“It wasn’t,” Draco agreed, though he didn’t sound like he cared all too much about breaking his self-imposed rule. Harry certainly didn’t.

“I don’t suppose we can leave the little chap at the Burrow for a bit longer?” Harry joked, reaching for his wand to cast cleaning spells over both of them.

“We’d both miss him too much,” Draco sighed, leaning back to give Harry enough room to properly cast the spell.

“I know,” Harry said, drawing Draco back in to kiss him again. “He’s been gone, what, less than a full day and it already feels like it’s been a week.”

“We’re a bit mental, I think,” Draco said. He stood on slightly shaky legs, closing his trousers and attempting to right the rest of his clothing.

“Mm,” Harry said, fixing his own jeans. “Suppose I’ll go get him now then.”

“I’ll make a pot for when you get back,” Draco said, moving towards the cupboard where Harry kept his tea things.

“I won’t be long,” Harry said, running a quick hand through his hair. “Do I look thoroughly shagged?”

“You usually do. Your hair’s always so bloody messy,” Draco sighed in mock exasperation, but he moved back towards Harry to fix his hair for him. “There, now you look as unkempt as normal.”

“Thanks,” Harry said, pressing a kiss to his jaw. “See you in a bit.”

He turned back to glance at Draco as he moved through the kitchen doorway and towards the Floo. Draco looked so incredibly right standing there amongst Harry’s things as he made tea for them both. Harry’s lips twitched up into a smile as he took a pinch of Floo powder, unable to wipe the happy expression from his face.

The Burrow was noisy when Harry stepped out of the Floo, a number of conversations melding into one loud stream of noise that would likely have given Harry an instant headache if he wasn’t so bloody used to the chaos of the Weasley home after all these years.

“Uh, hello,” Harry called, walking into the kitchen. He quickly reached up to run a hand through his hair, hoping that Draco had been joking when he said he’d looked thoroughly shagged. The last thing he wanted was to be teased about his sex life by the whole bloody family.

“Daddy!” Ollie cried, jumping off Hermione’s lap and running towards Harry as he rounded the corner.

Harry’s small private smile widened across his face as Ollie rushed towards him. “Missed you,” Harry said, pulling Ollie into his arms. “Did you have fun?”

“Yeah,” Ollie said, pressing his face into Harry’s neck. “I missed you and Papa, though. Uncle George and Uncle Ron and Aunty ‘Mione took me to see the Quidditch.”

“That sounds like fun,” Harry said. He set Ollie down, though he really didn’t want to let go of him just yet.

“How was yours and Papa’s ‘versary?” Ollie asked, taking his hand and leading him towards the crowd of Weasley’s seated around the long dining table. The table called out a collective greeting, and Harry waved back.

“Uh, it was good,” Harry said, eyes downcast.

Evidently his attempt to fly under the radar was unsuccessful, because Ron let out a loud whistle, smirking over at him. Harry threw a bit of Floo powder still in his hand at him, and Ron flipped up two fingers.

“Settle down, boys,” Molly said, glaring at Ron. “Don’t tease him, love.”

“Did you have Draco round then?” Hermione asked innocently.

“Yes,” Harry said, and was cut off by a fresh round of whistling from the men at the table. “Settle down, we watched a movie.”

“Is that what the kids are calling it these days?” George said to Ron, nudging him and smirking.

“Not in front of the children,” Molly chided, covering Ollie’s ears.

“You’re all acting like I didn’t get a lick of sleep last night,” Harry said, reaching for a buttered roll.

“Did you?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow. “I would have thought that –“

Actually, I had a fantastic sleep,” Harry replied, pressing as much of the roll as he possibly could into his mouth. Perhaps it would act as a deterrent for any other questions.

“That does tend to happen after you’ve –“

“Ronald,” Molly hissed. “Not in front of the children.”

Ron held his hands up in surrender.

“We should probably get going, I told Draco we wouldn’t be long,” Harry said, smiling over at Ollie.

“Ooh, Draco,” George said, miming a swoon. “Uh, sorry, Ollie.”

Harry snorted with laughter at the glare Ollie shot George, and George’s sheepish look.

“There’s nothing to laugh about. Daddy and Papa love each other,” Ollie said firmly, directing the words at George and Ron. “Just like you love Aunty ‘Mione and Aunty Angie.”

“Definitely time to go,” Harry said, ushering Ollie away from the table. “Go get your backpack, buddy.”

“Bobby’s outside,” Ollie said, standing up. “I’ll let him in.”

They waited until Ollie had let Todd in and moved up the stairs to get his things.

Angie, hey?” Ron said, wiggling his eyebrows at George. “Got anything you want to tell us, mate?”

“You don’t he means Angelina Johnson from school, do you?” George asked, glancing at Harry.

“Dunno. I don’t think all of the things from his world transfer over, but that might be who he’s talking about,” Harry shrugged. George looked hilariously baffled at the idea.

“Blimey,” George muttered, eyes wide as he stared at the table. “I suppose I should go and talk to her at some point. I’ve seen her around since school, but I’ve never thought to go up and chat to her.”

“Might be a good place to start,” Harry agreed.

“Ready,” Ollie called, bounding down the stairs with Todd in tow. “Thank you for having me, Nanna.”

“Anytime,” Molly said, leaning down to hug Ollie. “You’re welcome back whenever you want, you hear?”

“Yes,” Ollie said, kissing her cheek.

“Yeah, thanks for having him,” Harry said, accepting Molly’s hug.

“He was a pleasure,” Molly smiled. “And I do hope you took my advice about this young boy’s other parent.”

“I might have,” Harry said, cheeks darkening.

“And might we be seeing him at brunch soon?” Molly asked. Her eyebrows were raised and her hands were planted firmly on her hips in a no nonsense sort of stance.

“You might,” Harry said. “I haven’t asked him to come, but I’d say that it’s likely.”

“Oh, good,” Molly said, hugging him again. “We’re all so happy for you, Harry.”

“Thanks,” Harry said. “You ready to see Papa, Ol?”

“Yeah,” Ollie said, clipping Todd’s leash to his collar. “Bobby was real good too.”

“Fantastic,” Harry said. “Off you two go then.”

Ollie waved to everyone at the table who shouted their goodbyes and stepped into the Floo, Todd at his heels. Harry waved to everyone, cheeks darkening at Ron and George’s playful – and far dirtier, now that Ollie was safely out of earshot –  jibes, and stepped through the Floo after his son. He laughed into the flames as he heard Molly start to chide her sons, lecturing them about “being nice to Harry’s new boyfriend, my word”. And Harry very much liked her calling Draco that, very much indeed.

He could hear Ollie madly chattering to Draco when he walked into the living room, laughing and telling him stories about what he’d done whilst at the Burrow. Harry might have thought that some of the stories were either embellished or outright made up, but knowing George, anything was possible. He wouldn’t have put it past George and Ron to have taken Ollie out into the garden together, without Hermione or their mother, which would have made for the perfect storm of wild ideas and no impulse control. Not that Harry was complaining, since Ollie had clearly had fun; he couldn’t exactly count himself a master of impulse control either, and Hermione had generally filled that role for both him and Ron, thank Merlin.

“And Daddy told Nanna you might come for brunch next week,” Ollie said, babbling so quickly it was hard to determine exactly what he was saying half the time. Draco apparently wasn’t having that issue, because his eyes widened slightly when Ollie revealed Molly’s invitation.

“Oh, did he now?” Draco said, smiling over at Harry. Ollie was kneeling on his lap, his knees on Draco’s thighs and his little hands pressed against Draco’s shoulders as he blabbered on.

“Yeah!” Ollie cried, climbing off of Draco’s lap and rushing into the next room.

“Was that ok?” Harry asked, sliding into the seat opposite Draco to drink the tea Draco had prepared. “Sorry, I should have asked you first.”

“I think it is,” Draco replied with a small smile. “I suppose it’s a given that I’ll attend a gathering at the Weasley home at some point, given our night together.” He rolled his eyes when Harry wiggled his eyebrows at him, batting out at Harry with his hand. “Oh, shush. Anyway, it’s such a nice day outside so I thought we could do something a little different.”

“Oh?” Harry asked, putting his tea cup down.

“How do you feel about the seaside, Ol?” Draco called out. Ollie’s exclamation came from the front hall, where he must have been hanging up Todd’s leash. “I was thinking we could take a trip to the beach,” he said, lowering his voice as he spoke solely to Harry. “There’s a place my Mother took me a few times when I was a child, and it was always lovely. I apparated there while you were gone to check it over, and it looks secluded enough that we wouldn’t be bothered.”

“Sounds great,” Harry said. He reached across the table and squeezed Draco’s hand, making him smile. “When should we leave?”

“I already got everything ready to go,” Draco said, standing up. “I figured at least one of you would like the idea. Your swimming gear is on your bed.”

“Don’t suppose you want to come help me dress?” Harry said, moving around the table to press a soft kiss to Draco’s mouth. “Or undress, rather?”

“We’d never leave,” Draco said, raising an eyebrow at Harry, a smirk on his lips. “Not that I’d complain, but our son might. Come on, go change and I’ll help Ollie.”

It didn’t take long to get everything set to leave, as Draco had indeed collected everything and put it in the lounge room, ready to go for when Harry and Ollie returned. He’d put everything in a bag with an undetectable expansion charm, and had made lunch and put it in a small bag under a stasis. It was quite impressive, considering the short length of time that Harry had been gone for.

“So I’ll side-along you there and then I’ll come back for Ollie,” Draco said to Harry, handing him one of the bags.

“Can we bring Bobby?” Ollie asked, looking around for the missing Crup. “He loves the water.”

Harry found that supremely hard to believe, though he didn’t mention that to Ollie.

“I think he’s a bit tired,” Harry said, ruffling Ollie’s hair. “Pretty sure he’s asleep upstairs. We might let him sit this one out.”

“Stay right here,” Draco said to Ollie. “I’ll be back in under a minute, ok?”

“It’s fine, Papa,” Ollie said with an exaggerated sigh. “I’m big, I can wait.”

“Alright,” Draco said, not sounding entirely convinced.

“He’ll be fine,” Harry said, pressing a kiss to Draco’s lips. Draco’s eyes widened and he looked back at Ollie, but he either hadn’t noticed, or he didn’t care. More likely, he was used to it from his world.

Draco apparated them to a small beach surrounded by softly rolling hills and a tiny town further down the sandy expanse that Harry could see if he craned his neck. The water was a soft blue, waves lapping gently at the shore. It was absolutely gorgeous.

“I’m going back for him,” Draco said immediately, dropping the bag he’d been carrying.

“One moment,” Harry said, letting go of his own bag and pulling Draco in towards him. “He’ll be fine for a few more seconds.”

Draco rolled his eyes but relaxed into Harry’s hold, fitting their lips together. They kissed for a moment before Draco pushed Harry back, pretending to be angry. Harry jerked him forwards to kiss the fake scowl off his face, holding him there until it melted into a smile, Draco’s laugh filling the air.

“I’m getting him now, you minx,” he said, twisting out of Harry’s grip. “I’ll only be a sec.”

“See you in a mo,” Harry said, reluctantly letting him go. Once Draco had apparated away he got to work spreading the towels out and pulling out some of the toys Draco had packed in case Ollie wanted to play with them. He’d apparently gone all out, putting a ridiculous amount of Ollie’s possessions into the bag. Harry chuckled to himself as he sifted through the options, shaking his head fondly at Draco’s ample preparation.

Draco and Ollie apparated in a few metres down from where Harry was standing. Draco turned and immediately started rubbing Ollie’s back, hunched over as he spoke to their son in a low, soothing tone.

“I’m fine, Papa,” Ollie was saying, turning away from Draco’s hand. Harry could see him rolling his eyes from where he stood.

“I thought he’d be sick from the apparation,” Draco said. His eyebrows were drawn in a small frown as Ollie skipped away, and he moved to help Harry with his arranging.

“I’ve apparated with him a few times,” Harry said, smiling over at Ollie who was looking around, wonder splashed across his face. “I think we must have done it with him a fair bit back where he’s from because he’s never had an issue with it here.”

Draco nodded, turning to watch Ollie as Harry was. Ollie was still looking around, a huge smile on his face as he took in his location.

“Has he never seen the beach, do you think?” Harry asked.

“Surely he has,” Draco said, a slight furrow between his brows.

“This is so cool,” Ollie cried, rushing over and throwing himself onto one of the towels.

“Yeah?” Harry said, tickling him as he squealed.

“Did you pack the camera, Papa?” Ollie asked as he giggled.

Draco’s head jerked up and the furrow between his brows returned with force. “Yes, I did,” he said slowly.

“You went and bought a Muggle camera?” Harry asked, glancing up at him questioningly.

“It’s yours, actually. I found it in the living room when I was packing,” Draco said, frown smoothing back out. “I thought we could take some pictures, if you wanted.”

“I found it in your study, Daddy,” Ollie piped up. “I left it by the Floo for Papa to pack.”

“I forgot I even had it,” Harry said, shrugging.

“We have to take a photo later, after we build a sandcastle,” Ollie said. “Don’t forget, Papa. We have to.”

“How come?” Draco asked, brushing some of Ollie’s hair out of his eyes. Harry smiled when Draco mouthed the word ‘haircut’ at him as he shifted Ollie’s fringe. He probably did need one, though Harry found that he very much liked the disarray that was Ollie’s hair. It was so very him, a whirlwind that was contained inside a small space.

“We have to take it because it’s your favourite photo,” Ollie said to Draco. “It’s my favourite too, so we gotta make sure it gets taken, ok?”

Draco and Harry locked eyes over Ollie’s head, both frowning slightly.

“Ok, we can do that,” Harry said after a moment.

“Swim with me, Daddy?” Ollie asked, pulling his shirt off and placing it neatly on top of one of the bags.

Harry nodded and pulled off his own shirt, tossing it far less carefully next to Ollie’s.

“Wait,” Draco called. He glanced from side to side to make sure there was nobody else around, before casting protection charms on both Ollie and Harry. “For you skin,” he said as explanation.

Harry smiled and leaned down to kiss him. They smiled against each other’s mouths when Ollie made an exaggerated vomiting noise, yanking on Harry’s hand.

Ollie was an even better swimmer than Harry was, riding the waves back to the shore with ease, and diving under the calm surface to pick up shells that lay on the sand. Harry laughed as Ollie got into a fast rhythm of diving down and coming back up to the surface, offering him shells and rocks he’d decided were particularly noteworthy, for whatever reason.

Ollie cheered when Draco started to make his way towards the water. He winced when the first cool lap of the waves hit his upper thighs, the skin turning slightly pink as it adjusted to the change in temperature. He waded out towards them, crouching down in the water so he was at Ollie’s height as he moved past the small waves.

“There’s no way I’m going any further than this,” Draco said firmly once he was waist deep, the water lapping at his bare stomach.

“Come on, Papa,” Ollie cried, cheering when Draco took another tentative step towards them.

Harry swam over, not bothering to stand up when Draco was kneeling in the water.

“Promise I won’t let you float away,” Harry said, taking Draco’s hand.

“I have more faith in our son’s ability to swim than yours,” Draco said, but he pressed a soft kiss to Harry’s lips that took the sting out of the words. He ended up following Harry out a bit more to where he and Ollie were playing, which was around chest height for Harry. He widened his eyes as he took in the depth, but relaxed when it quickly became evident that Ollie was not only completely unbothered by the depth, but that he was a ridiculously competent swimmer.

“I’m re-evaluating his future school house,” Harry said as they watched Ollie dive under the waves once more, his small feet jutting out of the water before disappearing back under the surface as he duck-dived down towards the sand.

“I agree, it’s quite deep for him,” Draco said, as Ollie dipped under to collect shells again and again. “I still think I’m inclined to believe our alternate-selves, though; he’s definitely got plenty of Hufflepuff in him.”

“Ok, that’s enough,” Ollie said as he shook his wet hair out of his eyes, pressing a handful of shells into Draco’s hands. “You didn’t drop any, did you, Daddy?”

“Nope,” Harry said, showing Ollie his handful of shells and rocks.

“What are we doing with these?” Draco asked, peering at the items in his hands.

“Sandcastles,” Ollie called, starting to swim back towards the shore.

Harry shrugged at Draco’s questioning look, and they both followed Ollie out of the water. Harry watched as the beads of water traced paths down Draco’s bare back. He had to look away when his swimming shorts grew tight as he imagined running his tongue down Draco’s back, following the salty trails the sea water left on his skin. He wondered how it would interact as it mixed with Draco’s natural taste, and Harry shook his head to clear his mind of the thoughts. He’d have time for that later, he was sure of it.

Ollie was apparently as much of a whizz at building castles made out of sand as he had been building Lego ones. He’d quickly set about giving Harry and Draco detailed instructions and a list of tasks to complete in order to successfully construct “the best sandcastle ever, guys”. Ollie had put Draco in charge of drawing out the foundations of the castle, while Harry was instructed to help build the base of the ambitious structure.

Harry’s task involved fetching bucketful’s of sand, and he ended up diving back into the water to cool off after doing far more physical labour than he’d anticipated while under the hot sun. He flicked the water out of his eyes as he walked back to Draco and Ollie, magically enlarged bucket full of wet sand clasped in his hands. Draco’s cheeks were slightly flushed and his hands were firmly planted over his lap as he watched Harry jog up from the shoreline. Harry raised his eyebrows teasingly when he noticed Draco watching him, and Draco shot him a glare that was mostly a smirk.

Ollie grew tired of building after about an hour, pestering Draco about what he’d brought for lunch. Harry was thankful he’d grown hungry, because building sandcastles had turned out to be far more work than he’d expected, though that likely had plenty to do with the ambitious nature of Ollie’s project.

“Sandwiches and fruit. Is that to your liking, your Highness?” Draco asked, flicking at the crown he’d transfigured for Ollie out of one of the unused buckets.

“Quite,” Ollie said primly, adjusting the crown that sat atop his messy hair. “Thank you, Chef Papa.”

Harry laughed and squeezed his shoulder, not able to properly ruffle his damp hair with the crown in the way.

“Ssh, you’re not supposed to laugh, Daddy. I’m the King,” Ollie said, raising an eyebrow.

“Shall we send him to the dungeons?” Draco asked, brushing off the sand from his hands on his swimming shorts.

“Maybe, if he’s not good,” Ollie replied, smiling when Harry began to protest.

They ate on their towels, the food spread out on the one in the middle. Ollie commandeered the container of sliced mango almost immediately, holding it to his chest and guarding it with his spoon, only letting Harry have a piece when Draco arched an eyebrow at him warningly.

The combination of food, swimming, and lots of active play had apparently tired Ollie out, because after finishing his mango and a sandwich he crawled over to the furthest towel and collapsed, telling Draco not to bother him “for ten whole minutes, Papa, I need my rest”.

Draco took that as the cue to clear away the remains of the lunch, placing the leftovers under a stasis in case they wanted them later, and Vanishing anything they didn’t want to take back with them. He pulled out a book from the small bag and laid back on the vacant outer towel, leaving Harry to stretch out on the now cleared one in the middle.

With the warm sun beaming down on him, Harry’s eyes slid closed easily. He couldn’t quite let himself fall fully asleep, so instead he relaxed in the sun with his eyes closed, drifting in the world between being asleep and being awake, letting his thoughts wander. He wasn’t sure how long they’d lain there, the passage of time marked only by the waves crashing in the background and the sound of Draco turning the pages in his book. Harry was extremely content to lie there and listen to those sounds, feeling the breeze blowing softly over his skin whenever it changed directions.

At first Harry thought it was the breeze picking up, or perhaps a bit of stray sand that was the cause of that light touch on his cheek. It was so faint that Harry almost didn’t notice it as it brushed against his skin, barely registering it as it was so light against his cheek. Harry couldn’t stop the corners of his mouth from turning up when the faint touch moved from the top of his cheek, tracing the line of his jaw until it reached his lips. He opened his eyes slightly to see Draco watching him, lying on his side with his discarded book lying open to his last read page on the towel. His fingers rested on Harry’s bottom lip as he gazed at Harry, his eyes wide and his face open.

“I thought you were asleep,” Draco said. He started to pull his fingers away, smiling softly in apology for disturbing Harry.

“I don’t mind,” Harry said, taking Draco’s hand and pressing a kiss to the palm, linking their fingers together. Draco squeezed his hand and broke the hold, resuming tracing his fingers over Harry’s cheekbone and up into his hair. Harry’s eyes slipped closed as Draco ran his fingers through his hair softly, gently twisting locks of it between his fingers. It was calming, that slight touch, and it relaxed him more than the sound of the waves ever could. He finally drifted off to sleep as Draco’s fingers ran through his hair, massaging his scalp softly as he let sleep take him.

He awoke a little while later to the sound of Ollie giggling somewhere close by, the sound clearly muffled by his hands. Harry sat up and rubbed his eye with the back of his hand, blinking away the tendrils of tiredness. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the light, and he was once again thankful for the charm that allowed his glasses to stay firmly on his face unless he made the effort to remove them. His eyes zeroed in on Draco and Ollie a few metres away, crouched by the sandcastle that they’d been building. Well, Harry assumed it was the same sandcastle, because it looked drastically different now.

“That’s cheating,” Harry said as he sat up, laughing in Draco and Ollie’s direction.

“I prefer the term ‘helpful assistance’,” Draco said, winking at him.

Harry moved towards them and the newly minted sandcastle, which had been half completed before they’d stopped to have lunch. Now, it was a massive thing that was nearly as tall as Ollie, complete with turrets and balconies and a number of other small details that certainly couldn’t have been completed without magical assistance.

“It look a bit like Hogwarts, actually,” Harry said, running his finger over one of the turrets. The sandcastle seemed to glimmer slightly when it caught the light, giving it an intensely ethereal appearance.

“That was the idea,” Draco said. “It’s a bit off since I had to create it from memory, but it looks alright. The knights were all Ollie’s doing.”

Harry laughed at the sight of the little sand knights on their horses in one of the large courtyards that were dotted between the small buildings. The charmed appearance of the sand made it look like the knights and horses had been carved from stone or wood, the bricks in the walls looking almost exactly like yellowed stone. It was quite impressive.

“They’re protecting the princess,” Ollie said pointing at something on his side of the castle. Harry shuffled over to see a princess made out of sand standing on one of the balconies of the turrets, her long hair spilling over the railing. Her long flowing dress had been charmed to move with the breeze, the outer skirt ruffling when the direction of the wind changed.

“This is beautiful,” Harry said, shooting Draco a smile.

“The one commanding the knights is supposed to be you,” Draco said, pointing at one of the larger knights on horseback. “Ollie wanted it.”

It actually did look quite like him, Harry noted. It was a little unnerving to see his face carved from sand sitting atop a horse in the courtyard, surrounded by the other charmed figurines.

“And where are you two?” Harry asked, tearing his eyes away from his sand replica.

“I’m the King so I’m inside on the throne,” Ollie said. “That’s in here.” He pointed to the largest building in the castle’s complex, caged in by sandy walls. “We didn’t make the inside properly because you can’t really see it, but Papa’s under the ground because that’s where he makes his potions. He’s got a big room down there with all his cauldrons.”

“Ah,” Harry said, nodding. “Sounds accurate.”

“Papa said we could go see if they have ice cream over there once you woke up,” Ollie said, pointing towards the small town that was further up the beach. “I don’t think they’ll have the rosewater ice cream that’s your favourite, but you could get strawberry?”

“I’m sure I’ll find something,” Harry said. “Are we going now, then?”

“I suppose,” Draco said, shrugging.

“Wait, we have to take the picture,” Ollie said, his eyes widening. He got up and rushed towards their bags, riffling through them until he pulled out the Muggle camera Harry had bought maybe a year ago. He’d only used it once or twice before he’d put it in his study and completely forgotten about it. Everyone always thought it was quite curious when he brought it out – bar Hermione, of course – citing how Muggle photos were always so lacking in comparison to wizarding ones, their lack of movement seeming odd to any of their wizarding friends who had grown up with moving pictures. Harry found that he still quite liked the Muggle ones; they felt nostalgic in a way, a relic from a time of his life before magic came in and took him to another world.

“Don’t trip,” Draco called out when Ollie stumbled slightly on his way back toward them, camera clutched in his hand. Draco opened his arms and Ollie sat on his lap, handing the camera to Harry.

“You have to take it, Daddy,” Ollie said, squirming around in Draco’s lap until he found a comfortable position.

Harry snapped a photo of Ollie and Draco, their beaming faces in the centre and the impressive sandcastle in the background.

“Now take one with all of us,” Ollie said. “You have to do it like this.” He mimed turning the camera around so the lens would be facing Harry as he took it.

“How do you know so much about Muggle cameras?” Draco asked, tickling Ollie.

“I like taking photos,” Ollie said, giggling as he batted at Draco’s hands. “You and Daddy got me my own camera for my birthday so I could take as many as I wanted, and you put them in a big album for me. It gets bigger every time I take a picture, so I never run out of room.”

“You’re a bloody wealth of hidden talents,” Draco said, kissing Ollie’s cheek.

“Ready?” Harry asked, satisfied that they were all likely in frame.

“Say ‘Puffskein’,” Ollie cried, giggling.

Harry and Draco obliged and Harry pressed the button, shutter clicking. They took two more at Ollie’s insistence, making sure there would be a useable one in the batch.

“Ice cream now,” Ollie commanded, standing up and tugging at Draco’s arm.

Surprisingly, none of them suggested apparating the distance to the village, all content to walk down the beach together at a leisurely pace. As Harry and Draco packed up everything into the two bags, Ollie decided to take the camera down to the sandcastle to take some more photos himself. He was getting right up to the buildings, taking snaps of the different components that made up the castle.

“Should we take it down, do you think?” Draco asked as they watched Ollie come back towards them.

“Leave it,” Harry said. “Give somebody else the chance to find it and appreciate it.”

Draco smiled at him and took his hand. They both watched as Ollie walked towards them, holding out the camera for one of them to take.

“You don’t want to keep taking photos?” Draco asked as he took the camera.

“I don’t want to get it all sandy,” Ollie said, making a face. “Daddy says that ruins the lens.”

“How did you get so smart?” Harry asked, ruffling Ollie’s hair.

“Papa,” Ollie replied, shooting a cheeky smile at Harry who made a sound of disagreement and tickled at his ribs. Draco snorted with laughter at Ollie’s response and slid his hand into Harry’s, tugging him up the beach in the direction Ollie had started off in, the small town visible atop one of the rolling hills.

It didn’t take them too long to reach the town, though Harry and Draco had to alter their walk to a jog a few times in order to keep up with Ollie. Once in the town, Draco stopped a passing woman to enquire about the location of ice cream, and she directed them to a small shop that sold various sweets. Ollie’s eyes went wide when they walked in as he gazed at the jars of candy that stretched nearly floor to ceiling in some places. Harry vowed to take him on a trip to Hogsmeade at some point. The range of sweets in Honeydukes would no doubt blow his mind.

The old woman running the candy store cooed at Ollie and gave him a free sweet, something Ollie delighted in, if his smug expression was any indication. The shop was indeed missing the rosewater flavour that Harry had surprisingly loved when he and Ollie had gone to the shop in Diagon, but the strawberry flavour Harry ended up picking – as per Ollie’s advice – was still brilliant. Ollie selected some kind of rainbow ice cream for himself, and Draco picked one that was made with local honey. The sounds that Draco made as he licked at his ice cream sent Harry’s cheeks bright red as he struggled to block them out, lest he get into a situation that he definitely didn’t want to be in with Ollie around. Draco apparently noticed, because his eyes darkened and he wrapped his tongue around the top of the ice cream, hollowing his cheeks in a way that was positively indecent, the right bastard. He laughed when Harry glared at him, holding one of the bags in front of his crotch to block the view of his swelling cock in his swimming shorts.

They didn’t stay in the town long after leaving the shop, a bag of sweets clasped firmly in Ollie’s hand that he’d begged Harry to buy for him. They walked along the streets as they ate their ice creams, Ollie chatting to the few people they saw. Most of the people spoke to Harry at first, laying out compliments for how sweet or lovely Ollie was, and how proud Harry must be of him. After another glance their faces usually became more confused, looking between Ollie and Draco as they took stock of Ollie’s features rather than his colouring. Draco snorted into the palm of his hand at the confused expressions of two elderly women, taking Ollie’s hand and telling him to “thank the nice ladies for their compliments”.

“You’re bloody loving this, aren’t you?” Harry teased Draco once they’d gotten out of earshot of an old woman who had patted Ollie’s head and shoulders for a solid few minutes, nattering on about her grandson.

“It’s mildly amusing, yes,” Draco said with a wide smile.

They walked until they were just outside of town, back down near the beach. The rolling hills made it difficult to find a spot that they could apparate from without risking being seen, but a little gathering of trees near the beach made for the perfect cover. Draco fussed over the bags for a moment ensuring they hadn’t forgotten anything until Harry shut him up with a kiss. Ollie made a sound of disgust and batted Harry on the leg, telling him to “wait until we get home, Daddy, so I can go in the back garden with Bobby, because he doesn’t need to see you kissing either”. Draco responded by picking Ollie up and pressing a wet kiss to his cheek, laughing when Ollie squealed. Ollie Side-Alonged with Draco back to Grimmauld Place while Harry apparated with the bags, meeting them in the living room.

Ollie was content to play with Todd – who looked extremely happy to see them after being left alone at the house all day – out in the yard while Harry and Draco put their beach items away and got dinner started.

“We don’t have a whole lot – I’ll need to go shopping tomorrow,” Harry said as he pulled some ingredients from the cupboard after taking stock of their meagre options.

“There’s enough for vegetable pasta,” Draco said. He pressed his front to Harry’s back, kissing the side of Harry’s jaw.

“Did you want to start on the vegetables?” Harry asked. He pulled a box of pasta from the cupboard and turned in Draco’s arms, kissing him lightly.

“Actually, I was going to pop back to the Manor for a few minutes,” Draco said.

“Oh.” Harry frowned. “I assumed you’d be staying for dinner.”

“I will be,” Draco said. He trailed his fingers down the bare skin of Harry’s arm. “I’ll come back, I just wanted to get a change of clothes for tomorrow.”

“Does that mean you’re staying tonight?” Harry asked after a moment, smile returning to his face.

“If you like,” Draco said, like Harry would ever refuse that offer.

“I do like,” Harry replied. “Go now, before Ollie sees you’re gone and throws a fit.”

“Please, Harry, our child never throws a fit,” Draco snorted, waving his hand in the air. “He’s far too passive aggressive for that.”

Harry laughed, remembering the letter Ollie had penned to Draco way back before he and Harry had sorted themselves out.

Draco pressed a quick kiss to Harry’s lips and set off for the Floo without further ado. Harry smiled as he listened to the faint roar of the flames as Draco stepped through them. He lost himself in making the pasta, humming as he chopped up the vegetables and transferred the cooked pasta to the pan, adding the vegetables and some dried herbs. He jumped when he noticed Draco leaning against the doorframe out of the corner of his eye, a smile playing on his lips as he watched Harry cook.

“Merlin,” Harry gasped, frowning at Draco. “You almost gave me a bloody heart attack. I had no idea you were there.”

“Clearly,” Draco said. “What do they call that dance move again? The one with the wiggling?”

“Piss off,” Harry laughed, shaking his head.

“Language, Daddy,” Ollie chided, shutting the back door after Todd padded in behind him. “What’s for dinner?”

“A dish from far off lands, my King,” Harry said in a mock posh voice that ended up being some kind of exaggerated bastardisation of Draco’s slow aristocratic drawl.

“Blimey, don’t ever do that again,” Draco said, nudging Harry out of the way so he could take over stirring the vegetables through the pasta.

“I liked it,” Ollie said, giving Harry a thumbs up. “Are you coming for breakfast tomorrow, Papa?”

“Yeah,” Draco said, taking the pan off the heat. “I’ll be here all night, if that’s alright with you?”

“That’s super alright,” Ollie cried, a big grin on his face. “Can you stay here every night? Daddy might get lonely without you.”

“Do you think?” Draco asked, raising his eyebrow at Harry. “And maybe not every night, but hopefully quite a few.”

“A few sounds good,” Harry said, taking two of the filled bowls from Draco.

Ollie wasn’t sleepy since he’d had a nap on the beach, so they watched a movie after dinner, getting Ollie into his pyjamas before settling down on the couch. Ollie picked the film, so it was an animated one yet again. They all sat on the couch together that time, Draco and Harry at either end, Harry lying on his side with his feet in Draco’s lap. Ollie laid back against Harry, his head pillowed on Harry’s forearm. Ollie fell asleep at some point during the movie, as he so often did, his face going all relaxed as the colours of the film flickered across his skin.

“Did you want to carry him up or should I?” Draco asked, smiling over at Ollie.

“I can,” Harry said, moving slowly so he didn’t wake Ollie up.

Draco followed them up the stairs, casting a silencing charm on the floorboards he knew were particularly creaky. Harry shot him a look of thanks when Draco opened Ollie’s bedroom door for him, moving any toys that were in the path from the door to Ollie’s bed.

“So, what now?” Harry asked once they were standing outside Ollie’s closed door, their son successfully put to bed without waking.

“Well I’m going to wash off any excess sand that’s still hanging around,” Draco said, slipping off his shirt.

“Alright,” Harry said, taking the shirt from him. “I’ll put your clothes in the wash with mine, if you’re fine with that?”

“Thank you,” Draco nodded. His eyes were dark as he smiled at Harry and turned to walk in the direction of Harry’s bedroom. He stopped and turned in the doorway, arching a brow at Harry.

“What?”

“What are you doing?” Draco asked.

“Uh, I thought I might clean up a bit before you finish your shower,” Harry said.

“To be clear, that was an invitation,” Draco said, his brow arching even higher.

Oh,” Harry said, his eyes widening.

“Circe,” Draco muttered, disappearing through the doorway into Harry’s bedroom.

“Right,” Harry said to himself, pulling off his shirt and following Draco into his bedroom. Draco had already disappeared into the adjoining bathroom by the time Harry went in, the sounds of the shower starting alerting Harry to his whereabouts. Harry tossed their shirts onto the end of the bed and fiddled with the hem of his swimming shorts, not yet having bothered to change out of them.

“You coming?” Draco asked, sticking his head out the door and into the bedroom.

“Yeah,” Harry said, eyes travelling down the portion of Draco’s bare chest that he could see.

“Hurry up then,” Draco said in a sing-song voice, disappearing back into the bathroom.

Harry wasn’t sure whether to take his swimming shorts off before going into the room or after. Obviously they were about to shower together, but it still seemed a little forward to go in completely naked.

“I can hear you thinking,” Draco called from the bathroom, and Harry let out a bark of laughter at Draco’s correct deduction.

He walked in and closed the door behind him, the warmth in the room immediately hitting him. The glass of the shower wasn’t completely fogged up yet and from his position by the door he could see the globes of Draco’s arse as the water ran over them. He shucked his swimming shorts and stepped out of them, kicking them towards the closed door. He shivered at the sudden temperature change when he stepped into the shower, moving towards Draco to get a bit of the shower stream. Draco’s lashes were wet when he turned to face Harry, his thumb coming up to rub over Harry’s lip. Harry opened his mouth slightly and took Draco’s thumb in, sliding his tongue around it and sucking lightly.

“Fuck,” Draco said, his pupils blown wide.

“Is that what you want?” Harry asked with a smirk.

“Don’t be cheeky,” Draco said. He pulled his thumb free and slapped at Harry’s side, his hand dropping further down to cup Harry’s arse. He made a sound low in his throat when Harry pressed their lips together, opening his mouth and sliding his tongue against Draco’s. The hand on Harry’s arse squeezed while the other moved up to palm the back of Harry’s neck, firmly securing his mouth to Draco’s.

Harry let his own hands wander, tracing Draco’s collarbone and his stomach muscles, bypassing his cock to run his fingers over the curve of his arse. Draco pressed back when Harry slid his fingers down the crease, lightly teasing over the hole. He stepped forwards to press his front to Harry’s entirely, their hard cocks rocking together. Harry couldn’t stop the moan that fell from his lips at the feel of Draco’s prick against his own, their lengths slipping against each other under the stream.

“Do you think the sand’s all gone now?” Harry asked, pulling his lips from Draco’s.

“Probably,” Draco said, sounding slightly out of breath.

“Good,” Harry said, reaching around Draco to turn off the shower.

They didn’t worry about more than a swift dry off, spending more time looking at each other’s cocks than paying attention to anything else. Draco was first out of the bathroom, striding over to Harry’s bed and lying down in the middle of it, one hand behind his head as he waited for Harry. Harry groaned when he followed him out and saw Draco’s other hand wrapped around his prick, lightly stroking as he watched Harry walk towards him.

“Alright there?” Draco teased, the movement of his hand slowing.

“It’s not a bad view,” Harry said, climbing onto the bed and shuffling towards Draco.

Draco reached out to pull Harry on top of him, sliding his hand through Harry’s hair to press their mouths together. He licked wetly into Harry’s mouth, the kiss lacking finesse and running solely on feeling. Harry reached down to push Draco’s legs apart so he could settle between his thighs, their cocks brushing but not quite touching. Draco reached down to grab his arse in an effort to pull him closer, but Harry shook his head.

“I’ll come if I do that,” he said, trailing wet open-mouthed kisses along Draco’s jawline.

“Did you want to?” Draco asked. He gasped and tipped his head back when Harry sucked on his neck.

“What do you want?” Harry asked into Draco’s skin.

“You. Your cock.”

“Where?” Harry asked, the array of possibilities running through his mind, each more attractive than the one before.

“Inside me.”

“Fuck yes,” Harry groaned, his head dropping down.

“Do you have lube or do we need to conjure some?” Draco asked, relaxing his grip on Harry’s arse so Harry could move.

“I have some,” Harry said, muttering a wandless Accio. The bottle of lube thunked gently into his palm, his fingers wrapping around the bottle. Draco made a needy sound in his throat at the sight and opened his legs wider, angling his hips up.

Harry shifted further down the bed, pressing one of Draco’s legs back against his chest. It brought him directly in front of Draco’s cock, and he couldn’t stop himself from rubbing the damp head against his lips, the taste of Draco exploding on his tongue when he took his cock in further. Draco swore and arched up into Harry’s mouth, giving Harry enough room to slip his hand between Draco’s arse cheeks. He moaned around Draco’s cock when he pressed the first finger into him, Draco opening up and taking it so easily. Draco arched up again, fucking down onto Harry’s finger as he rolled his hips. Harry relaxed his mouth around Draco’s cock, laving his tongue over the crown rather than sucking hard, not wanting to make Draco shoot off before they got to the main event.

“Harry,” Draco gasped, rocking his hips up again.

Harry’s relaxed mouth gave Draco a warm, wet hole to fuck into, but one that wasn’t tight enough to drive him closer to his orgasm without the proper use of his tongue. Harry rubbed the flat of his tongue teasingly around the head of Draco’s cock as he pressed a second finger inside him slowly, stopping once his second knuckle was pressed against Draco’s arse. Draco was gasping now, whimpering as he rocked his hips up and down, trying to get the friction that Harry wasn’t allowing him.

“This is fucking torture,” Draco groaned, thrusting his hips up hard towards Harry’s mouth.

Harry pulled his mouth off Draco’s cock, running his tongue up it as it lay against Draco’s stomach, fucking his fingers in and out of Draco’s arse.

“Torture implies that you don’t enjoy it.”

“Piss off and fuck me,” Draco said. He knocked his heel against Harry’s back, attempting to drag him upwards.

“In a minute,” Harry replied, pulling the two fingers out of Draco’s arse so that he could coat the third with lube.

Draco groaned and tipped his head back, muttering a number of swears and curses that were directed at Harry and his level of restraint.

“Be patient,” Harry said, sucking a wet kiss on the inside of his thigh as he pressed three fingers back into Draco.

“I’ve been patient since fourth bloody year,” Draco hissed. He pushed up on his elbows to watch Harry, glaring slightly. He looked amazingly nonthreatening, his hair mussed and his cheeks flushed with arousal.

“Then I’ll have to make it good,” Harry said, curling his fingers upwards. Draco gasped and fell back against the bed, his back arching. Harry smirked against the inside of Draco’s thigh, curling his fingers again when he pressed them back in.

“Have you been deliberately avoiding that?” Draco asked, parting his legs even more.

“Maybe,” Harry said, curling his fingers against Draco’s prostate and rubbing slightly. “Didn’t want you to come too early.”

“I swear to Merlin if you don’t come up here,” Draco growled, knocking his heel against Harry’s back again, harder that time.

“Alright, I hear you,” Harry said. He curled his fingers against Draco’s prostate one last time before pulling them out. He moved up Draco’s body, being careful not to drag his cock against Draco’s lest he come before he was even inside of him. Draco curled his legs around Harry’s waist, one palm against the middle of Harry’s back. Draco pulled him down so that he could press a kiss to Harry’s lips, biting the bottom one when Harry rubbed the head of his cock against Draco’s arse without pushing it in.

“Any reason you’re taking your sweet time?” Draco asked, pressing his arse back against the head of Harry’s cock, not having enough leverage to properly push it in.

“Ssh, I’m savouring this,” Harry said, softly kissing the space below Draco’s ear.

“You know I don’t plan to stop having sex with you, right?” Draco asked. “That’s not something you have to worry about, even if you’re terrible, so you should just get on with it.”

“Are you expecting me to be terrible?” Harry teased. He shifted his hips forward so that Draco’s arse started opening to let his cock in.

“No, but you can believe whatever you want if you’ll take it as a challenge and actually start fucking me.”

“Hey,” Harry said, nipping at Draco’s bottom lip. “I really like you.”

“I already knew that,” Draco replied. “Please fuck me, Harry.”

“No, but I really like you. I just wanted you to know that,” Harry said.

Draco’s eyes widened ever so slightly as he met Harry’s gaze, and Harry was sure what he intended for Draco to realise was printed across his face as he gazed down at him. Draco swallowed as he watched Harry, his breathing coming deeper. As their gazes locked, Harry rocked his hips, finally pushing the head of his cock into Draco. Draco’s eyes fluttered shut as he gasped, the tendons in his neck standing out as Harry rolled his hips forward and pushed his cock deeper into Draco. The hand on his back moved down to his arse, squeezing as Draco’s face relaxed, moving from clenched muscles to contentment as Harry bottomed out.

Harry waited until Draco’s eyes opened before he pulled out and thrust back in, watching as Draco’s eyes rolled back slightly. Draco’s fingernails dug into the skin of Harry’s arse and Harry used it as a grounding point so he didn’t come just from looking at Draco. As he started to properly move his hips, Draco’s head tipped back and Harry moved his mouth to Draco’s neck, kissing and licking and biting at the pale skin there. Draco’s breath started to catch in his throat when Harry shifted his position, pulling Draco’s arse slightly on top of his thighs. Draco’s legs tightened around Harry’s waist and his mouth dropped open, his face going slack.

“Fuck, you look …” Harry started to say, but cut himself off with a moan when Draco’s arse tightened around him.

“Merlin, yes,” Draco muttered, one hand dropping down to his cock, the other still resting on Harry’s arse.

“Yeah, touch yourself,” Harry gasped, squeezing his eyes shut in an effort to ward off his orgasm.

Draco’s head was tipped back again, his mouth open as he panted, his hand flying over his cock.

“Fuck, Harry,” he groaned, his legs and arse tightening around Harry again.

“Are you coming?” Harry gasped, thrusting harder, his cock twitching inside Draco.

Yeah,” Draco gasped, the word turning into a moan. His back arched upwards, which pressed his cock and moving fist firmly up against Harry’s stomach, giving Harry more room to fuck deeper into Draco. Draco’s eyes squeezed firmly shut as he came, his back arched and his come landing across his stomach, smearing from his swiftly moving fist and onto Harry’s skin. Harry let out a whimper and drove harder into Draco’s clenching arse, letting his own orgasm come hurtling at him. Draco’s hand on his arse urged him forward, helped him fuck into Draco’s now sated body. Draco’s breath hitched with every thrust in as he egged Harry on, his arse still clenching around Harry’s cock as he rode out the last of his orgasm. Harry gasped into Draco’s neck as he came, hips still thrusting hard into Draco as he spurted inside him. Draco gasped praise into Harry’s ear as he pulled Harry’s arse in firmly towards him, fingers digging into the muscle.

Draco swatted at Harry’s back after a moment, pushing him to the side. Harry obliged and rolled off of Draco, wiggling so that his head was resting on Draco’s shoulder.

“Did that live up to your expectations?” Harry asked, turning his head to look up at Draco.

Draco snorted. “You don’t need the flattery.”

“So it’s just flattery I’d be getting then?”

“You know it is,” Draco said, carding a hand through Harry’s hair. “My fourth year self would certainly have found it to be more than adequate.”

Harry kissed the smirk off Draco’s lips, licking into his mouth until his cock started to protest the action, not able to get hard again so quickly.

“We really should have done that before the shower,” Harry said, muttering an Accio so that his wand came sailing into his hand.

“Probably, but how else was I to get you out of your clothes?” Draco asked, smiling at Harry in thanks when Harry cast a cleaning spell over them.

“Take them off yourself?” Harry said, tossing his wand onto the bedside table. “Or just ask.”

“This was far more interesting,” Draco said. “Don’t suppose we could get away with sleeping naked?”

“Probably not, unless we’re in the mood to traumatise him,” Harry said. He got up, stretching his arms over his head and revelling in the pleasant ache in his muscles. He pottered about the room, sending his discarded clothes into the laundry basket and selecting a new set of pyjamas for Draco to wear. While the Gryffindor pyjamas would always reign supreme, Harry suspected Draco would look just as good in his faded old Cannons shirt and grey sleep pants. Draco raised an eyebrow at the clothing he was offered, but pulled them on all the same.

After the lights were turned out, Harry dragged Draco’s arm over his waist and let Draco mould his front to Harry’s back. His hand slipped under Harry’s shirt and his fingers danced over Harry’s stomach, drawing shapes over the skin. Harry fell asleep to the feeling of Draco’s breath puffing against the back of his neck, his warmth pressing in all around Harry, and he didn’t think he could have been happier.

Chapter Text

“Ssh, Bobby. Bobby no.”

A warm, furry thing pressed against the side of Harry’s face and chest, a small snuffling sound emanating from its body. Harry reached out and patted at it, finding Todd’s ears and neck under his palm.

“Sorry, Daddy,” Ollie said.

Harry opened his eyes to see Ollie standing a few feet away next to the bed, a tray with three bowls on it in his hands. He was still in his pyjamas, his dark hair mussed from sleep.

“What are you doing, buddy?” Harry asked, rubbing his eye as best he could with Todd in the way.

“I made you and Papa breakfast. I tried to stop Bobby jumping up, but I couldn’t run with this,” he lifted the tray up slightly.

“Come here,” Harry said. Draco made a snuffling noise when Harry sat up, his arm slipping from around Harry’s waist.

Ollie handed Harry the tray and clambered up onto the bed, climbing over Harry and situating himself into the newly vacated space now between Harry and Draco.

Draco appeared to wake far more graciously than Harry had, his eyelashes casting little shadows over his face as he opened them to smile at Ollie and Harry and even Todd, who poked his small face up from Harry’s opposite side.

Ollie described their cereal as being crafted by hand from ingredients of far off lands, and Harry and Draco humoured him, despite knowing it came from the third aisle of the local supermarket, and that the box was likely still sitting half-full on the kitchen counter for them to find when they eventually made it downstairs.

It was curious, Harry thought as he sat there, how one could be so spilt between feelings for two people, how he could love Ollie with every part of himself, yet still have so much room for Draco. He knew exactly where his feelings for Draco were heading, and it was interesting to examine how drastically different they were from his love for Ollie. Previously, he’d experienced really only one kind of love. He’d loved Hermione and Ron and really the entire Weasley family, and he’d thought that was that. Perhaps that was why things hadn’t worked out for him and Ginny, why they’d fizzled out as quickly as they’d started; because his love for her wasn’t what she wanted, needed, or, perhaps, expected. He felt for her almost like he did for Hermione; he thought she was brilliant and lovely and wanted to spend time around her, but he didn’t necessarily feel romantic towards her.

Draco was different. He was the comfortable and somehow easy kind of love that had crept up on Harry until it was ingrained in his bones and he almost couldn’t imagine a time when that fact hadn’t been true. It was the thing of songs and poems, but then there was also Ollie. Harry certainly didn’t feel for Ollie what he felt for Draco, but he also couldn’t match it to how he felt for those he considered his family, like Ron and Hermione. It was like his love for Ollie came from an entirely new part of his body, like it was shaped and moulded in a way that couldn’t be touched by any other part of him, like it was completely and utterly out of his control. He hadn’t even know that kind of love existed, those purely paternal feelings, but now he couldn’t imagine going back, would have no way to erase them or push them away now that they had taken root deep within his core.

“I’ll bring dinner,” Draco was saying to Ollie as he sent their bowls out of the room with a wave of his wand.

“Can we have fish and chips?” Ollie asked, bouncing up and down on his knees. “I haven’t had that for ages.”

“Fuck,” Harry said under his breath, receiving wide eyed looks from both Draco and Ollie, both of whom were no doubt about to chastise him for swearing. “God, I love you both so much.”

“Love you too, Daddy,” Ollie said easily, launching himself into Harry’s hold and wrapping his arms around him.

Ollie saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about Harry’s sudden confession, but Draco was different.

Draco’s mouth was slightly open as he stared at Harry, clearly not sure how to respond.

“You don’t have to—“ Harry started to say, but Draco wound his arms around Harry and Ollie, pressing his face into Harry’s neck, holding them both so tightly.

“Yeah,” Draco whispered, and that was enough for now. Harry hadn’t expected Draco to be quite at the same level as him, but he thought that he might be, had hoped that he was. He hadn’t expected Draco to somewhat lay his cards on the table, though perhaps he should have, since Draco had been the one to make it obvious to Harry what he wanted in the first place. Harry had let himself be caught, but Draco had been the one to cast the line.

Draco didn’t mention what Harry had said, or what he himself had essentially admitted to, that morning or evening. Harry didn’t mind that he didn’t; his and Draco’s relationship hadn’t been rooted in words in the first place. Rather, they seemed to rely on gestures and long looks that had confused the hell out of Harry in the beginning, but that he rather liked now that he knew where he and Draco stood in relation to each other.

Draco had apparently decided to put away every last ounce of his poncy Pureblood upbringing when he picked up the take away that night, because he’d gotten authentic fish and chips “from some bloody shady store, Harry, I’m not even sure it was up to code”. Ollie was delighted, blissfully unaware about how apparently close to death his father had been picking up the meal, though Harry was sure that at least 90% of Draco’s story was heavily embellished.

“I would never,” Draco said, when Harry asked him just how dramatized his retelling was, but he’d still kissed the salt from the chips off of Harry’s lips while Ollie covered his eyes and squealed at them to stop.

“Are you staying the night again?” Harry asked once Ollie was in bed and he and Draco were sitting on the couch, the radio playing softly in the background.

“Ollie asked me that too,” Draco said, brushing his fingers along Harry’s collarbone.

“What did you tell him?”

“That I probably wouldn’t be.”

“Why not?” Harry asked, brow furrowing.

“Don’t you think it’s a little … soon for me to be staying over so much?”

“No,” Harry said, shaking his head. “Maybe on paper, but not for us.”

“Why?” Draco asked, turning Harry’s head to better look at him. “How are we any different from anyone else?”

“Well, we’ve skipped quite a few steps, don’t you think?” Harry asked. Seeing Draco’s confusion, he pressed on. “Most people meet and then date for a while. They move in together and maybe get married if they don’t drive each other completely mental, and have kids if they want. We didn’t really do things in the right order.”

“So that means we should skip the other steps?” Draco looked as though he was concentrating, his eyes staring into Harry’s as he tried to explain.

“No, but I do think that we’re a little different. You’ve liked me since fourth year—“

“Not like this.”

“No, but still. It’s been there, under the surface. We’ve already been spending time together every day and we practically act like we’re married already.”

“Bloody hell, you’re not asking me to marry you, are you?” Draco asked, eyes wide.

“No,” Harry laughed. “I’m just saying that we spend every bit of spare time you have with each other during the day, so what difference do nights make?”

“Alright,” Draco said after a moment, biting at the inside of his cheek as he thought about it. “Alright.”

“Alright,” Harry said with a smile that stretched across his face.

And Draco did stay.

Harry had thought his presence was ingrained into their lives before, but he’d been more wrong than he’d expected. While it was true that Draco had been spending almost all his leisure time at Grimmauld Place, or out and about with Harry and Ollie, he hadn’t been using his leisure time as he would have if he’d been at the Manor by himself. He was more relaxed after Harry’s little speech, seeming happy enough to bring his big stack of potions textbooks and put them on Harry’s bookshelf in the living room, taking one down to read as Harry and Ollie played with Legos on the floor in the evenings, racing to see who could build the highest tower the fastest, pausing in his reading to utter sounds of reverence or exclaim about how lovely Ollie’s tower was, smiling into the pages of his book when Harry pouted about not receiving the same avid praise that their son did. It usually ended with Draco giving him a consolatory kiss, so Harry didn’t mind the favouritism all too much. Besides, Draco’s praise always lit up Ollie’s face like it was the best news he’d ever heard, and Harry found his heart swelling whenever he saw it.

Draco didn’t bother redoing his temporary vision correction charms at night sometimes, cooking dinner with Harry while wearing his glasses, transfiguring a pair out of an empty cereal box when Ollie asked for his own so he could better resemble Harry and Draco. Draco’s clothes hung in Harry’s closet next to his own, and his toothbrush sat next to Harry’s on the bathroom counter. He picked up groceries before coming home one day, filling the cupboards with his favourite snacks that he always refused to share, but ended up doing so anyway after Harry sunk to his knees and sucked him off in the kitchen late one night.

Ollie stopped asking whether or not Draco was staying for dinner, or whether he’d be coming for breakfast, or if he could please stay the night “in case Daddy gets scared”, and that somehow was the part that made Harry the happiest, that Ollie wanted and needed both of them equally, and that he wasn’t worried about whether they’d both be around when he needed them. The three of them together felt like more of a family than Harry had ever felt possible, filling gaping holes inside of Harry’s heart that he hadn’t even known existed until they were no longer there. Harry might not have made a concrete decision about what he wanted to do with his life in the semi-near future, but he found that he didn’t need to worry so much anymore. Everything else seemed so unbelievably insignificant in life whenever he looked over at Draco and Ollie curled up on the couch together, their heads bent over whatever picture book Ollie had picked out for Draco to read to him that night, the transfigured glasses Ollie had asked for sliding down his nose a little he bent his neck to peer at the words on the page as he attempted to sound them out, Draco murmuring praise when he got the sounds right. Harry didn’t need anything else anymore; he already had everything he’d ever wanted.

/ - /

Hermione came over one Saturday afternoon as Harry was just getting back from the shop, groceries in hand. Draco and Ollie had declined his invitation to come along, instead preferring to take Todd for a walk and maybe to the park down by the corner of Grimmauld Place. The sound of the Floo startled Harry and he almost dropped one of the bags he was carrying, laden with vegetables and a suspicious box of crackers he hadn’t been able to stop himself from picking up. They were Teddy’s favourite and he missed him like crazy, not having been able to see him for weeks now. He’d wanted to take Ollie round to see him since they were apparently good friends in Ollie’s world, but Ollie’s Teddy was somewhere around twelve, whereas Harry’s Teddy was only two. Harry hadn’t thought Ollie would react too well to the change in Teddy’s age, so he’d explained to Andromeda that he’d leave Ollie with Draco and come by sometime soon. Harry was just thankful that Teddy was still young enough that he likely wouldn’t notice Harry’s absence, though Harry would still make it up to him the next time he saw him.

Hermione nearly ran into Harry in the doorway to the living room, her wand automatically coming up as she cast a spell to levitate Harry’s groceries into the kitchen for him.

“Don’t know why I didn’t just do that,” Harry said sheepishly, watching as the groceries put themselves away.

“What would you do without me?” Hermione sighed. Harry followed her into the kitchen, where she slid into one of the chairs at the dining table. “How are things?”

“Good. Really good,” Harry said, unable to keep the smile off his face.

Ah,” Hermione said, her expression warm. “I expected as much.”

“Apparently everyone did,” Harry said, smiling in mock exasperation. “Did you want a cup of tea?”

She nodded, reaching into her bag to pull out a small scroll of parchment. Hermione waited until Harry was seated opposite her to unravel it, words and diagrams and what looked like mathematical equations crammed into every inch of the available parchment space.

“Uh,” Harry said, staring at it with wide eyes. He hoped Hermione wasn’t expecting him to know what any of it meant. Thankfully, she didn’t.

“I’m not expecting you to be able to make sense of it. I barely can, and I wrote it,” she said, rolling the parchment back up.

“So what is it?”

That is the very complicated and long winded explanation of how Ollie got here and how he’ll get back.”

“Oh,” Harry said, frowning at the table where the parchment had just been. “So you’ve figured it out then?”

“No,” she said with a wry smile. “Actually, the calculations show you just how bloody impossible it would be for me to work it all out with certainty.”

“Oh,” Harry said again, more life creeping into his voice. “So you can’t know? It’s impossible to send him back?”

“Not without knowing exactly which potions ingredients were on his hands at the time, and what he caught himself on when he tripped. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, except the haystack is the size of England. We could try, of course, but I’m not going to attempt sending him anywhere without knowing exactly where he’ll end up, and it’s not like someone could go with him; then we’d just be back to square one. It’s a bit impossible, really.”

Harry couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face at the words. “It’s fine. God, it’s so fine. It’s not like we wanted him to go anywhere.”

“You’re missing him somewhere out there,” she said softly, reaching across the table to squeeze Harry’s hand.

“But there’s nothing we can do, so I can’t feel too sorry about it,” Harry said, unable to stop himself from smiling. He could physically feel the tension releasing from his body at hearing that there was nothing they could do. They didn’t have to send Ollie back because they couldn’t. “He could be from anywhere in the universe, after all.”

“So you’re still thinking space and time?” Hermione asked. “I’m not sure that’s possible, but time itself certainly is.”

“Definitely space and time,” Harry said. “A parallel universe or something.”

“You really think those exist?”

“Magic does.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she said, sipping at her tea. “It’s just a little frustrating not being able to solve the puzzle.”

“That’s probably the first time you’ve ever had to say that,” Harry said with a smirk.

“Speaking of puzzles, you should invite Draco to brunch tomorrow,” Hermione said, smiling at him coyly over her teacup.

“I was thinking about it,” Harry said. “I’m just not sure … won’t it be awkward, what with his past?”

“It might have been,” she said, setting her teacup down. “But I think Ollie’s bridged the gap a little. He talks about you two a lot when you’re not there, you know. You both obviously love him and have raised him well, wherever you’ve done it. He talks about his sister, too. Does he do that with you?”

“Not since he first got here,” Harry said with a frown.

“Apparently he wasn’t too taken with her when she was first born, and is a little scared that he accidentally wished her away somehow. Didn’t believe your explanation of her being off with Charlie and my daughter, but I convinced him. He was quite concerned.”

“He didn’t mention it, no,” Harry said. What else was worrying Ollie that he hadn’t thought he could bring up?

“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Hermione said. “I talked with him and I think he’s fine about it now. But really, do invite Draco.”

“I will,” Harry said. “I’d like for him to be there.”

“I’m glad you both have got here,” she said, smiling at him. “We’re all really happy for you, Harry. For all of you.”

And Harry thought about the three kinds of love he felt right at that moment as Hermione squeezed his hand, the sounds of Draco and Ollie and Todd arriving home through the front door, their laughter loud in the air.

/ - /

“Is that a good idea?”

“Yes,” Harry said firmly. “Hermione thinks so, and I do too.”

“Please come, Papa,” Ollie said, clinging onto Draco’s hand. He was pouting, his tiny bottom lip pushed out as far as it could go as he gazed up at Draco with his big grey-green eyes.

“They’ll hate me,” Draco said.

“They don’t,” Ollie cried.

“Ollie, go through and we’ll come in a moment,” Harry said, handing Ollie some Floo powder. He smiled at Ollie’s concerned expression, and ushered him into the Floo. “They won’t,” Harry said to Draco, once Ollie had disappeared into the vibrant green flames.

“Have you even asked them? The kinds of things they hate me for don’t just go away overnight, Harry.”

“We’ve been over this war stuff,” Harry sighed. “Everyone knows you were just a kid, and they all know how good you’ve been with Ollie.”

“Been singing my praises have you?” Draco asked, but his shoulders lost some of their rigidity.

“Actually, Ollie has,” Harry laughed. “Mine too, according to Hermione. Someone who raised him couldn’t be all that bad, they reckon. Can’t say I disagree with them.”

“I’m leaving if hexes start getting thrown,” Draco sighed, taking some Floo powder. His lips twitched into a small smile as he glanced back towards Harry.

“That’s the spirit,” Harry said, pressing his lips to Draco’s.

It was fine, as Hermione had assured Harry it would be. Draco was apparently now known through his connection to Ollie, rather than his connection to the war. Harry supposed that common ground would do that to people, would take down walls and allow for healing to happen.

Ginny – back from her season with the Harpies – was apparently the love of Ollie’s life, which amused absolutely everyone to no end. He’d run straight to Ginny, bypassing even Molly, and had immediately started begging her to show him photos from her latest Quidditch season. Ollie’s exclamations took some of the attention off of Draco, which Harry was thankful for. Draco was polite as usual but still clearly on edge, preferring to stand and watch Ollie rather than throw himself into the various Weasley conversations happening around the table.

“My word, that’s adorable,” Molly said to Harry and Draco, as they all watched Ollie climb onto Ginny’s lap, all the while pleading for her to tell him more stories of her time with the Harpies. “You’ve certainly raised him to be a future Quidditch player, with that level of interest.”

“Hufflepuff won’t know what hit them,” Harry said. He smiled as he imagined a much older Ollie darting above the pitch on his broom wearing bright yellow flying robes. He wondered what position the older version of his son would play, whether he’d take after both of his father’s and be a Seeker, or whether he’d take after both Ginny and Harry’s father and be a Chaser. Maybe he’d even carve out a new position for himself among the team.

Harry was jerked out of his daydreaming by a tinkle of laughter coming from the table, Ginny smiling widely at a sheepish looking Ollie, who was still perched on her lap.

“Did he just talk about marrying her?” Molly asked, snorting with laughter into her palm. “Merlin, he’s a bit forward.”

“Good to know he apparently likes strong women,” Draco said, unable to hold back his own snort of laughter.

Molly patted Draco on the shoulder. “Flattery like that will get you everywhere,” she said, and handed him a biscuit.

“If only you could have been like this,” Ginny called out to Harry, smirking to show she was mostly joking.

“Proposals aren’t binding until the person asking is at least twelve,” Harry said, walking forward to scoop Ollie up to tickle him. “You’ll have to do a whole lot of grovelling if you want parental consent.” Ollie shrieked with laughter and held his hands out to Ginny, who eagerly took him back.

“So is it true that he’s basically a little window into the future?” Ginny asked, peering into Ollie’s eyes. “I predict pumpkin pie within the next few hours.”

“That’s cheating,” Ron called out from further down the table. “You helped Mum make it.”

“Ah, so it’s accurate, is what you’re saying?”

“Yeah,” Ollie cried, throwing his hands up. “I love Nanna’s pumpkin pie.”

“Yes, you’d better start flattering your mother in law early,” Molly said, handing Ollie a biscuit from the tray she’d just brought out.

“So if Ollie can see the future, then who do I marry, hmm?” Ginny asked. “I should get to know since George did.”

“He’ll just say himself,” Draco said, before Ollie could open his mouth. “There’s definitely a bit of Slytherin in there.”

Ollie nodded, his little head bobbing up and down, making Ginny snort with laughter.

“Alright then, what else can we ask him?”

Nothing, because knowing your future can be disastrous,” Hermione said, clapping her hands over Ollie’s ears.

“It’s not like it’s the real future,” Harry said, snagging one of the biscuits from the tray.

Hermione sighed at Harry’s words and elaborated when Ginny shot her a look of confusion. “Harry here is under the impression that Ollie has broken every known law of the universe and has travelled through both space and time.”

“What are you saying?” Ollie laughed, slapping at Hermione’s hands which were still firmly planted over his ears.

“Grown up stuff,” she whispered into his ear, making him screw up his face and stick out his tongue.

“Hermione thinks he’s just come back in time, no space,” Harry said.

“Well that one certainly seems far more logical,” Ginny said, shrugging. She pulled Hermione’s hands off of Ollie’s ears. “So, crystal ball, does your Dad ever decide to go back to the Auror department?” Ollie looked confused, so she elaborated. “Does he catch bad wizards still?”

“Yeah,” Ollie said. “He has a big office and a red coat and Cheryl, who has the sherbet lollies.”

“Is he married to Cheryl?” Ginny asked, eyes wide.

“No, he’s married to Papa. Cheryl brings him his letters.”

“Ah,” Ginny said with a nod. “Suppose that makes your career decision easier then, already knowing what it’s going to be.”

“I haven’t even decided to go back to the Aurors yet,” Harry said.

“Apparently you will,” Ginny shrugged.

Everyone got a right kick out of Ron’s future career as a teacher to the family’s various children, but Ron stated that he didn’t have a problem with his future career prospects.

“Sounds nice, doesn’t it?” he said with a shrug.

Thankfully, Molly stopped everyone from prying answers about their possible futures from Ollie by bringing out the food. Harry squeezed Draco’s hand under the table and Draco shot him a small, private smile, squeezing back.

Draco needn’t have worried; everyone was even more welcoming than Harry had hoped they would be. Draco and Hermione talked about academics for nearly the entirety of brunch, only to be broken up by Ginny asking Draco about his potions apprenticeship. She asked him if he’d done any work with broom potions, and Draco promised to develop something for her once he’d gotten more experience in brewing them. Everyone was lovely, and Harry’s heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest at the pure happiness on both Draco and Ollie’s faces. He didn’t think he’d ever want anything more than this, and he wouldn’t have changed anything about the morning for the entire world.

“Thank you,” Draco said once they’d stepped into Harry’s living room from the Floo, pulling Harry into a kiss.

“My pleasure,” Harry replied, sucking one of Draco’s lips between his own.

“No, but really,” Draco said, stepping back. His cheeks were already flushed from the contact, and Harry itched to reach out and touch them. “I had a lovely time. It was surprisingly good.”

“I’m glad,” Harry said with a smile, before Ollie came barrelling out of the Floo and into his legs.

“I want to do something for you later,” Draco whispered into Harry’s ear as Ollie tore off through the house in search of Todd, calling his name in a sing-song voice. Draco pressed a kiss to Harry’s neck and stepped back, walking into the kitchen. Harry groaned and glared in his direction, willing his prick to ignore everything Draco had been hinting at, lest Ollie come walking back in. He wasn’t quite ready to have to explain the birds and the bees to a five year old.

Bloody Draco made him keyed up for the rest of the day, unable to sit still. It was ridiculous, and he ended up wanking in the bathroom to stop himself from being so jittery. He imagined all the things Draco could choose to do to him as his fist flew over his cock, picturing them so clearly in his mind it was like the various acts were happening right in front of him.

Harry practically dragged Draco to the bedroom once Ollie had finally gone to sleep, insisting on Todd coming into the room with him. Draco raised an eyebrow at Harry’s lack of want to put up at least somewhat of a fight as to the moving of Todd’s bed, but Harry didn’t care. Ollie also seemed surprised, but clearly wasn’t about to push his luck.

A laugh bubbled up form Draco’s throat when Harry pushed him against the inside of the door of their – their – bedroom, pressing up against him and kissing him hard.

“A bit eager, are we?” Draco asked, biting at Harry’s lip.

“It’s a special form of torture having you in front of me all day but not being able to touch you like this,” Harry said, sucking a mark onto Draco’s neck. “God, can I fuck you?”

“Please do,” Draco said. He reached between them to strip off their shirts, Harry getting in his way with his want to keep his hands all over Draco, to touch all the bare skin that was being revealed to him inch by inch. Draco ended up waving his wand to get them out of the rest of their clothes, obviously not wanting to wait any longer than Harry did.

Harry pushed him down onto the bed and rocked his hips against him, grinding their cocks together. Draco gasped and tightened the hand that was resting on Harry’s back into a fist. Harry muttered an Accio to call the lube over, and pressed Draco back into the mattress, pulling one of his legs up around his waist.

“Fuck, can we—” Draco gasped, pressing back against Harry’s finger. “Oh god.”

“Not teasing this time,” Harry said, sucking a mark onto Draco’s collarbone as he curled two fingers inside Draco.

“Clearly,” Draco replied, clutching at Harry’s shoulder as he spread his legs wider. “Fuck, sit up against the headboard.”

Shit, yeah,” Harry muttered, giving his fingers a final twist before pulling them out.

He pushed one of the pillows out of the way and pressed his back to the wood of the headboard, Draco straddling his hips.

“Can you—“ Draco said, his words ending in a gasp as Harry pressed three of his fingers back inside him, rubbing directly onto his prostate.

“Can I what?” Harry asked coyly, fucking his fingers in and out sharply.

“That,” Draco gasped again, pressing his chest against Harry’s and rocking his hips down onto Harry’s fingers.

“Fuck yes, Draco. Fuck yourself on my fingers,” Harry said, gently biting at Draco’s collarbone.

Draco moaned and rocked his hips back harder, whimpering when Harry stilled the movements of his fingers. Harry stayed still, making Draco fuck himself on Harry’s fingers as he pictured it was his cock. That would come later, obviously, but he liked watching Draco get worked up first.

Harry, fuck, come on,” Draco groaned, reaching behind him to grasp for Harry’s cock, slicking it up.

“Yeah,” Harry gasped, pulling his fingers from Draco’s arse. “Merlin, yes.”

Draco slid down his cock quickly and efficiently, shifting his hips to find the angle which opened his arse up around Harry the easiest. Harry resisted the urge to fuck up into Draco, giving him ample time to adjust. Just like the first time, he didn’t know how he’d gone two decades of his life without this, how he’d survived before he’d been allowed into the deepest recesses of Draco’s body. How he had lived with Draco being right there in front of him for so many years, yet being unable to touch him, he didn’t know.

Draco whimpered and started to roll his hips, planting his hands on Harry’s shoulders to give himself leverage. Harry’s hands fell to Draco’s waist, helping him move on his cock. Draco’s head was tipped back, the small marks Harry had bit and sucked onto his fair skin standing out against the pale background. Harry’s nails dug into the skin of Draco’s hips as he moved up and down on Harry’s cock, his arse clenching. He gasped and yanked Draco’s head down to be within reach of his, pressing his tongue into Draco’s mouth when he gasped.

“Touch me,” Draco whimpered, clumsily grasping one of Harry’s hands and pressing it against his cock, bobbing with each roll of Draco’s hips.

“Yeah,” Harry moaned, wrapping his hand around it. Draco gasped and thrust forward into Harry’s fist, changing the angle of Harry’s cock inside him. Harry used the small bit of leverage he had to fuck up into Draco as he jerked his cock, sucking wet kisses across Draco’s neck and jaw. Draco was moaning loudly, and Harry hoped the silencing spells that were built into the walls of the house would hold, because he was in no mood to shush Draco.

“Fuck,” Draco gasped, whimpering into Harry’s mouth when he pressed their lips together. “Fuck, Harry, yes.”

His arse clenched around Harry’s cock and he came with a shout, come shooting onto their chests. Harry followed him immediately, not able to hold out any longer after watching Draco’s orgasm. Draco’s arse was looser and more open as he spurted into it, and he felt a bit of his come slip down his cock and onto his bollocks. He stroked up and down Draco’s damp back, pressing his hands into the muscles. Draco made a content sound against Harry’s neck and arched his back to give Harry more access to his muscles. Harry’s cock slipped out and Draco made a face, Harry letting out a bark of laughter at the sight of it.

“I’ll clean up,” Harry said, giving Draco a soft kiss.

“Mm,” Draco said, rolling off of Harry and snuggling into the blankets as he waited for Harry to cast a cleaning charm.

Harry bit at Draco’s arse playfully and Draco pulled him up for another kiss, before batting at his head and frowning in mock anger.

“You too,” Draco whispered once Harry had turned the lights off and was curled up behind him, his face pressed against the back of Draco’s neck.

“Hmm?” Harry asked, half asleep.

“You too. Well, me too.”

Harry snorted sleepily against Draco’s skin once he figured out what he meant. “It doesn’t count if you don’t actually say the words.”

“Yours did, so mine does too,” Draco replied. He wiggled his hips to better fit his arse against Harry, and pulled Harry’s arm tighter around his waist.

“Ok,” Harry said, smiling into Draco’s hair. “I’m glad.”

“Good. Because I wanted you to know.”

“Love you, Draco,” Harry said a few minutes later, sleep pressing down on him.

“I love you too, Harry,” Draco replied, squeezing his hand hard.

/ - /

They got into a routine, the three of them. They would have breakfast together at the kitchen table on weekdays, in bed on weekends. During the weekdays Harry and Ollie would do things together, take Todd for walks or play with Ollie’s Lego or watch one of the Muggle films that Ollie was completely taken with. When Draco got home, Harry would go start dinner or read a book in the kitchen while Draco and Ollie spent some time together. Then they’d all cook dinner as a family, Ollie tuning the radio to whatever Muggle station he decided was playing the best music at the time. Most of the time Ollie would convince them to dance, and he’d attempted to teach Harry some kind of variation of ballroom dancing that Harry was completely hopeless at, much to Draco’s amusement. After dinner they’d play quietly or watch a Muggle film until it was deemed late enough for Ollie to go to bed. Harry and Draco would alternate nights reading books of Ollie’s choice, with Draco usually telling Ollie the tales from the books he loved as a child, while Harry was relegated to the various Muggle books they’d picked up when they went into Muggle London.

The weekends were for the three of them. Ollie was getting better and better at riding the training broom, able to get up to the maximum speed the thing allowed, which terrified Harry a little. Draco promised to buy him the model from the next age group up, and agreed that he would ask Ginny if she would come over and teach Ollie some tricks. They picked up a new box of the animal fireworks Ollie loved from Ron and George’s shop, and made a few trips into Diagon Alley. Harry found that he didn’t much care what the Prophet printed about him now, because he was far too happy to give a shit. They could print all the lies they wanted, but he, Draco, and Ollie knew the truth. And that was more than enough for him.

They started making more long term plans as to what to do with Ollie, now knowing that he’d be sticking around for a long while. The largest concern for Draco was Ollie’s schooling, not wanting him to fall behind where a wizard child should be at his age.

“We can’t exactly use the same method that he’s used to,” Draco said, tapping his fingers down the side of his teacup. “Ron’s not exactly going to give up his shop to teach Ollie mathematics.”

“We could enrol him in a Muggle primary school,” Harry suggested, shrugging. It had been where he himself had gone as a child, after all, and he’d turned out alright. He’d had a bit of a shit time, but that had been thanks to Dudley and his little gang, not because of the school itself. They’d look around and find the best fit for Ollie, of course. They could certainly send him to some poncy private school if that’s what Draco would prefer; it wasn’t like either of them were short on funds, after all.

“Merlin, no,” Draco said, wrinkling his nose up. “Next suggestion, please. How about a private wizarding tutor?”

Harry frowned a little as he pictured it, Ollie sitting at a table with some stodgy old witch or wizard as he tried to learn to read, while Harry and Draco were off doing things outside the home. He didn’t want to leave Ollie there, waiting for them to come back, getting scared that they might not. No, they couldn’t expect Ron to pick up his teaching career from that other world, but they could do the next best thing.

“I’ll do it,” Harry said, taking a sip of his tea. “I’ll stay home and teach him.”

And it all sounded so right when he said it, like everything was falling into place. Harry had no desire to leave Ollie at home with someone else, with no other children in sight. Besides, Harry knew exactly where Ollie was at with his education, and what his strengths and weaknesses were. It was the perfect solution.

“Are you sure?” Draco asked. He was worrying at his bottom lip with his teeth slightly, like he was concerned that Harry hadn’t thought his suggestion through.

“Yes,” Harry said, and he was. “I’m sure. It’ll be fun.”

“Won’t you go a bit mental, staying at home all the time?”

And Harry laughed, because that was essentially what he’d been doing since Ollie had gotten there. And it wasn’t like he would be by himself; he’d always have Ollie and Todd around to keep him occupied.

“What about your career?” Draco asked, setting aside his cup. His hands were linked on the tabletop, like he was interviewing Harry about a job position.

“What about it?”

“Wouldn’t you like to return to it at some point?”

“Maybe,” Harry shrugged. “And I still could, when Ollie got a bit older. He won’t stay home forever, he’ll be heading to Hogwarts in a handful of years.” And Harry didn’t particularly want to think about that, about Ollie heading off to bloody Scotland and only coming home a few times during the year.

“They won’t let you just slip back into your positon, you know. Not even being Harry Potter could let you get away with taking a six year sabbatical and picking up right where you left off.”

“That’s fine,” Harry said. “I could go through training again, if I needed to. I wouldn’t even necessarily have to go back into the Aurors; I could do something else in the Ministry. There’s so many departments that I’m sure I could find the right one. Hermione will probably be the Minister for Magic by then, anyway, so I could even just be her assistant.”

“And you’re sure about this?” Draco asked, the corner of his mouth twitching upwards slightly. “You really want to throw away the glitz and glamour of the Auror force to stay home and teach a five year old his spelling words?”

“Glitz and glamour isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Harry said. He stood up from his seat and rounded the table, crouching in front of Draco. “I’d much rather have this, anyway.”

Draco tugged him forwards until he was sitting on his lap, and curled his arms around Harry’s waist, tucking his face into Harry’s shoulder.

“We’ll need a bit of structure, of course. Lesson outlines, and the like,” he said against Harry’s shirt.

“Naturally,” Harry said, pressing a kiss to the top of Draco’s head. “I assume you’ll be wanting to help out with that?”

“Well we wouldn’t want our son to receive a subpar education now, would we?” Draco said, his voice so fond that a ball of contentment settled in the middle of Harry’s chest. “Does this mean I have to start calling you Professor now?”

“If you like,” Harry said, letting out a small snort of laughter.

“Hey, lads,” Ollie called out, trotting into the room.

“I’m going to murder George for telling him to call us that,” Draco mumbled, before pulling his face away from Harry’s chest. “Yes, buddy?”

“Can I come up? I drew a picture,” Ollie said, waving a piece of paper in the air.

“Merlin, it’s a masterpiece,” Harry gasped, hauling Ollie onto Draco’s lap as well.

“I went almost all in the lines,” Ollie said proudly, dropping the picture on the table. The drawing was a picture of Harry and Draco holding hands, their wide smiles practically coming off of their faces. Above their stick figure selves, Ollie had written ‘Papa and Daddy’ in his clumsy script, the letters running across the page in varying sizes.

“It’s beautiful, Ol,” Draco said, squeezing Ollie’s hand. “Should we get Daddy to put it up on the fridge?”

“Yeah,” Ollie said, grabbing the picture and holding it out for Harry to take.

Harry leaned over Ollie to press a soft kiss to Draco’s mouth, before doing the same to Ollie’s cheek. Draco laughed when Ollie scrunched his face up, no doubt pretending he didn’t absolutely revel in the ready affection that both Harry and Draco doled out to him in spades. Harry still wasn’t sure why they did so, considering neither of them were overly physically affectionate with any of their close friends, even now. Harry suspected that it might have something to do with the minimal physical affection they themselves received as children from the people who were supposed to care from them. Both consciously and subconsciously, Harry wanted to ensure that Ollie never once felt unwanted or unappreciated like he himself had as a child, and he suspected that Draco felt entirely the same.

“Papa,” Ollie said quietly, as Harry stuck his drawing to the fridge. “I’m glad that you and Daddy are happy again.”

“Oh, buddy,” Draco said, his voice thick. He was holding Ollie tightly to his chest when Harry glanced back over, his face pressed into Ollie’s hair. “You don’t have to be worried about us.”

“I thought you might be fighting, since you didn’t hug and kiss each other for so long,” Ollie said. His voice was a little muffled, a consequence of hugging himself to Draco so tightly.

“We’re not fighting,” Draco said. He glanced up at Harry, his eyes shining slightly. “We love each other, and we love you just as much.”

“It’s true, buddy,” Harry said, coming to kneel next to the chair his boyfriend and son sat on. “You don’t have to be worried about us at all, ok?”

“’kay,” Ollie said, turning his face out from Draco’s chest and towards Harry. “Does that mean you’re going to have another baby soon? You said that when you said we were going to have Cassie.”

“Not anytime soon, no,” Harry said, laughing softly.

“I should bloody well hope not,” Draco said, and Harry would have thought that he sounded mildly scandalised, but his warm smile gave him away. “Not for a good bit, at least.”

“Can I have a brother this time?” Ollie asked, sitting back a bit to clap his hands together. “I don’t wanna wait, even if Daddy says you’re having a whole Quidditch team.”

Draco turned to glance at Harry with raised eyebrows, his deadpan expression clearly betraying how unimpressed he was with Harry’s apparent want for an entire sports team of children.

“Papa doesn’t look too happy about that one,” Harry said, poking Ollie in the ribs to make him giggle. “You might have to wear him down a bit before that happens.”

“Should we take him to the Quidditch next time so he can see?” Ollie asked, leaning over to whisper it loudly into Harry’s ear.

“I don’t think that’ll help your case,” Harry said, a snort of laughter escaping.

“No, I think that sounds like the perfect idea,” Draco said, running a hand over Ollie’s constantly tousled hair. “I’ll see about getting us some tickets to the next game, shall I?”

“Can Aunty Ginny and Aunty Hermione and Uncle Ron and Uncle George come with us?” Ollie asked, the words coming out as sort of a babble.

“That would be lovely,” Draco said, and Harry’s heart felt so full because it sounded like he really mean it, like he genuinely wanted to spend time with the people Harry considered to be his family. Well, outside of Ollie and Draco, that was.

“That sounds like a great idea, Ol,” Harry said, sliding his arms around both Ollie and Draco, not ever wanting to let them go.

/ - /

It had all been going so well when it happened.

They were in the back garden at Grimmauld Place, Ollie and Todd chasing each other around the yard as Harry and Draco reclined on the grass in the sun. Draco was patting his stomach, complaining that Molly was trying to fatten him up.

“I won’t fit into my work robes at this rate,” he said. “I’m turning into an Erumpent.”

“A lovely Erumpent,” Harry joked, kissing him. As he pulled back the air touching his skin started to buzz, the hair on his arms standing up.

“Ollie,” Draco barked, pushing himself to a standing position. The air seemed to shimmer and twist around them, becoming almost like water on a pond.

Ollie rushed over, clutching onto Draco’s leg. Todd followed him, his head low as he whimpered and glanced around frantically. Harry pulled his wand out as the air rippled and a shape came into view.

“Oh fuck,” Draco muttered, his eyes going wide.

“No,” Harry said, watching as someone who looked exactly like Draco stepped out of the patch of rippling air and onto the grass of Grimmauld Place’s back garden.

The man looked older than Draco did now, his body ever so slightly stockier, his hair a little longer. His eyes crinkled as he turned and his gaze landed on them, his eyes going straight towards Ollie.

“Papa,” Ollie cried, stepping out from behind Draco’s leg. Draco grabbed at Ollie’s shoulder to keep him there, anchoring him in place.

“Thank Merlin,” the other Draco said, rushing towards them and holding his arms out.

The hand that was holding Draco’s wand twitched, as if he wasn’t sure how to react to this other version of himself. After an extended pause Draco swallowed heavily and lowered his wand, relaxing his grip on Ollie’s shoulder. Ollie rushed towards the other-Draco, wrapping his arms around him.

“I missed you so much, buddy,” the other man was saying, pressing his face into Ollie’s hair. “Thank you,” he said, looking up. “I know he’s a bit of a handful.”

“He’s not,” Draco said, the words sounding strangled, like he had to fight with himself to force them from his throat. Harry reached over and clasped his hand around Draco’s to stop it from shaking.

“How did he do it?” Harry asked, watching as Ollie stepped back from his father with a smile.

“Ashwinder eggs and rosewater,” other-Draco said. “Apparently those are catalysts for time travel, if you can believe it. They activated an old Time Turner that was put out of commission decades ago. Took us over a month just to brew the elderflowers to get him back.”

“Hermione will love that,” Draco said softly. His voice shook a little, so Harry squeezed his hand.

“Is it, um,” Harry said, clearing his throat. “Did he just go back in time?”

“Thankfully, yes,” other-Draco said. He crouched down in front of Ollie, frowning. “Orion James don’t you ever do anything like that again. Your dad and I were going bloody mental without you.”

“Language, Papa,” Ollie said.

“Wait, his name’s Orion?” Draco asked, glancing at Harry. “I thought it was bloody Oliver, or something.”

“You would have called him Ollie,” other-Draco said. “You can thank his missing teeth for that. We’ve been trying to get rid of the lisp but I doubt it’ll go away until his adult set comes in.”

Harry snorted hysterically, unable to hold in his laughter at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, that they’d managed to get their son’s bloody name wrong.

“How did you know that’s what we called him?” Draco asked, his frown deepening.

“I’m you. I’ve already lived it,” other-Draco replied. “So that means I’m qualified to give you some advice. Look, it’ll be hard without him, trust me. But you can do it, if you support each other.”

“Are you sure you’re not Harry,” Draco said, shooting Harry a look. “Saying stuff like that is more his forte.”

“Let’s just say he’s made a bit of an impact on us,” other-Draco said, smiling at Harry. “Uh, take it from me when I say try not to be spiteful.” He ran a hand through his hair, glancing at Harry and Draco sheepishly. “Mostly me. Well, us, I suppose. It will make things easier in the long run.”

“Uh, thanks,” Draco said. He was biting the inside of his cheek again.

“The portal’s only open for around five minutes, so we should go,” other-Draco said. “My Harry’s powerful, but his magic can only act as a conduit for so long.”

“Fuck,” Harry muttered, unable to stop the tears from welling up in his eyes.

“Please don’t,” Draco said, his voice thick. “Please don’t take him.”

Other-Draco bent down and whispered something into Ollie’s ear, and Ollie rushed over. Harry drew him in and pulled him between himself and Draco, hugging their son tightly between their bodies. Because he was their son, despite them not having technically made him themselves.

“You’ll see him again,” other-Draco said. “You’ll have to be patient, but you will.”

“I love you,” Draco said to Ollie, tears running down his face.

“Love you, Papa,” Ollie said, though his voice was more confused than it had been before, the sight of two of Draco throwing him off. “Love you too, Daddy.”

“I love you so much,” Harry said, pressing his face into Ollie’s hair, so identical to his own.

“Orrie, we need to go. I’m sorry,” other-Draco said. He looked a bit teary himself, his eyes a little red.

“He’s happy, isn’t he? In your time?” Draco asked.

“He is,” other-Draco said with a nod.

Ollie walked over to his father and called Todd to him, pulling the Crup into a hug and laughing when Todd licked his face.

“Bye, Bobby,” Ollie said into Todd’s fur.

“See you later, Todd,” other-Draco said, bending down and scratching Todd behind the ears. “It’s good to see you, old chap.”

“Harry,” Draco said, grasping Harry’s arm. “I can’t.”

“I know,” Harry said, wrapping his arm around Draco as they watched Ollie.

“Come on,” other-Draco said, taking Ollie’s hand. Just before they walked through the rippling patch of air he turned to glance at them. “Did he carry around a camera with him while he was here, by any chance?”

“Yes,” Harry said, the word coming out shaky. “While we were at the beach.”

“Take it to a Muggle store and get the photos taken off,” other-Draco said. “It’ll stop you feeling like you’ve gone insane. Trust me.”

“Ok,” Harry said quietly, not really sure what else to do. He felt like he and Draco should be fighting to keep Ollie there, but it felt like their energy had been completely drained out of them. And despite their naivety in expecting Ollie’s actual parents not to come and get him at some point, Harry had known deep down that it might still happen. Just because they weren’t equipped with the proper knowledge to send him back didn’t mean that it was the same on the other end. They didn’t want to frighten Ollie by trying to keep him there, not when it wasn’t where he should be, in the end.

“Bye Daddy and Papa,” Ollie called, waving at them.

Harry was able to hold it together until the older version of Draco led Ollie into the air that smelt of ozone and fresh grass, so like how the air smelt after Harry cast a particularly strenuous smell. Then Ollie was gone and the air sealed itself up, the backyard looking like nothing had changed from an hour ago, like their lives hadn’t just been completely decimated in a matter of minutes.

Draco gasped and sank to his knees, pulling Harry down with him. Harry wrapped his arms around him and let the tears fall into Draco’s fair hair as they held each other on the grass in the backyard.

It took a while for them to go inside, and Harry nearly broke all over again once they did. Signs of Ollie were everywhere, his toys and his drawings and his clothes scattered about the space in a way that Harry hadn’t even noticed before. He certainly did now that Ollie himself was gone and wasn’t coming back. Each item that reminded him of Ollie stuck out like a sore thumb, drawing Harry’s eyes to it. Everything Harry laid eyes on reminded him of Ollie in some way. The table was where Ollie would colour as Harry made them lunch, the stove was where he and Draco taught Ollie how to cook, the cupboard was where Ollie hid when he’d convinced Harry to play hide and seek with him one time, assuring him that Todd wouldn’t spoil their hiding places.

“I can’t,” Draco gasped, clutching at Harry’s arm. “There’s too much of him here.”

Harry swallowed heavily and looked around, his eyes burning.

“Come with me,” Draco said, turning Harry towards him. “We can go to the Manor. I can’t be here, Harry.”

“Ok,” Harry said, taking a deep breath. “Ok. Todd, come here.”

Thankfully Narcissa wasn’t home when Draco apparated them in, stumbling and gasping for breath as he clutched at his middle. They went up to Draco’s bedroom which was so devoid of his everyday objects, most of them having found a new home at Grimmauld Place. Draco pulled off both of their shirts and pushed Harry onto the bed, helping him get under the covers. They didn’t have sex, just laid there together, pressing against bare skin, Todd making snuffling sounds at the end of the bed as though he could sense their pain.

/ - /

“Fuck,” Draco said, squeezing Harry’s hand hard.

“We can do this,” Harry said, tugging Draco further into the room.

It had been a week since Ollie had gone and they hadn’t come back to Grimmauld Place until now, staying at the Manor until they were forced to realise they either needed to come home, or go out and buy a whole new set of their everyday items.

Ollie’s toys were scattered across the floor of the living room, bright spots of colour against the dark floorboards and fluffy cream coloured rug.

The kitchen was the room that had the smallest amount of physical reminders of Ollie in it, so they went in there. Harry made a pot of tea with shaking hands as Draco sat at the table, damn near biting through his lip.

“Thanks,” Draco said, trying to keep his hands steady as he took the tea. He was doing a much better job than Harry, whose hands were shaking like a leaf.

“He’s gone,” Harry said after a moment. “He’s really gone.”

Draco’s teacup clacked in its saucer when he wasn’t able to keep his hand steady.

“It’s like he was never here,” Harry said, looking around. “His stuff’s here, but not him.”

“The camera,” Draco said, sitting up straighter. “The … I mentioned the camera. We took that photo at the beach, Harry, we have to get it. It’s evidence that we didn’t make him up like some bloody fever dream.” Draco stood up from the table. “I had it in my pocket when we apparated and I put it in your study when we got back.”

“Ok,” Harry said, standing up to follow Draco. He wasn’t sure how much the photo from the beach would help, but both his Draco and the other version of Draco seemed convinced. Who knew, maybe it would.

Draco found the camera easily, taking it from Harry’s desk and handing it to him.

“Tomorrow,” Draco said, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder.

“Ok,” Harry said. “I’ll go into Muggle London while you’re at work and get the photos taken off.”

“Thank you,” Draco said, sniffing.

They stayed at Grimmauld Place that night, not venturing out of Harry’s bedroom lest they find themselves curled up in Ollie’s.

Harry didn’t want Draco to leave the next morning, didn’t want to be left in his mausoleum of a house that felt so hollow and empty, yet so crammed with memories all the same. It made his chest tight and his eyes prickle whenever he caught a glimpse of something that was Ollie’s, of things that they’d picked out together, or played with together, or made memories with.

He was eager to get out into the unfamiliar parts of Muggle London, avoiding the areas that he’d gone to with Ollie. He walked until he found a department store that took photos off of cameras, and walked in feeling like he was moving through a fog. The girl at the counter smiled at him and directed him to a waiting area, saying it wouldn’t take too long. Harry didn’t notice the passage of time as he sat there, so it could have been five minutes or fifty before the girl called him back over.

“You have an adorable son,” she smiled, handing him a packet of photos.

“Thanks,” Harry said quietly, attempting to return her smile but coming up short.

Once outside, he peeked inside the packet and frowned, not recognising the photo that was on top. He flipped through a few of the pictures, his eyes going wide, before he slid the packet shut, blinking hard.

/ - /

“Are you sure you want to be in here?” Draco asked, stepping gingerly into Ollie’s room like he was afraid the air itself might burn him.

“Yes,” Harry said. He slid to the floor and leaned against the side of Ollie’s bed, patting the space next to him.

Draco sat where Harry directed him to, his breathing deep and structured like he was trying to press down his emotions. He probably was; Harry wouldn’t blame him.

“I got the photos taken off,” Harry said, pulling the packet out of the pocket of his jeans.

“How many copies did they give you?” Draco asked. He reached for the packet but Harry moved it out of his grasp.

“Ollie didn’t find the camera that day we went to the beach,” Harry said, handing the packet to Draco. “He found it right after he came. I don’t know how we didn’t notice him with it.”

Draco’s breath caught in his throat and he let out a dry sob as he slid the first photo out of the packet and held it in his shaking hand. The photo was one Ollie had taken in the mirror in the main bathroom. He was kneeling on the counter to get closer to it, one finger pressing his top lip upwards to better show off his missing teeth. He smile looked like it was coming right out of the photo, like a wizarding photograph.

“There’s more?” Draco asked, setting the photo down on Ollie’s bed behind them.

“Yeah,” Harry said, squeezing Draco’s hand. “I didn’t look through them all. I wanted to wait for you.”

“Thank you,” Draco said. His eyes were watering when they met Harry’s, but he looked happy for the first time since Ollie had left.

There were quite a lot of photos; Ollie really was apparently a budding photographer. Harry and Draco laughed at a series of photos of Todd in the garden, running and jumping and tripping over one of Ollie’s toys at one point. One of Ollie’s favourite subjects had apparently been his toys, because there was a whole stack of photos of the things he and Harry had bought together. There were photos of the Lego creations they’d all built together, and photos of the books Draco had brought over from the Manor. Ollie had taken pictures of a few of his favourite stories, his finger coming into frame to point out certain words or passages that he must have liked. There were a few more photos that Ollie had taken of himself out in the garden or in his bedroom, Todd making an appearance in many of them. Most of those were taken by Ollie turning the camera around, so many were either out of focus, or only showed part of Ollie’s face. Draco burst into laughter at one that showed only Ollie’s forehead and Todd’s dopey face in the corner of the photo, and Harry felt laughter bubble up from his own chest in response.

He held Draco close as they flicked through the photos together, feeling so sad yet so happy at the same time. There was a photo of an awful drawing of a Crup with ‘Bobby’ written in green crayon above it, held next to a bored looking Todd. There was even a photo of the letter Ollie had sent Draco, telling him off for not coming around enough in the beginning.

Harry felt Draco’s breath catch in his throat when he pulled out a photo of the two of them out in the garden that Ollie must have taken from one of the kitchen windows. They were lying in the sun smiling at each other, their hands so close but not quite touching.

“This was before,” Draco said. His finger trailed over the picture as he looked at it. “Before we were together.”

“I can see how it was so obvious to everyone,” Harry said, smiling into Draco’s hair.

“Yes, we don’t exactly look subtle,” Draco said, placing the photo on the bed with the rest.

Ollie had apparently brought the camera along with him when he stayed the night at the Burrow, because there was a whole handful of photos from there. There was a photo of Molly smiling for the camera with a large pie in her hand, one of Ron and George wrestling in the backyard while Hermione looked on fondly, and one of Ollie and Hermione reading a book together that one of the Weasley’s must have taken. Harry smiled at the blurry photos of the Quidditch game that Ollie had snapped, and teared up at the photo of Ollie, Hermione, Ron, and George that someone seated near them at the game must have taken, Ollie beaming wide and decked out in Cannons colours.

Harry knew the photos from the beach were next, and steeled himself in anticipation. Ollie had taken a picture of the waves and a number of the sandcastle and all its various details. The photo of Ollie and Draco that Harry had taken, sandcastle in the background, made Harry’s throat feel thick, but the photo of the three of them was what made Harry tear up all over again. There were a few photos, slightly out of focus and a little blurry, but one was perfect. The sun beamed down on them, bouncing off their skin and making it glow. Ollie was seated in Draco’s lap, Draco’s arms around him. Harry was holding the camera, his free arm around Draco’s waist. The sandcastle was in the back corner of their photo, just as Ollie had insisted it would be.

The last picture was another photo of Harry and Draco, curled up around each other in bed. It was the morning after the beach, Harry could tell by the clothes. They were sleeping in each other’s arms, Harry’s head ending up on Draco’s chest at some point during the night.

“He must have taken this before he brought us breakfast,” Draco said. He smiled as his finger traced over their sleeping forms.

“I miss him,” Harry said quietly, resting his head on Draco’s shoulder as they gazed at the photo of them, taken by their son.

“Me too,” Draco said. He pushed the last photo up onto the bed and turned to kneel in front of Harry, pulling him into a tight hug. “I miss him, but I still have you.”

Harry nodded, his eyes burning as he hugged Draco as tight as he possibly could.

Draco went into Muggle London the next day and bought a photo album, presenting it to Harry with a smile when he returned to Grimmauld Place after work. They spread the photos out on the living room floor, sliding them into the album in as close to chronological order as they could get. They spent most of the evening there on the rug in the living room, flipping through the photos again. They didn’t hurt to look at as much the second time around, and Harry felt able to bring up stories about Ollie that connected to the things in the photos without tearing up.

“We’ll see him again,” Draco said firmly as they leaned against each other, looking at the completed photo album. “Other me said so. He’s not gone forever.”

Harry nodded, taking a deep breath and attempting to smile at Draco.

“Five years?” Draco asked, taking Harry’s hand.

“Five years,” Harry agreed with a nod.

“I can do that,” Draco said, wiping away a stray tear from his cheek. “I can do five years. As long as you do it with me.”

“Always,” Harry said, pulling Draco down for a soft kiss that gradually deepened.

“God,” Draco muttered, pulling away from Harry. A laugh bubbled out of his chest. “You’re an absolute moron, you know that?”

“How so?” Harry asked. The smile he shot Draco was genuine, and it made his chest feel lighter knowing that he didn’t have to force it.

“How did you possibly misunderstand what our bloody child’s name was?” Draco asked, snorting with laughter into Harry’s shoulder. “For Merlin’s bloody sake, Harry.”

“He was hard to understand at first,” Harry said, holding his hands up in surrender. “I blame the missing teeth.”

“I think it’s good, in a way,” Draco said after a moment, his smile dropping from one that stretched across his face, to one that was more subdued. “This is Ollie,” He pointed to the first picture, the one Ollie had taken of himself in the mirror. “We don’t have to give him up. Orrie – Orion – is different.”

“That’s for future us,” Harry nodded. “That’s what our son will be called. But Ollie’s the one who brought us together.”

“We can have both,” Draco said, kissing Harry through his smile. “Ollie’s for now, Orrie’s for later.”

“I love you,” Harry said, rubbing his thumb over Draco’s bottom lip.

Draco pushed his hand away and kissed him hard, clutching him tight so he couldn’t let go.

/ - /

They packed up Ollie’s things the next day, transferring his errant toys and discarded clothes into his room, leaving only a few drawings stuck to the fridge.

“We’ll keep his things,” Draco said. “He can use them when he’s older, since we already know that he likes them.”

“I wonder if that’s how he knew so much about Muggle toys; we’d already given the same ones to him,” Harry suggested. “Merlin, I can’t even wrap my brain around time travel.”

“I’m not even going to try,” Draco agreed, sending a pair of Ollie’s shoes from the front hall into his room.

The only other thing they left displayed were some of the photos. On the mantelpiece they framed the photo of the three of them at the beach, as well as the one of Ollie and Draco. Next to it, they put one of Ollie and Todd, and the photo that had been taken of Ollie and his aunt and uncles at the Quidditch game. The last photo they put up was the one of them lying on the grass.

“I like it,” Draco said, adjusting the frame. “I like that he took it, that he saw us get to know each other that way.”

They kept the one Ollie had taken of them in bed the morning after they’d first had sex on the bedside table in their room, where they could see it as they drifted off to sleep. On the fridge they stuck the first photo Ollie took, the one where he was inspecting his missing teeth in the mirror.

“So we can see it when we cook,” Harry said.

“He can still be with us,” Draco agreed, sliding his arms around Harry’s waist. “So, where do we go from here?”

“Well Ollie said we only live here during the summer, so I suppose we should start looking for something to buy,” Harry said. “Don’t freak out on me about moving too fast, we don’t have to do it right now.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Draco said, pressing a kiss under Harry’s ear.

“Oh,” Harry said. “Well, that’s good.”

“Mm,” Draco said, reaching behind him to open the cupboard. “Pasta sound good?”

“Yeah,” Harry said, moving to let Draco pass. A few minutes later he said: “I think I’ll go and see Robards tomorrow about getting back into the Auror training program.”

“I thought you weren’t sure about that?” Draco asked, turning away from the pot of boiling water to glance at Harry.

“I wasn’t,” Harry said, honestly. “But I think I am now.”

And he was. It felt like the right thing to do, since he didn’t have the option of staying home and teaching Ollie now.

“Don’t do it just because you think it’s what you have to do. Ollie could have been wrong about that being your job in the future.”

“I want to do something; make a difference. I shouldn’t have tried to go straight from the war into training, but I’m ready now. I want to.”

“Ok,” Draco said, starting to smile. “I’m happy for you.”

There were still gaps in their conversation while they ate dinner, so used to waiting for Ollie to interject with his opinions and stories. Each time they realised what they were waiting for, they would quickly attempt to fill the gap, the other smiling comfortingly, knowing exactly what was happening.

As Harry ate, the radio sitting on the counter caught his eye. It hadn’t been put away with the rest of Ollie’s things, because it wasn’t technically Ollie’s. Harry had bought it before he’d turned up, and it wasn’t like it couldn’t be reused. It was just that it felt like Ollie’s; they’d made so many meals as a trio with the radio playing in the background, spent so many quiet afternoons with it playing background music.

Harry stood up and walked over to it, bringing it back to the table.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked, raising an eyebrow.

“The next step,” Harry said, turning it on. It was still on the Muggle station Ollie had picked on the afternoon that he’d left, a slow Muggle song emanating from it. “Come here,” Harry said, holding his hand out to Draco.

Draco nodded and stood, abandoning the rest of his dinner. They danced slowly, Draco’s head resting against Harry’s shoulder. They swayed together until the song ended and changed to a different, faster one.

“He loved this one,” Draco said, laughing when the beat picked up.

“I know,” Harry said, wiggling his hips and stepping to the side in an imitation of one of Ollie’s favourite moves.

Draco laughed loudly, his smile beaming.

“Hey, if he made me learn this bloody dance then you have to as well,” Harry said, taking Draco’s hand again. He directed Draco’s movements into the bizarre combination Ollie had deemed as dancing, Draco’s laughter filling the air as Ollie’s once had.

They danced for the rest of the song, breaths becoming laboured as they gave it their all. As Harry watched Draco he knew it would be alright. Yes, they’d miss Ollie, but they’d get to see him again. Next time they’d get to experience every bit of his life, rather than just a slice of it.

“Five years?” Harry asked, kissing Draco as the song petered out.

“Five years,” Draco nodded against Harry’s lips, pulling him into a twirl.

And until then, Harry had Draco.

/ - /

 

Ten years later

 

Fuck,” Harry yelled, staring at the spot from where Orrie had just dematerialised. “Hermione, it’s fucking happened. Fuck.”

“Oh god,” Hermione muttered, coming to stand next to him, Cassie still clasped to her hip. “Suppose I’ll start brewing the elderflower roots then, shall I?”

“Harry, have you seen Orrie?” Draco called, walking through the shelves of Hermione’s restricted objects. “He better not be bloody in here.” Draco stopped short when he saw Harry and Hermione, his eyes flicking to the old Time Turner on one of the lower shelves. “Oh, hell.”

“I’ll go make the call,” Hermione said, handing Cassie back to Draco.

Draco buried his face in his daughters light coloured hair, meeting Harry’s gaze over the top of her head.

“We knew it was coming, I suppose,” Harry sighed. He ran his hand through his hair, sending it into disarray.

“Let’s go back into the house,” Draco said, taking Harry’s hand. “I hate it in here.”

They made the short walk back to the house in silence, both lost in their memories of those times that had happened a decade prior, when they were on the other hand of Ollie’s little accidental time travel incident.

“This is so weird,” Harry said once they’d reached their living room, sinking down onto the couch. “I’m so worried about him, but at the same time I’m not.”

“Well at least we know he’s not getting into any trouble,” Draco said, sitting close enough to press the side of his arm against Harry’s.

Harry glanced at Draco to see him staring at the mantelpiece where the photo of them, ten years younger and at the beach, sat. Their faces smiled out into the room, the child in Draco’s lap somehow both Orrie and Ollie at the same time, now.

“That’s still one of my favourite days,” Draco said, smiling over at Harry.

“Not the day I asked you to marry me?” Harry asked, making a face at their daughter and getting a high pitched giggle in return.

“That too,” Draco said. “But I was so happy that day at the beach. I don’t think I’d ever been happier before then.”

“He’s in good hands,” Harry said, slipping his arm around Draco’s waist and pulling him in towards him.

“Good luck, past us,” Draco said, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder.

And as Harry sat there he reflected on ten years prior, when it had seemed like the world was ending when Ollie had left, ripping a whole in the life he and Draco had built together, the life Harry thought they might need their son to sustain. Back then, Harry and Draco had held each other up, weathering the storm together rather than driving each other away, and it had made them so much stronger.

“I love you,” Harry said to Draco. “And you,” he directed to Cassie, whose small hand tapped at his cheek.

He’d had Draco back then to help him through the complete rearrangement of his life. He’d had Draco then, and he had him now. He’d always had Draco, and that wasn’t about to change. That was something he’d never have to worry about.