Sunday, 6 April 2003
A litany of emotions swept over Harry, even as he made sure to smile broadly at the woman sitting opposite him who was nervously awaiting his reaction.
Joy, sadness, jealousy, guilt.
Joy, because it was happy news and he was, above all else, happy for her. She deserved this and she was almost like a sister to him.
Sadness for what might have been. It was almost five years since they had mutually agreed that they were better off as friends than as boyfriend and girlfriend. He did not regret that decision for a moment, but could not deny that even now he wondered what his present would be like if they had managed to make things work in the immediate aftermath of the War.
Jealousy, not because he still harboured romantic feelings for her. Definitely not that. But because she had found someone to spend the rest of her life with, someone to love and cherish her above all others.
Guilt for feeling anything other joy at her joy. She had been through so much and at times had struggled to overcome the grief and trauma which stubbornly clung to her in the months and years after the War.
“Well, are you going to say something or are you going to carry on sitting their grinning like an idiot?” Ginny asked, with a slightly bemused look.
Harry immediately enveloped her in his arms. “Congratulations, Gin. I’m so happy for you!” he said, squeezing her tightly.
“I’m so relieved!”
“What, you thought I’d be. . . How on Earth did you think I’d react?”
“I didn’t think you’d be anything other than pleased. Of course not! It’s just that you’re the first person I’ve told.”
“Really?! What about your parents and brothers?”
“You are one of my brothers, Harry. You know that. And as for my parents, you know the moment I tell my mother she’ll go into manic wedding preparation mode and I just want to enjoy this for a couple of days before she starts stressing me out with china patterns, dresses and wedding favours!”
Harry laughed as he looked over towards Molly, who had just licked her thumb and was trying to wipe a smudge of something from Ron’s face, whilst Ron desperately tried to avoid her. Hermione was rolling her eyes and then looked quizzically at Harry as she saw him and Ginny hugging.
“You’d better tell Hermione soon, though, because she’s just seen us hugging and you know I’m rubbish at lying.”
“Don’t worry, her and Ron were my next port of call anyway.”
“Harry! Harry!” They were interrupted by an excited sandy haired boy scampering up to them holding a smart wooden box. “Look what Cousin Draco got me!”
“Hey Teddy Bear!” Harry said, crouching down towards the boy and hugging him to his side. “Show me what you’ve got there.”
“Look! It’s a po-shuns set! I can make my own po-shuns!”
Harry groaned inwardly at the thought of the mess his Godson would create with what looked like a very expensive child’s potion set. He caught Draco’s eye in the distance and raised an exasperated eyebrow. Draco smirked and raised his glass at him.
“That’s amazing, Ted! We’ll write a proper thank you to Draco for it. Why don’t you put it on the table with all your other presents, though, for the moment? It’s not the sort of thing you should start playing with now.”
“Okay!” Teddy replied and obediently trotted to the present laden table.
Ginny had wondered off towards Ron and Hermione and Harry took a moment to look around the garden of 12 Grimmauld Place. It was filled with his friends and family and varying sizes of the next generation, as well as a few of Teddy’s friends from school and their parents, some of whom were Muggles. They were all gathered to celebrate his Godson’s fifth birthday and Harry smiled as he watched the boy run around with his friends. This was the first birthday party he’d had where his Muggle friends could attend as he had only recently managed to keep control of his hair colour. Whilst engaging in the daily battle to get Teddy to put on clothes that morning, he had impressed upon the boy the importance of keeping his hair it’s ‘normal’ dirty blond colour.
“I promise, Harry” Teddy had said, looking solemnly up at him. “But why do I haff to wear clothes?”
“Ted, we have this conversation every morning.”
“But you said that there’s nothing wrong with being naked and that it’s a good thing not to be ‘barrassed of being naked.”
Harry had sighed at Teddy’s ability to remember only those parts of their conversations which helped him in his quest to remain clothes free all day.
“Didn’t I also say that when we have guests you have to wear clothes because it’s not polite to be naked in public?”
Teddy had huffed and then a naughty glint sparked in his hazel eyes.
“But we don’t have any guests ‘til my party,” he’d said, before wriggling from Harry’s grasp and scampering out of his bedroom, his naked bottom flashing out of sight before Harry could do anything about it.
Harry smiled to himself as he remembered that morning’s scene. He felt a presence to his right and turned to find Draco Malfoy standing by him.
“Feeling rather pleased with yourself, are you Draco?”
“What do you mean, Potter?”
“Giving Teddy a potions set? Really?!”
“I got my first potions set when I was his age, Potter. I’m just looking out for my little cousin’s potions education. Merlin knows, if we left that to you he’d be well and truly fucked.”
Harry let out a bark of laughter. “Fair enough. You can show him how it works the next time you come over. And you can clear up whatever hideous mess he creates afterwards.”
“If I am supervising, there will be no mess.”
Harry couldn’t argue with that as he thought back to the meticulous way Draco had ordered and prepared his ingredients during Potions lessons at Hogwarts.
“So, how are things going with Astoria?”
“Well, thanks, Potter.”
“How long’s it been now? Four months?”
“Good for you. I like her, not that my approval matters.”
“It does not, but it’s still nice to hear.”
For Harry, one of the strangest developments in the five years since the War had been the friendship which had grown between him and Draco. Its roots had probably been planted in the events of that terrible day at Hogwarts. Harry saving Draco from the fiendfyre and Draco’s mother lying for Harry. Harry had then testified in support of both Draco and Narcissa at their trials a couple of months after the Battle of Hogwarts. Narcissa had been sentenced to two years’ house arrest without magic. Draco to a form of community service. Harry had refused to speak on behalf of Lucius Malfoy, who had been sentenced to life in Azkaban. He had never directly spoken about it with Draco, but felt as though he had understood why Harry had been unable to bring himself to defend the Malfoy patriarch.
A week or so after Draco’s trial, Harry had decided to return his wand to him. It hadn’t felt right to keep hold of it. He had nervously approached the Manor, memories of his last visit to the imposing property still fresh in his memory, Hermione’s screams echoing around his head.
It had been Draco, and not a house elf, who had answered the door.
“Potter?” he had said, surprise rather than irritation or animosity colouring his tone.
“Hi Malfoy. Er. . . I thought I ought to give this back to you,” he’d said, awkwardly thrusting the wand towards Draco.
Draco’s eyes had widened when he’d seen what was clutched in Harry’s hand.
“Are you serious?”
“Deadly, if that’s not a totally inappropriate way to describe it.”
A half smile had briefly appeared on Draco’s face, before being replaced by a look of longing as he reached out to take the wand.
“Why are you doing all this?”
“Testifying for my mother and me. Returning my wand.”
“Because it’s the right thing to do,” Harry had replied. “I know you probably think that’s a stupid Gryffindor thing to say, but then I suppose I am a stupid Gryffindor. I believed what I said at your trial, Malfoy. I know you did not want to do the things you were forced to do. We were all just children and pawns in the games of other men.”
Draco had looked questioningly at Harry’s description of himself as a pawn.
“Everyone deserves a second chance. If our world has any chance of recovering from the two Wars, of moving on and becoming a better place, then we have to put the past behind us.”
Harry had stuck out his hand again. “What do you say, Malfoy, fancy a fresh start?”
Draco had hesitatingly clutched the offered hand and they’d shaken on the new beginning.
“Would you like to come in?”
“I don’t think I can, quite yet,” Harry had replied honestly.
A day or so later, a haughty owl had delivered an elegantly written letter to Grimmauld Place.
I was too overwhelmed to say what needed to be said when you visited earlier this week.
I want to thank you for everything you have done for my family in recent months. I know that you will already have had countless expressions of gratitude for all that you did in defeating Riddle, but I would also like to add my own thanks. I do not know whether the rumours are true, but by my mother’s own account you went willingly into the forest and did not raise your wand as he cast the killing curse at you. That is something that has reverberated around my mind since my mother told me about it. It is something I know that I would have been incapable of doing. If I am honest with myself, I know – too – that I would not have flown back into the fire to rescue you either. I have to live with that knowledge and try to use it positively.
I also need to apologise for all that I have said and done to you since we first met. I will not seek to excuse myself with explanations of my upbringing. I must accept that I chose to behave as I did and that I was at all times capable of seeing for myself that the things I had been told as a child and many of the values I had been taught to revere were worthless.
All I can do now, is to seek to be a better man and I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to do just that.
I know that I owe apologies to Granger, Weasley and his family and many others of our peers and I will write separately to them.
With grateful thanks.
Harry’s own scribbled reply had been short.
Draco [that’s weird isn’t it!]
Neither you nor your mother owe me anything, but I appreciate your letter all the same.
We both behaved in ways which we regret. Of all the things I have done, the one I am sorriest for is casting that curse at you in 6th Year. The fact that I did not know what it did is no excuse and, if anything, adds to the reckless stupidity of it.
Anyway, I thought I said that we had to move on from the past? No more apologies or gratitude, please.
A few weeks after that, Andromeda had told him that Narcissa had been in contact. They had started a tentative correspondence, which eventually led to Andromeda visiting her housebound sister for tea with Teddy. Draco had returned the visit and he and Harry had crossed paths several times at Andromeda’s cottage. Harry also heard from Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Molly, Neville Longbottom and several others from his year, of letters of apology which Draco had written. Apologies for his own behaviour and that of his family as well.
Two years ago, Draco and his mother had attended Andromeda’s funeral and their presence had barely garnered a reaction. Harry had made it clear that they were both welcome to visit Teddy, who would now be living with Harry, whenever they wanted. Draco had taken him at his word and had visited two or three times a month, sometimes staying for lunch or dinner. Narcissa had been a less frequent visitor, though Harry knew that she kept mostly to the Manor even now that her house arrest was over.
After nearly five years, they had fallen into an easy friendship. Harry wouldn’t say they were close friends, but certainly good friends. He called him ‘Draco’ and it had stopped feeling weird some time ago. Draco mostly still called him ‘Potter’, but it was no longer spat out of his mouth as if Draco was expelling a particularly repulsive object he’d accidentally swallowed. Harry would almost say that it was said with a sort of affectionate warmth sometimes.
“I’m sorry I can’t make it tomorrow,” Draco said, interrupting Harry’s reminiscence.
“Don’t worry about it. I work for myself so it’s easy enough for me to take the day off. Besides, this is the ‘main event’ for Teddy. He’ll remember you being here for his party, not whether you joined the two of us tomorrow.”
“Yes, but tomorrow is his actual birthday.”
“He won’t remember that in a few years’ time.”
Several hours later, after the last of the guests has left and after Harry has put an objecting, but very sleepy Teddy to bed, he is collapsed on the sofa with a large glass of firewhisky. Kreacher did most of the clearing up, but Harry still feels exhausted and then there are also the feelings he has been trying to ignore. The feelings brought up by Ginny’s announcement, but which had been nagging at him for several months.
Ginny’s announcement and Draco’s obvious contentment in his own relationship hammered home something which Harry had been feeling for some time. He was the last of their friends to be coupled up. Ron and Hermione had married the year before; George and Angelina and Percy and Audrey were also married and had kids; Neville and Luna were engaged, as too were Ginny and Terry Boot now; Seamus and Dean had been together since 4th Year (though Harry hadn’t realised this until the‘8th’ Year they had all attended at Hogwarts after the War).
Harry, meanwhile, had not had a serious relationship since Ginny. He had realised soon after they had broken up that he was, in fact, gay and had managed to have a few flings over the ensuing few years. Then Andromeda had fallen ill and Teddy had become his focus. He would not change that for anything. He loved the little boy as much as if he were his own flesh and blood, but he had not wanted to confuse or upset him by introducing him to a string of men. There had been the odd date here and there, but nothing that had got beyond dinner.
Instead, his life had settled into an easy routine. During the week he would wake up at 6.30am, wake Teddy up at 7am, breakfast, take Teddy to nursery/school, work at his patisserie on Diagon Alley from 8.30am until 6pm, bathe Teddy (who had been collected by Kreacher from nursery/school and entertained and fed), put Teddy to bed, have his dinner, watch TV/read a book, collapse in bed. Weekends were spent entertaining Teddy, or simply enjoying family time with the Weasleys.
Harry sighed heavily and gulped down the firewhisky, the burn of it down his throat and into his stomach warming him, but failing to dispel the disquiet he felt. He poured himself another large measure and lay back on the sofa, with the glass resting on his chest. His heart yearned for companionship, for love and for the support of a man who would always be there for him. That was his final thought as his heavy eyelids closed and he dozed off.
Warm brown eyes peered down at him with affection. There was something familiar in them, but before he could think of where he recognised them, he saw his own hand brush the man’s stubbled cheek. Tousled, light brown hair fell over the man’s eyes as he turned and kissed Harry’s hand, the stubble gently tickling his palm. The man then leant down and kissed Harry hungrily, a kiss which Harry could feel himself return, their tongues crossing and darting against each other.
As all this was happening, Harry could feel the weight of the man’s legs on top of him and then, with a groan of pleasure, his hard length pressing against his own. As the man lifted his lips away, Harry moved his hands to caress his broad chest. He was muscled, but not intimidatingly so, his hard pecs covered in curls of darker brown hair, which Harry could see thinned to a line of curly hair leading down to his belly button, a belly button that lay amidst his rippled stomach. Harry could just make out the head of an impressively sized penis poking up beyond the bellybutton.
Harry had never felt such intense pleasure as the man kissed him along his jaw, into the nape of his neck, down onto his chest where he teased Harry’s nipples with his tongue and teeth. He felt the man’s hand brush up his right thigh and then, the pleasure deepened as his fingers caressed Harry’s balls, juggling with them until, at last, his strong hand gripped the length of Harry’s erection.
“Come for me Harry,” the man whispered into his ear as he continued to stroke him.
Harry was completely undone and felt his cock throb as ropes of cum spilled out of it.
“I love you Harry. I’m here for you, Harry, always,” the man said as he kissed Harry and looked lovingly into his eyes.
Harry woke with a start, the tumbler of firewhisky falling from his chest unto the rug beside the sofa.
“Fuck!” Harry exclaimed, as he watched the liquid soak into the rug. “Scourigy!” he waved his hand and the stain was gone.
“Oh fuck!” he muttered again, as he felt a sticky dampness in his groin. The humiliation he felt at having had a wet dream for the first time since he was in his early teens replaced the warmth and peace the last moments of the dream had brought to him.
After cleaning himself with another Scourgify, Harry glanced at the grandfather clock and saw that it was almost midnight. He left the tumbler in the kitchen and padded up the stairs to the top floor. As ever, the door to Teddy’s room was slightly ajar and the gentle light of his night light spilled onto the landing. Harry quietly entered the boy’s room and stared down at his sleeping figure.
Teddy’s thumb was in his mouth as the other hand clutched his favourite badger cuddly toy. Harry smiled and brushed the sandy hair out of his eyes.
“’Night Teddy Bear,” he whispered, stroking his Godson’s cheek. He heard the clock strike midnight downstairs. “Happy Birthday. I love you so much.”
Harry knew it to be true, but at the same time felt the aching loneliness return. The dream had been so vivid, the man in it so real and the feelings he projected everything which Harry felt was missing from his life. As he stroked his Godson’s cheek he wished with every fibre of his being that the man of his dreams could become a reality.