When Harry opened the door to their flat, he was greeted with darkness and silence instead of the usual warm light of the living room and the sound of Draco humming as he prepared their dinner in the kitchen.
Harry was instantly on high alert. With his wand out, he slowly made his way deeper into the flat, scared of what he might find. His head hurt and he was limping from a deep wound on his leg that he'd managed to obtain while trying to bring down an illegal potions ring earlier in the day. Despite his resulting exhaustion, he was vigilant and noticed every single thing around him.
When he didn't see Draco's shoes in their usual place next to the door, he let himself think that Draco had gone out with co-workers from Gringotts or his friends for a second.
Harry's heart sank, however, when he started to think rationally about this and realised that he knew his husband better than that.
If Draco had made plans – even at the last minute – he would have texted. After all, it had been his idea to get Muggle mobile phones in the first place just for that reason.
“I'd like some updates,” he'd grumbled while piecing together his Android phone, “so that I don't have to worry about you lying dead in a ditch all of the time .”
No, Harry knew that Draco's absence meant that something was wrong. He jumped when he reached their dark living room and he suddenly heard the sound of running water from their bathroom. As he crept closer, he could make out a faint beam of light shining through from underneath the door and a low whir of voices.
Wand at the ready and hex already on the tip of his tongue, he slowly turned the knob of the door and pushed it open.
It took Harry a moment to comprehend what he was seeing.
“Draco?” he asked incredulously, lowering his wand and putting it back into his holster. Draco was standing at the sink, water running over his hands and turning red as it did so. He was still wearing his cloak and shoes and had his sleeves pushed up. Harry immediately rushed to Draco's side, taking his husband's hands in his and inspected the tiny cuts on Draco's pale skin.
“Draco, you're bleeding,” Harry breathed with alarm in his voice, “what happened?”
Draco sniffed and glared at a spot behind him.
“Tiny scratching machine happened,” he explained an gesticulated in the direction he was staring in. Harry followed his gaze and the relief was so immediate that his legs threatened to give out.
On their bathroom drawer was a tiny kitten lying in a heap on two bunched-up towels. It looked filthy, the snowy white fur covered in black patches. Is that blood in its fur? Harry wondered as he limped over to it, his heart warming and a smile forming on his face.
“Hello little one,” he cooed and scratched the tiny head until there were soft purring sounds coming from the cat. He heard Draco snort behind him, so he turned around to finally say hello properly.
What usually was just a quick peck on the lips, turned into a long, sensual kiss. When Draco pulled away, he was smiling.
“What was that for?”
Harry grinned and touched his fingertips to his lips, stroking his well-groomed, thick beard as he did so and was very pleased to notice Draco's eyes following the motion with half-lidded gaze.
“I'm just happy you're here and you're okay,” Harry said happily and reached out to take another look at the now clean cuts on Draco's hands.
“Well, I seem to be in better shape than you,” Draco almost whispered and shot a pointed look at Harry's leg. Harry could hear the concern in his voice and hated it. Hated that he made Draco feel this way and hated himself for just shrugging at the question, like he was dismissing Draco's concern when, in all actuality, he just wished that he had no reason for it.
“You first,” he said, indicating to the kitten.
It was Draco's turn to shrug.
“Found it on my way home from work. It was neglected and scared and I thought I'd bring it to the vet before taking it to the shelter. The vet was closed for the day though, and voila, here we are. What happened to your leg, Harry?”
Harry hesitated and ran a hand through his hair in agitation.
“Raid gone a bit wrong. Got hit by a hex,” he admitted. He didn't dare to look at Draco because he couldn't stand the worry and helplessness that overtook his husband's features whenever he came home hurt.
He regretted not looking at Draco in the end, because the brokenness in his voice hit him like a punch in the gut.
“I wish you'd stop,” Draco said in a voice so small that Harry's heart ached.
Draco took a deep breath.
“It's been almost 25 years on the force, Harry. That's 25 years of me worrying that you won't come home one day. That's 25 years of kissing you goodbye in the mornings and waiting for updates on the mobile phone while moving some money around in my boring, but safe office. That's 25 years of hoping to God that it wasn't the last time I got to kiss you and I -,” he broke off and sighed.
The cat behind Harry started to meow loudly and just like that, the tension was broken a little. Harry smiled at the small animal and then at Draco, who was still looking at him with sad eyes.
Harry had no idea what made him say it. Maybe it was his painfully throbbing leg, maybe it was his love for Draco, or maybe he thought that the kitten was a sign, but the words were out of his mouth before he could even think them through:
“Can we keep the cat?”
They'd talked about pets before, both agreeing that they both weren't home enough to properly take care of a living creature. Therefore, Draco's response wasn't very surprising.
“We can't. Harry, you know we can't. We talked about this. It can't be on its own the whole day.”
Harry cleared his throat, steadying himself.
“What if it wasn't alone?”
Harry stared at Draco, trying to decipher his look. Draco didn't say anything for a moment.
“We're not getting two cats just so they're not alone,” he said carefully as if irritated that Harry's mind would even go in such directions. Harry smiled and shook his head.
“No, I mean what if... I were here to take care of it?” he suggested slowly and took in Draco's guarded expression. At least what Draco thought was a guarded expression, but somewhere along the line, Harry had figured out all of Draco's tells and in this moment, all of him oozed hopefulness.
“Are you thinking about taking a holiday?” he asked slowly, but Harry shook his head.
“I'm thinking of quitting the Force,” he said. He had no idea where the thought had come from, only that he felt like this was the best idea that he's ever had. “I think 25 years of you worrying about coming home to the news of me dead in a ditch has been long enough, don't you? Besides, I think it should be my turn to wait for you with dinner at the table.”
Draco opened and closed his mouth a couple of times. Then, the first thing he voiced was:
“You can't cook.”
Harry laughed and felt his mustache vibrate at the action.
“I could take a course.”
Draco was silently regarding him.
“Are you serious?”
“Are you actually considering this?”
Draco asked again and took a step towards Harry, searching his face.
“I'm not just considering. I have made up my mind.”
They didn't need the money anyway, Harry thought. He was just doing it so that he would have something to do, feel useful. Thought he had to give more of him to wizarding society. With a bolt, he realised that the only person he should give something to was the one standing in front of him. Draco, who'd been by his side for almost thirty years. Draco, who'd always accepted him and his quirks just as he was. Draco, who'd gotten down on his knee in the middle of Muggle London to tell him that he didn't want to spend a single day of his life without him. Draco, who made sure that Harry's favourite food was in the fridge whenever he had a tiring day. Draco, who was standing in front of him right now with an honest and hopeful expression, and Harry was filled with love.
“Are you sure?”Draco asked one last time, as if he couldn't believe it.
With that, Draco wrapped his arms around Harry's neck loosely and smiled a bright and wide smile that Harry had last seen on their wedding day.
“I love you,” Draco said giddily and it was so out of character for his husband to be so bubbly and happy that Harry almost wanted to laugh.
“I love you, too,” he replied, taking in Draco's happy features and couldn't believe that he was the reason for it.
He leaned forward and brought their lips together in a soft kiss, smiling into it when he felt Draco do the same.
They only broke apart, when a loud indignant noise came from behind Harry and they both laughed, turning to the cat and inspecting it.
“What should we call it?” Draco asked excitedly and started spelling the cat's fur clean.
“What was that name you would have given to your son if you hadn't decided to break it off with Astoria and married me, instead?” he laughed at the memory of an outraged Lucius as Draco had yelled: “Fuck this, I'm cancelling this. I am going to get married to the person I love and only him!”
Draco thought about it for a moment and then giggled.
“You mean Scorpius?”
Harry nodded, smiling. Those Purebloods and their ridiculous names, he thought.
“Yeah, do you still like it?”
“Yeah, yeah I still like it.”
Harry let his hand stroke the cat's fur in a soothing manner.
“Hello Scorpius,” he said smiling, “welcome to your new family.”