Harry opened his eyes and focused really hard to keep from retching : despite years of practice, his body never fully got used to apparating. His eyelids immediately tried to close again : the sky above the Wiltshire had the bad taste to not reflect the more than somber mood of the day, and the morning sun blinded him. He felt Draco's arm pull away from his own before he could even make out the surroundings. The blond man was now heading on his own towards the little graveyard across the road.
Harry knew the day would be painful for the former Slytherin, but he couldn't help but sigh at his partner's coldness. It'd been a week. A week since Draco had been sequestered. A week since Harry had tried to rescue him. A week since they'd heard of Lucius' death. A week since Draco fell asleep crying in his arms. A week since he'd stopped showing any emotion at all. He didn't ask Harry to come to the funeral with him, but the DADA professor decided to support him, no matter how rude the other man had been to him the past few days.
The former Gryffindor hurried up at the sight of the swarm of journalists rushing towards the Malfoy heir. The latter just passed through them without answering any question, but Harry knew it'd only take one wrong word to get him to throw hexes right and left. He caught up with him in a few strides, battling his way to the graveyard's entrance ; Draco went in without looking back, but Harry took the time to turn to face the reporters :
“If any one of you steps through the gates, I swear I'll take you back out myself... And it applies to beetles too,” he added as he noticed Rita Skeeter in the crowd – she just glowered at him.
He took the disapproving mutters as a confirmation that he was taken seriously, and went back on his way on the little alley lined with tombstones. He finally caught sight of the group gathered for the funeral on his left, and his heart sank. Four people. Only four people were waiting for the ceremony to start : Draco, Narcissa, the mortician who was here to officiate the memorial service, and – Harry was surprised – Andromeda Tonks. He was sad to witness just how much Draco and his mother were now cut from the rest of society : no one wanted to pay their last respects to a Death Eater, nor to be there for his family.
He stepped closer in silence and took place next to Draco. Narcissa nodded discretely to the mortician, who began the ceremony. His voice was monotonous, grim, and the eulogy was reduced to Lucius' biography. No emotion, just a recitation of the major events in the man's life. Not a word about his deeds as a Death Eater, only a vague mention of “the bad choices that eventually lead him to his doom”. Nothing on the fact that he'd chosen to go, either ; the autopsy results were unequivocal : Lucius starved himself to death in Azkaban, three years only before his release.
Draco didn't react to the news ; he didn't react to anything, this week : Minerva granted him as many days off as he needed, and since they'd come back from the Ministry he only ever got out from his bedroom to go visit his mother. Harry played along, asking Kreacher to serve Draco's meals directly in his room to spare him the confrontation with the outside world. He also went to keep him company as often as he could, but their time together wasn't exactly pleasant : Draco refused to talk about recent events but he was more irritable than ever. Of course, Harry couldn't blame him : he just gritted his teeth and waited for better days. The day after they came back Harry had found him cutting himself next to three smoking howlers' remains laying on the bed. Since then, he started picking up all of his hate mail to open it himself in private, along with his own. The last week had been particularly challenging.
Silence fell in the small graveyard, and Harry came back to reality. The man had gone quiet and, with a flick of his wand, he initiated the coffin's descent to the depths of the Earth.
“No. Wait !”
Harry jumped ; Draco's voice sounded unfamiliar. Or maybe it just came from the fact that he didn't hear it a lot today. The blond man was shaking, and he slowly stepped closer to the pit in which the coffin had stopped sinking. He kneeled and pointed his wand at the red roses wreath that lay on the dark wood. Each petal started growing and all of the flowers turned iridescent multicolour shades. Harry couldn't help but smile : peacock feathers, that's what was missing from Lucius Malfoy's funerals.
Draco came back next to Harry without looking at anyone and, to his great surprise, took his hand. The DADA professor could feel his lover's grip tighten as the coffin sank in the ground, but he suffered in silence : he didn't want to remove it, and hug Draco to comfort him would most likely embarrass the latter. Consequently, he did exactly what he'd been doing for a week : he didn't move a muscle and he waited. His hand got numb as earth filled the pit over the coffin, then he lost all sensation in his fingers when the heavy stone was placed to seal the grave.
The memorial service was over, the mortician had left, but Draco still hadn't moved. Worried for the man he loved as well as for his own hand, Harry turned towards him and carefully stroked his arm with his free hand.
“Will you be okay ?” He tried.
Draco stared at him blankly before he looked down at their still interlaced hands. Only then did he seem to realise how tight his grip was ; he let go at once, and Harry had to stretch his fingers to try and regain some sensation.
“Draco ?” he insisted softly.
“I... It's okay,” he lied, still staring at Harry's whitened hand. “I'm okay," he repeated as he looked back up into his eyes.
He seemed more sure this time, but it felt like he was mostly trying to convince himself.
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Narcissa and her sister ending their conversation, then Andromeda coming near them.
“Hello Harry, dear,” she greeted him with a hug.
“Draco, sweetheart, I'm so sorry for your loss,” she added as she grabbed the blond man by the shoulders.
Draco looked questioningly at Harry. That might have been the first time anyone ever called him “sweetheart”. Harry opened his mouth, but Andromeda was quicker :
“Of course, you have no idea who I am. I'm your aunt Andromeda.”
“I figured,” Draco answered coldly. “You look like her...”
A shadow fell over the woman's face :
“I know, Draco. I'm sorry you were unlucky enough to know her.”
Narcissa, who was watching them from afar, frowned in silence.
“Anyway, and as I was telling your mother, I think it's time to move past the old grudges and try to be a family again. I only know too well the loneliness one feels after the loss of a loved one, and I want you to know that you're welcome at my place anytime.”
Draco nodded rigidly.
“And, Harry, dear,” she added, finally letting go of her nephew, “Teddy's asking after you. You know, I think he saw that they were talking about you in the newspaper and he's worried.”
“I miss him too,” Harry confessed. “I'll visit soon, I promise.”
“What about next Saturday ? You can have tea with us.”
“Alright, Dromeda, I'll be there.”
“And, Draco,” she kept going, “It'd be a pleasure to have you too.”
Once more, Draco nodded silently. Satisfied, Andromeda went back to say goodbye to her sister before she stepped out of the small graveyard.
“I'll wait for you outside,” Harry whispered to Draco before he followed the same way.
He didn't want to face the journalists again, but leaving the Malfoys to pay their last respects as a family felt like the right thing to do.
He'd barely reached the gates when he heard numerous cameras flashing.
“Merlin's beard, this is a funeral ! Can't you show some decency ?”
He exploded in spite of himself ; he couldn't stand the idea of Draco and his mother being harassed like this on such a day.
Truth be told, he suspected the photographer's target was the alleged new couple they formed with Draco, but that thought made him feel guilty. The previous Monday, they'd faced the journalists together at the Ministry. They arrived in the Atrium holding hands, but didn't answer any personal question ; they just told Draco's abduction and announced Lucius' death. The Auror Department had filled in the blanks during their press conference the very evening but, despite the detailed account the journalists had got, a lot of them wrote more about the relationship between the two professors than about the case – some of them even made things up to make their articles catchier.
And Harry was feeling guilty, because he should have known that this would be their reaction if Draco and him appeared together. The two of them had wanted to face things together, but they didn't really think it through. They'd been buried under rude letters and howlers for a week, and Harry felt like he was reliving his public coming-out. And yet, the mail Malfoy was getting was way more violent than his own. Since Wednesday he was the one opening it, and after only four days he started to understand how Draco could be so depressed and filled with self-loath that he'd resort to harming himself.
Deep down, he knew that the journalists weren't responsible for how stupid people could be : no article called for homophobia, very few had questioned Draco's sincerity, but Harry needed someone to blame. His anger needed to be catalysed, and right now they were a perfect target.
The reporters might have felt his wrath, because after a few shy questions they gave up trying to communicate with him at all. After a few minutes of silent wait, Harry felt Draco's hand rest on his shoulder as he told him he was ready to go. They disapparated without further ado, leaving a bunch of disappointed journalists on the sunny street.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They crossed Hogsmeade silently, and it's only when they got to Hogwarts' deserted grounds that Harry tried to break the ice :
“So... You met Andromeda. What about tea with us next Saturday ?”
Draco turned to face him, looking appalled :
“Seriously, Potter ? Do you really think I'm about tea right now ?”
“Not right now, of course, but I...”
“Please shut up...” Draco interrupted dryly.
“Oi,” Harry heckled him, grabbing his arm to get him to stop walking, “I'm doing my best, okay ? And I know you're sad, and lost, and you don't know how to react to all this, but I'm not sure it really helps to scorn me like you do. You don't want to talk about what happened, but apparently you won't talk about anything else either, what am I supposed to do with that ?!”
“You can start by leaving me be, it'll be simpler for everyone,” Draco spat as he got back on his way.
“No,” Harry simply said, following him, “because four days later the vision of you cutting yourself is still engraved in my mind, and I won't let it happen again. If I leave you, how can I know you won't do even worse ?”
“So that's it,” Draco said, furious, as he turned back, “you feel compelled to watch me ?! You're babysitting me to keep your conscience clear ? You know what ? Fuck off ! I'm freeing you of your obligations, Saint Potter. You can go, I don't want your pity.”
“That's not what I meant, for crying out loud !”
Harry was seriously getting angry now. He knew he was being awkward, but after a week being both Draco's and their detractors' punching bag he'd reached his breaking point. He tried to explain more clearly :
“I love you. Okay ? Of course I won't let anyone hurt you ! The problem is : you're the one hurting yourself, and I don't know how to prevent it, except by clinging to you like a freaking shadow all day long ! And so what if you end up hating my guts, so what if “moron” becomes my second name, as long as you're safe and sound ? Is that clear ?”
“But you are a fucking moron,” Draco cringed. “You still believe you have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, but that's not what I'm asking of you ! I don't want you to handle my howlers, or to defend me to the journalists, or to make sure I don't have to leave my bloody room ! I can do all of this on my own, I don't need your permission, nor your help ! What I want is for you to stop treating me like I'm some fragile little thing. I want you to yell at me whenever we disagree. I want you to tell me when someone insults you in a letter. I want you to laugh while calling me a cunt whenever I bitch about random people. I want you to fuck me...”
Harry felt a twitch in his lower belly and looked around involuntarily to check that no one could have heard that last bit. Fortunately, they were all alone. Malfoy sighed loudly to get him to focus on the argument.
“I... I don't know what to say to you,” Harry said. “I wanted to be there for you... What with your father, and the investigation, and your coming-out, I... I thought you needed some time.”
“You were wrong,” Draco declared with lightnings in his eyes. “I need normality.”
“Hey, I invited you to tea, that was pretty normal...” Harry defended himself while running a nervous hand through his own hair.
“Not when we're coming back from my father's funeral ! I mean, read the room ! Merlin, how can you be this dumb...”
Harry stared at him for a while – Draco had rolled his eyes so much in the last minutes that the other man feared he'd get stuck like this ; try as he might, he couldn't think of any answer that wouldn't be ridiculed. Might as well give up :
“I'll leave you be for a while. Come see me whenever you stop being sick of me.”
“No,” the former Slytherin answered categorically. “Right now I want you.”
“What ?!” Harry choked : the more time he spent with Draco, the less he understood his reactions.
“Do you want me ?” The latter clearly asked.
If he was being honest, Harry was quite troubled since the “I want you to fuck me” part...
“I... Yes. But...”
“All right. Don't leave me, then. Come on...”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Harry remained confused on the whole way to the Charms professor's bedroom. What just happened ? He didn't get this man. He loved him, he desired him, but he really didn't get him. He refrained from reminding him that they just buried his father ; that was probably not the best prelude to what they were about to do. He just shut up and watched him move through the corridors, dressed in long black robes – sober but elegant.
It'd been a week since they'd last shared intimacy. Harry was aware that it wasn't that long, particularly compared to his celibacy periods, but it was their personal record, except from the weeks they'd been apart for the holidays. It was a fact : they were physically attracted to each other. Even more than that : they were unable to resist each other ; a single gesture, a loaded look could start everything. Suffice to say that a whole week together without touching each other had created a great deal of frustration.
They got in the room, and Draco immediately started unbuttoning his own robes. Harry, still dumbfounded, looked at him with hunger as he did so.
“What, do you think you're at the cabaret, Potter ? Strip off, I'm not doing everything by myself...”
Harry complied, slightly shaking himself out of apathy. He couldn't look away from his partner, revelling in every one of his hurried but delicate movements. Draco still seemed angry, but his eyes radiated indecency ; Harry thought to himself that in another era he could have been charged for public lewdness for this look alone. And he was the one on whom it was set, right now : he was the one it saw waddle laboriously to get out of his clothes, the one it witnessed struggle to keep balance as he succeeded in taking off his own briefs on one foot... Harry acknowledged that he didn't have the Malfoy heir's natural grace.
“It's like looking at a troll who just learned to walk,” Draco sighed.
But he didn't seem to take offence as he stepped closer to press up his naked body against Harry's, overwhelming him with a heat wave emanating from every inch of their skins that were touching. Harry shivered when his lover kissed his neck ; Merlin, he'd missed that mouth... The slightest hot breath made the hair on his neck stand up, and he could have sworn he was feeling each and every one of them. Pretty soon, the touch of the lips mutated into nibbling, going from his earlobes to to his collarbone, then seizing more firmly the tender flesh of the neck to suck it eagerly. Harry tilted his head sideways to provide full access to him, and expressed his satisfaction with a hoarse moan as he stroked the blond hair with one hand. The other one was gently massaging Draco's perfect arse, but it didn't divert the Charms professor from his endeavour. His teeth were digging more and more deeply into the former Gryffindor's skin, who eventually had to push him back softly when it started aching.
Draco stared down at him for a minute, then after a quick kiss on the lips he pushed down on his shoulders to get him to kneel. Harry frowned at the silent authority his partner was mustering, but the grey eyes set on him turned him on way more than it should have. So he started obediently kissing Draco's lower abdomen, then extended the caress to his thin white thighs – on the few stretch marks that he now knew were due to the monthly transformations of the werewolf – before he went back up to the main object of his desire. He was about to take his time as a payback for Malfoy's tyranny, but the latter ordered in a cold voice :
“What ?” Harry said, not used to receiving such direct commands.
“Suck my cock, Potter,” the Charms professor clarified without blinking.
Why did he have to be so fucking hot ? Harry's pride urged him to rebel, but the monster holed up in his underbelly screamed at him to play along. Could Draco see how delightfully intoxicated he was by the situation ? In any case, the duel between reason and passion in Harry's head didn't last long, as the latter prevailed without difficulty and he quickly found himself engulfing the expecting cock. Malfoy let out a relieved groan, and the numbness in Harry's mind intensified some more.
The lean fingers gripped his hair, but it was unnecessary : Harry's mouth came and went hungrily on the pale prick, letting it slide on his palate with every motion. His tongue emphasised the passage of the head, enclosing it and slightly holding it back each time it passed his lips, spreading a mix of spit and pre-cum over his chin at the same time. Harry felt voracious and completely debauched, but Draco's reactions to his stimulation confirmed to him that he didn't care one bit. He wanted to make him feel good, it was all that mattered at this moment.
Suddenly, the former Slytherin pinched his nipple and Harry felt like he was about to come. Fuck, he was so horny that the jolt of pleasure in his torso almost turned into an orgasm... He was pathetic, wasn't he ? His lover's mouth stretched into a satisfied smirk, and his ego took over. While he kept on working on Draco's cock, he slipped his right hand between the other man's cheeks to meticulously caress the small hole, careful not to get in. He looked up to watch Malfoy's reaction to the outrageous individual initiative, but the blond man – even if he looked confused for a second – regained the upper hand at once :
“What are you waiting for ? Go ahead...”
Harry didn't need to be told twice : after he copiously licked his own middle finger to lubricate it, he obeyed the order. Draco's muscles contracted in a spasm when Harry inserted the tip, and the former Gryffindor gave himself a mental high-five for successfully trying. He rapidly located the prostate, but didn't have much time to play with it : soon, his lover took him by the arm to help him up.
“I want to take you, Potter...” He whispered in his ear, biting his lobe on the way.
Harry didn't answer ; he was troubled to realise that it was what he wanted too : he didn't find it particularly unpleasant the previous time, but he'd never felt the urge to do it again ever since. But today, Draco was directing him, Draco was patronising him ; Draco was driving him mad with lust...
“Potter ?” The blond man asked to bring him back to Earth. “Do you want to ?”
“Yes,” the DADA professor exhaled.
“Say it,” Draco insisted.
“I... I want you to fuck me,” Harry said with a chill.
Draco shoved him towards the bed and grabbed the lube in his bedside cabinet. He then leant over the former Gryffindor – who'd lain on his back – just long enough to whisper :
“Not like that. Turn over...”
Harry felt a bit ridiculous as he knelt with his back to his lover, but Draco kissed his neck passionately before he pushed it down to encourage him to get on all fours. He sat next to him, covering his back with kisses as he was getting him ready for what came after with a nimble hand. The Chosen One was mad at himself every time he let out a moan : he'd craved Draco's touch, and his body rewarded the caress with great deals of endorphin. His pleasure intensified when he felt a second finger slip inside of him, then a third shortly after.
“Are you ready ?” Malfoy asked.
“Yeah, come in...” He almost begged, but he couldn't care less : he wanted him.
Draco penetrated him, and time stopped. Harry felt like he was about to explode with the mix of relief, mild pain and plenitude that flooded into him all at once. His lover was carefully sliding deeper inside of him, and suddenly he couldn't form any coherent thought anymore. Eventually, Draco pressed his chest against Harry's back and buried his nose in his sweat-drenched hair :
“Blimey, I missed your arse...”
“Charming,” Harry thought in silence – in such a position, he didn't want to give his partner an excuse to punish him for his sass. Draco started swinging, slowly, while gripping Harry's abdomen with one arm, and the enjoyment clearly took over the pain. In fact, the pain moved forward : Harry's cock was now severely expressing its eagerness. The former Gryffindor couldn't take it anymore : he shifted his weight on his left forearm and sought his cock with his other hand ; the touch was salutary : he immediately felt the pressure diminish in his crotch.
“No,” Draco stopped him by laying his own hand on Harry's. “I'll decide when you can come...”
Harry felt like screaming : the domination exercised by his boyfriend unleashed his desires, but not being able to relieve himself was going to drive him mad. Draco increased the pace – making Harry groan and forcing him to rest on both of his hands again in the process – and his breathing became loud and erratic ; he was about to come any minute now. The more palpable the Charms professor's fever got, the deeper Harry sinked into voluptuousness ; when Draco ultimately reached orgasm with a loud roar, the other man got desperate :
“Please,” he moaned.
At first, he thought that his lover's still jerky breathing had prevented him from hearing the plea, but soon the hand that was still resting on his prick got moving, freeing him from his deprivation in just a few seconds. Draco pressed his still trembling body against Harry's sweaty back as he was coming through his fingers. As soon as the former Slytherin pulled out, they both collapsed on the mattress as one, postponing any cleaning attempt.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The following rest was too short for Harry's taste, though : five minutes later, Draco had gotten up without a word, had cleaned everything up with a flick of his wand, and he was now in the shower. Harry sighed, grabbing a tissue box to wash up roughly before he could, in turn, use the bathroom. He wasn't sure he understood everything that'd just happened. Fuck, he didn't even know whether Draco was mad at him or not. It was time for the day to end : this emotional limbo highly confused him. The blond man got out of the bathroom and Harry observed him for a while , still lying naked on the sheets.
“Are you okay ?” He asked eventually.
Draco, who was putting on a pair of trousers, straightened like he was surprised to find the DADA professor was still in his bedroom :
“Better,” he simply said as he kept on dressing up. "I needed to vent some of my anger."
“I saw that,” Harry commented.
“I don't recall you complaining about it,” Draco noted maliciously.
“Yeah, yeah, I know... What do you want to do this afternoon ?” Harry tried.
“I was leaving, actually. I have an appointment with my shrink.”
“What ? You didn't tell me !” Harry accused as he suddenly got up.
“ So ? Does it upset you ?” Malfoy asked with a drawl.
“No, it's just that... Well, maybe a little,” he ended up confessing before Draco's insisting stare. “It kinda upsets me that you didn't tell me about it.”
“Good. Keep your anger until tonight, I might be able to help you vent it...”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Harry wasn't upset anymore when Draco came back from his appointment. Too bad. They'd still had sex, though : at least in the meantime Harry wasn't getting on his nerves. If the former Slytherin was being honest, he knew that his boyfriend was doing his best considering the unusual situation they were facing, but he wished things hadn't changed so much between them. Talking to his therapist still lead him to admit that the presence of the DADA professor made him feel better ; but the latter didn't have to know that.
Once again Harry had fallen asleep next to him, while Draco was up late reading until he was knackered enough to prevent his bad thoughts from keeping him awake the whole night. The Lumos he used didn't seem to bother the other man's slumber, since he hated complete darkness anyway. He confessed it to Draco after spending several nights nervously twisting and turning in his bed : he needed to see the moonlight shining through the window, if nothing else, to feel safe. Draco gave him shit about it, but he never closed his curtains again on a night that they were spending together. Potter was turning him into a bloody sentimentalist. He didn't like it when he put it like that, but on the other hand the numbing fog that was taking over his brains whenever he was in his presence was salutary. Harry was his forgetfulness potion.
Draco looked away from his book to observe his sleeping lover. Overwhelmed by a surge of affection at the sight of The Chosen One starting to drool on the pillow he was hugging, he gently brushed black hair strands off his forehead. No reaction.
“I love you,” he whispered.
It wasn't exactly brave to wait for Harry to be asleep to tell him, but courage had never been his best feature anyway.
“I heard that...” Harry mumbled in a sleepy voice.
Draco jumped and felt like all of his blood had flooded to his face ; he tried to weasel out of it :
“I know... It would be utterly absurd to speak to you if you can't...”
But he stopped talking : Potter, his eyes still closed, had cuddled up to him :
“I love you too, dummy.”
Draco smiled. He didn't retaliate : he'd have all the time to make him pay for that the following day.