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Now I See

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Draco collapsed onto his back, hiding his face behind his hands. “We should end this.” He was just mumbling to himself, not expecting an answer. 

               Potter’s deep laughter filled the room. Heat radiated from his body that moved closer to Draco. “Malfoy, look at me.” The gentleness in the voice always made him feel giddy. Fingertips ghosted over his hip and a shiver ran down his spine, immediately setting him on fire again. Slowly he moved his hands away from his face, putting them next to his face.  

“What, Potter?” Six months. It had been six months since they’d started shagging. His heart skipped a beat at the sight of those emerald green eyes that looked at him. Potter was propped up on his elbow, hovering slightly over Draco. 

               “Do you really want to end this?” The smile didn’t leave his lips, fingertips caressing Draco’s rips. Potter lowered himself, still steadying himself with his elbow. “Do you want to leave, Malfoy?” 

No…” Draco frowned slightly at his whispered answer. He licked his dry lips, desperately trying to keep his composure. Why did his answer never change? Then their lips met, and happiness flooded his whole body, quietening his thoughts. 

               “Will you stay overnight again?” Potter whispered as his lips ghosted over Draco’s jaw. 

Draco opened his eyes again, frowning slightly. “I should go home. I haven’t been home for two days.” He raised his hand, let his fingers run through the soft mop of black hair. “I’ll come back. Promise.” He gently pushed Potter back, sitting up, reaching for his wand. One flick later he was dressed again, leaving the warm bed. 

               “Draco, please, stay.” 

Draco could have ignored it. The plea barely had been audible, but he’d heard it. Every time Potter used his first name it lit a fire in him, so strong it could cast a Patronus. It felt intimate, raw and so right

But this wasn’t right. He turned around, ready to say no, to draw the line between them. After all, he was Draco Malfoy, a mighty pureblood heir, proud Slytherin… Former Death Eater, traitor, an outlaw of Wizarding society… He shouldn’t want Potter. He shouldn’t challenge his own destiny like that. 

               “Can I persuade you with a bubble bath?” Potter was sitting cross-legged, hope glistening in his eyes, his new glasses back on his nose again. 

“Don’t look at me like that. Not with that look in your eyes…” Draco hated it, hated that expression, hated that he couldn’t say no to it, hated what giving in meant in the long run. 

               “Sorry.” Potter ran his fingers through his hair, looking slightly guilty, avoiding Draco’s gaze.

“Only if you have the bath bombs from last time,” Draco sighed. His chest hurt at the sight of how happy Potter was smiling at him. They hadn’t been like this at first, and still didn’t always get along these days. More than once Draco had stormed off, ready to finally let his stupid crush from teenage days go. However, in the end, he always came back, or Potter made a move, showing him that he cared. 

 

Ten minutes later they both were in the bathroom, the bathtub filling with hot water, bath bomb turning the water turquoise. Potter stood behind Draco, gently removing the shirt from his pale shoulders, placing a soft kiss on the bare skin. 

Draco tilted his head to the right, eyes closed, concentrating on the sensation of Potter’s gentle fingers and his hot breath.

              “Did you think about the invitation?”

“I don’t think it would be wise to show up at the ball.” Draco opened his eyes, turning his head, so he could look over his shoulder. “Your gang might tolerate me, but this is an event from the Ministry.”

              “You got invited, so they should expect your attendance.”

Draco got turned around, Potter’s fingers undoing his belt, emerald green eyes piercing his soul. He wanted to go, to tell everyone to sod off and leave them alone. He was a better man now and he didn’t give a toss what they thought about him shagging the Saviour. Over the years he had learned to deal with the prejudice. However, whilst he’d learned to be a better man, he’d also learned to be more cautious.

“Why do you want me there so badly, Potter? It’s not like we’re showing up together anyway. You’ll be with your people and I will be with mine.” Draco wrapped his arms around Potter’s neck, kissing him with the intention of distracting the stubborn Gryffindor.

              “We’re friends, aren’t we?”  

“Do you really wanna have this conversation again?” Draco groaned. 

               “We could show up together, you know,” Potter mumbled against his neck, hands brushing down his trousers. “I don’t mind if we’re seen together, Malfoy. What’s wrong with getting along?” Draco couldn’t hold back a snort. 

“Getting along? Is that what we call this now? Didn’t we make it clear that we’re just shagging?” He closed his eyes to sharpen his senses. Oh, he loved how Potter smelled and felt. He didn’t dare admit it to Potter; he’d take that secret to the grave. 

The sudden loss of Potter’s lips sent a shiver down Malfoy’s spine, his stomach dropped and he slowly opened his eyes again. He didn’t want to fight again. Not this time. If they did, he’d be forced to break his own heart. 

               “Do you really think this is just a shag for me? Is it for you?” 

Draco’s heart shattered into a million pieces. Potter’s voice was just a faint whisper, broken and devastated; similar to the tone he used while he was talking about his past at the Dursleys. He opened his mouth just to close it again. He felt like a fish, desperately trying to survive on land where he didn’t belong. 

               “You know me. I know that you hate these kinds of conversations, but… As much as you know me, I know you, Malfoy.” Potter licked his lips, looking sideways, hand running through his hair. “I try to adjust to your pace… I really do, but your words hurt me. I don’t mind waiting for you to be ready, but… If you really think this is just a shag… Maybe we should end it here. This time for real.” Potter’s gaze wandered back to Draco, pain flickering in his emerald green eyes. 

“We should. We’re not supposed to be anything but acquaintances.” Draco, now frowning, raised his hand, brushing the back of his hand gently against Potter’s cheek. “This thing between us… Whatever it is... In the end… It can’t work out, Potter.” He dropped his hand, a wave of loss crashing over him. He knew that sooner or later he would regret that. 

               “A relationship is facing problems together, Draco. It’s us against the problem, not us against each other, not fighting everything alone... You drive me mental. You’re one of the most frustrating people I’ve ever met. The urge to strangle you…” Potter groaned, rolling his eyes, licking his lips. He walked past Draco to turn the water off. 

Draco turned around, keeping the turmoil of his emotions buried inside of him, eyes roaming over Potter’s naked body up to his face. “Sounds like a confession,” Draco snorted, his grey eyes locking with Potter’s emerald green ones. He was sure that it was the right thing to do. Pushing Potter away would save both of them a lot of tears and trouble. 

               “What if it is? Will you run away? Will you turn back into a coward? Are you so bloody scared of being happy that you sabotage yourself at any given chance?” 

Draco knew that glimmer in Potter’s eyes. It was the same one he had when he played Quidditch. Fiery passion, mixed with the eagerness to give everything. That was the man he’d fallen for; so full of emotions, brave enough to put them on display. 

Before he knew what he was doing, Draco opened his mouth to respond. He felt trapped, chest tightening. He was a coward, but he’d changed. Only a few weeks ago he’d turned 26. He wasn’t that scared little boy anymore. “You’re so bloody stupid, Potter. Is insulting your go-to if you don’t have anything smart to say?” 

               “What I’m supposed to do then? Tell me, Malfoy. I know that this is not just shagging… for either of us. I got the message that you’re shite with showing emotions… You need time. Okay. Got it. Fine with me. But. Stop. Lying. To. Me. We’re past that stage!” 

Draco groaned, rolling his eyes, crossing the distance between them. “You’re not half as understanding as you think. Has nobody told you how selfish you can be at times? You’re so inconsiderate, only seeing the world through your eyes.” He sighed, pinching his nose, eyes closed. “I don’t want to fight. Let’s get into the tub before the water gets cold. You wanna talk? Fine. Let’s talk. But if you don’t like what I have to say, don’t blame me. I’m allowed to have a different opinion.” 

“As if I’d ever do that!”

“You’re quick to judge, Potter. I know you don’t wanna harm others, but by Merlin’s beard…” Draco yanked his briefs down and got into the bathtub, flinching slightly, not expecting the heat. He closed his eyes, sighing in content, forgetting their fight just for a second. 

Suddenly Potter wrapped his arms around his waist, chest pressing against Draco’s back, nose against the side of his neck, legs stretched out, touching his own. This wasn’t the first time Potter initiated body contact during a minor fight. More than once Draco had denied him that, yanked away. He hated it to be touched without permission, especially when he was worked up. In those moments their fights escalated quicker than usual. However, he got used to the touches of his dark haired lover, welcomed them secretly. It provided reassurance for both of them. 

He allowed himself to relax a bit in Potter’s embrace. “I’m not a coward. Not like I used to be. That was unfair. Of course I’m scared, but I’m still here… But if we both admit that this is more… Haven’t you thought about the consequences?” 

               “We’ll figure something out.” Potter placed a gentle kiss on Draco’s left shoulder, kissing his way back to his neck. “We always have and always will. It’s not like we randomly started shagging. We’ve been friends before.” 

“Potter, are you suffering from amnesia? The first time we enjoyed physical activities besides Quidditch was not exactly something I saw coming.” Draco chuckled low, tilting his head so he could look back. 

“You think so? Maybe you’re the oblivious one then.” 

“I bet Granger or the Weasley girl had to basically spell it out for you to realise. However, that’s not the topic we’re supposed to be discussing. You wanted to talk about us.” Draco shuffled away, forcing Potter to let go of him. He turned around, wrapping his arms around Potter’s neck. 

Should he start calling him Harry? He brushed his lips over Harry’s. The kiss was light as a feather. For now he’d just say it in his head. One step after another. There was a good chance that whatever they had now would go up in flames anyway.

               “Sometimes, fighting with you turns me on. Can’t say I regret that my temper took over back then.” Harry chuckled low, the wrinkles around his eyes showing slightly. 

“Focus, Potter. Otherwise I’ll just leave.” Draco snaked his legs around Harry’s waist, slithering closer. 

Chapter Text

Years. 

He’d spent years getting used to the cold shiver that ran down his spine every time he had to set a single toe on the forsaken ground of Azkaban. He couldn’t get away fast enough. He loved his father, enjoyed seeing him to some degree. But the draining feeling of hopelessness buried deep inside his chest was like a twisted old friend. The knowledge that nothing would turn out to be good again was something he gained a long time ago.

Draco took a deep breath as he stepped out of the grey old building, leaving his father and the Dementors behind. Nothing had changed. Nothing would change. He was still the scared teenager that he thought he’d left behind. His father was right, had always been… Even now, already 26 years old, Draco wasn’t able to stand up for himself. He obeyed like a trained dog. Without a single comment, he met the woman his father had chosen for him, even though he hated the idea of settling down with her; hated the idea of producing an heir when he didn’t love her. 

They never spoke about things that were important for Draco. Even in Azkaban it was all about his father’s big plans for the future. Draco knew that his father loved him, but his heart shattered into a million pieces every single time he met him. After their time together, Draco’s innermost feelings always resembled a mosaic that had nothing in common with the young, passionate, hard-working man he was off the golden path his father had prepared for him. 

He started to walk down the small path away from Azkaban, the wind tugging on his hair mercilessly. Reaching the cliff he stopped in his tracks, shaking and about to explode with the chaos inside his head. Filling his lungs with cold, sharp, salty air, he started to scream. The sound of waves crashing against the cliff was louder than his desperate cry for help. His lungs started to burn and tears fell. Draco fell onto his knees, head tilted back, ready to apparate back to the Mansion – his own personal hell.

 

Draco apparated directly to his room, ripping the tie from his neck. He stormed into his bathroom, fingers grabbing the cool marble of the sink. Slowly he looked up and froze. Eyes red, face pale as porcelain, lips pressed into a thin white line. Unable to recognise himself, he started to wash his face, letting the autopilot take over.

Only a few minutes later he looked like the Malfoy heir again. Not a single emotion on his face, besides the cool arrogance his father liked him to show even nowadays. Tie adjusted and not a single hair out of place. He looked like Draco Malfoy again, son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, proud Slytherin and future husband of Astoria Greengrass. The mirror showed him exactly who he was… Who he was supposed to be. 

So why couldn’t he recognise himself anymore? The sudden realisation hit him like a sledgehammer. This was no longer his true self. He’d changed. He would always be the son of his parents, but he was no longer the puppet of the Dark Lord, a scared little boy who tried everything to survive during a war. He’d left malice and old-fashioned beliefs behind. These days he was a man who wanted to live. A man who loved. Some who cared. And yet… He was scared. It was too much. What if he broke the hearts of his parents? He didn’t want to lose them. He wanted to fit into pure-blood society, wanted to fulfil the expectations of his father and the pure-blood society. In the past, he’d liked the idea of being different to normal wizarding society, someone special, someone that lived up to the superiority of his family name… But now? He wanted to be free. He wanted to be able to choose his own path. Could he be that selfish?   

“Mother, we need to talk.” Draco, now wearing a comfortable jumper, stepped into the small library of the Manor.

              “Oh, you’re already back.” Narcissa looked up from her book. “What’s wrong, dear?” Draco and his mother weren’t allowed to visit Lucius Malfoy on the same day. The ministry assigned different days for them. They’d just been thankful that they were allowed to visit him. Thanks to a reform in law that was initiated by Granger, relatives were now allowed to visit their beloved ones once a month in Azkaban.

“I…” Draco took a deep breath and took a seat opposite his mother. How could he start a conversation like this? He frowned looking out of the window. Rays of sunshine fell through the window caressing Draco’s cold face, slowly warming him up.

              “What’s the matter, Draco?” Narcissa closed her book, now frowning herself.

“I met Astoria today before I visited father.” Only now did Draco notice the small wrinkles around his mother’s eyes. She was still the most graceful woman he knew; strong, gentle and intelligent. Instantly he knew she would understand. She would forgive him.

              “I know. I was the one that arranged everything on behalf of your father. Do you like her?”

“Of course. She is lovely. We’re getting along very well. We always did. However, that’s not what I want to talk about… At least not in the way you might think.” Draco started playing with the hem of his jumper. A few weeks ago, he’d bought it because Harry had insisted that everyone should have casual, comfortable clothes. While Draco had bought a few t-shirts, Harry finally got new glasses.

              “Is this the moment where you start talking about Potter again? I missed hearing your stories about him, my little dragon, I’ve missed the fire in your eyes. I asked myself if you two had a fight, but if Potter had infuriated you, you would only talk about him more, right? Then when Andromeda told me that you had both enjoyed a day at the Zoo with Teddy… I began to draw other conclusions.” Narcissa smiled gently at Draco as she reached out and placed her hand on his knee. “I want you to know, Draco, that I’m your mother. Nothing in the world would change that. I love you and I’m so proud of you.”

That was the moment where all Draco’s walls were torn down. An ugly sob fought its way out of his throat and before he even realised that his mother was moving, he was pulled into a firm hug. 

“I’m sorry, so sorry…” The faint scent of daisies slowly wrapped itself around his mind, giving him the illusion of being safe, like no harm could ever get to him.

              “You have nothing to be sorry about, my son. You did nothing wrong. Never be sorry for the things that make you happy, Draco.” Narcissa pressed a kiss to Draco’s temple. “I’m so proud of you. You’re a hardworking young man. Look at you.” She pulled away cupping Draco’s cheeks. “You’re so brave. You never stopped fighting. The world was harsh to you, but you kept your head high; you never let it turn you into a cruel man.”

“I disappointed father.” Draco bit his tongue, wiping his tears and getting a hold of himself again.

              “Draco, you know how much I love your father, but as much as I love him… You shouldn’t seek the approval of a man like him. He made mistakes that even I can’t truly forgive him. He is not evil, Draco, and he really loves you, but the Darkness changed him.” She let her hands sink, a sad smile on her lips.

“I don’t know what to say.” The conversation turned out to be so different from what he’d expected.

              “You don’t have to say anything. Just answer me one question. Does he make you happy?”

“Yes.” Without a second of doubt he answered his mother.

              “Good. That’s everything I want for you. These days you could just… adopt a child to keep the Malfoy’s alive. I think we both learned that blood is not everything in this world. I just want to see you happy. Don’t worry about your father, Draco. That’s wasted energy. He will come to terms with it.” Narcissa’s smile was warm, matching her eyes that were overflowing with love. In that moment it was obvious just how much she’d changed.

“I love you, mother, but I have to go. I have to fix things with Potter.” Draco stood up, now a soft smile on his lips. “We’ll talk more later. Thank you.”


 

Draco frowned slightly, running his fingers through his hair, chewing nervously on his lower lip. Harry hadn’t been home, so Draco had decided to go to the only place where Harry could be on a Saturday night. 

“This is a terrible, terrible idea,” he muttered to himself, lifting his fist to knock on the wooden door of the Burrow. 

Suddenly the door jumped open and someone crashed into Draco. He bit his tongue to hold back an unholy curse. Now was not the time to insult the family of the man he wanted to call his boyfriend. A groan escaped him as soon as he realised that Ginevra, out of all Weasleys, was the one who had tried to knock him over. 

               “Turned into stone, ferret? Swallowed your tongue?” The red-headed devil raised a brow, arms crossed in front of her chest. 

               “Gin, I didn’t mean it like that!” Harry stumbled into the door frame, a wide grin on his lips, clearly lying. “Dra- Malfoy? What are you doing here?” 

               “Oh please, spare me the love drama. I’m off. See you next week, wonder boy! Ferret.” Ginevra rolled her eyes and ducked away, leaving Draco and Harry alone. 

               “Did something happen with your father?” 

“No. I mean yes, but that’s not why I’m here. Remember the conversation we had yesterday?” Draco pushed his hands into the pockets of his trousers, trying to stop himself from fidgeting with the hem of this jumper. 

“Oh, please. Stop. We talked it out. It’s okay. I don’t wanna hear anything anymore.” Harry sighed, licking his lips. “I don’t want to cause another fight.” 

“Potter, just listen to me. What are you? 12?” Draco hissed annoyed. 

               “On a scale from 1 to 10? Yes, definitely.” A smug smile tugged on Harry’s lips. 

“If the scale measures childishness or the inability to just listen.” 

               “Harry, darling, where are you?” Mr Weasley’s voice chimed from another room. 

               “I’ll be right back. Just a moment!” Harry stepped out, closing the door behind him. “Okay, Malfoy, I’m listening. If you wanna break up, after we made up yesterday, keep it to yourself… At least for today, okay?” He sighed, a tired expression on his face. 

“You’re a moron. How can a smart person like you be so bloody dumb? I’m not here to break up with you, Harry. Don’t make me regret my decision, okay? Why do people always have to spell things out to you? I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, fell in love with a bloody idiot. I. Love. You. Harry.” Draco’s heart stopped beating for a second, the hands in his pockets curling into fists. 

               “I’m not dumb!” Harry exclaimed before everything sank in. His expression shifted from annoyed to shocked until it changed to surprise. “You do what?” He breathed, his eyes glimmering with happiness and love. 

“Forget it. I take it back. You can’t even use proper grammar.” Draco huffed, fingers running through his hair, turning on his heels, the corner of his lips twitching. He prepared himself for a move from Harry. 

               “Don’t you dare, Draco!” Harry wrapped his arm around Draco’s waist, turning him around swiftly. “I won’t let the man I love slip through my fingers.” 

Draco snorted, snaking his arms around Harry’s neck. Closing his eyes, he pressed his forehead against Harry’s. “Mother knows, so you better get a hold of your manners.” He opened his eyes again, pressing a kiss on Harry’s forehead. “Just because you’re my boyfriend now, doesn’t mean I’ll spare you my judgment or let you get sloppy.” 

               “As if I didn't know that. I know that you’re a nagging, picky git. Doesn’t make me love you any less. Hm, now Ginny owes Ron two Galleons. Wanna come in? I’d love to introduce you as my boyfriend.” 

Draco wrinkled his nose, glaring at the door of the Burrow. “I won’t enjoy it, but I’ll accept the torture because it’s for you. If you’re ever going to tell anyone that I’m capable of being this nice, I won’t just cut ties with you, Potter, I will destroy you and I’m sure Pansy would be glad to help me.” 

               “Just shut up and kiss me.”