Harry doesn’t know who his soulmate is until he’s nine, but he knows most of his family hates him already; the mark appears when Harry is one, meaning his soulmate has been born, and, whenever he asks about the name on his wrist – Draco Malfoy , in neat, loopy handwriting – his Uncle Padfoot grimaces and tells Harry not to worry about it just yet.
The first time he sees Draco, it’s by accident, and he can see nothing but him. He's only nine, but already there’s something about Draco that Harry feels is calming, reassuring. He assumes it’s the effects of the soul bond. They bump into each other in the entrance of the muggle supermarket Harry’s mum likes – Draco and his mother are just walking in and Harry and his mum are walking out – and he can tell that his mum is more surprised at seeing Draco there than anyone else is.
“Narcissa,” Lily says, surprised. “I - did not expect to see you here.”
Narcissa, Draco’s mother, has long blonde hair, flowing loose down to her waist. She’s wearing muggle jeans and a short sleeved jade button up, and Harry’s mother keeps looking at her like she’s come from outer space.
“Lily,” Narcissa tips her head gracefully. “How’s James?”
And Harry’s mum looks even more surprised at that.
“He’s well,” She says, carefully. “How is Lucius?”
She looks like saying the name is making her nauseous.
“I wouldn’t know.” Narcissa says. “I haven’t seen him in years.”
It’s then when it happens. Draco pokes his head from behind his mother’s legs. He’s wearing a knitted jumper, and he looks very shy, gripping Narcissa’s jeans tightly in his small fist. He’s smaller than Harry himself, and he’s carrying a small muggle plushie.
“This is Draco,” Narcissa says, running her fingers through Draco’s pale blonde hair fondly. He’s the mirror image of his mother in many ways; the shape of his eyes, the color of his hair, the bow of his mouth. “Draco, say hello.”
“Hello,” Draco says in a tiny voice.
Lily immediately melts. She does it often around children, and Draco’s an adorable child.
“Good evening, Draco,” she says, smiling widely. “I’m Lily Potter. This is my son, Harry.”
Draco’s eyes widen – they're grey, Harry notices – and he looks down at his wrist, then up at Harry again.
“You’re Harry Potter?” he asks, seemingly gathering the courage necessary to step beside his mum instead of behind her. He doesn’t let go off her completely, but Harry can see him clearly now. The plushie is a very ugly fish with a big nose, and his knitted jumper has a cat on it.
Harry nods, and waves a little, which Draco returns with a marveled expression.
“We must continue shopping, if you don’t mind,” Narcissa says. “We have to get home.”
“Of course,” Harry’s mum says. She looks dazed, out of sorts. “I - us, too. I’ll see you.”
Narcissa nods and grabs Draco’s hand, leading him to the shopping carts before lifting him and placing him on the seat.
“Ooh, can we get frozen pizza mum?” Harry hears Draco ask eagerly, and his mum blinks, shaking her head lightly.
When they’re back at home, Harry doesn’t understand why the whole occurrence is so odd.
“I’m telling you, Sirius, it was them!” His mum says while they’re having dinner. “She even asked after James!”
“There is no way,” His uncle Padfoot says. “Narcissa does not do anything muggle much less supermarkets.”
“She hasn’t seen Lucius in years, she said.” Lily says.
Padfoot opens and closes his mouth several times. “Purebloods in our family don’t get divorced. It’s impossible.”
“She was wearing muggle clothes!” Lily says. “Draco asked for frozen pizza .”
“Draco?” Moony asks. “You saw him?”
Harry turns to his dad and pulls on his sleeve slightly. When his father turns to him, his frown disappears, and he smiles brightly.
“Yes, Harry?” he asks.
“Why is it impossible that Draco was in a muggle supermarket?” He asks. “Wizards are allowed there, aren’t they? We go all the time.”
His dad hesitates, and he shakes his head. “It’s... complicated, Harry. Sirius hasn’t talked to Narcissa in nearly ten years, because they didn’t get along well. Their families had... specific ideals about muggles and blood purity.”
“Oh,” Harry says, feeling disappointed. Padfoot has explained it to him before, and he doesn’t want Draco to be like Padfoot’s family was. “Is Draco like that?”
His dad and Padfoot both open their mouths to reply, but Lily cuts them off.
“Well, we don’t know, baby,” his mum interjects pointedly, giving them a look. “He’s only eight, and none of us know him. And I don’t think any of us know Narcissa anymore, either.”
“You could talk to her.” Moony points out to Padfoot. “If she’s living in the muggle world-”
“We’ll see,” Padfoot says, and that’s all they say on that subject.
The next time they see each other, Harry’s ten and Draco’s nine. Padfoot had finally contacted Narcissa, and, currently, Harry is standing in the doorway to Narcissa’s muggle flat.
Padfoot had wanted to go alone, but Harry had insisted.
“Sirius,” she greets coolly. Padfoot looks openly distrustful.
“Cissy,” He says. Narcissa’s mouth twitches, but she doesn’t otherwise react.
“Come in,” She says. They step into the flat, and Harry looks around curiously. There are coats hung in the doorway, drawings on the fridge, blankets and multiple pillows on the couch. “I wasn’t aware you would be coming, Harry. You can sit with Draco, if you’d like. He's on the couch.”
Harry nods eagerly and walks over to the couch. It takes him a few moments, and he realizes that what he’d previously thought were pillows under a blanket, is Draco’s tiny body. He didn’t see him because Draco’s knees are pulled up to his chest, and he’s wrapped tightly in a bedsheet. Two pairs of eyes, grey and honey-colored, stare at him from the tiny ball Draco’s folded himself into.
“Hullo,” Harry says, slightly.
“You’re Harry Potter,” Draco says. His voice is muffled by the blanket, or the couch, or the dog he has panting happily on his lap.
“And you’re Draco Malfoy,” Harry says.
There’s silence for a moment, and then it seems to suffice for Draco.
“Do you want to sit?” he pushes the blanket off his head, revealing uncombed white-blond hair. “We’re watching a movie.”
“Which one is it?” Harry asks as he sits on the couch.
“Tangled,” Draco says.
The dog turns to Harry and sniffs at him, licking his hand.
“What’s his name?” Harry asks, petting him lightly.
“She’s named Cleopatra.” Draco says excitedly. “Did you know Cleopatra was the youngest empress of Egypt? She knew more than six languages, and she knew math, and was a top strategist-”
And Harry spends the rest of his afternoon listening to his soulmate talk about different historical figures, and, if he’s quite honest, he doesn’t mind one bit.
When Harry’s eleven, Draco accompanies him, his mum, his dad, Padfoot, and Moony to the train platform. They’ve spent the past year visiting each other whenever Sirius and Narcissa meet – they've been getting along surprisingly well – and they’re actually friends now.
Harry’s sad to go.
“I’ll write,” Harry promises. “I’ll send lots and lots of owls, and sweets from Hogwarts, and when I come back I'll teach you the best spells.”
He knows his fair bit of magic that his parents and his uncle have taught him, and he’s taught it all to Draco, much to Narcissa’s dismay and Sirius’s amusement when Draco blew up the fireplace.
“You won’t forget?” Draco asks.
“I could never,” Harry says. “I promise.”
He says goodbye to his mum and dad, then to Padfoot and Moony, and then watches them in the platform until they disappear in the distance.
“Can I sit here?” A redhead asks from the doorway. “Everywhere else is full.”
“Of course,” Harry says. “Harry Potter.”
That Summer, Draco doesn’t have a very good time, Harry knows. He's not used to not having Harry’s complete attention, and as much as he tries to get Draco and Ron to get along, neither of them seem to be trying very hard.
Ginny, however, gets along with Draco swimmingly. Before the summer is over, they seem to be getting along like they’ve known each other their whole lives, and, if Harry’s being honest, he’s a little bit jealous.
He’s not being honest.
Draco’s first year at Hogwarts is a rollercoaster for Harry. Part of him is very glad to have Draco at Hogwarts with him, and the other part feels insecure of Draco’s fondness of him. He’s sorted into Slytherin, and, when it happens, Harry thinks there surely must be a mistake.
There’s no way Draco – his Draco, his soulmate, his sweet, overexcitable, lovable Draco is a Slytherin. The sorting hat must be wrong. When Ginny is sorted into Slytherin, too, his gut-feeling is confirmed. The sorting hat is broken.
Over the next few weeks though, Hermione points it out to him patiently. Their cleverness, their ambition, their cunning, their undying loyalty to each other and very few others.
“Slytherin is not a bad house.” Hermione says, rolling her eyes at the faces him and Ron make when she says it. “It’s not what it used to be. The sorting hat wanted to put me there.”
Harry and Ron both look horrified, and Hermione rolls her eyes.
“And you both would fit right in there, too,” she points out to them. “Harry, your leadership, your determination. Ron, you’re resourceful, clever.”
“I could never be a Slytherin,” Ron says, anyway, and Harry hesitates before agreeing.
Surely, Slytherin mustn’t be that bad, if Draco got sorted into it.
In Harry’s third year, Draco and Ginny both join the Slytherin Quidditch team. Harry has been a Seeker for Gryffindor since his first year, and he intends to go easy on Draco in their first match.
Draco sees it coming.
“Don’t, Harry,” he says warningly. “I don’t want you to make this easy for me.”
“I wasn’t going to do anything,” Harry defends feebly, frowning. Draco’s his soulmate, and he’s younger, and this is his first game; Harry has had two years more worth of practice in Hogwarts’s Quidditch, nearly ten years more flying on a broom at home. Draco grew up in a muggle house, and the only time he rode a broom before Hogwarts was when he used to go to Harry’s house.
“You’re going to try to go easy on me because it’s my first game,” Draco accuses.
“I wasn’t,” Harry insists.
Draco looks at him doubtfully, and then nods. “Good. Because I'm going to beat you, and I don’t want it to be because you’re letting me win.”
“Of course not,” Harry says.
Draco glares at him with no heat behind it, and gives him a private smile when Madame Hooch blows her whistle and they rise onto the air.
Harry beats Draco to the snitch, and, instead of being sad, or angry, like Harry thought, Draco grins from where he nearly crashed into the ground after their racing had become a little too brusque.
He has a broken arm, and Harry visits him every day he stays at the infirmary, bringing him chocolate frogs and every flavoured beans, while Draco rolls his eyes at his ‘pointless worrying’ and tells him that he won fairly.
It makes Harry beam.
On Harry’s fourth year, they go to the Yule Ball together.
Harry spends nearly half the year working up his nerve to ask Draco, trying to work up the perfect plan, only to fuck it up when he sees Cedric Diggory speaking to Draco and marches over, grabbing Draco’s wrist and leading him away.
“What?” Draco asks, frowning. “I was talking to Cedric. He’s funny, and that was rude.”
“Go to the Yule ball with me.” Harry orders.
Draco raises his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”
Harry’s face heats and he looks away. “Would you like to go to the Yule Ball with me? I - I've been meaning to ask you for a while now. I had this big plan and everything, but – well, I didn’t really like seeing you with Cedric.”
Draco frowns for a moment, before he leans back against the wall with raised eyebrows and a smirk.
“Are you jealous?” He asks.
“No!” Harry says. He doesn’t think he is, at least. It’s not that he’s jealous . He doesn’t care about Cedric Diggory. He knows Diggory knows Draco’s his soulmate. Everyone knows Draco’s his soulmate, and, if they didn’t, they’d only need to look at either of their wrists.
Draco rolls his eyes and laughs, but he says, “Alright. I’ll go to the ball with you, Harry. But don’t think you can order me around, soulmate or not.”
Harry nods, too thrilled by Draco’s agreement to focus on anything else.
Fifth and Sixth year they see each other less than usual. In fifth year, because of Harry’s OWLS, and in Sixth because of Draco’s. In Harry’s seventh year, he has his NEWTS to study for, but he refuses not to see Draco often. This is his last year, after all, and he won’t see Draco most of next year. He needs to make use of his time.
They go on dates to Florean Fortescue’s, to muggle movie theaters in the summer, even to the supermarket; they make a date out of anything they do together, and Harry enjoys his time spent with Draco more than his time spent with anyone else.
And it’s not a soulmate thing, he knows; Narcissa and Lucius are soulmates, and there was no love lost when they separated. Lily and James are soulmates, and Harry’s mum hated his dad for almost five years.
No, it’s not a soulmate thing. It’s a them thing. It’s rare enough, even with soulmates. Not many have the kind of bond Draco and Harry have, or Remus and Sirius, Bill and Fleur, Lily and James. Harry reminds himself how fortunate he is every time he catches himself looking at Draco and thinks, I wouldn’t rather be doing anything but spending time with you.
It’s exhilarating, elating, terrifying.
When Draco graduates Hogwarts, Harry is there with flowers and a huge kiss. When he’s accepted into the most prestigious program on Care of Magical creatures, Harry’s there with a key to their new flat. When he graduates from it, Harry proposes marriage.
They get married when Harry’s twenty-three, and Draco’s twenty-two. Sirius tells him they're too young, Narcissa tells Draco that he’s not even gotten used to his first job, that they should wait. Hermione is ecstatic and calls best man, as does Ginny, a minute after her, leaving Ron grumbling .
Despite different protests and opinions, everyone cries when they get married.
Harry looks over at his husband, his Draco, his soulmate , and, as he kisses the back of his hand absent-mindedly, he knows they’re going to be happy. He can’t be anything else, where Draco is involved.